Starter Road Rules

Psst…

Come over here. I got something for you. For free.

That’s right. A free hit of Road Rules. After the jump.

It’ll be our little secret.

Of course, only the first one’s free. And maybe the second one. You’ll just have to find out.

Or you can have the whole thing for 99 cents: Kindle | Nook | Smashwords

Your free hit’s after the jump.

 

 

By seven that evening, Mason felt as though his eyeballs had been sanded.  After hitting Allied, he drove to the Justice Center in downtown Cleveland, mostly for appearances.  If he had to sit in one more room with Estevez or that sanctimonious prick from the bishop’s office, he was going to take hostages.  On the way out to the Justice Center parking garage, he called Deanna and asked if she wanted him to bring home a bottle of wine.  She wasn’t in.

Friday nights, she had rehearsal with her church group.  She played piano at St. Mark’s over in Guilford, even though neither of them were Catholic.  Fine and dandy, Mason thought.  Maybe he could drink Scotch all evening by himself.

No sooner had he left Deanna a voicemail than his phone rang.  He almost ignored it until he saw Koradovich’s number.

“I thought I told you never to call me at this number,” said Mason without so much as a hello.

“I love you, too, sweetheart,” said Koradovich.  “It’s all square.  The Chest is on its way to Florida, and you and I will be richer men by the end of next week.”

Mason stopped and waited for a bus to blow through the Third Street crosswalk.  “Andre, you da man.”

“It was nothing.”  He paused.  For a long time.

“What?” said Mason when he thought the line might have gone dead.

“There has been… a complication.”

Mason had started to cross the street and stopped dead center.  “What sort of complication?”

Again, Koradovich gave Mason a long pause.  Mason hated that.  He thought Koradovich loved theatrics too much.  “Andre…”

“A little birdie told me,” said Koradovich, “the police are starting to dig a too deeply into a company I do business with.”

“Cossack Holdings?” asked Mason.  Just then, a horn blared.

“Get out of the road, dipshit!” a middle-aged black woman shouted from behind the wheel of her Chrysler.

Mason jogged the rest of the way across Third and into the lot.

“I never said that.  I’m saying a little birdie told me that.”

“So?”

“Some of these cops are federal.  I don’t like feds, Timmy.  They ask all sorts of questions I can’t answer, not the way they like.”

Mason maneuvered his way around the lot, looking for his Lexus.  “Andre, I’m trying to run interference as best I can, but that lieutenant from Major Crimes, he was, like, Jordan’s partner when they drove a beat.  Blaming Jordan & Associates is a hard sell.”

“I understand that.  Really.  We’re all in a bind if the police and the feds sniff in the wrong place.  Now, I can cover this, but it’s going to cost you.”

“Andre, I swear, when I get paid, I’ll cut you in…”

“I wasn’t thinking a bigger piece of the pie, Timmy.”

Mason almost dropped his keys as he unlocked his car.  “What then?”

“I’ll need a down payment.  To cover some unforeseen expenses.”

Mason said nothing as he slid behind the wheel.

“Five large,” said Koradovich, “ought to cover it.  Yeah.  Five large.”

“Five large?  Are you out of your fucking mind?”

“No, Timmy, I’m about out of luck as far as the police are concerned.”

“I can’t do that.  Five grand?  I don’t have that kind of money, and you know that.”

Mason could hear him sucking on a cigar.

“Sure you do,” said Koradovich between puffs.  “You have investments, savings, stocks, a retirement plan, all of which will become chicken feed by next weekend.  You’ll never miss that cash if it’s only gone a week.”

“No way.  I can’t.  People will suspect…”

“People will suspect if I call…  What was his name again?  Charles Aston III?  Yeah.  If I call Mr. Aston at that golf club of yours while he’s on the ninth hole trying to sink a putt, people will suspect.”

Mason found himself squeezing the steering wheel with one hand.  His knuckles had gone white.  “I’ll take you down with me.”

“Oh, but Timmy, I’ve done time.  Have you?”  Koradovich didn’t wait for Mason to answer.  “In my office by nine tomorrow morning.  Or I make the call.”  He hung up.

Mason sat in the car staring at his phone for several seconds.  He then threw it against the passenger seat and started pounding on the steering wheel.

Fuck!  Fuck!  Fuck!  Fuck!  Fuck!

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