on September 7, 2015
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* Smuggle diamonds from Liberia to Morocco
* Make the trip in three days
* Don't get caught
* Don't kill each other
* Don't have sex with each other
* Don't fall for each other
* Stick to the plan
This is the story of what happens when an unlikely bond is formed between enemies, causing tensions to rise, and igniting a chemistry that threatens to burn them both. Together, they'll learn that sometimes even the best laid plans can fail.
If this NOVEL were a MOVIE, it would have an R rating from the MPAA. Contains: Violence, Grisly Images, Strong Language, Nudity, and Graphic Sexual Content.
Enjoy a sneak peek into BEST LAID PLANS by Stylo Fantome releasing on September 7th. Stylo picked this particular chapter to share with you because she thought this one captured the general tone of the story. Please note that the chapters are titled by what day they’re on the road. ENJOY! Let us know your thoughts!!!!!
♥ Pre-Order the Book on Amazon ♥
Empty road stretched out in front of Lily. It didn’t take long before she couldn’t even see the station in her rear view mirror anymore. Paranoia settled in and she looked in the mirror to double check that no one had pulled out of the gas station behind her. Looked to make sure that no one else was on the road. Looked again to –
“If you move one fucking muscle, I’ll blow your goddamn brains out.”
One moment, she’d been looking out her back window. The next moment, she was looking into a pair of angry blue eyes. A barrel was shoved against her temple, pressing down in a way that caused her blood to pound behind her right eye. Her hands gripped the steering wheel so hard, her knuckles turned white.
No! No! I only needed three more days!
“That little fucking liar,” she growled through gritted teeth.
“A hundred bucks beats fifty, sweetheart. Pull over, this is your stop.”
“Marc!?” she hissed, so shocked she almost veered off the road.
“I said pull over.”
“What the fuck are you doing!? Do you know what Ivanov’s gonna do when -”
He cocked the hammer and suddenly things got very serious.
“Pull the fuck over.”
Something was very wrong. When she’d last seen him, a couple hours before, he’d been flirty and sexy. Sleepy and full of afterglow. Inviting her to join him in Greece. Now he had a cocked, and no doubt loaded, gun pressed to her head and he sounded murderous. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, her mind racing. What to do, what to do.
“Okay. Okay,” she started, keeping her voice low and calm. “I hear you. Can you tell me what’s going on? What happened between now and when I last saw you?”
“I think you fucking know.”
“I really, really don’t.”
“Fucking liar,” he growled. She started to get mad.
“I’ve never lied to you. You’re the one acting crazy. So why don’t you just -”
He slapped the barrel across the back of her head and she yelped in pain, ducking away from him. She felt his fingers in her hair and he forced her back, yanking so hard her eyes watered. The gun went back to her temple.
“I didn’t ask to have a goddamn conversation, I asked you to stop the car and get the fuck out.”
Lily had never seen, or heard, Marc truly angry before; it was scary, and she’d been in a lot of scary situations. She took a couple more deep breaths. Appealing to their relationship was out of the question. Marc the Master of Sex from the night before was long gone. Marcelle De Sant the Mercenary was in the car, and she didn’t like him very much.
“You’re going to kick me out here? Do you know what happens to women left on the side of the road in Liberia?” she tried a different tactic, staring at him in the mirror. He was hugging the back of her chair so closely that she couldn’t get a good look at his face. Just blue eyes hovering above the edge of her seat.
“I don’t give two fucks about what happens to women in Liberia. Stop the car.”
No matter how badass a person claims to be, put a loaded, cocked gun to their head and they’ll do just about anything they’re asked. Lily wasn’t really any different, except for the fact that she never stopped thinking. She’d had a whole month to train for that specific drive. A month to plan every aspect of it. To contemplate every possible scenario. So, of course, she’d thought about what she would do in the event she got carjacked. Granted, she’d never imagined that the carjacker would be a man she’d just gotten done fucking, but she figured that didn’t really matter, anyway.
I can’t believe he’d steal from Ivanov. From me. Slept with me, got me to lower my guard. How did he even find me!? Must have followed me. Stupid, Lily. Fucking stupid. Never again.
She pulled the car over to the side of the road. Marc ordered her to stay still while he got out of the back, pointing his gun at her the whole time. She had a split second, and could barely move, but in that second she was able to tap a button on the side of the door. He didn’t notice. He ordered her to roll down her window, to put her hands where he could see them, and to open her door using the outside handle.
Lily did everything she was told, slowly climbing out of her seat, holding her hands up by her head as she stood. He ordered her to keep her back to him as he moved around her, sliding between her and the car. Then he lowered himself into her seat. She took a deep breath through her nose and closed her eyes.
You can do this. You trained for this. He’s nothing to you. Sex is just sex. He is nothing. Just some carjacker. Some piece of shit standing in your way. Get him out of your way.
“There’s a kill switch,” she barked out. There was silence behind her for a moment, then she heard him shuffle around.
“Why would you tell me that?” he demanded.
“I’m only about ten miles from that gas station. I could probably make it. I want you gone. It’s just a job,” she replied, keeping her voice steady.
Please please please, take the bait.
“What is it?”
“Underneath the wheel, almost by the pedals. A switch. Three flips. Up, down, up,” she completely made up the procedure as she said it. All the while, she eyed the back of the car, using of her peripherals. Estimated how many steps it would take to reach the trunk. She heard him move some more. Could picture what he was doing. Bent forward, face pressed against the steering wheel, one hand feeling down by his feet. Where was the gun? His lap? His left hand? Pointed at her spine?
“I don’t feel shit. Which pedal?” he asked, grunting a little.
“Clutch!” she snapped.
The moment she heard him shift to reach for the clutch, she turned and bolted. Didn’t think about the gun. Didn’t think about Marc. Just moved as fast as she could to the back of the car. She knew she didn’t have a lot of time.
The button she’d hit on her door had popped the trunk. As she came around the end of the car, she yanked it open and immediately reached inside. She pulled back the false bottom, revealing a keypad with a digital screen. Her heart was pounding in her ears, but she didn’t hesitate. Even as footsteps ran towards her, she didn’t falter. She began hitting buttons and managed to push the last one before she was tackled from the side.
“Stop it!” Marc roared as his arms went around her waist. He dove into her with all his weight and they flew to the ground, Lily’s hip bearing the brunt of the fall. She grunted as he came down on top of her. They rolled for a minute, a ball of arms and legs, before settling on the hot pavement. Her back was on the ground and he hovered over her.
“You have no idea what you’ve done. The Bratva is going to gut you. Make that Liberian gang look like a summer camp,” she threatened him.
“What the fuck did you just do!?” he demanded, obviously not threatened at all.
“You fucking idiot. You might have just killed us both. If I don’t deliver this car to a certain spot, at a certain time, they’re going to -”
He backhanded her. It shocked her more than hurt her. Lily had been taking self defense classes for five years. Classes that specialized in combat training, as well as hand to hand combat. But she was pretty sure she’d never once in her life been backhanded, and certainly never by a person she had once considered a friend.
“I asked you a question, you stupid bitch. What did you do in the trunk?” he asked. She wiggled her jaw back and forth. The smack and his split personality had her head reeling – she couldn’t wrap her brain around it. It was a literal one-eighty. It was like she’d never met this man before, he was so different from the Marc she knew.
“Am I dreaming?” she asked out loud.
He abruptly got off of her. She slowly sat up, rubbing her cheek. Marc was bent over the trunk, his head invisible. There was a thunking noise and he began to shout.
“No! Goddammit! What the fuck did you do!?”
She wasn’t given a chance to answer. Lily was still trying to feel if all her teeth were in place when he steamed up to her. She tried to pull away from him, but he grabbed her arm, roughly hauling her to her feet. He dragged her back to the car. She struggled at first, but when he moved his hand to the back of her head and grabbed a fistful of hair, movement became difficult.
“You’re hurting me,” she hissed, her hands flying to the one he had in her hair. She dug her nails into his skin, but that only made him pull harder.
“This. What the fuck is this!?” he asked, tapping the barrel of his gun against the key pad.
“That is a safe.”
“Fucking open it.”
This time, he pressed the barrel underneath her chin.
“Fucking open it or I shoot you right now,” he informed her. She laughed. Actually laughed at him.
Alright, Marc, let’s play hardball.
“What did you just say?”
“Do it. Kill me. You’ll never get it open. I’m the only one with the code.”
The gun moved away from her chin, and without warning he fired it, right at the keypad. Lily shrieked and tried to duck as the bullet ricocheted off. Marc didn’t move a muscle, his hand firmly clenched in her hair.
“Are you fucking crazy!? The keypad is bulletproof, you jack ass!” she screamed at him. He scowled into the trunk.
“I can hack this safe.”
“Or I can take it to a chop shop. Buzz right through it.”
He yanked on her hair, forcing her head back. She took quick gasps of air through her noise.
“Why? What’ll happen!?” he demanded, pulling harder still. She went onto her toes.
“Explosives! The safe is lined with explosives! You tamper with it, it blows. You try to crack it, it blows. You try to take it out of the car, it blows. You do anything to it, and everyone within a hundred feet of it will have a really shitty fucking day, now get your fucking hand off of me!” Lily started to lose it, clawing her nails over his wrist as she tried to jerk free of his hand. A hand that had been so soft the night before, now so rough in the light of day.
He slammed her face down into the trunk. Her nose was an inch from the keypad, his hand shoving her down against the rough upholstery. She ground her teeth together and pressed her hands flat, pushing back against him, trying to gain some space.
“Listen to me. I need what’s in that safe, I need those diamonds. I need them. You have to open it. Now,” he urged. She couldn’t see him, but she narrowed her eyes.
“Why do you need them?”
Keep him talking. Distract him.
“None of your fucking business.”
“Fucking thief. Steal the diamonds from the Liberians. Steal them from the Russians. From me. Gonna try to unload them on someone else, then steal them back again? Quite the racket, Marc,” she called him out. He lifted her up and slammed her back down again. She squeezed her eyes shut against the pain.
“You don’t get to fucking talk to me. Not after what happened, you fucking two faced bitch. Open the goddamn safe.”
“You’re not exactly endearing yourself to me. In fact, I don’t think I’ll do shit for you. Go ahead and try to open it. It’s too fucking hot out for this bullshit,” she spit out at him. She heard him let out a sigh.
“I’m getting those diamonds one way or another, Lily,” his voice went soft, which was actually almost scarier than his yelling. She tried to keep calm.
Is my left hand good enough? I should’ve trained more with it. Maybe I can get it to my right hand quick enough. Fuck. How quick is he? Fuck! Did he see me moving!?
“How? You a bomb expert, too? Back stabbing thief and a bomb defuser?” she asked, almost panting. She slid her left hand even closer to the side of the trunk.
“Keep ’em coming, sweetheart, I’ve got fifteen bullets here that are just itching to have a purpose in life. Maybe I’ll start by putting one in your right foot, then move up to your left knee. Maybe when I get to your -”
In almost one fluid motion, she reached her hand underneath a flap of material that was hiding a pistol while at the same time twisting her body and driving her right elbow straight up. She caught him in the side of the face with a sharp crack. His hand moved off of her head and she rolled around, whipping her gun into her right hand as she snapped upright. He came around at the same time, shoving his arm straight out and pointing his gun into her face. Her own gun was pointed right at his throat.
Fuck, now what.
They glared at each other for a moment.
“You have two seconds to walk away from this situation,” she breathed, stepping back from the bumper, not lowering her gun. Marc kept his barrel trained on her forehead as he matched her step for step.
“Not gonna happen, princess. Maybe you should walk away, you’re in over your head,” he cautioned her, his tone snide. She smirked at him and kept moving, trying to put some distance between them and the car.
“Really? This ‘princess‘ just outsmarted you, twice, in less than five minutes. I think you’re in over your head, so back the fuck off,” she growled through clenched teeth.
“Kitty has claws, I like it. But can she pull the trigger?” his tone was questioning as he cocked his head to the side.
That enraged her almost more than anything. More than his deceit. More than his treachery. More than his violence. The disrespect. He’d always treated her as an equal before – now he looked at her and spoke to her like she was a cockroach.
“Try me,” Lily snapped back.
He stared at her for a second longer, then did just that – he let his gun lower and he strode forward, pushing past her as he made his way back towards the vehicle. She was stunned.
“I’m taking this car!” he called out. She whirled around, keeping her gun raised.
“No, you’re not! Stop right there!” she demanded. He held up his middle finger.
“Go ahead and sto-”
Lily fired her gun right over his head. He froze in place mid-stride, then turned his head to the side so he could see her.
“I’m warning you,” she cautioned him. He chuckled, but still didn’t move.
“You don’t have the balls to shoot me.”
She lowered her gun a couple inches and fired again, directly between his legs. The bullet pinged into the sand at the edge of the road, right in front of him. When she sighted back on his head, he looked decidedly less confident.
“In two minutes, you won’t have balls, either.”
Lily didn’t want to shoot him, she really didn’t. She’d never killed anyone before, and didn’t want to start with Marc. She was saving that damnable act for someone very specific. She didn’t want to condemn her soul to hell for some piece of shit traitor. Some con man. Some liar.
“Look,” his voice was low, his teeth clenched. “I need what’s in that trunk. Whatever deal you have with Ivanov, I can make you a better one. I have to take those diamonds, or I’m dead.”
“And if I let you take them, I’m dead. Not winning me over,” she replied.
“No, you can just disappear. Drive off into the sunset, find the nearest plane to take you back to L.A., or wherever you’re from. Somewhere safe,” he suggested.
“Not from L.A., and you have one more minute before I blow your nuts off.”
“How did a sweet thing like you get caught up with Ivanov?”
“’Sweet thing‘ just threatened to shoot you in the testicles. Thirty seconds.”
“Okay! Okay, just take it easy. Maybe we can work out a deal. I’ll split them with you, half and half. Just take them out and we’ll divide them up.”
“Do you really think I’m stupid enough to fall for that?”
“Was worth a shot.”
“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six -”
Lily began counting down, hoping that would scare him into moving. It worked, only not the way she’d been hoping. He abruptly dove to the side. She pulled the trigger, but it was too late. The bullet struck the ground where he’d been standing a moment before, and Marc was now laying beside the car.
Lily jumped forward, ready to run after him, when shots were fired back. She cursed and leapt into the trunk of the car, curling herself up as small as possible. There was a pop and a hiss and she felt the car lean to the side. He’d shot out the tires. More shots went off and she heard bullets ricocheting under the chassis. She screamed and pounded on the bottom of the trunk.
“Explosives! Please stop firing at the goddamn explosives!” she shrieked at him.
Everything went silent. Lily waited for a second, then unfolded herself. Slowly climbed out of the trunk, wary of her surroundings, her gun leading the way. Marc was back on his feet and breathing hard, his arms hanging at his sides, his own gun pointing down.
“There. Happy?” he asked, gesturing to the car.
Lily walked fully around to the side, assessing the damage. He’d shot out both tires on the driver’s side and apparently shot up into the gas tank and the radiator – both water and gasoline were leaking out from underneath the vehicle. She groaned.
“That was so … stupid …,” she breathed.
All of the trunk space was dedicated to the safe. There were no spare tires, and even if there had been, there certainly wasn’t a spare radiator. They were ten miles or more from any sort of civilization.
“This car isn’t going anywhere. I’m not going anywhere. You have no choice. Open the safe,” Marc told her.
Lily felt her mind begin to unravel.
Three days. Three more days, and it would’ve been over. Three more days. And what had to happen? I had to fuck the wrong guy.
“Do you have any idea what you’ve done!?” she shouted, startling him. “Any idea!? Five years! Five fucking years, down the goddamn drain! Five fucking years of my life I gave, just for this day, and now some low life piece of shit has ruined everything!”
“I couldn’t give a fuck about what you gave up, I need -”
“SHUT UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP!”
“Stop fucking yelling, I -”
“Five years! You think I want to be here!? You think I like working for those pieces of shit? All those days, months, years! I had to …,”
“Jesus, fuck, shut up, I need you -”
“… those fucking disgusting pigs, do you know what it’s like to be a woman around them? The kind of shit I had to do to earn their respect? Do you!? No, you just fucking show up and flirt and lie and steal and back stab and …,”
“If you don’t stop, I’m gonna -”
“… and now it was all for nothing! Nothing! You made it all mean nothing! I should fucking kill you! I should fucking put a bullet in your skull! I should -”
Lily was vaguely aware that she was rambling, but she couldn’t stop herself. In that moment she felt like she had nothing left to give. He’d taken the last thing she had, and he’d ruined it. Now she was just bad memories and worse decisions.
She was so focused on her unspooling chain of thought that she wasn’t paying attention. Mid-rant, he suddenly jabbed his hand forward. One minute, Lily was standing in the African heat, and the next, everything was black.
Which was a vast improvement to how her day was going, anyway.