Rick Mason is on a mission, and his mission is the Mafia, the Mafioso, and specifically, the Giaconi Family, one of the most powerful Mafia families to have ever immigrated to the United States. Lucian, the elusive boss of the Giaconi Family, has escaped the authorities for decades. His manipulative means and ruthless ways have allowed him to control any and all he chooses, and the unfortunate souls who dare cross him end up at the bottom of the murky waters of the Muddy Mo; that is, the Mississippi River, and a few have become tasty treats for the hungry alligators that can always be found lurking not far from the city the Giaconi Family calls home; The Big Easy, New Orleans, Louisiana.
When the car of Lucian Giaconi’s son-in-law is pulled from the Mississippi River with no body inside, Rick is determined to find out exactly what happened to the man, and will do whatever it takes to stop the elusive crime boss, “Never Lose Lucian”, once and for all.
Through careful surveillance, Rick discovers that the “weak link” in the Giaconi Family is Lucian’s youngest son, Jeff, who has twice tried and twice failed to leave the family. Rick is determined to get as close to the presumed Underboss as he possibly can.
Rick soon learns that he and Jeff have something in common. They are both gay, and are drawn to each other like moths to a flame. Rick tries to ignore his attraction to Jeff, but wants him too much to not have him.
If Jeff ever discovers that Rick is a federal agent on a mission to bring his family to justice, Rick is certain to be the next tasty treat served to the hungry alligators of the Louisiana Bayou.
“Shh, keep it down. Don’t make so much noise. You never know who might be out here watching us. You want somebody to hear us? Now, lower it down slowly. How much cement you get in there?” “Plenty.” “There, now push it on down with your foot.”
The two men stood at the edge of the Pauline Street Wharf and watched as the chest made of pure cedar drifted slowly downward into the Mississippi River. “How long you think it’ll take ‘til it’s out in the Gulf?” “About half a day, if it even gets that far.” The two men laughed as they watched the cedar chest disappear from their sight as it was swallowed up by the murky waters of the Mississippi River.
They looked around them. It was just after midnight. They headed back to the warehouse where the Giaconi Cedar Furniture was made. “Lucian will be pleased,” Johnny said. “Yes, yes he will be,” Sammy agreed. Sammy “the snake” Malini and Johnny “JoJo” Galioso had worked for Lucian Giaconi since they were in their teens. They had first worked for the old man, Lucian, Sr., and now they worked for his son, Lucian, Jr. They didn’t think that the son could possibly be more ruthless than the old man, but time had proven them wrong, very wrong.
Sammy and JoJo drove the short distance to the warehouse, parked their dark vehicle in the back, and then walked slowly to the door. Sammy tapped twice with his hand down at his side, the secret code, and the door opened. The security camera allowed Lucian’s son, Jeff, otherwise known as the Underboss, to see that it was them waiting outside. The doors opened, and the two men walked inside. The door closed and locked behind them.
“All done, Jeff.” “It was a success?” “Yes, success,” Sammy informed him. “No one says a word to Cheri. As far as anyone knows, Pierre got drunk and drove his car into the river.” The two men nodded, and then left the building.
From his rented room on the top floor of the old hotel, agent Rick Mason had watched the two men submerge the cedar chest. Unfortunately, he had not seen what was in it. Damn, he thought. If only I had access to the warehouse, or knew someone who did.
Rick Mason had been working for years to get close to the Giaconi family, and now he had located the city of its elusive boss. It was New Orleans, not Chicago, as he had once thought. Chicago had been a decoy set up very carefully by the owners of Giaconi Pizza. The two families were connected somehow, but Rick didn’t know exactly how, yet. He suspected that this Lucian Giaconi was the head of both; that they were really just one family, and not two, which was originally suspected among the Feds.
Rick Mason had studied the intricacies of organized crime for years, and he knew very well how their cover-ups worked. The idea was to keep as many layers between the head of the family, the boss, and the actual crimes committed as they possibly could. Let the lowest layer do the dirty work, and it kept the focus off of the top. That way, the family’s business was not disturbed, and could continue uninterrupted.
Rick had also watched Jeff as he walked to his car after leaving the warehouse. He had gotten a good look at him and had also gotten an image of him with his digital equipment especially made for night imaging. “Well, that’s a start,” he said aloud.
Rick looked at the man sitting across from him. God, he was gorgeous. Jeff studied Rick’s face. To Jeff, Rick looked like a regular tourist. He was clean shaven, very waspy looking, definitely not Italian. Jeff would give almost anything to have been born into a non-mafia family. He was sick of the shady businesses of his father here in New Orleans and his uncle in Chicago. He was tired of being paranoid. He couldn’t believe what his father had just done to his little sister’s husband. “If I could leave with this kind looking stranger, I would do it,” he thought. Then he thought about the two times he had tried to leave before, and he felt himself break out in a sweat. He felt dizzy.
Rick had turned away, and when he looked back he saw a very different Jeff. Rick was out of his chair in an instant. “Hey, there, you don’t look good. Here, bend down.” Rick stood over Jeff and rubbed his back as the blood flowed back into his head. He poured some cold water on a napkin and wiped Jeff’s forehead, and then fanned him. Jeff felt better quickly and sat up. “Thanks. I’m Jeff.” “Rick,” he said. “You feeling better, Jeff?” “A little, I guess. I think I’ll get my food to go.”
Rick parked his car outside in the drive, because he didn’t want Jeff to see the U.S. Government tag on the car sitting in the garage. Jeff looked around nervously. “What a life,” thought Rick. Rick unlocked the door, and let Jeff go in ahead of him. Rick brought his suitcases in, but left the locked cabinet in the trunk of his car. “Could you help me carry these down the hall?” he asked Jeff. Jeff carried the bags to the far bedroom, and once he was out of sight Rick placed his gun in a drawer in the kitchen. “I’ll let you pick out some clothes, Jeff. Choose whatever you like. Most of mine should fit you.” “Thanks, Rick,” he said, and changed into some loose fitting sweats.
They were both tired from the flight, and Rick never kept much food in the house since he was hardly ever home. “Hungry, Jeff?” “Not really.” “Well, you were sleeping when they brought our meals on the plane. You sure you’re not hungry?” “I’m sure, Rick. Thanks.” “Well, I’m going to have some wine,” Rick announced, and headed straight for the bar. He poured a glass for himself and then handed one to Jeff. “I missed this more than anything, almost,” he admitted. Jeff loved Rick’s wine. “It’s like Sweet Tea, with a kick to it.” Rick laughed. “I can honestly say I’ve never had it described that way.”
Whatever it was that was so strong between them was quickly bubbling to the surface once again. Rick set his glass down, and Jeff quickly set his down too, and helped himself to a serving of Rick. He straddled Rick and settled in his lap. He held his face in his hands, leaned up, pressed his body against Rick’s, and tasted his lips. He licked the wine that lingered there, holding Rick’s face, forming Rick’s mouth to meet his lips. Rick’s arms were around Jeff now, holding him close, welcoming his lips. “Rick,” he said, but said nothing more. He bent Rick’s head back on the sofa, and kissed him harder. Their tongues met and danced inside both of their mouths.