Liv thought it would be a lot harder to get a man of Lorcan’s caliber. His reputation in the business typically made his opponents cringe. But not her. She didn’t have much experience in spying, but she was sure she was a better assassin than he was.
He was lucky killing him wasn’t her mission. Otherwise, the job would be a slam dunk, and she would be bored out of her brain for the rest of the evening.
Lorcan’s knees buckled, and he fell into her arms. “Oh darling, you’ve had a bit to drink, haven’t you?” she said as she dragged him, staggering, to a nearby room and pushed him inside.
He was gorgeous, leaning against the dark polished wood wall of the small cabin. Dark hair, masculine face, lips made for sex, and striking blue eyes that were fighting for consciousness.
“The dose isn’t nearly enough to sedate a man your size, so don’t pretend. We have work to do, and I don’t want to hurt you.”
She brushed a stray lock of hair off his forehead and looked into his eyes. “Hmm, I guess you aren’t pretending. Alcohol and sedatives probably aren’t a good mix for you. I’ll fix you up when we get downstairs.”
The compartment served as an internal elevator and went down to the basement. Liv was relieved as the woeful music on deck faded out and became inaudible. She pushed open the door and saw a crew member walking past.
She pulled out a gun with a silencer and fired point-blank at the man. Then, in one swift move, she pulled his dead body into the small compartment and pushed Lorcan out.
“Let that be an example to you,” she muttered to Lorcan as she pushed him along the very narrow corridor of the basement.
He staggered left and right and tried to sit down several times. She had to haul him up and keep pushing him along, steering him in the right direction.
“Keep walking. You can barely stay conscious, so don’t even think about running.”
Soon they arrived at a small storage room door, and Liv pushed him inside. She came in with him and locked the door.
He glanced around at the room. “If we’re after the same thing, it certainly isn’t in here,” Lorcan said, his voice slurred by the effects of the drug.
She pushed Lorcan slightly aside, pulled out a compact laser gun, and etched a large circle on the ceiling. As soon as the circle was closed, the ceiling dropped down, bringing with it the safe from the room above.
From the hole in the ceiling, the tycoon looked down in astonishment. Liv smiled up at him, pointed her silenced gun upward, and fired. The tycoon, screaming profanity, ducked out of the way of the bullet.
“He’s not a very good host, is he?” she said to Lorcan, who had slid to the floor and was about to lose consciousness.
She punched a button on the wall of the compartment. It shuddered. The ceiling closed up again, and the compartment detached itself from the boat.
“A submarine? You’ve got to be kidding me,” Lorcan slurred.
“Yes, it’s a disposable submarine. You have three minutes to get the box out of the safe. No time to nap now.”
“No chance.” He closed his eyes.
“You can remain at the bottom of the ocean with the safe or remove the box and go to the surface.” She grabbed his hand, snapped a locked band to his wrist, and secured his hand to the handle of the safe.
He stomped his foot against her abdomen, causing her to fall backward and hit her head on the wall. She didn’t pass out, but she couldn’t move. The hit had dazed her.
It took Lorcan only fifteen seconds to free himself from the locked band. He looked at the lock on the safe. She knew the challenge would be tempting for him. And she was right.
In a mere thirty seconds, he had the safe opened. In it, he found a small steel box, slightly larger than his palm, the lid engraved with strange symbols.
Liv flexed her muscles but still couldn’t move. Her vision was blurry, but through the blur, she saw a stream of white smoke appear behind Lorcan. She opened her mouth to warn him, but no sound came out.
In the center of the small submarine compartment, a white-haired woman dressed in a long black robe appeared.
Lorcan growled. “You’ve got to be a hologram.”
She raised her right hand in the air, and the steel box in his hand shook and flew toward her.
On the floor, Liv did her best to reach for her gun. On her first attempt, only her fingertips touched it. She tried once more and grabbed the weapon. She fired at the woman in the black robe. The bullet went through her head as if it wasn’t even there and hit the wall of the compartment.
“So you’re definitely a hologram,” Lorcan said and dove at the hand holding the steel box.
The woman glared at him with bloodshot, witchy eyes.
Lorcan jerked his hand back as soon as it touched her.
“You’re real!” he gasped.
The woman in black held the box tightly. Lorcan tugged at it again and pushed her backward with his other hand. She gripped the box even tighter, grabbing his neck with her free hand to choke him.
The woman had to be some kind of supernatural being to have the strength to choke him with one hand, holding him up with his legs dangling.
Lorcan couldn’t free himself. He slammed the hand holding the box again and again to the wall as hard as he could. When she finally dropped him to the floor, he kicked her legs out from under her.
They both fell to the ground, but she wouldn’t let go of the box.
Liv scrambled up. “Get away from the box!” she shouted.
Lorcan let go and kicked his feet against the wall to slide himself backward on the floor.
Liv fired at the lock on the box three times. It sprung open, revealing a round artifact inside with three interlocking colored stones.
The woman in the black robe hissed and backed away from the artifact as if afraid to touch it.
Then the submarine shuddered and exploded.