With Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, I thought you'd enjoy this excerpt from the second book in my Housewife Assassin series, Guide to Gracious Killing. It's a perfectly tasty little morsel because it includes a bit of military derring-do, along with a visit (appropriately timed) by Great Britain's Prince Harry.
Breaking Bad Hostessing Habits
Every woman wants to be
the perfect hostess and frets over her inadequacies when it comes to the
gracious art of entertaining. Pshaw! A little forethought and a few hours of
planning make it as easy as cherry pie!
There is, however, one
ironclad rule every hostess must follow:
Make all your guests
wish they never had to leave.
Especially in a coffin.
With a bullet lodged in their heads.
“You’re quite a saucy minx!” Prince Harry’s ale-slurred
come-on can barely be heard over the techno-vibe emanating from a
starship-worthy console of the Ivy Lounge rooftop’s head-bobbing deejay. “What
say you give me a peek as to where your tattoo ends?”
His head is cocked downward, as if it might give
him the ex-ray vision he’ll need in order to see the rattle on the faux-tatt’ed
snake drawn from my belly to nether regions that lay under my thong bikini.
“You’re a cheeky sod. I do have a face, you
know.” I snap my fingers in front of his nose, in order to draw his eyes
I’ve succeeded, sort of. But come on, already.
The diplomacy born and bred into the Prince of Wales can’t beat two millennia
of innate urges and four pints of Guinness.
His eyes linger below my neck, albeit above my
When, finally, our eyes meet, I lean in and
whisper, “You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.”
I’m lying, even if he doesn’t know it—yet.
His outright laugh is accompanied with a shake
of his head, and a tug at the waistline of his briefs. “No tats under these
trollies, I’m afraid. Sorry to disappoint.”
I finger his briefs longingly and then sigh.
“I’m sure you’ll make it up to me somehow.”
His smile is his vow not to disappoint.
God save the queen…
It’s no secret the prince has been stateside
with his Royal Air Force unit, learning the latest tricks and treats of the
AH-64D Apache helicopter: his vehicle of choice for his upcoming tour of duty
in Afghanistan. The soldiers completed their training today. Tomorrow they head
home. To celebrate, the soldiers are here, in San Diego, which is just a couple
of hours west of their training base, the Naval Air Facility at El Centro.
Seems some chatter, intercepted by MI6, has led British
intelligence to deduce the prince is the latest target of “the Leprechaun,” a
notorious assassin affiliated with the Irish terrorist cell known as 32CSM. If
the Leprechaun succeeds in picking off the spare to the throne, then once again
the always-thin strand of peace between Ireland and Great Britain will be
ripped to shreds.
If it happens on our side of the pond, the U.S.
will have mud on its face, not to mention the bluest of blood on its hands.
So yep, I have to stop the Leprechaun before he
My employer, the freelance black ops agency
known in the field as Acme Corporation, paid big bucks to the club owners so I
could be up close and personal with the prince. My goal is not to shag, let
alone snag, Harry the Hottie. It’s to save his adorable hide from a possible
The prince leans in, close enough to ask in a
seductive albeit ale-sodden growl, “Want me to sign your bikini?”
I look down between my breasts. “Oops, forgot my
pen. But you seem to be carrying one, in your pants pocket. Or maybe you’re
just happy to see me.”
He’s laughing so hard his last gulp of Guinness
goes down the wrong way.
“Prince Charming has a one-track mind.” Jack
Craig’s snarl comes in loud and clear through the tiny microphone in my ear. As
the team leader for this Acme mission, he’s close by, but far enough away no
potential assassin can spot him.
Trust me, there is a hitter lurking nearby.
Jack is also my main squeeze, which is why he’s
growling about my having to play the coquette while under deep cover (in this
bikini, I’m talking figuratively if not literally) as one of the nightclub’s
VIP bottle girls. More specifically, this is one mission he’d wished I hadn’t
accomplished—become Harry the Hottie’s pick-up du jour.
Needless to say, the club’s real bottle girls
are pea green with envy. They can’t figure out how this newbie became
Cinderella of this Century.
If I told them my aim and my first-degree black
belt status had something to do with it, would they believe me? Probably not.
All they see is that I’m just this side of Cougarville, which means Harry is
less discriminating than they had hoped.
For once, I’m glad Jack isn’t here, in the
cordoned-off VIP section. One involuntary muscle flex and prince’s all-too-obvious
brawny goon squad—three of his Royal Air Force mates—would be on top of Jack,
like suds on ale.
At MI6’s behest, we’ve kept the fact he’s a
target from Harry, for now, anyway. This, I’m sure, is why he feels so
cocksure. This mission wouldn’t have been so hard if the prince weren’t so
insistent about partying “like an ordinary surfer bloke,” is how he so
preciously puts it.
Until now, the natives have been awed as much by
his regular dude personality as his title. But just as the deejay ratchets up
the hip-hop club mix, six drunken sorority sisters stroll our way. One of the
girls, a Kate Middleton lookalike, pierces me with a jealous glare.
I stare back and smile, as if to say, Take the
hint. Get lost.
Her eyes shift from me to one of Harry’s RAF
buds. She waves coyly at him, and he’s smitten. Smirking back, he nods her
over. She squeals and grabs the hand of one of her girlfriends.
In no time at all, she and her besties have
jumped the red velvet rope. They toss themselves onto the prince’s entourage,
who don’t seem to be fighting them off too hard.
In fact, they’re snapping their fingers at me
with drink orders for their new arm charms.
“Not good.” Jack’s warning in my ear is just
loud enough for me to here.
“Tell me something I don’t know,” I mutter back.
“How about this?” Jack is now shouting into my
earpiece. “You’ve lost Prince Harry.”
The prince seems captivated by a petite, busty
blond beauty. Even in heels, she barely reaches his chest. She had pulled him
out onto the dance floor for a throbbing sex-drenched hip grinder, Andree
Belle’s “Go Go Gadget Heart.”
The strobe lights and smoke machine make it hard
to follow them in the crowd. Then I see them, against one wall. The buxom
little tart drapes her arms around his shoulders and hugs him close, as if
she’ll never let him go.
Apparently, too close. I shove my way through
the crowd until I’m close enough to hear Harry’s woozy cry. “Blimey, you’re no
bird! You’ve got a wanker!”
Before I can pull him away, the prince is pricked
on the neck with something his partner has pulled from her cleavage. Harry’s
groan is loud. I smell smoke, and then the lights go out. But not before the
last strobe catches the triumphant look on his partner’s face.
God, Jack! The woman with Harry—she’s—not a she! She’s—”
“I know! I saw it, too! The Leprechaun!”
Proof it pays to hit the M.A.C. counter before a
night on the town.
hang out where the lights are always low.
Everyone is screaming and shoving their way to
the exits, leaving me room to follow the Leprechaun, who is dragging Harry in
the opposite direction up against a wall.
“It’s too dark to see where they went,” I shout
to Jack. “Does anything show up on the club’s security cams?”
“I’m looking now. In the meantime, check the wall
for a hidden pocket door. The schematic of this club shows a few of them on
every level. I’m sure the Leprechaun had his exit scoped out in advance.”
While Jack scans the feeds from the security
cameras, I skim the walls with my hands. Finally, I find it: a tiny catch,
I pull it open it just in time to see the
Leprechaun heaving Harry down a long corridor.
He may not be used to running in heels, but I
am. If only I wasn’t running in a bikini, too.
“Too many wobbly bits,” I mutter under my
It’s inappropriate for Jack to be laughing now,
but he can’t help it. “Just two. And they’re a sight to behold. Prince Charming
will be upset he slept through it.”
The thought of Harry in the French-manicured
hands of an assassin who can start the United Kingdom and Ireland down another
bloody path of un-neighborly relations has me picking up my pace. Unlike the
Leprechaun, I’m smart enough to ditch my high heels. But I’m still not fast
enough to reach them before the Leprechaun rolls him into the backseat of a
dark BMW and screeches off.
I can hear Jack slapping the wall with his fist.
“Aw, damn! We lost them!”
“Nope, I slipped a GPS tracker in the prince’s
“You did what… in his—what?”
“Oh, don’t worry, I didn’t peek. I’ll meet you
around the corner.”
What’s a little white lie between fake husband
Before he can say another word, I snap off my
earpiece and run down the block.
* * *
The naval base’s commanding officer is cussing
up a storm, something about blue-blooded playboy flyboys and horny co-eds.
When, finally, all the steam is out of him, Jack
says in the calmest voice possible, “It looks as if they’re headed for Mexico,
and they’ve got the jump on us. They’re changing vehicles every ten or so
miles, which indicates they don’t know about the tracker. Not yet, anyway. We
can catch them in a 64D, sir.”
Before the CO can let loose with yet another
tsunami of swear words, I hand him my cell phone. His nods and mutters, indicating
he’s heard Acme’s client—also his boss—loud and clear:
Put whatever we need at our disposal.
We grab Charlie Harcourt-Smythe (he’s the
soberest of the RAF pilots) and head to the airstrip. Because of the
sensitivity of the mission, we’ll keep it to that: no FBI, no CIA, and
certainly no local law enforcement. The prince has had enough photo ops for one
I’ve traded in my bikini for a snug
wind-resistant flight suit. He never did sign my bikini. Maybe later. If it’s
not too late already.
(c) 2012 Josie Brown. All rights reserved. This excerpt may not be resold or redistributed without prior written permission from Josie Brown or Signal Press Books (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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