It’s done! The last of the books whose rights I reclaimed from my publishers has been revised and released! I paid attention to those who left reviews, added action to set the pace, changed what were sticking points for some and added lots of action packed scenes. The results? An extra 30,000 action-packed words. No Good Deed follows in the footsteps of On His Watch, Fire Angel, and In Plain Sight.
Set largely In Quebec and Ontario, the story is filled with Canadianisms to give you a taste of the flavor of my country and my hometown. Here’s the blurb:
What you see doesn’t always tell the whole story.
While escaping from her abusive fiancé, Alexa O’Brien pulls into a gas station only to walk in on a gang-related execution that leaves her alive but severely injured. Alexa swears she saw the killers’ faces, one of which tuns out to be Nicolai Zabat, Montreal’s mob boss, a man the police have been after for years. The problem is her account of the events don’t jive with the facts on record. But, someone did try to kill her, and where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Lieutenant Mike Delorme of the Sûreté Du Québec has spent the last eighteen months working undercover trying to take down Zabat, the man he blames for the death of his wife and unborn child. After his cover’s blown and he’s almost killed a second time, his boss wants him to lay low and gives him a new assignment. The last thing Mike wants to do is babysit a woman whose story is as full of holes as Swiss cheese—but he’s a team player, and if she can somehow help take down Zabat, so much the better. Finding a feisty gun toting brunette in a wheelchair is a surprise, but discovering that her so-called safe house is a carefully crafted prison has him rethinking the situation.
There’s more to Alexa and what she witnessed than meets the eye, and Mike will do whatever it takes to keep her safe, but when the enemy is faceless, doing so maybe harder than he thinks. Personalities clash and hormones collide as they escape from one trap to another, knowing the fate of the world could be in their hands.
Here’s the new opening to the novel!
It’s not the bruises on the body that hurt. It’s the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind.
November 25—St. Catherine’s Day
Lieutenant Mike Delorme hissed in a breath, his body a seething mass of pain, fighting not to succumb to the darkness that beckoned. Loud, heavy metal music, the kind of crap he hated, pounded in the background, no doubt coming from the nightclub overhead. Those kids would all be deaf by the time they reached thirty. Another blow to the ribs elicited a groan he fought to stifle. No way would he give them the satisfaction of seeing him beg for mercy. He forced his mind away from the pain.
Today was the Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria, the martyr and patron saint of single women. His mind flitted to the past. His mother had always made molasses’ taffy using the family recipe handed down by the first Delorme woman who’d chosen to make New France home over three hundred years ago. Now, sadly, he was the last of his line. He would never have the chance to teach his son to pull the taffy the way he and his father had done, their hands slick with butter, pulling, twisting, and pulling again until the rope of taffy was shiny and stiff. Then, Maman would cut it into small pieces and twist each inside a scrap of waxed paper. He could just imagine the sweetness on the tip of his tongue.
Reality brought him back as one of Zabat’s goons struck him again. Sacrament. The bastard didn’t pull his punches. His mind returned to the taffy. No one made it now. There was no one left to follow the recipe—another French Canadian tradition lost to the twenty-first century. Progress could be a bitch.
In honor of the saint, the bar was offering half-price drinks to all the ‘vieilles filles’ tonight. When he’d been up there earlier, until Xavier had called him downstairs and like the fool that he was, he’d gone down not realizing he was walking into a trap, he could’ve sworn he’d seen a couple of divorcées he’d humped in the past claiming to be ‘old maids’—anything for cheap drinks. Nobody really cared how virtuous they were. Did they even remember him? They would probably be warming some guy’s bed tonight—but not his. Never his again.
He could use a good stiff drink right about now. How the hell had it come to this? He tried not to scream, tried not to give them the satisfaction of knowing they were getting to him by thinking of other things than the pain, but a man could only hold so much agony inside.
Peering through a curtain of blood at the man he hated more than anything, his eyes barely open, Mike fought to stay conscious. Where the hell was his backup? A guy could only have so much fun before he didn’t want to play anymore. Anatole should be here by now. Had he noticed him missing?
“I asked you a question. How did you know that deal was going down tonight?” Nicolai Zabat barked, pacing in front of him as if he were the caged animal.
Mike tried to grin at the image playing through his mind, despite the pain it caused. Sooner or later the guy would be just that, another piece of scum in a cage.
Zabat stopped in front of him and leaned forward, his spittle sprinkling Mike’s face.
“I want a name,” he yelled. “Only my most trusted men were in on it. Give me a name, and I’ll tell the boys to stop.”
As if they would. Mike tried to smile. The would-be leader of Montreal’s underworld was pissed. Good. With a little luck, the confiscated merchandize would bankrupt the bastard, stop him from taking over the coveted position of godfather—not that any others in the running were any better.
“The tooth fairy told me,” Mike answered, his voice slurred thanks to his swollen lips. Before he could add anything, Xavier hit him in the face once more, knocking him off the chair onto the cement floor. “Is that all you’ve got?” he mocked, earning himself a kick in the ribs.
A second boot caught him on the opposite side, lifted him six inches off the cold floor, and dropped him again, his head bouncing off the ground before settling in place. That was going to leave a mark.
“Va t’fourrer,” the curse slipped from his mouth, as the room whirled. He tried to laugh, but ended up choking and spitting out blood and another tooth. There was no way he would reveal his inside man. That drug-pushing asshole might be the scum of the earth, but since he’d become a father again, a freaking miracle for a man in his forties with a taste for both booze and cocaine, Four Fingers was trying to clean up his act. He’d made a deal, one Mike would honor to the death—which considering his current shape might not be too far away.
The goon Mike hadn’t recognized yanked him up and tossed him back onto the chair.
“You’ve got balls, I’ll give you that, Detective. In another world, another lifetime, we might have been friends, but here, now, you’re just another piece of garbage, a cop who wasn’t smart enough to mind his own business. You thought I didn’t know who and what you were when you insinuated yourself into my affairs? I’m a frigging Greek god, you stupid son of a bitch. I know everything. If you’re waiting for someone to come running to the rescue, you’re shit out of luck.”
Mike inhaled, the pain slicing into his chest like razor blades. Maudite merde! So, they knew. Someone had blown his cover. How? When? Eight months of hard work gone down the frigging toilet. And if they knew about him, did they know about Anatole? His partner had infiltrated the gang shortly before he had. He hadn’t seen him upstairs earlier, but Anatole kept vampire hours. Ten o’clock at night was too early for him to be out and about. That was why they made such a good team. Mike was a creature of the day, Anatole, a creature of the night, but he’d been down here at least a couple of hours. The man should be looking for him by now.
“It’ll take more than the half-assed efforts of the Sûreté du Québec to best me,” Zabat snarled, clearly annoyed that Mike wasn’t talking. “That shipment was barely a drop in the ocean. Will it inconvenience me? Temporarily, but with you and your turncoat partner out of the way, I’ll double my profits on the next shipment.” He laughed, the sound piercing what was left of Mike’s bravado, almost destroying it.
“Isn’t that how the law of supply and demand works?” Zabat continued, reaching down to pat Mike’s cheek as if he were some kind of pet.
The mocking words danced on the edge of Mike’s consciousness. The man was close enough for the scent of the French cigarettes he preferred and the floral cologne he used to tickle his nose, mixing with the coppery aroma of his own blood seeping out of him. Was Anatole dead or was this just another bluff on Zabat’s part?
“You blame me for your wife’s death, eh, Delorme? Yeah. I even know your real name, asshole. Think I’m the one who pulled the trigger? Think again. I didn’t kill her. You did. The minute you stuck your nose into my business, you signed her death warrant. If she’d gone home that night, like a good little wife, instead of sticking her nose where it didn’t belong—well, you would be home now, wouldn’t you? Sitting in front of the fire, playing with your brat, maybe even holding a second one in your arms. You were warned to stay out of my business, you should’ve told her to do the same.”
“I’ll see you burn in hell,” Mike mumbled through lips so swollen they barely opened.
Zabat laughed. “Perhaps, but you’ll be there long before I will. In fact, I hope you delivered your Christmas present early this year because you won’t make the staff party.” He turned to the men in the room, the ones whose fists and feet had inflicted most of the damage. “Finish off this piece of shit. Load his body into the truck out back. The driver leaves for Toronto at dawn. I’ll have him dump the carcass in the Don Valley. The cop will fit right in—another pig amongst the butchered hogs in Hogtown.” He laughed at his own joke. “Let me know when it’s done. You know where to find me.” Heavy footsteps on the stairs signaled Zabat’s departure.
Mike barely registered the ropes being tied around his ankles. He gasped when he was hoisted feet first, his head striking the seat of the chair, as if he were some damn punching bag. The blood, not seeping from his wounds, rushed to his head, the pulsing adding to the pain. The goons went another round, left, right, left, right, a frigging army on the march up and down his body, each blow adding to his agony. Maybe he would see Thea tonight after all. Would she be pregnant still or would she have had the baby? The priests never quite explained that part. He would give anything to apologize to her, tell her he’d been wrong, but Zabat was right.
He’d failed so many times, he didn’t deserve to go to heaven, not even if he spent half of eternity in purgatory. With each blow, the faces of those he’d wronged materialized in front of him—that young kid he’d shot when the damn fool had pulled a gun on him, that abused woman he hadn’t been able to talk into leaving—the same one they’d carried out in a body bag three days later, Thea and her coworker dead on the warehouse floor, Anatole, barely twenty-six with his entire life ahead of him and dead because Mike hadn’t been able to stop Zabat. The faces moved more quickly, indistinguishable one from the other. He was a man of violence, a man who like Zabat, deserved to rot in hell.
God, he regretted so many of the choices he’d made, the decisions he’d followed, the words he’d never said. If he’d refused to give their marriage a second chance and had let Thea leave him, would she still be alive? Guilt replaced the pain and mercifully, the darkness overtook him as the music blared louder than ever. If this was what he had to listen to in hell, that would be the real agony.
Read more at https://www.amazon.com/No-Good-Deed-Vengeance-Mine-ebook/dp/B07TVVJ3TX
No Good Deed is available exclusively from Amazon retailers and is free to read with Kindle Unlimited!