ONE SECOND AFTER ANOTHER
Cover Credits: London Miller
The After Another Trilogy, book #3
Publication Date: November 9, 2020
Genres: Adult, Romantic Suspense, Crime Thriller, Organized Crime
There’s only one way this can end …
Penny Dunsworth isn’t hiding.
Not anymore. An assassin turned legend, AWOL from her organization and hunted from all sides, nothing is going to stop her from finishing what she started. By the time she’s done with The Elite, no truth will be left untold, and maybe—just maybe—she can go back …
That is if she can make it out alive.
Luca Puzza only wanted to help.
His obsession with the white ghost has left him alone, estranged from his own world and family, and in constant danger. That doesn’t mean he’s going to give up. Besides, if he found her once, then he can do it again. And this time, he won’t be the one letting her go.
There’s too much on the line to fail.
She dares to wish for a life after pain. He dares to think they could have it. But it only takes one second for everything to change—one mistake could end it all.
Some say legends never die.
But what happens when they do?
NOTE: One Second After Another is book 3 in the After Another trilogy. It follows the same couple – Luca and Penny – from present to past, and back again. The books must be read in order. Be warned, the trilogy discusses a subject that may be triggering.
Rain clung to the streets of Brooklyn. Penny avoided the rivulets of water dripping from the eaves of buildings when she dared to stop underneath one as best she could.
The black windbreaker she wore did nothing to keep the wetness from seeping through to her clothes and skin underneath. Despite the chill in the air and the raindrops plastering what white-blonde strands of her hair managed to escape from beneath the jacket’s hood, she didn’t shiver.
Really, she barely felt it at all.
The discomfort was a comfort. Something else she was used to now. A constant sense of unrest—that nothing was right or good in a real way. A little bit of water wasn’t going to make it any better or worse.
Penny’s gaze swept the quiet Brooklyn street, thankful that the rain had decided to fall despite the weather forecast giving only a fifty-fifty chance of showers. It cleared the streets of almost everyone who didn’t need to be on them for one reason or another. With the sun starting to fall beyond the view of the high buildings, darkness had finally begun to creep through the streets.
She felt safe.
At least, to be out and about like she was. With barely twelve hours on the ground in New York, Penny had to start moving fast. Part of her plan had been put into motion the second she opened up the safe in her hotel room. It was where she kept several sets of fake identification, a burner phone—one The League didn’t know about—and cash she stacked up. She was running on a limited timeline to get certain things done before someone came looking for her.
Someone like The League.
Or The Elite.
If they hadn’t already.
Penny was a lot of things, but stupid wasn’t one of them. She was neither ignorant, nor arrogant. Certainly not enough of one or the other to think that her decision to go AWOL from her handlers would be met with sighs of resignation and little else.
The Elite was already hunting her. Might as well make it worth it.
Stepping out from under the entrance of an apartment building, rain splattered against Penny’s face as she started her walk again. Cabs were an option if she cared to hail or call one. There was something to be said for walking, though.
Like the fact it let her think. She hadn’t been doing that enough lately. Well, not for herself, anyway.
Time to do that.
It wasn’t as though Penny was just walking to walk—she did have a purpose for being on the streets of Brooklyn in the middle of a cold rain while the sun crept lower and lower with every passing minute. That purpose became clear when she slipped into an alley two blocks away from the last place she stopped.
A car waited there.
The two-door Lexus coup flicked on its lights—once, and then twice, as was agreed upon—illuminating her wet figure in the mouth of the alley. Penny wasted no time slipping further down the alley to the passenger side of the car. Had it been less wet outside, she wouldn’t even have bothered with getting inside the vehicle.
Instead, she slipped into the passenger seat and shoved her hood back to expose the fishtail braid flipped over her shoulder that kept most of her hair out of her face. The guy sitting in the driver’s seat didn’t even turn to give her a hello, let alone a look.
“It’s in the back,” Carson told her.
“Anything you asked for. I made a list.”
Penny rolled her eyes, but smiled, too. “You made a list?”
“You made it clear when you called that this was important. I didn’t want to miss anything. Not really good for business, you know?”
All too well.
Penny found the black duffle bag in the backseat like Carson promised. The independent contractor didn’t really have a specific job—he was known to do many things as long as the pay was good and came through. He’d do it without much talk, and he didn’t sell information when the chance was on the market, so to speak. She only knew of the guy through other assassins at The League who used him on occasion when in the New York area.
Carson was flexible.
He also wasn’t owned. By anyone. Penny liked that a lot more.
Dropping the duffle bag on her lap, Penny yanked open the zipper and spread the top apart to see what was inside. Carson hadn’t lied. A pile of burner phones, a small laptop, phone cards and more stared back at her. Sticking her hand into the bag, she moved things aside to find the wigs she asked for. There was also a case of FX makeup, a forty-five millimeter and nine with ammo and a silencer … and finally, antibiotics, a few knives, and a particular obsidian blade with a soft touch handle setting on top of new cargo pants and other black clothing.
Penny closed the bag. “It’s all there, thanks.”
Carson shot her a look, his tattooed hands never leaving the steering wheel when he asked, “Did you expect anything different?”
“Some of it was unusual.”
Like the makeup. And the specific knife she had wanted.
The man only chuckled, asking, “Yeah, I thought so, too. What, are you going to war or on a stage?”
Anything was possible now.
In the inner pocket of her windbreaker, Penny pulled out an envelope that was only a little damp from the rain. She passed it over to the man in the driver’s seat. His payment that he took without as much as a thank you, not that she expected acknowledgment for their business together.
This was how it worked. They saw nothing. Knew nothing. Said nothing.
But just in case …
“If anyone asks,” Penny said when she reached for the door handle to exit the vehicle, “you didn’t see the white ghost in New York. It won’t end well for you if you bring up my name to anyone. Understood?”
Carson lifted one shoulder, unbothered but still recognizing that she warned him. “You know, I don’t usually work with people who make it a habit to threaten me, Penny.”
So be it.
Penny laughed as she stepped out of the vehicle, calling back into the man, “I’m not the one you’ll have to worry about seeing the threat through, though. Keep it in mind.”
There were always worst monsters waiting in the wings. Penny was only one of them.
She closed the door. The last thing she saw from the man was red taillights as he pulled out of the alleyway. That was fine with her.
One thing done.
She was one second closer to ending it all …
THIS IS THE PERFECT TIME TO CATCH UP WITH THE FIRST TWO BOOKS IN THE AFTER ANOTHER TRILOGY!
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Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to four young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.
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