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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2317299
In which Kam meets up with Nina and is reluctantly hired
Kam is interested. Interested enough that he finds himself following Silo out of the bookstore and into his car, where they drive to the hotel where Nina is staying. Kam asks questions the entire ride to the hotel, but Silo keeps telling him to ask Nina.

Nina doesn’t meet them in the lobby. Instead, she calls them up to her hotel suite. Kam whistles as they enter the room, partly because of how expensive everything looks (and Kam flips classic cars for a living, so he knows expensive) and partly to annoy the woman waiting in front of them.

Kam knows Nina in passing. That is, their dads had known each other—Wolf used to come into the dealership; and he and Kam’s dad had talked a lot in his dad’s office, about what, Kam had no idea—and later Kam and Nina ran into each other the first time she needed a “favor” from Silo (Kam put the word in air quotes because he doubted what Nina needed was as simple as the word made it sound).

He also knew that Nina and Silo dated on occasion. That was fine; if Silo was interested in Nina, and she happened to be in town, there was no reason for them not to date. Kam just—couldn’t really see the appeal of someone like that. Nina seemed to have the wall built up around her. She let very few people in. Sometimes Kam saw the same wall around Silo, but for some reason that was different. Silo’s wall had gaps that occasionally let Kam peek through; Nina didn’t. Her wall seemed to be reinforced with extra concrete and steel. Kam had always seemed to rub Nina the wrong way, so he made an effort to avoid her whenever she was in town.

Except on occasions like this.

“This is who you had in mind?” Nina is looking at Kam, but she addresses Silo.

“What’s wrong with him?” Silo asks.

Kam cocks an eyebrow at Nina.

“Still don’t like me, huh?”

“I never said that.” Nina looks defensive, and Kam presses his advantage.

“Never said it out loud, but it’s true, right? What exactly is wrong with me?”

“Nothing,” Nina purses her lips. “You still look like a biker.”

“You still look like an ice queen with a pipe up your ass.”

“If you two are done with the greetings, can we get to the part where Nina makes the offer and Kam accepts?” Silo is leaning against the wall of the hotel suite. His body language says he will be staying out of what should be a conversation between Kam and Nina, but that doesn't mean he won’t contribute the odd comment or referee if needed.

Kam takes a seat, while Nina turns to Silo.

“Find someone else.”

Silo’s grin makes both Kam and Nina want to smack him. “There is no one else.”

Kam is certain that isn’t true, but he’s come this far, so the least he can do is satisfy his curiosity.

“Silo said you had a job offer for me?”

“Not for you specifically, but yes.” Nina also sits, probably figuring that she can tell him what he’ll be doing and he won’t be interested and leave. She’s wrong, and Kam intends to make sure she knows it. He tosses the paper with the payment amount Silo gave him earlier on the table in front of her.

“Is this number real?”

Nina doesn’t even glance at the paper. She raises her eyebrows and keeps her eyes on Kam.


“That’s in American dollars, not baht.”


“To babysit your brother.”

“To keep him safe, yes.”

“And that’s all?”

Nina leans forward, her eyes like chips of ice. “Why do I get the feeling you already know the answers and these questions are rhetorical?”

Kam mirrors her posture, so that they’re nose to nose. “Smart girl. You know I don’t actually need this money right?”

“So use it for something fun.” Silo is thoroughly enjoying himself. “Go on a cruise or something.”

Kam flips Silo the bird without taking his eyes off Nina. “You’re too occupied to look after some snot-nosed kid, so I have to do it?”

Nina’s face goes blank, but a muscle in her jaw ticks. She’s annoyed. “That’s not what this is.”

“So what the hell is it? Why is this ‘job’ worth so much money?”

Nina hesitates, then glances at Silo. Silo shrugs, and something passes between the two of them—a silent argument made up of facial expressions and eye twitches that is only fun to watch for a minute. Kam is ready to leave, when Nina turns back to him.

“What did Silo tell you?”

“That whatever the hell this is has something to do with your dad and mine.” Kam responds. If Nina wants to take the long away around to get to the point, then fine, Kam will play along.
For a minute.

“How do you figure?”

“My dad worked for yours several times, in case you forgot. I never knew what he did, but it got him killed. You want my help, then you play straight with me, both of you. And don’t do that silent argument thing again, I’m not going to spill any official secrets or anything.”

Another exchange of looks between Nina and Silo. This time, it’s Silo that speaks.

“What do you know about what your dad did? Besides his actual business.”

“Nothing.” Kam doesn’t like the way Silo says ‘actual business’, but lets it go for the moment. “Nina’s dad came and talked to him a lot, but it was always behind closed doors.”

“And you never eavesdropped?” Nina raises her eyebrows.

“Of course I did,” Kam replies. “But they knew I would, so I never heard anything that made much sense.”

“Nina’s dad worked for the United States government.” Silo says. “His code name was ‘Gray Wolf—”

“I know, that’s what my dad called him.” Actually, Kam’s dad only called him ‘Wolf’, but Kam wants Silo to skip to the good bit, so he does.

“Nina was sent a USB with that name on the label two days ago. And someone tried to kill her. Don’t glare at me, Nina, just get to the damn point.”

“You think someone is going to kill your brother because of what’s on that USB?”

Nina shrugs, but her voice doesn't match the casual movement. “I really hope I’m wrong.”

“But you don’t think you are.” This is getting interesting. Kam is less inclined to leave the hotel suit. “Do you have the USB?”

“Of course.” Nina puts it on the table between them. Kam can see the label: หมาป่าสีเทา. “Gray Wolf, just as I said.”

“What’s on it?”

“Files.” Nina’s face has closed up again, “Silo and I are looking into them.”

Kam turns his gaze to Silo.

“I’m guessing because you know what Wolf did, you’re in the same occupation? Government official or something? Is that the name I’m supposed to use?”

“Do I have to tell you that you guessed right?”

“Not if it will get you into trouble, but I’m not going to broadcast it if it’s true.” Kam knows Silo’s answer means ‘yes’, and he turns back to Nina. “I have more questions.”

“Obviously, you do. Look after my brother and you’ll get your answers.” Nina says.

“Who says I’ve accepted the job?”

“You wouldn’t still be here if you lost interest.” Nina has Kam there and she knows it. She opens a photo album on her phone, then flips the screen so that Kam can see the picture. “This is my brother.”

Kam looks down at the photo, at the puppy dog face, baby brown eyes, tiny frame, slightly disheveled black hair. Nothing really remarkable about the boy staring back at him from the photo.

Except for the indigo streaks framing that face.


Kam grabs the phone from Nina to get a closer look at the photo, ignoring her cry of protest. No, he’s not crazy. Those indigo streaks aren’t a trick of the light reflecting off the phone screen. It’s definitely him.

“Kam,” Silo pushes himself away from the wall at the look on Kam’s face. “Your eyes are about to shoot out of your head.”

“I know this kid.” Kam turns the phone screen to face Silo so he can see this picture, too. “I pulled him out of the way of a runaway Ducati earlier today.”

Nina’s face loses a little of its color. “Someone tried to run Bel down?”

“The bike jumped the curb and I pulled him out of the way, that’s all.”

“But?’ Silo can always tell when Kam is holding something back, and right now is no exception.

Kam doesn't like the way Nina and Silo are looking at him. They look deadly serious. Yes, at the time the bike really had looked like it was targeting this kid, but Kam had convinced himself otherwise. And nothing had happened because he pulled the kid out of the way, anyway. He doesn’t want to be paranoid about what happened this morning.

Except…is he being paranoid?

“Kam,” Silo is pushing, so Kam answers him.

“The bike looked like it jumped the curb just to get to this kid.” It still sounds ridiculous when Kam says it, but both Silo and Nina’s reactions say otherwise. “It’s ok, I pulled him out of the way. The kid was scared shitless, but nothing happened to him.”

“This time,” Nina says. “Nothing happened to him this time.”

She picks up her phone, scrolls through her contacts, taps one, and then goes to the other side of the room to talk. Kam turns to Silo.

“Does that mean she’s hired me?”

“Don’t make it sound like a joke,” Silo says. “Bel’s the only family Nina’s got left, so if someone is trying to kill him—”

“I know!” Kam changes his tone so he sounds less defensive. “If she wants me to look after her kid brother, then I’ll look after her kid brother. But I won’t be kept in the dark.”

“I can’t promise we’ll tell you everything.” Silo says. “But I’ll tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it. How’s that?”

“You mean if or when Nina tells you it’s ok to say something,” Kam translates. “This is why you came back from your ‘vacation’?”

“I was never on vacation in the first place.”

“Right. I forgot how much you hate time off.”

“This is serious, Kam. Someone wants both Nina and her brother dead because of what’s on this USB, and you need to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

“I’m looking after Bel, while you look after Nina?” Kam waggles his eyebrows at Silo, and gets a glare in return. “What?”

“Nina is perfectly capable of looking after herself.”

“Uh-huh. Then why do you look so worried about her?”

Silo smacks Kam upside the head as Nina hangs up the phone, and comes back over to them.

“I called Bel and told him you were an old college friend who needed somewhere to stay for a little bit.”

Both Kam and Silo raise their eyebrows, but it’s Silo that speaks. “Kam is supposed to be an old friend of yours?”

“Of course not!” Nina glares at Silo, looking more offended than Kam thinks she has a right to look. “He’s already your friend, so I stuck close to the truth.”

Silo’s eyebrows are still in his hairline. “He believed you?”

“What do you think?” Nina turns to Kam. “Just how good of a liar are you?”

“That depends on what you need me to lie about.” Kam replies. “And what this brother of yours already knows.”

“Bel. His name is Bel. You’re living with him, so you might as well call him by his name.” Nina makes it sound like Kam is getting an exceedingly rare privilege.

“Does he know about the USB, or should I not say anything about it?” If Kam’s going to do this bodyguard thing, he might as well get a few more details on what he’s supposed to do.

“I gave him a copy.” Nina’s answer sounds like a half-truth, but Kam isn’t going to press yet. “He’s going to look it over the same as I will, so we both know what we’re up against.”

“It’s that serious.”

“Someone tried to throw Nina out her apartment window, and then tried to run Bel down,” Silo says. “Don’t glare at me, Nina, this isn’t an official assignment for you or me, so just tell him whatever he needs to know and get this over with.”

Kam smiles a little bit at Silo’s impatience. “Are there rules I have to follow?”

“Actually, yes,” and Nina ticks them off on her fingers. “You keep my brother alive, you keep him safe, and you do not tell him I hired you—”

“As his bodyguard?” Kam’s facial expression exactly matches Silo’s, which irritates Nina no end.

“Too keep him safe.” She replies through gritted teeth. Kam smirks at her.

“That’s exactly what I said.” Kam moves toward the door, but Nina stops him.

“Let me give you his number then, so you can’t keep in contact with him.”

“No need,” Kam waves his phone at her. “I got it this morning.”

After Kam leaves, Nina turns her ice glare on Silo. “Do you really think this is a good idea?”

“I think he’s perfect.” Silo’s smirk could rival Kam’s.

“For what? He’s snarky, he’s sarcastic, he won’t follow any orders. I can guarantee he’ll tell Bel everything just because I told him not to—”

“So you agree.” There’s a mischievous glint in Silo’s eyes “He’s perfect for your brother”

Nina rolls her own eyes.

“Are you seriously playing matchmaker right now?”

“What do you think?” Silo’s expression changes at the look on Nina’s face. “You’re going to kill me, huh?”

Nina’s answering smile is feline.

“Very. Very. Slowly.”

"7. Annoying

read from beginning "1. Phone Calls in the Dark
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