books, Crime, Fiction, Rachel Rueben, Romance, Suspense, Thriller

Fedelta 2: Transient

As Cassandra was breaking free, Jimmy and Amato were waiting for her emergence. “Geez, what’s taking her so long, I gotta take a whiz,” Jimmy complained. “Well, there’s a restroom in the emergency room” Amato answered. Jimmy opened the car door when Amato spotted something odd. “Hey, get back in,” He signaled to Jimmy. Knowing it was important, Jimmy jumped back into the car and looked over. Lo and Behold, it was Cassandra Fenetti and she was wearing scrubs. “Son of a bitch!” Jimmy exclaimed. He laughed at the sight of her just wandering away from the hospital as everyone just came and went. “Man, she’s a pro,” Amato said, admiring her audacity.

“And the award for gangsta of the year goes to Cassandra Fenetti,” Jimmy joked. Starting the ignition, Amato kept his eyes focused on her and noticed she was going toward the subway station. He knew it was going to be tough to track her because tonight was the Met’s game and traffic was going to be a nightmare. Nonetheless, he wasn’t going to let a little rush hour tag dissuade him from his target. He knew that if he wanted to get to Danny Marchesi, he had to follow Cassandra, no matter what. It wasn’t hard to follow her since she was the only one on the street wearing a baby blue uniform. Seeing that she was indeed going to take the train, Amato looked at Jimmy, and said, “I’m going after her.” Stopping the car right in the middle of the street, he got out and ran after her while Jimmy jumped in the driver’s seat then pulled away. They had done things like this before, so it wasn’t a big deal. However it would have made more sense if he had gone after her, since he wasn’t driving but nothing about Amato and Fenetti made sense.

Amato kept up pace with Cassandra who continued to walk with purpose to the train concourse. With no tokens in his pocket, he quickly went to the subway station booth. “One metro pass,” he requested.
The elderly agent behind the station asked, “Daily or weekly?”

“Daily” he answered.

“That’ll be $5.50.”

“Geez, five and a half bucks?” he said in response to the price. Frantically, Amato began digging through his pockets to find the right amount of change while still keeping an eye on Cassandra. With each passing second, she got farther and farther away making Amato anxious. Waiting for the agent to make change, Amato snatched it from his fingers the moment it was printed out and ran off after Cassandra.

To his frustration she disappeared in the burgeoning crowd that was now pouring onto the platform. To make matters worse he had no idea where this train was going, the lights on the sign were out. As was their custom, the MTA had changed routes while cutting others which made it difficult to even remember which train went where.

Standing on his tiptoes, Amato surveyed the crowd looking for Cassandra. There had to be at least a few thousand people crammed into this station. Most train cars could hold close to 200 people and the busiest lines had about 10 cars. He was looking at close to two thousand people more or less. However, this was just a minor complication, he used to play these games all the time with criminals when he was a beat cop. All he had to do was keep moving, and eventually he would run into his target. This was a closed area and there was only one entrance and exit so there weren’t a lot of places to hide let alone, escape.

Following the herd, he got on the first car and started making his way back to the last one. This lengthy journey took about 5 minutes. Like an asshole, he had to go around passengers that were standing and nearly had to push a few people who were blocking his path. However when he got to his destination, there she was in her blue scrubs looking off in the distance. Out of breath, and now sweating, Amato could at least relax a little knowing Cassandra was in his sights. Feeling silly, he looked at the old lady next to him and asked, “Excuse me ma’am, what train is this?”

“The LL” she shouted at him.

Calmly, he took out his phone and texted Jimmy, “Taking LL SB (southbound).”

Amato knew that since he was underground the message wouldn’t be received immediately. He was on his own for now, and if something went wrong, he would have to deal with it. As the train pulled off Amato reached for the railing while the automated sound system announced every stop and departure. Most of the time he could only hear the sound of the train rolling along the tracks while people talked drowning out most of the announcements from the automated conductor. So he had no idea where he was and where this train was going. This was exactly why he hated taking the train especially, during rush hour. Too many people, too little sanity.

For almost a half-hour he and Cassandra quietly traversed through the city as passengers came and went. Things got quite precarious as the majority of the passengers in their cart were dropped off. Afraid of being recognized, Amato reframed from turning around instead used the camera on his phone to get a glimpse at Cassandra. Flipping it around to record over his shoulder, he stealthy spied on her. To his surprise, after all that time, she was still staring off into the distance as though she were lost in thought. That was odd, she should have been stressed out like he was, after all she was on the run and on a subway train no less. How anyone could be so focused was beyond him, but then again, this was no ordinary woman. Hell, he wondered sometimes if she was even human?

As soon as the thought entered his mind, she began to rise from her seat. Not wanting to be discovered, he turned his head to the right when she passed by on his left. As the train stopped at the East 105th street, she quickly exited the train. He followed right behind her making sure to keep a healthy distance. He texted Jimmy again, this time with his exact location. Now the only question on Amato’s mind was: where was she going? He wasn’t sure if she would take the chance and kill Danny now or wait until later. She had no gun, that he was aware of, so she was going to need one if she was going on a execution run. His questions were answered when she made a left into a familiar neighborhood. Since they were in Brooklyn, he figured this was friendly territory for Cassandra. Maybe she was seeking out family or friends? He doubted that anyone would help her though, considering she was being sought by the feds as well as the mob. Her options were few so it intrigued him to know what her next move was. Texting his location again to Jimmy, Amato watched her disappear into the side of a building. It was a pizzeria, and he could see it had an apartment—jackpot! He took a picture of the building and sent it to Jimmy, with the caption, “Hideout.” His next text read: “E.105th meet me @ corner, no Lts (lights).

Within minutes Jimmy arrived, and as requested, he kept the lights off. Getting back in the car, Jimmy congratulated him, “Good work, I knew you would find her.”

Not celebrating yet, Amato responded, “We still have to wait this thing out.”

“You think we should call this in?”

“Are you kidding me? Cohen would just fuck this up, and besides you want Danny, right?”

“Hell yeah,” Jimmy answered.

“Then we’ll keep this on the down-low, for now”

So Amato and Jimmy resume to surveillance Cassandra and this time they were making sure it went by the book.

books, chapter books,, Crime, Fiction, Rachel Rueben, Romance, Suspense, Thriller

Fedelta 2: Going To Hell In Every Religion

Image by Engin_Akyurt

*Warning Violence*

As Amato and Jimmy waited outside for her big move, Cassandra was in her bed healing from the surgery she had the night before. The nurses were still checking on her every few hours like little centurions. There was one nurse in particular who was young and sweet, and every time she’d come to Cassandra’s room she would fluff her pillows and ask her about her pain levels. With her long blonde hair, and baby blue eyes, that perfectly matched her scrubs, she looked like something out of a Hollywood movie. The girl stuck out like a sore thumb around the middle-aged, war horses who buzzed in out of rooms at the speed of light. Her sweet little voice irritated Cassandra who knew that this little girl wasn’t going to last very long in New York, let alone this hospital. Hospitals were for tough people who could look at the horrors of humanity and not let it ruin their desire to help people. Nonetheless, Nurse SweetyPie was perfect for Cassandra’s scheme.

Patiently, she waited for her to make her rounds and when she finally appeared, Cassandra made note of her name which was conveniently displayed on her nametag: Violet Sorenson, “Oh, your name is Violet? Violet smiled and nodded her head, “Yes, I’m named after my grandmother” she said as she injected more pain meds into Cassandra’s IV. “Wow, I was named after my grandmother too!” Cassandra giggled. It was a lie, she was named after Cassandra Peterson, the actress who played Elvira who her father was rather fond of but she needed to hook Violet in. Feeling her out, Cassandra asked, “You look so young, how long have you been working here?” Stopping dead in her tracks, she answered, “Oh not long, I think only 6 months or so. Time flies, I guess. Is there anything else?” Seeing this was her chance, Cassandra asked, “This gown is thin and I get cold easily, can you get me something else?”

“I can get you an extra blanket.”

“I was hoping more like a pair of pajamas.”

“We don’t have pajamas and you need to be in your hospital gown just in case a complication arises. They’re easier to remove if we need to resuscitate. And besides…” she looked away uncomfortable.

“What?” Cassie asked curiously.

“You’re under guard, and I can’t break the rules for a criminal.”

So it appeared that Violet wasn’t as dumb as Cassandra thought. Smiling, Cassandra decided another approach was in order. Whatever she planned, Cassandra would have to get it done when the guards changed shift. She couldn’t take on a guard, not in this condition and not without a gun. She was still stitched up and just standing up straight hurt like hell. But what would hurt worse was going to jail while Danny Marchesi roamed about free as a bird while she rotted away. It was possible the feds might find Danny, then she could order a hit on him there but she wasn’t gonna put her faith in the FBI or the cops. They had failed her too many times. She knew that Danny would be on the move, and she had to get to him before he got out of New York. So patiently she waited for the next shift all the while resting up for her next battle with Marchesi.

As she laid in her bed, she noticed the patient communication cables on the bed, they connected to the pillow speaker which kept her directly in touch with the nurses. Slowly, she began disconnecting them, careful not to arouse the suspicion of the guard just three feet away from her. Thankfully for Cassandra, the guard wasn’t a real cop, he was hospital security and their only specialty included writing parking tickets and cruising the halls for doughnuts. The two hours felt like eons as Cassandra waited for the staff to switch shifts. Finally just when she had given up hope, she noticed movement from the guard, he literally just took off. Excited, Cassandra carefully slid out of her bed and grabbed the cord when Violet walked in to do her final round. “Ma’am you can’t get out of bed,” Cassandra’s mouth opened to speak but instead of saying anything, she just lunged at the young nurse with the remote. It took three shots to the head before she was knocked out but it was finished. “Sorry, Violet,” Cassandra said feeling pretty horrible about what she had done. She knew this was another crime they would tack on to her growing list of charges. But she had come this far and couldn’t stop now.

Quickly, she disrobed and grabbed Violet’s scrubs off her unconscious body. Paranoid, she kept looking over at the door and noticed the guard’s post was still empty. Cassandra knew she had to be quick, if she were caught, she would go straight to jail. There would be no mercy, she would rot away in some jail infirmary. Carefully, she dragged a moaning Violet to her bed and found it nearly impossible to lift her into her bed. So instead, she leaned Violet’s half-naked body against the bed, and lifted her legs up, and rolled her in. Cassandra nearly went into the bed with her but she managed to pull her arms out from under Violet. Her entire body felt like crap because the meds were wearing off, so she took the vile of pain meds and the needle then injected herself. She had given her diabetic cat injections when she was little and understood the mechanics of needles. Thankfully, Violet had a mask, multiple needles, and several types of drugs on the tray she carried. Most of the drugs were either pain meds or sleeping aids which was perfect. When Cassandra noticed Violet coming to she quickly grabbed a vile of lorazepam. Within a few seconds, she was sending Violet straight to La La Land. Sweating and out of breath, Cassandra heard footsteps coming towards her room. Hastily, she put a sheet on Violet and threw the medications on the tray. Putting on the mask she was able to cover up most of her bruises. On the floor was Violet’s stethoscope which Cassandra picked up and put around her neck. Her look was now complete, without any hesitation, she walked out the door, and looked right at the security guard who was now taking his seat in front of the door. Cassandra said hello to him then walked away, free. “God I’m going to hell for this!” she said under her breath while fleeing down the hall.

books, Crime, Fiction, Rachel Rueben, Romance, Suspense, Thriller

Fedelta 2: Playing Your Cards Right

Image by Artistic Operations

*Warning Language*

When they arrived at the hospital, they showed their badges to the desk nurse, who replied, “Ms. Fenetti is recovering from last night’s surgery. I’ll see if she’s awake yet.” Amato gave a concerned look at Jimmy who said, “They really opened up on her,” referring to the beatdown she received at the hand of Destiny and Danny. When the nurse returned she said, “You can see her now, she’s in room 108.” Without hesitation, Amato made his way to the ICU recovery room and saw Cassandra awake and talking to the doctor. “You need to take it easy, no strenuous exercise or work for at least three weeks.” Rolling her eyes, Cassandra knew she wasn’t going to obey any of this advice. This guy had no idea who he was talking to. He had no clue what kind of situation she was in, she was wanted dead by a wannabe mobster and by the feds who were itching to lock her up. And when Amato walked into the room with Jimmy, she knew something was up. Maybe they sent him to get her to cooperate with the government? Like that would ever happen, she was many things, but a rat wasn’t one of them. They were going to have to throw her in the slammer for the rest of her life, she wasn’t talking or throwing anyone under the bus. Not even her enemy, Danny. She’d rather rot. If anyone was going to get their hands on Danny, it was going to be her. Before Amato even said anything she was already imaging ordering a hit from prison.

Seeing the two agents in the room, the doctor left them to whatever business they had with Cassandra. It was awkward but Amato decided to be the one to break the ice, “Hey,” he said nodding his head. “What?” she asked as if she didn’t know what this was about. “We need you to help wit…”

“No.” she answered immediately. Jimmy wasn’t shocked by the response but he was annoyed by Cassandra’s antics. They were really starting to wear thin, but he didn’t know what Amato’s angle was so he kept his mouth shut.

“Alright, it’s your choice,” Amato said cooly, “We’ll just start following the money and begin by searching your recent abode.” Not sure if he was bluffing or not, Cassandra kept cool and said not one word. Meanwhile he went on, “It’ll be hard to launch an assault or get a sympathetic ear when you don’t have any sort of leverage.” Not impressed, she stood her ground and let him run his bullshit scam to get her to cooperate. Jimmy had had enough of this stupid attempt of Amato’s to humanize Cassandra and he exclaimed, “For once in your goddamn life, do the right thing and put Danny Marchesi behind bars! You have no cash, no allies, and from what I see, no goddamn friends.”

Stubborn, Cassandra kept her mouth shut and said, “If you’re gonna charge me, I want a lawyer.” That ended the conversation. Putting his hands up in a surrender gesture, Amato said, “I tried to make this easy on you, but it seems you’re too damn stupid for that.”

“Fuck you,” was Cassandra’s response to the insult. She knew that if they were making a deal, they had no clue where Danny was either and sure as hell didn’t know about her stash of cash still waiting for her at the bank. All she had to do was outlive Danny and it would all be hers. No matter what deal Amato was offering they all consisted of her doing time in jail for one thing or another and God only knows what would happen to Danny. He’d probably take a plea deal like most rats do and throw everybody under the bus. He had a lot of info to bury their business and ruin her future. This couldn’t happen and wouldn’t, not on her watch.

To add insult to injury, Amato handed Cassandra his card, with the instructions, “If you change your mind, contact Special Agent Cohen, he’ll be more than happy to assist you.” The name startled her, and she looked down at the card. Lo and behold, was his name in bold letters the name of her father’s personal downfall. Agent Cohen was the guy who offered her dad, immunity in exchange for testimony against the family. Of course her father refused and within months he was dead. Cassandra knew she would be next and so she had to figure a way out before it was too late.

Amato requested security to monitor Cassandra’s room. When he was posted, they left and proceeded to part two of their plan.

As Amato and Jimmy got in the parking lot, Jimmy asked, “Lemme guess, we’re tailing her when she flees?”

Amato simply answered, “Yep.”

“God, she’s so predictable,”

“Sad isn’t it?”

“Yeah, thank God criminals aren’t geniuses or the good guys would be in trouble.”

He couldn’t argue so Amato just nodded and got in the car. He decided to park right across the street from the hospital because he knew Cassandra would most likely go out of the front door since it was closest to the ICU. Now all they had to do was wait.

books, Crime, Fiction, Rachel Rueben, Romance, Suspense, Thriller

Fedelta 2: A New Day

Image by Life of Pix

When Agent Amato got home, he pulled into the parking garage and made his way up to his apartment. Amato hadn’t seen the inside of his apartment in almost two days and he was happy to have a bed to crash in. At least he was finally done with it all, no more Cohen, or Jimmy and he could say good riddance to Cassandra. As he showered the wounds on his hand stung but he barely noticed because the adrenaline was still pumping through his veins. He knew that in the morning it was gonna hurt so after he toweled off, he put gaze on it and took a few aspirins. Experience had taught Amato that it was usually in the middle of the night when adrenaline rushes disappear. He didn’t need to wake up in agony. Like a zombie he made a b-line for his bed and plopped himself down and fell into a deep sleep.

The next morning he was awakened to the sound of someone pounding on his door. Tempted to just leave them outside, his brain reminded him of the events of the day before and grudgingly, he went to answer it. When he opened, there was none other than Jimmy bruised up and looking for payback. “Unbelievable!” Amato exclaimed, “Don’t you know when to quit?” he said, bewildered by Jimmy’s bravado. “Hey, you see that?” Jimmy asked pointing to his bruised face, “I’m gonna find the mothafucka that did this, even if it means eating shit sandwiches in hell with Cohen.” Jimmy was the only one on earth who could make Amato laugh first thing in the morning and he needed that. They both needed each other if they were going to survive this Cohen scourge. So Amato swung the door wide open to conspire with Jimmy about the next move.

As the morning sun shined brightly through his window, Amato began making himself some coffee while Jimmy bantered on about Danny Marchesi. Still, in his boxers and t-shirt, Amato grabbed a filter and a scoop of Bustelo then began the timeless ritual of brewing his morning coffee. While Jimmy bitched about being sidelined, Amato went into his bathroom and was still able to hear Jimmy’s voice clearly through the paper-thin walls. It mystified Jimmy that he would be put out of commission because he got his bell rung. This obviously bothered him, and as Amato brushed his teeth, he heard Jimmy crow, “I called Raquel, Cohen’s admin, and she says, ‘Bossman says I gotta get cleared.’ Can you believe that bullshit?” Rolling his eyes, Amato began gargling as Jimmy continued, “It ain’t even that bad, back in the day, when I got shot, I reported for duty the next friggin’ day! I didn’t need no doctor tellin’ me nuttin’.” As soon as he spat out the mouthwash, Amato grabbed a hairbrush and began brushing away while Jimmy complained, “When did the agency get so soft?” Answering his own question Jimmy went on, “I’ll tell ya when, it all went in the shitter, back in 2010, when they started hiring sausage jerkers like Cohen.” Amato snorted, and answered back, “Well…” but Jimmy wasn’t done, “Ya know, things haven’t been the same since the department started spying on itself. You got people who don’t wanna say nothin’ and don’t wanna lose their jobs. So fucking’ what you lose your job! Since when did we care about career advancement? That’s the shit that politicians and civilians worry about, not us!”

As odd as that argument was, Jimmy had a point, if they wanted real change, they were going to have to put themselves out there and take risks. Many of the agents he knew had lost their edge over the years. He sensed that half of the department was just trying to get to retirement without any scandal. That wasn’t law enforcement, that was the mindset of the timid, and even the thugs on the street had a tougher mentality than that. Amato knew where this discussion was going and as he grabbed a pair of pants out of his closet, then he took a long hard look at himself in the mirror. Today he was either going back to an office job or he was going to take his old job back. To hell with Cohen, if he couldn’t work in New York, he could find a job somewhere else. Amato wasn’t a civilian and had no desire to be. As he dressed, he already made up his mind, he was going to finish this case and demand his old job back. He couldn’t go back to taking orders from men like Cohen anymore.

When he finished, he grabbed his gun belt, and slipped his shoes on and made his way to the kitchen where Jimmy standing as he poured himself a cup of coffee. Inhaling the aroma, he took a sip from his cup and he remarked, “Reminds me of diner coffee. Mmm…mmmm!” Handing Amato the pot, he took and poured himself the rest of the contents into a thermos. “Why do you think I love Bustelo? It reminds me of the stuff we drank on stakeouts.” Grabbing his jacket, Amato asked, “You ready?”

“What about Cohen? He’ll throw us both out of the office the moment he sees us.”

“Who said anything about going to the office? We’re going to the hospital.”

Jimmy’s eyes lit up when he realized what Amato was doing. He was going to talk to Cassie and see if she had any clues to offer up. Though it was a long shot, Jimmy didn’t have other plans so away they went to talk to Fenetti.

books, chapter books,, Crime, Excerpts, Fiction, Rachel Rueben, Romance, Suspense

Fedelta 2: Unhappy Endings

Completely stressed out, Amato went to the other side of the house to put some space between him and Cohen. Special Agent Cohen had no idea how close he was to danger, Amato was armed and hated his guts more than any of the gangsters in the house. It felt like every muscle in his body was tense, he had to release his anger, and so he left the house to a tiny shed in the back. Closing the door behind him, he looked out the tiny door window to make sure no one noticed him, before he unloaded. With the coast clear, Amato punched the wall 3 times until his hands bled. Now with only pain to focus on, he was able to compartmentalize better. So whenever Cohen said something stupid or insulting, he would just feel the physical pain rather than the psychological one. He couldn’t afford to let Cohen rent space in his head, Amato knew he had to be the same capable and reliable agent he always was. He was no dummy, he understood very well that this was how Cohen trapped people, he would get them so riled up, that they would begin lashing out. It was a trick to fool people into making themselves look bad. Amato wasn’t falling for it, so he took a few deep breaths and went to look for an EMT to wrap up his hand.

Back in the house, he noticed Cohen delegating most of the investigation on the constable but he was no chump, and flat out refused saying, “This isn’t our jurisdiction, we’ll offer assistance like guarding the scene and apprehending the suspects but everything else is up to you and yours.” Not pleased Cohen threatened, “I’m calling this in.” The constable just rolled his eyes, and walked away to his car. Amato was pleased to see that he wasn’t Cohen’s only whipping boy. He noticed slowly that the cops were leaving the scene one by one as they wrapped up their investigation. When the ambulance finally arrived, they took one look at Cassie and asked Cohen, “What happened here?” He simply shrugged his shoulders and pointed to Amato and said, “He’ll brief you on the vic.”

It was the most imbecilic and unprofessional gesture he had ever seen a lead investigator make. Choosing to feel the pain in his hand, he winced and then stepped forward to give the paramedic details on what he knew. Stunned, the man kneeled next to Cassie then noticed Destiny’s lily-white hand sticking out from under a sheet. “Jesus, what happened here?” he asked pointing to Destiny. “Mob stuff” Amato answered, casually. The man decided to not make any conversation and went to work on Cassie by checking her blood pressure while his partner searched for a heartbeat. “We got a survivor here,” the tech said rather surprised. Amato already knew that, but that’s not what they really meant. She had survived for now, but God only knew if she would ever be the same.

Prepping her for the gurney, the medics carefully put Cassie in a neck brace then gently lifted her to a transfer board then, made their way towards the hallway where the gurney had to be stationed because of all of the debris. As they slowly maneuvered their way around the chaos of the crime scene, glass crunched and wood splinters popped under the weight of their feet. Amato made his way to the ambulance when Cohen jumped in front of him and said, “Where you going? I need all my men here.” That was funny Amato thought to himself, a few minutes ago, he wasn’t supposed to be doing any of this shit anymore. However instead of giving him attitude Amato showed him his damaged hand, he said, “I’m gonna go get this checked out.” Disappointed, Cohen just walked away while Amato smiled to himself. “Asshole” he said under his breath. Pleased with himself, he started to pull away when he stopped. “What am I doing?” He wasn’t that seriously hurt, he probably only had a sprain at best, he could have it checked out at urgent care in the morning. He didn’t need to follow her, she was safe and now his part was over. Besides, he wasn’t in love anymore. Emotionally and physically tired from all of this, Amato decided to go home. It wasn’t the ending he was expecting but it was the one he got. There were no thank you’s, no signs of appreciation, and he certainly didn’t get to walk off with the girl.

chapter books,, Rachel Rueben, Romance, Suspense

Fedelta 2: Aftermath

Fedelta 2_ Aftermath
Image by Amaynut via Pixabay


Within seconds a thunderous crash was heard as the SWAT team knocked down the front door.  Like rats, their guests began to run for their lives causing the platform they were standing on to come crashing down to the ground.  Screaming, Destiny fell down along with Danny on to the shiny, mahogany floor.  As a multitude of curse words flowed from Danny’s mouth after feeling his ribs break, he writhed on the ground gasping for air.  Looking for help, Danny turned his head over to his left and found Destiny, dead, from a gunshot wound.  Seeing what was happening to their boss, two loyal goons picked him up and ran to a secret passageway which took them to an underground garage.  Danny and Destiny had planned to leave the party quickly after the deed was done so the cars were already packed.  As the police began filing into the house from north to south, they went about securing the scene.  With precision they went from room to room, announcing the words, “clear” as they secured the domicile.  A few of the older and out of shape mobsters were captured with little affair, however several did manage to escape.

Looking around the room, Amato stood there with his gun drawn but no Danny or Destiny.  All he saw around him was the mess of broken furniture and glass scattered across the room from one end to the other.

There was a large heap of wood in the middle of the room as tall as he was and so Amato went over to investigate.  To his surprise, after he kicked over the plywood from the platform  he could now see over it and next to it emerged a sparkly, red fabric.  Pushing the planks of wood away, he saw Destiny, dead.  “How the hell did they miss this?” Amato asked, and as on cue, two officers led a small group of chained gangsters out the door.  If this was overlooked, maybe Cassie was here too.  A piece of him dreaded the work ahead of them, but it had to be done, he had to know.  Calling over an officer who was standing guard at the door, “Hey you, give me a hand.”  Together they hoisted the rest of the platform and under it was another body.  “Geez,” Amato said like he had been punched in the gut.  She didn’t look good at all, in fact, she looked worse than Destiny.  He had no doubt she was dead.  Nonetheless, he bent down and checked for a pulse.  He waited and waited and then, success.  Cracking a smile, he nearly cried.  “Why am I not surprised Cassie?”  In that instant he felt like he was being watched, so Amato composed himself and barked out, “Get a bus!”

Just when he made the order, Special Agent Cohen appeared on the scene.  “Who the hell authorized this?” he asked.

Stunned as well as insulted, Amato answered, “Me.”

“This isn’t your case, you don’t do this shit anymore, remember?”

“Fine, it’s all your shit now.”

“I don’t think you understand, there are gonna be consequences for this.”

“For what?”

“Number one: you don’t have a warrant, which means any evidence you find here is inadmissible in court.  That means none of these bums are gonna be doing any time.”  Pacing around, he tried to figure a way out of this mess Amato put him in.  Pointing to Destiny, Amato said, “You mean even the dead body we found won’t convince a judge that something criminal went down here?”

Cohen’s eyes lit up, “You mean Fenetti’s dead?”

“No, Destiny.”

“Oh.” Cohen responded disappointed.

Amato was so close to punching him, but he couldn’t, there were too many witnesses and besides, Cassie needed him there.  It was times like these that he hated his job.  So like most disgruntled employees, he shoved his feelings deep down and kept his mouth shut.  This was the only way he was going to survive this Cohen ordeal.  Amato had to remind himself that after this, he could go back to his cubicle and chock on his dignity there.  It was better than doing time for shoving his foot up Special Agent Cohen’s ass.  After all, some bosses just weren’t worth the cavity search.

Dellani Oakes

Stop Everything You’re Doing!

Everything You're Doing
Image via Pixabay


Ten years ago, I joined a misfit group of authors who started a Facebook group called, “Red River Writers” I joined because I wanted to learn everything I could about freelance writing.  At the time there weren’t many writer groups online because the writing profession was a mystery with many writers keeping their trade secrets—secret.  Most of that was due to fear of competition or the desire to protect the business.   So finding a community was vital to a newbie writer like me, because I wasn’t going to get relevant and timely information talking to the old school.  Facebook introduced me to a new world of writers, and artists that I couldn’t find where I lived at the time.  I wanted to peek behind the curtain and find out what it was like to be a writer.

There, I met the founder of the group named, April and she had a friend who would immediately become my writing bestie.  One day after just a few months in the group, April put a call out for virtual assistants for their new podcasts.  I had almost no clue what a podcast was, let alone the work involved in creating one but I was interested.  I sent over my resume and got a response almost immediately.  I was introduced to Dellani Oakes, (a.k.a. Lindlae) the host of a new show called: Tea Time with Dellani Oakes, a podcast where she interviews authors and illustrators.  I was thrilled, at the time 2009, it was pretty much unheard of to have a podcast devoted to interviewing authors and artists.  Not only did they interview authors, they interviewed indie authors and those with small publishers.  This was beyond cool but even cooler, was the woman behind the podcast Dellani Oakes, she was a teacher at the time and was dealing with cancer.  In fact, during a show she had taken some meds that made her unable to pronounce the words: Freeway Reaper and that had all of us in stitches.  Needless to say, she was a tough chick and soon became a role model of mine.

We’ve had many great shows, but the ones that stick in my mind will always be the ones where things didn’t go as planned like when a guest was having a suspected heart attack.  He had quietly called 9-1-1 and drove himself to a neighbor’s house unbeknownst to us!  We only noticed when the background noise became so loud Dellani had to address it!   There was also the time I experienced an earthquake during a show and I believe Dellani even did a show as a tropical storm approached her town!  As crazy as that is, the show went on.  You know, book promotion doesn’t stop because of minor things like heart attacks and natural disasters.  Recently, we celebrated our 10th anniversary and a few months later I got the news, Dellani’s cancer had returned.  I was heartbroken.  It seemed so unfair.  Nonetheless she’s been a trooper and has kept her head held high.  I have no doubt she’ll beat this thing again.  I told you, she’s a tough chick.

But I have to be honest with you, this couldn’t have happened at a worse time because we had plans to launch a new Facebook group and even made changes to the name of the podcast network.  Though our passion to help authors hasn’t changed, it has gotten complicated.  We’re looking into alternatives to get the network to pay for itself and several Dellani’s friends have started a GoFundMe campaign to help pay medical expenses.  If you have a few bucks to throw in the jar, please feel free to donate.  Her books are also available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel and Kobo, if you want to help that way.  If you can’t donate at least share this post and show your support.  It’s the least we, the writing community, can do to help someone who’s helped so many people.

Romance by Dellani Oakes


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Romance by Dellani Oakes

Sci-Fi by Dellani Oakes

Fiction, Rachel Rueben, Romance

Fedelta 2: Party Crashers

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NGDPhotoworks via Pixabay

Meanwhile Danny and Destiny were hosting a small party of Mafiosos from all over New York as well as online.  They knew why they were there, and though they didn’t appreciate how Danny and Destiny were handling things, they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to watch Cassandra get capped.  Though there were only 20 people at the party, there were over 500 people online waiting with bated breath for the execution to take place.  You could hear a pin drop as everyone waited for the hosts to begin the show.

Upstairs the hosts of that night’s entertainment were dressing in their finest, in order to impress their peers.  Destiny put on her tightest red strappy Dolce & Gabana evening gown while Danny put on an Armani suit.  He felt ridiculous, but Destiny couldn’t have cared less as she carefully put on her makeup and did her hair.  “Come on!”  Danny yelled, “It’s been an hour, there are drag queens who don’t need this much time.”   Annoyed, Destiny continued to coif her hair as Danny’s whining echoed throughout the bedroom.  Quietly she said to herself, “Just a little more time and I’ll be done.” And she wasn’t referring to her hair.  She had some much planned for tonight that if Danny caught wind of it, he would probably punk out and run home to his mother.  Smiling in the mirror, Destiny admired her work and yelled in a sweet voice, “I’m already done.” And she meant that in more ways than one.

Grabbing a black lacquer box, she walked up to Danny and said, “Come on, everyone’s waiting.”  Taking her hand, they both walked out to the party and made their grand entre.  Danny was surprised that everyone he had invited showed up, he was almost certain most of them would be laying low because of the police presence in their neighborhoods.  It was like a well rehearsed ritual, a mob hit is carried out and the bosses and made men go underground until the coast is clear.  Seeing them coming down the stairs one of the gusts pointed up and yelled, “There they go, the pride and joy of the family!”  The rest of the guests laughed while others clapped and cheered their approval.  It was the warm welcome they had hoped for.  Smiling as they made it to the bottom of the stairs, they shook hands and greeted guests while champagne was served in expensive crystal glasses.  The mood in the room was surprisingly jolly considering what was about to take place.

Looking over at Danny, Destiny asked, “Are you ready?” Smiling back at her he said, “I’ve been ready for years.”  Going over to a makeshift stage they had created just for the occasion, they stood next to a box with a scarlet red cover.  Addressing both the party goers in attendance as well as those on the internet, Destiny said, “Thank you all for your loyalty and support during this very difficult time.  You’ve done so much for us, we decided to give back and sort of pay it forward and present you with a small gift.  It’s only a tiny way for us to show you our appreciation and we hope you enjoy it.”  As she said that Danny pulled off the cover revealing a large wooden crate.  Signaling his goons, two men appeared on the stage and lifted up the crate revealing a battered and beaten Cassandra Fenetti. Silence washed over the room then suddenly applause erupted as the party goers made their approval known.

Cassie barely noticed that she didn’t have any friends in the room, instead all she saw were bright lights and dark shapes moving back and forth before her.  Not able to process what was happening, all she could do is float back and forth between reality and darkness.  Thrilled by their response, Destiny presented the black lacquer box and popped the top open with her finger. Inside was a Desert Eagle AE 50 in titanium gold.  Glittering in the light as Danny took the gun, the audience looked on in awe at the specimen.  It was the most beautiful and terrifying gun any of them had ever seen.  This thing was going to make a mess which meant the spectators were going to get the show they’ve always wanted.

Making sure the thing was loaded, Danny announced, “Once and for all, we get rid of the Fenetti scourge.”  Cheering on, one member of the crowd impatiently yelled out, “Blast the bitch already!”  Raising his gun, a rumbling sound could be heard through the house, looking around Danny figured it was just a helicopter.  Just a helicopter he thought?  There shouldn’t be helicopters in this area.  As that thought went through his brain, the electricity went out.  Destiny gasped in horror.  It was then Danny knew the worst case scenario was indeed happening, the feds had caught up with them.  “NO!” Destiny yelled, “We have to do this!”  Hysterical, she began to hyperventilate at the idea of being caught. Raising the gun again, Danny decided he would do his damnedest to finish what they started.  They both came too far to stop now, even if he couldn’t see Cassie, someone was getting shot that night.  As he pulled the trigger a bright flash went off temporarily illuminating the room.


Fedelta 2: Friends & Other A**holes

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Pic by Bergadder via Pixabay

*Warning: Language*

Surprised by the statement, Amato had no idea Jimmy was undercover but then again, he wasn’t the lead on this case.  It sucked being out of the loop.  “Get a warrant for Destiny or whatever her names is and Marchesi.” Following orders, Amato went to his desk and started the paperwork when five minutes later he heard Cohen call his name.  What could be so important he thought to himself?  As he entered Cohen’s office, he saw a clearly stressed out man who seemed ready to chew someone’s head off.  Ready for battle, Amato squared his shoulders and hardened his expression.  “I just got off the phone with corrections and Agent Schivone was taken to the hospital, he was attacked.”  Amato felt every muscle in his body tense as he contemplated going down to that jail and tearing every inmate and guard a new asshole.  “I’ll go to the hospital,” Cohen said.  Amato interrupted him and said, “No, I’ll go to the hospital, you have to get the warrants.”

On a mission, Amato grabbed his jacket and stormed out of the building to find out what happened to Jimmy.  At Mount Sinai Hospital, he was greeted with indifference by the desk nurse until he showed his badge.  Calling over the doctor, Amato was led to an office by the older man who said, “Well, your colleague is going to be fine but he’s suffering from a concussion, I don’t recommend he return to work, it’s just too dangerous.”  Nodding his head in agreement, Amato asked, “Can I see him?”

“Of course,” the doctor said showing him the way to Jimmy’s room.  When Amato entered the room, he saw Jimmy getting dressed. “What the hell ya doing?” Amato asked, ready to take Jimmy’s jacket away.  “Whattaya mean what am I doing, what does it look like?”

“You’re outta of that cracked skull of yours if you think you’re going back on duty.”

“Get off my back, I’ve had a bad day.”

“And that’s why you’re going home,”  Pointing his finger, Amato continued, “In fact, you’re going home for a few days.”

“I’m fine,” Jimmy declared as he slid off the bed.

Slipping on his jacket, the room began to spin and recognizing that dazed look, Amato stepped over to catch Jimmy before he fell.  Swatting his hands away, Jimmy snapped, “I said I’m okay.” Rolling his eyes, Amato remarked, “You know what your epitaph is gonna say, “Here Lies James Schivone, his last words were: Duh!” When Amato said that it jarred Jimmy’s memory and he remembered what he was supposed to warn Amato about, “Yeah, I’m the dumbass, when in fact, I did my job and found out that the Cosmios are throwing Destiny and Danny under the bus on purpose.”

“What do you mean, on purpose?” Amato asked.

“They sent Stromboli face to trick you into thinking the killings are about Alluni dysfunction.  Think about it, they just happen to be at the scene while Danny and Destiny were long gone.”

“I thought that arrest was weird,” Amato searched his memory, “Nobody ran or pretended not to know what was going on.  It was too easy.” The more he thought about it, the more confusing it got, was Destiny playing both sides?  If so, that means a stripper from Indiana outsmarted two mob families.  She was capable of running game on people after all she was caught in a theft ring, so she understood the mechanics of a con.  Something told Amato that this wasn’t about Destiny getting revenge on Cassie for stealing away Stephano, this was about more.  It irritated Amato to know that there was a huge con going on but not being able to figure it out.

“I see the hamster wheel moving, what’s going on?” Jimmy asked.

“We’re so close to knowing what she’s up to.”

“Who Fenetti?”

“No, Destiny.”

“I have to get back to headquarters. I’m taking you home and you’re gonna take it easy.  If you don’t, I’m kicking your ass.”


“I mean it, I don’t want no trouble from you.”

“Sure.” Jimmy answered.

“I swear to God Jimmy…”

“Will you just take my ass home already?  Yeesh!”

Amato didn’t like that tone and knew Jimmy was going to give him trouble, but he knew that no matter what he said, Jimmy was going to do whatever the hell pleased him.  This was the thing that sucked about having a headstrong partner.  Jimmy was just as much of an asshole as he was.  That’s why Jimmy was the only one Amato wanted to work with but on days like this, he was a total pain in the ass, not to mention, a liability.

Keeping a watchful eye on him, they both went to the car and Amato dropped Jimmy off at this apartment, making extra sure he went inside the building.  Though he wanted to circle the neighborhood a few times, he didn’t have the time, Amato had to get back to headquarters.  He needed to look at those files again.  He knew he missed something, and it was bothering him. He knew Cohen would most likely have the warrant but if they didn’t know where Destiny was holed up, it was just a piece of paper.  However knowing Cohen, they were planning to go from property to property hoping for a stroke of luck.  Amato knew that they weren’t going to find anything, Destiny wasn’t stupid.  He had to look at the financial records of Dominic Fenetti, something told him, that his relationship with Destiny was more than just employee, employer type of relationship.  Only pimps and boyfriends bailed out hookers.  It was possible that she was both, but something told Amato that it went further than that.  Though Dominic already had a girlfriend, in the mob, one was never enough.  Most guys had wives and girlfriends.  Wives manned the home and children, while girlfriends did everything else.  It was an arrangement as old as time itself, once a guy got enough money, he branched out.  Why not?  The odds of a Mafioso dying a natural death or dying a freeman were small.  In this lifestyle, you had to live it up before the grim reaper called your number.

books, Cereal Authors, Crime, Fiction, Rachel Rueben, Romance, Thriller

Fedelta 2: Among The Savages

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Image via Pixabay’s TryJimmy

Warning Language and Violence

As Amato dug up more info on Danny and Destiny, Jimmy was sitting in his cell with Leo when a group of correction officers appeared bringing back Anthony to his cell.  Jimmy stood next to the door and leaned against it like he was looking in the opposite direction.  He heard laughter erupt as Anthony joined his fellow cellmates and family members.  Why were they allowed to be housed in the same cell?  It wasn’t hard to guess that one of the guards was either screwing up on a massive level or was corrupt.  It was no secret that some guards barely made livable wages.  Their lack of compensation made them the weakest link in the prison system.  As Jimmy strained to hear, he felt the breeze as several of the correctional officers quickly walked away.  Once they disappeared, Jimmy heard someone say, “Did you tell em what we told ya?”

“Yeah.” Was the response.  “They bought it, I think.”

“Good, we don’t need them knowing everything.”

Interested, Jimmy listened on, “Just make sure Danny and his bitch gets thrown under the bus.”

“Good riddance” Jimmy heard another person say.

“Yeah, sorry son of a bitch, at least he got Stephano and we didn’t have to start a war but Fenetti is still alive and she was part of the deal.  Punk ass, can’t even kill a broad.  I bet you if you gave Destiny that gun, she would’ve whacked ’em both.”

“Shame, we hired the wrong gun.”


Jimmy couldn’t believe what he was hearing, these guys weren’t Allunis, they were Cosimos!  It all made sense, the Cosimos wanted revenge and so they went to Stephano’s second in command, Danny.  They had it all wrong, Danny wasn’t gunning for his boss’s position, the Alunni wouldn’t have tolerated the betrayal.  Instead, Danny had joined the other team!  Jimmy had to get out of there and warn Amato.  However, before he could do that, he noticed out of the corner of his eye, his cellmate charging right towards him and before he could react, Jimmy was knocked unconscious.  As his limp body lay on the floor, all hope for Cassie was lost.