First I Love You

Curious about my books? Like drama, suspense, or romance?


The Downey Series consists of The Downey Trilogy (First, I Love You; Second of All; and Third Time’s The Charm) as well as the spin-off romances featuring Dom & Kate (The Bird Day Battalion , The V-Day Aversion, and The Good Life).

The Downey Trilogy novels are contemporary drama/suspense with a romance subplot set in Chicago and Omaha. The Dom & Kate stories are contemporary romance set in the Omaha-Lincoln area of Nebraska. It is not necessary to read The Downey Trilogy to understand the Dom & Kate stories OR vice-versa.

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[Start reading First, I Love You for FREE here on my website: Chapter One]

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KikibannerHow are the books connected?

For starters, both Detective Tommy Gates and his criminal-mastermind father Mickey Downey from The Downey Trilogy are mentioned in The Bird Day Battalion.

Not only that, but Officer Kyle Anderson (who is in all three Dom & Kate books) is briefly mentioned at the end of First, I Love You and shows up again at the end of Second of All. Tommy Gates also makes an appearance in The Good Life.

The Bird Day Battalion  occurs before First, I Love You chronologically, but The V-Day Aversion occurs the same month Tommy heads to Chicago for his human trafficking task force in The Downey Trilogy. The Good Life is set after the end of Third Time’s The Charm

It’s not just Kyle and Tommy that connect the books; Mary Gates’ best friend Claire Underwood from First, I Love You–Agent Jack Underwood’s wife–is an Anderson by birth. Her brother, Tom Anderson, is Kyle and Katelyn Anderson’s father. When Kyle Anderson refers to his Aunt Claire in the Tommy Flashback, she is literally his Aunt, versus the fictive use of the moniker by Tommy. Claire also makes a cameo in the Mickey & Mary Flashback.

You can read MORE about the characters from the Downey series here:

CHARACTER TIDBITS

MICKEY’S FAMILY TREE

You can read the free supplemental Flash-fictions here:

NEW BEGINNINGS (A Tommy Gates and Kyle Anderson Flashback)

This short scene features a young Tommy Gates and Kyle Anderson and is set shortly before the flashback scene in the first chapter of First, I Love You in which Mickey finds Mary & Tommy.

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SPIN THE BOTTLE (A Dominic Valentini and Katelyn Anderson Flashback)

This is a look at the spin the bottle game that Kate references in Bird Day Battalion. Little Tommy Gates makes a brief cameo at the party.

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ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS MY TWO FRONT KNEES (A Dominic Valentini and Katelyn Anderson Flashback)

This is a short holiday scene between Dom and Kate set the Christmas before they get together in Bird Day Battalion. It is very fluffy and G-rated. Published in A World of Joy Anthology.

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HER PRINCE (A Mickey Downey & Mary Gates Flashback)

This scene features a nineteen year old Mary Gates, freshly arrived in New York, talking with her new best friend Claire (Anderson) Underwood about the mysterious new man she started seeing, Michael…something or another.

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CONVERSATIONS AT 30,000 FT (A Maeve Downey & Ginny Sommers Missing Scene)

This is a quick missing moment from Second of All set aboard the flight to Dublin that both Maeve and Ginny are on.

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SPECIAL DELIVERY  (A Kiki Downey & James Hoffman Missing Scene)

A Kiki Downey & James Hoffman missing love scene from First, I Love You set shortly after they “hook up” for the first time as Kiki puts it. Published in A World of Romance Anthology — (Warning! 18+ For Sexual Material!)

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SECOND CHANCES (A Mickey Downey & Mary Gates Flashback)

A flashback to when Mary tells Mickey she is pregnant with Tommy, and Mickey persuades her to be his mistress. — (Warning: 18+ For Language and Brief Sexual Material)

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LETTERS FROM MICKEY DOWNEY (Letters Mickey Downey wrote to his loved ones)

These are the letters referenced in The Downey Trilogy that Mickey wrote to his loved ones over the years. In the books, the reader rarely gets to see the contents of these letters so I have begun sharing them as periodic blog posts. Check back as I add more.

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3 books for 3 bucks? Say what? YES! The Downey Trilogy is on sale Apr 6-12


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ALL the drama, intrigue and romance you could need for ONLY $3!

For the week of April 6th- April 12th, all three books in The Downey Trilogy have been reduced to $.99 each!

This is a great time to share your love of the Downeys with your friends! Or maybe you’ve been meaning to pick up the last book and just haven’t gotten around to it! Maybe you just thought you’d like to sink your teeth into a new series, and happen to love mafia families, cops, Federal Agents, character based dramas, stories about love, betrayal, and redemption. Maybe it’s a Tuesday.

In any case, I hope you’ll spread the word.

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First, I Love You (Downey #1)

“Love knows no time, or distance, and it certainly knows no reason.”

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Second of All (Downey #2)

“Oh, the sweet, painful pleasure of anticipation!”

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ThirdTime

Third Time’s The Charm (Downey #3)

“What makes a family is love and loyalty.”

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SPECIAL DELIVERY (A Kiki and James missing scene from First, I Love You) #NSFW 18+!


Special Delivery is a Kiki Downey & James Hoffman missing love scene from First, I Love You. (18+ NSFW!)

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Special Delivery can also be found in A World of Romance Anthology:

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SPECIAL DELIVERY

By Genevieve Dewey

Kiki Downey changed the wording on the last sentence of her blog post for what she hoped was the last time then hit . She was pretty sure her copy editor was only making her submit yet another draft to him because she had turned him down for a date again. He never cared what she wrote in her blog before and this nit-picking was the only change in the routine. She doubted he had developed a sudden love for wedding coordinations.

She crooked her head. On the other hand, maybe he’d finally found The One. Even a beady-eyed, sweaty-palmed rodent like him could find love.

She sighed. No, if he had found someone he wouldn’t have tried to grope her the last time she went over to the Sun-Times building. She really didn’t want to have to talk to the Editor in Chief about him. She knew for a fact her boss was terrified of Daddy and she liked to think she had this job because she possessed a keen sense of fashion and not because she had a mobster for a father… and grandfather… and cousin… and Godfather…

The knock on her door jerked her from her meandering thoughts and she popped up to answer it.

“Who is it?” She asked as she undid the bolt.

“Special Delivery!”

Kiki brightened. It was only a week past her birthday. Maybe it was a late present. She opened the door to see Agent James Hoffman with a smirk on his face. He slouched against the door jamb with one hand in his pocket, the other holding a take-out bag.

“You always answer the door without looking first?” James asked. “What’s the point of asking who it is if you’re just going to open the door for every Tom, Dick, and Harry anyway?”

Kiki let out a nervous giggle. Her heart started racing and she could feel her cheeks flooding with red. A visit so soon after their hook-up on Sunday? She slowly smoothed the front of her velour track suit—to make sure it was showing all the most important parts, of course—and opened the door wider.

His smirk morphed into a frown and he stopped the super-sexy broody slouch thing to walk past her into her apartment.

“Seriously, Kiki, you shouldn’t open the door without looking first. And you should keep your latch on, too,” James continued as he set the takeout bag on her coffee table.

Kiki sighed. She had enough men in her life being overprotective worrywarts she didn’t need her new… Hookup? Co-conspirator? Whatever he was… nagging her. She grabbed her hair and twisted it into a loop in back as she walked over to the divan and flopped onto it. She enjoyed the way his eyes followed her every move.

“I’ll keep that in mind… um… what was your name again?” she asked, trying hard to keep the smile from her lips. She tamped down the shudder of pleasure at the predatory look in his eyes.

He chuckled. “Play nice, kitty cat, and I might share. I only have a half hour before I have to be at the Federal Building.”

“Share what?” She purred, running the zipper up and down slowly on her track suit. “And you know you’ll never make it in time. Besides, it’s rather presumptuous of you to think I’d want to play anything. I’m a busy girl.”

“You want me to go, Katherine?”

She shivered at the use of her given name. Of course she didn’t want him to go, and he knew it. But she did have somewhere to be this afternoon, too. She was going to meet up with Tommy’s mother Mary. Mary’s support would further James and Kiki’s mutual goal of convincing her brother Tommy to let Daddy back in his life. James insisted doing so would help his and Tommy’s current case, but Kiki was only going along with it because having Tommy back in the fold—Detective or not—was the one thing Daddy wanted most. This sex-on-the-side thing between her and James was supposedly a separate thing entirely. She’d never dated a DEA Agent before; it’d be a nice change of pace being with one of the so-called ‘good guys’… assuming he wasn’t just using her.

Kiki hopped back up to grab the takeout bag and swing it playfully.

“So, what’s on the menu, Agent Hoffman? Taco? Clam? Sausage? Hot dog and a donut?”

His whole body shook from laughter. He snatched at the bag but she sidestepped him and deliberately rubbed up against his back as she danced away.

“Now, I know you haven’t forgotten my first name,” James drawled, turning around and shoving his hands back in his tight jeans. “After all, it was on your lips so many times the other night.”

His dimpled grin and twinkling eyes had her breath catching. He was so damn sexy even out of his formal wear. And the black shirt and leather jacket he was wearing with jeans seemed to highlight the contrast of blue eyes and black hair. He started walking toward her and she started backing up.

“How come you aren’t wearing a suit and tie? Isn’t that standard Federal Agent gear?”

“In general, drug runners don’t care how we look when busting their door down. All that matters is the gun and the handcuffs.”

“That’s kinda hot, maybe you should show me how that works sometime.”

He laughed outright then he shrugged out of his jacket and shoulder harness, all without stopping his menacing approach. Oh, please let him be for real, and not just another manipulator, Kiki thought. James made a grab for the bag but she hid it behind her and kept backing up down the hall. He only deepened the grin and started taking his shirt off.

Kiki bit her lip to keep from panting. Holy cow, he was… wow… ten times as amazing in the daylight. His hands swiftly unzipped his jeans and he managed to simply walk out of them and his shoes. She was so mesmerized by him that the crunch of the takeout bag smacking the end of the hallway wall startled her. She barely had time to register the thunk of it hitting the ground before his hand hooked behind her and yanked her flush up against him.

She frantically started to tug at her track suit. Why was she still wearing the damn thing? It didn’t matter anyway. He made short work of it and then she was soaring through the air in to her bedroom. She would have sucked her breath in at the swooping sensation in her tummy except his tongue was in her mouth and who could think about breathing anyway?

Her hands sunk into his short black curls and she wrapped her now naked legs around his waist. She thought he would set her down on the bed but he turned at the last second and sat on the edge. His lips finally left hers to explore her neck.

Oh, how she loved his neck kisses. It was some strange combination of kissing, licking and nibbling that made her feel like ice cream melting in July. She wanted him to lick her all over and eat her up. Literally. The way his fingers gripped her ass and pressed her up against his cock, his hot breath and his efficient mouth… this man played her body like it had been special-ordered just for him.

His tongue licked along her collar bone and he rubbed her wetness against his cock some more. His shaft was hitting her clit just right and he seemed to know when she was ramping up towards an orgasm because he would painfully grip her hips and stop just as she got there. She began to whimper from the teasing and he chuckled again, damn him.

Well, two could play that game.

She stopped gripping his shoulders and started running her fingers up and down his back in a half scratching, half tickling manner. He shuddered as her finger teased his crack.

“Say my name,” he demanded.

“Oh, how terribly cliché of you, Agent Hoffman,” Kiki snickered and licked her lips. She watched his nostrils flare a bit and he bit his lip for a brief moment. Then he stood up and tossed her on the bed. She rolled over to crawl further up the bed but he trapped her face down and straddled her, hands pinning her wrists. She could feel his cock prodding at her ass.

“James!”

“Ahhh…see? Now, that wasn’t so hard,” he snickered then started nibbling at her back.

It didn’t hurt at all, just sort of made her tingle all over. She squirmed underneath him and he let out a groan. He lifted one hand up and yanked the drawer open on her nightstand to grab a condom. Her heart was beating so fast in her chest her ribs ached. She wasn’t ready for any backdoor action if that was what he was going for. On the other hand, he had done things to her the other night no one had ever dared before and she had enjoyed every single delicious second.

He let go of her other wrist and raised her hips. His cock entered her and she sucked in her breath. No, no backdoor action yet, but she felt suddenly dizzy from the strange sense of disappointment that brought. No one had ever made her wonder or want to know what that would be like before.

Suddenly his mouth was next to her ear and he whispered, “I haven’t been able get the other night out of my mind. I can’t stop thinking about you.” His husky voice seemed to immobilize her. He licked her earlobe. “About all the things I want to do to you…”

His fingers trailed lightly along her sides and she squealed from the tickling sensation. Her legs trembled and she felt gooey and helpless in an erotic sort of way.

He licked along her spine as his hips set a demanding pace. She grabbed the comforter underneath her and pushed back so he would have better penetration.

“Katherine…” he let out in a sort of whispery groan. It was simply amazing how he managed to make such a stodgy old name sound sexy.

“James… please… I need to touch you,” Kiki said.

It was the truth; she needed to feel his strong chest muscles and watch his eyes as he came. It was the only time his face had betrayed any vulnerability with her in the short time they’d known each other. And really the only time since she’d met him Saturday that she had felt even remotely in control.

He let out a quick breath and pulled out. He flipped her so fast her hair got caught but the pain of it left her as soon as he entered her again. She was denied the pleasure of watching his face, though, because his mouth was on hers in a bruising, ferocious kiss. She moved one hand to his head to yank on his hair, and the other to his ass to rest a finger between his cheeks. His mouth left hers and she could hear his breath hitch.

“God, stop, baby—I can’t—I won’t be able—” He struggled to get the words out. His pace doubled and his face cramped up in a panicky expression.

She knew he was about to come and was fighting it. The way he needed her was nothing short of intoxicating. She clamped her muscles around his cock and came apart watching his face battle for control.

He groaned with his own release and it vibrated against her body.

“Ahhh,” she sobbed as the force of it had her coming a second time. She gripped his hips and pressed him against her one last time to keep the waves of sensation coming.

His arms holding himself up were trembling slightly and he dropped his forehead to hers. He let out a shaky laugh then kissed her quickly and rolled off.

Kiki stretched lazily like a cat, enjoying the soporific after-glow.

James sat on the edge of the bed and grabbed his underwear.

“Shit,” he mumbled as he looked at his watch.

“What?”

“Gonna be late,” he muttered as he quickly started gathering his clothes.

She sighed. So much for any post-coital cuddling. She followed him into the living room, not bothering to get dressed. Let him see what he was leaving, so he’ll come back for more, her mind whispered. It sounded a bit like her mother’s voice and that was more than a little disturbing so she plastered a cheerful, carefree, don’t-worry-about-me mask on her face.

He was dressed and fastening his holster in record time. He checked his phone with a frown, face otherwise completely free of emotion. He looked up briefly as he turned the knob on her front door and a quick blink was the only reaction to her still being naked. He flashed that devastating grin.

“Call you tonight?” he asked and shut the door before she could answer.

Kiki blinked at the door in the sudden silence. The door opened again.

“Latch the door,” James said and slammed it shut.

She sighed and retrieved the take-out bag from the hallway. She looked inside it and saw her favorite Portillo’s sandwich.

Bring her something, followed by a quickie? Check.

Immediately after, consult watch and phone for work? Check.

Ambiguous promise of future hookups? Check.

Yeah, so far, dating a Federal Agent wasn’t too much different than dating one of her father’s ‘employees’.

The bright side?

The sex was amazing and unlike the men who worked for Daddy, she wouldn’t ever have to worry about sending him care-packages in the clink. And if James was using her, well, she could tell herself she was using him as well. Plus, she perked up, they had known each other less than a week and he had already sent her half a dozen texts, had sex with her at least that many times, called her once, and made her breakfast. Come to think of it… this might be her first ever real grownup-type relationship.

She smiled and grabbed her phone to call Mary.

It was time to get cracking on James and Kiki’s ‘mutually beneficial’ plan, and maybe she could get all of her wishes.

–Copyright 2013, Genevieve Dewey

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FREE READ|#asmsg #bynr #Mafia #FamilyDrama #Romance|First, I Love You Ch. 14


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FIRST, I LOVE YOU

By Genevieve Dewey

Copyright 2012 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction; any resemblance to living persons is entirely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

CHAPTER  ONE “Tommy”

CHAPTER TWO “James”

CHAPTER THREE “Kiki”

CHAPTER FOUR “Mary”

CHAPTER FIVE “Mickey”

CHAPTER SIX “Ginny”

CHAPTER SEVEN “Tommy”

CHAPTER EIGHT “James”

CHAPTER NINE “Kiki”

CHAPTER TEN “Mary”

CHAPTER ELEVEN “Mickey”

CHAPTER TWELVE “Ginny”

CHAPTER THIRTEEN “Tommy”

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

 James

 

 

 

 

James figured, as he lounged against the grungy alley wall waiting for his snitch, that if he could just find the right way to crack Tommy, he could be free to give Kiki what she obviously wanted. He wasn’t stupid. She was making all those typical female noises about meeting the friends, maybe even the family. But they’d only been together a little over a month since they’d met at her party. And ‘together’ was stretching it a bit. Sure, they talked every day, saw each other more days than not, but that didn’t mean they were together together. And even though it was also true he couldn’t get her off his mind, found himself thinking about her at odd moments in the day, found excuses to see her when he really should be focusing on the case, still… they had barely started whatever it was that it was.

She was beautiful and intelligent and sexy and fun to be with, surprisingly so given how young she was, but going public and making it official with friends and family instead of the nameless strangers at museums and parks? He wasn’t sure even if he wasn’t trying to work her family for information if he would be ready for that. But what he did know for sure was that it couldn’t happen before Tommy agreed to get Downey on board. It would complicate things too much. Everyone would have their two cents to put in, and Downey would no doubt run the other direction or demand Kiki stop the relationship. Or both. And neither thing sat well with James.

But something was going to have to be done. Take this morning, for instance, she springs on him that they’re supposed to be meeting up with Tommy and Ginny for drinks after work. And he, naturally, balked at this idea. First, she said it while trailing her manicured nails down his lower abdomen, tracing a teasing pattern that had his mind and willpower at seriously subpar levels, and second, she cloaked it in a manner in which he didn’t have a logical reason to refuse.

“You and Ginny and my brother will just go out for Happy Hour like you’ve been doing most days. I already told my brother I’d join him and he thought it was a great idea. He doesn’t have to know you knew in advance I’d be there. We can just feel them out. We don’t have to acknowledge that we’ve already been seeing each other but it could be, like, a dry run. Ease them into the idea. You see? And anyway, Tommy needs help with Ginny, she obviously likes him and I think he likes her, but a snail could move faster—”

“Mmnnn… Katherine, you’ve got to stop with these games. People aren’t dolls… Ahhh, stop that, baby, I got to get to work,” he had said as she teased him with her hair and one delightful fingertip.

This girl ought to just change her name to Mata Hari.

But he’d ended up agreeing, because what else could he do? If he all of a sudden made an excuse not to go to Happy Hour with Tommy and Ginny it would confirm Ginny’s suspicions, and she might go to Tommy, and that would derail his progress. It was frankly a miracle she hadn’t said anything yet, especially after stupid Ted’s drunken ramblings last weekend. Added to that, he could tell by the stubborn, challenging glint in Kiki’s eyes that if he refused it would cause trouble between them.

Besides, maybe Kiki had a point. Maybe if they simply openly admired each other, flirted a bit, it wouldn’t seem like he was using her to Ginny and then she would back off her meaningful glares and pointed looks. And Tommy wouldn’t have to know he and Kiki had already been together until after they’d bagged Bonanno. If they were even still together then. Because who knew where this thing would lead? Surely something this hot and heavy would burn out soon enough. That’s why he didn’t want to involve anyone else. It was confusing enough without her family and his family weighing in on it.

James checked his watch again, worried he wouldn’t make it back to headquarters in time if his snitch didn’t show. He’d gotten a mysterious text from one of O’Rourke’s crew saying he had info on the hit on his boss, and since this confidential informant had dropped some fairly reliable info in the past for him in exchange for getting let off on a midlevel narcotics charge, James had sacrificed his lunch break to meet him. Besides, he’d obviously be seeing Kiki tonight for the Happy Hour of Doom. Maybe she’d be so grateful…

He heard a car door slamming and turned, walking towards the noise on the other side of the abandoned building. His neck prickled. He probably should have brought Tommy along for back-up but he wanted to keep this guy to himself. An O’Rourke snitch was a rare breed. He un-holstered his weapon and crept around the side, using a pocket mirror to see what was down the other alley. His CI was walking forward darting nervous glances left and right. Behind him was a man who seemed vaguely familiar standing in front of a black Lincoln.

Yep, shoulda brought backup. He flattened back against the wall.

“Hoffman! Hey, Hoffman! Come out,” he heard his snitch O’Brien say, voice trembling. “Hoffman, ain’t no use man. They already know you’re meeting with me. They just wanna talk.”

James battled with the desire to know who ‘they’ were versus the obvious disadvantage he had. It couldn’t be O’Rourke’s people or the snitch would already be dead. O’Rourke had a less than zero tolerance for rats. Meaning he tended to go the extra mile and kill a guy’s entire family to cement the message when he so much as suspected a leak. But then again… O’Rourke was now dead. Hmmmnn. He heard another car door slam.

“Come on out and play, Jimmy. Isn’t this what you’ve been angling for?” a gravelly voice James clearly recognized said.

Not the Downey I’d hoped to spend lunch with, he thought with dark humor.

James walked around the corner and faced Kiki’s father. O’Brien was shifting back and forth on his feet like he was preparing to run. The man in the suit next to the limo fondled his high caliber weapon.

Well, shit on a stick.

Downey smiled and walked forward, leaving a distance between him and the other men. James quickly weighed his options and went with his instincts.

“This isn’t about the hit, is it?” he asked politely, attempting to remain professional.

“On the contrary. I have information you and your friends might find interesting. And I’ll give it to you for a reasonable price,” Downey replied silkily.

James’ guts knotted up. This was too easy. What was going on? Downey’s eyes held cold menace, but his smile was pure honey. The classic phrase ‘Make him an offer he can’t refuse’ rang in his head.

“Depends on the information,” James replied.

Downey chuckled. “Come on now, Jimmy boy, we both know this is what you’ve been angling for,” Downey repeated. “This is why you’ve been sniffing around my daughter and schmoozing up my oldest son, isn’t it?”

James’ heart stuttered a bit. “What are you talking about?” he bluffed.

“Your little toy here’s been quite the chatty Cathy. Been selling his information to the highest bidder for quite some time now. Luckily, I find it useful to keep my ears and eyes open even in my retirement, know what I’m sayin’? With O’Rourke gone, it’s only natural the little mice come running to the nearest protector. He tells me you’re investigating an acquaintance of mine, you might even call him family. And we all know there’s nothing more important than family… ain’t that right, Jimmy?” Downey sneered.

“It’s James, Mr. Downey, and if you’ve information to aid us in our case we’d be more than happy to take it, confidentially of course,” James said as calmly as he could.

“Tell me. What kind of a man uses an innocent little girl because he doesn’t have enough balls or competence to get the job done himself?” Downey replied.

James’ ears were ringing from a combination of anger and fear. He looked Downey in the eyes and forced himself to walk forward.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” James answered slowly and firmly.

Downey reached into his coat and brought out an envelope which he opened lazily. He took out pictures of Kiki and James kissing at Grant Park. James gritted his teeth. So much for keeping the families out of it. He looked back at Downey and kept his poker face on.

“And?” he asked.

Downey looked mildly impressed. He stepped forward. They were now almost toe-to-toe. James forced himself not to step back.

“This is how it’s going to go,” Downey said softly. “You’re going to take this envelope, with these pictures and some information on O’Rourke’s connection to Teplov’s operation. You’ll find there’s nothing on Bonanno, nor will you get anything from me on him. But in exchange for this information on the Russians, you’re going to break things off with my daughter immediately. No one ever needs to know of this. See, your snitch O’Brien over there has delusions of grandeur, fancies himself moving up the ranks now his former boss is gone. So he’s going to keep his mouth shut about this meeting, because I’m going to help make his petty little dreams come true. His mouth speaks only what I tell it to speak from now on, and he understands what’s at stake if he doesn’t. You seem like a real smart boy, Jimmy, so I don’t suppose I gotta explain what’s at stake for you either. So this is a real simple case of quid pro quo between me and you. Now, I can’t make you stop fraternizing with my son since you work together, but you damn well aren’t ever going to lay a perverted hand on my daughter again. If you take this information, and you don’t leave my daughter alone, I will make sure my son and daughter understand the extent of your betrayal and then I will have your badge. Don’t delude yourself into thinking I don’t have that kind of clout in this city,” Downey finished.

“You’ve miscalculated, Mr. Downey,” James said. “Kiki and I made an agreement the first night we met. She knows exactly what I’m after. So does your son for that matter. She’s been very willing to help me.” The petty part of him enjoyed the quick flash of betrayal on Downey’s face.

“I don’t believe you,” Downey replied.

“Well, that’s probably because you’re imagining all sorts of sinister motives here and it couldn’t be further from the truth. Your daughter, as usual, is thinking of everyone but herself. She wants you and Tommy to have a better relationship. Why? Because it’s what you want. I’ve agreed to help her because it benefits me to do so. And because I think it’s a goddamned shame she has to twist herself into a pretzel just to get your attention. But she knows what I want and she agreed to help me because I convinced her that you have nothing to do with the trafficking ring, and by encouraging Tommy to spend time with you, she’d be helping her brother and me get the information we need. But I don’t need her to get that done. I need Tommy. But so far, your son refuses to ask you to help. You’ll also be gratified to know your daughter steadfastly refuses to believe you’d ever give us the information you’re dangling in front of my nose right now.”

James grabbed the envelope. “And I don’t give a rat’s ass if you believe me or not,” he finished, then turned on his heel and walked off before his courage could fail him.

He half expected to hear a bullet wiz by or Downey shout after him, but nothing happened. He made it back to headquarters in a completely numb daze and handed the information over, explaining he’d gotten it from a CI. That was enough at first to keep them occupied, but his lack of enthusiasm for this final big break did not go unnoticed. He somehow made it through the afternoon ignoring the puzzled and curious looks Tommy, Ginny, and Jack were giving him.  He’d shaved months off their investigation but he couldn’t muster up interest. He couldn’t get the sick ball of lead feeling to go away in the pit of his stomach. He couldn’t see a way out of the deal he’d just made with the Devil.

He wasn’t sure just what sort of clout Downey had to get his badge stripped but he knew that he could insinuate all sorts of things by way of James’ association with Kiki if he did continue to be with her. Sometimes his feverish mind would think the Hoffman and Dobson families had plenty of their own sway in Chicago, the majority of them being involved in government or politics in some way; he could fight fire with fire. But he couldn’t be certain. He had to get this case wrapped up first to be sure of anything, and he had needed this information to do it. The needs of those exploited children outweighed his desire to be with Kiki. It had to. But the rightness of the decision didn’t make the sick feeling go away.

“Hey, Francis, lighten up,” Tommy said, nudging James as they walked into the sports bar after work.

James forced a smile. “Sorry, I guess my mind is already on indictments and depositions and so forth,” he replied, looking around.

God… what am I going to tell Kiki?

“Well, I’m just happy we didn’t need to ask Tommy’s father for anything. The more I’ve been thinking about it, the more I feel better just going with what we gathered on our own about Bonanno and Teplov,” Ginny said.

James winced and sat down. Tommy shrugged before joining him.

“I don’t think he would have given us Bonanno anyway. We’ll have to hope we have enough on our own. I actually spent an entire day in his shop with him on Sunday. Just him and me. It was weird,” Tommy said. “This man is my father and I had no idea he was such an accomplished woodworker.”

“Yeah, he’s very talented,” James muttered without thinking.

Ginny and Tommy stared at him with marked curiosity.

“Downey is into carpentry?” Ginny asked, eyes narrowing at James. Tommy was still looking at James enquiringly. James thought quickly.

“I’ve seen some of his works in the paper before,” he lied, gambling on the fact neither Tommy nor Ginny were from Chicago and wouldn’t know any better.

Tommy nodded and relaxed a bit, “He told me he mostly does furniture by request and word of mouth. He sells a few pieces at some of the smaller consignment shops around town. Not that the man needs the money or anything,” he finished with a chuckle. It was good Tommy was finally opening up about his father with them, but to James, it felt like a knife twisting in his gut because of what he was about to do.

He saw Ginny smile at something over his shoulder and he turned to see Kiki enter. She took his breath away she was so beautiful. She had done that from the first moment he saw her in person at her party, but at the time he had thought it was just because he had built her up as this fantasy in the papers. He kept thinking it would go away as he got to know her, but it had only gotten worse, this ache for her. She was dressed in a simple and elegant pair of slacks and blouse, her gorgeous chestnut curls tamed into one of those fancy braids crowning her face, the rest left loose.

She smiled a radiant smile at him. He swallowed the lump in his throat and deliberately didn’t smile back. Her smile slipped a bit and her brows hinted at her confusion, but she kept walking towards them. Tommy got up to hug her and she exchanged pleasantries with Ginny, finally sitting across from James at their table.

“It’s good to see you again, James,” Kiki said in a knowing tone, smirking.

Good Lord, this girl would never be able to play poker she was so bad at hiding her feelings. He nodded indifferently. Ginny looked between them, eyebrows raised, mouth pursed in suspicion.

“Should we order appetizers?” Tommy asked without looking up from the menu.

“Sure, it might be sometime in May before they get here though with the game on,” James replied, avoiding Kiki’s gaze.

All through drinks and appetizers he forced himself to smile and laugh with Tommy and Ginny acting as if Kiki weren’t there. Her confusion and hurt were obvious on her face. They weren’t going to announce their relationship tonight but the plan had been to flirt with each other at the very least. Yet he was shutting her down, rebuffing her advances. Tommy seemed not to notice much, but Ginny was looking at Kiki with increasing concern.

By the time their checks got there, Kiki looked delightfully furious like she had the first night at her party. He said a very forced and overly polite goodbye to her and drove the long drive back to his home in Downers Grove, trying to erase the look of hurt in her eyes from his memory. He walked into the house he had bought from his parents and shared with no one, and sat in the silence trying to figure out how he could go back on the deal and keep his relationship with Kiki without losing his badge… or his life for that matter.

The silence seemed to mock him, as did the acceptance they had a relationship just as he was about to lose it. He wished he could rewind the last several hours and not take the envelope, but then he would have the guilt of knowing he could’ve done something to help hundreds of innocent children and didn’t, made them wait a little longer for justice just because he was stuck on a pretty girl. There was a pounding on his door and repeated ringing of the doorbell. He got up and knew before he even opened the door it would be her.

She looked like an angry spitfire on his door step and his groin throbbed in need. He had a wild thought, just one more time… Just one more before he had to say goodbye.

“Just what the hell was that about tonight, James?” Kiki spit out.

He grabbed her and yanked her in, shutting the door with her body as he kissed her madly, like a desperate man.

Which, of course… he was.

–Copyright 2012, Genevieve Dewey.

WHEW! That was half the book, peeps! I hope you’ve enjoyed getting such a large peek! 🙂

First, I Love You is available in print or digital format at these official retailers:

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FREE READ|#asmsg #bynr #Mafia #FamilyDrama #Romance|First, I Love You Ch. 13


FILYversion413

~~~~~~~

FIRST, I LOVE YOU

By Genevieve Dewey

Copyright 2012 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction; any resemblance to living persons is entirely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

CHAPTER  ONE “Tommy”

CHAPTER TWO “James”

CHAPTER THREE “Kiki”

CHAPTER FOUR “Mary”

CHAPTER FIVE “Mickey”

CHAPTER SIX “Ginny”

CHAPTER SEVEN “Tommy”

CHAPTER EIGHT “James”

CHAPTER NINE “Kiki”

CHAPTER TEN “Mary”

CHAPTER ELEVEN “Mickey”

CHAPTER TWELVE “Ginny”

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

 Tommy

Tommy woke to the sound of his cell phone belting ‘Pretty Daughter’ by the Bad Livers. He fumbled for the phone in his shirt pocket and looked around for Ginny. She had obviously left.

Dammit to hell and back again, he thought, mentally kicking himself.

“Hey, Kicks, wassup?” he answered sleepily.

“Tommy, for real? You’re already sleeping at nine at night?” Kiki asked playfully.

“Some people with real jobs do that,” Tommy said, still irritated at having blown the evening with Ginny. There was deafening silence on the other end.

Shiiiit, he thought, this girl and the silent treatment.

“Sorry, Kiki, it’s just been a long day, everything ok?” he tried again.

“Tommy, did you have a fight with Daddy?”

“No, not more than we usually do. I thought it ended on a fairly positive note. Why?”

“Well, he was acting weird earlier today, and now you’re crabby, and I guess I just wondered if…”

“If?” Tommy asked when she didn’t finish, trying to tamp down his irritation.

She sighed dramatically. He couldn’t help but chuckle at it. Ahh, Kiki. She always managed to both irritate and amuse him simultaneously. Maybe this was a Downey trait, this innate ability to elicit two usually opposite emotions at the same time.

“Nevermind,” Kiki said sullenly. “Jessica’s gone back to New York and I was feeling kind of lonely. Maybe you and your lady friend would like to double date this weekend?”

“Ok, first of all, she’s not my lady friend. She’s a colleague—”

“That’s not what your mom says,” Kiki interrupted, in that obnoxious sing-song voice.

“Since when do you and my mother discuss my love life? When did you two become BFFs?” he asked, feeling decidedly henpecked.

Good Lord, these two harping on me about my father and now about Ginny? Was it ‘Fix Tommy’ Month? Tommy wondered.

“Tommy,” she said in a long-suffering tone. “Mary simply mentioned she felt there might be the potential of something between you two, and I thought so myself the night of my party a few weeks ago. If you’re having trouble making the first move, this could be the perfect way—”

“Absolutely not! I don’t need any help getting dates, Kiki, nor do I want your interference. Why can’t you for once just leave it the hell alone!?” Tommy interrupted hotly. He felt suffocated by all this poking and prodding by his mother, his sister, his father, even Ginny and James. Christ.

“Geeeeze. If you’re determined to be a grouch tonight just forget about it. I was only trying to help,” Kiki said.

“Who’s the guy?” Tommy asked curtly.

“No one. It doesn’t matter. I probably couldn’t get him to go anyway,” she said in a morose voice. She sounded even a little forlorn. His big brother instincts were fast overriding his irritation with her and transferring them to the nameless jerk his little sister was mooning over.

“What’s his name? Where’d you meet him? Has he met your dad?” he asked.

Our dad,” she said. “For crying out loud, why do you always – and don’t interrogate me! I’m not a suspect here, I’m your sister.”

It was his turn to sigh heavily. Would this day never end?

“Alright, Kiki, let’s do this then. I’d like to meet him.” Tommy said as cheerfully as he could muster.

“No… no… like I said, I bet I couldn’t get him to go anyway. Maybe just the three of us could go out then,” she said, then heaved another one of her patented dramatic sighs.

Kiki.”

“Tommy, if a guy hooks up with you, but he hooks up with you a lot–”

“Argh, stop right there. T.M.I.,” Tommy interrupted.

She snickered. “No, no, I just mean like, it’s not just a booty-call, or a one-off thing, but like, you know in those old movies they’d call it an affair? Maybe even a torrid affair—”

“Kicks, have you been watching old Bogart films again?”

“Would you stop interrupting?” Kiki demanded, sounding exasperated.

“Go on.”

“There’s this guy—”

“We’ve established this.”

“Tommy!”

“Alright, alright, I’m listening,” he said.

Dear God, please no more details… he thought.

“So there’s this guy, and he’s a really nice guy, and we get along great, and we’ve spent a good bit of time together in the last few weeks. I mean not just… you know… but other things, like taking walks, and boat rides, and we went to the museum last weekend, and I think he really likes me, but I can’t be sure if it’s not just about the—” she cut off abruptly.

“About the ‘you know’?” he finished for her.

She was silent.

“Kiki?”

“Yeah, about the ‘you know’,” she answered softly, but he got the impression that wasn’t what she meant at all.

“Hmmmn. Now I’m doubly sure I ought to meet him,” Tommy said.

“Well, take for instance, last weekend I suggested we go out clubbing together with some friends and he said no. He said he wasn’t into that scene, and so I said, well, we could just meet up with some of my friends, or some of his friends at a restaurant, and he just sort of changed the subject,” Kiki said.

“Did he say you couldn’t go?” Tommy asked, his radar going up.

“No, not at all. He suggested I go ahead and go out with my friends, and we’d just get together later. So that makes it seem clandestine, doesn’t it? Like he’s ashamed of being seen with me?” Kiki asked.

Tommy didn’t like the sound of the confusion in her voice. She was old enough to drink and vote and run her own life, but he knew she didn’t have much experience with relationships. Hookups as she called them, yes. Relationships, no. It wasn’t like he was that much older than her, but his almost five more years on the planet seemed like decades sometimes with Kiki. She was pretty intelligent and usually had a good read on people, but obviously this guy had her at sixes and sevens, and that made him want to hunt this creep down and…

“Tommy?”

“Yeah, I was just thinking. It’s hard to say. You say you’ve only been seeing each other a couple of weeks—”

“But a lot in those few weeks; like almost every day.”

“Ok, but it’s still early days yet, right?”

“Right.”

“Well, he may just not be ready to go public yet. But you should definitely tell him your feelings about it, because if he respects you, values you, he will understand your point of view and he will give you the courtesy of what had better be a damned good reason. And I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to be seen with a beautiful, smart, funny girl like you, so if he persists with the cloak and dagger B.S., kick his stupid butt to the curb,” Tommy said.

“Tuh. Not that you’re biased or anything,” Kiki replied, but he could tell from her tone she was pleased with his response.

Man, he thought, this big brother thing was exhausting sometimes.

“Was there anything else?” he asked, rubbing his eyes.

“D’you work things out with Daddy?” she asked, sounding perky again.

“We… agreed to try,” he ground out, still feeling henpecked.

“Oh, Tommy! I’m so happy! You’ll see! Daddy’s really great if you just get to know him better—”

“Alright Kiki, I better let you go. Got a pretty full day tomorrow,” he lied.

It was still new and daunting this thought of having his father in his life as more than an acquaintance and he couldn’t pinpoint what ratio of parts were fear, hope, love, disgust, wonder, and worry, and after the day he’d had, he didn’t want to spend one more second dissecting his emotions.

“Oh, ok, Tommy… um… thanks for your advice,” she said.

“Anytime, Kicks,” he said gently.

“And… I love you,” she replied softly.

“I love you, too.”

“Yeah?” she asked, sounding happy again.

“Yeah,” he answered, feeling exasperated. “Kiki, what’s the matter with you tonight, for crying out loud?”

She just laughed and hung up.

Oh for the love of… if he lived to be a hundred, he would never understand women and their convoluted moods. He tossed his phone beside the uneaten pizza and headed for bed.

The next morning, he was trying to figure out how to call Ginny and apologize for falling asleep on her like a dolt when his mother knocked on the door. He thought about ignoring her, but he was pretty sure he’d go to Hell or Purgatory or wherever it was that sons-who-ignore-their-mothers-who-sacrificed-everything-for-you-but-had-an-annoying-habit-of-micromanaging-your-life go to.

“Hey, Mom,” he said, opening the door.

“Are you sure this is a nice neighborhood?” she asked, looking around her.

Tommy grunted and headed to the kitchen to start another pot of coffee. “It’s no different than Omaha,” he said.

“I read an article that Chicago hasn’t been able to make a whole twenty-four hours without a murder,” she replied.

He sighed. Today was shaping up to be as long as the day before.

“So, let me guess, you’re here to ask if I went and talked to my father. Well, you’re too late, Kiki called last night to confirm that, yes, I did indeed talk to him, and no harm came to any animals while making the film,” Tommy said with a smile.

His mom flushed and fussed with her hair.

Man, I love her, he thought. He loved how she fussed, worried, loved and forgave with all her heart, even those who had done nothing to earn it.

“Well. Well, I’m glad that you at least tried. We’ll just see, won’t we?” she finally said.

He just smiled at her and raised his eyebrow, deliberately trying to mimic his father.

“What?” she asked, hands on hips.

“What’s this about you and Kiki spending time with each other? Dissecting my so-called love life?” he asked her, needling just for old-time’s sake.

“I’m… we aren’t… that’s just… ffffff,” she blew out a flustered breath.

Then she laughed and shook her head. “You know what? It’s the strangest thing. I think I might’ve spent more time with your sister than I have you on this trip so far. I just can’t tell you why. I guess I always wished I could’ve had a daughter. I mean, another child in addition to you,” she said.

She looked a little wistful and regretful. It made him worry a little that she was romanticizing the past.

“But surely you don’t regret what you did?” he asked.

“No… no, I regret that it came to that. Regret what it cost us both, but I couldn’t have made any other choice I don’t think. Because I truly believe that even though God gives us the ability to make choices and pick paths, there are some roadblocks and landmarks that are just meant to be. That no matter what choice you might’ve made, eventually all roads would lead to where you are at.”

“Hmmmnn,” was all he could muster in response. He wasn’t sure he could buy that. Life seemed pretty random to him most of the time. But then again he saw a lot more of the harsher, more evil side of life than his mother did.

He chatted with his mother until he was sure she had satisfied herself that he was alright, and even promised her he would go to Mass with her on Sunday. As soon as she was out the door, he checked his phone again. No messages. He sighed and figured he ought to make the first move since it was his screw up.

He sent Ginny a quick text: Sorry about last night. Make it up to you? T

She replied immediately: Don’t worry about it, it was a long day. See you at work! GS

Well, that sounded friendly, at least. He called Kiki’s number next.

“Good morning, grumpy butt,” she answered playfully.

“Hey, I got a better idea than a double date. How about you and I spend some time with the old man this weekend,” he suggested, ignoring the squirming in his stomach at the idea of it.

“Oh, are you serious!? That’s great, Tommy. Daddy’s going to flip!” she all but squealed in his ear.

He smiled and headed out the door for work. On the way there he convinced himself that it was probably better that nothing came of it last night with Ginny anyway. There was nothing worse than mixing work with one’s personal life. He was pretty sure she must have decided as much also because she was back to her overly professional self when he saw her at work.

And it was why he was frankly stunned when, instead of heading off to her motel room after work the following Monday, Ginny actually joined him and James for Happy Hour. She’d been rather frosty towards James since the O’Rourke hit, and he began to wonder if that had really been what she had wanted to talk about the other day instead of his father. Maybe Hoffman was giving her a hard time or something. Maybe she had decided to get over her jumpiness around Tommy. Or maybe she was just worried about her ‘team solidarity’. The idea made him chuckle. In any case, he was pleased to see her, and tried to convince himself it was for professional, friendly reasons.

They settled into that pleasant routine – work, drinks, work some more – over the next few weeks, ironing out the last kinks, pulling in their undercover ops and compiling surveillance, combined with video conferencing with the New York and DC offices. But after a while, Ginny began to vacillate between looking apprehensive and seeming impatient about something around Tommy. She hadn’t suggested they go out again on their own and neither had he, but he continued to see her at Happy Hour. Eventually he began to suspect she was only attending because her day planner had told her to do so, rather than an actual desire to sit in a crowded pub or restaurant with him and James. She certainly seemed preoccupied. She would show up, order one appetizer, make stilted small talk, and be out like a shot before Tommy had finished his first beer. But that wasn’t nearly as confusing as his so-called family life.

Kiki and his mother would tag team him about his progress with his father when he wasn’t working on the case; his mother at lunch, Kiki in the evenings and the weekend. They’d find reasons why he needed to meet them at places and coincidentally – there’d be his father. Subtlety was not their strong suit. Mickey seemed to alternate between sharing Tommy’s exasperation, and a kind of philosophical complaisance. The ratio of which depended upon whether either one of these women would stick around. His mother rarely did. Especially if Kiki and she were together, they’d rush off after some contrived sale or exhibit or some such blatantly made up excuse to leave Tommy and his father alone.

Tommy didn’t know whether to feel satisfaction or pity at the look of pure frustration on his father’s face when this would happen. During these moments of forced proximity, as long as he and Mickey would avoid the topics of the law and his mother they could get along, mostly, but Tommy still felt like there was an invisible wall between the two of them. His father seemed more interested in filling in the blanks of Tommy’s childhood than what was going on in his life right now. And he’d change the subject each and every time Tommy tried to ask about Mickey’s past. Ironically, their unspoken agreement to not talk about the law, while preventing arguments, only seemed to further the disconnect between them. And then later, when Kiki or his mom would pry, Tommy felt like he was letting them down. And that made him feel resentful and guilty, and then angry.

So, about a month into being in Chicago, it was with a deep sense of relief he shook all three of his suffocating family members, and the trafficking case, to spend a Friday night at a popular club with James and Ginny. They had agreed beforehand, no work discussion allowed. Ginny showed up wearing an outfit he strongly suspected his sister had a hand in picking out because Ginny kept pulling down the skirt and crossing and uncrossing her legs like she didn’t know what to do with them. He tried his best not to look at them. Much.

James kept checking his phone obsessively, so Tommy started ribbing him about whether he and this girl he had been seeing so much of had moved on to the sexting portion of their relationship. He was enjoying watching the way it made Ginny blush furiously and nervously rearrange the coasters and napkins, when a man came up to them and slapped Hoffman so hard on his back that his phone scattered across the table. Tommy laughed.

“Sup, Hoffstops?” the jovial man greeted.

“Piss off, Russo,” James replied with more irritation than heat while putting his phone away.

“Where’s the sexy little brunette?” Russo asked, clearly intoxicated.

“What brunette? How many you had, bro?” James asked, getting up to steer the man away. Russo shook his arm off and leaned unsteadily over the table, holding his hand out to Tommy.

“I’m Teddy Russo, this jackass’s brother-in-law,” Russo said, practically falling over on the table.

Ginny had her lip curled in disgust. Tommy shook Russo’s hand and met James’ worried gaze.

“Yeah, why don’t I get you a cab, and you go on home to Steph, alright, Ted? I’m sure she’s worried,” James said while trying to tug him away.

“Ahh, she don’t care. All you Feds are cut from the same cloth, ain’t ya? Jist work, work, work, woooork,” he drawled out. “Used to be me an’ your sister were a courtin’ and a sparkin’ like you an’ that hot little number I saw you wit’ down at Millennium Park—”

“Listen, let’s get you—”

“I thought I was seein’ things,” Russo said to Tommy and Ginny. “Dis guy doin’ the tourist thing with a brunette half his age, gigglin’ under the Bean like a pair o’ teenagers, I’m tellin’ ya, it was far out. Steph’nie’s baby brudder’s gone and got himself a nose ring,” he drawled out in a booze-mangled, thick Chicago accent.

James dragged him away as Russo was making air kisses.

“I’m going to take him home, alright?” James called out, without turning back.

Tommy grinned at Ginny, expecting her to share in his amusement, but she was looking pale and a bit horrified.

“What, you’ve never seen a drunk man before?” he teased her.

“I – what?” she said in a distracted manner, fingers mindlessly kneading her clutch purse.

“Are you alright?” he asked, thinking she looked a little ill.

“I’m fine. I mean, I’m not. I think I’m going to go home, I mean, back to my motel… if you don’t mind,” she replied, then stood up, and shot out of the bar.

WellHell… he thought. So much for a nice relaxing evening amongst friends.

–Copyright 2012, Genevieve Dewey.

Read on… Chapter Fourteen, “James”.

First, I Love You is available in print or digital format at these official retailers:

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FREE READ|#asmsg #bynr #Mafia #FamilyDrama #Romance|First, I Love You Ch. 12


FILYversion413

~~~~~~~

FIRST, I LOVE YOU

By Genevieve Dewey

Copyright 2012 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction; any resemblance to living persons is entirely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

CHAPTER  ONE “Tommy”

CHAPTER TWO “James”

CHAPTER THREE “Kiki”

CHAPTER FOUR “Mary”

CHAPTER FIVE “Mickey”

CHAPTER SIX “Ginny”

CHAPTER SEVEN “Tommy”

CHAPTER EIGHT “James”

CHAPTER NINE “Kiki”

CHAPTER TEN “Mary”

CHAPTER ELEVEN “Mickey”

CHAPTER TWELVE

 Ginny

Ginny met Detective Gates as he ducked under the police tape cordoning off the crime scene in the near-west side of Chicago.

“Hope you didn’t have anything too heavy for lunch,” she said with a grimace, “We’re still waiting on James to meet us here. I guess he went downtown for lunch. Again.”

She watched Tommy’s eyes scan the façade of the old building and the growing crowd. She wondered where he had gone for lunch but stifled the urge to ask. After having started off on the wrong foot by tailing him and crashing his sister’s party (although to be fair, he had asked her) she was trying extra hard to not be too pushy this last couple weeks. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it was killing her a little bit.

“What do we have, Agent Sommers?” he asked, all business.

“In short? One very dead Irish mobster. Mo Green special. But that’s downright polite next to the dead dog he’s holding with its genitalia cut off and shoved in its mouth,” she answered.

“Jesus,” he said, grimacing.

“Yep. CPD called us in because of who the particular vic is,” she replied.

“One of O’Rourke’s men?” Tommy asked.

“Actually, The Man himself. Yeeup,” she drawled out at his shocked expression. “Takes balls to take out the Boss, no pun intended, but it’s the message that is interesting, don’t you think? Agent Hoffman said O’Rourke had deals in place here with the drug runners. This would suggest he was getting a little greedy, or in some part was trying to cut out a more powerful partner. But it’s a classic American Mafia message, not Colombian or Russian with whom he had the majority of dealings. Makes you go ‘hmmmn’, huh? And the dog…” Ginny trailed off as she saw James approaching them.

“Well… ain’t this a peach of a present?” James greeted them with a cocky grin.

Ginny was thinking that whatever Agent Hoffman did for lunch, it had nothing to do with culinary delights.

“Present?” she asked.

“As in, O’Rourke lives in north Chicago in one of those fancy estates, yet his body is found on the near west side in a building with historic Outfit roots, of which he is not a part, near FBI headquarters. What are the odds that after only a couple weeks working together, one of our chief persons of interest just happens to show up dead, practically giftwrapped for us?” Tommy asked.

“Slim to none, given the fact that he was at your sister’s party, and the three of us in attendance did not go unnoticed. Question is, is it a message for us, or a message for your old man?” James asked Tommy.

Ginny studied Tommy’s face, but it was devoid of emotion. He turned to the building, cocked his head, and then looked back at James with narrowed eyes.

“I think that you’ve made your opinion clear, Hoffman, that we ought to ask him, but I just spoke with him and I’m certain he won’t help us,” Tommy said.

Ginny couldn’t contain herself any longer – really, it was a lost cause from the jump-off – and she stood directly in front of Tommy to pelt him with questions, “Is that where you went for lunch? Was it a personal visit, or did you go to question him about Teplov and O’Rourke like James has been asking? Did he mention anything specifically about us being there? If anyone could give us an accurate read on what Downey knows, it’d be you, so if you could—”

She took a deep breath and stopped her babbling. Ugh, what was it about this man that has me acting like a silly fangirl or Twitter stalker? she wondered.

Tommy’s mouth parted and he blinked a few times before replying, “I beg to differ. I barely had—”

“Oh please with that!” Ginny interrupted, too excited to care about politeness. “I think you and James are both right, the players are upping the stakes here. Calling us out. But we need to figure out what part Downey plays in this. Surely you see that?”

“What I was going to say,” Tommy replied with marked frustration, “was that I barely got a chance to start a conversation with him before you called me here. But he’s still putting the full court press on me, so it makes me think he doesn’t know what deals Bonanno has in place, or that we’re after Bonanno specifically. He obviously doesn’t think I’m a threat to his reputation, because I would think he would want to keep myself and my mother at bay if he were worried how it looks to them.”

“Unless, that’s what this message is about. Warning him to keep his mouth shut and distance himself from you? Or your mother?” Ginny wondered.

She noticed James was looking less like his overconfident self, and way more apprehensive. Tommy looked like he was mulling over the idea, but remained unconvinced.

“Let’s let them finish processing the scene, and formulate a plan as to how we’re going to force the issue with Downey. I think the time has come to stop pussy-footing around,” James suggested.

“Hold on now, I never agreed to this!” Tommy exclaimed.

“Listen, no offense, but you came to this case late in the day, Detective Gates. We appreciate the information you’ve been able to share with us, but we are this close to an indictment on Bonanno anyway. If you’re not gonna help us sweeten the pot with Downey’s information, then what the heck are ya here for?” James countered, Chicago accent especially noticeable.

“Excuse me, Agent Hoffman! This is a Bureau case originally. You are just as much a Johnny-come-lately as Detective Gates! He is a valued member of my team!” Ginny said hotly. What was his deal? Why was he all of a sudden trying to cut Tommy off at the pass?

They were both looking at her oddly now. Then they shared a quick, humor-filled look. Tommy started chuckling and James shook his head, then slapped Tommy on the back before walking off.

For real? she thought. What was amusing about that?

She was still fuming about the whole thing at the end of the day when she saw James in the parking garage walking with a purpose to his car, eyes steadfastly on the phone in his hand.

“Hey, hey! Wait up!” she shouted.

He turned and gave her his Devil-may-care expression, as she thought of it.

“Yes, Ginny?” he asked.

“Agent Hoffman, I want to know what that was about earlier between you and Tommy, I mean, Detective Gates,” she said.

He turned the watt up on his smile and shrugged his shoulders. Truly, she found it nauseating this practiced Peter Pan fused with Prince Charming thing he had going on. Did some women actually fall for that crap?

“Listen, I’m just trying to get Tommy to man up and do what’s necessary in the next phase of this investigation. You yourself said that he would be the best equipped of all of us to tell if Downey knows we are headed in the right direction with Bonanno,” James smarmed, then turned and started walking again.

Ugh, insensitive jerk, she thought.

“Agent Hoffman, I agree that out of all of us, Tommy – I mean, Detective Gates – is the best able to ‘read’ Downey, however, we must respect his right not to. I don’t believe you have any right to imply that he is of no use to our team without using his father for information, and frankly I have avoided saying anything for the sake of team harmony, but your behavior at Miss Downey’s party a few weeks ago was seriously out-of-line and an egregious breach of conduct,” she panted out as she tried to match his long strides walking through the parking garage.

He stopped smartly. “Oh my God, are you serious, Ginny? I mean, Agent Sommers,” he mocked. “Tommy didn’t take it as an insult what I said earlier. We’re friendly, you could say friends, even. We’ve had beers a few times this week. We get along fine. Maybe if you’d come along sometime instead of hiding in your motel room like a shut-in, reading about how other people live their lives, you’d know that. I like to think after this is all over that we could still hang out, and all be Facebook friends, but at the end of the day we’re not here to hold hands and sing cum by yah. I’m just saying what needs to be said. We have almost everything we need for a solid case, and yes, we could move forward without Downey’s information, but I for one, want Bonanno to roast for good. I don’t want to take even the smallest chance that he’ll walk. Underneath all that confusion and confliction, I believe Tommy wants that as much as we do and would be willing to use his own father to get it—”

“Like you’re using his sister?” she interrupted, blind fury from the truthful sting of his ‘shut-in’ comment causing her to throw a wild speculation out there.

“Excuse me?” James replied in a defensive tone.

“Where do you go at lunchtime, Agent Hoffman?” Ginny asked, rolling with it. Dance with what brung ya.

James walked forward, having completely lost his mask of charming consigliore, replaced by one that looked an awful lot like anger and panic fused into one.

“Where I go and what I do on my off-time will never be your business, Agent Sommers,” he replied icily, and way, way, way too defensively.

Oh, wow. She was mostly bluffing a minute ago, but… oh, wow.

“Oooh… oh, James, you didn’t,” she said, shaking her head, all thoughts of professionalism gone.

She stepped back. He stepped forward, glaring at her.

Think. Think what you are doing here!” she demanded, grabbing his arm.

“This discussion is over,” he gnashed out, yanked his arm loose, and walked briskly to his red sports car.

Naturally, she thought numbly, he would have a red sports car. How incredibly predictable. With fumbling hands she fished her phone out and called Tommy, even though she knew he was still in the building talking to Agent Underwood.

“Tom – Detective Gates. It’s Agent Sommers. I was wondering if you’d like to meet for drinks later? Give me a call,” she said, and then she punched off, before she could change her mind.

She’d barely made it to her own car on the next level before her phone beeped a text message: When and where? T

She typed in: Giordano’s?

Again, when and where? LOL

Ummmnn, good question, she thought. If she suggested getting take-out and going to her motel that might seem too forward, but then again, they worked together and there was nothing wrong with meeting alone, but at the same time, he might take it the wrong way. Except it wouldn’t be the wrong way since it was of a personal nature sort of cloaked in a professional nature, or maybe it was just both and then the wrong way would simply be that she was thinking of him in that way… which actually was the truth, but a truth she didn’t actually want him to know just now. She kept pacing back and forth, ruining the fresh manicure on her thumbnail, then jumped out of her skin at the bleep-bleep sound of the truck next to her being disarmed.

“Whatever this is about it must be good,” Tommy said, laughter evident in his voice.

She looked dumbly down at her phone in her hand as if it would hold answers then back up at him. She’d give anything if just for once she could hold an entire conversation with this man without sounding like a complete idiot. He smiled and nudged his head towards the truck parked next to hers.

“Guess we parked next to each other. Want to just order delivery at my place instead? I’m a little peopled-out myself,” he said, apparently unconcerned by her odd behavior.

“Um… that’d be fine. I’ll just… follow you… then,” she managed to get out, tucking a stray bit of hair behind her ear.

He shook his head and walked forward until he stopped right in front of her. He reached his hand up and un-tucked the lock of hair, rendering her thoughtless as well as speechless.

“I liked it better that way,” he said, then turned and got inside his SUV.

Ginny let go of the breath of air she didn’t realize she was holding and followed him to his apartment. Once inside, she tucked her hands inside the cuffs of her sweater to keep them from fidgeting, a bad habit she had when she was nervous. Which she rarely was… except in press conferences… and job interviews… and first dates. Sadly, each was more rare than the last. And this wasn’t a date anyway. She was pretty sure. Mostly.

“Beer?”

“I’m sorry, what?” she asked, still standing just inside the door.

“Would. You. Like. A beer?” he asked again, slowly but friendly.

He had a charming half-smile on his face. She liked the way he smiled, sort of effortlessly and understated, instead of practiced and ingratiating like Agent Hoffman. Oh, sure, James was very handsome if you go for that Raphael fallen-angel look and his dimples were probably quite effective with ninety-eight percent of the female population, but there was something about the rugged patrician features and quiet demeanor of Tommy Gates that made her feel… well… just made her feel. And she hadn’t realized how much time she spent suppressing her own feelings in favor of analyzing and recording everyone else’s emotions and actions until that very moment.

“Sure. Thanks,” she answered, feeling somewhat more confident now that she had something to do with her hands.

He looked tired as he ordered their pizza from a place just around the corner. She started to feel a little guilty about suggesting drinks when he’d obviously had a long day.

“So what’d you want to talk about?” he asked after he hung up.

Maybe telling him about her suspicions regarding James and Kiki could wait. After all, they were just that, suspicions.

“Ahhh, you know, I just… felt bad about pressuring you earlier about your dad,” she answered. His brows scrunched in confusion. She continued, “I was being intrusive again and I know it’s none of my business, what goes on between you and your family.”

He studied her for a moment and nodded his head slightly. He didn’t look angry. He didn’t look anything but tired. She fiddled with the label on her beer.

“Is there anything you wanted to talk about?” she ended up asking.

His eyebrow shot up and for a second she could see the resemblance between him and his father, except there was definitely warm humor dancing around in his eyes instead of that icy-cold nothingness in Downey’s.

“What is this, reverse psychology?” he asked, chuckling.

He got up from the bar stool he had been half sitting on, half leaning on. He started walking slowly towards her.

“No, no, no, I was just, it’s just you seem… tired and I don’t… I mean, if you wanted to talk… about anythiiing…” she trailed off nervously as grabbed her hands cupping the beer bottle.

He pulled her forward, still holding her hands while walking backwards. “Come in. Stay awhile. Make yourself comfortable,” Tommy said, guiding her gently towards an overstuffed chair by the window.

She hated those kinds of chairs. She always felt like a little kid dwarfed by its nonfunctional largeness. Something must’ve shown of her thoughts on her face because he laughed.

“This place came furnished. I’m guessing by someone with a great fondness for flower prints, oversized furniture, and from the smell of it, lots of cats,” he said, relaxing her with his humorous tone and friendly smile.

She smiled back at him. “Not a cat person yourself?” she asked.

“How about this? I ask you one question, and for every answer you give me, I’ll answer a question of your own. Sound fair?” he responded.

“Alright, but that one doesn’t count,” she said, eager to finally get some answers.

“Why are you always so nervous around me?” he asked.

Not fair! Ginny thought. Her heart started racing.

“I’m not always nervous,” she said.

“No, not always. Sometimes you’re overly ‘intrusive’ as you say, and sometimes you’re overly professional—”

“Why did you go see your father today?” she interrupted, metaphorically putting her cards on the table.

“Uh-uh. You didn’t answer the question,” Tommy said, holding her gaze.

Ginny scooted forward on the chair and set her beer down.

“Truth?” she asked, cocking her head.

“That’d be preferable,” he chuckled. He slouched back against the couch opposite of her, propping his feet up on the coffee table.

“I don’t know. I find you fascinating. I find your family… situation… fascinating. But if I knew why I get nervous around you I’d certainly do something to stop it,” Ginny answered, figuring brutal honesty was probably the best approach.

He lost his grin and was back to looking tired. “Ok,” he finally said softly.

“Ok?” she responded.

“Oooo, Kay,” he repeated slowly, arching the brow again.

He took a lazy swig of his beer and studied her some more, looking pensive. She was about to repeat her question about Downey when he finally answered.

“I went to see my father because my mother and sister have been putting pressure on me all week to do so. And I suppose it was time I made a move one way or the other on a personal level. But I haven’t made up my mind about asking him to help us with the case. It doesn’t sit right with me, and since I can’t figure out if that’s because he’s my father or because my police instincts say it’s too risky, I figure it’s best to do nothing until I do sort it out,” Tommy said.

“And what if you never sort it out?” Ginny asked.

He shrugged and wiped a hand over his eyes and forehead. The doorbell rang and Ginny sprung up out of her chair, needing something to do with her nervous energy. She paid for the pizza, ignoring Tommy’s protests, and set it on the coffee table.

“You mind if I turn on the TV?” Tommy asked, sounding a little frustrated.

“Mmn, uh-uh,” she mumbled through her bite of pizza.

She couldn’t tell if he was feeling chauvinistic or proper or something, she wasn’t sure, but it seemed only logical that she pay for the pizza since she had been the one to suggest the idea, and here they were at his place, and he was exhausted, so of course she should pay for it. So why was he…

Ugh, Ginny, stop thinking, she reprimanded herself while avoiding his gaze.

“So, my turn again. When did you decide to join the FBI?” he asked.

She met his gaze and smiled shyly. “I think I was nine. No, seriously,” she said when he looked skeptical. “I always wanted to join. Pretty much every decision I made in school and my extra-curricular activities were geared towards being able to join up as soon as the age requirement allowed.”

“Huh,” was all he said in reply.

“And you? When did you decide to join law enforcement?” she asked.

“I guess I just took the leap after I graduated high-school. My, uh, father had come to see me, and it was the first time since I was about ten that I’d seen him. It sort of… brought back all these memories of when I was little and we were in Wit Sec and I just felt like… I don’t know, it’s hard to explain…” he trailed off and frowned at his pizza, then tossed it down.

She bit her lip, willing him to go on. He looked up and narrowed his eyes at her. Then he took a deep breath and leaned back against the couch again, staring intently at her.

He sort of twisted his mouth into a weird half-smile, half-grimace then said, “I like you too, you know.”

Ginny blinked at the non sequitur. She could feel her cheeks flushing. His mouth untwisted and he looked endearingly boyish and uncertain for a minute, then he looked away from her and back at the TV. She was surprised when he continued speaking as if the moment hadn’t happened.

“I felt like I owed it to myself and to my mom and Jack to make a difference. To take a stand against what my father did for a living, so that their sacrifices wouldn’t be in vain. I guess a childish part of me wanted to stick it to my father for what he had put us through, because I blamed him for my mother going on the run. But a bigger part of me wanted to be a good example to my new siblings. But when Jack suggested he could put in a word with the Bureau, all I could feel was resentment for the way my mother was used as a bargaining chip by the Federal government, so I felt like the best compromise was to go for detective,” he said almost tonelessly, eyes never leaving the TV set.

“Ah. That explains it,” Ginny replied. “The way you sometimes say ‘Feds’ like we don’t all play on the same team.”

He slid his eyes to her and wiggled his head and shoulder in a ‘if you say so’ gesture, then continued to watch the TV, pizza and beer all but forgotten. She ate her pizza in silence for a bit, contemplating whether she should bring up his sister or continue the Q&A, and pretended to be interested in the old spaghetti western he was watching. When she had worked up the courage to broach the subject of James and Kiki, she looked over at him and realized he had dozed off. She sighed and gathered her things.

She didn’t know what possessed her, but she walked over to him and lightly brushed the messy dark locks from his forehead like she had wanted to do from the moment they had met. He mumbled something in his sleep and she beat a hasty retreat.

–Copyright 2012, Genevieve Dewey.

Read on… Chapter Thirteen, “Tommy”.

First, I Love You is available in print or digital format at these official retailers:

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FREE READ|#asmsg #bynr #Mafia #FamilyDrama #Romance|First, I Love You Ch. 11


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FIRST, I LOVE YOU

By Genevieve Dewey

Copyright 2012 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction; any resemblance to living persons is entirely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

CHAPTER  ONE “Tommy”

CHAPTER TWO “James”

CHAPTER THREE “Kiki”

CHAPTER FOUR “Mary”

CHAPTER FIVE “Mickey”

CHAPTER SIX “Ginny”

CHAPTER SEVEN “Tommy”

CHAPTER EIGHT “James”

CHAPTER NINE “Kiki”

CHAPTER TEN “Mary”

CHAPTER ELEVEN

 Mickey

Mickey sighed with satisfaction as he finished the last fine sanding of the figurine he had been carving. He usually worked on furniture, but occasionally he would challenge himself with smaller hand-carved pieces. He loved the awe he still felt when a piece of wood transformed itself into a work of art. It felt that way too; as if the wood had a mind of its own, an identity struggling to get out, and his hands and tools were merely the medium with which it transformed itself. When he was a younger man he would take months to complete what now took him only a few weeks. But back then he had been consumed with making money and the woodworking had been squeezed in as a way to decompress and allow him to be the family man he needed to be.

It was never as easy for him to switch gears as it had been for some of the other guys, or for his father. Maybe it was because he was more of a money guy than a muscle man, but still, it wasn’t as if he hadn’t had to do or be party to some things that just felt like it left a permanent sort of horror in his brain. The sort of thing that made a person feel like he didn’t deserve something as pure as a child’s adoration, or a woman’s loving touch. And truth was, maybe he didn’t. But selfish man that he was, he would continue to take his cake and eat it too, as long as God saw fit to let him roam the earth.

The shrill ring of the shop phone broke his reverie. He knew it would be Frank Bonanno. Right on cue.

“What you got,” he asked without the preliminaries.

“Listen, before I head back, was havin’ a chat with those friends of ours, and they’re fine with what I’ve laid out. As long as you do your part,” Frank stated curtly.

“I’m a man of my word, Frank. You know that,” Mickey tried to curtail the annoyance in his own voice.

These people, he thought, like vultures mated with a pack of African bees. Stand still and you get it, move and you get it worse.

“Your guest list Saturday before last was … interesting … to say the least. You understand their concern,” Frank stated more than asked.

“My son will always be included in my family events. If he chooses to bring a few of his playmates then it’s no different than Kiki inviting your daughter. I believe we discussed this matter at some length already, Frank. I’m just a retired financial and shipping consultant who likes to tinker in his garage. I’m not a threat to nobody. I didn’t even take my damn ball and bat and go home, I left it to yous guys and forgot what it even looked like,” he said, voice betraying some of the street they had both grown up on, instead of the cultured tones he had worked so hard at acquiring.

“I ain’t so worried about the boy or his pals, I’m sure you’ll handle that. I was referring to your female friend. Remember how that pillow talk ended up last time, Mickey. I’m sticking my neck out for you cuz we’re family. Right? Family. You know what they say, if you can’t get rid of the ticks yourself, you just have to get the dog dipped, capiche?” Frank continued.

Mickey counted to twenty inside his head. His hand trembled so hard the Dremel tool he held in it slipped out and clattered on the floor.

“Listen… listen…” Mickey gritted out half a decibel above a whisper. “We agreed. We agreed to this arrangement and my personal life is mine. I’ve stuck to the terms. You stick to yours. I stay out of your thing… you leave me mine. Or we will have a problem,” he ended, he hoped with enough ice and menace to get the image across of what he’d do to Frank if anything happened… if anything… He felt bile rise in his throat.

“Fine, fine,” Frank’s voice was jovial now, signaling an end to business. “Gotta run. Plane’s about to take off. It was good seeing you again, Mickey. I’ll be in touch.”

Mickey didn’t bother to say goodbye he simply slammed the phone down. He breathed carefully and slowly to slow his pounding heart and racing thoughts. When he felt in control enough, he took his cell phone out and called his daughter.

“Lo?” She sounded breathless, like she’d just woken up.

“Wake up. It’s the middle of the day, princess,” he said as calmly as he could muster.

“Oh! Daddy! I – no I was just… thinking… about my next article,” she answered evasively.

He pursed his lips. He sincerely hoped the girl didn’t have another one of her boyfriends over. Though at twenty-one, he supposed she wasn’t a girl anymore.

“Well, I was just checking on you. Would you like to meet for lunch?” Mickey asked.

“Nn-now?”

He could hear rustling in the background and a distinctly male chuckle. He tried to contain his irritation. The mood he was in, it was a good thing he had called before dropping by or some soon-to-be-sorry asshole would be getting his dick rammed into his teeth.

“Well, it is the middle of the day. In the middle of the week. I thought you could see if your brother wanted to meet us somewhere,” he suggested.

“Tommy already had lunch. I mean – I’m pretty sure they’re breaking for lunch right now, so by the time you get here… How about another time instead?” she ended.

Mickey couldn’t recall the last time his daughter had given him the brush off. Frank’s threats had him on edge, and he started to wonder just who was with her.

“Are you alright?” Mickey asked urgently.

“Of course! Daddy, what’s the matter?” Kiki asked, worry evident in her tone.

“Nothing you need concern yourself with, sweetheart. But I did want to ask you, I know you and Mary spent some time with each other last week. I was wondering—”

“Daddy, for heaven’s sake! Just call her already and stop using everyone else for updates. And the same goes for Tommy. This is getting a little ridiculous don’t you think?” Kiki interrupted.

Mickey was silent. First she brushes him off, and now she was interrupting him and making demands? Who was this girl?

The chime on his doorbell rang in the silence. He looked at his security monitors and saw Tommy standing at his front door. Had the world gone mad? First, his sweet loving daughter was being snippy and now his estranged son was actively seeking him out in the same day.

“I’ll talk to you later, princess. Someone’s at the door,” he said and hung up.

As he walked through the house to answer the front door, he texted Carlo:

Put a man on my p. Report all people.

“Hello Tommy, what a pleasant surprise!” Mickey said as he opened the door. Strange how much it still made his heart ache for those days back in Brooklyn every time he saw his oldest child.

Tommy looked hesitant, but he nodded and came inside. Mickey motioned for him to join him in the study just off the foyer. Once inside, his son made no secret of examining the room, but kept his hands in his pockets.

“Would you like something to drink? Have you eaten? What brings you here? Not that I mind, I’m happy you came, very happy…” Mickey stopped himself before he said any more.

He felt incredibly off-balance between Frank’s call, the one to Kiki, and Tommy’s surprise visit. He hated that feeling of not being in control. Hated it.

“Went to supper with Mom and Kiki last night,” Tommy said.

Mickey nodded. He knew that, of course. He had someone who kept an eye on Mary at all times. He knew where she went and what she did and who she met. And he knew she knew that he knew these things. It was almost like she was taunting him these last few weeks with her activities. He wasn’t sure what she was playing at, but he could practically hear the words ‘Game On’ in his head.

“They both figure that we… that is, you and I…” Tommy started to say, frustration and irritation clearly evident in his voice.

“Ah, I see. Plan A didn’t work, so we’re on to Plan B? First, Kiki rooks Joe into some convoluted plot, and now she’s guilting your mother into doing her dirty work as well?” Mickey interjected. He sighed. This girl of his. He didn’t know if he wanted to shake her for her interference or hug her close for always, always, having his back.

Tommy was half glaring at him, lips pursed. Then he, too, let out a sigh and shrugged, running his hand through his hair.

“Truth is, my mom had already mentioned something to me a couple times before last night about spending more time with you while I’m here. I think I’ve been soundly outvoted here,” Tommy said, still sounding agitated.

“And you hate that, don’t you?” Mickey asked with a smile.

This boy was so much like him sometimes it was uncanny. But he knew instinctively that would be the last thing he should say to him right now. He walked over to the wet bar in the study and fixed an Old Fashioned. It was 5:00 somewhere. He got a cooled bottle of water out for Tommy from the mini-fridge and handed it to him. Tommy was watching his movements with a wariness and body language that spoke of fatigue.

“I’ve made no secret of my desire to have you be a part of my life. Everything’s been said, what feels like a thousand times over by now. But the last thing I want is you standing in my home against your will. Out of some sense of obligation to the people you do actually care about. It pleases me to see you, but it pleases me to see you happy most of all. What would make you happy?” Mickey asked softly.

Tommy looked down at his bottle in his hand, then back up at Mickey through the fringes of his hair, and then looked away again. He didn’t answer, but he took a drink from his water and walked to the Chippendale desk in the corner of the room. Tommy fiddled with Mickey’s Al Capone bobble-head someone had given him as a joke when he first moved to Chicago. It was difficult, but Mickey bit his tongue and waited, giving Tommy the space he needed to answer.

“If I didn’t care it would be easier, wouldn’t it?” Tommy finally answered, still not looking at Mickey.

Mickey remained silent, such was his shock at hearing his son say he cared about him. Or is that what he said? Maybe by ‘cared’ he simply meant ‘cared to never have anything to do with you ever’. His confusion kept him mute.

Tommy finally turned and looked at him. “It’s not like we’re strangers. Like we just met or something. We have… loved ones in common. A shared history; a few fond memories, though long ago. We’ve spent a couple holidays and family events together. But it’s not as if we’re close either. We don’t really know each other except for facts on a sheet and a superficial understanding of likes and dislikes. And, yes, that has been intentional on my part. I’ve told you why. I haven’t been able let go of my anger at you for what you put my mother through, and I can’t help but think,” Tommy stopped and ran a hand through his hair again. “What’s the point of getting to know you better? I’m still a cop and you’re still a man who has zero respect for what I do for a living. But I’ve never claimed to be indifferent. Of course I care. I care that my own father loves me, but I also care that he obviously doesn’t respect me—”

“Now hold up just one second, son! I do respect you. I am very proud of you, and of the man you’ve become—”

“I care that you make me feel important and valued but treat others—”

“It’s true I don’t have any faith in law enforcement—”

“—with such breathtaking callousness and cruelty.”

“—or the justice system but I admire your dedication to it. I admire—”

“I care that you lavish us with obviously heartfelt gifts with money stolen—

“—that you are a good person and a good example to your—”

“—from ‘dedicated’ and ‘good’ people who fear you—”

“Enough!” Mickey shouted.

The bourbon in his glass spilled all over his trembling hand then dripped to the worn wooden floor below. His stomach churned with tension and residual panic, and far from calming his nerves, the alcohol seemed to be ramping up the suffocating sensation of powerlessness that had threatened at the edges since Frank’s call. For years he had called all the shots. For years he had commanded respect from everyone around him. But with the one man whose respect he was so desperate to earn he was completely ineffectual. Everything was hanging in the balance on every front, and he couldn’t guarantee that a few loyal men and few billion dollars would be enough to protect his children and the woman he loved. And he had given all that power up for this man – this man! – who refused to even see him as anything but the sum of his worst actions.

Mickey took a deep breath and forced his voice into a semblance of calm. “Answer the question, Tommy. What would make you happy? How about you just answer that question and be done with it,” he demanded, setting the drink down without taking his gaze from his son’s eyes. Eyes so like his own, bloodshot with emotion.

Tommy’s Adam’s apple moved up and down and his jaw worked. His voice was choked and hoarse as he said, “I promised my mother that I—”

“God DAMN it! I asked what YOU want! YOU! Only YOU!” Mickey shouted, accidentally knocking the stained glass lamp next to him in his agitation.

It crashed to the floor, the light bulb flickering, glass breaking. Tommy stepped back. Mickey closed his eyes and gripped the chair next to him, stilling himself and his emotions the best he could. When he opened his eyes he expected to see fear or disgust in Tommy’s face, but all he saw was something akin to marvel or curiosity. A kind of far-off look, like he was thinking about a particularly confounding puzzle.

“…‘for the first time in his life he put someone else’s needs’…” Tommy whispered.

“What?” Mickey asked, feeling utterly and completely exhausted at this point.

“And you’re actually retired?” Tommy asked, eyes still looking through him.

“I – what?” Mickey asked again, now completely lost, as well as tired.  And it was only the middle of the damn day. He knelt down and started picking up glass shards.

The first bars of ‘Woke Up This Morning’ by Alabama 3 started playing on Tommy’s phone. Mickey’s head jerked up and the absurdity of his son choosing that ringtone, combined with fatigue and alcohol, forced a laugh out of him.

“You kiddin’ me?” he asked and Tommy grinned awkwardly at him.

“Detective Gates,” Tommy answered into the phone. The grin left his face as he listened. “I’ll be right there.”

Tommy put the phone back in his pocket and bent eye-level with Mickey. Mickey met his gaze feeling nothing but numb, and braced himself for another rejection.

“For the record, I don’t think this is going to work,” Tommy said.

“Duly noted,” Mickey said with a nod.

“But… I’m willing to try. And since you asked, it would make me happy if you tried as well,” Tommy said softly.

Mickey sat back on his haunches and watched his son walk out the door.

“Well, what the hell does he think I been doin’?” he said to the silence.

–Copyright 2012, Genevieve Dewey.

read on… Chapter Twelve, “Ginny”.

First, I Love You is available in print or digital format at these official retailers:

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FREE READ #asmsg #bynr #Mafia #FamilyDrama #Romance: First, I Love You (Downey#1), Ch. 10 “Mary”


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FIRST, I LOVE YOU

By Genevieve Dewey

Copyright 2012 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction; any resemblance to living persons is entirely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

CHAPTER  ONE “Tommy”

CHAPTER TWO “James”

CHAPTER THREE “Kiki”

CHAPTER FOUR “Mary”

CHAPTER FIVE “Mickey”

CHAPTER SIX “Ginny”

CHAPTER SEVEN “Tommy”

CHAPTER EIGHT “James”

CHAPTER NINE “Kiki”

CHAPTER TEN

 Mary

Mary enjoyed the cool feel of cucumbers on her eyelids, and was struggling not to giggle like a schoolgirl at the decadence of it all. It wasn’t her first spa treatment ever, but it had been so long since she’d had one that she felt like a young girl again instead of a middle-aged woman with a grown man for a son.

No, not middle-aged, that sounds so old, she thought. You’re only forty-five, for crying out loud.

But she was certainly the mother of a grown man. A grown man who clearly was having trouble accepting she had a life outside of being his mother, and more damning still, clearly thought she was as gullible as a goose. On the contrary, Mary knew that Kiki was up to something when she got that phone call, but she figured it was something more along the lines of Michael would just ‘happen’ to show up at their intimate dinner… or some such. She didn’t expect the big party, she had miscalculated that, but she did realize that Kiki had something she was planning.

It was both gratifying and strangely disappointing that Michael had clearly been as out of the loop as she was. But, Kiki’s idea of coming to Chicago and having a relaxing, open-ended vacation had sounded so pleasant, so extravagantly self-indulgent. And in exchange for the idea of an all-expense paid trip to see her only child, plus her old friends Jack and Claire, Mary was willing to play along with whatever shenanigans the girl was up to. If that meant running into Michael, so be it. Better to run into than run away.

She felt like she had spent most of her life running from something; from her family’s expectations, from her stifling small town, from Michael’s life, from herself. She made the choice to accept Kiki’s offer because she felt in her gut that something had to give. No real concrete explanation, just one of those weird tingles up the spine. There was so much unresolved garbage between her and Michael, between Tommy and his father, between all three of them really, that maybe Kiki’s idea had been a catalyst or something. Or maybe she just had delayed empty nest syndrome. But this morning when she was sitting in Mass at Old St. Patrick’s, she just knew in her soul she had made the right decision to come and to stay even after the disastrous birthday party.

Tommy had told her at breakfast that Kiki hadn’t even stayed the whole night. At her own birthday party! Mary hoped that Michael and Tommy hadn’t been harsh with her. She wished she could understand why she felt so protective of Kiki, since of course, she wasn’t her daughter, and she still to this day despised the girl’s mother. Maybe it was just there was something about her that reminded Mary of herself when she had moved to New York and met Michael. She had all that youth and energy, ready to take on the world with bright-eyed optimism and determination. Mary didn’t want to see the girl’s dreams, however naïve, get crushed under other’s cynicism like her own had.

“Explain to me exactly what the cucumbers are supposed to do?”

She sat up with a gasp, the cucumbers falling with a splat on her lap. She stared in shock at Michael lounging against the wall, still dressed in his Sunday best. Her mouth opened and closed like a fish.

“Now, talk about a racket, getting already beautiful women to shell out hundreds of dollars to lie on a slab with vegetables on their face,” he continued with that devil’s grin.

“Michael! What – what – how did you get in here?” Mary finally managed to get out.

She didn’t know what disconcerted her most; that she was sitting there with only a towel and a seaweed mud mask on, or that he had deliberately sought her out, no doubt with the aid of his daughter. Had she really been feeling protective of Kiki a moment ago? Nope, she was going to kill that girl!

He just continued to smirk at her.

“I asked you a question,” she struggled to say with as much dignity as one could with goo all over their face.

Michael jingled the change in his dress slacks, then removed his hands and walked over. She gripped the towel closer and scooted back. He frowned at her action.

“I just wanted to apologize again for my daughter,” he said.

“No need. Like I told you last night, I’m sure she meant well, and to be honest, I am enjoying having a vacation. It’s been years really. Tommy and I used to go to Worlds of Fun sometimes when he was younger or camping. But I haven’t really gone anywhere except back home to Massachusetts since he’s grown. No point in taking a vacation when it’s just you going,” she trailed off.

She cringed at her own babbling and attempted to still her hands kneading the towel. They’d made a child together for goodness sakes! Why was she so nervous? His eyes were focused on his shoes. He was still frowning.

“I’m sorry. I have you at a disadvantage. Why don’t you get dressed – the receptionist said you were almost finished in here – and we can meet for early supper in the restaurant?” he looked at his watch as he said it.

She released a short laugh. It was like going back in time with him. He was older and more distinguished looking, but still the same restless, presumptuous Michael.

“Actually, I was planning on meeting Jack and Claire for supper in Elmhurst,” she said, noticing the quick flash of anger in his eyes at the sound of Jack’s name. She couldn’t help herself and recklessly suggested, “You’re welcome to join us. Tommy will be there.”

She could see the gob-smacked look on his face at her inviting him to supper with the man that had come this close to putting him in prison, at war with the temptation to spend another evening with his estranged son.

The Devil must’ve made me do it, she thought with a smile.

“Where will you be dining?” he asked distractedly.

“Galway’s,” she replied.

He blinked. “That’s not a real restaurant, it’s a pub with food,” he said condescendingly.

“It has food and entertainment, and Claire said I will love it,” she said with her chin in the air, confident he would no longer want to come, if he ever had in the first place.

He narrowed his eyes, his lip slightly curling. She’d forgotten how much Michael liked a challenge and she squirmed nervously.

“Well, maybe I’ll drop by. Who knows? How long are you staying in town?” he asked, clearly no longer concerned with her lack of privacy.

“It’s… It’s open ended.”

She thought about lying, but figured Kiki would tell him anyway. He raised his famous eyebrow, or was it infamous?

“Can you afford to be away from your job so long?” he asked politely.

“I’m not sure what business it is of yours. Aren’t you retired from your job?” she deflected.

She didn’t know why she felt so defensive. Well, yes she did, but she didn’t know why she was still having this conversation with him and not kicking him out. He looked momentarily melancholy before he shrugged.

“I’m carving fulltime now. Keeps my mind and hands occupied,” he said as he headed towards the door.

He paused with his hand on the door handle then looked back at her over his shoulder.

“Maybe you and Tommy could drop by and see my shop sometime. I live in Oak Park these days,” he said, with a tone that suggested he, too, was feeling defensive. Then he left, shutting the door softly behind him.

Mary sat silently for a while and pondered if her courage would fail her now. She wished she knew what the right thing to do was. Stay? Go? Let him in? Push him away? She was still fussing on the conundrum that was Michael Downey when she met with Jack and Claire at the pub later.

He didn’t come.

And she couldn’t figure out why that bothered her so. It seemed as if he was always making subtle overtures, but never actually made a move. Like a lion pacing back and forth behind the bars at the Zoo, waiting… just waiting. Was he waiting for her to make the first move? Yes, that had to be it. But she had invited him and he didn’t show. Yet, he had invited her and Tommy to his home…

It hit her then with a sudden, forceful clarity. He wanted her to come to him. Wanted her to be the one to admit defeat, to surrender on his turf, on his terms. Was his pride that important to him? Or was it about revenge and humiliation after the way she left him? Maybe he saw her as just a means to an end, getting Tommy in his life. It was a lowering thought and made her angry to think it. But if that were the case, she couldn’t understand why he would have stayed away, yet kept such a close eye on her. And if he thought she would just come crawling, he had another thing coming. She was done wondering. Done speculating. Done, done, done. Two could play that game. She started formulating a plan inside her mind and tried not to dwell on the fact it made her feel alive in a way she hadn’t felt in so very long.

At the end of the week, after having visited the major museums and gone on just about every tour the city had to offer, including the gangster tour, she dropped by the Federal Building to visit Tommy and Jack. It brought her such pride as a mother to see her son working so diligently on this case and with such a distinguished Federal agent like Jack. Tommy bustled her into the workroom and introduced her to his colleagues as if she were some honored guest instead of a former stay at home mom who tutored music for a living.

She was pretty sure Agent Sommers had a bit of a crush on her boy by the end of the chat. Not that she’d say anything, mind you. If there was one thing she’d learned a long time ago it was that men needed to discover things on their own. She wasn’t sure what to make of James Hoffman though. He didn’t seem to want to meet Tommy’s eyes but was otherwise very friendly and open.

After her visit, Jack and Tommy walked her to the front of the building.

“I’m glad you and Claire are enjoying living in Chicago, Jack,” she said.

“It’s different. Living in the suburbs makes it not so bad except around rush hour. Still on its worse day it’s got nothing on back home,” he chuckled.

She knew by ‘back home’ he meant New York. She also knew how hard it’d been for him to move from Brooklyn to Omaha with Claire when his wife had gotten so sick with cancer. The doctors were not giving her a very good prognosis on her Stage Four breast cancer and she wanted to be back with her family in Nebraska for treatment. He had loved living there in New York, working in Organized Crime, and the decision to transfer to Omaha came with a demotion for him. But with the case against Michael in shambles and his wife so sick, it was an easy decision. Amazingly, surprising even the doctors, Claire had beat the odds, and Jack had settled into a good life in Nebraska.

But after Michael ‘retired’ to Chicago, Jack had jumped at the chance for another transfer. It was like neither one of them could let go of that long ago case. Mary truly hoped Jack would be able to put it behind him. After all, she had a child with Michael; it was only natural that she couldn’t let the past go, but this need Jack seemed to feel to protect her from Michael seemed like a waste of his energy. If Michael was going to do anything to them he could have long ago. And she felt like he was telling the truth about being retired. So what was the point of keeping tabs on him anymore? But like she said, you couldn’t tell a man anything, they had to come around to it in their own way.

“So what’s the deal with your friend James, Tommy? He seemed a little nervous or jumpy,” Mary said as Jack walked back in the building.

Tommy laughed as he gave her an extra hug good-bye, “Oh, I don’t know. He’s good people. I’m sure he just has something on his mind, maybe that girlfriend he’s been ditching us to go see at lunch. He about breaks the sound barrier getting out of here and comes back practically purring. But now you mention it, he has been a little weird with me since Kiki’s party. Maybe he finally realized how rude he was being to her before you showed up and just doesn’t know how to apologize.”

Mary was surprised to learn he had been there because she hadn’t figured that Tommy’s colleague would be allowed at a Downey family event.

“What do you mean, rude to her?” she wondered. “I didn’t realize you all knew each other previously?”

“We didn’t.”

She must’ve worn her confusion on her face because he laughed again.

“Long story. Not important. He wasn’t there long anyway. What are you going to do with the rest of today?” he asked, obviously keen to change the subject.

“I’m sure I’ll think of something,” she answered. There was absolutely no way she was going to tell him her real plans. “Did you get a chance to see your brother again before he went back?”

“Yeah, man, that boy is growing like a weed, and he talks like he’s a Colonel already instead of a fifteen year old kid,” he said with a grin. It warmed her heart to know he was forming such a strong bond with his siblings.

“And your father?” Lord, but she hated that closed look he got on his face at the mention of Michael. It made her feel so guilty.

“He was there, of course. We went to the Museum of Science and Industry and then we all went to supper together on Joe’s last day. Don’t worry, I was on my best behavior,” he said, rolling his eyes.

“I’m sure you were, and don’t be sassy. I’m just asking because I want you to know I don’t mind if you want to, you know, continue to spend time with him while you’re here,” she said, brushing a lock of his dark hair from his forehead.

He looked at her for a beat. “Can I ask you something?” Tommy asked, looking preoccupied.

“Shoot,” she said with a smile.

“When did you realize he was involved with the Mob?”

She stared into his eyes. Was it possible they’d never talked about this? She took a deep breath. She owed him this, at the very least.

“Well… fairly early on, actually. We’d been together a handful of months when I ran into Theresa Anastasio at the church while picking up my choir music for Sunday mass. She was finalizing the last details on her wedding. Took great glee in showing me the Downey-Anastasio engagement photo they would place in the vestibule on their happy day. Michael never went to Mass back then, and I had no idea she even attended the same church. She knew about me apparently, but I had no idea about her existence in his life. That was the first time I broke it off with him. He begged me not to, said he hadn’t planned on falling in love with me, hadn’t wanted to hurt either of us, and he claimed that he was having trouble finding a way to end the engagement. I was young and naïve but not entirely stupid. I told him we were through. Then I asked my friend Claire if she knew anything about the Anastasio wedding and she told me that her husband – Jack obviously – was investigating Theresa’s father and the groom-to-be. She joked about having never sung at a Mob wedding, and it was a shame they hired some famous entertainer friend of the family instead of using our choir. It suddenly made sense to me what he’d said about not being able to find a way to end the engagement if he was afraid of her father and we’d only been dating for a few months. I was torn between sympathy for Michael – yes, sympathy, Tommy – and a sense of relief that I had ended it in spite of how much I’d come to care for him. But when I realized I was pregnant a few weeks later, I worked up the courage to tell him, hoping it might be just the thing he needed to make a clean break. Oh, don’t give me that look Tommy! I was nineteen! I was alone and pregnant. He said he loved me. But it was too late. They’d just gotten back from their honeymoon. But he promised he would take care of me. Foolish, foolish girl that I was, by the time you were born I had let him back in my heart and back in my bed. To be fair, he spent a lot of time with me and you. Way more than he must have spent with her when you factor in the work he did for her father. He did try and leave her a few times, but then she’d have some sort of breakdown and check herself into a hospital and he’d go right back to her for a little bit. I think you were two years old before I realized Theresa wasn’t really what stood in the way of our happiness. He didn’t go back to her out of love or fear. He was never afraid of her father. He wanted what her father had. He would never get a divorce as long as he needed her to get it. And yet, knowing this, I still chose to stay…” she trailed off as the waves of her memories seemed to choke her throat.

She didn’t even realize she was crying until Tommy wiped a tear from her cheek.

“And you actually want me to get to know this man better?” Tommy asked softly.

“Yes,” she declared firmly, straightening her shoulders. She watched his face battle consternation and frustration.

“Of all the crimes that can be laid at the feet of your father, the one thing he has always done right is love you unconditionally. I took you from him, without even giving him a chance to fight for you. Don’t interrupt,” she gritted out in her mom voice when he opened his mouth. “I kept you from him and he respected that, Tommy. For once in his life he put someone else’s needs ahead of his own. This isn’t about how he treated me back then or the mistakes we both made. This is about you getting to know the man I fell in love with. I believe he’s still in there somewhere. If you get to know him and, independent from your feelings about how you think he may have treated me way back then, you still decide that you want nothing to do with him, then so be it,” she finished.

The door opened behind them and James poked his head out.

“Are you just going to stand out here chatting with pretty ladies all afternoon?” he shouted at them.

Mary snorted and rolled her eyes. It was enough to break the tension though, and Tommy smiled at her as he walked slowly backwards towards the building. She waggled a maternal finger at James, blew a kiss to Tommy, then turned and went to retrieve her rental car. She had to see a girl about a man.

Kiki seemed almost giddy when they met up on Lakeshore just off Grant Park. She had a flush in her face and a smile a mile wide. They walked along the jogging trail together.

“My, what a twinkle you have in your eye,” Mary laughed.

“Oh, it’s just a nice day, don’t you think?” Kiki replied.

“Hmmmn, what’s his name?” Mary asked.

Mary was thinking whatever unpleasantness Tommy thought Agent Hoffman had to feel guilty over at the girl’s party a week ago was long forgotten by the birthday girl thanks to this mystery man. Kiki made a dismissive sound but dropped her eyes and worried her lip beneath flushed cheeks.

“I don’t know what you mean, there’s no guy. It’s just nice seeing you again. I’m glad we’re on the same page with Tommy and my dad,” Kiki said earnestly.

Mary let it drop, but she could tell when a girl was smitten. Hadn’t she been the starry-eyed girl once over Michael?

“So what’s the plan?” she asked, hooking her arm in Kiki’s.

Kiki looked surprised, but pleased at the gesture. “We just need to get Tommy over there. That’s all. Dad’ll do the rest I’m sure. You know how he is,” Kiki said as she sat on a bench by the yacht club.

Mary sat next to her and they watched the ducks toddle by in silence. She did know Michael, only too well. He had a way of saying all the right things, but it was the doing that she worried about. She wanted them to get to know each other better, but as much as she wanted her son to know his father, she wanted his father to truly know Tommy. Mary feared it would take a lot more than being in the same room for these two stubborn men to stop talking at each other, and start talking to each other. Of course, she was one to talk, no pun intended, as her current method of communicating with Michael was to not communicate with Michael. She figured she had sent the men he had watching her on quite the merry chase this week, and planned on having even more fun at his expense next week.

Maybe she’d feel bad about that later.

Maybe.

–Copyright 2012, Genevieve Dewey.

[Find out why “Kiki seemed almost giddy when they met up on Lakeshore…” in this missing James & Kiki love scene here: Special Delivery]

Read on… Chapter Eleven, “Mickey”.

First, I Love You is available in print or digital format at these official retailers:

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FREE READ|#asmsg #bynr #Mafia #FamilyDrama #Romance|First, I Love You (Downey#1) Ch. 9 “Kiki”


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FIRST, I LOVE YOU

By Genevieve Dewey

Copyright 2012 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction; any resemblance to living persons is entirely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

CHAPTER  ONE “Tommy”

CHAPTER TWO “James”

CHAPTER THREE “Kiki”

CHAPTER FOUR “Mary”

CHAPTER FIVE “Mickey”

CHAPTER SIX “Ginny”

CHAPTER SEVEN “Tommy”

CHAPTER EIGHT “James”

CHAPTER NINE

 Kiki

Kiki wrapped her favorite fuzzy robe around herself and curled up in the dark on the divan in her little living room. She turned the TV on and absent-mindedly flipped through the channels. She could hear James entering the room behind her. She kept her eyes on the screen and fought the lump in her throat. She had proven her point, or his point, whatever, and now she wanted to know what he was up to. What he wanted from her (besides the obvious which was now out of the way) and what he wanted from her brother and father.

“Your gun and badge are on the little table by the door if you need to leave. There’s some tiramisu in the fridge if you’re hungry. I made it myself,” she said, doing what she hoped was her best impression of untroubled.

She glanced over her shoulder at him. He looked flat-footed and uncertain, the TV casting shadows across his confused face.

Good, she thought, serves him right. She was so utterly sick of people thinking they knew her, knew what kind of person she was because she was always in the spotlight. Because of who her father was, who her mother was, who her grandfather was, who everybody was, but never really seeing her.

He walked over to the small stand by the door and picked up the gun and badge, but he didn’t put them on. He ran his fingers along the intricately braided woodwork around the edges of the stand with his free hand and said, “This is a nice piece. Is it oak?”

“Tiger maple. My father made it,” she said coolly.

“Your – Downey made this?” James asked, sounding surprised.

“Woodworking is his hobby. He has to do something with all his free time now that he’s retired,” she replied with a knowing smirk, enjoying his discomfort.

He watched her with a wary gaze and slowly came towards the divan. He set his things down next to her purse on the butterfly chair, then sat on the other end of the divan. She looked back at the TV.

“I just want you to know I don’t usually put out on the first date,” he said after a while.

When her head whipped around, he flashed that devastating smile and dimples. She kept staring at him in shock.

“That was a joke, Katherine,” he said softly, his grin slipping a little in a crooked and endearing way. She could see the lights from the city reflecting in his blue eyes. She wondered in an odd, strangely disconnected way how someone with such handsomely dark features had such light eyes.

“I realize that, Agent Hoffman,” she finally said, struggling desperately to keep up her ‘I do this all the time because I’m so erudite’ Ice Queen façade.

“James. Call me James. Don’t you think we should be on a first name basis? I mean, you know,” he said with a nod towards the bedroom.

His grin slipped completely off his face as she continued to stare blankly at him.

“Listen,” he said hesitantly, and scooted closer to her. “Listen, I—”

“If you apologize for what just happened in that room I will beat you senseless with this remote and no one will ever find your body. You know I can make that happen,” she said, gritting her teeth.

He looked taken aback, then let out a long laugh. She tried not to smile, but her stupid lips were betraying her. He looked so damn charming with his dark, wavy hair all rumpled and his dress shirt buttoned up wrong.

“Ok, a) you’re half my size, b) I’m a well-trained Federal Agent, c) that remote would break before you could do any real damage,” he said, moving his hand to her thigh.

She put her hand over his and stopped its exploration. “Ok, a) my smaller size makes me quicker, b) you’re old, so I’d have the advantage of endurance, and c) I could always use your gun… James,” she countered with a smirk.

“I am not that old! I’m only eight years older than you, brat!” he protested, laughing softly now.

He leaned forward, clearly intending on resuming some of their earlier activities, but she pushed him back. His eyes flickered with something, was it uncertainty again? Regret? She couldn’t tell. He raised a hand and gently, slowly, caressed her jaw and neck.

“Did I hurt you?” James whispered, his voice definitely filled with worry.

“No,” Kiki whispered back, feeling tingly where his fingers had been. She looked down and cleared her throat. “Why don’t you tell me what you meant earlier about us being useful to each other.”

She looked back up at him when he didn’t answer. His face had that closed look again, the same one her brother got sometimes where it seemed like he was thinking nothing and seven things all at the same time. She sighed.

“You asked me earlier why I invited my brother’s mother to my birthday party since she’s not family to me,” Kiki began. “I did it because my whole life my father has been in love with her. I knew it, my mother knew it, everyone knew it. Even after she testified for the government, he still loved her and protected her from my grandfather. But I think the only thing he wants more than her is Tommy’s love. I think he feels like she stole Tommy’s affection from him, if you know what I mean?”

James said nothing, but persisted watching her closely. She shook her head in frustration, looked back at the TV, and continued speaking.

“I love Tommy. He’s always been nice to me, and I think he maybe even loves me too. But ever since I was six years old my father has twisted himself inside and out trying to get Tommy’s attention. Nothing Joey and I do ever seems as paramount as his campaign to win the heart and mind of his lover’s child. He didn’t retire for us, he retired for him. It’s hard not to feel… resentful, at times. I figured if Mary came it would force the issue between them, between all of us. Maybe get a little closure so everyone can move on.”

She paused and looked into his eyes, certain she would see that derisive look again he had held earlier, but he was frowning and simply looked pensive. She sighed again, exasperated by his non-responsiveness.

Obviously you and my brother and Agent Sommers are working together for a reason, and since you and Ginny went to such lengths to get into my party, you need my brother for a specific purpose that I believe involves my father. And you think that I can help you with this goal. Am I right?” Kiki asked.

James was still frowning, but looking at her like he’d just seen her, just now. Like, really saw her. Finally, she thought. He opened his mouth, paused, then frowned some more. He scooted forward again and she raised her eyebrow in warning. His boyish grin finally returned.

“First, I’m sorry for my earlier comments. I was out of line. And second, you’re right, I had… hoped… that we could form a mutually beneficial arrangement,” James said gently.

She cringed at his use of that phrase thinking of the time her father had used it with her mother. Look where that had gotten her mother, gotten both her parents.

“I think we can still be helpful to each other,” he continued. “You want Tommy and your father to form a relationship, and I want Tommy to convince your father to help us on our case. If we work together then—” he stopped as she put up her hand.

She attempted to formulate a thought as her brain seemed to make that scratching record sound.

“Are you insane!?” she asked, utterly flummoxed at his logic. “There is no way in hell my father would ever agree to turn State’s evidence.”

She started to get up, but he restrained her.

“That’s not what I am saying,” he said calmly. She relaxed a little under his intense gaze.

“All we need is to close in on the people who are running a particularly nasty human trafficking ring. This is selling little boys and girls we’re talking about, Kiki. We don’t believe your father is a part of that ring, but we do believe that he may know who is. All we need is to know who the real players are, versus what they want us to think. Downey is supposedly retired, but I think you and I both know that he can’t ever fully retire without leaving the area. He’s got to at least still have casual knowledge of and interaction with the current pecking order,” James said earnestly.

She shook her head, still thinking he was asking the impossible. He lifted his finger to her mouth, distracting them both for a second by tracing her swollen lips.

“If you can help me convince Tommy to increase his interaction with your father, maybe your father’s desire to please Tommy will overcome some of his hesitancy to betray his so-called friends. We can keep his comments confidential. Make sure no one knows he’s been helping us and no one suspects his son is feeding it to us. And remember, nothing he will tell us is really betraying anyone; It’s information we could probably get on our own, just in a more expedient fashion from him,” he finished.

She studied his face, now alight with an almost child-like eagerness.

“And what do I get out of this?” she asked. “I mean, besides Tommy and Daddy mending fences. And stopping some sicko perverts. What part does, did, this play into it?” she asked, indicating them both with her finger.

His face got that pensive look again, and she wished she knew what it was that was darkening his eyes and making him seem so cautious and uncertain now when he had seemed so sure of himself earlier. His eyes dropped to her mouth then met her eyes again. He leaned forward, and this time he didn’t allow her hand to be a barrier, instead he kissed her tenderly, gently, leisurely. She sighed with the sweetness of it.

He pulled away only slightly. “This doesn’t factor into it. It never did. Tell me to leave and I will go. I promise. We can agree to work together or not, but this… this is separate,” he said against her lips.

She had meant to make him suffer, to work for it. But he was looking at her with what could best be described as puppy dog eyes, and suddenly she forgot his obvious lack of respect for her, and all she could think about was how incredibly mind-blowing that sex was with him. In all the years she had been having sex, no one had made her feel so wanted, so desperately needed. It was a heady emotion for a girl who had spent her life largely overlooked except for what her father could give.

She let him part her robe and begin an unhurried, teasing exploration of her body. This time, when he made love to her it was languid and easy and gentle and she did plenty of her own exploring. She tried to fight the fear in her heart that she was playing a game she had no chance of winning with a much more experienced adversary.

In the morning, she woke up alone and stifled the sense of disappointment it brought. They’d just met hadn’t they? It was just a hookup, that’s all. She went to the fridge and took out her tiramisu and a fork from the clean dishwasher. Her automatic coffeemaker had already brewed coffee. She opened her newspaper, enjoying the pleasant comfort of the ritual. She always made a big deal to her friends back east about missing the City, but the truth was she loved living in Chicago. Loved its history, its complexity, even its politics. Here she could just be like everybody else – mostly – and make her own path in the world of fashion and art.

She was looking at the glossy clothing ads when her front door opened. She paused with the fork halfway to her mouth, shocked to see James walk through her door with a bag of groceries in his arms. It was like her mind just jammed. Maybe she hadn’t woken up and she was dreaming.

He set the groceries on the counter and smiled that slow, cat-that-ate-the-canary smile. She felt a flash of pure hatred that he could look so gorgeous and relaxed and put-together this early in the morning like they hadn’t both only had three hours of sleep, tops. His skin looked darker in the morning light against the white shirt he wore tucked into his jeans than it had last night in his dress clothes.

“Where’d you get the change of clothes?” she asked, saying the first thing that came to mind.

“I always carry a change of clothes in my car. That, and an emergency preparedness kit, an extra gun, and… other supplies,” he answered with a wink. “You’re not really going to eat dessert for breakfast, are you? I took the liberty of getting some essentials since your fridge was mostly empty,” he continued saying, taking eggs and milk out of the bag.

“I mostly get take out during the week and cook on the weekends. Daddy came over yesterday for lunch but I sent the manicotti I made home with him. There’s really not much point to cooking when it’s just for yourself,” she said, standing up and trying to straighten out her hair. If she’d known he was coming back, she would have done something about her bed-head. He largely ignored her and continued rattling around trying to find pans and utensils.

“Why don’t you go freshen up for the day while I start this. Take your time, it’ll be a while,” he said as he measured yeast into a large glass mixer.

She was torn between annoyance at being dismissed, in her own kitchen no less, and the desire to make herself more presentable so she wouldn’t feel at a disadvantage. When she came back into the kitchen from getting showered and dressed (and she did take her sweet time, thank you very much), he was placing what looked like half-cooked, thin pancakes on a plate next to some butter.

“What’s this?” she asked.

Beghrir. Moroccan pancakes. Try it. Put some honey on them. Want some eggs?” he asked, appraising her with an openly appreciative glance.

She knew she looked good in her plum colored scoop-necked baby doll top and skinny jeans with Gucci boots. She’d picked a come-hither outfit out especially to try and regain some measure of control. It was failing miserably. She still felt like Alice down the rabbit hole.

He sat next to her and started eating his pancake with his hand. She gaped at him. He chuckled and wiped some honey and butter off his mouth.

“My mother is Moroccan. She was adopted by my grandpa and grandma Dobson when she was eleven. He and his wife were over there doing Missionary work. Her whole family was wiped out in a disagreement. You don’t get much of that in these modern times, but every once in a while some ancient old family feud crops up. My grandparents would go back every year so she could keep in touch with her roots and because they love the place so much,” he said.

“That’s – that’s amazing, James,” she said, still feeling off-kilter.

“So, what do you normally do on a Sunday?” he asked, clearly changing the subject.

“Well, I usually take a jog along Lakeshore, do some shopping – or fiscal redistribution as I like to call it – and sometimes I go to the museum,” she answered, then took a bite of pancake.

Holy cow, this is delicious, she thought.

“Which one?” he asked, eyes watching her tongue lick her lips.

She shrugged. “I rotate. I wind up at the Museum of Contemporary Art most often. Sometimes I like to go to Navy Pier and watch the kids at the Children’s Museum. There’s something so amazing about their joyful innocence when they discover something new. And the parents always look so bedraggled, but there’s a happy sort of fatigue to it, for the most part…” she trailed off.

He was looking at her again like he had last night, like inside his head was that OnStar voice saying: ‘Recalculating’.

“But today I’m spending it with Joey before he goes back to Virginia,” she finished.

And if he was angling for an invite, he could shove it where the sun don’t shine.

The thought must have been visible on her face because his eyes twinkled with mischief and humor. The corner of his mouth lifted and he nodded. They ate in silence for a bit. It was so quiet she jumped at the sound of her phone ringing, and got up to answer it.

“Good morning, princess,” her father’s gravelly voice purred.

“Hi, Daddy,” she said. She could see James stiffen out of the corner of her eye. She knew he was listening intently.

“You left so early last night; did you get a good night’s sleep? Joe and I are on our way to pick you up, but 290 East has an accident, so it might be a bit,” he continued without waiting for her answer.

“Ok, see you soon,” Kiki said.

“Love you, baby girl,” he replied.

“Love you too, Daddy,” she answered.

James had gotten up and was cleaning his dish off. “Well, I should get going then,” he said, drying his hands.

She nodded, then walked with him to the door. “Thank you for making me breakfast,” she said, looking up at him.

He cupped her face gently with his hands, stared at her intently like he was deciding on something, then bent down and kissed her quickly.

“Remember. It’s separate,” he said, then left.

She thought he had meant it to comfort her, but it sounded more like a warning for some reason.

–Copyright 2012, Genevieve Dewey.

Read on… Chapter Ten, “Mary”

Want a little more James & Kiki? Read a missing love scene in Special Delivery.

First, I Love You is available in print or digital format at these official retailers:

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FREE READ|#asmsg #bynr #Mafia #FamilyDrama #Romance|First, I Love You (Downey#1) Ch. 8 “James”


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FIRST, I LOVE YOU

By Genevieve Dewey

Copyright 2012 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction; any resemblance to living persons is entirely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

CHAPTER  ONE “Tommy”

CHAPTER TWO “James”

CHAPTER THREE “Kiki”

CHAPTER FOUR “Mary”

CHAPTER FIVE “Mickey”

CHAPTER SIX “Ginny”

CHAPTER SEVEN “Tommy”

(Warning: sexual content.)

CHAPTER EIGHT

 James

The trouble with princesses is their utter sense of self-entitlement, James thought.

It wasn’t his job to keep tabs on mob princesses, but this one was sort of a hobby. Others did Sudoku, he did Kiki watching. Not in a creepy stalker sort of way, just casually, like one followed a soap opera or reality TV show. He could totally see her making an episode of Mob Wives Chicago once she went ahead and followed her destiny to become the wife of a dirt-bag criminal. No, he didn’t follow her around, or even run background checks on her. He didn’t have to. Katherine Downey was always in the news since she and her father had moved here from New York five years before.

The society news, that is. She appeared to be fond of benefit parties, charities involving animals, and from the sounds of her ‘blog’, shopping and more shopping. He never knew if he felt sorry for her, or fascinated by such an utter waste of a life. Beautiful, pampered, and useless. When Detective Gates had revealed his connection to Downey, his first thought had been how useful Tommy’s father could be in opening some doors for them, and his second thought, much later in his hotel room, was how ironic it was that his favorite source of amusement in the papers, besides the comics, was the sister of his new partner. Funny how life throws curveballs like that.

“So, just out of curiosity, how did you get her to come?” James asked. He kept an eye on Bonanno who was arguing with his daughter and throwing furious glances in the direction in which Downey and Mary Gates had left.

“I told her that Daddy would be away on a business trip and since Mom wouldn’t be here to interfere, it’d be nice to have her here for Tommy to not feel so lonely, and then she could have a nice vacation. I sort of said it was just us and a few close friends meeting up in the restaurant,” Kiki answered tonelessly, still looking beseechingly at her brother.

She looked like she was going to cry. James hated it when women cried. He felt like they used it as a weapon more often than not. Even his sisters, both with the Bureau and ordinarily tough as nails, did the crying thing when words failed. He looked over at Tommy, hoping he would field this one, since she was his sister after all. Tommy started to move towards the door, but Kiki grabbed his arm and turned him to look at her.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered.

James watched in fascination as Tommy smiled a crooked smile and brushed a curl behind her ear.

“I know, Kicks, you meant well. I’ll take care of it,” he said gently, kissed her forehead, and then moved off.

James didn’t think Tommy ought to be comforting the girl for what she had recklessly put in motion and Tommy would now have to clean up, but he knew what it was like as a brother to think the best of your siblings.

“Kicks?” James asked.

“Tommy’s nickname for me. Because I love shoes so much,” she answered with a bite to her tone and a challenge in her face.

Oh, did the little kitten want to play? James thought.

He stepped right in front of her. “You know, it occurs to me, Katherine, we could be quite useful to each other,” he said, smiling his most ingratiating smile and scanning her head to toe.

Hell, if a woman was going to go out of her way to wear so little, a man might as well enjoy the show, right?

James heard a throat clearing and remembered Ginny was still standing next to them. He turned his gaze from Kiki’s narrowed eyes to raise a questioning eyebrow at his colleague. She looked somewhere between flabbergasted and offended.

On whose behalf? James wondered.

“Yes, Agent Sommers?” he asked as polite as he could muster. He still hadn’t gotten over her crashing the party on his own home field. True, he was also crashing the party, but again, this was his territory and she was supposed to be back in DC, not sweet-talking Detective Gates into a date. He had clearly underestimated her ambitiousness.

“You were going to show me the restroom, Kiki,” Ginny said pointedly.

Kiki was clearly flustered and unsure. She kept twirling a lock of her curly, dark-brown hair and darting glances around the room. James wanted to press his advantage and didn’t appreciate Ginny blocking him, especially since they had made a pretty good tag team just days before. He needed to convince Tommy to get Downey on board, or at least to use his connection to gather information, and Kiki was another way to accomplish this, maybe even an entirely different route in. But here was Agent Sommers trying to nip that in the bud. Was this a gender solidarity thing or did she think it was a dead end?

James shrugged his shoulders and walked around Kiki, deliberately stopping right behind her and leaning down so his head was next to her ear.

“It was nice meeting you, Katherine, but I don’t want to miss out on the next Act of this little family drama you created,” he said, smiling with satisfaction when she shivered a bit. Her hair smelled like piña coladas, and he was surprised she didn’t wear any perfume. His smile slid off a bit as he caught his partner’s stony, obviously disapproving, FBI face. Ok, so maybe he was crossing some conduct lines here.

But it’s not like she was some little innocent, James thought as he walked away. And they weren’t here on official business anyway. Sighing in frustration at the missed opportunity, he noticed that O’Rourke had made it to the party, but he carried on to the entrance to accidentally-on-purpose run into Tommy and his parents.

“Let me at least take you back to your hotel,” Downey was saying as James slipped into the hallway.

“I can do that,” Tommy interjected hastily.

Mary Gates let out a ‘tuh’ and rolled her eyes.

“I’m staying right here. Kiki reserved the room. I have a spa treatment tomorrow, the whole works. I’m perfectly fine, like I’ve already told both of you. It was just a shock that’s all. Don’t be upset with the girl. I’m sure she means well,” she said.

“And like I said, you’re more than welcome to stay. Don’t run off because of me,” Downey said.

Tommy was frowning at both of them.

“I didn’t,” she said with her chin up. “It’s just that big parties aren’t my thing. You know that, Michael.”

Michael? So formal… James thought.

“My memory is just as good as it ever was, Mary girl,” Downey replied softly.

Mary flushed, opened her mouth, and then shut it again in a firm line. She turned to Tommy who was glaring at his father and gripping and ungripping his fists like he didn’t know what to do with them.

“Tommy, maybe you can walk me to my room,” she said.

Tommy nodded and placed his hand at his mother’s back, then walked to the elevator with her. Downey was wearing that same look of frustrated longing on his face he had in the limo the other day. There was silence as the elevator pinged.

“You just gonna stand there, Jimmy?” Downey finally said without turning from staring at the elevator.

“It’s James. I don’t like nicknames much. Just a quirk,” James replied, rocking back on his heels, hands in his pockets.

“You call my son Thomas then?” Downey asked, finally turning and walking towards James.

“For myself, I mean. Some party you’re throwing for your daughter here. Noticed a few of your friends in attendance,” James said.

“Mmmmn. And how’s it come that you’re here tonight? Tommy didn’t mention inviting two Feds to the party,” Downey said, voice all velvety steel, eyes cold as ice.

Good ol’ Pops has left the building and mobster Mickey was in the house, James thought cynically.

“The Honorable John Dobson is my mother’s middle brother. Maybe he thought it better for his reputation not to attend. Maybe he let me come instead, seeing as I’m a friend of Kiki’s brother,” James answered, certain butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.

“Oh? And how is it for your reputation, Agent Hoffman? And let’s cut the bullshit. You’ve known my son a matter of days. I don’t care if the two of you bonded over donuts and polishing the shiny pieces of tin you call badges, you will not use my family to get to me. You got something to say, man up and say it. Understood?” Downey gritted out, every word enunciated with clear menace.

James met his gaze and didn’t blink. He let the silence stretch.

“How much do you know about the case we’re working on?” James finally asked.

“My son doesn’t share the details of his work with me. And I don’t share the details of mine. That would be… inappropriate. Don’t you think?” Downey replied, eyebrow arched.

James nodded, rocking on his heels again.

“Thing is…” James trailed off, narrowing his eyes, but maintaining eye contact. “The thing is, aren’t you retired?”

“And?” Downey asked, clearly irritated at James’ prying.

James sighed. He knew he wasn’t going to gain traction with Downey tonight. He shrugged, then assumed his more relaxed stance, the one that usually put people at ease, even the criminal types.

“For the record, I do consider Tommy a friend, regardless of how long we’ve known each other,” James said sincerely.

Downey said nothing, clearly unmoved by James’ body language or tone. After a moment, Downey walked back down the hall and into the party without looking back. James thought about the persons of interest in the other room and tried to decide if it was worth returning to the party as well.

May be better to let Ginny win this round, he thought.

“What did you mean by we could be useful to each other?” James heard a soft voice ask from the shadows.

He looked for the source and saw Kiki Downey standing by a large window. How long had she been there? How had she given Ginny the slip? How come neither he nor Downey had seen her a moment ago? It disconcerted him that she had managed to slide in under his radar.

He sauntered over to her and stood closer to her than propriety deemed normal. She didn’t back up, simply tilted her head up to look into his face. He could feel the cold of the glass window juxtaposed with the heat from her body.

“You don’t have much respect for me, do you?” Kiki asked.

“On the contrary, if I ever need to know which shoes to wear to match my tie, you’d be the first person I call. If I had your number,” James said, trying to temper the sarcasm with a charming smile.

“I’m sure you already have it, along with all the other boring background check facts you recited earlier,” she rejoined, still making no move to retreat.

James admired her nerve. Maybe this princess had a bit of her father’s steel in her after all.

“That would defeat the purpose of you giving it to me,” he said.

“What purpose would that be? And you still haven’t answered my question,” she retorted.

“How about you answer one of mine first?” James asked then chuckled as she raised an eyebrow in a pretty good impression of her father. “Why would you invite your father’s old mistress to your party when she is not related to you, was no doubt the source of great pain and embarrassment for your own mother, and her presence, you had to know, would be unwelcome with at least a few of your guests?”

“I already explained my reasons to my brother. And his opinion is the only one I care about; certainly not a rude, presumptuous, party crashing boar like yourself. You don’t know a damn thing about me,” she answered, dark eyes glittering with anger.

“What I know is there’s a lot of big important grown up things going on and the last thing Tommy needs is his spoiled little sister playing games with his family, and distracting him from this case,” he said with perhaps a bit more heat than he meant, but the smell of her hair and the glittering of her lip-gloss with the hall lights was distracting him, and he was trying to keep his mind on the task at hand.

“How dare you? You’re the outsider here! It’s you who should butt the hell out of my family’s private issues! And you’ve the nerve to say we can be of use to each other? Why the fuck should I help you with anything?” Kiki ground out.

“Tisk, tisk, such language, little girl,” James said with a smirk.

By God, she was beautiful, he couldn’t help but think.

“How about we go back to your place and discuss this like rational adults,” he finished in a playful, yet suggestive tone.

She let out a huff, clearly nonplussed by his forwardness. Then something flashed in her eyes, a sort of calculating, cynical and predatory look that had him feeling momentarily nonplussed himself.

“Alright. Let me say good-bye to my guests. You obviously already know where I live. I’ll meet you there in a half hour,” Kiki said, cool and collected once more.

It was more like an hour when she arrived at her door, but who was counting? They said nothing to each other as she let him inside. James looked around her one bedroom apartment and thought it was nothing like he’d expected. He’d expected lots of pink or maybe something trendy with splashy colors. It was all cool metals, finished wood, and retro 50’s style furniture. Frank Lloyd Wright stills peppered the room and books lined the entirety of one wall. Her windows were left uncovered and the city lights cast interesting reflections in the room. She threw her shawl and little clutch purse on the butterfly chair by the bookshelves. Then she walked up to him and grabbed his holster. He stopped her hand.

“What are you doing?” James asked, his discomfort at having underestimated her twice in one evening making him irrationally angry.

“You should make yourself more comfortable,” Kiki said seductively.

“I thought we came here to talk?” he prevaricated as he took his jacket, gun and badge off.

He could tell she was playing some sort of game and it spiked his irritation up a notch. His mood was all over the place, actually. There was frustration at the blocked opportunities by his partners and Downey to further the case tonight, mixed with his desire for her, the self-disgust that that brought, the irritation with her childish interference, and the discomfort of knowing she was right that it wasn’t his business what went on between her and her family.

But now she had decided to take his sexual sparring and call his bluff. Except he wasn’t bluffing. Did she think he would be scared off from her family this way? Maybe that would work with her usual limp-wristed boy toys, or the gumbahs who were probably too afraid of her Daddy to actually make a move, but not with him.

James hooked an arm behind her back and yanked her towards him. She gasped and put her free hand on his chest, but she didn’t push him away. She kept looking at him, eyes still full of challenge and no fear. It was like something snapped in his brain and all he wanted was to wipe that look from her eyes, to make her realize lives weren’t to be played with, manipulated. To give her a taste of her own medicine.

He gripped the back of her neck with his other hand and crushed his mouth to hers. She met his kisses with equal fervor, pressing up against him. He let go of her waist and neck and began a rough exploration of her body, not bothering to be gentle. She sunk her hands into his hair and gripped painfully, whether to give as good as she got or from passion, he didn’t know. All he knew was his body was on fire for her and all he could think about was sinking into her.

He reached down and hitched her up around his waist, walked forward, and pressed her against the wall leading to the bedroom. He moved his lips to the crook of her neck and felt her moans against his mouth. He gripped her hips and ground his cock against her, torturing himself with the feel of her and the sounds of her gasping breaths. His mouth moved down to her thin dress strap and he moved it over her shoulder with his teeth then licked a trail to her freed breast. He teased the tip of her nipple out of the strapless bra she wore and nipped at it with his tongue and teeth. Her nails dug into his back and she groaned. She grabbed his head and tugged until he captured her mouth again.

He carried her into the bedroom, all thoughts of lessons and principles and whatever excuse he had given himself for doing this gone, just desire and heat and so much need. He set her on the bed and removed his shirt as she reached down and frantically undid his belt, reaching in and finding his cock. He had to fight for utter stillness under her soft, small hands. Christ, Christ, he thought, struggling to regain the upper hand. Had he ever had it? He laid her back on the bed and pushed her flimsy dress up her hips, spread her legs wide, and bent to lick her through the sheer seamless pantyhose she wore.

Her hands gripped the satin comforter and she bucked her hips letting out tiny gasps and moans. He hooked his finger into her hose and ripped a hole where his mouth had been. She let out a startled ‘oh!’ and he set his mouth back to work, licking and fingering her until he drove her to a release. He could feel the tremors of her orgasm around his fingers inside her and raised himself up to look at her face.

She looked younger than her twenty-one years, her dark hair spread out against the cream chenille pillows, black dress bunched up, strappy heels still on. He felt the sickening sensations of guilt and shame start to build. But her eyes opened and they were smoky with desire as she reached her hand down and gripped his penis again, and he knew he wouldn’t have the strength to do the right thing and walk away.

He quickly removed his pants completely and settled over her, kissing her slowly, deeply, moving his hips against the wet opening of her.

“Do you have a—” he whispered against her swollen lips.

“In the night stand,” she interrupted. Her beautiful brown eyes seemed almost black in the moonlight.

He put the condom on and hovered for a moment over her. She ran her fingers up his chest and into his hair again, bringing his head back down to hers, and then he was pumping into her, desperate to give her a second release before he took his own. He felt her pantyhose and heeled shoes against his legs and the slick tightness of her gripping him, and it drove him wild. He was far past the possibility of gentleness and into what felt like insanity. She wrapped her arms and legs completely around him and bit his shoulder, sending him over the edge.

He groaned his release into her sweet-smelling hair and collapsed on top of her, conflicting emotions of satisfaction and shame, of guilt and mind-numbing physical pleasure, all impossibly twisted up. He slowly untangled himself and laid next to her on the bed, looking sideways at her. Her eyes were closed, lips parted, hair and makeup mussed. She looked utterly used, and achingly young and beautiful. He could see her pulse going on her neck next to the marks his rough kisses had left.

Shit, he thought, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.

–Copyright 2012, Genevieve Dewey.

Read on… Chapter Nine, “Kiki”.

First, I Love You is available in print or digital format at these official retailers:

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