Bond. Bourne. That guy from Kingsman. You know the type – the brutal, no-mercy man. It’s a compelling character type to write because they can convincingly do just about anything. Insane risks don’t take much consideration for these characters because they have so little to lose. If Bourne dies in a fire, who’s going to mourn? My guess is that funeral is pretty lonely.

Bond might have a few more – MI6 friends, perhaps. But family? Nah. That just brings complications.

With Rakers, though, Faden (Fade) Vance is someone different. Someone who can’t leave behind the shadier sides of life no matter how much he might want to because he’s got a daughter to raise. Tuition is expensive. Owning a house costs money. There’s no vast government sponsor with limitless resources fueling his ventures. But Fade isn’t a redux of Liam Neeson’s character in Taken  – this isn’t only about family, but rather how having a family impacts the choices you make every day. Only, rather than deciding what’s for dinner, Fade’s deciding which contract to take. It might be worth his while to take that lucrative deal for a kidnapping, but someone’s still got to pick up dinner for Jaycee. That risky encounter with a group of thugs could pay the mortgage, but can he disappear for another weeknight or take the chance of winding up dead, his daughter getting the worst phone call of her life in the middle of the night?

So Fade’s got problems.

He also has dreams. Ambitions beyond the next assignment. Yes, he wants Jaycee to be able to afford whatever school or career she wants. Yes, he wants to have a house. Yes, he wants to be able to get absurd amounts of gin even when happy hour’s over. But Fade also wants to see those moments. He wants to enjoy the house. He wants to see his daughter walk across that stage. He wants to sip mai tais on an island without worrying about a loaded gun pointed at the back of his head.

In a just world, those dreams would be his by now. Fade’s old enough, definitely. Made his share of sacrifices. He’s been good enough to stay alive this long, good enough to cultivate a list of clients willing to pay large amounts of dough for his services. By rights, Fade should be able to walk off the stage into a happy twilight.

Except the bills keep coming. Just because he’s lived out more than nine lives, doesn’t mean Fade gets a free pass on his tenth. So, in Rakers, Fade is still hustling. Still pulling contracts and taking the cash he can get. Hoping that he’s not going to wind up in over his own head.

Only, if Fade was being honest with himself, he could’ve retired. Could’ve shipped the two of them out to some small town and coasted. But he doesn’t. Hasn’t.

Because, not-so-deep-down, Fade knows he likes it. The thrill, the adventure, knowing that every second matters.

There’s more than one way to die, after all.

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