Carter bought his way out of the mafia to protect Emma, but when an old ghost returns to the Mauricio Family, a chain of events starts that can harm everyone. While Carter must decide to return to the Mauricio Family or not, a face that is oddly familiar to Emma comes into her life. She"s given the chance to discover more about her family while tension between the rivaling Mauricio and Bertal Family comes to a head in an explosive way. The truce is officially off, and when the two worlds collide, Carter"s decision is made.
He didn"t start this war, but he will end it.
He will do anything to protect Emma.Books in Series:Carter Reed Series by TijanBooks by Author:Tijan Books
"There"s a man watching you." Theresa nudged me with her elbow behind the table. As soon as the words left her, a hush fell over the group. We were at Joe"s for drinks after work with our coworkers, and all eyes turned my way.
I didn"t want to look, so I didn"t. Picking up my beer instead, I shrugged. "It"s probably paparazzi""
My words died in my throat. Theresa had become a good friend. She knew what I went through"the real story, not the story every media outlet was reporting"and in the beginning, she enjoyed the attention. Everywhere we went, the reporters were there. Carter Reed was their obsession. He was gorgeous with wolf-like blue eyes, chiseled cheekbones, and broad shoulders that tapered to a thin waist. Even though he was usually photographed in a business suit or a tuxedo on the way to formal events, I knew thousands of women"s mouths watered at the thought of what he looked like underneath those clothes. Carter was gorgeous, which made the reporters and their audience love him. But what really made them salivate for any shred of information about him was his association with the Mauricio family.
In addition to being gorgeous, Carter was dangerous. He was known to be an assassin for a local mafia family, but what wasn"t known to anyone beyond a select few, was that he was out. He"d bought his way out, and he"d done it for me. He"d also bought my life back after I killed a member of a rival mafia family while trying to save my friend. Those were our secrets.
Almost a year later, when my choices had seemed to be die or run for my life, I went to Carter: my brother"s best friend from childhood, the guy I knew because he"d slept on our couch for so many nights. This was still how I preferred to think of him, not as the man the city knew as the Cold Killer, Carter Reed. He was my soul mate.
But when I heard the low warning tone of Theresa"s words, every part of me went on alert. My expression didn"t change, but I mentally ran through the possibilities of who this man could be and why he might be watching.
A low buzz began around the table and then someone asked, "What do you need from us, Emma""
I looked toward the voice, confused.
It was a secretary for one of the senior officers from The Richmond. Her eyebrows were fixed forward, bunched together, and her lips pressed in a flat line. I"d never talked to her before we sat together this evening. Six months ago, I would not have gotten this reception. People would"ve gossiped and judged. But now, as I surveyed the rest of the table, it seemed they wanted to help.
Then I felt a presence at my elbow and looked up. It was Thomas, the security guard Carter had appointed as my personal bodyguard. I had three of them at all times: Thomas, Mike, and Peter. They all looked the same. Tall. Imposing. Built like professional athletes, but with the skills to disappear like ghosts or stand and fight the best of the best. Carter trained all his men himself. I knew they moved with the gracefulness of a cat, appearing and disappearing when they chose, but the abrupt arrival of one of my bodyguards could still cause my breath to catch in my throat. Once again, a hush fell over the group around the table. Half of the girls recoiled from the intimidating presence, while the other half were probably trying to figure out how to take Thomas home with them.
"We should go, Miss Martins."
I shot him a look.
The corner of his mouth lifted. "Emma."
His hand came to my elbow and he said again, so politely and yet with authority, "We should be going, Miss Emma."
Ah. A compromise. I saw the flash of humor in his eyes and shook my head as a grin tugged at my lips. I slid off my stool and turned to Theresa. "Did you want a ride""
She started to shake her head, then grabbed at the table for balance. With a laugh, she replied, "Yeah, maybe. I think I drank that last pitcher all by myself."
A woman laughed from across the table. "You and me, Theresa. I think we shared it."
"Yeah. Probably." Theresa gave her a slight smile, grabbing her purse and straightening her clothes as she stood. She moved close to me and gave a nod. "I"m ready to go."
Oh, yes. Theresa had forgotten to pay. Laughing softly, I reached into my purse and laid a hundred-dollar bill onto the table. It would cover the two pitchers we ordered and the pizza we shared with the rest. The group called good-bye behind us as we headed out the door, and I lifted a hand in response. Theresa bent her head forward and was already out the door, moving in front of me. When I felt the cold winter air, I grabbed the sides of my coat and pulled them tight around me, bunching my shoulders together. I mimicked the way Theresa crossed the sidewalk to the waiting car. Dashing in after her, as Thomas held the door, I heard that guy calling from farther down the sidewalk.