Exclusive Excerpt from Cold Light
by Michelle Frost
Morning sunlight glinted off the bulletproof back glass of Mr. Harry Low’s town car. His driver would stop the car at exactly twelve past eight in front of the headquarters for Low International, and exactly thirty seconds later, two-armed security guards would approach the car before escorting Mr. Low inside.
Ten seconds—that’s all the window Lex had. Five of those would be waiting for the bullet to get there. He’d been laying in this exact spot over a mile away each morning for a week. Calculating the wind, the distance, how the bullet would drop. The butt of his rifle was settled against his shoulder with the rest of his body spread out behind it prone on a tarp. Out of a million ways to kill a man, this was his favorite. He’d learned to shoot early. He didn’t know if that was typical for kids with parents in a MC, but it was for the President of the Sand Lake Iron Heretics’ son. His father was tough and sharp, and always pushing Lex to improve the skills that would make him an asset to the club. Even after his father discovered he was gay.
Still, the skills he’d been pushed to learn had proved useful. When the club fell into debt with a man that kept contract killers on his payroll, Lex’s skills were what settled the balance. An eight-year contract to kill for Rick Morgan, splitting the paycheck fifty-fifty. Rick kept half and Lex kept half while still paying his dues to the club. Everyone was happy.
There were only a handful of people on the planet that could take the shot he was about to with any certainty that they’d hit their mark. Not only was he certain, but he was banking on it. This shot was the money shot. The last punch in his time card. After this kill, his contract with Rick was over and he’d have a chance to live a life that didn’t include so much blood on his hands. Not that he minded the blood. It washed just like everything else. But he’d been away from the club too long, and yearned for an open road and a vest on his back. When he’d turned eighteen, he hadn’t received the ink like a typical full-patch so if he were captured, his club ties would remain unknown. No one outside of Rick knew who he really was. Not even Arden.
The thought of his lover sent a tug of longing through him. It’d been too long since he’d seen his boy; felt the soft slide of his skin or gripped the strands of his blond hair. Thoughts of their next meeting tore him in half as he contemplated how he could possibly keep Arden and the MC, too. Returning home would be both a blessing and a curse.
Movement down the sight of his scope drew him back to the task at hand. Two guards, like clockwork, walked to the rear passenger door of the dark sedan as it idled. One took a protective position, standing with his back facing Lex’s direction, blocking the view of the car’s door while the other man reached to pull it open. One foot then two hit the pavement and Mr. Low was up and out of the car, sandwiched between his behemoth guards.
This was it. He breathed in and out, slow and easy, finger moving from its idle position resting against the body of the rifle to land lightly on the trigger. Lex licked his lips and just before they reached the building when one guard would lean in to open the door, he squeezed. The rifle discharged like the well-oiled machine it was, rocking back against Lex’s shoulder.
The bullet caught Mr. Low just above the ear and the top half of his head exploded in a shower of blood, brain matter, and bone. Pulling his eye from the scope, Lex ejected the bullet casing. It hit the tarp with a thunk, the smell of gunpowder strong in the air. Methodically, he dismantled his weapon, taking it apart piece by piece with practiced ease. Once the pieces were stowed in their case, he carefully folded the tarp, ensuring that his brass was collected and placed everything in his backpack before sliding his arms through both straps and starting on his pre-planned route out of the hills.
They might find that spot, but they’d find no trace of Lex. He was a ghost, a wraith, a phantom, and would be gone before Mr. Low’s blood dried on the concrete.