Island Chaptal—nerdy IT engineer by day, romance novel junkie by night—just walked into her messy New York apartment to find Mr. Right waiting for her. No, wait…Mr. Clean.
A gentleman professional killer with a bad case of OCD and zero tolerance for unsorted laundry, March isn’t there to kill her…yet. He wants the diamond her late mother stole for a sinister criminal organization. Island agrees to help him find it, facing the kind of adversaries who dismember first and ask questions later. Good thing she’s got March to show her the ropes. And the guns. And the knives.
The buttoned-up Island is soon having a blast racing from Paris to Tokyo following the clues in her mother’s will, and for the first time, she’s ready to get close to someone. But falling for a hit man may be the very definition of loving dangerously.
Spotless marks the beginning of Island and March’s ongoing adventures.
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Table of Contents
All quotes introducing this book’s chapters are—thank God—fictional. Well, except for chapter 31: I give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.
ONE - The Visit
The icy professional they called ‘the Nazi’ was the cruelest, most dangerous assassin in the world, a heartless madman whose sadistic fantasies could only be fulfilled by the darkest hobbies.
— Jayna Devile, From Russia with Lust
I could start by explaining why my parents called me Island, or even dissert on the many reasons why being the daughter of a Frenchwoman and an American curmudgeon can traumatize a child for life . . . but I suspect no one really cares. So let’s start with the day my apartment got cleaned—I promise this is more interesting than it sounds.
It was a Friday in late October, and much like the rest of my colleagues in EM Tech’s R&D department, I had spent the entire day looking for a way to fix a major bug in our latest banking app. Around 5:20, I finished the floor’s last Dr Pepper, pressed Enter, and announced to my colleagues that our software was back on track. I then proceeded to call them losers—in a common display of virile superiority over fellow engineers—and, for once, left early.
I can still see myself walking up Amsterdam Avenue that evening. I kept combing my auburn bob with my fingers and checking my reflection in store windows because I was particularly proud of my new duffle coat. Joy said it was too long, though, that it didn’t flatter a petite figure like mine, and that I needed to show some leg if I ever wanted to get laid. As my roommate and best friend, she had grown to feel it was her responsibility to ensure that I would lose my virginity before my lady-bits crumbled to dust, thus she spared me no amount of encouragement to update both my wardrobe and my profile on Yaycupid.
I mostly ignored her advice, because at twenty-five, all I had ever accomplished with men was some silent stalking and a few awkward dates. I blamed it on the combination of round hazel eyes and a childish gap-toothed grin that still occasionally got me carded for cocktails, but in truth, I feared it had more to do with . . . well, me. I wish I had been a blonde and blue-eyed hurricane like Joy. Surely that would have helped a little.
To be fair, this was a nonissue, since I had tons of romance books to occupy my Saturday nights with, whose heroes were much more exciting than any of my dates had ever been. Billionaires, vampires, werewolves, cowboys . . . you name it. And they all came wrapped up in super-passionate love stories where the heroine is not only smart but also beautiful, and no one ever tells her that real adults don’t use the Japanese restaurant’s chopsticks to pretend they possess antennae—this particular piece of advice is from my stepmom, Janice, by the way. She keeps a pic of Jimmy Kimmel in her wallet all the time, so you bet she knows what it means to be a real adult.