Linchpin

Linchpin

by Jodi Payne

NOOK Book(eBook)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781786515698
Publisher: Totally Entwined Group Ltd
Publication date: 05/02/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 73
Sales rank: 1,083,593
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Jodi spent years in the theater in New York and San Francisco presenting classical playwrights like Shakespeare, Chekhov, and Shaw for large audiences, as well as more edgy Fringe work in tiny black-box theaters. From these masters, she learned to appreciate and explore the humanity in her characters. Her men are imperfect but genuine, strong-willed but likeable; they are characters you can't help but fall in love with while they stumble along the way to happy ever after.

When writing, Jodi is frequently found wearing a scarf and sock monkey fingerless gloves in the winter, and near the sand with a view of the ocean in the summer. When she's not writing, Jodi mentors LGBTQ youth, enjoys movies, cop-dramas, attending Broadway shows and will drop everything for live music. Jodi lives and writes near New York City with her wife and family, which includes an enormous polydactyl cat.

Read an Excerpt

Copyright © Jodi Payne 2017. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.

Randall Quinn’s new ride was pretty sweet.

The BMW was fully loaded, including an in-dash navigation system, Bluetooth fucking everything, and a black leather and wood grain interior. She was comfortable and stylish, and her engine vibrated gently but powerfully, like a wild cat getting ready to pounce. Mrowr. Quinn tapped a button on the dashboard display and practically summoned up Zeppelin with the power of his fucking mind. Damn, the technology gods were good. He sped down the rural highway, Black Dog sinking straight into his psyche through the seven-speaker surround sound. Fuck yeah.

His new baby was paid for in full, and in cash. He’d finally laid by enough in savings that he could afford to spend with more freedom. He’d never gone in for such an extravagance before, but he’d been salivating over this baby at the dealership for a month and he’d eventually broken down and done it. She was a hot-red color—well, the dealership called it something stupid like Orange Metallic, but it was basically red—which, admittedly, didn’t fly under the radar the way she probably ought to, but Quinn didn’t care anymore. After over ten years in the biz, he’d fucking earned the right to show off.

He’d pulled in that stack of cash on a high-end hotel assignment he’d had a week ago. Swanky, several-thousand-dollar-a-night hotel suites were always a challenge, but this one was even more so than usual and had definitely warranted the boost in pay. The boys had made a royal mess of the place, so much so that Quinn figured they must have had some seriously specific and scary fucking orders. There’d been blood and fingerprints everywhere and Quinn had had to deal with stains in the carpet, on the wallpaper, and splattered across furniture. Even with a crew, the cleanup had been a pain in the ass and had taken almost two full days. He’d even had to replace the carpet and a fucking couch.

It was damn lucrative as far as such things went, to be sure, but Quinn had sat in a bar for a couple of hours alone afterward, and he and his bourbon had decided it was about time to call it quits. Quinn was coming up on thirty-nine and he was getting a little old for this shit. He’d kind of fallen into this line of work back in his twenties when he’d made his daily bread working for the coroner’s office and cleaned up crime scenes legally. It hadn’t been long before a particularly influential lover had shown him where the real money was, and Quinn had found himself literally seduced into a darker world by the fine art of cleanup to cover up.

“Aaaaaand, here we are.” This job wasn’t going to be as big a payday, but smaller gigs like this were simpler, and made up more of his bread and butter. He pulled into the motel parking lot, waving a hand across the display to mute the radio. So. Fucking. Cool. Slowly, Quinn drove along the length of the building until he found room three-twenty-nine. The location was perfect, way down at one end and on the first floor. Easy in, easy out. Seemed those muscle boys were finally learning. He turned around and headed back to the main entrance.

Quinn touched a button on the display and the sound of a ringing phone filled the interior.

“Found it?” a familiar voice answered—a fucking party in the sack.

“Hey, sweet cheeks.”

“Seriously, Randy? What did I tell you about work, man?”

Quinn laughed. Mikey had a lickable ass, but the rest of him didn’t interest Quinn much. “I’m here.”

“Got it. You’re on the clock.”

“Do I have resources?”

“Boss says he already cut the manager in. The boys told him you wouldn’t need a crew.”

“Did they, now? And what the hell do they know about it?” Seriously, you give someone a few too many steroids and put a gun in their hands, and they suddenly think they know everything. Those muscle boys were big and dangerous, no question, but they were dumber than a sack of hammers. Their combined IQ wouldn’t buy you a cup of coffee. Quinn, on the other hand, was an artist. What the boys did took brawn. His job was far more delicate. It required a keen mind and fastidious attention to detail. What could he say? It was hard to be humble.

“Make sure you talk to Davis. The room’s paid up for two days.”

“Perfect.” Unless those boys chopped their target into little pieces or pulled another Jackson Pollock, two days was more than enough time to set this derelict flophouse to rights. “I’ll check in again in an hour or so.”

“Later.” Mikey hung up.

Surveying the premises from the parking lot didn’t improve Quinn’s assessment one bit. This place was the very definition of shithole. The roof was warped, the siding moldy, and the main office wasn’t really an office at all—it was just a glass window with a fucking pass-through. Chances were good he was looking at bulletproof glass, too. Classy. He took note of the surveillance camera over the window as well.

Erring on the side of caution, Quinn left the car running and the driver’s side door open. He knocked on the thick glass, summoning a small man with greasy hair, dirty fingernails and a cigarette hanging from his mouth.

He squinted at Quinn. “Yeah?”

“I’m here for three-twenty-nine.”

The guy nodded. “Heard you was comin’. I’m Davis.” He slipped a key into the pass-through.

Quinn shook his head. “I’m not touching that. You let me in.”

Davis sighed. “I don’t want nothin’ to do with nothin’.”

“You wanna keep that paycheck?” Quinn asked, pulling his Beretta off his hip and holding it flat against the glass. “Or see what’s behind door number two?”

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