Home > Don't Tease Me (Made Men #1)

Don't Tease Me (Made Men #1)
Author: Renee Rose

 

Chapter One

 

 

Lexi

I land in Newark with nothing but coffee in my belly and an ache in my chest.

I should be thrilled. It was my first week of my new corporate job with a hair product company–a huge step up for an independent hair stylist.

I just observed a three-day workshop held for a packed hotel conference room in Vegas. As part of my training, I’ll observe three more—in Denver, Los Angeles and Tucson, then take over as trainer, teaching them myself.

“Lexi Tyler?”

My head snaps up to find a grim-looking woman and blank-faced man dressed in suits blocking my way.

“Yes? What’s going on?”

The woman flashes an ID card at me. “I’m Tracy McGalicaster from the FBI. We’d like to ask you some questions.”

I try to peer around them, as if the answer lay in the carousel, with my suitcase. “Um...no, thanks,” I fumble.

“It’s not a choice,” McGaliscaster says drily. “Sully will get your bag. Come with me.”

I look around again, still somehow hoping someone might intervene, or explain they had the wrong person. The woman takes hold of my upper arm and begins to maneuver me through the airport and out to a waiting sedan.

Her companion arrives ten minutes later with my bag and climbs in beside me.

“What’s going on?”

“We’ll be asking the questions, Miss Tyler.”

“About what?”

Neither agent answers.

I chew on my lip.

Bobby.

They want information on Bobby. This is what I get for getting involved with a mob boss. I should’ve known better. Not only has he bludgeoned my heart, but now my head’s on the FBI’s chopping block.

Cold dread washes through me.

They take me to a small office with nothing but a few chairs and a table. “Sit,” the woman commands. Her chair scrapes the floor as she pulls it back, and the sound echoes against the blank walls.

I lick my dry lips, wishing I had a water bottle.

“Miss Tyler, you have been working as a hairstylist for how many years now?”

“Uh...twelve?”

“Are you asking me or answering me?”

I glare at the woman and say nothing.

She opens a file and shuffles some papers. “I have here your tax returns from the past twelve years. I have both state and federal. Never once, in all the twelve years did you claim any tips.”

“So?” I grit my teeth.

“So, I find that unusual. Are you really that terrible at what you do that no one–in twelve years–ever paid you a tip?”

I fold my arms across my chest and glare.

“That seems unlikely. A better answer is that you have been defrauding the government, Lexi.”

“That’s ridiculous!” I sputter. “How much do you believe I make in tips a year? Not enough to pay taxes on them, I can tell you that. Did you happen to notice how much I earn a year? I’m not exactly in the highest tax bracket.”

“It doesn’t matter. You owe all your back taxes, plus interest and penalties. Then there are the legal ramifications. Tax fraud is tax fraud, and this case will be easy to prove.”

I wait. I know there will be more.

“You’re looking at jail time. And somehow I doubt your new employer is going to keep you on when they find out you have to take a leave of absence.”

My fingernails dig into my arms where they tangled across my chest.

“Unless, of course, you choose to cooperate.”

I say nothing. I've watched too many cop shows to not guess exactly where this conversation leads.

“We’d like information on Bobby Manghini,” Sully says.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

 

Six Weeks Earlier

 

 

Bobby

I accept a Cuban cigar from my cousin Al and light it.

“You’re late, stronzo,” he busts my balls, even though the only thing I’m late for is a game of poker with the other Made Men. But it’s his right to be the ball-buster. As the don of the Family, he’s my boss and the guy I’ve looked up to my entire life.

“I know. Sorry. We had a shitshow at the office.” We’re in the private lounge at Swank, the nightclub built by my construction company as our outfit’s unofficial headquarters.

“Anything I need to know about?” Al chomps on his cigar and swirls the ice in his highball glass.

“Nah.” I shake my head. “Permit problems. The usual fuckery. Nothing I can’t handle.” I own and run the Family construction and real estate companies, which I keep mostly above-board, other than calling in favors and making deals with politicians. Joey launders the Family’s dirty money through my business and the nightclub.

“You want me to handle someone, you just say the word.” Carlo, our ruthless younger cousin from Sicily stacks his chips. He’s Al’s protege. Joey, Al’s younger brother, is technically in line to inherit the throne, but I’m not sure his heart is in it the way Carlo’s is. There may eventually be a showdown between the two for who becomes Al’s right-hand man. For now, Joey is the mob’s accountant. The only one of us who went to college.

“Glen Livit, on the rocks,” I tell Gina, the cocktail waitress who comes in with a tray full of drinks for the men. She’s banging Leo, one of the bouncers.

“Already got it for you, Mr. Manghini.” She drops a cocktail napkin in front of me and sets the drink down.

“You take such good care of me, sweetheart.” I hand her a hundred-dollar bill because I appreciate the fuck out of good service, and Gina works it.

She takes it but hesitates, and I look up. “Um, your…uh…Stacy is asking to see you.”

Stacy. Fuck me. She was my last plaything. A stripper I set up in my downtown apartment to be available to me. It worked out for a couple of months, but she ended up being a pain in my ass. She has addictions–to cocaine, my money, and drama.

I cut her loose three weeks ago, but she misses her meal ticket.

“Could you handle her for me?” I ask Carlo, and the rest of the men at the table laugh.

He snorts. “I don’t do sloppy seconds, cugino. Although she is hot. I might bang her once.”

Carlo hasn't had a girlfriend since he moved to America. Like me, he seems to prefer strippers and no commitment. Although in his case, I suspect his hesitation to date has everything to do with Al's daughter, Summer. I’ve seen the way he watches her from across the room. The way he hovers protectively when she’s near. I doubt he'll make a move on her, though, because Al would kill him.

“Tell her to get lost,” I say.

It’s not really fair of me to make Gina the messenger, but I’m done with this girl. Plus, I’m already sitting down, and Al’s ready to start the game. I don’t want to get up and deal with her myself. “If she won’t go, have Leo throw her out.”

“Got it.” Gina’s been moving swiftly around the room, emptying Al’s ashtray and picking up used glasses.

“I'm sorry to make you the bad guy.”

“No, it's cool.” She pats the apron pocket where the $100 bill disappeared. “I've got your back with the ladies.” Gina slips out the door.

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