Michael Sykora is my beloved hit man. When I started writing No Justice, his first book, I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to make him likable. In the end, I didn’t make him anything. He did that himself. And, happily, readers have responded to him much as I have. He’s our lovable killer.
Today I’m sharing a snippet from No Justice, featuring one of my favorite minor characters. Her name is Ruby, and she is Michael’s surrogate mother as well as his secretary. She doesn’t know he kills people as a side job, though she would likely still love him anyway. This scene is from early in the book, so I’m not giving away anything you wouldn’t learn at the start.
Michael pushed a strand of blond hair off his forehead. Five days ago he had celebrated his 34th birthday by blowing up a car, along with a human being. If people knew that about him, would they see him the way they saw Bruce Renwick? A man to be despised? Feared? Put away in a cage and forgotten about?
He wondered about that with a vague sort of detachment. What most people thought of him meant nothing. He valued their opinion about as much as he valued dog shit on the bottom of his shoe. Scrape it off and go on your way.
Ruby nudged his office door open and poked her head inside. She had skin the color of cocoa and a body that had stored too many donuts. And he loved her the way he imagined that most people loved their mothers.
Ruby’s eyes always danced with delight, as if she was privy to a magical secret. Looking at her, you just had to smile. And he did that now as he said, “Hi Ruby.”
“Well?” she said.
“Well?” he said back.
She moved into the room and planted her fists on oversized hips. “Michael Sykora, don’t you be giving me no lip.”
He tried to bite back his growing smile. “Wouldn’t dream of it,” he said.
“A good looking guy like you ain’t got no business being single,” she said. “You sit here holed up in this office like the world would tilt wrong if you weren’t looking.”
“I go out.”
She wagged a finger at him. “Business trips, business meetings. They don’t count. When’s the last time you had dinner with a lady that made butterflies flutter around your stomach?”
Michael didn’t have to think about that. The answer was two years, three months, and five days ago. The last time he’d seen Christina alive. She’d been brutally murdered that night. And his world had turned on its axis.
“You promised you’d quit early tonight,” Ruby continued. “Call Isaac. Go out and have some fun.”
Of all the people in the world, Ruby was one of the few whose opinion of him did matter. He wished he could be honest, tell her what he did during his so-called business meetings and business trips. Oddly enough, she’d probably understand. Two years ago, on that same night he’d lost his fiancé, Ruby had lost her pregnant daughter-in-law. Isaac, her son, had lost his wife and unborn child. Therefore Ruby understood the need for retaining balance in this world.
Michael shook those thoughts off. He said, “I’ll call him.”
“His shift ended at four,” she said. “He’s home now.”
“Okay, I get it. I’ll call him this minute.”
Ruby winked and said, “About time you got some sense about you.”
Here’s a look at No Justice, the first in the series:
For Michael Sykora, killing started as blind rage. Then it became something he’s good at. To most of those who know him, Michael is a software designer, a smart but average guy with a workaholic nature. To a chosen few, Michael is a part-time hit man whose specialty is eliminating hard-core criminals.
Michael has managed to keep his two personas separate. Until now. When Nicki, a close friend, gets into trouble, Michael steps in to help. Having lost his fiance to a brutal crime, Michael will do whatever necessary to keep from losing another woman in his life.
Thanks for reading. 🙂