Copyright© 2014 Moira Callahan
Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is
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except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
This is a
work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any
resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or
dead, is entirely coincidental.
thank you to my readers for all the support you've given throughout this
series. You have been absolutely fantastic, and I could not have done this
wonderful editor, Ms. Laurie, you amaze me. You keep me on track, give
wonderful praise, and make me smile with your enthusiasm for these characters I
love so much. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Copyright © 2014
Three months ago...
,” a familiar,
husky voice called out.
Knowing only one female that would ever have the
cojones to call him that, he turned.
The one and only.
Early as well.
Odd for her.
“Hey, Ro, how’s it going?” he asked as she
sidled up next to him.
“Good,” she said with a grin.
to nail that worthless piece of shit finally.
for the info, by the by.”
“Always happy to help someone masquerading as a
lady,” he teased back. While he and Rhonda
hadn’t always gotten along at the start, their mutual adoration of his boss’s
new wife, Tamara, had helped them develop a pretty good friendship. The fact that
Rhonda was smoking hot didn’t hurt either. Gorgeous reddish-brown hair, dark
green eyes, dimples and five-feet-eight inches of awesome. She also had legs
that went on forever, the sort of legs a man fantasized about having wrapped
around his waist as he fucked her long and slow.
“Ha, ha,” she muttered before punching his arm.
Only sheer will kept him from flinching. A guy had a reputation to protect
after all. But his darling little Ro did
hit like a girl. “You going
to the barbecue this weekend?” she asked as they shuffled forward in line on their
quest for caffeinated beverages.
“Of course,” he said shooting her a look.
“Mallory’s doing the sauce and all the other goodies,” he told her. Mallory,
engaged to one of his friends and coworkers, was also a professional chef that
regularly had to tell people no when they offered her the world. She loved working
at Carmelo’s, a high-end classy little joint, and the fact that she was close
to work and living with her man, Trent.
“Shit, seriously?” Rhonda asked. At his nod, she
groaned. “Damn it all to hell and back.”
“What’s the big deal?” he asked, knowing there had
to be something going on with that reaction.
They shuffled ahead as she let out a weighty sigh.
“I’ve got this huge case right now.
Big, humongous, out of
this world even.
Shitty part is I may be undercover on this one.” She
mumbled for his ears only, by the quiet in her voice.
While not a soul, even her best friends or mother,
would recognize her when in character, even if they were right next to her, it
paid to be careful. Hell, she'd walked right up to him on one of her undercover
gigs and he hadn’t had a clue.
Which said something for a guy
that very nearly panted after her every chance he got.
Vincent shrugged as they reached the counter. After
placing their orders, and paying, they waited on their coffees. “Tell me where
you’ll be at and I’ll make sure you get a plate.”
You’d do that?” she asked, clearly stunned.
Hell yeah, he’d do it. He’d do a lot more, but he
wasn’t going there just yet.
Give me the
details, and Operation Smuggling-In-Food will commence,” he said with a grin.
When their drinks were called out he collected them, letting her choose a spot
in the cafe.
Settling down, he took a couple sips of his coffee
and sighed happily. “So, what’s the case?”
She gave a lazy looking shrug, but he knew better.
Vincent could read the tension pouring off her. “We’ve been digging into this
asshole’s life after getting word from our CI’s that he’s looking to become the
next big mover and shaker in town. The bosses, of course, want to know who he
is, where he goes and what sort of tissue he uses when he has the sniffles.
All the usual crap.
Which we’ve been
working on for the last year.
He’s now looking to hire a few people. Apparently
he has some openings after a thorough house cleaning. Several of his key guys
are suddenly nowhere to be found, and lower level guys are being shuffled up.
What we don’t know is his overall plan. Word out on the street is fucking tight
about this guy.
Breadcrumbs right now.”
“Shit,” he muttered. “That’s
make it rough.”
“Yeah, to say the least.”
Rhonda checked her surroundings again before continuing. Always on
duty, always aware, but he knew well enough that’s sometimes the only way you
survived when your life might be on the line each moment.
“He’s looking for some new muscle. One of my fellow
officers and I have been building up our street
and got an invite to meet with him. He’s an equal opportunity boss apparently,
in all ways. So we’re hoping at least one of us gets hired. That way we’ll have
our eyes, and ears, on the inside where we might finally learn something of
“Well, hell.” Vincent stared at her over his coffee
cup. “So this could be a long time gig, potentially.”
Listen, the reason I
asked you to meet me is
I need a non-department
handler. Someone these guys won’t instantly peg as being a cop. I figured you
might be interested,” she looked at him.
“That’s more than a little unusual, isn’t it?”
She nodded and shrugged all at the same time.
“Yeah, but we need to keep this as loose as possible. Plus, with your training,
you should be okay. The brass has
it, if you are
all right with it. I know, typically, you’re the guy to blow shit up and
whatnot. I’ve overheard enough in the last year to know that’s not all you can
do.” She grinned at him and wiggled her eyebrows.
Since he wasn’t sure what she meant, and really
wasn’t sure if he wanted to know, he ignored her. “What would I need to do?”
“We’d rent you a suitable apartment for your part,
on the department of course. You would need to supply your own vehicle though.
They wouldn’t go for that, sorry. You are an old
we’ve known each other for years and years. You were in the Corps, got out with
a general discharge, and then got into some shady business. You haven’t been
caught because you’re that good. Mainly you deal in high-end explosives, alarm
systems and such, basically what you do now but think more dark side of the
Snickering at her Star Wars reference, he tipped
his cup her way before taking a drink.
“We’d meet twice a week unless I needed to come in
for something specific. We’ll have clean phones, burners one and all, for
communications. We talk once a day for sure, just to check in, and pass along
anything of importance. We will need to work on a series of code words. Things
for all good, not too bad, something’s happening, oh shit, and my personal
favorite, we are completely and totally
Fucked up beyond all
That one was great. In the sense that it was the one you
never, ever wanted to have to give a code for. “Hey, I’m up for anything.
When’s your interview?”
“Saturday,” she muttered, making a face. “That’s
why I’m not sure I’ll make the barbecue.”
Even if you do get through it, you don’t want to chance leading anyone
to a group party of C&M Security staffers.”
“Bingo,” she said tipping her cup.
“I’m in, Ro. We should get started sooner than
later. I’ll also need to switch out my vehicles since I won’t be using my
truck, my new truck I should say, for this gig. I’d kill them all if it so much
as got one bullet
in it. I’ll need to see the
apartment, assess what I need to bring in, set up my cover there and generally
just move in. Shit, I’ll have to get Trent to watch my place,” he muttered,
more to himself than her.
“Why?” she asked.
It took him a second to figure out the question.
“I’ve got painters doing some outside work as well as a new roof going on next
week. It’s nothing major, and all outdoors. He’ll just have to swing by after
work and take a look to ensure they aren’t fucking me over.”
She nodded slowly and then stuck out her hand.
Reaching over the table, he shook her hand, taking a moment to enjoy the
softness of her skin before letting go. “Welcome aboard, partner,” she grinned
“Thanks, I think,” he said shaking his head. He had
a feeling that this was going to be one hell of an interesting job.
Three days ago…
Knocking on the door, Rhonda flicked a stray piece
of hair over her shoulder. Tapping her toes lightly, she tried not to fidget,
but damn she hated waiting out in the open. The sound of the deadbolt being
thrown open a moment later helped.
Rhonda shot a look up at him as she swept into the
apartment, not relaxing until Vincent closed and bolted the door behind her.
Letting out a breath, she yanked the newsboy cap off her head, tugged the clip out
holding her hair up, and scraped her nails along her scalp.
“What’s up?” Vincent asked coming toward her.
“Just the usual, paranoia running rampant,” she
told him as she tossed her hat and the clip onto the coffee table. Following
him to the kitchen, she hopped up onto one of the stools at the little cafe-style
table in the corner.
Vincent shot her a look as he poured two cups of
coffee. He passed her one before settling across from her. “So, I thought we
weren’t meeting until tomorrow?”
That had been the plan. Until word had come down
from her “boss” about her needing to be on hand for some security for him the
next day. “Yeah, well, Donny said all hands were needed on deck tomorrow.” Rhonda