Ardan Boyle is an assassin. Living in the shadowy world of European crime, his targets are all people beyond the law, villains so terrible governments are afraid to touch them. For the better part of a decade, he has taken money to take out the trash.
But the life of a hired killer has a high price and while he has always been able to distance himself from his actions, the constant moving and violence has begun to wear on him. Enter Brad Myles, an artistic man with a stifling corporate job. A chance encounter in a French airport leads the two men on a path of emotional resurrection, something Ardan never imagined would happen.
With the past rearing its head and an old friend's legacy coming back to haunt him, Ardan must make a terrible choice.
People clutched at their bags and scowled as people approached. They moved between the seats, listening to MP3 players or watching movies on tablets. Each person was a microcosm of personal interaction. When someone else entered their sphere, they were regarded with the same disdain white blood cells might have against an invading germ and that aura, that sense of detachment made certain that everyone remained alone.
I turned my attention to my book, crossing my legs at the ankles.
“Mind if I sit here?” At first, I didn’t know the person was addressing me. He had to clear his throat before I looked up. He was my age, tallish with short brown hair, brown eyes and a couple days beard peppering his cheeks. His shoulders were thin, body fit beneath the dress shirt and khaki slacks. The accent was clearly American.
“Not at all,” I replied, my own voice soft in comparison, nearly a whisper. I sat up straighter, suddenly self conscious of how relaxed I had been.
“Oh, are you Irish?” He set his bags down in front of his chair and sat down with a heavy breath. “I thought I was going to have to break out my sad English to French book.”
“Yeah, I’m Irish,” I replied.
“You on a world adventure?”
I tilted my head. “How do you mean?”
“Well, I mean we’re in the south of France and you’re not heading to Britain on this flight. I was thinking that maybe you’re on an exotic vacation. A trip around the world maybe?”
“Ah, no…I just…thought that Seattle might be a nice place to visit.” I shrugged. “Am I wrong?”
“It’s rainy this time of year,” he replied. “But decent enough if you like Native American art and all that. We’ve got a lot of it.”
I nodded, unsure of what to say.
“My name’s Brad, by the way.” He extended his hand to me. “Brad Myles.”
I looked at his hand oddly for half a moment before taking it gingerly. He had a firm grip. “My name’s Ardan Boyle.”
“Ardan…that’s a fascinating name.”
“Means high aspiration,” I said. “My mother apparently had big plans for me.”
“Were they met?”
I shrugged. “Probably not.”
“I feel like that should be funny but you’re not smiling.” Brad was smiling, though. I was beginning to wonder if he ever had another expression.
“Sorry, I haven’t talked about that kind of thing before.”
“You don’t have any single-serving friends?”
“You haven’t seen that movie?”
“I suppose not…”
“In the movie, two people are talking about how in airports and airplanes, the people you chat with are single-serving friends. You’ll probably never see them again, but you end up talking about things that are really personal. Sometimes you don’t even mean to, it just happens.”
“Can’t say that I’ve had the experience,” I replied, “until now.”
“Really?” He leaned back, brow wrinkled. It made him handsome in a way. “I find that hard to believe. You look like you travel a lot.”
“How do you figure that?”
“Just your posture. You’re the most relaxed person in this room. Look around.” He swept a hand over the rest of the crowd. “The tension’s so thick in here you could cut it with a tuna.”
“A…tuna?” I raised my brows. “What do you do for a living, Mister Boyle? Stand-up comedy?”
He laughed and shook his head. “No, afraid not. I’m an actor desperate for a break but in the meantime, and probably to my detriment, I took a day job. It’s one of those escalation things. You start out at the bottom with no intention of doing anything but the bare minimum to remain employed. Just to keep food on the table until something takes off, right?”