Lawless:Mob Boss Book Three

By: Michelle St. James

She heard the sound again, then saw something shift out of the corner of her eye. She stood, heart pounding, and reached for the gun she’d set on the coffee table before she’d gone to sleep. She’d rejected David’s suggestion that she might have PTSD, too. That she could benefit from counseling. She’d gone to the shooting range instead, hired an instructor, practiced until she had a ninety percent kill ratio at seventy-five feet.

She scanned the office, her eyes coming to rest on a shadowy figure leaning against the wall across from her.

She raised the gun, thumbed off the safety. “I suggest you identify yourself,” she said. “Unless you’d like your DNA to do it for you.”

The figure stepped forward, arms raised in surrender, hands empty. But that was all easy to register, easier than the face that slowly came into view in the faint light spilling from the lamp on the desk.

She shook her head. “No. It… It can’t be.”

He stepped closer, and she was assaulted by the smell of him, the scent of leather and soap and something else now. Pine?

He gently took the gun from her hand and set it back on the coffee table. Then he met her gaze, and she knew it was true. His face was thinner, but it was him, the amber eyes piercing hers in the darkness, the set of his shoulders as uncompromising as ever under his white T-shirt and a familiar leather jacket.

He touched his knuckles to her face, ran them gently down her cheek, his eyes locked on hers. She couldn’t breathe, didn’t dare move. She registered with detachment that her face was wet, tears streaming from her eyes.

“I’m sorry, Angel,” he said.

She lifted a hand and cracked it hard across his face.

Nico stared after her, listened to the sound of her heels clicking on the marble floor of the lobby before she disappeared into the elevator. When she was gone, he paced to the window overlooking downtown Boston. It was pretty, but it wasn’t New York. He missed it. Missed the chaos and noise, the honking and swearing, the history that was baked and frozen into the concrete and stone.

He hadn’t been back since before he and Angel left for Miami just before summer. Then there was the frantic trip to LA to save David, the chaos of his rescue, the aftermath that Nico had been forced to watch from afar.

He slipped a hand into the pocket of his jeans, touched the rosary beds he sometimes carried there. He still wasn’t sure he believed in god, but the beads had brought him comfort during the long months when he’d been alone. It was some combination of the repetition as he slid them through his fingers, the memories they brought of childhood when everything had seemed so simple.

Angel didn’t understand. He couldn’t blame her. Faking his death had been a last resort. The only way he felt sure she would be safe — and the only way he stood a chance of figuring out what was really going on in the Syndicate.

He’d known as soon as they got to LA that the conspiracy against him went deeper than Dante and a handful of traitors from various families. The effort to sabotage the Vitale family had required too much manpower, too many resources, to be attributed to Dante alone. Something bigger was happening behind the scenes, and Nico had no doubt that once they rescued David, he would be next on the list.

And whoever came for him wouldn’t be satisfied with a couple of fingers.

He didn’t care about himself. If he’d been alone, he would have surrounded himself by the men he trusted, brushed up on his Eskrima and tactical training, taken his chances.

But he couldn’t do that with Angel. Wouldn’t.

He didn’t know if she intended to stay with him after her brother was rescued, but it didn’t matter. Whoever was after him knew that she was his weakness, and that meant she was a target as long as he was alive.

He and Luca had started formulating the plan in the days they spent at Locke’s beach house before David’s rescue. Luca hadn’t liked it. Hell, Nico wasn’t exactly thrilled either. But it had seemed the only way to put meaningful distance between him and Angel. To buy him time to do some real investigation into what was going on. It hadn’t been a guarantee of her safety, and he’d made damn sure Luca had someone on her 24/7 ever since, but Nico had bet on the fact that with him out of the picture, his enemies would be satisfied with keeping an eye on Angel, at least for awhile.

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