Police just confirmed it. I was invisible. Choked her with a wire. The Spanish used it as a method of execution. A silver-haired man in a suit, manicured fingernails resting on his Wall Street Journal.
Nadia Stafford Series
They continued talking. I struggled to ignore them. Had to ignore them. Words and phrases kept tumbling my way. No leads.
Made To Be Broken
The Helter Skelter killer. Even the name was catchy, almost jocular. I bet he was proud of it. I pictured him sitting in a coffee shop like this, eavesdropping on a conversation like this one, his heart tripping every time he heard his new name. My hand tightened on my fork. A burr on the handle dug in. I squeezed until pain forced my thoughts back on track. There were dozens of killers all across the continent, plotting crimes just as ruthless. Nothing to be done about it, and I was no longer in a position to try.
I took a swig of coffee. Bitter and burned, foul on my tongue, acid in my stomach. I took another gulp, deeper, almost draining the mug. Then I pushed it aside with my half-eaten pie, got to my feet and walked out. I stood in the subway station and waited for Dean Moretti.
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Moretti was a Mafia wannabe, a small-time thug with tenuous connections to the Tomassini crime family. When the Riccios found out, they went to the Tomassinis, who went to the drug lord, who decided, among the three of them, that this was not an acceptable entrepreneurial scheme.
While I waited for him, I wandered about the platform, taking note of every post, every garbage can, every door- way. Busywork, really. My stomach fluttered. Not fear. I kept moving, trying to work past it. There was no more room here for anticipation than there was for fear. It was a job. It had to be approached with cool, emotionless efficiency. You cannot enjoy this work. I kept my brain busy with last-minute checks. There was one security camera down here, but an antiquated one, easy to avoid.
Not that it mattered—in addition to the extra padding I was wearing a wig, colored contacts, eyeglasses and makeup to darken my skin tone. Right on schedule, he bounced down the subway steps, ready for his train home after a long day spent breaking kneecaps for a local bookie.
Partway down the stairs he stopped and surveyed the crowd below. His gaze paused on anyone of Italian ancestry, anyone wearing a trench coat, anyone carrying a bulky satchel, anyone who looked. At work, he always had a partner with him. This short trip was the only time he could be found alone, obviously having decided that public transit was safe enough. As he scouted the crowd from the steps, people jostled him from behind, but he met their complaints with a snarl that sent them skittering around him. After a moment, he continued his descent into the subway pit.
At the bottom, he cut through a group of young businessmen, then stopped beside a gaggle of careworn older women chattering in Spanish. He kept watching the crowd, but his gaze swept past me. The invisible woman. I made my way across the platform, eyes straining to see down the tunnel, pretending to look for my train, flexing my hands as I allowed myself one last moment of anticipation. I closed my eyes and listened to the distant thumping of the oncoming train, felt the currents of air from the tunnel. It was like standing in an airplane hatch, waiting to leap.
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Nadia Stafford: Made to Be Broken 2 by Kelley Armstrong (, Paperback) for sale online | eBay
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