I adore Karina Cooper’s Dark Mission books. They’re dark paranormal romance. There’s magic and witches and government shenanigans. Oh, and lots of tension-fueled romance. The final book, One for the Wicked, comes out in April, but there will be a sexy, all-money-goes-to-charity novella called Wicked Lies releasing on March 5. It features Jonas (you’ll see him below) and gets him an appropriate happily ever after.
In the meantime, Karina has shared this missive from Simon to Parker. These two are favorites of mine because of their big-time push-and-pull relationship. They’re featured in Sacrifice the Wicked.
I don’t care if you see this, but you’ve got to promise she won’t. Not until she has to.
Jonas Stone hunched over his computer, staring at the text filling one portion of his always filled screen. The faint blue glow of the monitors arrayed in front of him were all the light he allowed himself; all the light he needed.
This sucked. It worse than sucked. Simon’s orders had been clear, and God knew Jonas owed the man his life and then some, but this wasn’t the way he’d envisioned paying the man back.
“I promise,” he said aloud, repeating what he’d told Simon over the comm line. It was all he’d been able to get out around the lump filling his throat.
Parker, the letter began. Innocent. Abrupt. Lacking all the formality Jonas knew the ex-Mission Director had demanded her agents use. So very Simon.
Please, God, he thought, unable to tear his eyes away from the text. To let go of the edge of the desk he held because if he didn’t hold onto something, he was afraid he’d punch something. Hurt something. Maybe even cry.
Please, don’t let her have to see this.
He didn’t think he’d ever be able to stand it.
You’re finally reading this. We both know what it means. The world cashed in on the time I’ve borrowed and now I’m dead. No surprise, really. I knew what I was getting into, have known for a long time what my fate would be.
Shit, sweetheart, you know I’m no good with words. At least not the ones that don’t involve getting you naked. I thought if I sat down and really tried to put everything out, it’d come easy. You know, dying man’s last words and all. Seems I’m no better on a keyboard than I am face to face. I guess it says something about me that the only way I can really show you what you mean to me is when we’re both naked and you’re making me lose my mind. Pretty standard guy, huh? With real low longevity value.
What the hell were you thinking, Parker? Why me?
No, that’s not fair. I know the answer to that. It’s the same I answer I find when I ask myself what the fuck possessed me to love you.
It’s who you are. It’s what you represent. God, I close my eyes and I can feel your hair tangled in my fingers. Your skin—it’s so soft, Parker. How do you do that? We’re in the middle of a shit storm and it’s like nothing sticks to you. You’re so beautiful. I fill my hands with your heat, I smell you everywhere I go, and for that moment in time, I’m invincible. While I’m with you, we have forever. I can lose myself in you, fuck, I could drown in you, Parker. Of everything I am leaving behind, you are the memory that hurts so bad I wake up in the middle of the night with it and can’t breathe.
I love you, Parker Adams. You are everything I ever wanted. Never once in my god-forsaken past did I ever even dare to dream of a woman so warm, so strong. Everything they tried to make me, all the shit I ever pulled in the name of something I had no loyalty to, none of it hurt when you looked at me. I just wanted you to look at me. And when you did, I thought, ‘There, Wells. Now you die with some pride.’
Then you loved me.
I want to be furious with you, Parker, but for fuck’s sake, you loved me. I saw it in your face the day you stormed out of that safehouse and, sweetheart, believe me: if I could have torn out my beating heart and sacrificed it to save you that pain, I would have. You loved me and for the first time, I thought that maybe I wasn’t ready to give up after all. I would have given anything to save you, Parker. From the Mission. From this war.
God, I hate this. Everything I’d done, all the lies and betrayals, and you loved me, and I’m dying anyway. I wanted to save you from more pain, yet here we are. I’m so much ash and I know that you’ve withdrawn. I know you haven’t cried. You won’t in front of people, and then you’ll get somewhere quiet and realize you don’t know how. I know you, remember? Like you knew me.
Cry, sweetheart. Cry for the both of us. I need you to shed tears for me, and damn me to hell for asking, but I need you still. I’ll never not need you. Cry for me because I need to know that some small part of my existence meant something to the world I thought I hated. I’m such a selfish bastard. You never should have loved me, but you did, and I’m not letting that go.
Don’t forget me. Don’t ever forget the love I had for you. Cry, Parker, and then let me go.
I would have changed the world for you. I can’t, not anymore, but you still can. Don’t lose yourself to my anchor. Remember me, but don’t forget what we were working for. The others need you, too. They’ll need your brilliance and your leadership; hell, they’ll need somebody to crack the whip overhead when they start milling around like idiots again.
I love you. I’ll love you forever. I’ll wait.
I’ll wait for as long as you need, and sweetheart, you make me wait for a long fucking time, do you understand me? A long, full, satisfying time.
You made me a better man.
Setting his jaw, Jonas redoubled efforts he hoped would pay off. Simon’s illness. May’s grandson. Something. Anything. The familiar sound of keys clicking beneath his long fingers, a rapid fire report echoing, filled the empty garage. If the computer’s glow painted silver trails down his cheeks, if the occasional hard sniff peppered the clatter, there was nobody else to notice.
Simon’s letter is now in Jonas’s hands, to be delivered in the unfortunately likely event of his death. If you’ve read Sacrifice the Wicked, then you know how bad it really is.
But I come bearing hope!
Simon’s story continues. In the final book in the Dark Mission series, One for the Wicked, we’ll see what happens to Simon, Parker, Jessie, Silas, Naomi, Phin, and all the others, once and for all. Things are looking so bad, but there’s hope. Frail as it is, there’s hope in the union of people from across the board—witches and hunters, insurgents and those who had sworn a lifetime of devotion to the cause.
As long as people can set aside their differences, there will always be hope.