The Assassin – Excerpt

The small craft Carmichael and Tomi traveled in approached an imposing tower, slowing and dropping to the plascrete surface with a slight bump before rolling to a stop in an empty bay. The doors opened and both men climbed out. The glass slider whooshed open and they moved at a pace somewhere between a stride and jog. The silence was welcome. After years onboard the Emancipation, Carmichael was used to the general hubbub of people. This was still and hushed. The peace before the storm.

A man approached, and Carmichael guessed he was maybe fifty. He's carefully preserved, he thought, noting the impeccable gray suit and discreet adornments. He wasn't tall, but his black hair sprinkled with silver was as immaculate as his clothing. In his uniform, Carmichael felt crumpled before the picture of sartorial elegance. No doubt this was the kind of man Kumi appreciated. He pulled himself up short. He wasn't there to further his relationship prospects. He had a job to do.

"Madam Kumi is expecting you, Senator. Your friend, however…" The man frowned slightly as he indicated with his perfectly manicured hands toward the seating area.

"He is with me."

The man nodded, but his eyes narrowed. "She has requested privacy for your meeting."

Tomi moved through the doorway and Carmichael shadowed him. "Thank you, Dobry."

Carmichael filed the name away. Never know what will be the piece of information that will solve the puzzle.

Once inside, the door closed with an audible snick. Behind a large wooden desk overflowing with files was Kumi. As elegant as ever in a silver-gray suit. Kumi wasn't a tall or large woman, but with her golden toned skin and tip-tilted brown eyes she drew the eye. Her short, dark hair was worn in a bob that framed her pixie-shaped face.

She looked soft. Womanly. He also knew she had a spine of pure steel. He'd already seen it in action the night he'd squired her at the commitment ceremony.

She smiled as she rose. "Well, Tomi. Whatever this is, it had better be good."

Carmichael noted her bare feet with a grin.

Kumi obviously noticed him and his quick glance. She came to a standstill, frowning before stepping in his direction, then stopped in front of him. Her gaze dipped to her feet and she blushed the most charming pink tinge along her high cheekbones. "Oh, dear. Do forgive me, Captain." She wiggled the toes which peeked out from under her long, flowing pants.

"There is nothing to forgive, Madam Kumi." He watched her fluid movements and admired her curves. She was sleek and lithe, and his body tightened at the thought of what lay under the light silk jacket.

With a jerky nod, Kumi made for her seat and slowly lowered herself. In a classic move, she folded her hands across the desk, her features now a serene veil of watchfulness. "So then, brother, what's so important that I had to see you immediately and not tonight?"

"It would seem you and your work have been noted by someone with a modicum of power among the Indy rebels. Captain Snow's men intercepted a communication. Kumi, you're making enemies."