She was a throwaway at birth, ward of the state until adoption, iffy sexual relationships, all interactions devoid of love—an emotion she has no reason to believe exists. He’s a covert federal enforcer whose private life consists of as-needed sexual hookups. He embraces the lifestyle.
Family crisis brings Vi Leon and Christopher Corbett together. An irrefutable attraction becomes explosive passion. They spend nights satisfying mutual needs, then return to their separate cynical lifestyles, a decision that might cost them their lives when Vi realizes she’s pregnant. Afraid the nature of his job will put her and the baby at risk, she conceals the pregnancy and birth from him, until fate intervenes.
The son of an alleged crime family has Corbett under surveillance when a personal emergency reunites him and Vi. The man redirects his attention to Vi and discovers her link to Christopher. Verifying Vi’s worst fears, not only do she and her child become pawns in the deadly subterfuge of Christopher’s operation, but killing them becomes crucial to the endgame.
Two months ago
Phone clenched to her ear, stunned by what she’d heard, she remained motionless, absently peering out the kitchen window, struggling to control her fear and rage.
Why now…things had been going so well? Against the odds, Marissa had fallen in love, had married, had two adorable babies, twins, and she was happy. Even a half-hour ago, before Moments later, she arrives home, picks up the ringing phone, and wham—Tristan shot? Who-why…Tristan had no enemies—hell, what was she thinking?
Lately, baffling occurrences of unlocked doors, ominous dreams, harassing phone call hang-ups had been plaguing Marissa’s life, but this…of course, damn it! Shooting her husband could mean the on-going animosity between Marissa and her enemies had ratcheted up a notch, had acquired a domino effect. If true, who’s next…Vi or—oh hell no—the twins, uh-uh…going after her was plausible. Like Tristan, she could impede or prevent attacks on Marissa, but the idea of Korey and Kristen being in danger…over her dead body.
The annoying buzz of the dial tone snapped her out of her dazed inertia. She realized she still held the phone to her ear, and replaced the receiver, but continued to stare out the window. Her focus sidetracked by the abrupt weather change…what a difference a matter moments can make.
From a calm autumn night, clear skies with a slight breeze, to overcast with the intermittent obscuring of the moon by drifting clouds. While that mild breeze had morphed into howling Santa Ana winds buffeting the house and propelling whirlwinds of dust and leaves about the yard amid shifting shadows. In addition, the air had turned chilly, seemed to seep into her bones. She hugged her arms to her body, and shivered, unsure if her reaction was due to the phone call or weather. Hell. The only thing missing from the atmospheric conditions outside was the moonlit silhouette of a bat, or a baying wolf—a fitting backdrop for her sense of foreboding.
Someone shot Tristan, and just like that, all their lives would change, devastated by the cold-blooded whim of somebody with a misguided sense of revenge. Where would it end, and at what cost?
Vi spun away from the window, snatched keys and purse off the counter, and stormed out through the laundry room into the garage. She slipped behind the wheel of her 1979 Mercedes 450SL, buckled up, and started the engine, but didn’t put the car in gear. Hands clutching the wheel, fingernails scoring her palms, impotent rage gripped her insides. She took a minute to get her act together—deep breath, slow steady release, relax. She tapped the remote door opener, backed out of the garage, watched the door close, then she drove away, uncertain.
What could her cynical self expect from life, if Marissa couldn’t hold onto happiness? After what she’d been through she’d remained a believer, never doubted love existed, hooked up with Tristan, and apparently found true love…whatever that meant. Hell, Vi didn’t care what Marissa called it, if Tristan was vital to her well-being, that’s what mattered. Besides, who was she to judge? She didn’t have a clue as to what constituted love, only had other folkes’ declarations that there was such an emotion. Even Marissa insisted that level of passion existed. Vi relegated her words to the language of fairy tales. Though she did admit, the couple had something special going on, something she couldn’t fathom.
She and Marissa weren’t just friends, more like sisters. Their relationship had survived over twelve years, and though she hadn’t known Tristan very long, she’d come to like and respect him. During the last year, she’d watched him and Marissa come to terms with the race issue, and she admired his unconditional acceptance of Marissa’s past. They almost had her convinced that crap about love conquers all had some merit.
Okay, skepticism aside, how could she help her friends through this crisis? Her background hadn’t prepared her for situations involving this level of violence, and she hadn’t acquired any particular religious bent. Didn’t know any prayers, didn’t have a clue how to address Him to ask for help, her belief in God iffy, and why wouldn’t it be?
A throwaway at birth, shuffled through foster care, then adopted by a couple who were more like attentive babysitters than loving parents. Their church-going tendencies had been erratic to non-existent, so what would’ve been her basis for faith, hope, love, or belief in anything? Further adding to her religious uncertainty—Marissa, a Catholic, truly believed in God.
How was that working for her?