Undercover Lover is one of my romantic suspense novels set in a Big City Up North that has no name. I did that because I didn’t want people saying to me, “Oh, that’s Chicago.” or “That’s New York. You got the details all wrong.” Instead, I made up my own city where things are my way, people act the way I want, and no one can come back at me and tell me I got the facts wrong. I don’t give it a name, it just is The City. ~ Dellani
Undercover Lover is over. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it.
What’s next here? Something fun! I actually wrote Undercover Lover after I wrote another book featuring Brodie as the main character. Chronologically, it comes after Undercover Lover, so I’ll be sharing it next. I’m giving myself a short break for a week, but will begin A Bride for Brodie on Wednesday, January 3, 2012.
Books make great gifts for the entire family. If you still need a great present for that special someone, please follow the links below to find my books.
Indian Summer – historical romantic suspense set in St. Augustine, FL in 1739. Gabriella Deza thinks that her fifteenth birthday is the most exciting thing that’s every happened to her, until Manuel Enriques confesses his love. Unfortunately, a British spy plots to overthrow the town and fort. Manuel lays a trap for him, but Gabriella is unwittingly caught instead.
Lone Wolf – book one in my sci-fi series. Wil VanLipsig thinks he’s got his life together, until he meets determined and self-possessed Matilda DuLac. What should be a standard run for the Mining Guilt becomes anything but run of the mill.
The Ninja Tattoo – Teague McMurtry has returned from the war after serving in the Army in Afghanistan. Little does he know that a chance encounter with the beautiful Vivica Rambo, will put his life and hers in danger.
Dulcet – Cooper Richards is a former bad boy who took drugs, sex and rock n roll to an extreme. After waking in the hospital with a four day gap in his memory, he’s reformed and even considering the priesthood. Enter Gloria Sharpe. Her beautiful face and voice knock Cooper’s socks off. He can’t wait to build a life with her. But Gloria has a secret that could keep them apart.
I wish you Merry Chrismahanakwanza from my family to yours!
~ Dellani ~
“I almost forgot,” Saige interjected. “My mother said to tell you you’re welcome to stay with her until your place is repaired.”
“Are you going back to your old apartment?” Dido asked her.
“I hadn’t thought about it,” Saige replied. “I don’t think so. Too many bad memories.”
“You know,” Brodie said thoughtfully. There’s an apartment opening up in this building, third floor, in a couple days. I think I can convince the committee to accept your application.”
“I haven’t applied.”
“No, but you’ve got four residents who say you’d make a good neighbor.”
“Thanks, Brodie. I’d like that.”
“Me too,” Romy smirked. “No more tossing the buggers out when I want company.”
“You could move in with her,” Tracy suggested. “Then no one is inconvenienced.”
They all looked at her and laughed. She glanced around, wide eyed. “What? Did I say something funny?”
“Best ask the lady first if she’ll have me,” Romy said shyly.
“Do you have any doubts?” Saige countered.
They exchanged a soulful look, not having eyes for anyone else. Brodie rose suddenly, taking his beer and one of the pizzas.
“That’s my cue to go. Party’s moving to my place,” he said. “Julia, you’re welcome to join us. In fact, if you’d like to spend the night, I’ve got a comfortable guest room and a new toothbrush that’s never been opened.”
“You know, I might at that,” she answered, taking his arm. “I don’t have to worry about you getting fresh, do I?”
Brodie kissed her cheek. “Only if you want me to,” he replied diplomatically. “Otherwise, I’m the perfect gentleman.”
Left alone once more, Romy locked the door and unplugged the phone. He turned off the cell phones and held out his hand. Saige followed him to his room. Finally alone, they made love, sealing the bond they had forged.
The next few days were absolute bliss for Saige. She and Romy were able to move into their new apartment together. With Julia at her mother’s house, they had all the privacy they wanted and indulged themselves. Romy spoiled her, taking her to dinner and buying her flowers.
Saige treated him to massages and erotic bubble baths. Neither of them wanted their special time to end, but suddenly it was Monday again and she had to go to work. Romy had to report to Givens downtown, so they went in together. He drove to her building and parked in the garage.
“I’m seeing you in. It won’t happen often, so enjoy it while you can.”
“What would you like for dinner tonight? I’m cooking.”
“Hmm, you mean besides you?” He pretended to think about it carefully before replying. “I’d love ratatouille.”
“I don’t even know that that is!”
“Well, then I suppose I should cook instead, eh?” He chuckled as they got on the elevator.
The lobby was incredibly crowded. It was the last minute rush at five minutes until nine. Saige saw Brodie disappear into the only available elevator with a petite redhead following him in at the last moment. She had a cell phone plastered to her ear and was speaking in Italian. Saige also saw Brodie’s expression of disgust as the elevator doors closed.
Wondering why he was so angry, she got on the next elevator with Romy in tow, and rode quickly to the tenth floor. She expected to see Brodie already at his desk, but his elevator was still on the third floor. When it finally got to the tenth, she saw him talking to the same redhead she’d seen before. Neither of them looked very happy. But behind the anger, she could see
interest in his eyes.
He looked very unhappy when he got in the office. Brodie hated to be late. Distractedly, he asked for a cup of coffee as he raced to his desk before Mr. Winchester saw him. Unfortunately, he was seen before he got three steps.
Saige came back with his cup of coffee only to see him walk into their boss’ office. Client meeting, hold all calls, she thought as she sat down with a happy grin. Fifteen minutes later, Brodie came out with the woman on his arm, being charming and amazing as always, her husband in tow.
At the elevators, Brodie flirted unmercifully. What a charmer he was. The doors opened and the redhead got out again. She took one look at Brodie and exploded. Saige could hear her screaming in her office even with the door closed.
“Mother? What are you doing?” She turned abruptly on Brodie, snarling. “You bastard! Take your hands off my mother this instant!”
She proceeded to verbally castrate him for nearly ten minutes, until security showed up and rescued him. Through it all, Brodie stood stoically, bearing her diatribe with cool aplomb.
Saige saw, though she imagined no one else did, that even while the woman offered to cut off his balls and make a necklace, he was interested in her. She could see it in the set of his shoulders and the way his eyes caressed the woman’s body. Smiling to herself, Saige hummed, then sang quietly, organizing her desk.
Brodie walked by looking like a storm cloud. She got him a fresh cup of coffee, lingering just inside the closed door in case he wanted to talk.
Looking up at her, he frowned. “What?”
“Oh, nothing!” She waited a moment longer. “She’s pretty, huh?”
“So? In case you weren’t listening, she hates me.”
“Mm hm. Well, if you need anything, you know where I’ll be.”
“Right. Thanks, Saige.”
Funny how life worked out, wasn’t it? Just when he wasn’t looking, life snuck up on him and ambushed him with a beautiful redhead. Saige grinned, knowing that she no longer had to worry about Brodie because, for once, his timing was perfect.
To find out how Brodie does with the redhead, look for “A Bride for Brodie” by Dellani Oakes. Begins January 2013
© 2012 Dellani Oakes
Blair continued to babble, asking all kinds of uncomfortable questions. She didn’t give her daughter a chance to answer anything, she was too upset. Determined to answer the questions so she could move on to something more interesting, Saige tried another tactic. She whistled sharply, piercingly.
“Mother,” she spoke sharply. “Do I have your full attention now?”
“Of course, honey. I’m so sorry.”
Slowly and patiently, Saige explained what had happened. It took a long time because Blair had so many questions, but she finally finished. While she was talking, Romy made a pot of coffee and dug around until he found a box of unopened cookies.
Saige took the refreshment automatically, thanking him with a smile. He settled back on the couch with his arms spread across the back, smiling at her fondly. She eventually got off the phone with her mother, assuring her that she would go over for breakfast the next day.
Romy moved closer, his arms around her waist. “Finally,” he sighed with a happy grin. “Where did we leave off?”
“Somewhere around here.”
She wiggled closer. His lips had barely touched hers when there was a pounding on the door.
“No one could make that much noise except Brodie,” Romy frowned. “Oi!” He called. “You’ll wake Gran!” He yelled as he answered the door.
“Or that might,” Saige countered, laughing at him.
Brodie, Stan and the girls were in the hallway trying to get into the apartment simultaneously. Romy opened the door wide, inviting them all in. Brodie had a stack of pizza boxes and Stan had bottles of beer and cider. The girls carried soft drinks and desert.
“Celebration party,” Stan announced. “You got the bad guys and saved the day!”
“My gran’s here,” Romy said in a stage whisper. “Could you keep it down before you wake her?”
“Too late,” Julia said as she walked slowly from the bedroom. “That bellow you let out was like a stuck pig, Romany.”
“Sorry, Gran. Want a cider?”
“I’ll take a beer.” She smiled and sat with care. “I don’t care what that doctor says. My ass hurts. Bit of stiffness, he said. I’ll give him stiff.” She made a universally rude finger gesture to the room in general. “Oh, pizza? What have you got?”
“I remembered your favorite,” Brodie said proudly. “Ham and pineapple.”
“Oh, lovely!” She took a slice and a beer.
“Saige, you’ve got the rest of the week off with pay,” Brodie assured her. “When I told Ches what’s been happening, and it’s all over the news, he could hardly say no.”
“You’re going to be the talk of the office,” Bonnie assured her. “Nothing this exciting ever happens!”
“Believe me, I could have done without some of it,” Saige remarked. “That chloroform incident wasn’t the most fun night I’ve had.”
“What was the most fun night?” Stan winked at her.
“Oh, that’s easy.” She gazed into Romy’s eyes.
She wouldn’t say anything in front of his grandmother, but they all knew what she meant.
“You two don’t need an old lady staying with you,” Julia said unexpectedly. “I’d go home if I could, but as I’ve no front door… Broke it down, the bastard. And it wasn’t even locked.”
© 2012 Dellani Oakes
With Rimsky, Ben and the others in custody, Romy has a little more free time to enjoy with Saige. First, though, a visit to see his family in the hospital. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. As Julia is being checked by the doctors, they go to visit Dexter and Chas.
“How’s Gran?” They asked in unison.
“She’s downstairs now being checked,” Romany answered. “You don’t look half rough, lads. How did they get around you?”
“Dropped a flash grenade as they came in the door,” Chas said. “Blinded us all. Then beat the snot out of me and hit me on the back of the head and grabbed Gran. Dexter tried to run after, but got himself smacked around too by the look of him.”
“Blind as a fooking bat,” Dexter added. “I followed him upstairs and had to rely on sound. Bastard got me from behind. But Gran’s good?”
“I’ll find out in a tick. I wanted to come see you first. Thanks, both. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“Get out of this line of work,” Dexter suggested. “It’s too dangerous for a family man. You and Saige, go home and make some babies.”
Romy laughed at his younger brother. “Best ask the lady if that’s what she wants. I’m easy to please. Give me a pretty woman, a soft bed and a bottle of cider, I’m a happy man.”
After leaving his brothers, they talked to the doctor who had examined his grandmother.
“She’s great,” he said, looking pleased. “She has some bumps and bruises, but nothing serious. She can go home tonight.”
Romy took Julia to his apartment. Once she was settled in bed, he and Saige cuddled up on the couch.
“Why did Ben hook up with me?”
Saige wanted to cry. She felt like everything was her fault. Ben attacked Julia and injured Romy’s brothers because of his jealousy.
“He did that to keep an eye on me. You lived directly above Gran. You saw her every day and had access to the place. You saw me on a regular basis. I made that part of his job easy. I was so attracted to you, I found excuses to stay over or drop by. Bollocks! This is my fault, Saige. I caused all this. I let my balls control my brains.”
“Ben caused all this. He’s the one who approached me. It was his idea we move in together. How convenient that he got thrown out of his apartment when he did. I was gullible, stupid, naive.”
“Women get taken advantage of a lot, Saige. From what I could see, he was smooth. He knew exactly what buttons to push.”
“He did his research well, Romy. He had this whole scenario about his abusive father and growing up with a single mom, just like me.”
“He didn’t count on Brodie,” Romy said with a grin.
“Successful, lovable, handsome, sexy Brodie.” She giggled sardonically. “Who knew? Everything Ben wanted to be but wasn’t. Why was he so upset about that? He didn’t want me himself, did he? All we did was fight.”
“It would be impossible to spend time around you and not love you, despite his original motivation. Besides, if you got involved with Brodie, there went his vantage point.”
“I hope he goes to prison for a very long time.”
“He will. Rimsky is chattering like a cold mouse on speed. He can’t talk fast enough. He’s told us so much about the organization that even without my testimony, we could put them all away for a very long time.”
They sat quietly, holding one another tightly, to assure themselves that they were both all right, it was over. Romy’s lips found hers, kissing her compellingly. Saige met his desire with hers. She loved him deeply and she wanted to be with him forever. Their embrace grew more impassioned. Romy picked her up, intent on getting her to bed as soon as possible, when her phone rang.
“Saige? It’s Mom.”
“Oh, Mom! I’m sorry. I completely forgot to call you.”
“It’s all over the news! Are you all right? What’s going on? Is Julia okay?”
© 2012 Dellani Oakes
Romy and Saige capture Ben. Feeling pretty good about it, they come out of the rink to find that Romy’s boss has moved against the gang without him, using the situation with Ben as a distraction. Disappointed, Romy isn’t quite sure what to think.
“You moved against Pablo without me?” He looked shocked and rather disappointed.
“We knew you had family business to take care of,” Givens said gently. “It had to go down fast. We couldn’t wait.”
“Yeah, well….” He swore quietly for several seconds. “You know the really stupid thing in all this? It wasn’t even about me! I thought they’d twigged my ID, right? But it was you all along!” Romy laughed giddily, pulling Saige into his arms.
“What are you talking about?” She asked him.
They walked to one of the vehicles to sit down. Julia was escorted to an ambulance by paramedics. They checked her carefully while the others waited.
“I thought Rimsky was moving against me, but he wasn’t. It was Ben all along. He was so jealous of you and Brodie, he didn’t even think. He called in his posse over a woman! Not that you aren’t amazing, love, but he risked pissing off his boss because of you. And these people you don’t want to piss off.”
“I guess I should be flattered. No one ever did that before.”
“Well, whatever the reason, we got the ones we were after,” Givens clapped Romy on the shoulder again. “Nearly two years worth of work. Damn good job, Romy. Damn good. Best thing is, Pablo doesn’t know it was you!”
“Do you need me at the moment, Jeff? I’d like to go with my gran to the hospital. And I want to visit the lads.”
“Go, go! I know how to find you. The men can do your paperwork. Family first, you know that.”
Romy and Saige walked to his SUV arm in arm. Harmony drove to the hospital behind the ambulance.
“Ironic, that,” Romy said. “All those months of work almost went up in smoke because of a selfish, jealous tosser.”
“If she was mine, I’d fight for her too,” Harmony said, glancing at Saige in the mirror.
“Yeah, but…. Anything I say to refute that is going to make me sound like a selfish wanker.” He laughed at himself.
“Shut up and kiss me,” Saige suggested.
Romy didn’t need telling twice. Harmony dropped them off at the front door of the hospital. They were dirty and disheveled, a fact Saige realized when she glanced at herself in a mirror between the elevators. Their clothing was rumpled, covered in rust, dirt and cobwebs. Romy had blood on his sleeve from one of his brothers and Saige had dirty streaks all over her face. People in the elevator looked at them funny, but neither of them minded.
Romy took her fingers, squeezing gently as the elevator came to a stop. His grandmother was being examined by the emergency room doctors, so they were on the way to see his brothers on the orthopedic floor.
Chas and Dexter were covered with bruises and abrasions. Despite a few broken or cracked ribs, a dislocated shoulder and a broken collar bone, they were in good spirits.
© 2012 Dellani Oakes
Saige, Romy and his team follow Ben to an abandoned ice rink where she and Ben went for their first date. They find him there with Julia as his prisoner. Saige goes in first, trying to talk calmly to him.
“I really thought I loved you once, but you changed, Ben. All the tenderness went out of our relationship. A woman needs love and romance to be happy. I wasn’t happy. You got so obsessed with Brodie, you couldn’t even make love to me. What’s the deal? Are you secretly gay? Are you in love with my boss? Were you jealous because you thought I had him and you didn’t?”
“I am not a homosexual, Saige!” Ben took the gun from Julia, pointing it at her chest. “You used to like making love to me. You said I left you breathless.”
“Sex with you was all right,” she said casually, spreading her hands wide. “But you came on all hot and heavy like a thunderstorm, dropped your wad and took off. I was breathless all right, from shock. Come and Go, that’s what we call you.”
“Don’t get any closer, Saige.” He cocked the gun, his hand shaking.
She leaned her head to one side, examining the pistol. “You have to take the safety off for the gun to work,” she said with a helpful smile. “See?”
Ben dropped his eyes to examine the side of the gun. In that split second, Romy jumped him. His spinning kick connected with Ben’s head. The gun flew out of his hand a couple feet from Saige. She dropped to the ground, grabbing it up and held it on him. The men rushed in from the sides, flanking Ben as Romy cuffed his hands behind him. He lifted Ben by his bound wrists, handing him to Harmony.
“Take this bastard son of a motherless whore out of my sight,” he growled.
Ever so gently, he helped his grandmother get up. “You all right, Gran?”
“I’m fine. Bit bruised. Your brothers….”
“They’re all right. Harm and Brent took care of them. They’re at hospital which is where you’re going.”
“I don’t need a doctor.”
“You get stubborn on me, old girl, I’ll put you over my knee! You’re going.”
“You’re such a good boy.” She patted his cheek. “I know all those awful things you said weren’t true.”
“No, ma’am. We made all that lot up to fluster Benji.”
“But you do love her, don’t you?” Julia patted Saige on the cheek.
“Yeah,” he admitted. “I do.”
“Good,” she said, straightening her sweater primly. “I knew you’d get together eventually.”
Laughing quietly, Romy and Saige helped Julia outside. There were cars everywhere, blue lights flashing. Far more than were needed to apprehend Ben.
“What goes on?”
A tall, heavy set, older man with a crew cut walked over. He clapped Romy on the shoulder, beaming proudly.
“Jeff Givens,” he introduced himself to Saige. “Romy, we moved against Pablo,” he said by way of explanation. “With Rimsky on your ass, we couldn’t risk it. We got him cold. Once he found out Rimsky was after you, he panicked, figuring they would come for him next. He was loaded for freaking bear when we got him.” He was so happy, he could hardly contain himself.
“Couldn’t have done it without you, Romy. There’s a commendation in this for you, buddy.”
© 2012 Dellani Oakes
Things have gone from bad to worse. Rimsky, a man in the gang Romy has infiltrated, has made a bold move against him, putting Saige and Julia in serious danger. Agent King realizes he’s seen Ben before — hanging out with Rimsky a couple of years ago. When they find Julia’s been abducted and Romy’s brothers beaten, they know that Ben’s involved too. A note taped to Chas’ chest makes it clear who took Julia.
“You know where to find me, Bitch. Bring your lover and come get me.”
“I fooking hate that guy,” Romy commented when they got back downstairs. “I knew I should have broken his bloody balls the first time I met him. Where’s this mysterious place?”
“Our first official date was at the old ice rink. It’s been closed over a year and the building was condemned. That’s where he’d take her. For him, it would hold significant irony.”
They drove in silence to the skating rink. Walking up to the building, Saige found the front door unlocked. There was a large hole to the left of the door. Glancing over her shoulder at her friends, Saige decided to crawl through the hole rather than risk the door. She was the only one who could make it. Motioning to Romy, she headed through. He and King checked the door for traps, opening it carefully. Harmony and Trevor went around back.
Once Saige was inside, she let her eyes adjust to the dusky interior. She sensed Romy and King nearby. She slipped over to them, signaling her intentions. She heard voices echoing down the hallway coming from the ice rink. It was probably the least defensible area of the entire building. It made it difficult for Ben to protect himself, hiding all kinds of spots for someone to ambush him.
Risking a couple of words, she spoke quietly over her headset, “Ice rink.”
The men flanked her, keeping her behind them. When they got to the main entrance, Saige tucked her gun in her belt behind her back. Hands out from her sides, she walked boldly through the doors. Any second, she expected to feel a white hot pain as Ben shot her. Nothing happened. Nothing continued to happen for a couple seconds more. Then she heard Ben’s voice raised in anger.
“I told you to bring your lover. Where is he? Cowering behind you?”
“This is between you and me, Ben. Why drag Julia into it?”
“She hates me,” he whined. “She’s always hated me. She never thought I was good enough for her little precious. God, she makes me sick! I knew if I took her you’d come.”
“Julia, are you all right?”
There was a short scuffle. “Shoot the fooker in the balls,” the old woman said calmly.
There was a sharp smack and Julia grunted. A dull thump and Ben cried out angrily.
“Hit her again and I guarantee you won’t walk out alive,” Romy said, leaving the shadows to Saige’s left, his gun trained on Ben.
“Why did you bring him? This is between me and Brodie.”
“Your note said to bring her lover,” Romy said calmly, cocking his head to one side. “So
here I am.”
“You? She’s with Brodie! I saw them together. I saw her car over there Sunday night!”
“Apparently you’ve not done your homework, you worthless sack of shit. I live in the same building, you limp dicked toad. She and I took up some time ago. Talks about you when she’s with me, don’t you love? Comparisons. Hard to live up to, mate. I’m a regular steam roller, me. Not a contest,” he whispered sharply.
“You’re lying!” Ben yelled. “She’s with Brodie!”
“Best thing you ever did for us, throwing her out. Course she was about to leave. I finally convinced her. Stupid of me not to suggest it sooner, but one gets used to a certain arrangement and finding a new one doesn’t seem necessary.”
As he talked, Romy moved closer to Ben, walking slightly to his left with each step. Ben was so busy watching him, he didn’t notice King following in the shadows, countering Romy’s movements. Nor did he see the others coming around behind him, sure and silent.
“You’re not gonna hurt my gran,” Romy said confidently. “You’re too smart for that. Rough up a couple young men, that’s one thing. But an old lady? Not your style. Not even if she kicked you in the balls, though I’m guessing they hurt like ruddy hell by now. Always takes a bit for that to really sink in.” He grimaced, closing one eye.
“I want to talk to Brodie.”
“What for? I’m your man. Well, her man. I’m with her, so your gripe is with me.”
“What about Brodie?”
“What about Brodie?” Saige threw back at him. “I’ve told you for months there was nothing between us. You’re an idiot, but it paid off. You focused so on Brodie, you didn’t see what was going on with Romy right under you nose. All those nights you were working, I wasn’t alone. I was with him. We made love in our bed and laughed about you the entire time.”
It was amazing how easy it was to lie to Ben. The words poured out of her mouth like truth, spinning a web of deception that worked Ben into a frenzy. Romy was within jumping distance. Saige could see him preparing to attack Ben. She had to keep her ex focused on her rather than Romy.
“Julia and I used to talk about you too, didn’t we?”
“All the time, love,” Julia played along beautifully. “She called you a silly wanker with a penis the size of a peanut.”
Julia giggled even as he pulled her head back and pressed the gun under her chin. His hand trembled, his eyes wild. In the middle of something he couldn’t control, one slip in panic and she
© 2012 Dellani Oakes
“Oh, shit,” King hissed. “I remember where I’ve seen that face before.”
“What face?” Romy and Harmony asked him.
“The guy Brodie clocked.”
They waited for him to formulate his thoughts. “It was like two years ago, that’s why I didn’t place him right away. Going into your Gran’s building. He was with Rimsky.”
“What?” Romy was horrified. “What are you talking about?”
“That wimp Brodie hit in the face. He runs with Rimsky.”
“Holy shit,” Romy groaned. “Oh, my God. Why didn’t I see it? I didn’t even recognize him! What was I thinking?”
“He wasn’t out of place. He had a reason to be there. I didn’t put it together until Saige mentioned that she was what was different.”
Romy whipped out his phone and tried desperately to communicate with the other team, the one protecting his grandmother. He couldn’t reach them, nor could he reach his brothers.
“Change of plans, gents,” he announced. “We’ve got to go by Gran’s place.”
“What about Saige?”
“There’s no time to drop her off. Harm can let us out and drive her to safety.”
“I’m not leaving you,” Saige said irrationally.
“Love, you’ll be in danger.”
“Suzie and Brodie aren’t the only ones with skills, you know. You’ve been assuming all this time that I’m helpless.”
“Can you fire a weapon?”
“Damn near expert,” she replied proudly. “And maybe I can get in where you can’t. Ben would never expect me to be able to protect myself. He expects me to be helpless too.”
“I don’t like this, Saige. You could get hurt.”
“So could you.”
“But this is my job, love.”
“And I know Ben better than anyone. You can’t live with a man and not know the chinks in his armor.”
They dug a bullet proof vest out of their stash as well as a pistol. Romy handed her a gun carefully, still concerned by her ability to handle herself. Saige took the weapon with confidence, popping out the magazine before she examined the weapon.
“Sweet! Glock22, .40 caliber. Fifteen shots, lightweight, reliable, favorite of police and law enforcement worldwide.” She put the magazine back in with a grin and held out her hand for a spare.
“Want to know the specs on it? I used to have them memorized.”
“How do you know all this stuff?” Romy was awed.
“Four years in the Army.”
“Damn, you’re full of surprises.”
“I’ve plenty more saved up.” She kissed him, reminding herself what she held most dear.
They stopped a block away from her old apartment building. It looked quiet and normal until they got inside. Julia’s apartment door was smashed in, the interior total chaos. Things were broken, overturned, destroyed. In the middle of the disaster zone was a crumpled figure. Stifling a gasp, Romy ran to the man’s side.
“It’s Dexter,” he whispered. “He’s breathing.”
“I’m on it,” Harmony said quietly. “Go. I’ve got it.”
Harmony examined Dexter carefully as King led the others up the stairs. He moved silently for so large a man. Saige brought up the rear, Romy just ahead of her, to her left, as King moved forward to her right.
Using hand signals, they headed to her former apartment. The door was slightly ajar, a radio blaring. King checked the doorway carefully before they went in. Cautiously, they entered the apartment. There was nothing in the front rooms, but when they got to the bedroom there was another crumpled body. This time it was Chas. Brent knelt by him, taking his pulse. He was alive, but in pretty bad shape. There was a note taped to his chest.
© 2012 Dellani Oakes
On the way to visit Romy’s grandmother, it’s obvious they are being followed. He suspects that it’s one of the men in the gang he’s infiltrated. He’s vied for position with a man named Rimsky, who seems to be making a move against him. No matter what they do, they can’t seem to shake the tail, making Romy believe that whoever drugged Saige at the restaurant must have left a tracking device on her. He shoves her down in the seat to protect her in case there’s gunfire.
She giggled, her head nearly in his lap. The irony of her position didn’t go unnoticed by the men.
“Oi, Rom,” King said in a fair imitation of his English accent. “Ever had a blow job while evading a tail?”
Romy laughed, smacking his arm. “You’d love to know the answer to that and I’m not going to tell you.”
The dark skinned agent raised an uncertain eyebrow. “You’re shitting me, right?”
Romy flashed a toothy grin. “You’d love to know that too. Maybe I’ll tell you when you grow up. Of course, the fook not. Why spoil a perfectly good blow job when you’re dodging bullets?”
“We lost him,” Harmony reported. “I’d be more inclined to think you did, Rom, but you won’t say so in front of the lady.”
“We’re missing lunch, gents. This is too dangerous to bring home. Harm, the safe house.”
“Alpha or Bravo?”
Romy eyed the landscape as it flashed by. “Bravo. Alpha’s on the other side of town.” He whipped out his phone again, hitting speed dial. “Chas, it’s bug out time. You know where to go. Yeah. No, we’re fine. Where’s Dexter? K. It’s hit the fooking fan, mate. Right. Call me when you get there.”
Romy bit his knuckle, his eyes holding a desperate worry. “It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Something made them panic. Love, as soon as we get you settled, I’ve got to go out.”
“Romy, what’s going on?”
“That’s what I’ve got to figure out. Something major went down whilst I was gone.”
He took a second cell phone out of his pocket, whipping it open. The expression on his face changed, hardened. He spoke rapidly in Spanish, but Saige was fluent enough to understand most of what he said.
“Enrique, what’s going on? I’ve got Rimsky on my ass. They jumped my lady friend at a bar and tagged her. What the fuck, man? This is not how we do business. Put Pablo on.”
There was a short pause. She couldn’t hear the other man’s answer, but Romy’s face clouded with anger.
“I don’t care what he’s doing or who he’s with. You’ll put him on, or you and I will have a conversation about your future in this organization. A very short, abrupt, loud one. Got me?”
He put his hand over the mouthpiece, speaking to Harmony. “Take the next right and double back.”
“Yes, boss.” He did as he was told.
Saige didn’t like the expression on Romy’s face. She also didn’t like how he was acting. Was he really a secret operative, or was he a drug dealer or something equally awful like Stan said? She was pretty sure Stan was teasing, but uncertainty filled her mind. Her heart strongly supported Romy. He wouldn’t lie to her. But the entire nature of what he did was a fabrication. He wove a web of lies daily to protect himself. What was to keep him from lying to her? He said he loved her, could he be lying yet again? She was in an agony of doubt.
Saige shifted uneasily in her doubled over position. Romy’s hand caressed her cheek. If she had any doubts of his affection, that small gesture banished them. She remembered what he said the first night they made love. The other personality, the one he pretended to be, wasn’t nice and he didn’t like him. She had seen that face and it scared her.
As if he could tell what she was thinking, he raised her hand to his lips, kissing it even as he talked rapidly to the man on the phone. As soon as he’d finished, he shut the phone and stuffed it back in his pocket. He helped her sit up, kissing her as he brushed the tangled hair gently from her face.
“I’m so sorry,” he whispered. “I wanted this to go more smoothly. Something unexpected has happened, but no one knows about it but us. Rimsky’s kept a tight lid on it. I can’t imagine why he’s moving against me now.”
“What’s different about now?”
“That’s what I can’t figure out.”
“Me,” she whispered, strangely terrified. “I’m what’s different.”
“You aren’t any part of this wreck,” he assured her.
“But I’m a part of you. Maybe that’s why they chose to move against you, because of me. I make you vulnerable, Romy.”
“Don’t think like that. It isn’t true.”
“But it is. They can’t hurt you but they can hurt me and your Gran. We’re the weak links.”
© 2012 Dellani Oakes