End of Day (Jack & Jill #1)

BOOK: End of Day (Jack & Jill #1)
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End of Day

by
Jewel E. Ann

This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblances to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales are purely coincidental.

Copyright © 2015 by Jewel E. Ann

Kindle Edition

ISBN: 978-0-9961564-4-8

Cover Designer: © Sarah Hansen,
Okay Creations

Formatting: BB eBooks

For kick-ass women

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chapter Thirty-Six

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Also by Jewel E. Ann

About the Author

Chapter One

Day

Four graves.

Four caskets.

Two bodies.

A
throng of
family and friends mourned the loss of four innocent lives under dapple gray skies in a cemetery nestled at the bottom of a hillside just miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. A DEA agent and his wife were murdered a week earlier and their two adult children were reported dead in an apartment building the following day. Investigators reported the cause of death—self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Those same investigators collected a bag of cash at a drop location in exchange for their report which led to two empty caskets and headstones carved with the names Jessica Maeve Day and Jude Paxton Day.

“How many people live to see their own funeral?” Knox, the lead Agent for G.A.I.L, mumbled from the driver’s seat of the SUV custom built to meet presidential motorcade standards.

“I could snap your neck and not shed … One. Fucking. Tear,” Jessica Day answered.

The cocky agent chuckled, as any asshole that treated life and death like a business would do. “I taught you everything you know. I’m not too worried.”

“No, you taught me everything
you
know.”

“Jess,” Jude warned, grabbing her fisted hand and holding it until she relaxed.

“I’ve seen enough. Let’s go.” Jessica turned away from the window and closed her eyes as she released a slow sigh. Why couldn’t she have a normal life? A husband who worked too much but adored her, a daughter with long black hair and an ornery son that loved to pull it, and a dog that dug up the flowers planted along their white picket fence.

How could fate be so cruel?

“We’re gridlocked. We won’t be leaving early without busting up a few cars, which would make a scene. And the last thing we want to do is make a scene.”

Every word Knox spoke brought Jessica closer to the edge. She needed to hit something. She needed to hit
someone.
The most painful hour of her life passed with every second and felt like an eternity. Jessica didn’t want to live to see her own funeral. She fought the urge to jump out of the vehicle and race to the casket—
her
casket—climb inside, and let them bury her alive. At that point, no death would be as excruciating as the alternative—living.

“Look at me.” The uneasy tremble to her brother’s voice made her skin pebble, hair standing on end.

Jessica’s heart hid in her throat, sending waves of throbbing pain through her body as tears stung her eyes. She knew why Jude wanted her to look at him. On the other side of the privacy-tinted window was her
everything.

How could fate be so cruel?

“Jess, don’t do it … just don’t.”

Jessica looked at her brother the way someone would before pulling a trigger pointed at their own temple—lifeless and regretful. “I have to … I have to see him one last time.”

The heartbroken shell of a woman turned toward the window and there he was, surrounded by his family. Sunglasses hid his deep navy eyes that had pieced her back together as much as his most brilliantly spoken words. His signature tailored suit he wore was black that day. She cursed him for not being more original—a splash of flare in honor of her funeral.

Her gaze drifted to his shoes. Inside she felt a blink of reprieve from the pain, a smile that didn’t reach her lips. He was wearing those argyle socks; she couldn’t see them … she just knew. Jessica knew that man. Jessica loved that man. And in that very moment, she said goodbye to that man. In another blink, the pain returned.

How could life. Be. So. Cruel?

Jude squeezed her hand. “He could come with us.”

“I know.” Her voice cracked under the weight of pain. He already thought she was dead. “I can’t take him from them. I want him … but they
deserve
him.”

*

The Days were
transported to an undisclosed location that defined middle of nowhere, a million miles from civilization—no cell phones, no television, no computers … no alcohol. They were dropped off by plane, literally dropped from the plane with parachutes on their backs. Jessica and Jude were members of G.A.I.L. (Guardian Angels for Innocent Lives) and therefore they were experts in two areas: combat and survival.

Weekly food rations were deposited from the same plane, like aid and sustenance to soldiers. But their war was not a physical war; the enemy targeted their emotions. There were no hidden cameras, but those six months living by themselves in a tiny cabin as they moved through the stages of grief felt like a cruel psych experiment. They mourned the loss of their parents and the loss of themselves.

Cheating death more than once, Jessica had seen so much in her short life. Not once did she contemplate the worth of her own life. Not once did she think a single suicidal thought—until she said a silent goodbye to Luke at the cemetery. Jude spent months pulling her from the ledge, offering his shoulder, and sometimes beating some sense into her. How could the person she mourned the most be the only one still living?

Unfortunately, there was no room for error in their new lives. Severing emotional ties would keep them alive. Time. It would not heal them, but with each passing day it hardened their emotions, leaving them feeling numb.

Jude marked off each day on their calendar until the one with the star finally arrived. It read: fin de journée—End of Day. A knock at the door had them bodychecking each other, desperate to see a different face after six long months.

“Greetings!” Knox smiled as he stepped inside.

Jessica never imagined feeling excited to see Knox. In all respects she hated him. However, by then she would have welcomed the devil himself into their cabin. She loved her brother, but six months alone with him, living in such primitive conditions, tested her already-questionable sanity.

“So I see you haven’t killed each other.”

Jessica and Jude shared knowing smirks. On several occasions they sparred one blow shy of knocking the other one unconscious.

“Did you do your homework?”

“Homework?” Jessica looked at Jude. “You mean there was more than just not killing each other?”

Knox groaned. “God! Can’t you two just do what you’re told for once? We insisted on grief counseling and you refused it. We suggested Jude have all visible tattoos removed, and he refused that. Now you know damn well we asked you to give yourselves a past and plan out your future—think of new professions or new skills you want to acquire—and you’ve not done that either? I’m tempted to put a bullet in each of your heads myself and call it a day!”

“We picked out names.” Jude grinned, eyes wide. He couldn’t feign an ounce of sincerity in his expression.

“Well, thank fuck for that.” Knox took a seat at the kitchen table and pulled a computer out of his bag. “I’m going to go over a shitload of information with you. Our main goal is to keep you safe so if you listen and follow the rules, there shouldn’t ever be a problem. Our second objective is to make sure the discovery and identification of G.A.I.L is never revealed or compromised.”

Jessica and Jude nodded.

“So let’s get started.”

Four hours later they completed their exit training and packed their minimal belongings for the transport to their final destination.

“Got everything?” Knox asked as he finished typing a few things into his computer.

They looked around the small cabin one last time.

“We’re ready,” Jude affirmed.

“Alright, one last thing so they can have your new IDs ready by the time we get there. What’s it going to be? What new names have you chosen?”

The Days looked at each other and grinned.

Chapter Two

Knight

F
or nine months
they were inseparable in the womb. Thirty years, two murders, and fifteen hundred miles later, Jillian Knight rolled down the smoked Escalade window. The pungent stench of manure was no longer detectable inside the city’s limits. Her life was supposed to be a self-induced state of amnesia, only she remembered everything: the therapeutic monotony of her job, Samovar Tea Bar for plum pu-erh and scones with her mom every Saturday morning, and strolling for miles with Jones—the greatest of all Great Danes—along the scenic trails on the high bluffs of Fort Funston overlooking large sand dunes and the rolling waves of the bay.

“What did you tell the realtor?” Jackson Knight asked, drumming his thumb on his leg with the intensity of a smoker in need of nicotine.

Agent Knox McGraw glanced over his shoulder, beady eyes narrowed against the rays of the June sun cutting through the moonroof. “About?”

“Us,” Jackson replied as he pushed his black-framed glasses up his nose.

“Nothing.” Knox shrugged.

“He didn’t ask about the new owners?”

Jillian smirked while she dabbed her pinkie toenail with blood red polish.

“He did, but I told him it was none of his fucking business.” McGraw winked at Jillian as she capped her bottle of polish.

Somewhere over the previous few days and long hours in the SUV, Jillian bonded—a little—with her nemesis, Knox McGraw. They shared a love for driving her brother crazy.

Jackson caught their exchange. “I’m intelligent, not paranoid.”

Jillian laughed. “One word: Luke.” His name tasted equally bitter and sweet as it slid across her lips, the one person who loved her, all of her—the woman, the survivor, the monster. She imagined Luke taking Jones on those long walks. Her boys. That’s what she called them. And now she’d never call them anything ever again because the woman they loved died.

“He snuck up on me.” Jackson rolled down his window as the vehicle turned into the Peaceful Woods townhome development.

“He tapped your shoulder.” She chuckled. Her dear brother was a hair trigger. She’d adopted sarcasm to hide her nerves. Jackson used the Japanese Chokehold to hide his.

“When he
sneaked
up on me.” Jackson narrowed his eyes at her.

BOOK: End of Day (Jack & Jill #1)
5.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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