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Authors: Elizabeth Blair

Ties That Bind

BOOK: Ties That Bind
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Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Prologue

Amor regge senza legge

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN

CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

CHAPTER THIRTY

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE

CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX

CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER THIRTY-NINE

CHAPTER FORTY

CHAPTER FORTY-ONE

CHAPTER FORTY-TWO

CHAPTER FORTY-THREE

CHAPTER FORTY-FOUR

CHAPTER FORTY-FIVE

CHAPTER FORTY-SIX

CHAPTER FORTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER FORTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER FORTY-NINE

CHAPTER FIFTY

CHAPTER FIFTY-ONE

CHAPTER FIFTY-TWO

CHAPTER FIFTY-THREE

CHAPTER FIFTY-FOUR

CHAPTER FIFTY-FIVE

CHAPTER FIFTY-SIX

CHAPTER FIFTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER FIFTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER FIFTY-NINE

CHAPTER SIXTY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIES THAT BIND

 

Elizabeth Blair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Elizabeth Blair

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 0692668616 (print)

ISBN-13: 978-0692668610 (print)

Only sinners, prostitutes, and angels of death roamed the streets of Atlantic City this time of night. Deserted streets, outlined exclusively by the rare homeless body stretched out near a ventilation shaft, seemed welcoming only to the outcasts of even the city’s darkest side. In the back alleys behind the third police precinct, not even an eerie yellow glow from a taxicab was available to light the way. Stumbling over one of the inert bodies in his path, Mitch considered stopping and checking for a pulse but then thought better of it. If a person had chosen to die on the steps of the local pd., it wasn’t his problem. He had bigger things on his plate than worrying about the press fiasco such an event would cause.

He shivered as a biting wind cut through his silk suit, wishing he’d thought to grab a coat before the police had hauled him in for questioning. Not that he’d had much opportunity to plan for the event. Unlike usual, he’d been taken by surprise when they’d yanked him out of Sunday brunch at La Mazaran and thrown him to the asphalt without even bothering to mirandize him. He checked his Rolex, noting the day rather than the time. Three days. Three very long and very grueling days. The cops had held him in custody for over 72 hours.

He sidestepped the leggy red-haired hooker that moved to intercept him as soon as she’d seen the watch flashing under the neon lights. Even she was intelligent enough to know it wasn’t a fake. He offered her an apologetic smile and continued down the sidewalk, kicking away drifts of snow that the street sweeper had brushed onto the concrete path. He grimaced as he stood in front of the casino he had been calling home in the days immediately preceding his barbaric extraction from a civilized luncheon of imported lobster bisque and French champagne. He had been scheduled on a late afternoon flight back to Vancouver and his bags were undoubtedly still packed, waiting beside the frosted glass doors of the presidential suite he had occupied. It would be pointless to retrieve them – his reason for returning to the city now a distant memory.

Jeffrey Coppell, underworld crime lord and Mitch’s boss, had been shot in the head four days earlier. He hadn’t known, of course. At least not until the Jersey cops had hauled him in as a suspect in the murder. That they would consider him a suspect was laughable – he was perhaps the one person on the planet who wanted Coppell alive. Leaning down, he tucked a hundred dollar bill in the pocket of the inert form leaning against the taxi stand outside the hotel. Raising a gloved palm, he flagged down the blue city cab that was nearest him. He wasn’t worried about his livelihood – he knew job offers would be pouring in soon. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was deciding which family to join and then, once inside, he could bring them down to their knees.

 

Miles across town, a shot rang out in the night air.  Jimmie Vinetti gazed blankly ahead as he watched his right hand man stumble forward and fall to his knees.  He made a feeble attempt to raise himself, his fingers wrenching tightly around the tails of Jimmie’s tuxedo jacket as he knelt in near prayer, pleading for his life.

“Jimmie, I did everything for you.  I loved for you and killed for you,” the man gasped through pain-streaked breaths.  “I gave my best to you.”

Jimmie moved away, leaving the man to slump onto the warehouse floor but not before a moment of weakness and regret flashed across his face.  Blurred memories, near photograph stills, of the last three years with the man now lying at his feet fired through his mind at a dizzying pace: the moment they met at a party in Brooklyn’s east side; the time they got arrested in Philly when their customs agent turned fed; the month prior when Jimmie had stood as best man while he married his childhood sweetheart; the crushing heartbreak twelve hours earlier when he learned from that same sweetheart that the IOC had offered a plea under the RICO act and they had both accepted without hesitation…or remorse.

Fury burned within him again and he stepped back toward the begging man, finding comfort in the blood trickling down to the floor and pooling into the concrete.  A moment was all he had for sentiment.  His business didn’t allow heartfelt commentaries to fallen angels of
la familia
.  The coldness back, Jimmie fired another round, wiped the gun clean, and then tossed it to the ground, the metal echoing through the warehouse with the startling jolt of a train veering off its steel track.

“Keep your best,” Jimmie hissed. “It’s not good enough.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amor regge senza legge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Ashli Vinetti glanced up from the glass-plated desk in her New York office, dark brown eyes narrowing at the interruption. Her long manicured fingernails, polished to the perfect scarlet red, tapped on the keyboard in front of her.  “What?  Don’t I look busy here?”

“You have a visitor, Ms. Vinetti.”

“I told you. I’m working on a four-million-dollar deal here. Don’t bother me.” She turned her attention back to the computer screen, trying to remember the secretary’s name so she could fire her at the next staff meeting. Perhaps a public reprimand would keep any other moronic blond bimbo hired by her brother in check.

“Ashli Vinetti?”

The voice, unknown but somehow familiar, caused her to turn from the computer in an instant. The man, pitch-black hair down to his collar with a chest as wide as her door frame, set her nerves on end. Someone had allowed a stranger admittance to the executive floor - uninvited. She reached her hand out to press the alarm but in the moment it took her to raise her hand, he was across the room and had it pressed to his lips in respectful greeting. She hesitated and her shock seemed to provide him the second of opening he desired.

“I believe I owe you a debt,” his voice was silky, his piercing ice blue eyes never wavering from hers as bodyguards she hadn’t yet summoned entered the room with guns drawn. He dropped her hand with no urgency, his unfettered confidence causing a smile to spread across her face as recognition settled in. He was everything she had been told he was.

She waved the guards away, knowing their presence was pointless in his company. If all things said were true, he could take them all down without even changing his position. “Debts to be paid I have time for. Please sit down.”

Mitch nodded and dropped into the chair opposite her. His eyes followed her moves unabashed, watching as she slipped from behind the desk and moved to lean against it.  Her slender legs crossed at the ankles, her high heels tipping toward him with practiced ease. Although she seemed relaxed, he knew better than to underestimate her.

“And just how are you indebted to us?”

“You posted bail for me yesterday. In Atlantic City.”

The lack of surprise told him more than any response. Her bailing him out had been purposeful. She had sought him out for some particular reason that he could not even guess at. Although Vinetti was one of the largest outfits on the east coast and he'd run across their names several times over the years, he'd never had any direct dealings with them. He had purposefully stayed clear of the Vinettis over the years. Not out of fear, although Jimmie was known for disposing of his closest allies with little notice, but out of self-preservation. It was lucky for the IOC that preservation of self was no longer one of his priorities.

“You’re Mitchell Kerlin,” she nodded, her eyes now moving over him with unhidden curiosity. She extended her hand in a more agreeable introduction. “Ashli Vinetti. We’ve never had the pleasure but I’m told we run in familiar circles.”

“Do we?” He gave her a lopsided grin. “I do believe I’d remember seeing you.”

“Would you indeed?” she asked, watching as he stood up and begin moving about her office as if he owned it.

“Are you needing my assistance with something?  Or was this just a friendly gesture?”  He picked up a crystal vase perched on one shelf. He toyed with it a moment and, when she didn’t respond, he turned an expectant gaze her direction.

“A friendly gesture,” she murmured, turning away from his intense gaze. He unnerved her – there was no doubt. Power seemed to radiate from him even more so than her brother. She’d never anticipated such a thing was possible from him, of all people. She cleared her throat, moving to take the vase from him and place it back where it belonged. “Vinetti Industries tries to take care of persecuted club members. Considering the recent emotional turmoil you’ve been through in losing your employer, we felt-”

He chuckled. “Persecuted?”

“You were unfairly detained in the death of Jeffrey Coppell,” she hesitated. “Or am I mistaken?”

“No,” he nodded without breaking her gaze, “you are not mistaken.”

“I thought perhaps you might spend some time here with Vinetti Industries until you find a permanent employer.”

“I’ll take that into consideration. Thank you. I have…”

“People to check with first, of course. And I’m sure you won’t mind our doing the same.”

“By all means, Ms. Vinetti, background me to your heart’s content.” Mitch stepped closer to her, his face coming within inches of hers. He dropped his lips to her ear, his closeness causing a blush to rise from somewhere deep within. His voice was quiet when he finally spoke. “Thank you for the gesture.”

She nodded, sucking in a breath as he slipped out the door. She already had all the background information she needed. Kerlin was the top operative in the Investigations of Organized Crime Bureau. Her brother didn’t know, of course. He couldn’t if her plan was to work. It was only by a fluke that she’d learned the information herself. Having slept with a brand new IOC recruit, he’d spun tales of drunken admiration and adolescent idealizations of mentors and veteran officers.

Mitch had been mentioned in passing. His status as a near freelance agent with the bureau pushed the boundaries of everything legal within the IOC so her bedmate knew little of Mitch and his operations. But Ashli knew of him. His name had tumbled out of every mafia boss she’d ever met. He’d had connections with
la familia
since birth and that he had, for some unknown reason, changed sides without ever being caught was a puzzling yet phenomenal achievement. This alone let her know he was the one person that could help her succeed at her goal.

BOOK: Ties That Bind
2.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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