tagRomanceTarget for Love Ch. 01

Target for Love Ch. 01

byJazzMatthews©

"What's the job?"

Vague gray eyes took in prospective the man they had considered for the job. His resume was impressive. Years of military experience that toughened his exterior, even killed off his feelings for the enemy, showing no mercy. He was dishonorably discharged after nine years of devotion to his country, lending himself as a free agent. A deadly one.

Thomas Olivier leaned back in his chair, his eyes pensively studying the harden youth. He seemed steady enough to take the job without knowing what it pertained to. His lips were drawn together, a clear indication of a man who rarely smiled. Intense blue eyes were piercing, doing just as much harm as any weapon the man chose as his reference. Like a wire, the man disconnected himself from emotions. He didn't have a family except for two brothers and grandparents, but he was pretty much on his own.

A loner.

Perfect man to hire.

Olivier placed his hands on his vast gut, breathing harshly as his beady, gray eyes squinted in a closer study. "What are you willing to accept for it?"

The young man squared his jaw. "Tell me who I'm takin' out, then I'll let you know."

He had a deep southern drawl, Olivier noted, but his cold approach dared anyone to be amused by it. Anyone who did would have a lot to answer to, Olivier supposed.

To hide his fear, Olivier cracked a smile as he exhaled. "The job is for you to remove a man of importance."

"Job description."

It wasn't a question, but a demand. The man was tight and orderly when it came to the descriptions of his victims which he no doubt received from his training as a former lieutenant.

"Politician."

"Family."

"One daughter about the age of twenty."

Olivier felt like shivering. As the man commanded for information, he did not shift his gaze away, his animalistic stare like the devil himself. The man was cruel when it came to the job. Olivier could see this.

"Reason for termination."

"Wrong man for the presidency," Olivier disclosed. "He's running for a new liberated party that's turning heads in this country. He tends to run against our candidates because he knows something about our government. In particularly, our President."

The younger didn't look intrigued. His eyes still remained chilled and insensible. Olivier felt that he had ogled statues that were friendlier.

"Which is?" the hit man goaded.

Olivier chuckled. "I'm afraid that is something that I must keep secret. You must think I'm dim-witted and weak to betray the President's secret."

The former Marine paused a beat, his cerulean eyes tracing his interviewer before he muttered, "Certainly not. But gimme the name and I'll handle the rest."

The elder frowned, though he found himself captured with fascination. Usually, an assassin would want as much information as they could gather from the people who hire them. Then perhaps this man truly was an expert at his job. Olivier couldn't help but to be intrigued.

"Just the name? Surely you'll need more information than that." The other stood silent. "How on earth could you manage?"

The younger man sighed tiredly, his arms crossing across a built chest. "You have your reasons for doin' thangs, I have mine. Just gimme the goddamn name."

"It's Senator Emmanuel Harden, a democrat from North Carolina," Olivier blinked, slightly insulted by the man's rudeness. But that was what he expected, he guessed, from hiring someone so unfeeling. "I've heard--"

The younger held up his hand to silence him. "As I said," he muttered harshly, "that's all I need to know. If this plot is traced back to you, you won't have much to tell. If you want, you can deny it all and place the blame on me."

Olivier crossed his swollen hands across his belly and leaned further into his chair behind his expansive desk. "Is that all, Ryan?"

Dark blue eyes gleamed for a split second. "For the information part. Now I wanna discuss payment."

Ah, yes. At this time of the game, a hit man didn't come cheap. Not when it came to politicians top dogs like Harden. He knew that this nonhuman soul could dig deep into his pockets where it hurt.

"From what I understand," Ryan went on to say, "Harden's at the summit of politics, and he holds a secret that can't be told. Which means it's gonna cost you."

Olivier was sweating at how much he was asking for.

"Fifty thousand."

The stout man almost tumbled from his chair. He was expecting a hefty sum, but what this man was asking for was off the charts for pay. It was just one simple target, not the President himself!

Olivier choked. Ryan watched at him, not all amused by the dramatics. "That's absurd!" he cried in a bumbling tone. "The man's price isn't worth that much."

"He holds a secret, you want him dead. The price adds up. Unless you wanna do the job yourself, then I suggest you agree."

Olivier searched the man up and down. His body was tensed, his muscles bulging from years of combat. The man's physique spoke of cold-blooded killer, but Olivier would have traded the rest of his receding hairline to look as good. The man had all the qualities a woman would bowl over for. Tanned from the sun, eyes that were blue and clear but could ooze into the dark indigo that nearly made them look black. Long ebony hair was pulled back in a queue, making Steven Segal look like a pansy. No, he was an action actor with a paycheck. This one was young and capable of doing the same thing in real life.

"Any up front?"

Ryan's lips quirked. "Half."

"In cash?"

Another curt nod. "No counterfeits. I had to chastise a man once for not dealin' with me fairly." His lips curled slowly into an evil smile. "Last time I checked he was still limpin' from those bullets I placed in his thigh."

Olivier swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat, seriously starting to regret ever meeting this dangerous man. It was, after all, his associates idea for this whole thing. Olivier was just an accomplice. However, Ryan was the best person for the job and he couldn't risk this man telling this affair to anyone else. At any rate, Ryan hadn't disappointed anyone who previously hired him, and usually in a week or less, the target that he sought was no more. There were no other alternatives. This man was the only one who could get the job done and Olivier had no choice but find someway to pay.

"Look, uh, Ryan," Olivier started. "I don't have that amount with me."

If Ryan was outraged, it was hard to tell. His façade stayed the same attitude. "You wanna talk business with me and didn't brang funds?" The trained man's voice talked down to Olivier as if he was a child. "No money, no deal. That's the way I do business."

Olivier immediately interjected. "Just one second. I can write you a check or have my secretary transfer the amount into your account in the morning."

Ryan shook his head and started to lean over the desk, his hands bracing himself. Olivier became testy at the firm creak of wood that his antique cherrywood table projected in protest to the hit man's strapping weight.

"Here and now," Ryan calmly stressed. "No checks or transfers. Cash or nothin'." Olivier looked flabbergasted by the audacity of this man. "Understand that your associate already paid me a hefty sum for just showin' up tonight and it's enough to last 'til I'm hired elsewhere. So you see, I ain't losin' a thang. The question is how badly you want Harden dead?"

"Not badly enough for fifty grand," Olivier grumbled.

There was a tell-tale sign of annoyance when Ryan's cheek ticked just once. But once was enough to get his impatience across. "Jobs of this kind ain't cheap," he exhaled composedly. "I have my own expenses to tend to. I place my ass on the line to make sure I don't make discernable tracks. If I succeed or fail, shouldn't matter. Your name will be cleared of any suspicions that might brang you into investigation. If I fail, I take the fall."

Olivier was awed, but at the same time, wary of Ryan's way of dealings. "That is mighty nice of you for keeping my name out of it, but why would you do it?"

Ryan's lips expanded for a micrometer before resuming its pursed line. "Anyone who doesn't follow procedure deserves to get caught. It requires discipline with no emotions attached. Fear ain't nothin' but an excuse for not accomplishin' a task."

Olivier lifted a silver brow. "And you've never had emotional attachments for a target? A woman?" Ryan scoffed. "No woman has crossed my line of fire...yet."

Olivier ignored the eerie way he pronounced "yet". "Would you, if asked, kill the daughter of Harden as well?"

Ryan remained quiet as he carefully deliberated the answer within his mind. "No reason," he shrugged at last. "She's just a girl. If it's a secret that Harden is guardin' real good, there ain't no way he's gonna share it. I'm pretty sure he's kept her in the dark."

Olivier shook his head. It was true. If Harden wanted his daughter safe, then he would just keep what he knew to himself. The girl was the only family he had left, but she was the senator's weakness. The perfect little hole to sink the battleship.

"Possibly nothing," Olivier remarked. "Just a question."

"Uh-huh," Ryan declared as if bored. Olivier assumed that he probably was. "Listen, my time grows short here and I need you to agree to my compensation terms. You're either gonna pay me now or I'm leavin'. It's a one-time deal."

He stood to his full six-foot height. Ryan glanced to his specialized watch. "And I've been here for almost nine minutes. I assigned you ten to interview me, which gives you a minute dead-on to accept."

Olivier licked his thick lips, fretting like a pig in the hot sun. Time was running out. His ears could perceive the precious seconds tick quickly by from the man's seemingly loud watch. So much money, even halfway, he didn't have. Maybe he could compromise.

"Time's a-wastin'," Ryan pointed out as he kept measure.

"All right," Olivier conceded. "I'll pay what you ask except five grand. I'll pay the rest once the job is completed."

"Twenty thousand?"

Olivier shrugged. "It was the best I could conjure on such short notice, but you'll have the rest as promised." He was panting, hoping to God the man wouldn't be so disgruntled for not receiving the imbursement he originally asked for.

Blue eyes studied him from head to the bottom of his hanging abdomen. To see if he was lying. Olivier's body was covered with sheen, his white dressed shirt attaching itself firmly to his obese body. What would this man do if he thought he was lying? Kill him right in his office? Maybe cut off something as a memo for his lack of commerce.

Fretfully, Olivier placed his hands into his lap, hiding the place where he wanted to remain attached.

What happened next surprised him. A brief lift of the corner of Ryan's mouth occurred, making out what seemed to be the best smile the man could manage. Olivier was trembling to see it. It made Ryan just as arrogant and malicious. The scared man thought he was really selling his soul.

Olivier ignored the horrifying thoughts rushing at him as he held out his hand. "Are the terms enough for you to deal with for the moment?"

Blue eyes darkened into a light shade of indigo before his hand extended. "You have yourself a hit man," Ryan consented as he took the perspiring man's slick palm in a brief shake before literally dropping it. "If you don't mind, I'll take my money and go. I've spent enough time in this one spot as it is."

The business man retrieved a black briefcase from beneath the desk, passing it to the unusual individual before him. The man took the case, not counting the money as Olivier thought he should have. "Do you not want to check to see if it's the right amount?"

"Oh, it's the right amount," Ryan concluded quickly, "or else, you'll be seein' again me real soon."

Ryan walked toward the door when something else came to Olivier's mind. "How do I contact you for the rest of the money?"

The hit man opened the door, staring back with cool, detached eyes deprived of any real feelings save the cold, irritated looks. "Don't worry about findin' me. I'll find you."

Then he was gone. Olivier slumped back into his chair, finally able to relax now that the horrid man had left. Still, there was an itching bit of fear left in him. The youth showed no fear, no qualms that he could get the job done. He wasn't one to ask an assassin to kill anyone, but the hired gun was the best he could do.

His resolve hardened. He had to do this. For the good of the country, Harden had to be terminated.

~*~*~*~

Grant Ryan walked out of the office building, heading toward his black F-350 Ford pickup he had parked in the shadows of the dark parking lot. He had a job to accomplish, and that disgusting pig sitting in his office made it easy for him. Shaking hands with him was like making a deal with an oily car salesman, pretending to sell him the best when all he was going to receive was a pile of scrap and nothing else. But he had a job, that was all that mattered.

Or did it?

He forced open the truck's door and threw the case of money toward the other side. He knew the amount he was being paid outright was in there, or else, the man would have warned him if he feared for his life. Thomas Olivier seemed like the kind of man who would give him in if someone so much as looked at him. A man whose soul was that weak and unable to withstand scrutiny like that was someone not to be trusted.

Grant climbed up into the huge cockpit area and slammed the door, cranking up the truck before tailing it from the parking lot and down the street. He didn't mind being a hired man, but there was the tiniest feeling inside of him that this particular job wasn't going to be a regular one. He had heard of his target before. Emmanuel Harden seemed a straightforward man with ostensibly good intentions and there wasn't anything the media said that placed him in a false light. Whatever secret he held against the President must be a condemning one that could possibly win the presidency.

But Harden won't win once Grant takes him out.

The roaring diesel-like truck turned into another lot and pulled into a parking space. Grant knew he doubled-parked. The spaces were so small and his cab was the size of a bus. And he parked it in a handicap spot. He shrugged. Let the little bastards walk crookedly into the liquor store for all he cared. They shouldn't be going in there in the first place.

Grant felt like celebrating for a change. It was the first job in months. Since the war in was over or so the nation's leader claimed. He was a sniper for the government personally, not really for the Marines since they court-martialed him those two years ago. But the government saw his potential and hired him on as an assassin of sorts, their special weapon to kill the unwanted dictators or whatever else.

But this was the first time he had to assassinate someone within the states. The man who was conspiring this whole affair was someone behind the scenes in politics and who watched the President's back. To Grant, someone who seemed like the kind of guy who kept his nose clean and wasn't dangerous, but what did he know? If the man had a deep secret that could destroy the government, more power to him.

Grant wasn't exactly the number one fan of the government. He strictly went against protocol to deliberately piss off anyone he could but they allowed him to slide because he still got the job done. Every man had the right to hate his job if it didn't suit him. How Grant sometimes hated his, but it kept bread on the table.

He cruised down an aisle, picking up his favorite poison, Jack Daniels, in the largest flask he could find it. Tonight felt good for fornication. The only thing missing was a woman. He scoffed inwardly. It had been months since he had a real good tumble, one that was memorable, anyway. If he wanted, he could find one tonight. Washington D.C. was full of those who willingly threw themselves at men, fresh off the streets. It could be so easy just to walk this one block and Grant would have five or six of them trailing behind him, begging to go home with him.

But at the same time, he wanted to be alone. After all, he had some deeper investigating to do on his next casualty. He didn't wish to be too disoriented and fail to do his job. But when the job was done, he was going to find a bedmate in a week or so to get rid of the frustrations that life and lack of sex gave him. A week was just enough time to find the senator of North Carolina, end his life and get the rest of his money.

Grant smiled grimly. God bless America.

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