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Conor (Boston Underworld #6)
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When I stumbled into a mafia run club seeking a job, I was looking for protection. Little did I know I’d need protection from him.
Conor O’ Callahan was exactly the kind of danger I was trying to avoid. He was gorgeous as sin with an accent hotter than Hades, but that’s where the charm ended.
So, you could imagine my surprise when he gave me a proposition. Marry him or lose my life.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. I’ve learned to do what’s necessary to survive in this world, and I guess that includes marrying a mobster. Regardless of what he might say, it’s only temporary.
It’s not like I’m going to sleep with him. Or fall for him.
Because that would be stupid, right?
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There are two things my old man always told me were inevitable. Death and captivity. From the moment the hospital stamped my birth certificate, my years have been numbered. It’s in my DNA, true as the Irish blood running through my veins.
For as long as I could remember, Pop was in and out of the can. He never could live straight. He tried, a couple of times, but within a week or two of flipping burgers, he’d be back to planning his next big score. I suspect he always knew it would kill him. But when I asked him about it once, he told me he’d rather go down in a blaze of glory than choking on his Jell-O in the nursing home.
When I was a kid, I figured it’d be the same with me. What other choice did I have? I was raised with the notion that the only way to make a living was to jack trucks and rob banks. If you wanted something in this world, you had to take it.
So, standing here as I am, destined to go down in my own blaze of glory, it isn’t all that unexpected. Only difference is, it’s not a security guard or cop I’m squaring off with, but six members of the Lenox Hill crew.
Best case scenario is that I get one shot off before they do me in, and I have every intention of making that shot count. That greasy fucker with the slicked back hair and beady eyes will have a fat, hot piece of lead lodged in his face if it’s the last thing I ever do. Whatever happens after that will be worth it.
I rub the ink on my arm and meet his gaze. The drink in my system almost knocks me on my arse when I reach for my piece. When the adrenaline is high, everything seems faster and more amplified.
My heart is full of thunder and my palms are clammy. I’ve lived this moment a hundred times over in my mind, unwavering about the way it would go down. But reality is always different than our imaginations. When the piece of shite across the warehouse realizes what’s happening, it doesn’t bring me relief like I thought it would.
Doubt nags me. A bullet to the head is too quick, a kindness he doesn’t deserve. If I’m lucky, I’ll only get to enjoy his suffering for a second or two before my own skull is cracked open and splattered in pieces across the cement floor. But when it comes to options I’m all out. His crew is closing in on me as I raise my piece and look him in the eyes.
There’s a flurry of rapid movements as they all reach for their own weapons, and for a moment, I wonder if my Pop would say I’d done good. I could only ever do bad in his books, but I’d like to believe he’d tell me I’d done him proud for this one thing.
And Brady too.
But that fantasy is snatched away from me before I have a chance to make good on it. When gunfire erupts around me, there is only one last horrifying thought. I’ve fucked this up too because they got to me first.
Any second now, I’ll feel the shock of pain and fire when bullets pierce my flesh. One second passes, and then two, and I’m still standing. I haven’t fired a single shot, but when I look around me, the Lenox Hill crew are dodging for cover themselves.
I stagger over to the wall and duck behind a partition as I try to piece together what’s happening. There’s a lot of shouting. A few low moans from somewhere in the corner. I don’t know how long it goes on for, but when there’s a pause, I stumble out in a panic, seeking out my target. Instead, I’m met with the end of a cold barrel to the back of my head.
“Slow down there, lad,” the Irish interloper instructs me. “Where exactly do ye think ye’re off to so quickly?”
I try to shake him off as my eyes scour the warehouse for the blue shirt. I find it peeking out from the stack of boxes along the wall and my feet move in that direction before my mind can catch up to logic. I’m about a half a step closer to my goal before the man behind me grabs me again and tosses me to the floor.
“Just let me kill him,” I slur. “Then you can put a bullet in me head.”
The Irishman narrows his eyes and looks to his companion with the glasses. These guys aren’t part of some low life street gang. They’re clean cut and hard. The kind of blokes who wear clothes way too nice for this neighborhood. There’s no doubt about who and what they are. Given their accents similar to my own, they could only be part of the Irish syndicate.