Brooklyn is thirty-four years old. She works crime and narcotics, weapons intelligence, and she has handled top secret material for the Information Operations Center Analysis Group. She is quick to anger and quicker to draw a weapon. And prior to her husband’s death, she was in bed with the mob—a fact that didn’t change after his untimely demise.
Dante Mancini is public enemy number one. By all accounts, Dante is the most dangerous mob boss this country has ever seen. He makes his brother look like he was left on the monkey bars hanging upside down one too many times. Dante has two weaknesses, and only two—Brooklyn and her daughter.
After three years of increased organized crime activity, agents realize Dante won’t slip. He doesn’t trip and he damn sure won’t fall. Then again, some say Dante has already taken the most detrimental tumble of all. He is head-over-heels for a woman indebted to a government agency eager to collect what is owed.
Lucky for him, Dante is one step ahead of those who want to lock him up and misplace the key. And the woman he loves is prepared to protect him at any cost.
“Do you know why you’re here, Mrs. Mancini?” Given the contempt in his voice, he apparently thought she’d be insulted by the way he’d chosen to address her.
“Oh I know why I’m here, Officer,” she said, hoping the other fellows would view the way she’d addressed him as deliberate and insulting. “I’ve been called upon to help with the criminal investigation. I’m here because Braxton wants me to put Dante Mancini away.”
“You just said you loved him,” Agent Mamazza reminded her, still staring at her breasts. She didn’t think he’d looked anywhere else since she’d entered the room.
Leaning over the table in front of Billy, she pressed her arms against her ribcage, pushing up her cleavage for show. “Mr. Mamazza, how old are you?”
“Twenty-three,” she said, mulling over his reply. So the rookie had connections. Otherwise he wouldn’t be there. It was too risky to put a young gun on this case.
“Ever had sex?” Might as well treat him like a boy toy and let him know how it felt to be a sex object, particularly since he didn’t have a chance in hell of earning respect from his fellow agents.
He held a bought and paid for position. He was the son of somebody important. She’d stake Braxton’s life on the fact.
“Well?” she asked, running out of patience. “You do understand the question, right?”
Snickers slipped into the heart of the room, bouncing off the four walls with a beautiful pronouncement of mockery. The color washed out of Mamazza’s cheeks.
“Why? Are you interested?” he asked, regrouping quicker than anticipated.
“Hardly, but call me curious, or outright nosey. Take your pick. Have you ever had sex?”
“Sure, dozens of times.”
“I doubt that but just so we’re clear, you have had sex, correct?”
“With a person?” she asked, further taunting him. “I mean manual action and close calls don’t count here. We aren’t discussing horseshoes.”
“Do I strike you as somebody who’d come close without scoring?” He gave her a hard look, moistened his lips, and with a guttural growl, added, “What the fuck do you think?”
“Watch your trash mouth around me. A yes or no reply will do. There’s no shame if you haven’t.”
“What’s your point?” he bit out, apparently tired of their game.
“If you’ve had sex then surely you know from experience, love—in its many forms— is a beautiful thing,” she said, feeling philosophical. “One can fall in and out of love with choice lovers more than once in a lifetime. A physical connection strengthens a natural bond regardless of what it is. You know what I’m saying?”
“Sure,” he grumbled.
The rookie didn’t have a clue.
“After I betray my current lover and hand him over to the asshole behind me, I’ll need another lover. I prefer younger men. Now, do you follow me?”
Billy cleared his throat. His cheeks were flushed, turning redder by the second.
She got off on this kind of control, particularly when she held a captive audience. Mind games were her favorite weaponry choice. “Well?”
“Well what?” he snapped.
“Have you seen enough?” She moved her fingers down the V-opening of her collar, careful to stroke her silk shirt with the pads of two fingers while eyeing the rookie’s crotch again.
She should’ve been on Broadway. A career in acting would’ve beaten the hell out of playing with overgrown spoiled children posing as intelligent agents.
“No,” he replied, lust likely pumping through the poor pup’s veins.
“Good.” She made a decision then and there. She could use Billy. If he continued to eat out of her hand, she could manipulate him however she chose.
She wheeled around and faced Braxton, seeing no reason to further torment the rookie. Besides, she had better plans for the new kid on the block. “He’s on the inside with me. Starting today, he’s my cousin.”
“What?” Billy screeched.
“You don’t want to work with me?” she asked, puckering her lips in a formidable pout.
“No, I mean yes, I mean—”
“You mean what, Mamazza?” she asked, losing what was left of her patience and knowing damn well he didn’t have a problem working alongside her. His issue was with the role in which he’d play—that of a family member.
“Where would Mamazza fit in exactly?” Braxton asked. “Your family is Irish, not Italian.”
“I cleared that up for you earlier,” Harry said.
She glanced at Harry, but didn’t ask for specifics. Instead, she explained, “He’ll be introduced as my mother’s cousin. Mom is Sicilian and as it turns out, Mr. Mamazza here could almost pass for one of her nephews. I probably have some baby pictures of a cousin he could pass for if I’m pressed for proof.” She took a deep breath. “But I won’t be.”
Billy sat a little straighter. His smirk was deviously delicious, and while Brooklyn had a real hang-up for Italian men, she’d already warned him.
She didn’t have any use for inexperienced boys with holstered toys. Men who knew how to use drawn weapons, however, were another story.