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Winking, she lowered the gun. “Don’t play with me, Hunter.”

“I love you too much to try.”

How could one of my most prized friendships end with darkness? Nakita was dead, and Baptiste was trying to kill the love of my life. None of it made sense.

Why would he try to kill her? Or was he?

Baptiste shifted into doing sixty miles. The other car between us turned off to the next exit. Now, we were the only two driving on the road.

Slowing up a little, I remained behind him.

It was in that moment, as my heart calmed a little and my brain felt less scattered, I really let the last few pieces of this mystery unfold.

What had Baptiste said on the balcony with Stark?

We’d met out there—Meridian, Baptiste, Stark, and me. It had been after the stalker covered Zola in paint during the video shoot. It was also the first time I’d begun considering the possibility that Zola’s stalking dealt with me.

Driving forward, I replayed that moment in my mind.

“This guy could’ve been killed Zola. That’s the truth. He’s had plenty of opportunities.” Stark said. “Why hasn’t he killed her all these times?”

“The goal may be something else,” Baptiste chimed in. “The stalker needs something done, and Zola is just the tool to get that done.”

My heartbeats sped up. It was the only sound booming in my ears. My hands shook from the memory. Things were starting to make sense, and I didn’t like where it was all going. Still, there definitely was a gold lining to this very dark cloud.

He wasn’t stalking Zola to kill her. He was using her to make me do something.

Now, it all made sense. Finally, I understood what Baptiste wanted. He’d been saying it all along. In many ways, I was more relieved than I’d been since coming to New York and investigating Zola’s stalker.

Finally, I had connected the dots.

Finally, everything made sense.

Baptiste had begun stalking Zola a month ago. It was the first angry letter. Right when we’d been killing the cartel members. But the true terror of his stalking began on the last day we murdered the final men.

All covered in blood from his enemies, Baptiste had asked me the question he’d been asking every day for those past weeks.

“Hunter? Have you read the instructions?”

“No. I haven’t read them, and I’m not killing you.”

Letting out a long breath, I ran my fingers through my hair, unsure of how the next days would play out. All the signs had been there. Baptiste had been telling me his intentions the whole time. I’d just refused to deal with them. I’d been running away from his suicidal requests, thinking that time would heal his broken heart.

“I’m here to do anything I can. I want this completed.” Baptiste said those last words with a sense of urgency. “I have things that you need to do, Hunter. Did you read my funeral instructions?”

“We just buried Nakita,” I said. “Some guy’s stalking Zola, and you want me to spend my free time reading the death wishes of my best friend?”

“It’s all how you look at it.”

Suicide was such a simple idea for Baptiste. I wondered if I’d asked him to kill me, would he have done it? I’d hurt a lot of men in my life, but none that I cared for.

Even more, I didn’t want to let Baptiste go. I’d already lost Nakita. Why did I have to say goodbye to him?

Sighing, I thought about the message. There was no need for him to write down an address. I knew the exact location in Montego Bay he would want to meet.

Where we buried Nakita. He wants me to put him there.

He also had a lot of contacts down there. He would know the exact moment I stepped into the area.

Baptiste couldn’t risk me just shooting him down and disposing of his body. His death would come with wishes and ceremonial instructions. And all of it was for some supernatural goal to be reunited with Nakita in their next life.

“Goddamn it, Baptiste!” I yelled in the car. “You put Zola through all that shit for your own crazy selfishness? For your fucking supernatural garbage?”

As if Baptiste heard me, he sped up.

I focused on him.

His speed rose to well over sixty.


The car I’d stolen was good, but it wouldn’t beat the sports car he easily powered through the highway.

We rounded a sharp curve. I slowed down, almost losing control of the car. He sped through. A truck showed up on the right. He swerved around it. I followed in the same motion, knowing I might’ve given away my position, but not ready to have a Mac truck between us.

And then Batiste raced on, faster, more frantic, swerving in and out of traffic as more cars filled the road.

He knows.

The airport sign hovered above.