Fiction Friday -- Joint Deception (A J.J. McCall Novel Book #4)
Over the next few months I will be sharing previews of Joint Deception when I feel they are worthy enough for a preview. They aren't perfect and will probably change a bit in the final but they will give you a sense of what you can expect in the Book 4.
This scene is a bit intense. After the ending to Book 3, J.J. was in the hospital and believed she was engaged to Six. This obviously is hard on Tony, not to mention the fact that he's conflicted from the lines he crossed in the previous book. So he's a bit of a powder keg ready to explode and Gia catches him at the WRONG TIME. Needless to say, by the end of this scene, his Brooklyn was showing, and unfortunately for him, Six witnesses the whole thing.
“Never interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake." Napoleon Bonaparte
Trudging through the unforgiving, Manhattan winter winds, Six pressed his way across the hospital parking lot with one goal in mind—to protect J.J. McCall. He sensed her enemies lurking in darkened shadows awaiting the next opportunity to slaughter her, to finish the job and end the sole life on earth that brought light to his. He vowed to rain the fire of hell down on them. The bitter, torturous end the now dead traitor Hawk suffered would be nothing compared to the unbridled terror he would unleash upon them; he could almost hear the bones crunching in their necks as his hands squeezed life out and death in.
Her stay at the hospital had already lasted too long. Tony tried to convince him that taking her home was a mistake he’d regret, claimed she needed to be monitored. But any fool could see his efforts were designed to protect his own interests and not hers. Today, this would come to an end if he had anything to say about it.
He entered the lobby and weaved through the waiting area and took the elevator to the fourth floor. As he exited and turned the corner toward J.J.'S room, the sound of familiar voices stopped him in his tracks and he backed up. Gia and Tony stood next to one another, close enough to exchange whispers, and, he, close enough to hear them. As they traded heated glares, he did what came naturally to him as a CIA counterintelligence operative—waited, lurked, and listened. With only a couple of feet and the turn of a corner as cover, he positioned himself within earshot and peered to see Tony’s form shadowing hers, and he stood at an angle so only a sliver of his face was visible as they battled.
“Gia, what the hell are you doing?” Tony hissed. “How many times have I told you never to show your face here again? You don’t belong.”
“A case of the pot calling the kettle black, wouldn’t you say? You’ve been replaced. Six, isn’t it?”
“He could never replace me. But, since you’re already off on the wrong foot, let me offer you a gentle warning. D.C. Tony and Brooklyn Tony—two different people. The latter is not to be fucked with. Hai capito?”
Six jerked his head back and pressed his lips together; he’d never seen this side of Tony. He might scare little girls like Gia, but never him.
“Listen,” Gia said after a pause, her tone shrinking with her courage. “I’m not trying to cause problems for you. I’d speak to you elsewhere, but you never leave. Day and night, night and day, you're here. And, frankly, to JJ you're nobody, not anymore. You don't want me here? Fine, then respond to any one of the twenty attempts I’ve made to contact you.”
Tony rolled his eyes and huffed. “Fine. J.J. was almost murdered and the assholes responsible are on the loose, but feel free to share your tale of woe. What’s wrong? You bought a purse didn’t match your shoes?”
In her frustration, her voice emerged above her whisper. “I know you don't give a shit about me or anything that happens to me, but right now our fates are tied together.”
“You must be smoking. Nothing about me will ever be tied to you.”
“Al contrario, il, Signor Donato,” Gia said. Her Italian accent was as sexy as her looks. “J.J.’s memory is coming back. She’ll remember the night she found us in bed, the pain that led her to the slaughter.”
“You mean, the pain you caused her in trying to seduce me?”
“Funny how memories fade. If you recall, you are the one who opened the door and let me inside. So when she recovers, your fate is certainly tied to mine, whether you like it or not.”
Tony turned away sharply, his expression one of a man deeply pained; Six felt not an ounce of sympathy.
“I'm very disappointed that things didn't work out between us,” Gia continued. “But, right now, my problems are bigger than sleeping with you.”
“Hmph. You’ve said a mouthful there.”
Gia huffed. “My primary concern is my position on the task force. Successfully completing this assignment would line me up for a promotion to a supervisor slot. If J.J. recalls our…precarious position…she’ll kick me off the team.”
“If that’s all J.J. does to you when she remembers what happened, consider yourself lucky.”
She rolled her eyes and seared him with her glare.
“And if you feel that way, then maybe you should just quit right now,” Tony added.
“Maybe you should quit. You think she’ll want to look at you every day, her mind flashing back to when her little world fell apart?”
“But nothing happened,” he growled, “and you know it.”
“I might know it, but I promise you this: I'm not going down alone. And right now, the truth of what happened behind closed doors lies between my word and yours.”
Tony’s eyes bulged.
“I need an ally; you'll need me to swear nothing happened between us. And I will if you go to bat for me when—”
“Hold up. Hold up. Let me get this straight. Some crazy Russian out there is hell-bent on executing J.J.—a federal agent and leader of this task force, and you dare ask me to give two shits about your job?”
“Tony I, what? Tony I’m exploiting this critical situation to advance my career?”
He let out a contemptuous laugh. “And you really think I’m gonna let you get away with threatening to blackmail me over something that never happened between us?” He stepped next to her, invaded her space, his chest hulking, the sound of his breath heavy and menacing. “I don’t know who the fuck you think you’re talking to but let me set the record straight. My last name is Donato, and I am every bit my father’s son. If you so much threaten me with a rainy forecast on a sunny day, for the rest of your life, you’ll fucking regret it!” he spat with Italian venom.
Six's lips curled into a smirk. He'd heard enough.
“Well, well, well,” Six said, emerging from the shadows, startling both Tony and Gia. “I’ve arrived and the gang's all here...and cozy as ever, it would seem.” He his gaze shifted between them.
“Six!” Gia said, jumping away from Tony, her hand to her chest. “Jesus, you scared me.”
“I bet I did,” he said, glaring at the both of them. “Didn't interrupt anything, did I?”
Tony gave him the side-eye. “You wish.”