Book Title: Covert
Pre-order Covert at Amazon for $2.99 will be $3.99 at release
Alessandro is the unwilling heir of a Chicago crime family. Intent on leaving the life set out for him, he decides to run as fast and as far away as possible. His plans crumble when one girl crash lands in his life. He should hate the daughter of his fatherâs mistress, but itâs near impossible when he finds that they are alike in more ways than one. Olivia grew up watching men walk in and out of her motherâs life. When one man finally decides to stay, she learns that crime lords donât leave until someoneâs dead. Oliviaâs salvation comes from the person she least expects: his son. Six years later, Olivia and Alessandro are reunited when her life is threatened. If time has proven one thing, itâs that repeating their parentsâ mistakes seems inevitable. In a world where friendship is a luxury and love a death sentence, two unlikely lovers find each other only to be separated by their cruel reality. Covert is for readers 17+
The gun I had just fired, fell from my hand. The clattering noise it made as it hit the ground startled me out of my skin. The sight of the gun, lying in a puddle of blood, and the metallic scent invading my senses made me tremble. Maybe I was going into shock. My mind raced, trying to figure out what I should do next, but I couldnât think of anything.
Other than calling him.
After six years, I had truly believed I was free from my past. I had been sure he would never be a part of my life again. After all, he had made that choice. But with a bleeding body on my floor, it seemed that facing him would be inevitable.
I took a slow step back, away from the blood pooling near my feet, only to stumble over my purse that still lay where I had left it when I entered my apartment. Keys, my chipped powder compact, three nickels and a quarter, an uncapped pen Iâd borrowed from the bank, and my phone skidded out across the floor. Entranced, I watched as my pink lipstick tube rolled over to the door. The sudden urge to cry, and scream, welled up in my throat. I sank to my knees and reached for my phoneâit had fallen near the couch. I cringed at the sight of the dark blotches on the couchâs white fabric. In the daylight, they would be splashes of deep, sticky red. I swallowed the lump in my throat, picked up my phone, and scrolled down the contact list. My thumb hovered over the word âHIMâ.
Then, I pressed the dial button. It rang once.
âWhatâs wrong?â he answered on the first ring.
I whimpered at the sound of his smoothly calm voiceâa voice that had haunted me for years. I briefly listened to his breathing, wondering how he knew that I needed him. I shook my head and bit back a dejected laugh. Of course he knew. I wouldnât be calling unless it was a matter of life or death.
âSomeone was here,â I whispered, as if not to startle the corpse. My voice sounded raspy, and thick with unshed tears. For the most part, up until this point, I had actually impressed myself by not freaking out. Now my well-crafted faÃ§ade was cracking. I could hear his breathing quicken slightly.
âAre you all right?â
I soaked in the alarm in his voice, letting it wrap me up like a balm to a sting. I closed my eyes, and willed my voice to sound firm. âYou need to send a crew,â I said.
âFuckâ¦ cleaners?â he asked letting out a heavy breath.
I nodded. After a moment, I realized I hadnât actually answered. âYes, Iâm in Chicagoâ¦ in my apartment on the corner ofââ
âI know where you live. Sit tight. Tiny will be there in no timeââ
I hung up, not strong enough to listen to his voice any longer. Sitting on the floor, I dropped the phone in another loud clatter, and brought my knees to my chest. I wasnât startled or even fully conscious of the continuous vibrating of my phone. It just danced in the dark, dangerously close to the pool of blood. I watched it, lost in thought of how naÃ¯ve Iâd been. I shouldâve known the past would catch up to meâhe would always catch up with me.
Closing my eyes, I let a sliver of happiness creep up inside.
I would see Tiny again.
The happiness lasted just until I remembered why I would see him again and was replaced by a sharp pain in my chest. I looked over at the dead body once more and shivered, the sickeningly sweet metallic scent of blood churned my stomach. It was unbearable. I started dry heaving uncontrollably and leaned on my hands for support. I hadnât eaten all day so there was nothing my body could purge itself of, save for the acid burning the back of my throat.
When the dry heaving stopped, I sat back and wrapped my arms around my legs. Leaning my forehead on my arms, I made myself breathe through my mouth. I didnât want to smell it anymore. And, I was pretty good at convincing myself if I couldnât see or smell it, it didnât exist. So, I sat there, rocking myself in the dark, repeating four words like a mantra.
He can fix this.
It might have been a few minutes, or hours, before I heard the front door creak open. Although I was in plain sight, I couldnât make myself move from my position. The door opened, but I didnât raise my head. I heard several pairs of footsteps treading the floor almost imperceptibly as they invaded my home. âClear,â several voices said at the same time. âStand guard. Weâre coming down in a few,â Tinyâs deep voice called out from the door. The men moved around, while Tiny approached me. He took a couple of steps and came to an abrupt stop.
âYou left the door unlocked.â His tone was harsh, accusatory.
Truthfully, I hadnât even considered the possibility that someone else might come to finish the job.
I could sense Tinyâs stare on me. After a moment, he spoke.
âFuck,â he said.
I looked up to him now, but I knew he was looking at the man beside me. I followed his gaze and then averted my eyes. I sniffled, not realizing until then that I had been crying. Straining, I fixed my eyes on Tinyâs perfectly polished patent leather shoes that shone even in the dark.
âAre you okay?â he asked, kneeling down in front of me. His words had an almost affectionate undertone, something rare for him.
I couldnât help the giggle that escaped. Was I okay? Hardly. No. I raised my eyes to his. I unlocked my arms, and wiped my tear-stained face with my hands.
âIâm fine,â I said before nodding towards the body. âBut thatâs going to leave a stain.â
Tiny chuckled, and shook his head lightly.
I couldnât help the slight upward curling of my lips, despite the horror I just went through. I had lived by so many rules, for so many years that even now, as an adult, I couldnât help the impulse to follow them. Everything needed to be clean and in perfect order. I shouldnât be too loud. Speak too much. Attract any attention.
And, I certainly shouldnât have a dead body on my floor.
âCome on, Lou. Letâs get you out of here,â he said as he took my hand and pulled me to my feet.
I frowned. No one had called me Lou in years, these days I went by Livi.
I didnât fight him; I needed to get out of there. âMy purse,â I said, looking down at the black leather bag whose contents were still spilled all over the floor. It was truly absurd to worry about something so trivial after all that had just happened, but old habits died hard. Really hard. And that was my favorite lipstick.
âIâll take care of it,â Tiny said. He placed his hand between my shoulder blades and pushed me gently towards the door.
I suddenly panicked.
âNo,â I said, shaking my head.
âWe need to go, now.â Tiny pushed again, urging me to move, but my feet remained glued in place.
âI-I canât leave like this, I have to pick up my things,â I said turning around. My eyes watered at the sight of the mess in front of us.
âDonât worry about it,â Tiny said, now grabbing my arm. I shook my head again and tried to pull out of his grasp, but he didnât let go.
âI need to clean up, Iâll probably have to bleach theââ
âLou!â Tiny said while grasping my shoulders and forcefully turning me to look at him. âSnap out of it.â
Thatâs when I freaked out.
My whole body started trembling uncontrollably and my breathing hitched. I chewed the inside of my cheek to try to stop myself from crying, but when I bit too hard and tasted the metallic tang of blood, my tears spilled over. A sob escaped me. I covered my mouth with me hands, startled by my reaction.
âDamn it,â Tiny said, shaking me slightly. âYou need to calm down.â
I closed my eyes, inhaling and exhaling slowly, ignoring the taste in my mouth. When I felt in control again, I opened my eyes.
âAre you good?â Tiny asked. I nodded. He looked at me doubtfully, so I wiped my face and breathed in deeply again before answering.
âIâm good,â I said.
âOkay, then letâs get you the fuck out of here.â
This time when he guided me, I followed his lead. A man stood guard at the door, but I hardly looked at him. I just saw the bloody mess everywhere. Thankfully, Tiny helped me down the two flights of stairs otherwise I would have crumbled. He stepped outside first, his body tense, prepared to attack any other assassin. Then, he turned back to me and waved me forward.
Slowly, I stepped into the cold night.
Another man in a black suit stood just outside the entrance. There were four black SUVs with tinted windows parked in front of us with men standing guard in front of them. They had come like an army intent on making a statementâDonât fuck with us.
The sight of them brought back my most painful memories. I hesitated, but Tiny pushed me forward. He walked with purpose, hovering over me.
With Tiny, there was never time for uncertainty. He opened the door and carefully, but firmly, helped me inside the car. The driver stood beside his own door, intently scanning the surroundings, and looked up at Tinyâs approach.
âI gotta go clean up. Liam will follow you,â Tiny said to the driver. Turning towards me, he added, âTate will take care of you.â
âWhere is he taking me?â I asked before he could shut the door. Noticing the panic in my own voice, my eyes glazed over in shame; I didnât want him to see how scared I was of his answer.
The way he said it left no room for arguing. Still, I opened my mouth.
âThis is not up for discussion,â Tiny said.
I nodded, resigned, as he closed the door behind me.
Tate started the car. I didnât know him, and his grave face was not reassuring. He glanced a final time at the rearview mirror, and drove off. I turned around and noticed that one of the other cars was following us. That must have been Liamâwhoever that was. I still couldnât believe Tiny had left me alone with a stranger. His size alone made me nervous, and the fact that he hadnât spoken to me yet was unnerving. Tate was almost too big for the interior of the car, even though he was still not as large a man as Tiny. The driverâs seat was shoved all the way back, squeezing my legs awkwardly into a twisted, painful position. When I decided to slide over to the other side, Tate broke the silence.
âKeep your head down,â was all he said.
My head snapped up to look at him through the rearview mirror. He didnât meet my gaze.
âI will, but I need to move because youâre crushing me,â I said through clenched teeth. Tate didnât react.
I started pulling at the buckle of the seat belt, trying to release it, but my hands trembled too much. I finally let go, defeated by the device.
When I looked back up, I noticed Tate smirking. He was a real charmer. I sighed and decided to stay put and suffer through the numbness in my legs. We finally merged onto the almost deserted I-94 highway. I didnât want to think about what would happen next, and tried to distract myself from those thoughts by examining Tate. He had broad shoulders and, beneath his suit, I knew he would be all hard muscle. I took in his blond hair and brooding eyes, color unknown in the dark, and startled when I noticed his gaze fixed on mine.
I was embarrassed to have been caught staring at him, and offered a small smile as apology. His eyes narrowed slightly. My heart sped up, though I couldnât identify the emotion. My brain seemed to freeze in that moment, unable to process any more information.
I closed my eyes and breathed in and out several times, just like my therapist had told me to do when I felt a panic attack coming. Slowly, I calmed myself enough to open them again.
Tate was no longer looking at me.
Relieved, I stared out the window as we sped through the city. My thoughts travelled to the past.
This wasnât the first time I had killed someone.
Six years ago, I had watched a man bleed out on a cold floor while I cried helplessly. The memory of that night was my own private nightmare; a nightmare I thought would only ever repeat itself in my dreams.
I was wrong.
It was six years ago all over again.
G.K. Moore loves cake, romances with alpha males and happily ever afters. When sheâs not writing, sheâs reading, stalking friends on Facebook, watching bad reality TV, traveling, torturing her hubby with ideas for new stories or doing all of the above at the same time. Her debut novel, a romantic suspense, is coming out December 2nd and the backdrop is one of her all time favorite cities, Chicago.
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