Unemployed with no prospects, Dorian Wells is a young man trying desperately to stay afloat and be a good father to his toddler son. While already struggling to pay the bills and earn proper visitation with his child, Dorian’s tumultuous life is thrown into further upheaval when his mother is suddenly hospitalized.
On the verge of losing everything, it seems Dorian finally has a stroke of luck when he inadvertently learns of a potential opportunity with Jakkaru, a decadent, cut-throat organization that pays handsomely by the body count. Dorian’s lifelong friend, Rafe Ibadiah, is his ticket into Jakkaru and soon Dorian is training to be a professional hitman. But learning how to properly kill for a living is not as easy as it seems, and he quickly discovers the short arms of theory are a far reach from reality as the harrowing journey makes him question everything he believes.
The final test before full acceptance into Jakkaru is a contract Dorian must complete alone. Delivered to him via a small red envelope, the name inside propels the stakes of this dangerous game higher than ever before. Dorian will sacrifice anything for his son, but it’s not until he is ordered to do the unthinkable that he grasps the horrific depth of his commitment.
Award-winning author, K. Baskett, expertly weaves a chilling tale of suspense in Envelope: Red that culminates in a shocking look at the prickly nuances of loyalty. Gritty and authentic, Dorian’s story is ultimately a poignant examination of the human condition – what lies within the heart of us all.
The butler goes to the corner of the room where a small stand holds a glass carafe of water and crystal goblets. He pours some and hands the glass to me, then exits the room, clicking the door quietly closed behind him.
I take a shaky sip, and my parched lips scream with relief. The cool water helps to alleviate my perspiration as well, which has already thoroughly embarrassed me.
“Welcome, Dorian,” says the man seated behind the desk. He is large and stocky, with a bald head and bad skin. He observes me through black, beady eyes that don’t seem to blink. “I am Mr Black, and this is my colleague, Mr Red.” He indicates the man flanking his ornate leather chair. Mr Red nods at me slightly. He is reedy with delicate wireframe glasses perched on his beaky nose.
“H-hello,” I stutter, biting down nervous laughter at the absurdity of their names. My hands tremble so badly I am very nearly spilling my glass of water. I set it down gingerly on the small table beside my chair.
“We understand you are here because you’re interested in becoming a member of our prestigious organization,” Mr Black begins.
“I see,” Mr Black says thoughtfully. “Well, as I’m sure you might imagine, we have to know a few things about anyone seeking to join our ranks. Therefore, we have taken the liberty to peek into your background.”
My saliva dries up, making my tongue swell like a blowfish and stick to the roof of my mouth.
Mr Red lifts an iPad from the desk and begins to read from it. “Dorian Wells, age twenty-five. No siblings. Both parents deceased; most recently the mother, Verona Marshall, from an advanced case of septicemia. One son, Josiah Wells, just turned two. Josiah’s mother, Milan Carter, age twenty-three. No significant work history, just a few minimum wage jobs here and there. Once matriculated at the local community college but no degree. Currently unemployed. Recently granted a full visitation schedule for son, Josiah, by the family court. Girlfriend, Sekoya Williams, age twenty-nine; dating for about a year.” Mr Red stops reading from the iPad and looks directly at me. “Congratulations.”
My stomach is turning somersaults hearing all this detailed intimate information; it’s so surreal. The main thing that sticks out in my mind is that he said, ‘both parents deceased.’ I don’t even know who my father is, and they apparently have not only identified him, but also discovered he is dead. I’m not sure what to say after this recitation, but I can tell they are waiting for me to speak, so I murmur, “Yes, sir. That’s me.”
Mr Black laces his pudgy fingers together on top of the desk. “You should know, Dorian: that was the summarized version.”
Jack of all trades, master of none – save for the art of procrastination – K. Baskett lives by the motto, “Never do today what can be put off until tomorrow.” K. firmly believes that you aren’t really interested in the author’s hometown, spouse, children or pets, and has therefore decided to spare you the details. No Greater Illusion is the author’s award-winning debut novel. Envelope: Red is the gritty suspense-thriller with a heart-pounding conclusion.
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