Watercolour Smile (Seraph Black Book 2)

By: Jane Washington

Seraph Black Series Book Two

I want her to touch me.

I spent the last month perfecting a gift for her, but now I’m getting ahead of myself… wondering what it will be like to debase her. Not like that. Debase her; degrade her; strip away the things that make her strong, that define her. Like an apple, you know? If you have any idea what kind of pesticides cling to the skin of an apple, you would appreciate the virtue of peeling it all away. I want to pick apart her polluted exterior and when I reveal the fleshy underside of her human condition, she will be born again… mine. Her eyes will crack open with the fresh sight of a newborn, and mine will be the first face that she sees.

The only face that she sees.

She will say my name…

“Oi! You going to pay for that?”

I tightened my grip on the bag of fertilizer, hoisting it onto the counter.

“Sorry. Daydreaming.” I offered the guy a smile, making sure to tamp back on the intensity. It was tiresome to pander to strangers this way… but it was necessary. A twist of the lips, the flash of a dimpled cheek, just enough of a squint to imply that happiness was weighted in my stare… and they relaxed. Like magic.

His attention skittered to the fertilizer as he counted out my cash, the annoyance already running away from his features. What an easy-going twat.

“No problem,” he said. “Doing some gardening?”

“Not really.” I smiled once more, and he smiled back, as though I had told a joke.

“Enjoy your afternoon!” He watched enthusiastically as I hefted the bag over my shoulder before he turned to the next customer: an ordinary numbskull, who had reached the age in which men trade in their hair for an over-generous portion of fat.

I allowed my smile to filter away as I got back to my truck. That would never be me; that fat, happy, dumb man. I tossed the bag beneath the tarpaulin that covered the back of my truck—on top of the other bags that already lined the tray. It was crazy the lengths that I had to go to just to make a decent bomb, these days. Different stores, different credit cards, different names. There is always someone watching, someone monitoring where you go and what you buy. The gift of modern freedom, I supposed. Freedom simply wasn’t as free as it used to be.

Things had been much easier when I was a child… Seraph used to love my fireworks.

Punching the dial for the radio, I cranked down my windows and geared the truck back onto the highway, settling in for the drive home. An alert on my phone sounded just as a pocket-sized, pink hatchback blasted past my truck, distracting me. I pressed a button for my phone to announce the notification.

You have a new message, my self-built automated system told me.

“Play,” I replied.

You aren’t going to want to hear this, but our tail on the boy ran into some trouble—Silas must be running interference.

“Reply,” I ground out, as my phone finished reading out the message.

Please state your message.

“What the fuck do you mean, trouble? What kind of trouble?”

Do you mean: ‘Luck’?

“No. I meant fuck.”

Sending: ‘What the duck do you mean, trouble? What kind of trouble?’

“I need to fix your vocabulary.”

I waited, tapping my fingers impatiently on the steering wheel as another miniscule car tried to pass me. I swerved, cutting it off, and the woman leaned on her horn for as long as it took for her to realise that I hadn’t been intending to merge, and then for the second longer it took for her to glance up into my window. After that she backed the hell off and decidedly to meekly follow my snails-pace a good distance behind me. She was probably on the phone to the police, but they wouldn’t care. They had better things to investigate, like the pyrotechnic fuse blasting caps that went missing from the nearby quarry in Arlington just this morning and were now packed under my passenger seat.

You have a new message, my phone piped up.


He’s dead.


Please state your message.

“How dead, Dominic? All he had to do was win the boy over before the Adairs or Quillans get scared and decide to keep him with Seraph. I’m going to be seriously pissed off if they get him. I need him.”

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