Fedelta Book 2: Hardball

Fedelta 2 Second Excerpt

Meanwhile across town, Detective Amato was back in his cubicle with the other detectives in the financial crimes unit.  It was his own personal nightmare, a desk job  he had to do from a shoe box but at least he had a job.  In the last year, he went from fugitive, to being welcomed back into the fold and it was all a complete mystery to him.  Well not really, he knew that someone called in a favor and he was let back into the force through the cat flap.  Amato managed to keep his nose to the grind and keep out of trouble but it was secretly killing him.  He wanted more and Amato wasn’t even sure if this is how he wanted to live his life.  Looking at spreadsheets and nitpicking over ledgers was not what he dedicated himself to at the academy.  It was pathetic, he didn’t even have a gun anymore.  The last time he discharged his firearm was when he was taking the marksmanship test.  He felt like a dog that had been neutered, a ball-less wonder.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t the gun that was bothering him so much.  Maybe it was the fact that he knew that the only reason why he was back on the force was because of Cassandra Fenetti.  The woman who he owed his newly resurrected career to and the woman he wanted dead for betraying him.

With blurry eyes, he did his best to read the rows and columns of financial data that graced the screen.  His job was to flag any inconsistencies and send the documents off to his supervisor.  Rinse and repeat, all the day long.  It was soul crushing for a man who was used of being out in the field taking risks and chasing bad guys.  He didn’t know how long he could take this, in fact, he had already started looking for another job in another town.  There had to be someone, somewhere, who needed a cop?  As his mind wondered off, his boss, Agent Nicholson, yelled from his office, “Amato, get in here.”  Startled, he nearly tripped over his own feet trying to exit his work station, God he couldn’t wait until this day was over.

Once in the office, he noticed Supervisory Special Agent Cohen from the Organized Crime Unit was sitting across from his boss’ desk.  “Shut the door,” Nicholson ordered.  Doing as he was told, Amato shut the door and approached the desk.  Pointing to a folding chair, his boss commanded, “Take a seat.” Once seated, Cohen addressed Amato, “There was a hit this morning on Columbus Avenue and 96th Street.  Double homicide, both males.”  On the desk was a folder which he reached into and pulled out several photos of two men in a vehicle, shot multiple times.  Handing them over to Amato, he asked, “Recognize, the vics?”

Stunned, Amato answered, “Yes, the male behind the wheel is Lucus Hobbs, driver for Stephano Rimaldi, the very dead gentleman in the backseat.”

“Right,”  Cohen said as he pulled out a tablet and handed it to Amato, “Press play.” Doing as instructed, a grainy surveillance video played the final moments of the unlucky occupants in the car.  “This is overkill” Amato remarked as he saw four men shooting at the vehicle.  He watched as the assassins fled the scene and the patrolman approached the vehicle.  Pressing stop, Cohen corrected him saying, “No, keep going.”  Not certain as to what he meant, Amato pressed play again and watched as Cassie appeared in camera range.  “Recognize the female?”  Cohen asked.

Hesitantly, Amato answered, “Yes, it’s Fenetti, Cassandra Fenetti.  She’s the fiancé of Rimaldi.”

“Interesting,” Cohen said staring at Amato.  “Those of us in homicide would appreciate any assistance you can offer in our little investigation.”

“Of course,” Amato replied.

“We’re looking for the female suspect,”

“Suspect?”

“She couldn’t have done this.”

“No, we don’t believe she’s the mastermind of the hit, but she did threaten an officer with a weapon and we would like to talk to her.”

Chuckling, Amato answered, “Good luck finding her, let alone getting her to talk.”

“Yeah about that,” Cohen said sitting back in his chair, “We want you to lead the fugitive task force.”

“Wait, what?” Amato exclaimed, “This is the wrong way to approach the case.”

Smirking, Cohen looked at Amato, “It’s not your call.”

“I’ll provide intel but I’m not leading any task force.  It’s a waste of time.”

“Why?”  Cohen asked.

“Because she’s probably halfway to Timbuktu already.”

“Are you saying you can’t do it?”

“I’m saying she’s one of the richest women in this town and it will be a million times harder to trace her than she was before.”

Questioning his loyalty Cohen asked, “Why should we believe you?  Word is you had a relationship with Fenetti during your excursion away from the force.”

A rush of heat hit Amato’s face from the insinuation that he was protecting some girlfriend.  Nonetheless, he took a deep breath and as calmly as he could, Amato responded, “I stepped in to protect a witness when our agency was unable.  There was never any inappropriate relationship between myself and Miss. Fenetti.”  He kept referring to her by her last name to keep his distance emotionally but also to show that he was not on friendly terms with her which, at that point, he wasn’t.

“If you don’t trust me, then find another agent to do the job.  Problem solved,” Amato said, calling Cohen’s bluff.

“I don’t like your attitude, no wonder they put you in the shitter.”

“Hey!” Nicholson interrupted, “I run this shitter and right now I’m flushing you right back to OC (Organized Crime).”

Without a word, Cohen stood up and gathered his tablet as well as his folder and walked out of the office.

“God, I hate those guys.” Nicholson said with disgust.

‘Yeah, me too.”

“You’re dying to get back in OC ain’t ya?”

“Yep,” Amato said as he stood up.

“So what was all that, I’m not the guy for the job shtick?”

“I’m gonna make them beg.”

Rolling his eyes, Agent Nicholson said, “Get the hell out my office.”

Fedelta Book 2: Bitter Destiny

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Warning: Language

Stephano quickly returned with her shawl and his jacket which he draped over his arm.  Fortunately for them, the gala was held on the first floor of the hotel so Cassandra didn’t have to endure the elevator.  God only knows what would happened there.  As they got to the front door, their Bentley Bentayaga was already waiting for them.  While Stephano opened the door, she noticed a man who looked out of place, he was wearing faded jeans and a white t-shirt.  With a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, Cassandra figured he was just of the hotel employees, a poorly dressed one at that.  Nothing to look at here she thought to herself until, he gave them the side eye.  Okay, so he was a badly dressed hotel employee with an attitude problem.  However, Cassandra’s gut told her there was something more to this perceived slight but she wasn’t feeling well and figured she wasn’t thinking straight.  Maybe it was the wine?

As the driver opened the passenger door, Cassandra happily got in while Stephano followed.  Once they pulled away from the curb Cassandra started to relax knowing they were only ten minutes from their apartment.  When they pulled up to a red light, Stephano remarked about the lack of traffic and just as he made that statement, the car behind them turned up their high beems, blinding the driver.  Cassandra’s heart stopped as she realized what was going on.  Looking at Stephano, she grabbed his arm but before anything came out of her mouth, several men approached the car from the front as well as the side.  Two of them pulled out guns, and started shooting, “Oh God!” she gasped as a hail of bullets started showering the car.  In an act of utter selflessness, Stephano pulled her down to the floor and covered her with his body.  Though it only lasted seconds, it felt like an eternity for the shooting to stop.  Shaking to her core, Cassandra said not one word as she heard footsteps approaching the car.  Hearing the driver’s door open, she heard a raspy voice announce, “Yeah, they’re dead.”  Listening as the others approach, Cassandra had to fight the urge to shake.  Closing her eyes, she controlled her breathing and lied as still as she could. “Good job fellas,” said one of the men.  This voice she recognized, it was Danny Marchesi, Stephano’s best friend.

“Dump the car and the bodies in the river,” Danny instructed one of the henchmen.  However before they could follow through, Danny groaned “Aw shit!” Listening closely, Cassandra heard several footsteps running in the opposite direction of the car.  As she remained motionless, she heard a car slowly pulling up and to her relief it was an elderly couple who stopped when they saw the driver slump over the wheel.  Thinking he was having a heart attack, they called 9-1-1 and within minutes, a patrol car arrived.  When the officer assessed the scene he knew immediately he was not dealing with a motorist in distress, this was a shooting.  Cautiously, he approached the car, and as he inched closer, he drew his weapon just in case the perpetrators were nearby.  Observing the driver, he nudged him with his hand and asked, “Sir, are you alright?”  After two attempts to communicate with the driver, he stepped back and noticed a black heap of clothing in the back seat area.  With his weapon still in hand, he opened the back door and realized it was yet another male.  Again, he repeated the proper procedure and tried to make contact with the male.  When he nudged Stephano, Cassandra popped out from under him.  Pulling back in fear, the officer nearly fell backwards into the street.  Drawing his weapon on her, he demanded, “Hands in the air.”  However, instead of complying, Cassandra pulled out her Glock 26 and yelled, “Fuck off!”

As the officer took cover behind his car, Cassandra got out of the passenger door and without taking her eyes off the guy, she retreated to a nearby alley.  Calling for backup, the officer could only watch as Cassandra disappeared from his range of vision and when assistance finally arrived, it was already too late, she was long gone.

 

 

Fedelta Parte 28: All Hail Cassandra Fenetti!

Fedelta Part 28
Image via Pixabay

*Warning Language*

As Cassie poured the champagne, there was a knock at the door.  Knowing who it was she yelled, “It’s open!”  Instead of Stephano, several armed bodyguards entered the building and immediately began a security sweep of the place.  Turning over several tables, Cassie shouted, “Hey, no breaking stuff!”  One of the goons smiled at her and proceeded to open the ladies restroom door and peeked inside for any ambushes.  As they swept the entire room, they went back to the entrance and gave the all safe signal.  Within seconds, Stephano appeared with a huge grin on his face, “Ad victorem ire spolia!” (To the victor go the spoils) he said feeling like Julius Cesar.  With his coat draped on his shoulders, he looked like a great Roman conqueror as he slowly approached Cassie.  Accepting the glass of champagne she offered, he declared, “It went smooth as silk.  They didn’t even so much as talk shit to us, let alone put up a fight.”

“Good.” Cassie answered raising her glass.

As their champagne flutes clanked, Stephano asked, “Now it’s confession time, how did you know about the gas stations?”

Figuring it was time to come clean, she answered, “My father ran the gas stations, and when he died, my brother took them over.  The Cosimos replaced him with a half-assed hood.”

“God, you’re ruthless.” Stephano said admiring her darker side.

“We’re not done yet, the Cosimos will be back and when they regroup, they’ll throw everything they got at us.”

“Don’t worry about it, I’ll handle the dog fights.” He said reassuring her.  As he did, he made a gesture to one of his men who immediately left the room and returned with a large black, Hermes Birkin bag.  Handing it to her, he said, “As per our agreement.”  Looking inside, Cassie saw several stacks of cash neatly piled inside.  “You remembered.” She said rather impressed by the $10,000 handbag.

“I remembered, I remember a lot of things.” He said caressing her cheek.

Smiling up at him, she asked, “What about Destiny?”

“She ain’t gotta know.”

“But she will, when I tell her.  You know me, Stephano, I don’t play second to no one.”

“Stop bustin’ my balls, I’m doing the best I can here.”

“Alright, but I’ll only accept this for so long.  I’m not a patient woman.”

“Yeah, I know,” he said in a murmur.  As he leaned in to kiss her, a scuffle broke off, outside.  The sounds of cursing and loud thuds could be heard as Amato and Jimmy fought their way into the room.  With their guns drawn, they entered through the door as Stephano’s security team tried to pin them down.  Waving his hand in the air, Stephano said, “Calm down everybody, what’s the matter here?” as though he didn’t know.

This was Stephano’s big moment and upon seeing him, Amato realized he was just a pawn in a bigger scheme.  Infuriated, he seriously contemplated blowing Stephano’s head off right there and then.  As his hands shook, Cassie immediately stood between the two men and said, “You can’t, you’ve come too far to blow this now.  Let us do what we gotta do.”  Bewildered Amato looked at her and asked, “You can’t be serious?”  And through a broken heart broke, Cassie answered, “Do you want this to be over or not?  With the Cosimos gone, we’ll both be free.  No more running and no more hiding.  I know it sounds like a dream, but we’re close now.  Just let me go.”

Amato had to force his fingers to slowly unwrap themselves from the trigger.  As he did, Stephano’s men backed off and rallied around their boss.  Walking out the door, Cassie didn’t look back, and as Stephano followed her lead, he looked at Amato and adding insult to injury he mocked, “How did you think this was gonna end?”

Author Bio:
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.

Fedelta Parte 27: Snitches

Fedelta Part 27
Image via Pixabay

Warning: Language

All of the old hat detectives delighted in reviving their alter egos from yesteryear, “Hey you mutha fuckas ready to roll?” Jimmy yelled from the end of the hall.  “Aihhh, keep your toupee on!” Amato yelled at Jimmy.  As the others at the bar laughed at the exchange, Cassie kept checking her phone.  She got a call from her ex Stephano, over an hour ago, but couldn’t answer it without looking suspicious.  She already knew that Amato would figure things out eventually but how long that took would all depend on her ability to play it cool.  She had to make good on this one deal with Stephano because it could change her life.  As Cassie watched the boys chum it up, she was desperately waiting for them to just leave.  Finally her prayers were answered when the guys started filing out of the room, and as the door slammed behind them, she fumbled around in her purse until she found her phone.  Looking at the screen, Cassie saw that Stephano left a text that read, “Location, location, location.” With that text was a pic of an empty parking lot and an unguarded gas station.  Her heart leapt for joy, it was starting to look like she had a business partner. Getting up from her chair, she texted her location and invited him to the VFW.

There was no way Amato and Jimmy’s crew of grumpy old men were going to be able to pull this off without a little help.  Okay, a lot of help.  She hoped it wouldn’t come to this but it looked like her worst fears were about to come to fruition.  She would have to watch Amato get killed, or be killed herself.  Looking at their stupid corkboard, Cassie ran her hands over the pictures and chuckled.  She knew it would never be enough, because once you learned how the play the game was played, the rules would change.  And she could sense change in the air, it was a sudden decision but she had to seize the moment.  Cassie would return, back into the fold and take what had always eluded her father and brother—kingship.  She knew Stephano could get her that, and she had to try for everybody’s sake.

From behind the bar, she took out two Champaign flutes and borrowed a very expensive bottle of Dom Périgon Rosé.  She would pay Jimmy back later, today, she had a lot to celebrate, her rebirth and the Cosimo’s funeral.  She convinced herself this was the best for everyone, Amato would get what he wanted, and she would get off the hook, so it was win-win.  Putting the Champaign on ice, she smiled as she grabbed the glasses and put them on the counter of the bar.  This felt right, no longer would she be at the behest of Amato or the FBI and now she would have a new family, the Alunnis.  Once the money started pouring in, Stephano would make his move and she would help him rule over the entire family.  This was her chance to reclaim her family’s honor and to lead the next generation into a new era.  First however, Amato and Jimmy had to play their parts.

As Cassie planned her next move, Amato and his crew were parked down the street from Clark’s gas station waiting on Caruso to come back with the intel.  Info had trickled in via social media in the form of pictures and videos which he was sure to encode with hashtags and phrases like, #CarusosDayOut #OpReCon to be sure that the threads were vague and understood only by those it was meant for.

Things were going great and when Caruso returned to the surveillance van, Amato was relieved that the first part of their operation was done.  “I can’t believe how little security there was!” exclaimed Jimmy as he went through photo after photo of empty rooms accessed by Caruso.  “They’re getting very sloppy.” Amato answered back, “This would’ve never happened on Frank Fenetti’s watch.”  Surprised, Jimmy responded, “It sounds like you admire the rat bastard.”

“No, but I do admire a tightly run ship.” Amato replied.

“Well, we got what we came for maybe we should go back to base an…”

Amato cut him off and said, “No, we need to move now before they have time to redeploy.”

Thrilled by the response, Jimmy said, “Okay, we can throw down today but we need backup.”

“Let’s roll.” Amato said as he exited the shabby, white van.

Walking up the street to his car, an elderly woman approached him on the sidewalk and said, “Hey I know you, you’re the guy from T.V..” she said.

Confused and taken aback, Amato said, “I think you have me mistaken for someone else.”

“No, you were the cop.  The double-crosser!”

Laughing nervously, he replied, “Ma’am you got the wrong guy.”

That’s when another older woman who was sitting on a porch next door threw a glass jar at him and yelled, “Rat!”

Dodging out of the way, the glass jar shattered all over the sidewalk but Amato kept his cool and remained silent even though his cover had been blown.  Getting on his cell he called Jimmy and said, “Get the hell outta here, we’ve been made.”  As he heard the van start, he made it safely to his car, when a black SUV pulled up blocking the road ahead, trapping them all.  Bewildered, Amato stared in disbelief as four heavily armed men popped out of the SUV and proceeded to enter the gas station.  “Son of a bitch!” he muttered to himself.

“What the hell is goin’ on?” yelled Jimmy still on the speakerphone.

“I don’t know.” Amato answered.  However deep down he had a feeling Cassie had something to do with it but how, he didn’t know.  Scrambling to get inside the car, he started the ignition, and put the car in reverse, then Amato ordered, “Back to base boys.”

Author Bio:
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.

Fedelta Parte 26: Checking Out

Fedelta Part 26
Image via Pexels

*Warning: Language*

It was all being set up, Jimmy and his crew were preparing to play supporting roles to Amato’s takeover of Clark’s gas station on 105th.  They surveillanced the station for the entire day coming back with photos of both the outside and inside of the building.  Jimmy pinned them to a corkboard next to the bar and as he finished, another group of his boys came in with the names and addresses of the men employed by the gas station.  Jimmy’s right hand man, began running these name through the PNC (Police National Computer) and even the NNCP (National Name Check Program) to see who they were.  As expect, most of them were petty criminals while a few were internationally known for drug dealing.  So they knew what they were dealing with now, a drug depository for the city.

Amato and the guys hypothesized that the drugs were imported from Sicily and flown into New York where some airport employee, would lose the cargo.  The drugs would most likely be taken by truck to the gas station and the dope would be dropped off at the local distributor.  Then the associates (drug dealers), would come by in droves all day long in vans, trucks and SUVs under the guise of filling their tanks.  “They gotta be making millions, easy!” Jimmy said astonished.  Amato looked at one of Jimmy’s men, a shady looking character wearing a black leather coat and aviator sunglasses.  He looked like a hood and Amato was going to us it to their advantage.  “Hey you, Sticks!” he said, referring to the man’s spiky hair.  “What’s your name?”

“Caruso, Enzo Caruso,” he answered standing up from his chair.

“I want you to visit our friendly little gas station and see if you find anything unusual.”

Caruso looked at Jimmy and he gave Caruso a nod in approval.  The loyalty these guys showed towards Jimmy surprised Amato.  In his unit, loyalty only came if it didn’t conflict with one’s own ambition.  He remembered what Cassie said about, being the best and it angered him.  He had spent his whole career going above and beyond and for what, to have his colleagues stab him in the back?  Yes, he had burned her, and he did it intentionally because he believed it was for the greater good.  He hoped she would see that one day but it was unlikely.  Recalling all that Fedelta crap she talked about, Cassie was most likely going to the grave with a chip on her shoulder.  Besides, vendettas were more fun than forgiveness, and for some people it even gave their lives a purpose.

Looking over at Caruso as he was being wired, Amato saw the cold stare in the young man’s eyes and it always frightened him to see it on someone’s face.  It meant they were mentally checking out.  As an undercover, you had to take all of your normal thoughts and compartmentalize them.  Caruso would no longer be needing them when he went into Super Cop mode.  Thinking as both prey and predator, Caruso would have to walk a fine line all the while looking natural.

“Brings back memories doesn’t it?”  Jimmy asked seeing the longing in Amato’s eyes.  “Yeah, don’t envy the fucker though.”

“Sure you do,” Jimmy said cracking a smile.  “And if you could, you would do it yourself.”

“Guilty,” Amato confessed.

“A good agent never leaves anything to chance, not unless he wants to end up iced in a dumpster.”

“Why are you here Jimmy?”

“The same reason you are,” Jimmy answered.

“Nah, that’s not what I mean, it seems like you want something more and I’m not sure this operation is going to give that to you.”

“Oh yeah?”

“I want to clear my name and clean up the department but you seem to need absolution.  Trust me, there’s no forgiveness in our game.”

Insulted by his psycho analysis, Jimmy coldly replied, “You got it all wrong brotha.  I don’t do this because I got sumthin’ to prove, I do it because it’s all I got!  I’ve been spat on, stabbed, punched and kicked…”

“We’ve all been!” Amato interrupted.  “And at the end of the day, sometimes it don’t mean shit.”

The room went silent, and all eyes were on Amato.  Jimmy got in his face and said, “Maybe it don’t mean nuttin’ to you, but it always means something to me.  This job is my life!  It’s my God damn’ religion!”  Tossing his drink at the wall, he yelled “If you ain’t got the balls anymore, maybe you should hide under that fuckin’ bridge with you mentor and powder your pussies!”

Not intimidated, Amato calmly asked again, “Answer the question Jimmy, what are you getting out of this?”

“I’m here because I hate every last single one of ‘em and I want to watch ‘em rot in hell for everything they put me and my boys through!  I want to watch them eat shit and die!  What does it matter to you anyhow?”

“Fedelta.” Amato answered.

“What the fuck does that mean?”

“Loyalty, Cassie, was telling me about it…. It’s the one advantage the Cosimos have over us. Speaking of that, where is she?”

“She took off for a smoke and hasn’t been back.”  said one of Jimmy’s men.  “Want me to go look for her?” the guy asked.

“Nah, it’s good.” Amato said rather nonchalantly.  However, it wasn’t all good, he knew she was up to something but he had to play it cool.  Meanwhile Jimmy was still holding his head as he tried to calm down so Amato decided to back off lest Mt. Jimmy erupt again.

Looking over at Caruso, Jimmy yelled, “Caruso, get the fuck outta here already!”

However before Agent Caruso left, Jimmy’s crew hooked him up with a body cam and gave him a smart phone to collect intel.  As Caruso was leaving, Cassie was entering the building.  Amato looked at her really hard as she made her way confidently across the room, when she smiled at him, he knew something had changed.  Disappointed, he smiled right back at her then said, “Hey, welcome back!”  When she came within range he hugged her tight and said, “It’s just like old times,” and he meant that in more ways than one.

Author Bio:

Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.

Fedelta Parte 25: Forget Me Not

Fedelta Part 25
Image via Pixabay

Cassie waited impatiently in the corner booth of Carmelita’s for Stephano.  Tapping her red nails on the table’s black, laminate veneer, she wondered what was the angle?  Either he had talked to his boss, or he didn’t want his wife Destiny, hearing what he had to say.  Perhaps it was a little of both?  Turning her head towards the window, she watched people passing by the restaurant, when finally she saw him.  Dressed in a long wool coat,  with his face barely peeking out from his black fedora was Stephano Rimaldi.  Flanked by his two bodyguards, he walked into the restaurant and was greeted instantly by a server who took his coat and hat then, carefully placed them on the coat rack in the corner.  Stephano looked over his should at one of his men and without fumbling, the man pulled out a fifty dollar bill and tipped the server.  Having made his day, the server smiled and said, “If you need anything Mr. Rimaldi, just give me a holler.”

“Just get me my usual.” Stephano replied.  Then without a word the young man ran off to the back to get his order.  Meanwhile Cassie, watched his entre and was not impressed at all.  Quietly ignoring him, she continued to sip her caramel macchiato, and only when he sat down did she even bother looking up.  Placing her cup on the saucer Cassie asked, “Why the change of heart Stephano?”  Shrugging his shoulders he answered, “Guess I’m just sentimental.”  She could see he was lying.  His boss got to him.

Playing the game, Cassie pretended to be sentimental too.  She forced her facial features from resting bitch face, to a more softer, gentler, look.  “We did have some good times back in the day,” she sighed as she looked around the room.  Smiling at her Stephano said, “Yeah, what I wouldn’t do for simpler times.”

“Simple?  I was the one who had to sneak around my father’s house like a crook.”

“Hey my parents weren’t so keen on you either.  I had to keep a lot of secrets from my father too.”
Intrigued Cassie asked, “Why am I just hearing about this?”

“Cuz, it didn’t matter to me, I would’ve walk on hot coals just to see you.”

“I was crazy about you too, ya know.”

“So what the hell happened to us?” Stephano asked.

“John happened that’s what.” Cassie said in an accusatory manner.

An uncomfortable silence lingered over them as the room buzzed with activity all around them.

Playing it safe, Cassie stuck to her original plan and just pitched the deal.  “The Cosimos are getting sloppy and right now a few of their gas stations are unprotected.  It would be a shame if someone absconded with those properties.”

“Okay, I’m listening,” he answered.

“Hey, I don’t anything for free.”

Laughing Stephano remarked, “I remember!  So what’s this gonna cost me?”

“40% of the loot.”

“That’s steep!”

“I know a guy who’s interested in selling some info,”  Cassie said.

“What kind of info?”

“Blue prints, names, and shifts of the soldiers in charge.”

“You’re talking about a takeover, that could start a war.” Stephano said rather uncomfortable.

“Yeah, it could but if the right person did the takeover, there’d be no worries.”

“God I miss you Cassandra but I don’t trust you.  Not anymore.  You’ve been talking to that FBI stronzo (asshole) and if you recall, that ruined both our lives.”

“Both of us?  As I recall you married a model and got a nice cushy, brownstone in Brooklyn while I was the one with the bullet in her head.”

“Yeah, and it didn’t teach you anything.”  He said looking over his shoulder when he heard the sound of cups clanking.  As the server approached the table, Stephano smiled and accepted his overpriced Illycaffè, placing it on the table in front of him.

“Anything else?”  The server asked.

“No, I’m good.” Stephano answered.  When the server left, Stephano leaned in, looking Cassie right in the eye and said, “If you were smart, you’d stop worrying about business and start…”

“What, get back in line?  Too late for that ain’t it?”  Cassie said then chuckled a bit.
“Well I hate to see anything else happen to you Cassandra.” Stephano warned her.

“How sweet,” Cassie said coldly.  Looking at the blank expression on her face, sensing her tone had changed from curiosity to heartless, Stephano asked, “Jesus, what happened to you?”

“A lot.” She said taking another sip of her macchiato.  “You know as I lay dying on the floor, I had a revelation.  I realized I had to trade in my tiara for the crown.”

Laughing rather nervously, Stephano said, “Come on, you’re talking crazy.”  When she didn’t react, he became intrigued, “So what, you’ve been playin’ everybody?”

“Are you in?” she insisted.

He sat in silence and began gulping his fancy coffee drink while Cassie looked on in anticipation.  “Okay, Meryl Streep, I’m in but if anything goes sideways, you’re gonna wished you’d bled out on Mira’s (Café) floor.”

So it was set, Cassie had an out but now she had to make plans for an ugly showdown.  Getting up from her seat, she walked out of the restaurant a free woman but for how long?  Flagging a cab down, she began the journey back home to her stronzo, Amato.

 

Author Bio:
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.

Fedelta Parte 24: The House That Destiny Built

Fedelta 24
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Cassandra Fenetti waited for Stephano’s driver around the corner from the VFW.  No one knew that she was even missing yet but it would only be a matter of time before Amato started asking questions.  If he knew that she was meeting her ex, Stephano Rimaldi, he would never trust her again which is why this all had to be done on the D.L..  In less than 15 minutes, a black Cadillac Escalade, appeared from the northbound lane of 33rd street.  The 60 year old chauffeur pulled over next to the curb and emerged from the driver’s seat dressed in a black wool coat and matching driver’s hat.  Stephano made all his employees wear uniforms because he liked showing off his wealth.  It was what she liked so much about him.  He had charisma, and it was obvious that the Alunni would be calling him boss one day.

As the driver walked over to her side of the car, he opened the back, passenger door, “Madame,” he said tipping his hat.  Cassie nodded her head in acknowledgement and smiled while climbing inside the nice and warm Cadillac.  As the driver headed back into the vehicle, she saw a glimpse of her reflection in the rearview mirror and was horrified at the image reflected back at her.  The last time she saw Stephano, she was dumping him for Amato.  Back then her hair wasn’t uneven from brain surgery.  Doing her best she tried to hide the mess with her knit cap but she felt people could still tell.  Surveying the damage, she took out her compact, and immediately zeroed in on the scar on her face from when she fell head first on the floor when her brother Dominic shot her.

Her ego told her that it was a mistake to go to Stephano looking this way but her authentic self, told her to hell with her looks.  She had no interest in Stephano and he most likely had none in the woman who kicked him to curb.  Besides, she heard he married some wannabe model with fake hair and even faker assets only six months after the breakup.  What was that woman’s name?.. Denise, Debbie…no, she thought to herself it was a stripper name.  Cinnamon, Daisy, no it was Destiny…Destiny Van Holsten.  The thought that someone would name their kid something so stupid made her giggle.  It was almost as if that poor girl was doomed to work the pole.  Near to laughing out loud, Cassie had to cover her mouth as she desperately tried to regain her composure.  Thank God the driver was too busy watching the road to see her.

Remembering their tumultuous affair, she recalled her father forbidding her to see him.  He was the enemy after all and therefore the Anti-Christ in his eyes.  However Cassie never took her dad’s advice especially, when it came to matters of the heart and this was no exception.  If it had been up to him she would’ve been locked up in a nunnery somewhere in Timbuktu.  It was a miracle he never caught her sneaking out late at night let alone, sneaking back into the house during the wee hours of the morning.  Caressing the seat’s leather armrest, she smiled at the memories this trip was conjuring up.  What a shame, so many good times lost and for what?  A fake fiancé who turned her life upside down once, with his untimely death and then again, with his recent resurrection.  What was she doing this for?  Here was a prime opportunity for her to return to her old life with no repercussions.  She had avenged her father, and Dom was dead, so there was no reason to play this good Samaritan role anymore.  Besides, Amato was too complicated for her tastes.  She liked her men simple and easy to deal with and Amato would never be either.  Plus he had secrets, and she was certain that there were more to come.

“Who are you Amato?” she asked looking out of the window.  Cassie realized she couldn’t risk anymore for him and was going to level the playing field while securing her position.  Just as she got lost in her thoughts, the car came to a stop and the driver got out.  Recognizing the old brownstone, she almost felt a sense of relief.   Suddenly a man appeared, it was one of Stephano’s bodyguards.  He motioned for her to follow him which she did, right into the house and into the foyer.  A butler took her coat and offered her a seat in a nicely plush, white, suede chair.  Thanking the man, she looked around the room.  Stephano or his wife had redecorated the house, with a white and gold theme.  “Would you like a beverage Ma’am?” the butler asked.  She requested a gin and tonic since she never got to finish the one she had at the VFW.

As the butler mixed her drink at the small drink cart in the corner, Cassie looked at the oddly familiar room and figured the décor was definitely gaudy, nouveau riche.  It had to be Destiny’s idea, Stephano most likely just signed off.  She saw several pathetic knock offs of Bellagio’s Venus and Caravaggio’s Bacchus adorning the very white walls and even though they were knock offs, she could tell they were expensive.  The canvases were nice and the framing was ornate.  Again this woman’s tastes made Cassie laugh because if she were going to try and pass off a fake portrait, she would have chosen lesser known work.

What was she doing?  Cassie thought as she caught herself comparing herself to Destiny.  How low could her self-esteem be that she was judging the wife of an ex-boyfriend?  Cassie realized she had to stop and get into a serious frame of mind, if she didn’t this was never going to work.  Just as she was pulling herself together, Stefano entered the room wearing his trademark steel blue Versace suit.  “Hey Cassandra, what can I do ya for?”  Before she could answer, the butler handed her a glass of gin.  Taking a chair across from her, Cassie began with an apology.  As she was apologizing, a woman walked through the door, tall, thin, and very blonde.  With her were several shopping bags, clutched in her newly manicured hands.  Sauntering into the salon, Stephano’s eyes lit up as she gave him a kiss.  “Destiny, glad you’re here, I want you to meet my old high school sweetheart, Cassandra Fenetti.  She’s the one I told ya about.”

Cassie shook her hand and asked rather annoyed, “What did he tell you?”

“Ah nothing, just that you just broke his heart.”  She answered rather nonchalantly.

“You gotta be kidding me,” Cassie said then chuckled, however, no one was laughing along with her.  “Oh,” she said somberly, “Well everything turned out alright for you two.” She said trying to put a positive spin on things.  Destiny immediately smiled and looked at Stephano, “She’s right, I should be grateful that relationship didn’t work out.”  Stefano returned the smile and asked, “Cassandra what brings you here?”  Immediately, Cassie looked up at Destiny and said, “It’s personal.”  Taking the hint, Destiny shrugged her shoulders and said, “I guess I’ll go find something to do.”  Smiling as she left the room, she made direct eye contact with Stefano and he smiled back, unable to take his eyes off her.  It was cute Cassie thought, cute, but annoying.  As they were playing love struck teenagers, she took out a pack of smokes.

When she was out of earshot, Cassie continued, “I have a deal to make.”  Immediately, Stephano chuckled, “What?  You got some nerve…”

“The Cosimo’s gas stations, there’s gonna be a takeover”

“So what?  What does that have to do with me?”

“Millions are about to go up in smoke,” she said as she lit a cigarette.

A flash of anger crossed his face and then he looked down at the floor as though he were conflicted.   Carefully she hit all the right tunes, “Look, I want to help you, why look a gift horse in the mouth?”

“Cuz, you’re one of them,” he answered.

“Yeah, I’m one of them who went out her way to take them down.  I gave up my brother, my fiancé and know what?  I ain’t done.”

Rising up from his chair, he said forcefully, “Get out!”

Standing up, Cassie met him, eye to eye and placed a piece of paper in his jacket pocket then she whispered as smoke slowly poured from her lips, “Just in case you change your mind.”

He snorted, and then looked away again.  He was struggling again, he wanted to say something but was fighting the urge.  When he met her gaze again, he pointed to the door.

Without a sound she walked over to the butler who handed her, her coat.  As Cassie slid it on, she noticed what appeared to be Destiny peeking from around the hallway.  Pretending she didn’t notice her, Cassie took her leave and quietly walked out the front door.

However, instead of taking off in a huff, Cassie decided to get reacquainted with the old neighborhood and walked to a coffee shop at the corner where she and Stefano used to meet.  Taking one last drag from her cigarette, she dropped it to the ground and extinguished it with her shoe.  With purpose she walked over to a dark, corner booth in the back in that booth they would make their plans for a better life outside the business.  It was bitter sweet, to know neither one of them would ever completely escape this life.  But it had to be done, just one more job and she would walk away Cassie told herself.  However she knew this wasn’t true, something or someone would always pull her back.  As her thoughts got dark, the phone in her purse rang and looking at the I.D. on the screen, she saw it was none other than Stephano.

Author Bio:
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.

 

Cereal Authors

Cassandra Fenetti waited for Stephano’s driver around the corner from the VFW.  No one knew that she was even missing yet but it would only be a matter of time before Amato started asking questions.  If he knew that she was meeting her ex, Stephano Rimaldi, he would never trust her again which is why this all had to be done on the D.L..  In less than 15 minutes, a black Cadillac Escalade, appeared from the northbound lane of 33rd street.  The 60 year old chauffeur pulled over next to the curb and emerged from the driver’s seat dressed in a black wool coat and matching driver’s hat.  Stephano made all his employees wear uniforms because he liked showing off his wealth.  It was what she liked so much about him.  He had charisma, and it was obvious that the Alunni would be calling him boss one day.

As…

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