Home > Like Grim Death

Like Grim Death
Author: K. Sterling

Chapter 1

 

“Hawk!” A voice hissed as he was shaken and Hawk’s eyes snapped open and his hand slid beneath his pillow and around the grip of his SIG Sauer. “It’s Wilder. You can relax. For now,” he advised and Hawk raised his head as he pushed off the mattress.

“What’s up?” He asked as he rolled and scrubbed his face. He glanced at the clock and frowned. 1:27 a.m. Wilder and his husband, Toly, welcomed him to stay with them after Hawk survived a baptism by fire and became Toly’s live-in general practitioner.

“You’re about to have a visitor,” Wilder said and Hawk gasped as he got his elbows beneath him.

“Is it Phee or Maisie?” He asked but Wilder shook his head.

“Nothing like that but you want to hurry and get as presentable as you can in the next fifteen minutes,” he warned so Hawk scrambled from the bed and reached for the dresser.

“I’ll be ready but I want details when I get downstairs,” he said and Wilder gave him a quick salute as he backed out of the door.

“I’m going to brush my teeth and throw on something office casual. Lavender will be here to tell you what he knows,” he said then ducked into the hall.

“Sounds good...” Hawk called after him then shrugged and hunted for the most professional thing he could find. He was pacing in khakis and rolling up the sleeves of his white shirt, ten minutes later, when Lavender swept through the front door. He was dressed in one of his perfect suits and his hair and shave were immaculate. Hawk liked the improbably elegant and unflappable assassin but something about Lavender put his nerves on edge.

“There you are! We don’t have much time,” Lavender whispered as he grabbed Hawk’s arm and pulled him close. “Reginald said he’s about two minutes out.”

“Who?” Hawk demanded and Lavender flinched before a tight smile pulled at his lips. It was creepy and made Hawk shiver so he leaned away.

“Mr. Blink,” Lavender said and his smile faltered as if he had a glitch.

“Oh...” For a moment, Hawk wasn’t sure if Lavender was real or if he was happy that Blink was imminent. “Good?”

“Possibly,” Lavender said then glanced over his shoulder as headlights glanced off the windows. He swung back to Hawk and his cheeks puffed out. “He’s here to ask you to take on a...challenging patient. But I’m not sure who,” he said and gave Hawk a moment to absorb the gravity.

“I guess I’m flattered?” Hawk asked but Lavender waved and shook his head.

“Enjoy that later, if you like. Blink is going to make you an offer you probably won’t want to refuse but I would caution you to...exercise caution. If your instincts tell you to pass, I will support you,” Lavender said as he pressed his hand against his chest and Hawk’s brows jumped.

“You do know how to ratchet up the tension,” he chuckled but Lavender just gave him an apologetic wince as a horn honked.

“That’s him,” he said and got the door for Hawk. A limo was waiting and Hawk didn’t like the look of the driver, as he got out and went around the car. He was tall, bald and slender and his eyes were hard as they scanned the lawn and the house before he opened the door. The man who climbed out made Hawk even more uneasy. He was tall and wide-shouldered and he unfurled with a slow, prowling grace that Hawk didn’t trust. He heard a lot of hushed whispers about Lavender and Reginald’s attorney/handler but Hawk wasn’t prepared for the eerie menace and blatant power the man exuded as he scanned the houses around them. Hawk recognized it and his hackles immediately went up.

“That’s him?” Hawk confirmed without moving his lips and Lavender hummed as he waited next to him. Blink’s solid black suit and overcoat were exquisitely tailored and fit him like a glove and Hawk’s nose wrinkled in disapproval. “He couldn’t have just called me from Blackbridge? This seems like a lot of production,” he added and Lavender’s eyes flared but Hawk saw the corner of his lips curve. Blink smiled as he offered Hawk his hand.

“I’m afraid I couldn’t, Dr. Hawkesworth. I’m here to offer you an invitation to Blackhurst and it’s not the sort of thing I could do over the phone,” he explained and Hawk frowned.

“Me?”

“Who’s the patient?” Lavender asked quickly. Blink coughed softly as he tugged at his sleeves.

“Grim’s gone and hurt himself and he’s in serious need of medical assistance,” he murmured. Hawk raised a shoulder and turned to pack a bag but Lavender stopped him.

“Remember what I said about caution? I’m encouraging it,” he stated heavily.

“I’m here in person, asking for a favor,” Blink practically growled at Lavender and Hawk. Lavender shook his head but his eyes held Hawk’s.

“This isn’t about my feelings towards Casper. Or you, Blink,” he added when he finally glanced at him. “You need a highly skilled surgeon but you flew past dozens to get here. You’ll tell Hawk why the patient can’t be seen in a hospital by just any doctor,” Lavender demanded tightly. Blink made a dismissive sound as he waved.

“Is this about the radioactive thing?” He said and Hawk’s head pushed forward.

“Radioactive?”

“Possibly,” Lavender said but gave his head a quick shake. “How about all the rest of it?” He asked then turned to Hawk. “Casper Grim is not a man. He’s a nightmare. He’s incredibly dangerous and unstable and there’s no telling what he’s done to himself this time,” he warned but Blink laughed as he pinched the bridge of his nose.

“He fell down the stairs and completely mangled what was left of his leg. It got caught on the way down and he spent half a day tangled in the banister,” he said and Lavender gasped.

“Please tell me it was the same banister!”

“No. Someone would have heard him screaming, if he was in the main house. I put him in the Widow’s Cottage and one of the groundskeeper’s men heard Grim shrieking for help, after he’d spent several hours upside down and on his back. I told him he’s getting that leg fixed and I hear that Dr. Hawkesworth is particularly skilled at rebuilding and repairing legs.”

“You had me at ‘in serious need of medical attention.’” Hawk said and raised a shoulder.

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