Authors: Callie Hart,Lili St. Germain
Tags: #Romance, #Suspense, #Contemporary, #Thriller
Callie Hart & Lili Saint Germain
Copyright © 2015 Callie Hart & Lili Saint Germain
copyright © 2015 Callie Hart & Lili Saint Germain
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to peoples either living or deceased is purely coincidental. Names, places and characters are figments of the author’s imagination, or, if real, used fictitiously. The author recognises the trademarks and copyrights of all registered products and works mentioned within this work.
A Friendly Note From The Authors!
If you’re new to our work, please note that this story contains spoilers to our other series. Lili Saint Germain, author of the Gypsy Brothers Series, would like you to know that there is a chapter within Hell’s Kitchen from Jase’s point of view that will give away aspects of the ending of her series. If you would like to read Hell’s Kitchen without knowing what happens at the end of the Gypsy Brothers series, you can always skip this chapter. The storyline has been designed so that you can avoid this section and not miss any plot or important events.
Callie Hart, author of the Blood & Roses series, would also like to provide the same warning. The chapter written from Zeth’s point of view may hint at aspects of her other work. As such, you can also skip this chapter without losing any plot or major events in the Hell’s Kitchen storyline.
If you DO pass over these chapters, please do remember to come back and read them once you’ve completed the girls’ other series.
There’s some seriously hot action going on in there!!
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile
—St. Crispin’s Day Speech,
Henry V, The Bard.
“Find that little Irish bitch,” I say, surveying my sons with disdain. Disdain is fast becoming the norm where Sal and Theo are concerned, but surely they’re capable of doing this one thing for me. One thing that will show those Irish fuckers they can’t screw with the Barbieri family and get away with it. One thing that will ensure the McLaughlins never fuck with us again.
As far as days go, it’s a shitty day to kidnap someone, let alone the most protected bitch in the entire state of New York, but this ain’t our first time at the rodeo. So long as the boys think with their heads and not their cocks, it should be a simple task.
“This air-conditioning sucks balls,” Sal, my younger boy says. He’s right, but his tone irritates me so much, I have to clench my fists to stop myself from retaliating with violence. He’s got nothing to complain about, standing there like a cocky little prick, watching me do the food prep. It’s hot as fuck in Hell’s Kitchen as it is, but standing next to the industrial deep fryer as I drop thin slices of veal into bubbling oil, it’s positively sweltering.
“We got a starting point?” Sal asks.
The meat sizzles as it hits the burning fat. “Been a long time since I had to hold your fucking dick for you when you had to take a piss, son. You seem to be able to figure that out all on your own these days. I’m sure you can figure this out, too. How hard can picking up a teenage girl really be?”
Theo, shirtsleeves rolled up to his elbows, hands covered in blood—a picture of violence, as always—shrugs. “She’s not just some kid we can snatch off the short bus. She’s got bodyguards. Two of them. Ex-military bastards.”
“One of them’s a fucking woman,” I spit. I cast my eyes over my sons: first Salvatore, then Theo, not sure who I’m more pissed off with. Not sure which one of them is the least like me. If I hadn’t kept a close eye on my wife before she fucking died, there’s a strong possibility I’d be questioning our boys’ paternity. Fucking weak, both of them. Just like their mother.
“Hey,” I snap, “you getting my meat ready or finger-fucking it over there?”
Sal snickers. Theo scowls.
“What the fuck are you laughing at, boy?” I hiss.
Sal shrugs as he pushes off the wall he’s been leaning against and reaches into the waistband of his jeans, pulling out his Glock and checking the chamber. Seemingly satisfied, he tucks the gun back in place. “Got a photo?”
I make a small sound of irritation in the back of my throat as I pause my deep frying and wipe my hands on the rag that hangs over my shoulder. Reaching into my breast pocket, I pull out a 5x7 print and hand it over to my younger son. Sal pinches the photograph between his thumb and index finger and pulls, but I make no move to let go. “We’ve got one chance at this, you understand? You don’t get her this time, we’re fucked.”
If only they knew.
Sal nods, and I finally let the photograph slip from my grasp. Theo, still elbow deep in meat and blood, cocks his head to the side, motioning for Sal to bring the photo closer. Sal obliges, standing beside his brother and holding the photograph up for both of them to see.
I can already anticipate the reaction these two will have. Kaitlin McLaughlin grew the fuck up. And she grew up hot. Long platinum blonde hair, arrow-straight. Green eyes, flecked with brown. Full lips, the works. She looks fuckable, but in a barely legal kind of way. I already know that Theo’s pretty good at spotting girls under the age of consent, and this kid still has a look of jail time about her. A hint of arrogance, too. It lurks behind the cold smile that teases at the corners of her mouth—like she knows something you don’t, only I do know her secrets. Nevertheless, girls like that are always trouble. Always better off avoided like the plague. And here I am, about to send these two after the kid like I’ve got a goddamn death wish. “How old?” Theo asks.
“Does it matter?” I don’t look up from my task. I can feel Theo’s eyes on me, and I wonder if he’s staring at the deep, purple scar that zigzags down my temple and over my cheekbone as I work. He has a hard time looking me in the eye, that one, too fascinated with my war wounds. “She’s Paddy McLaughlin’s blood,” I say emphatically. “This is the way it’s always been. The sins of the father are visited upon the heads of his children. She could be thirty or she could be three fucking months old. It wouldn’t matter. We’d still be having this conversation. Paddy McLaughlin’s people have fucked with
people. And now we’re gonna fuck with his.”
Sal baulks. “You want us to kill Paddy’s
I lift my head, lift my knife—and point the business end at my sons. “You two don’t touch a single hair on her fucking head, you understand? That’s above your pay grade.” I stab the end of the knife into the chopping board in front of me. The wood splinters apart with the force of my rage. Reaching into my pocket, I pull out a folded piece of paper and slap it into Sal’s open palm. “Program this number into your phone. Right now.”
“What is it?” Strange numbers never normally equal anything good, and he knows this better than anyone by now. His fingers still quickly key the number into his cell as he frowns at me, though.
“I have something coming up. Something big that I need a professional to deal with. That number belongs to one of Charlie Holsan’s ex employees.”
“Charlie Holsan? The crazy English bastard that runs Seattle?” Theo asks.
“Charlie Holsan ain’t running shit these days. Guy got stabbed in the neck with a fork from what I hear. No one is running Seattle now, and I want that fucking city. A power vacuum needs to be filled, boys.”
“And that’s the big job?” Sal asks, screwing the paper into a ball and tossing it into the trash. “You want to take Seattle? Why not let us do it?”
I shake my head, pounding a tenderizing hammer into the meat on the chopping board in front of me. Why do they insist on knowing everything? “Kidnap the girl. Bring her back here. Call that number and get the motherfucker on side.
. That’s all you boys need to worry about. Now get to fucking work.”
“We’re kidnapping a teenager. We should be wearing balaclavas and overalls, not fucking Armani suits.” Tugging at the overly starched collar of my white shirt, I shrug my shoulders, trying to somehow make my clothes fit better. I haven’t worn this suit since our mother died. Should have burned the fucking thing the same day. First thing I found when I put on the damn jacket this morning was the folded service program from St. Francis Xavier’s Catholic Church in the breast pocket. That and a pack of six-year-old unsmoked cigarettes. Mom fucking hated me smoking. I’d wanted to light up so bad as they were lowering her coffin into the ground but all I could think about was her slapping me round the back of the head, giving me shit about my life choices. The girls I fucked. The crap I ate. The car I drove. The booze I drank. All of it. I was twenty-three back then and I thought none of it mattered, that I was gonna live forever.
These days I’m far more aware of my own mortality. Knowing I’m liable to get shot in the head at any moment, just like my mother did¸ hasn’t done much to alter the life choices she disapproved of so much. If anything, the knowledge has probably made them worse. I could die tomorrow. What’s the point in living off salad and drinking fucking light beer when you could be getting your dick sucked and eating steak?
“She’s not likely to climb into a town car with two guys she doesn’t know if they’re wearing ski masks, Theo. She’s more likely to call her dad and have his boys come down to the airfield and pump our ride full of holes.” Salvatore gives me a dry look. His left eyebrow nearly hits his hairline. “We should just execute the bitch on the runway and have done with it. Get her on her knees and then—” He forms the shape of a gun with his right hand, pulling back the action with his left, and then firing. “
“No. No, job
done. Didn’t you hear what Roberto said? He wants her safely delivered back to the house. Not one hair harmed, he said.” It’s been like this forever—Sal wanting to tear off half-cocked, completely disobeying our father, and me, grabbing him by the scruff of his neck and holding him back. “You’re not executing anybody. Jesus Christ, Sal. The old man’s unhinged, and we are
invincible. He’s business down to the bone. If he needs to make an example out of us, he fucking will.”
Sal doesn’t say anything. He’s very good at that—keeping his mouth shut when he disagrees with something that’s being said. He holds onto it for days, months, years and then dredges it up, verbatim, whenever it suits him. Usually when he wants to demonstrate that you’re being an asshole or contradicting yourself in some way.
He holds up his cell phone and waves it in my peripherals. “If you don’t want to piss off our father, we should call that fucking specialist, right? The Seattle guy?”
Anger spikes through me. However, the emotion isn’t as intense as it could be, given our father’s distrust. We’ve met the specialist Roberto mentioned, and he’s one scary motherfucker. Straight up and down, though. No fucking around. He’s not a bad guy to have on your side. I sure as shit wouldn’t want him on anyone else’s. I grunt my ascent, fixing my eyes on the road. “Fine. Do it. Get it out of the way.”
Sal hits the number saved in his phone and we both sit there, stewing over the injustice of having to answer to some outsider. Or ask for his advice. I know my brother, too. This is a particularly bitter pill for him to swallow.
He hits speakerphone, and the line rings six times before someone eventually picks up. There’s no voice, though. No one says anything. Sal looks at me, pissed off, rolls his eyes, and then speaks into the receiver. “What’s up, asshole. Roberto Barbieri asked us to call you.”
“Roberto Barbieri shouldn’t even have this number,” someone growls on the other end of the line. The guy’s voice is pretty much the sound of an earthquake. Of rock grinding on rock. I remember that about him—that his voice alone was enough to make people shit their pants. I take the phone away from Sal and speak into it quickly, before Sal gets the chance.
“Mr. Mayfair, we met back in Seattle a couple of months ago. I believe we had a common enemy. The Monterellis? You took care of one brother? We took care of the other?”