Black Widow by Jennifer Estep #Excerpt
There’s nothing worse than a cruel, cunning enemy with time to kill—and my murder to plan.
With wicked Fire elemental Mab Monroe long gone, you’d think I could finally catch a break. But someone’s always trying to take me down, either as Gin Blanco or my assassin alter-ago. Now along comes the Spider’s new arch-nemesis, the mysteriously named M. M. Monroe, who is gleefully working overtime to trap me in a sticky web of deceit.
The thing is, I’m not the only target. I can see through the tangled threads enough to know that every bit of bad luck my friends have been having lately is no accident—and that each unfortunate “coincidence” is just one more arrow drawing ever closer to hitting the real bulls-eye. Though new to Ashland, this M. M. Monroe is no stranger to irony, trying to get me, an assassin, framed for murder. Yet, as my enemy’s master plan is slowly revealed, I have a sinking feeling that it will take more than my powerful Ice and Stone magic to stop my whole life from going up in flames.
BLACK WIDOW EXCERPT:
I remained as still as death, scarcely daring to breathe, as I waited and listened, trying to determine if I’d been spotted.
“Do you really think there’s someone out here?” a giant rumbled, his low, deep voice much closer than before.
“I don’t know,” another one muttered back to him. “But Emery thought she saw the sun reflecting off something in the woods. She texted and told me to come check it out.”
Since they hadn’t spied me yet, I slowly, carefully, quietly turned off the directional microphone, so the crackle-crackle of static wouldn’t give me away, and then set it down. I dropped down onto my belly, ignoring the splinters that pricked through my T-shirt and into my stomach, and eased over to the edge of my makeshift tree house, peering out through a rip in the camouflage fabric at the forest floor below.
Sure enough, about ten feet ahead, a large clump of rhododendron bushes rustled, and two giants stepped around it.
Sloppy, sloppy, Gin! I silently cursed myself. I’d been so focused on fiddling with the microphone and trying to hear what Madeline and the others were saying that I’d neglected to keep an eye on the guards patrolling the lawn. Two of them had slipped away from their posts and were now creeping through the woods toward my position, heads swiveling left and right, guns drawn, fingers curled around the triggers, scanning their surroundings for the smallest sign of movement so they could blast the danger into oblivion.
Emery must have seen the sun winking off my binocular lenses as I’d been watching their little lemonade party. But instead of sounding the alarm and sending a platoon of giants after me, she’d been discreet about things, slyly dispatching her men to my position, and hoping to catch me in the act—and then murder me.
I remained absolutely still and silent as the giants swept the woods below. I could have palmed a knife, leaped down from my perch onto their backs, and killed both of them, but I doubted that I could do it quietly enough to keep all the other guards from running in this direction. And if the giants swarmed on my position all at once, well, I’d have a hard time escaping, especially since Emery would no doubt come and lead the charge. She wouldn’t be satisfied until I was trapped—or dead.
MORE IN THE SERIES
My name is Gin, and I kill people.
They call me the Spider. I'm the most feared assassin in the South — when I'm not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride. Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my way — good or bad. I may look hot, but I'm still one of the bad guys. Which is why I'm in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I'm battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction...especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.
Curiosity is definitely going to get me dead one of these days. Probably real soon.
I'm Gin Blanco.
You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I’m retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren’t aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Violet and her grandfather protect their property from an evil coalmining tycoon, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m really retired. So is Detective Donovan Caine. The only honest cop in Ashland is having a real hard time reconciling his attraction to me with his Boy Scout mentality. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I’m a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic thrown in, but my heart isn’t made of solid rock. Luckily, Gin Blanco always gets her man . . . dead or alive.
What kind of assassin works pro bono?
It’s hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most. To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker—Mab’s right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists. At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life.
I’d rather face a dozen lethal assassins any night than deal with something as tricky, convoluted, and fragile as my feelings.
But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assassin known as the Spider. Hovering outside sexy businessman Owen Grayson’s front door like a nervous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past—or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my forehead. Cold-blooded Fire elemental Mab Monroe has hired one of the smartest assassins in the business to trap me. Elektra LaFleur is skilled and efficient, with deadly electrical elemental magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone powers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t survive this battle. I intend to kill LaFleur—or die trying—because Mab wants the assassin to take out my baby sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, too. The only problem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sibling . . . or that I’m the murderer she’s been chasing through Ashland for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead. . . .
Old habits die hard for assassins.
And I plan on murdering someone before the night is through.
Killing used to be my regular gig, after all. Gin Blanco, aka the Spider, assassin-for-hire. And I was very, very good at it. Now, I’m ready to make the one hit that truly matters: Mab Monroe, the dangerous Fire elemental who murdered my family when I was thirteen. Oh, I don’t think the mission will be easy, but turns out it’s a bit more problematic than expected. The bitch knows I’m coming for her. So now I’m up against the army of lethal bounty hunters Mab hired to track me down. She also put a price on my baby sister’s head. Keeping Bria safe is my first priority. Taking Mab out is a close second. Good thing I’ve got my powerful Ice and Stone magic—and my irresistible lover, Owen Grayson—to watch my back. This battle has been years in the making, and there’s a good chance I won’t survive. But if I’m going down, then Mab’s coming with me . . . no matter what I have to do to make that happen.
Gin Blanco, aka the assassin the Spider, might have finally killed her nemesis, Mab Monroe, but that doesn’t mean that it’s smooth sailing. Gin goes to Mab’s funeral to say her goodbyes and runs into some of Ashland’s most notorious underworld power players, including Jonah McAllister and Phillip Kincaid. McAllister wants her dead, and Kincaid has his own murky motives when it comes to the Spider, and Gin once again finds herself fighting for her life. Only this time, she might wind up in the cemetery right next to Mab….
The sixth book in the USA TODAY bestselling Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series featuring Gin Blanco, who by day owns a Tennessee BBQ joint, and by night is a tough female assassin known as the Spider. I never thought I'd need a vacation from being an assassin..
My name is Gin Blanco, and I'm the assassin the Spider. All the Ashland's lowlifes are gunning for me and trying to make a name for themselves by taking out the Spider. So I think it's a good idea to get out of Ashland for a while until things cool down.
So I'm headed south to a swanky beach town, along with my baby sister, Bria, for a weekend of fun in the sun. But when an old friend of Bria's is threatened by a powerful vampire with deadly elemental magic, it looks like I'll have to dig my silverstone knives out of my suitcase after all. But this time, not even my own Ice and Stone power may be enough to save me from coming home in a pine box.
The seventh book in the hugely popular Elemental Assassin series by New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jennifer Estep—Gin Blanco is back and ready for action.
My name is Gin, and I kill people. It’s something I've been doing for years as the assassin called Spider, but now, it’s turned into a necessity on my part just to survive all the lowlifes in Ashland who are gunning for me. The underworld is still in turmoil, and I seem to be on everyone’s hit list these days.
To add to Gin’s problems, her lover Owen’s ex is in town. Salina is back in Ashland to reclaim an old family legacy—and she thinks that Owen is hers for the taking. Also in the mix is Phillip Kincaid, a casino owner and all-around shady character who has a mysterious connection to both Owen and Salina.
Salina might seem like a sweet Southern belle, but there’s more to her than meets the eye. Her water elemental magic makes her a dangerous enemy—and someone who can go toe-to-toe with Gin’s Ice and Stone power. But Gin is determined to get to the bottom of Salina’s deadly scheme, even though it just might cost her everything…including Owen.
The eighth hotly anticipated book in the Elemental Assassin series by New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Estep: it’s Gin Blanco's party—and you’ll cry if she wants you to.
Against her better judgment, Gin is coerced into attending a high society gala with the rest of Ashland's elite underworld. On display: the priceless art collection of her deceased nemesis, Mab Monroe, and an excess of crime boss swagger. While not comfortable in her fancy attire, Gin gets vastly more interested in the evening’s events when a group of thieves bursts in and tries to seize the valuable, dangerous gems. Facing a Die Hard-esque scenario in which she must free hostage partygoers while herself trapped in the museum, things get a little bit messy when the bloodshed begins. Let's just say that Gin should have chosen the red gown…
The New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin series continues with a new e-novella—from the hero’s point of view! Owen Grayson is bound and determined to get Gin back...if her enemies don’t get her first.
When you have a history of dating an assassin, a night out on the town can turn deadly—fast. Owen Grayson is still wracked with guilt over the end of his love affair with Gin Blanco, and there aren’t enough gin and tonics in all of Ashland to ease his heartache. But when Gin happens to show up at the same nightclub, he isn’t the only one hoping to get her alone. Some shadowy figures will do anything to take down the Spider, Gin’s assassin alter ego, and Owen will do anything to protect her. This could be the way to win her back, or at least give her a night off from fighting for her life—if Owen can survive...
The hotly anticipated ninth novel in the hugely popular Elemental Assassin series finds Gin Blanco on a dangerous mission to rescue a friend.
When a terror from the past threatens Gin’s friend and body-disposer, Sophia, Gin will stop at nothing to protect her, even if it means walking straight into a killer’s trap. Meanwhile, the rocky romance between Gin and Owen reaches a turning point—can they reunite and rekindle their love? Or will the things Gin has been forced to do in her line of work as the deadly assassin the Spider keep them apart forever? Assuming, that is, she survives long enough to find out…
For the first time, the full origin story of Gin Blanco's transformation into the fearsome assassin known as the Spider—book ten in the red-hot Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series.
In a prequel tale, Gin Blanco goes through her paces on the way to become the most feared assassin in the Ashland. Her mentor, Fletcher Lane, is not going to go easy on her—if she’s going to become a fearsome killer, she has to learn to use her elemental Stone and Ice powers alongside old-fashioned human street smarts.
In book eleven of her New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin series, author Jennifer Estep continues “one of the best urban fantasy series going on the market” (Fresh Fiction).
Gin Blanco is hard-nosed, sexy, and lethal. Nicknamed “The Spider,” she’s a stone elemental assassin who brings her unique mix of magic and tact to every assignment, no matter the target.
There’s a new drug on the streets of Ashland, and its name “Burn” sums up the potent effect it has on its users. When one of her restaurant employees is threatened by dealers of the drug, Gin steps in to set things straight…
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.
Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. Black Widow, the 12th book in the series, will be released on Nov. 25.
Jennifer also writes the Black Blade young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. She is also the author of the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series and the Bigtime paranormal romance series.
For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.