Lucius (Acquisition Series #4) - Celia Aaron Page 0,2

see me, can’t hear me, I remind myself.

I slide my hand into my pocket, the cold gunmetal reassuring me that it doesn’t matter what Lucius does, his end is coming soon. I’ve waited a long time for this, and if I need to wait a little longer to find an opening? So be it. I’ll be ready. And I won’t miss.

Skulking around his house in the dark is just part of my reconnaissance. There’s plenty more for me to do before I can deal my death blow. The machinery is already in motion, and I want to twist all the screws, to make him bleed, to cut him into a thousand slices of agony. And when I’m done? I’ll fade away into the night and start fresh somewhere else. Once he’s dead, I’ll be rid of the nightmares that wake me screaming. No more memories, no more regrets. Justice will be done, and I’ll be the one to watch his eyes fog over, to witness the moment his particular form of malignancy dies.

An icy trickle of worry slides down my spine. I snap out of my bloodlust and return my gaze to the window.


He’s gone.



I weave through the trees at the edge of my lawn, my pistol up and ready. That feeling of being watched grew a little too heavy—or perhaps I needed a little energy release after that phone call with my brother Sin—so I decided to try and get the drop on my ghost.

If Sin had only listened to me when I said I didn’t want to take our company public, we wouldn’t be in this one of our many messes. But now we’ve got sharks circling us, trying to take down the sugar empire our mother built. I let out a deep breath and focus on the here and now. My tension falls away as I skirt the lawn in the dark. The ghost is here, a spectral form that teases the edge of my senses.

I should’ve let it go, drank myself into a stupor, gone to bed. Instead, I came ghost-hunting. Tension relief. Besides, it’ll be fun to have another captive in my basement. Give soggy Leonard some company.

Keeping my steps as silent as possible, I circle around to the spot where I suspect the ghost is waiting. The moon gives just enough light for me to follow a slight trail toward an old oak. Bent grass and the edge of a shoeprint sit in a boggy spot next to the roots. Someone’s been here, but they’re gone now.

I lower my weapon but keep it handy as I scour the area for any clues. Nothing remains, except the scant evidence on the ground. It’s too dark to follow the trail deeper into the trees, but I suspect he’s parking a car on the dirt road that cuts through the property just to the south of mine, then walking here.

I take a deep breath to smooth away my frustration. Why can’t I be patient like old Casper? If he saw me coming, he won’t be back to this spot. I’ve spooked the ghost. Shit.

Resting against the oak tree with the trampled ground, I peer at my house. From here, he can see everything. Not that I care. If someone wants to come for me, they know where to find me. It’s not hard. I relish a fight, and confrontation has always looked good on me. But I’m not stupid. The house has enough security to please any paranoia enthusiast. Even so, I still run to a fight. Here I am, in the woods like a rash fool. I turn to leave.

A twig breaking catches my attention, and without thinking, I dart deeper into the woods, running toward my ghost with my gun at the ready. Footsteps sound ahead. He’s running. I grin, because I know these woods better than anyone, and I can find him even in the dark. I follow the footfalls, racing to catch up, but then they stop.

I stop, too. He’s gone to ground—hiding behind a tree or hunkering under a thorny thicket. I’m breathing hard, but I’m not winded. I swallow the cool air and scan through the leafy saplings and climbing brambles.

“I know you’re here.” I rest my hand on a tree trunk. “And I’ll get you soon enough.”

“Not if I get you first.” A woman’s voice that’s far too close behind me.

I whirl to find the ghost, her gun aimed at my heart. A black ski mask covers her face, but