Mary Billing knows her solitary mountain life is over when a handsome stranger blows on to her land in an unmarked chopper. Terry McCoy is not only dangerous to the pretty widow's shattered senses, he's a hardened criminal no woman in her right mind would fall for. Yet there's something tender about Terry-something that makes her surrender to his searing touch. Now Mary is in deep-deep enough to be taken hostage by a villain whose true target is Terry...
The son of a notorious crime boss, Terry is about to take over his murdered father's multi-million dollar empire. But first there's the little matter of avenging his father's death-and rescuing the one woman he knows could turn his hard-bitten life around. Terry never wanted a life of crime, but suddenly he's ready to do just about anything to bring Mary back...
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.30(d)|
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Never Give You Up
By Shady Grace
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Shady Grace
All rights reserved.
The 1969 Charger RT weaved through traffic two cars behind.
Terry McCoy adjusted his rearview mirror and eyed the shiny black beast. The car had been following him for thirty minutes since he'd left the estate near Saanich Inlet, and the driver wasn't even trying to be discreet.
So, you want to play games, eh? He glanced into the rearview mirror again, and grinned at the driver's side of the windshield as the car darted around traffic behind him. A good game of cat and mouse always got his blood pumping.
With the engine revving high, he took a left and whizzed past a minivan packed with unruly children. He winked at the frazzled-looking mother and punched his Camaro into fifth, blowing ahead of her as if she were pulling those brats by hand.
Like an angel of death, the Charger was right on his ass.
He jerked to the right then the left, veering around other vehicles as he neared the main drag along the wharf, but still he couldn't shake him. The Charger nudged his bumper, making Terry grip the wheel tighter.
He sped up and slowed down, making the driver behind him veer around another car to his right, barely avoiding a crash. Terry laughed and accelerated again, only a few hundred yards from his destination.
As he neared the hotel parking lot he jerked hard to the right and stepped on the gas, skidding to the side then punched it harder into the parking lot, missing the hotel sign by mere inches. The Charger blew straight ahead toward the downtown core, its engine screaming, and disappeared from view.
Terry chuckled and eased the Camaro into the rear parking lot at his family's Sea Scape Hotel. He shut off the engine and took a deep breath. The hotel was the last place he wanted to be right now, but he had to tend to his own personal business.
He glanced up and stared at the man reflected in the rearview mirror.
Tired eyes. Gaunt cheeks. Pale skin. Pathetic life.
He looked like ten pounds of shit in a five-pound bag.
Still staring into the mirror, he released a pent-up breath and tried to clear his mind, before pulling out his cell phone.
As he dialed the number he pictured her lovely face on the other end of the line. He really needed to hear her voice. Maybe it would make him feel better. Maybe it would make his negative thoughts go away. He didn't know why, but her sweet, seductive voice made him feel as if the world could be a good place sometimes. Right now he needed a good place.
To his bitter disappointment the answering machine kicked in.
"Hi. You've reached the Billings. We're probably outside right now so please leave a detailed message and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. Thank you!"
He couldn't think of what to say and hung up. Low, that's how he felt. Low and lost, and for some stupid reason he thought she would make him feel better. He punched the dash and shouted, "Fuck!" before he lowered his head against the steering wheel and closed his eyes. Now what was he supposed to do with himself? He let out a self-loathing groan and shook his head.
She still hadn't changed the message on her machine. Obviously Mary Billings couldn't let go of her dead husband. A dead husband who did nothing but hurt her. He deserved to be in the cold ground. He deserved to no longer be on that goddamned answering machine. It physically pained Terry to hear her speak as if everything was perfect in her world. He knew better. She should be back to her maiden name by now. Shouldn't she? Over four months had passed since Tom's death. How could a woman cling to a name that made her miserable? He'd never understand females. Most of all, he'd never understand Mary. Maybe that's why he couldn't get the woman out of his head.
A rap on the driver-side window jerked him back to the present. He looked up and into the eyes of the doorman. Terry rolled the window down. "What?"
"You're late, that's what. Gabriel's already here."
Terry blinked. "What? But I saw him go downtown." He glanced to his right and was stunned to see the Charger parked beside him. How did he not notice him pull up? He shook his head, grabbed his briefcase, and exited the mustang, disgusted with himself and his recent inability to concentrate.
"Everything okay, Boss?" The doorman walked with Terry to the side entrance, conveniently hidden by tall flowering shrubs. "You seem out of it lately."
"I'll be fine, Ezra. Just keep an eye on the door, will you?"
"Sure thing, Boss."
Terry strolled into the hotel with all the energy of a man on Valium. He couldn't focus on much these days and the headaches were debilitating. He tried his best to make light of his life, to find humor in everything, but fuck all seemed to work when we was sick and tired of the same old routine. What he really needed was a vacation.
Maybe he needed a new life. Something that didn't involve walking on eggshells every day.
Massive plants covered the vast waiting room where leather chairs and antique tables covered the black-and-white tiled floor. Several well-dressed men were gathered in one section, talking business and smoking fine cigars. Classical music resounded from the doors leading into the Tail Wind Lounge, one of the finest restaurants in the city.
The Sea Scape Hotel was well known for its old-world atmosphere, and after sixty years in business, nobody knew that today it was a fancy front for the biggest dealer this side of the border.
Hell, shipments were boated right to the hotel dock at night and brought through the back to be distributed amongst certain wealthy guests. Business didn't get much easier than that, although the shipping runs by plane and boat held many risks, especially when Terry or one of the others had to skip countries. At least at the hotel, and on their own domain, business ran smoothly.
Even the cops had a cut, and often spent their evenings wining and dining in the Tail Wind. They had the pick of the finest rooms and the best women — as long as everybody played by the rules and respected each other.
It was a rare occasion when a room was vacant at the Sea Scape, but if a man with a briefcase and a promise walked in, they always had something available. And if his promises turned to lies then he'd never be seen again.
Terry's apartment spanned the top floor, a place where he was the top man, for Colton McCoy preferred his estate near Saanich Inlet, a short jaunt out of the city. Despite being the boss's son, and second in line, the hotel was Terry's domain. Even his father didn't question him here.
His Oxford's clicked on the tiled floor as he made his way to the group of men waiting in a private seating area, hidden by several large palm plants.
"Gentlemen." He set the briefcase on the side table next to an elderly man. "You'll find it's quite potent this time around. Enjoy."
He accepted a different briefcase and headed for the front desk, smiling as he approached the dayshift receptionist. "Good afternoon, Sal. Any messages for me?" He handed her the second briefcase and she discreetly deposited the leather case into the safe beneath the desk.
Sal looked sassy as ever today, her red locks pinned up in a loose bun with a pencil poking through. Her trademark black-rimmed glasses gave her the look of a naughty librarian.
Everybody loved Sal. Terry trusted her with his life. She was a good woman, and even though he'd nearly started something with her a few years back, he decided to be smart and not touch her. Bad shit happens when you mix work and pleasure.
Sal smiled, her cheeks rosy, lips bright red to match her hair. "No messages today, Sir, but I'm done at six." Long black lashes — he guessed must be fake — fluttered as she winked.
Terry chuckled. "Good to know." Sal must be the biggest flirt he'd ever met, but their relationship would never go beyond that. He paid her no further mind and disappeared into the private elevator hidden in a small alcove behind the front desk.
He couldn't help imagining little Mary with her caramel hair all in disarray and wearing a pair of those same spectacles — every teenage boy's dream to unfold the pages of the mysterious librarian.
Terry punched the keypad and the elevator descended into the basement, only accessible by certain staff members. When the door opened, his gaze moved directly to the man secured to the metal chair centered in the room. Terry adjusted his shirtsleeves and squared his shoulders before stepping inside.
"Adolfo Montesano. It's been a long time, old friend."
Adolfo lifted his face. Blood oozed from his busted nose. Dried blood covered his face and hair, and the wide slit from upper lip to ear looked painfully gruesome. Terry cringed at the view, glad he wasn't in Adolfo's shoes.
The traitor's head bobbed and he groaned beneath the duct tape covering his mouth as he tried focusing bloodshot eyes on Terry.
Duct tape perfected crime. With Adolfo's wrists taped to the chair arms, he'd never free himself. It didn't matter how strong a person was. Wrapped three times around wrists and ankles, even the biggest man couldn't wriggle free as he could with rope.
It took three months to locate Montesano's son after the disaster Ben caused in the mountains. Now the traitor was about to meet his maker as well. He promised Ben the world if he took out Terry and Gabe, and stole the stash of Peruvian flake. Adolfo was the bones behind Benjamin Cain.
They'd almost lost it all, including Terry and Gabe's life.
Terry's shoulder still ached from the bullet Ben slammed him with. Now it was time to take out the trash and get the business back on the straightaway.
On the other side of the room the eerie sound of steel on stone invaded the silence as Gabriel Miller sharpened his hatchet. Terry studied his partner in crime with a mixture of emotions.
How could he be so calm at a time like this? He should be enjoying retirement with a good woman like Mima and leaving this crazy bullshit behind. If Terry had even a scrap of the life Gabe accidentally found in those mountains, he'd never set foot back here again. As much as he loved his hotel, he didn't want it to be a place of crime. He wanted his guests to feel happy and secure. To know that when they set foot in here, they had a decorative, safe room to stay in, a classy restaurant to dine in, and staff to wait on them hand and foot for all the right reasons.
But a wrong reason sat in front of him right now while Gabe sharpened his hatchet.
Having a Montesano tied up and bleeding in the basement was testament to business taking a new turn. Terry didn't want to be in this position, it was beyond dangerous, but when Colton McCoy gave an order, everybody listened.
He focused his attention back to Gabe and released a deep breath. They may be the best of friends, but Terry and Gabe were the complete opposite of each other. Gabe, always cool and in control; Terry stressed about every little thing. Perhaps their differences made them such a good team.
"I didn't even see you pull in."
Gabe kept his back to him, still sharpening the hatchet. "Probably too busy yanking it in the parking lot. Thought I'd give him a few rounds on the house until you were done."
He couldn't help his rumble of laughter. "Smartass. I haven't yanked it in months." It was a total lie, but no way in hell would he ever admit to Gabe that when Mary's face haunted him at night his hand automatically drifted down.
Adolfo groaned again. Terry shifted his gaze to the captive and actually felt a little sorry for him. As he stared at the man's bruised and bloodied body he wondered why everyone had to suffer all the time. Why not shoot him in the forehead and get it over with? He knew well that nobody would dare betray the McCoy's and get away with it, but why did everything have to lead to all this blood and chaos?
Adolfo was just another rung on a steep ladder, which could start an even bigger threat. They'd never really know until it was too late, because no matter how hard they tortured him, Adolfo would never talk.
Nobody worth their salt talked in this business, and Terry knew how far up the food chain Adolfo Montesano really was. Cocaine royalty bled on his chair right at that moment.
Terry focused back on Gabe. "You're supposed to be enjoying retired life between your old lady's thighs, or is making a man bleed more of a turn on for you?"
Gabe chuckled, not at all put off by Terry's sick humor. "I wanted to be here because of what happened in the mountains. Besides, Sam's on an errand for the old man so he can't do it."
Terry moved toward Gabe, slipped off his suit jacket and tossed it over the long metal table spanning the entire side wall, before rolling up his sleeves. "You're gonna miss this, aren't you?"
Gabe glanced over his shoulder and winked. "Nope."
He was bullshitting and Terry knew it. Knew it like he knew a shot of vodka would be perfect right about now. Not once did Terry ever take pleasure in killing or torturing a man, it was just a job that had to be done. Maybe that's why he'd taken to the bottle lately. He couldn't be happy without being drunk most of the time.
Gabe on the other hand thrived in this lifestyle. He was born for this. Terry often wished he could switch places with Gabe, but he knew his old friend would never accept.
"Was Mima pissed about you leaving?"
"Yes and no. She knew I had some things to finish up before I was done for good. But I think she believes I'll never return every time I have to leave."
Terry chuckled. "Can't blame her, I guess. She doesn't understand what we do."
"Speaking of women, how's Mary?"
Terry shrugged, unsure how to answer him. But inside he cringed at the mention of her name. He wanted to see her again, face-to-face, but he was afraid she'd reject him because of who he was. She didn't need a man like him in her life, and for that he felt ashamed.
Business always got in the way of personal life, and it was different for him than it was for Gabe. Terry was the boss's son. Any relationship with a woman made him and the business vulnerable. He didn't dare get in too deep with a broad or risk everything. He couldn't handle another repeat of what happened to his mother. He couldn't allow an innocent woman like Mary to suffer as his mother did.
And Mary still hadn't changed her message on the damn answering machine.
He stared down at the leather satchel rolled out to expose Gabe's toys, wanting to forget his twisted thoughts and the sexy caramel eyes that tormented him.
The ice pick was fast and efficient, easy to hide. The handsaw made dismemberment a breeze. Several other gadgets Terry knew nothing about looked grossly sophisticated, but the one that shocked him the most was the oversized eyelash curler used to slowly and painfully sever a man's nut sack.
His balls shriveled at the thought.
"Mary's too good for me. I haven't spoken to her in a while." His answer would have to be good enough.
Gabe grunted. "Mima's too good for me too, but that didn't stop me from moving in. Quit being a fucking dumbass and go take her out to dinner or something."
Terry smacked Gabe's shoulder, all in good fun of course. He knew Gabe could take him in a second. "Shut up about me. Soon enough you'll have Mima knocked-up, buddy. Then you can worry about telling your kid what to do." He cleared his throat, unable to stop himself from staring at Gabe's profile. His long-time friend had the look of a happy man. He appeared more at ease these days. His smile was quick and sure, his eyes held a spark of something Terry didn't recognize in his own. Terry looked tired and fed up, whereas Gabe had the happy face of a man who just got laid.
Terry was suddenly overcome with a pang of jealousy. "Do you have any regrets?"
Gabe turned with the razor sharp weapon in hand and studied him for a few breaths. "The only thing I regret is the lack of power and running water out there. First two things on my list as the man of the house. Oh, and adding a driveway. I'm tired of parking the truck a kilometer down the road. I'm getting too old for that much exercise."
"What about Diana? Are you going to bring her there or have her parked here?"
Adolfo struggled but the restraints held him fast.
Gabe spun around and glared at him. "Do you mind? We're having a conversation here. Just be thankful you're not going to the pigs."
Adolfo's eyes widened and his body stilled.
Gabe turned to Terry with an annoyed look on his face. "I'll keep Diana here for now until we have a proper driveway. Mima refuses to move to town even when I offered to buy the biggest house in Silver Creek. And she'll never move here. I already let go of my apartment. But I know she loves her land. Maybe one day I'll build her dream house right there ... with a pool and a helipad and the whole shebang. My princess would need a new suspension if I brought her up there."
Terry chuckled. He couldn't picture Mima agreeing to a pool and a helipad, but he respected what Gabe wanted in life. He was like his big brother, and even though Ben had managed to trick them a few months back, Terry trusted Gabe with his life. His buddy deserved everything good, and that included Mima Etu.
Excerpted from Never Give You Up by Shady Grace. Copyright © 2016 Shady Grace. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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