Home > The Farthest Edge (Honey #2)

The Farthest Edge (Honey #2)
Author: Kristen Ashley

acknowledgments

A girl’s gotta have her cheerleaders, and for this series, my cheerleaders are my editor, Rose Hilliard, who makes it an actual joy to read her edits, and my agent, Emily Sylvan Kim, who defies words to express how awesome she is.

Thank you both for believing in this series and for believing in me.

 

 

prologue

Of Course I’m Going to Kill You

Gerald Raines turned the corner into his bedroom and flipped the switch just inside the door that would illuminate the lights on the nightstand.

They didn’t turn on.

His first thought was always his first thought when something went wrong.

To blame whatever wasn’t working on his wife.

His second thought was always his second thought, or at least the one he’d had the last two years.

That being the reminder the bitch had moved out and divorced him.

He flipped the switch repeatedly, and when nothing happened, he stomped into the dark room, grousing, “I do not need this shit today.”

“Not another move.”

The voice came from the dark, rough, male, deep, quiet, calm.

Gerald’s entire body froze solid.

He knew that voice.

Impossible. Totally impossible, he thought.

But what he knew was that if anyone could come back from the dead, it would be a member of that team.

That damned team.

Gerald didn’t move even when the shadow formed in front of him, tall, lean. Healthy.

Impossible.

It got close, lifted its arm, and Gerald felt a circle of cold steel pressed tight to his forehead.

Not a ghost.

Real.

It couldn’t be.

But it was.

“John,” he whispered.

“I’d say you got nothin’ to worry about,” the shadow replied. “They’re all dead. But you do got somethin’ to worry about because, contrary to officially unofficial reports, I’m not.”

“How did you—?”

Gerald stopped speaking when the cold hardness pressed deeper into his forehead, forcing him to arch back several inches.

In that moment, it took grave effort not to foul himself.

But when the voice came again, it was still eerily calm.

“You set us up.”

“It was the mission,” Gerald returned swiftly, raising his hands to the sides, showing he was unarmed, not a threat.

The shadow kept the gun to his forehead.

“You set us up.”

“It’s always the mission, John,” he reminded him. “In the briefing notes, the estimates of success are communicated and they’re never good.” His tone turned from desperate to desperately flattering. “That’s why we’d send your team. You had the skills to beat the odds. And you did. You always did.”

Until they didn’t because the mission had been designed that way.

“You set us up.”

“It was the job, John. You know that.”

“It was a goddamned,” he pressed Gerald’s head back with the gun as his shadowed face got closer, “suicide mission. With my team’s corpses right now rotting in that fucking jungle, except Benetta and Lex, who were blown to fuckin’ bits right in front of Rob and me, Rob dyin’ in my goddamned fuckin’ arms not two hours later, do not stand there lying to me, telling me it was the job. You … set us up.”

Gerald tried for bravado, straightening his shoulders. “You understood the work we do, John. You signed up for it.”

He took off the pressure of the gun and moved back inches, but he didn’t leave Gerald’s space nor did he drop the weapon.

“What I understand is that you had a shot at a deal with Castillo, he had a beef with the team because you sent us to take out his brother, somethin’ we did, and Lex almost bit it during that mission, so you offered us up, ducks in a barrel, so you could use Castillo’s network to get your arms where you needed them.”

Jesus, how did he know that much?

Goddamn.

That team.

They could do anything.

And they did.

Even one of them surviving a mission that was designed to kill them all.

“Those fighters needed weapons and they’re the only hope our government has to keep peace in that region without us engaging our own soldiers to do it at great cost of money and lives,” Gerald shot back in his defense.

“So you set up your own fucking team to go down?”

“Castillo was an important asset,” Gerald returned. “The only shot we had. Every mission, every move, we weigh the gains and losses, John, and you know how we reach those scores.”

“We were your soldiers. Our country’s soldiers. And you sacrificed us for a shot at a deal with a sleazy arms dealer? Who, by the way, fucked you the minute he could and didn’t deliver one goddamned gun where you needed it.”

Damn, he knew everything.

Gerald changed tactics.

“As far as your country’s concerned, John, you don’t exist. You gave up your lives. You kept your dog tags but gave up your identities. All six of you did. You were ghosts before you became this ghost.”

“We were,” he pushed the gun back to Gerald’s forehead, “your soldiers.”

That was true.

But in that game, it didn’t matter in the slightest.

There were no soldiers.

In that game, everyone was a pawn.

“I have to make tough decisions every day,” Gerald spat, losing patience so he wouldn’t lose control of his fear. “You can’t imagine, you can’t even—”

The shadow cut him off, stating, “I got a tough decision to make too.”

Gerald felt his bowels loosening.

God, he was going to die at the hands of a man he’d personally handpicked to be trained as a killing machine.

“Are you going to kill me?”

“Of course I’m going to kill you,” the shadow replied calmly.

The bowels didn’t go but Gerald felt the wet trickle down his leg.

There was the barest sneer in his voice when the shadow whispered, “Jesus, did you spend even a minute in the field?”

He smelled the urine.

Humiliated, terrified, Gerald stood there, staring into the dark, featureless face of a man who’d been trained to do a great many things, do them in a variety of ways, do them exceptionally well, and one of those things was to kill, and he said nothing.

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