Male agents are nothing new at Fairy Godmother Inc., but Jensen—sorry, “King”—is completely different. He leads an extremely comfortable life overseeing his Las Vegas casino empire, but one day, the mysterious, impeccable Pierce shows up with an intriguing offer. Suddenly, Jensen is thrust into a new world with new enemies, captaining a pirate ship on the high seas in a race to find lost treasure—and true love. Only the balance of the universe is at stake. Will Jensen manage to complete this mission, or will he crash against the rocks? And will he be able to put his own dark past to rest and find his pirate queen?
“Jensen, are you paying attention?” my mother whispers in my ear as I watch my father interrogate my Uncle Tony from the balcony above in their underground warehouse.
A bright light illuminates him as my father’s men start to roll up their sleeves for the beating I know is to come.
I swallow, nodding my head.
“What do you see?” Bruna Di King, my psychologist mother, asks me. “Tell me the first thing you notice.”
My throat is dry. I saw Uncle Tony’s foot tapping under the table. Then my eyes go to his hand on the desk, his pinky finger bearing down into the metal—almost undetectably, but I notice.
He cocks his head to one side, then to the other as my gaze homes in on him. “He’s nervous.”
“Yes, Jensen,” my mom whispers back, and I can feel the smile in her tone. “But is it guilt? Or just nerves?”
I take a steady breath as I watch my father ask Uncle Tony questions. “I don’t know.”
But I do. My mother has been training me since I could tie my shoes, and now that I’m twelve, I know more than most people twice my age.
I like my Uncle Tony. He’s a hothead and impulsive—or so I’ve heard my father say many times. But I know he’s a good guy.
Tony has always treated me like family, bringing me ice cream on a hot day and ruffling up my hair when no one else did.
Sure, he hangs around with people my dad hates, but that does not make him a bad guy.
One day, he even let me look at his naked magazines, pointing out all things to look for in a woman and letting me have a cigarette afterward.
He said a woman like one in the magazine would make a man out of me one day, and I believed him.
Though I’ll never tell anyone, I had stolen a few when he was busy smoking a joint with his buddies in the kitchen. I circled my favorites with a bright red marker and kept them under my mattress.
The women were beautiful. I was enthralled. I liked those who were not smiling at the camera—the more serious ones who had angry expressions.
Maybe it was the training my mother had put me through all these years, but I liked the mystery, the secrets. I wanted to know what they were thinking and who they were. The urge to dig deep was consuming.
Their eyes captivated me. I would stare at them for longer than I should.
Yeah, I like Uncle Tony. He treats me like a human, like a friend—not a kid, but one of the guys. But don’t get me wrong; I have other connections.
My mother is caring, but very professional to the point where I think I’m not her child but her project. On a personal level, there is this distance that she never crosses. Or maybe she mentally can’t.
Bruna does her best, I can tell. I don’t call her mom or mother. She insists that I call her by her name, and that’s all I’ve known.
By observing her and analyzing her with the same skills she has taught me, I have realized that she is not maternal. So letting me into her world, training me, was her way of connecting with me.
Bruna points at Uncle Tony. “Ah, not enough to make a confident decision. Look for more, Jensen. What else do you see?”
I feel a trickle of sweat at the nape of my neck and say nothing. The disapproval in her tone is clear, and I hate to disappoint her.
“Jensen, you’re breaking the first rule. What is the first rule?”
I don’t like this. I don’t want to get Tony in trouble.
“Jensen,” she says firmly.
“Do not let emotions cloud your judgment,” I whisper, feeling sick.
“What else do you see?”
“I don’t want to do this, Bruna,” I plead, wanting to leave.
“What. Do. You. See?”
I grit my teeth as I look deeper.
“How many times did he use the word ‘um’?”
“Loud and defensive—too high.”
“What of his eyes, Jensen?”
“He can’t keep contact.”
“His lips—he licks them too much.”
“Why is that?”
I take a moment, trying to be like Bruna and leave out emotions, my jaw clenching. “The nervous system.”
“Ah, yes, and what else does the nervous system cause in the guilty party?”
I close my eyes, then open them, watching Uncle Tony intently. After a few minutes, I whisper, “The upper lip.” I see a slight sheen catching the light when he turns his head to the right.
I release a breath as my father turns and walks toward us. His imposing form dwarfs most people. “Bruna, what do you say about our Tony?”
He relies on Bruna for all decision-making. She is the true puppet master, the brains to my dad’s brawn.
My heart beats wildly as Tony’s petrified gaze collides with mine, and my heart takes a massive hit. Why did he have to be a moron? Why did my Uncle Tony have to get into trouble with the enemy?
Why, why, why, why?
“Jensen will make the decision,” my mother says, replying to my father and giving me a command at the same time. She grips my neck, holding me in place.
I look up at her, knowing she can’t be serious. “No,” I said, barely able to whisper. My cheeks redden in embarrassment and shock.
“Jensen,” she says sternly, her gray gaze like a steel blade as it shifts to me. “This is your place. You will be taking over my position one day soon. You must.”
I feel every stare on me, and I know I can’t lie. Bruna will know. My dad’s men smirk and snicker as they watch little Jensen King, heir to my dad’s casino kingdom, acting like a little bitch.
I feel every ragged breath, cursing my uncle for putting me in this spot.
I’ve never forgotten that day, for it traumatized me profoundly. Uncle Tony’s screams as they beat him to a pulp still haunt me from time to time.
Bruna made me watch, and when the spray of blood from the baseball bat hit half my face and shirt, my heart hardened.
My visions of Uncle Tony mostly come when I’m alone and drunk, when my mind unlocks buried memories without my consent.
Now, twenty years later, I have honed and perfected my talents, thanks to my dear sweet Bruna.
I have taken over Rau King’s Las Vegas empire by being as cunning as a fox, excelling to the top under Bruna’s careful tutelage.
Tony’s distant screams are now only a mere scratch, a ripple in time.
Means nothing now.
I take a hard pull on my cigar and lean back in my chair, looking around the dimly lit poker table in my private lounge at the Palms Casino.
Half the people sitting here are scared shitless, with their shifty eyes, while the other half have a mind to wear fucking sunglasses.
They don’t trust me. Sometimes I don’t trust myself, and I’m fine with that.
One, two, three, four.
The lights flicker above my head as I watch these goons sweat over the thousands of dollars they will lose to me.
I smile, looking at each and every one of them, my eyes squinting as I blow out smoke, knowing I don’t have shit. But they all think I do, which is why I thrive at this.
Or they’re too scared to call my bluff. I have a pair of fives. I hold back a chuckle because no one can read my crazy.
This is what I do to blow off anger and stress. I love watching these morons shit themselves.
I’m not known to have all the screws in, which is why I can act any way I want while mind-fucking them in the process.
Bruna’s voice always echoes in my head on the rare occasions I let my emotions out. Jensen, never let your walls down and expose your weakness. You must not let emotion show on your face.
The ironic thing is that she created my crazy—my unhinged emotions.
I spent years as her test bunny, being trained with trauma-based experiments. Bruna firmly believed that the mind became invincible when it was desensitized.
I remember her showing me a puppy, then telling me it would die if I failed to read her victim’s body language correctly.
I was wrong. I can’t tell you how many times I saw innocent creatures die from my wrong decisions.
She wanted me to be just like her, and she fucking got it. I don’t feel anymore, and I’m not sure if I am capable of any emotion other than some form of narcissistic, self-centered notions of what a human should feel.
I can diagnose myself easily—borderline personality disorder would be putting it nicely.
I hear a commotion, and the door to my lounge opens. I raise my brows as a man I have never seen before walks in, escorted by my security, Billy, who is also my cousin.
Who the fuck? I ask Billy with my eyes. A new player?
Billy pulls out his gun, making everyone stiffen. “King, this man says he has a meeting with you.”
Well, this is interesting. My instincts are immediately on high alert, even though I remain outwardly calm. As I lean back in my chair to assess the situation, the hairs on my neck raise. I tense.
“A meeting?” I ask. Putting out my cigar, I nod at everyone at the table to get the fuck out. The room cleared out quickly without anyone asking questions.
I feel the guns I have on me, in my shoulder straps, which remind me to relax. My eyes gather data quickly.
This man looks very well put together, almost to the point where he didn’t fit in with this club night loaded with gangsters and swindlers.
I smell the scent of his cologne, and it gives me vibes of someone regal, though I can’t place it.
Now I’m curious.
I never get goosebumps, and I have them.
His energy is potent.
I sit up in my chair as my gaze focuses on his blond hair, which is styled attractively. It’s not too long and appears as if he has just gotten it trimmed.
Not one hair is out of place, which impresses me. His hair is not overly gelled, but only just enough to give the impression of perfection and elegance.
His suit? I quickly take in the cut and quality as he stands before me. Gucci? No, but I can tell it’s not a knockoff.
It looks Italian or some expensive shit that costs more than all the chips on this table. The fit is perfectly tailored to his body, which takes lots of cash and precision.
He has my attention. “Who the fuck are you?” I ask casually, meeting his vivid blue gaze and bracing myself.
The man smiles and glances at my men, then back to me. “Surely you received my letter yesterday?”
I frown, taking a moment. “Letter?” I say, studying him, my body ready to react if he tries something. I’m addressing Billy but keep my eyes on the intruder. “What is he talking about?”
I can hear the embarrassment in Billy’s voice. “Uh, the only letter we received was something not worth your time.”
I look at Billy’s flushed features and smile—a look I’ve been told could freeze water. “Not worth my fucking time?” I hold my hand up. “Clearly, this man here would disagree.”
I glance at him. “You have a name?”
He looks like he’s enjoying himself, enjoying baffling me. “You can call me Pierce.”
“Last name?” I get out, remembering to remain calm.
“Charming,” he answers lightly, keeping my stare as a smile flirts with his mouth.
I hear Bruna’s voice in the back of my mind. What do you see, Jensen?
His eye contact is firm and steady.
He has not itched or scratched anywhere on his body.
His posture is relaxed but firm.
The muscles in his face are not pulled taut, a sign of possible tension or bad motives.
His voice is even and laced with relaxed humor.
Fuck. This man is not nervous in the least.
“What do you want?” My voice is low and deadly, a voice I only use when I’m about to kill someone.
“Do you mind if we talk in private?” Pierce glances at the men standing around him. “No offense,” he apologizes to them.
“Check him,” I order. I wanted to see how brave this man was. “Then fucking leave.” I can tell Pierce would not be stupid enough to try something. Not in that suit.
After my men check him for weapons, Mr. Fucking Mystery sits down at the card table in front of me. I have no idea what he’s about—whether he wants money, hookers, or to do business.
His accent sounded British, but different.
“All right,” I say calmly. “What brings you out here tonight to risk pissing me off? You have ten minutes.”
“I would hate to make you mad, Jensen. Are you?” he asks me, taking the stack of cards and shuffling them.
Am I mad?
This fucker called me Jensen. No one calls me that anymore.
My name is King.
“Not yet,” I say, watching him, trying to see his aim. “What letter?”
I keep my cool. He puts down the cards and pulls out a sparking letter from inside his coat, and I tense up again.
“What the fuck?” I say, frowning. “What the fuck is that?”
The damn thing is glowing. I’m immediately on guard, wondering what chemical is making it glow. As I bore my gaze into him, I realize he is as calm as ever.
I’m the one losing it, not him.
“Relax,” Pierce says, “and read this. It is an offer—I’m requesting your services.”
“I’m not offering any fucking services. Do you know who the fuck I am?” I ask. A part of me is stunned by his boldness, and another part admires it.
Pierce reshuffles the deck of cards. “Jensen King, son of Bruna and Rau King. Your mother still lives but suffers from dementia in a nursing home, and your father died from foul play.
“You have a gift for reading people, hypersensitive to detail. I’m here to make a deal with you.”
“So you have done research,” I say carefully, knowing it would be hard to find this stuff out without a little investigation. He clearly has the money to hire someone. “A deal? And what would you have that I would want in return?”
“So you have done research,” I say carefully. It would be hard to find this stuff out without a little investigation. He clearly has the money to hire someone. “A deal? And what would you have that I would want in return?”
Pierce leans forward and absently lays out the cards face up. I look at the cards and my eyes immediately shoot back to his, my pulse jumping. I’m two seconds from pulling my gun.
All of the cards are aces.
All of them.
How the fuck?
I had been paying close attention, and I did not catch any quick hand movements to pull something like this off.
“Give me the letter,” I demanded, wondering what I’m dealing with here.
Pierce hands me the letter, and I start to read.
Jensen, you must look at all details before reacting emotionally.
I read over the letter twice, not believing what I’m seeing. My mind tries to make sense of it. I slowly raise my gaze to him. “Now I see why this letter was not given to me.”
Pierce leans back in his chair. “Fate wants you, for whatever reason, and I take that very seriously. And…I think you are perfect for this. I always have a hunch. “My hunches”—he pauses with a pointed look—“are rarely wrong.”
“You’re out of your fucking mind. How did you find out about Tony? You have five minutes to tell me how you know about that night.”
I whisper the threat, my vision wanting to tunnel.
Fairy Godmother Inc.? The letter states they are sorry for my traumatic upbringing. A boy should never have their childhood stripped from him like that.
What the fuck?!
The letter also says that Tony did not blame me for what happened.
That crosses the line.
“Jensen.” Pierce leans forward. “Did you read the part about being an agent for us?”
“To find true love? And compete against other men?!” I yell, also leaning forward, smiling. “Traveling to a different world? Do I look like a fucking moron?”
This man is more insane than me.
“Well, to be clear, I know the aspect of love will not interest you. You’re not required to fall in love, Jensen,” Pierce says, his gaze steady and confident.
“But, for whatever reason, Fate wants you. Reality is stranger than fiction, and you’re about to get a crash course in it.”
I swallow. My training says the man is not lying. But that’s impossible.
Pierce continues. “My offer is this.” He takes out a device, and immediately a virtual image is projected into the air. My pulse jumps to life, never having seen technology like it.
Something Russian, perhaps?
“Do you recognize this?” Pierce asks, eyeing me, his face like a sly fox.
My heart is pounding as I look at the image. Then I frown.
“That’s my…” I pause, trying to get my thoughts in order. “That’s my vault at the Golden Lion.” I glare at Pierce, knowing this is blackmail. “Tell me what the fuck is going on!”
Pierce waves his hand, and a different image is displayed. My heart rate goes from zero to a hundred. A group of people, in all black, are lowering down from the ceiling of the vault.
“What the fuck?!”
“They are robbing you, Jensen. Five hundred million, in fact,” Pierce says carefully. “And they will get away with it.”
I look at him, seeing red, breathing hard. “You’re blackmailing me?!”
He sighs. “Never. Just motivating you.”
“These are your men? You son of a bitch!”
I reach for my gun, but Pierce chuckles and dusts something off his sleeve, calm as ever.
“Definitely not,” he says. “Earthly money does nothing for me where I’m from. This is not my doing—more you having some ambitious enemies.”
At a boiling point, I stand slowly. “I will kill you.”
“Jensen,” Pierce says calmly, looking up at me. “You work for me for three months, and I will ring the alarm right now and save your millions.”
I stare at him, trying to tamp down my anger. Jensen, never let your emotions rule you. That is when you make mistakes, I hear Bruna in my mind.
“See?” Pierce waves his hands over the virtual pad. “My agents are ready to bust this heist whenever I give the word. It’s up to you.”
I see four really short people in black SWAT outfits that say FGI on their chests.
I look at Pierce, studying him, not sure what to say or to think. For once, I’m shocked.
“This is not real,” I whisper, watching the men in the virtual display trying to crack the combination with lots of equipment.
Then my eyes widen, recognizing one of them with her long, blond hair coming out of her ski mask. On her neck is a tattoo of a butterfly, and I fucking know.
No fucking way.
The girl I have been loosely dating for six months.
Pierce winks at me. “I don’t make it a habit to prank dangerous men. I have better and more fun things to do than to anger the famed Jensen King.”
I level a hard stare at him. I can’t believe Jenna has been playing me for six months—with her loser cousin, no doubt.
I knew the problem. I was too uninterested to pay her close attention, not caring enough to see the leech right in front of me.
Bruna would be very disappointed.
Then a smile spreads over my face. “Prove it.” I take a calming breath. “How do I know you’re not playing me too?”
Pierce takes a pen out of his suit jacket. “Sign the contract, and I will do more than that. I will change your life.”
I frown, wondering how this man will prove it.
But I’d be lying if I say I’m not insanely curious, because he is not giving off the vibes of a lying little thief.
I look down at the letter. “Three months?”
I want to laugh at how absurd his proposition is. I could just kill him and burn the contact if it turned out to be some sick swindle. But I honestly want to see what this loony will do.
“Make the call first.”
“You sign first.”
He’s confident. So intriguing—most people show signs of apprehension when disagreeing with me.
I look down at the glowing letter and back up at Pierce, then at the fuckers robbing me on the virtual display. “I will gut you if you try anything.”
“I wouldn’t expect anything less,” he says, and I hear the amusement laced through the cool tones in his voice.
I’m too curious now. I sign the contract, knowing I will end up burning it anyway.
But an odd flash of nerves crashes over me as I look back up at Pierce, at the man who has gotten me to do something I would never do normally.
Five hundred million dollars is motivating, I’ll give him that.
Pierce smiles and touches his ear, making me frown. “Ring the alarm, Chad. And tell Steven he didn’t have to knock out the crew in the van that hard.”
Pierce turns toward me and whispers, “My team has more of your enemies in the black SUVs three blocks from the casino.”
What the fuck? My pulse jumps as I watch Pierce talk to his people. He turns, rubbing between his eyes.
“They will be high for days, making it hard for the police to interrogate them. Just—I know, just tell Steven it’s a warning. Right. Tell Dion we are ready for extraction. Our last player is ready.”
Pierce winks at me.
“The fuck?” I stand, pulling out my gun. “You were bugged?!”
My men searched him!
Pierce nods to the virtual screen. “Your friends are not going to be happy here in a second.”
I see those short little people climb on top of one another like it’s a damn circus, then kick one of the alarms, making the entire security system go off. Then, like magic, they disappear.
My heart pounds as I watch Jenna’s men freak out, wondering who pulled the alarm, trying to abort their heist.
Everyone for themselves.
I look at Pierce. “You weren’t lying…” I trail off, feeling my skin start to tingle. “How did you know they were going to do this?”
This…this can’t be happening.
“Take a deep breath, Jensen,” Pierce says as I look at him with wide eyes, my pulse hammering at the new sensations in my body.
“What’s happening?” I get out before my vision starts to blacken.
“Welcome to Fairy Godmother Inc.”
It was the last thing I heard.
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