Home > Happy Death Day (Lilah Love #7)

Happy Death Day (Lilah Love #7)
Author: Lisa Renee Jones



Chapter One


 I make it through my honeymoon without killing anyone.

 Miracles do happen.

 Did I have an urge to stab someone? A few times, yes, but what’s an urge if not realized? Dust in the wind, I tell you. Dust in the wind. Well, and a waiter who lives on to screw up someone else’s meal. In hindsight, I’m not sure my self-restraint served the greater good, but it’s done now. There was no bloody problem to solve, and the honeymoon, which was fourteen days in Europe, was good, really good. I was good. I even did lots of playing kissy-kissy with Kane, to such a degree that we both convinced ourselves we’re almost normal-ish.

 But today we’ve returned to New York City, and New York City is the most “fuck you” city on planet Earth.

 Visitors are often offended by the use of “fuck you” as they don’t understand that it’s equivalent to hello, goodbye, you’re an idiot, damn it, and everything in between. If I’m talking to Kane, it might even mean “I hate you” or “I love you.” Today though, riding the honeymoon high, I am madly in love with Kane. I guess if I’m honest with myself and him, and I have been lately, I always have been. Even when I left him and moved to California. No, I think it was more complicated than still loving him. Back then, I’d think of him in his expensive suit worn with Latin flair, a goatee, and thick, dark, perfect hair, and I’d feel intense hate, partially because I still loved him. I hated him for making me love him.

 In my mind, Kane had been one big “fuck you” billboard.

 Just like the “fuck you” from New York City is right now.

 I’ve barely stepped into the private airport we’ve choppered into after finishing off our travels at our home in the Hamptons when my phone buzzes. I grimace at the sound of the evil little device, and I’m about to grind a hole in my teeth when my caller ID displays an NYPD extension. I show it to Kane.

 “Life goes on, bella.”

 Except it doesn’t, I think. People die, and then other people call me and I end up killing someone else. I decline the call. Kane arches a brow. “Whoever’s dead is dead,” I explain. “I can’t change that. And one call from the NYPD is a mistake in my book. Two means they really need me.”

 Kit appears at the exit to the parking lot, a clear indication he’s pulled our vehicle around. Kit is Kane’s “Fixer” and frequent bodyguard, and our companion in Europe despite the best of my objections. I fought having a third wheel, and waved my gun and his around in protest, but ultimately, I let Kane win this battle, with good reason. Ever since his chopper was tampered with and he crashed into the ocean, he’s paranoid about my safety rather than his own. The man acts as if at any moment, I’ll be the one to crash and burn and leave him as desolate as I’d felt when I thought he was dead.

 Actually, I was never what I’d define as desolate. I was too busy wanting to kill Pocher who I’d believed tried to have him killed. Now, we aren’t so sure it wasn’t his uncle, the cartel boss who feels threatened by how much his followers prefer Kane’s leadership over his. As if Kane wants to run a damn cartel when he has an oil empire to his name, and yet no matter what he says to me or himself, we both know on some level, it calls to him.

 His uncle knows, too.

 The Society knows as well, which is why they fear him, and that both works for us and against us. They’d rather us both be dead. That’s a reality we face when the honeymoon ends, and I’m pretty sure that’s now. We reach the door and Kit opens it for us.

  A gust of bitter cold, damp January wind rushes over us, and it’s made worse by the rapidly darkening skyline. Hello, New York City.

 I’ve just settled into the warm seat next to Kane when my cell rings again. Damn it. I sigh, dig it out of my bag, and when I find the NYPD number on caller ID, I cave to the inevitable. The honeymoon is over.

 “Lilah Love,” I answer.

 Kane casts me an expectant look and I amend to, “Mendez. Lilah Love-Mendez.”

 His lips curl with a little too much male satisfaction, which I’m contemplating how to deal with when I hear, “Lilah fucking Love or, ah Lilah fucking Love-Mendez? That’s going to be hard to get used to.” The voice is male, awkward, and insecure. I’m imagining a tall, skinny guy with glasses and his hands pressed together in front of him, as he adds, “I’m Jack Cox.”

 “I’d say that’s a fucked-up name, but you already know that. How do you have my number and what do you want?”

 “I work for the NYPD,” he indicates. “That’s how I got your number—well, okay I snuck it from a detective’s Rolodex, but this call had to be made and he wasn’t making it. I’m the only one who seems to understand the grave need for your involvement.”

 There’s a lot of bullshit in the bullshit he just spewed, but I start with a simple question. “And the grave situation is what?”

 “Murder of course, which is why we need you,” he says and from there he doesn’t take a breath. “Quite honestly, I’ve been obsessively following your career since you came back to New York. I still can’t believe Roger was a serial killer. I mean, I was envious you’d trained with him. Now, I’m envious because you survived to learn from him. Talk about getting an up-close and personal look at a killer. And then, of course, there are the Reddit forums. I’m obsessed all over again.”

 My brow dips with about every word that comes out of his mouth. “I don’t understand a word that’s come out of your mouth aside from the part where you’re sneaking around a detective’s desk, which is either criminal or brilliant, and I’m not leaning toward the latter thus far.”

 “No, I—let me explain.”

 “Yes. Yes, you will. Start with, what do you do for the NYPD?”

 “I’m a forensic technician,” he explains.

 “I like my forensic technicians the opposite of you—silent, drama-free, and at a crime scene, not on my phone.”

 “I’m very drama-free,” he objects. “In fact, I’m the king of being drama-free. And how do I hold a conversation on the telephone by being silent?”

 “How did you even know when I came back to New York? Which by the way, suggests you knew when I left. And Reddit forums? What the hell are you talking about?”

 “Everyone knew when you returned,” he argues. “It was a thing. How can you not know it was a thing? I mean Roger was a star. Reddit is a social media platform, kind of like Facebook, but not like Facebook, as if you don’t know that. Sorry. I don’t mean to insult you. But there was a Reddit forum about Roger and his protégée, which was you. Now there’s a forum about you, your serial killer mentor, and of course, Kane.”

 My gaze slides to Kane as I ask, “What about Kane?”

 Kane is now at full attention.

 “People love him,” Jack continues. “There’s all kinds of speculation about whether he is or he is not, well, you know,” he whispers, “a drug lord.” His voice returns to normal.

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