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It Had to Be You

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Two contract killers, each with a hit out on the other, must fight their growing attraction as they face off in an epic game of lust and murder across Western Europe.

When Eva and Jonathan hook up on the sleeper train from Florence to Paris, they think they’ll never see each other again. Which is too bad, because neither has ever felt a spark like this for another person. But love isn’t on the agenda in their line of work. 

Six months later, they run into each other in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. This encounter is not by chance, because Eva has been hired to kill Jonathan. She’s a contract killer, but what she doesn’t know is that he is too.

Their meeting kicks off a high-stakes adventure across Western Europe. There will be tourism. There will be bodies.  Eva and Jonathan might even fall for each other.

As the two get closer to completing their assignments, it becomes clear that they are also being hunted—by something even more dangerous than love. . . .
1

Eva

I've heard that killing someone is like falling in love. But I wouldn't know. I've never done it. Fall in love, I mean. That's for lunatics.

I see him on the sleeper train from Florence to Paris. He's standing there-now, right now-on the other side of the glass, trying to peer in through the mirrored window, and I think, I wish we could stay like this forever.

This is the exact relationship I want. I can see him but he can't see me. He's attractive, but especially attractive is the expression he wears because he thinks nobody can see him. His expression says, It's the end of the world, this is the worst day of my life and I'm stuck in a sleeper compartment with seven other people.

Hard same.

I can almost see him debating, Can I just stand for twelve hours? Contemplating, How did I end up here?

No one takes the sleeper train anymore. I'm here only because it's harder to hide weapons on an international flight. Not impossible, but harder.

I could find all the weapons I want in Paris, but the longer you work this job, the more superstitious you get. I guess everyone gets superstitious when someone dies, especially when you're the one killing them.

He takes a step back. I think he might leave, walk down the aisle, maybe hang in the dining car.

It's actually me who opens the door. Sometimes I do things without thinking. Hazard of a job that's based on instinct. I want. I do. It happens. Just like that.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't see you there." I've been staring at him for the past two minutes, but I'm so convincing that I half believe myself.

His face changes the moment he sees me, like I'm the whole world watching, expecting some kind of performance. Suddenly his expression is bland, almost meek. He's over six feet tall and borderline hulking, but with me in his sights, he's Clark Kent.

"Oh, no, I'm sorry. I wasn't sure if there was space in the car." He pushes his glasses up on his nose.

Let it be known that the seats are assigned.

I hold the door open. "We're the first ones here. But I checked the stubs; it's a full car." There are little ticket stubs above every seat, so everyone knows exactly where they belong.

He hesitates, as if caught between his performance of politeness and train angst.

"First time on a sleeper?" I ask.

"It's not that," he says.

"Anything I can help with?" I don't like to pry. It's true. I love to pry.

"Probably not." He has a suitcase behind him, so utilitarian that I assume he works in tech and wants people to know it.

I'm very good at reading people. This guy works out-a lot. He's wearing a suit he either has borrowed or can't afford to replace; it's loose and tight in all the wrong places. He probably took the train because he's actually broke. Or because he's too broad to fit comfortably in an airplane seat. He's favoring his right shoulder. He keeps his arm slightly cocked, as if bracing for impact.

He's not my usual type, which intrigues me. It's always better to choose a type that isn't yours. Call it an insurance policy.

I step back so he can move past me. He seems to think I'm much bigger than I am, because he hits the doorframe trying to avoid me, then hisses slightly through his teeth. It's obvious he's extremely uncomfortable being a human, which I find attractive.

"Do you want me to help you with your bags?" I ask.

I don't wait for him to answer. I grab the handle of his big wheeled suitcase and start to pull. It doesn't move. It's much heavier than I expected.

"I can get that," he says, but now it's a challenge.

"I got it." I engage my muscles and roll it neatly through the door. "What do you have in there?"

"Uh, computers." Called it.

He frowns at the bag like it's the bane of his existence. I can understand. If I had a bag that heavy, I'd dump it in the Arno.

"You don't want to leave it in the luggage racks?" I left all my bags on the racks-black, nondescript, with nothing in them that ties back to me, unless you recognize the custom satin finish on my Glock.

"No." He stows it neatly under the seats.

"You've done this before."

"I don't like planes," he says, pushing his glasses up again. They keep sliding down. At first I thought it was because he doesn't normally wear them. I thought he was trying to look smarter. But I can see the variation in lens thickness-he's practically blind in his right eye-and then I realize they're falling because they're bent.

"Here." I reach for his glasses, slide them off his nose and quickly adjust them. "Everyone's face is crooked in a slightly different way."

I go to put them back on him but he is completely frozen. I can be too familiar with people sometimes. I know so much about them-heart rates and arteries and pressure points-that I sometimes feel this false sense of intimacy, as if I can wind them up like toys.

"Sorry," I say, handing him the glasses instead of putting them on his nose.

He swallows, seems uncertain. Of what, I don't know. He hesitates before he puts them on. When he does, they're perfect.

"See?" I say, as if that justifies everything.

"Thank you," he says, and then he takes the seat farthest from me. I don't think it's even his seat. He surreptitiously takes the tab off and lets it fall into a crack.

It's so weird how total strangers can casually devastate you. Not that I really care. I don't really care about anything. It's just easier sometimes to care deeply about things that don't matter.

"I get motion sickness," he says because he knows that I noticed him removing the tab. "I have to be close to the door." And it's suddenly so fucking awkward between us. It's shocking, actually, how awkward interactions with complete strangers can sometimes be.

"I don't care where you sit," I say, which only makes it more awkward. I should reassure him that I like the window. We could smile at each other, delight in our unique preferences, ruminate on our beautiful differences, but instead I just take my seat. Placating people is such a chore.

I look out the window and into the train station. It's eight p.m. and the crowd is starting to thin, get drunk and tired and hopeless. I should've just taken a plane.

"Six more people, huh?" he says. He's pacifying me, trying to smooth things over. Like the world might end if two strangers don't get along.

I sigh. Six more people. The train is almost full. I ran a check before I came to our car. There are open seats scattered here and there, but no real space. It's the law of assassins: Everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes it's eight p.m. at the end of a depressing weekend in Florence. Unless.

"You know," I say, "there is something we could try . . ."

He shifts uncomfortably. I'm starting to suspect he really doesn't like me. It's almost like he knows me.

I nearly say Never mind to let him off the hook-but why should I? I'm out here solving his problems for fun, and he's looking at me like I'm presumptuous.

"I'm sure it will be fine," he says, saintly in his repaired glasses.

The compartment door slides open. An Italian woman comes in. I'm relieved. Maybe she can break the spell. Maybe this guy and I can both stop trying to be nice to each other now. I thought he was cute at first, but this is getting too messy. I want to hook up with men who worship me completely. Otherwise it's kind of a waste of my time.

Of course this woman is the passenger whose tab he removed. It's fun watching him squirm as she looks at her ticket and the seat number-for so long, the story of it might constitute an epic-while we watch.

"I think I'm . . . ," she starts, but drifts off when she looks at him. He has a drift off face.

"They always bungle these things, don't they?" he says in perfectly accented Italian. I recognize his strategy immediately-blame them, those damn train people.

"They always do!" the woman agrees. "It took me two hours on the phone to arrange my ticket! My granddaughter had to help me! We had a ticket booked for Monday, but I need to be in Paris by Monday and I didn't realize I needed to book for the day before. Well, it was such a mess!"

It's a tedious story but we all listen because we're all here together for the next twelve hours. At around ten o'clock we'll pull out the beds and sleep on racks like corpses. Dead bodies are all laid to rest with strangers, too. Life is chance more than anything else. So is death.

"I'm sorry," he says. "That sounds like such a nightmare." He is using his pleasant voice. He didn't use it with me.

The woman has moved on from her problem with the seats. She realizes there is an open seat beside him, so maybe it's not all that bad. "I suppose I'll just sit here-what difference does it make?" She takes the seat. He shrinks in a very convincing way to make room. I bet he regrets not sitting next to me now. At least, I hope he does.

I can't help smiling as she slots in beside him, from the bottom of her thigh to the top of her shoulder. So cozy. He catches me smiling. To my surprise, he smiles back.

I feel something catch between my legs, like he's been fishing down there all this time.

He quickly stows his smile away, lest I forget I've decided not to like him.

The other passengers all come at once.

Two young Italian men. An American businessman. An older Englishman. A young Frenchwoman. A partridge in a pear tree. All in this one little train car.

Glasses Guy catches my eyes again. He is now crammed against the wall, looking exceptionally pale and miserable. Still, his eyes are almost hopeful when they meet mine. Like everything that happens from here on out is an inside joke between us. Like we are the only two people in the world who understand the absurdity of this exact circumstance. We were here first. Everyone else is part of our story.

It's so weird how certain people in your life just stick out. How you can go for years and years not meeting one. How you can convince yourself they don't exist. That it was something that happened when you were young. That it'll never happen again. That you were made of magic once, but you aren't magic now. And then, suddenly, you look across a train car and see someone sticking out like a page that's misaligned in the book of your life.

An Italian voice comes over the speaker system, telling us the train is about to depart. The lights flicker. There is this dragging sensation beneath our feet. He flinches. The train jerks. It rolls out of the station and into the night.

Our eyes meet every so often. He's super miserable now. He seems like he's in real, physical pain. When the woman beside him jerks with laughter-she's talking on the phone. When the train jolts. Even when the lights flicker. Still, he seems okay with this, like he wants to suffer as much as possible. To get his money's worth.

But eventually he seems overwhelmed. He's pale as paper. His eyelids flutter occasionally. I think he might throw up, which is one way to clear a compartment. I imagine the two of us alone with his vomit. I'd stay. Puke doesn't really bother me. I see it a lot in my line of work.

Eventually he extracts himself from his seat-calmly, efficiently-and walks out the door. The train jolts. He lurches against the doorframe, then catches himself and disappears down the aisle.

2

Jonathan

I am always attracted to women at the worst possible times. When they are married, and I am assigned to kill their husbands. Or today, when I have been shot.

My heart is hammering so hard, so fast. Then it stops. That is the worst part.

It hangs its heartstrings up for one . . . two . . . three seconds. I think it is never coming back. My heartbeat, I did not know I loved it so much, and then:

Bam! It starts up again with a stabbing jolt.

I am dying. It is not the first time. In some ways I have learned to enjoy it, the musicality of the world refreshing and receding. The subtle interplay. Life. The absence of it.

There is no afterlife. I know that for certain because I have died before. Four times. I have died and been brought back-always against my will. I black out. I wake up in a hospital. That is all death is. A break between being alive.

Unless you do not come back.

I leave the train car. I stalk down the aisle toward the toilet. My cheeks are burning up. My hands are numb. My heart is beating too fast, and then flick, it stops.

I fall sideways.

Smack!

My temple hits the wall, which brings me around, blinking, heart beating. Alive.

Now on the ground. The train is coursing like blood over the tracks beneath me. I can feel the vibrations all through me. They rattle my teeth.

A woman in red shoes is peering down at me. "Are you all right?" she says in French.

"Yes," I say back in French. "Sorry."

She scowls at me. I apologize again. I drag myself to my feet. I try to look repentant.

I am dying, and I am so goddamn sorry about it.

When I finally make it into the bathroom and shut the door, all my pain and nausea, and frankly, all my disgust with the entire situation, come screaming to the surface. Now that no one is watching, I can really fucking die.

I grip the sink. I want to splash water on my face, but I seem unable to let the sink go. My knuckles are white. My hands are shaking. I cannot even look up. I stare into the small silver bowl.

I will myself not to die. You can do it. You just have to believe in yourself.

The train veers left. I fall right.
“If you’re the kind of reader who enjoys unique romance novels with an edge, a whole lot of unpredictable twists, and the idea of a seasoned assassins traveling across Europe and falling for the person they’re supposed to kill, this is the book for you! A humorously dark, upsettingly sexy, unique love story about the horrors and delights of being seen as who we really are—with lots of swords and plenty of smut!”
Ali Hazelwood, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love, Theoretically

"Seductively tense and scandalously hot! It Had To Be You swept me into a star-crossed, hopelessly romantic game of cat and mouse, and I loved every twisted minute of it."
Elle Cosimano, New York Times bestselling author of Finlay Donovan Is Killing It
 
"Twisty-turny, slyly funny, and hot as hell—It Had to Be You by Eliza Jane Brazier had me on the edge of my seat. The writing is as sharp as an assassin's blade, the chemistry between the two rival contract killers absolutely explosive. I had no idea what was about to happen next but I knew I was along for the ride!"
Alicia Thompson, USA Today bestselling author of Love in the Time of Serial Killers  

“Just when I thought I couldn't love Brazier's writing any more, she releases It Had to Be You!! Sizzling chemistry, paired with wild plot twists, makes this book impossible to put down—and to forget! 25/10 would recommend!”
Lynn Painter, New York Times bestselling author of Happily Never After

"A slick and sexy international caper of a novel that will leave you gasping for breath in more ways than one. Brazier bestows us with a cute couple of contract killers to root for, but which side will you be on—love or death?"
Rachel Koller Croft, author of Stone Cold Fox

“A twenty-first century O. Henry but more badass—and decidedly feminist—Eliza Jane Brazier is bringing her phenomenal talents to romance.”
Elizabeth Everett, author of The Secret Scientists of London series

“With all the sexy romance of Before Sunrise, plus the twisty, cat and mouse fun of Killing Eve, It Had to Be You is the perfect steamy summer thriller. I had so much fun following Eliza Jane Brazier's fun, sexy assassins all over Europe, I never wanted it to end. This book will get your pulse racing—for more than one reason.”
Halley Sutton, USA Today bestselling author of The Hurricane Blonde

“Brazier elevates a familiar Mr. and Mrs. Smith–style premise to frenzied heights in this entertaining spy romance… Alternating between the often-unreliable viewpoints of Eva and Jonathan, Brazier delivers exhilarating action, steamy romance, and enough twists to keep the pages flying. It’s a blast.”
Publishers Weekly

“As with her previous novels, Brazier demonstrates she isn’t afraid to flirt with the darker side of the thriller, and here gives romantic suspense a hard-edged makeover. Expertly switching the narrative between her two protagonists, the author fashions a high-adrenaline, twisty plot.” 
Library Journal

"Eliza Jane Brazier is quickly becoming a favorite, and the newest title from her has a perfect premise."
Crime Reads
© Beverly Brooks
Eliza Jane Brazier is an author, screenwriter, and journalist. She currently lives in California, where she is developing her books for television. View titles by Eliza Jane Brazier

About

Two contract killers, each with a hit out on the other, must fight their growing attraction as they face off in an epic game of lust and murder across Western Europe.

When Eva and Jonathan hook up on the sleeper train from Florence to Paris, they think they’ll never see each other again. Which is too bad, because neither has ever felt a spark like this for another person. But love isn’t on the agenda in their line of work. 

Six months later, they run into each other in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. This encounter is not by chance, because Eva has been hired to kill Jonathan. She’s a contract killer, but what she doesn’t know is that he is too.

Their meeting kicks off a high-stakes adventure across Western Europe. There will be tourism. There will be bodies.  Eva and Jonathan might even fall for each other.

As the two get closer to completing their assignments, it becomes clear that they are also being hunted—by something even more dangerous than love. . . .

Excerpt

1

Eva

I've heard that killing someone is like falling in love. But I wouldn't know. I've never done it. Fall in love, I mean. That's for lunatics.

I see him on the sleeper train from Florence to Paris. He's standing there-now, right now-on the other side of the glass, trying to peer in through the mirrored window, and I think, I wish we could stay like this forever.

This is the exact relationship I want. I can see him but he can't see me. He's attractive, but especially attractive is the expression he wears because he thinks nobody can see him. His expression says, It's the end of the world, this is the worst day of my life and I'm stuck in a sleeper compartment with seven other people.

Hard same.

I can almost see him debating, Can I just stand for twelve hours? Contemplating, How did I end up here?

No one takes the sleeper train anymore. I'm here only because it's harder to hide weapons on an international flight. Not impossible, but harder.

I could find all the weapons I want in Paris, but the longer you work this job, the more superstitious you get. I guess everyone gets superstitious when someone dies, especially when you're the one killing them.

He takes a step back. I think he might leave, walk down the aisle, maybe hang in the dining car.

It's actually me who opens the door. Sometimes I do things without thinking. Hazard of a job that's based on instinct. I want. I do. It happens. Just like that.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't see you there." I've been staring at him for the past two minutes, but I'm so convincing that I half believe myself.

His face changes the moment he sees me, like I'm the whole world watching, expecting some kind of performance. Suddenly his expression is bland, almost meek. He's over six feet tall and borderline hulking, but with me in his sights, he's Clark Kent.

"Oh, no, I'm sorry. I wasn't sure if there was space in the car." He pushes his glasses up on his nose.

Let it be known that the seats are assigned.

I hold the door open. "We're the first ones here. But I checked the stubs; it's a full car." There are little ticket stubs above every seat, so everyone knows exactly where they belong.

He hesitates, as if caught between his performance of politeness and train angst.

"First time on a sleeper?" I ask.

"It's not that," he says.

"Anything I can help with?" I don't like to pry. It's true. I love to pry.

"Probably not." He has a suitcase behind him, so utilitarian that I assume he works in tech and wants people to know it.

I'm very good at reading people. This guy works out-a lot. He's wearing a suit he either has borrowed or can't afford to replace; it's loose and tight in all the wrong places. He probably took the train because he's actually broke. Or because he's too broad to fit comfortably in an airplane seat. He's favoring his right shoulder. He keeps his arm slightly cocked, as if bracing for impact.

He's not my usual type, which intrigues me. It's always better to choose a type that isn't yours. Call it an insurance policy.

I step back so he can move past me. He seems to think I'm much bigger than I am, because he hits the doorframe trying to avoid me, then hisses slightly through his teeth. It's obvious he's extremely uncomfortable being a human, which I find attractive.

"Do you want me to help you with your bags?" I ask.

I don't wait for him to answer. I grab the handle of his big wheeled suitcase and start to pull. It doesn't move. It's much heavier than I expected.

"I can get that," he says, but now it's a challenge.

"I got it." I engage my muscles and roll it neatly through the door. "What do you have in there?"

"Uh, computers." Called it.

He frowns at the bag like it's the bane of his existence. I can understand. If I had a bag that heavy, I'd dump it in the Arno.

"You don't want to leave it in the luggage racks?" I left all my bags on the racks-black, nondescript, with nothing in them that ties back to me, unless you recognize the custom satin finish on my Glock.

"No." He stows it neatly under the seats.

"You've done this before."

"I don't like planes," he says, pushing his glasses up again. They keep sliding down. At first I thought it was because he doesn't normally wear them. I thought he was trying to look smarter. But I can see the variation in lens thickness-he's practically blind in his right eye-and then I realize they're falling because they're bent.

"Here." I reach for his glasses, slide them off his nose and quickly adjust them. "Everyone's face is crooked in a slightly different way."

I go to put them back on him but he is completely frozen. I can be too familiar with people sometimes. I know so much about them-heart rates and arteries and pressure points-that I sometimes feel this false sense of intimacy, as if I can wind them up like toys.

"Sorry," I say, handing him the glasses instead of putting them on his nose.

He swallows, seems uncertain. Of what, I don't know. He hesitates before he puts them on. When he does, they're perfect.

"See?" I say, as if that justifies everything.

"Thank you," he says, and then he takes the seat farthest from me. I don't think it's even his seat. He surreptitiously takes the tab off and lets it fall into a crack.

It's so weird how total strangers can casually devastate you. Not that I really care. I don't really care about anything. It's just easier sometimes to care deeply about things that don't matter.

"I get motion sickness," he says because he knows that I noticed him removing the tab. "I have to be close to the door." And it's suddenly so fucking awkward between us. It's shocking, actually, how awkward interactions with complete strangers can sometimes be.

"I don't care where you sit," I say, which only makes it more awkward. I should reassure him that I like the window. We could smile at each other, delight in our unique preferences, ruminate on our beautiful differences, but instead I just take my seat. Placating people is such a chore.

I look out the window and into the train station. It's eight p.m. and the crowd is starting to thin, get drunk and tired and hopeless. I should've just taken a plane.

"Six more people, huh?" he says. He's pacifying me, trying to smooth things over. Like the world might end if two strangers don't get along.

I sigh. Six more people. The train is almost full. I ran a check before I came to our car. There are open seats scattered here and there, but no real space. It's the law of assassins: Everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes it's eight p.m. at the end of a depressing weekend in Florence. Unless.

"You know," I say, "there is something we could try . . ."

He shifts uncomfortably. I'm starting to suspect he really doesn't like me. It's almost like he knows me.

I nearly say Never mind to let him off the hook-but why should I? I'm out here solving his problems for fun, and he's looking at me like I'm presumptuous.

"I'm sure it will be fine," he says, saintly in his repaired glasses.

The compartment door slides open. An Italian woman comes in. I'm relieved. Maybe she can break the spell. Maybe this guy and I can both stop trying to be nice to each other now. I thought he was cute at first, but this is getting too messy. I want to hook up with men who worship me completely. Otherwise it's kind of a waste of my time.

Of course this woman is the passenger whose tab he removed. It's fun watching him squirm as she looks at her ticket and the seat number-for so long, the story of it might constitute an epic-while we watch.

"I think I'm . . . ," she starts, but drifts off when she looks at him. He has a drift off face.

"They always bungle these things, don't they?" he says in perfectly accented Italian. I recognize his strategy immediately-blame them, those damn train people.

"They always do!" the woman agrees. "It took me two hours on the phone to arrange my ticket! My granddaughter had to help me! We had a ticket booked for Monday, but I need to be in Paris by Monday and I didn't realize I needed to book for the day before. Well, it was such a mess!"

It's a tedious story but we all listen because we're all here together for the next twelve hours. At around ten o'clock we'll pull out the beds and sleep on racks like corpses. Dead bodies are all laid to rest with strangers, too. Life is chance more than anything else. So is death.

"I'm sorry," he says. "That sounds like such a nightmare." He is using his pleasant voice. He didn't use it with me.

The woman has moved on from her problem with the seats. She realizes there is an open seat beside him, so maybe it's not all that bad. "I suppose I'll just sit here-what difference does it make?" She takes the seat. He shrinks in a very convincing way to make room. I bet he regrets not sitting next to me now. At least, I hope he does.

I can't help smiling as she slots in beside him, from the bottom of her thigh to the top of her shoulder. So cozy. He catches me smiling. To my surprise, he smiles back.

I feel something catch between my legs, like he's been fishing down there all this time.

He quickly stows his smile away, lest I forget I've decided not to like him.

The other passengers all come at once.

Two young Italian men. An American businessman. An older Englishman. A young Frenchwoman. A partridge in a pear tree. All in this one little train car.

Glasses Guy catches my eyes again. He is now crammed against the wall, looking exceptionally pale and miserable. Still, his eyes are almost hopeful when they meet mine. Like everything that happens from here on out is an inside joke between us. Like we are the only two people in the world who understand the absurdity of this exact circumstance. We were here first. Everyone else is part of our story.

It's so weird how certain people in your life just stick out. How you can go for years and years not meeting one. How you can convince yourself they don't exist. That it was something that happened when you were young. That it'll never happen again. That you were made of magic once, but you aren't magic now. And then, suddenly, you look across a train car and see someone sticking out like a page that's misaligned in the book of your life.

An Italian voice comes over the speaker system, telling us the train is about to depart. The lights flicker. There is this dragging sensation beneath our feet. He flinches. The train jerks. It rolls out of the station and into the night.

Our eyes meet every so often. He's super miserable now. He seems like he's in real, physical pain. When the woman beside him jerks with laughter-she's talking on the phone. When the train jolts. Even when the lights flicker. Still, he seems okay with this, like he wants to suffer as much as possible. To get his money's worth.

But eventually he seems overwhelmed. He's pale as paper. His eyelids flutter occasionally. I think he might throw up, which is one way to clear a compartment. I imagine the two of us alone with his vomit. I'd stay. Puke doesn't really bother me. I see it a lot in my line of work.

Eventually he extracts himself from his seat-calmly, efficiently-and walks out the door. The train jolts. He lurches against the doorframe, then catches himself and disappears down the aisle.

2

Jonathan

I am always attracted to women at the worst possible times. When they are married, and I am assigned to kill their husbands. Or today, when I have been shot.

My heart is hammering so hard, so fast. Then it stops. That is the worst part.

It hangs its heartstrings up for one . . . two . . . three seconds. I think it is never coming back. My heartbeat, I did not know I loved it so much, and then:

Bam! It starts up again with a stabbing jolt.

I am dying. It is not the first time. In some ways I have learned to enjoy it, the musicality of the world refreshing and receding. The subtle interplay. Life. The absence of it.

There is no afterlife. I know that for certain because I have died before. Four times. I have died and been brought back-always against my will. I black out. I wake up in a hospital. That is all death is. A break between being alive.

Unless you do not come back.

I leave the train car. I stalk down the aisle toward the toilet. My cheeks are burning up. My hands are numb. My heart is beating too fast, and then flick, it stops.

I fall sideways.

Smack!

My temple hits the wall, which brings me around, blinking, heart beating. Alive.

Now on the ground. The train is coursing like blood over the tracks beneath me. I can feel the vibrations all through me. They rattle my teeth.

A woman in red shoes is peering down at me. "Are you all right?" she says in French.

"Yes," I say back in French. "Sorry."

She scowls at me. I apologize again. I drag myself to my feet. I try to look repentant.

I am dying, and I am so goddamn sorry about it.

When I finally make it into the bathroom and shut the door, all my pain and nausea, and frankly, all my disgust with the entire situation, come screaming to the surface. Now that no one is watching, I can really fucking die.

I grip the sink. I want to splash water on my face, but I seem unable to let the sink go. My knuckles are white. My hands are shaking. I cannot even look up. I stare into the small silver bowl.

I will myself not to die. You can do it. You just have to believe in yourself.

The train veers left. I fall right.

Reviews

“If you’re the kind of reader who enjoys unique romance novels with an edge, a whole lot of unpredictable twists, and the idea of a seasoned assassins traveling across Europe and falling for the person they’re supposed to kill, this is the book for you! A humorously dark, upsettingly sexy, unique love story about the horrors and delights of being seen as who we really are—with lots of swords and plenty of smut!”
Ali Hazelwood, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love, Theoretically

"Seductively tense and scandalously hot! It Had To Be You swept me into a star-crossed, hopelessly romantic game of cat and mouse, and I loved every twisted minute of it."
Elle Cosimano, New York Times bestselling author of Finlay Donovan Is Killing It
 
"Twisty-turny, slyly funny, and hot as hell—It Had to Be You by Eliza Jane Brazier had me on the edge of my seat. The writing is as sharp as an assassin's blade, the chemistry between the two rival contract killers absolutely explosive. I had no idea what was about to happen next but I knew I was along for the ride!"
Alicia Thompson, USA Today bestselling author of Love in the Time of Serial Killers  

“Just when I thought I couldn't love Brazier's writing any more, she releases It Had to Be You!! Sizzling chemistry, paired with wild plot twists, makes this book impossible to put down—and to forget! 25/10 would recommend!”
Lynn Painter, New York Times bestselling author of Happily Never After

"A slick and sexy international caper of a novel that will leave you gasping for breath in more ways than one. Brazier bestows us with a cute couple of contract killers to root for, but which side will you be on—love or death?"
Rachel Koller Croft, author of Stone Cold Fox

“A twenty-first century O. Henry but more badass—and decidedly feminist—Eliza Jane Brazier is bringing her phenomenal talents to romance.”
Elizabeth Everett, author of The Secret Scientists of London series

“With all the sexy romance of Before Sunrise, plus the twisty, cat and mouse fun of Killing Eve, It Had to Be You is the perfect steamy summer thriller. I had so much fun following Eliza Jane Brazier's fun, sexy assassins all over Europe, I never wanted it to end. This book will get your pulse racing—for more than one reason.”
Halley Sutton, USA Today bestselling author of The Hurricane Blonde

“Brazier elevates a familiar Mr. and Mrs. Smith–style premise to frenzied heights in this entertaining spy romance… Alternating between the often-unreliable viewpoints of Eva and Jonathan, Brazier delivers exhilarating action, steamy romance, and enough twists to keep the pages flying. It’s a blast.”
Publishers Weekly

“As with her previous novels, Brazier demonstrates she isn’t afraid to flirt with the darker side of the thriller, and here gives romantic suspense a hard-edged makeover. Expertly switching the narrative between her two protagonists, the author fashions a high-adrenaline, twisty plot.” 
Library Journal

"Eliza Jane Brazier is quickly becoming a favorite, and the newest title from her has a perfect premise."
Crime Reads

Author

© Beverly Brooks
Eliza Jane Brazier is an author, screenwriter, and journalist. She currently lives in California, where she is developing her books for television. View titles by Eliza Jane Brazier