books, Fiction, Rachel Rueben, Romance

Fedelta Book 2: An Unofficial Investigation

Fedelta Unofficial Investigation
Image via Pixabay

Parking the Kia right in front of the building, Jimmy and Amato got out of the car trying their best to not look awkward.  Being an undercover agent for over a decade, they knew that any odd or misplaced gesture could raise suspicion.  Confidently, they walked into the building and going straight up to the apartment, they cut the tape that sealed the door and without a word, breached the crime scene.  What they were doing was dangerous, not to mention, illegal.  If caught, they could be charged with obstructing an investigation so they had to be quick.  Looking around the living room, Amato saw things overturned and ransacked.  Then he and Jimmy smelled the smoke, “Jesus, what happened here?”  Shrugging his shoulders Jimmy couldn’t answer, since he too was completely stumped.

Seeing the window was open, he thought it was odd but figured the investigators did it to clear the smoke out of the room.  Then he saw what appeared to be a high heel shoe which piqued his interest and since he didn’t have gloves, he searched for a bathroom.  Grabbing a roll of toilet paper he tore a piece off, with his hand covered he picked up the shoe.  It was scuffed up pretty badly and the bottom was worn out.  “Well this got a lot of mileage,” he observed.

“I can’t see the mate anywhere around here,” Jimmy said as he carefully looked around the room.

“Yeah, that is weird,” Amato remarked, as he slowly stood up from the crouching position.  Dropping the shoe back onto the floor, he also began looking about for the missing shoe.  Their search turned up nothing, so they moved on to the dinning room where in the center of the room stood a table that was completely charred.  “Looks like we got a point of origin,” Jimmy said as he leaned over the table and inhaled, “Smells like kerosene.”

“None of this makes any sense, why were they burning this place down?  With all the people and security cameras in this building, it’s not very smart,” Amato said.

“Maybe it was personal?” Jimmy answered.

“Might be.”

Since there nothing more to see in the dinning room they moved on to the bedroom, and once inside they saw yet another failed attempt at a fire.  “Who the hell is this?” Jimmy exclaimed at the botched arson.

“This can’t be a job,” Amato deduced, “This is broad with mental issues.”

“You think this was Fenetti?” Jimmy asked rather shocked.

“Not sure, but look,” Amato said while pulling out a belt from the charred pile of clothing, “What Mafioso wastes time burning his enemy’s clothes?”

“Maybe there was trouble in paradise and Fenetti, had Stephano iced?”

“Could be,” Amato said examining the rest of the room which was ransacked as well.  He had to keep an opened mind in this investigation but so far, it wasn’t looking good for Cassandra.  As they moved on to the home office, they noticed things missing, like a computer which was hastily disconnected from the modem under the desk.  Seeing the safe on the ground, Jimmy peeked inside but saw it had been cleaned out.  “Okay, so the money’s gone and whatever else he had in here,” Amato announced.  This showed that their arsonist was very well acquainted with the victim.  “It’s starting to look like it was definitely Fenetti,” Jimmy said rather of fact.

As Jimmy was already wrapping up their investigation, Amato noticed something out of place.  Staring at a cabinet that was obviously pushed away from the wall, he walked up to it and noticed, drag marks on the carpet which indicated it had been moved, but why and by who?  “Come over here,” Amato said, “Help me move this thing.”  Not sure why he was fixated on this cabinet, Jimmy went over to assist Amato move the thing and discovered a door.  “Bingo,” Amato said feeling like he just won the lottery.

Searching inside, they found a small footprint in the carpet, pointing at it, Amato said, “Definitely female.”  Standing there staring at the evidence he felt a sense of disappointment in Cassandra.  He never thought she would stoop this low.  Conceding to Jimmy’s theory, Amato sighed then said, “Guess you were right, it was Fenetti.”

Not feeling euphoric over the matter, Jimmy asked, “So now what?”

“We find her and throw her ass to the lions.” Amato said without any hesitation.

“Glad to see that you’re back on the team,” Jimmy said.

However Amato did not feel like celebrating, because they still had no clue where Cassandra could be.  And if they found her, then what?  It was unlikely that she would surrender even if confronted with a show of force.  In fact, it would make things that more dangerous because he knew from the surveillance video, she was well armed and not backing down from anyone.  In that instance, the thought that maybe he should turn these findings over to Cohen crossed Amato’s mind.  He didn’t mind if Cassandra shot Cohen, in fact, it would relieve him of all his problems professionally speaking.  His two least favorite people in the world taking each other out, now that was a thought that brought a smile to his face.  Giving in to the idea, Amato looked up at Jimmy and said, “We’re done here, I’ll call this in and call it a day.”

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books, Crime, Fiction, Rachel Rueben, Romance

Fedelta 2: The Search For Cassandra

Fedelta Book 2 The Search For Cassandra

Warning: Language

In the meantime, Cassandra Fenetti was awaking refreshed in a soft, memory foam mattress.  Not wanting to get out of bed, she commanded her voice assistant to turn on the television to the morning news.  As the picture became brighter and more clear, she saw her own image reflected back at her in the form of a composite sketch.  “Ugh!  Shiit!” she sighed, as she sat straight up in her bad.  Rubbing her eyes with her hands, Cassandra squinted to see the image again, just to be sure she wasn’t dreaming.  Unfortunately for her, it was no dream, her face really was on the morning news.  Running her hands through her hair she knew she had to act fast.  Sliding out of bed, Cassandra stumbled to her closet, where she found her trusty box of wigs, inside, she found a dark, but short brunette wig.  It was a far cry from her usual look, but nonetheless, she began pinning up her hair, to at least attempt to make the lace front look as natural as possible.  As she applied her makeup, she thought to herself, this was happening way too soon. Cassie knew how the cops operated, and this wasn’t their style.  To share their investigation with the public showed they were desperate or considered her a real threat to society.  Maybe this wasn’t the cops?  Maybe the Feds were on this already?  Otherwise, how could they have ID’d her so quickly?  Despite all of the questions, Cassandra knew she had to act quickly, if she was going to succeed at escaping.  Luckily, her only trip out of the safe house would be to the bank but there, they had lots of security cameras.  So she had to look and act as normal as possible.

Blocking out the “what do I do?” voice in her head, she focused on the mission at hand.  Cassandra had to keep telling herself that everything was still okay.  As she carefully finished putting on her makeup, she said to herself, “This is only a glitch, nothing’s changed,” and she meant it.  Her determination was no less shaken nor was her courage diminished.  She would get out of this town and not only that, she would return to exact revenge.  Whoever was trying to ruin her life, was going to be made an example of.  This thought was the only thing that kept her going.  As she searched the room for clothes, Cassandra looked around and thanked her neurosis for prepping this safe house.  When she decided to go back into this life, she made sure that she did not make the same mistakes her father made.  He was so stuck in the old ways that he never saw the new threats on the horizon.  He treated La Cosa Nostra like a religion, while others only saw it as a business opportunity.  Cassandra would make this life give her back everything it had stolen but in the meantime, she had a date at her local bank.  Giving herself the once over in the mirror, she made sure the wig was straight, the clothes were mute and her appearance didn’t raise any eyebrows.  Once she was satisfied with her appearance, Cassandra grabbed her gun, and her favorite purse then, headed straight out the door and right into the path of danger.

books, Crime, Fiction, Rachel Rueben, Romance

Fedelta 2: Putting In An Order

Fedelta Book 2 Putting In An Order

Warning: Language

As Cassandra slept, Amato and Jimmy were reuniting in Central Park after losing their tailgaters, “Hey long time, no see, asshole,” Jimmy joked.

“Come on, we gotta keep moving.  You dumped the car, right?”

“Yeah, it’s all the way on 9th and Broadway, probably getting towed as we speak.”

“You’re brilliant, for an old fucker,” Amato said, knowing the police will be searching that area for them, Jimmy just bought them at least half a day.

“Cohen doesn’t have the resources to track you and Fenetti, plus, the assassins.”

“I hope you’re right, goomba” said Amato, uncertain.

They both walked to the other side of the park and to the train station on 3rd.  He had a plan to get another car and Jimmy probably wasn’t going to like it, which is why Amato was keeping it a secret.  He didn’t need Jimmy throwing a fit, not now.  Walking down the street, they came across an old fencer who ran a chop shop parading as an auto part store.  The moment Jimmy saw Amato’s right foot cross over onto the property he exclaimed, “Whoa, whoooa, whooa, you’ve gotta to be crazy!”

“Come on, we need a car, and you know Desi’s got one.”

“Yeah but he’s a weasel.  Who’s to say he won’t snitch and get us killed?”

“He’s not snitching on nobody, just trust me.”

Reluctantly, Jimmy followed Amato into the shop and cringed at the sound of the bell on the door.  “Nice ambiance, assholes,” Jimmy said under his breath as he batted the stupid chain that hung from the door.

“Behave,” Amato warned.

Holding his tongue Jimmy played along with this farce, while his gut told him this was not going to go well.  Hearing that there was a customer in the shop, the owner himself, Desi Fostino, appeared in a dirty apron and even dirtier hands which he was trying to clean off with a red rag.  Though he looked like you’re typical middle aged Italian man, he was one of the most notorious car thieves in New York.  “Can I help ya’s?” he asked without bothering to look up.

“Yeah, I’d like to place an order for a 2014 La Crosse, no frills, just candy apple red.” Amato replied.

Snickering, Desi, continued to get the grime out from under his finger nails without bothering to look up at them, “I dunno what you’s guys heard, but I don’t play tha…” Amato stopped him by grabbing his grease rag.

“Hello Desi, remember me?” Stunned, and wide eyed, all the old man could do was nod.

“Look I don’t want any trouble, we run a clean business here,” he said trying to appeal to Amato.  Snorting, Jimmy wasn’t having any of it, “You neva, run a clean business Desi, just look at ya.”  Not wanting to scare Desi too much, Amato rephrase his request, “Desi, I need a car with new plates, can you do it?”

“Ye…yeeah!” he said shaking in his sneakers.

“Good, what ya got in inventory?”

“Three Corollas and a Kia Optima.”

“I want to borrow the Kia for a few hours, is it ready to roll?”

Nodding his head yes, Desi said, “I’ll go get the remote.”

“Thank you.” Amato said, while staring him dead in the eye intentionally making Desi uncomfortable.

As they waited, there was a television on the wall broadcasting the 6 o’clock news.  To their dismay, they were already broadcasting the murder, as well as the security footage.  As their day went from bad to worse, the news station even posted a composite sketch of Cassandra Fenetti, along with her name, age and last known whereabouts.  She was labeled a person of interest as well as a suspect brandishing a weapon at police.  “Geesh!” Amato said angrily.  Jimmy watched stunned by the carelessness of the local police.  “This isn’t gonna end well,” he declared.

Rubbing his jaw, Amato looked like he was ready for a fight.  Slamming his fist onto the counter, he said through gritted teeth, “Son of a bitch!  They shit all over this investigation just like I knew they would.”  Hearing the banging of Amato’s fist, Desi came out of the back in a hurry, “I’m trying as fast as I can,” he said doing his best to get them out of his store. Throwing the remote on the counter, Desi expected a look of contentment however, all he got was an icy stare from Amato who scooped up the remote.  Sensing the anger, Desi took a step back and said, “It’s out in the back, please, just go.  I don’t want anyone seeing this, they’ll think I’m a rat.”

“Too late,” Jimmy answered, not able to resist.

Following Amato out the front door, he inexplicably turned his head and saw Desi turning off the television.  It was too little, too late, the damage had already been done.  Amato was now on the warpath, and Jimmy knew nothing would stop him from finding Cassandra Fenetti, even if it was only to rub Cohen’s face in it.  This was becoming personal, but when it came to Cassandra and Amato, it was always personal.  He felt like a third wheel, but he had to look out for his friend and colleague.  There was bad blood in the ranks when it came to Amato.  There were still some who believed he couldn’t be trusted, considering since his return, seven agents were arrested for having ties to the Cosimo family.  This benefited only Fenetti, and her new crew the Alunni, she and Stephano had to purge and consolidate their power.  What better way than to get rid of all the back stabbers and make a public statement?  Amato looked like a foolish lover who got tossed like a piece of trash by an ambitious mafiosa.  It wasn’t right and Jimmy wanted to help restore Amato’s reputation, not to mention, his career.  He watched too many people get steamrolled by Cohen and wanted to put an end to it.  This was the perfect opportunity to do it.

As they walked around the building to the back, Amato reached for his gun as they turned the corner.  Following suit, Jimmy reached for his as well.  Creeping slowly around the corner, they were both relieved to find nothing but a white Kia Optima parked amongst some other beat up cars.  Using the remote Amato disarmed the alarm system, and unlocked the doors.  Inspecting the car for defects, he listened to the hum of the engine to be sure it purred just right.  He also looked at the plates on the car and they were New York license plates to his satisfaction.  “Smiling, Jimmy said, “Looks like Desi delivered.”  Amato simply nodded his head, still pissed off from the unwelcomed media coverage.   Jimmy could see the intensity in his gaze and knew he was already planning the next move.

books, Crime, Fiction, Rachel Rueben, Romance

Fedelta 2: Cooking Up Plans

Fedelta Book 2 Cooking Up Plans

Warning: Language

While Nicholson was trying to warn Amato, he was sitting in front of his television watching the New York Mets take on the Toronto Blue Jays.  In his black leather recliner, Amato ate his dinner and began to decompress from his encounter with Special Agent Cohen.  In the middle of the stretch he heard a knock at his door.  Cautiously, he opened the door just a crack and to his surprise, it was his old buddy Jimmy Schiavone. Opening the door all the way, he saw the look on Jimmy’s face, “Uh, oh!” Amato exclaimed, knowing something was up.  “Lemme guess, Cohen sent you?”

“What, no hello or how ya doin’?” Jimmy exclaimed.

Rolling his eyes Amato played along, “Okay, hello, how ya dooin’?” he said poking fun at Jimmy’s Long Island accent.

“Prick!  You mockin’ the one guy that single handedly saved your ass?”

“Single handed, eh?” Amato caught him exaggerating.

“Okay, I had a little help,” Jimmy confessed as he walked into Amato’s apartment.

Closing the door behind him, Amato muttered, “This is gonna be a long day.”

Seeing he was watching the game, Jimmy sat down on the couch and asked, “What’s the score, yo?”

“Mets, 6-2”

“Just in time,” Jimmy said making himself at home.

Returning to his chair, Amato sat back and waited for it.  Looking over at his plate, Jimmy asked, “Hey what ya eatin’ over there?”

“Vegan eggplant parmesan.”

“What the fuck is that?”

“What, eggplant parmesan?”

“No that other shit you said.”

“What, vegan parmesan?”

“Yeah, what’s this vegan shit I keep hearing about?” Jimmy asked curiously.

“It’s means no animal or animal by-products.” Amato answered.

“So what the fuck is on the eggplant if it ain’t cheese?”

“You know, soy or cashew.”

“Brotha, ever since you and Irene broke up, things haven’t been the same for you.  I ain’t neva seen an Italian put fake cheese on his food,” he said snickering.

Throwing his towel at Jimmy, he asked the big question, “Okay, Jimbo what’s up?”

Looking visibly uncomfortable, Jimmy clasped his hands as if he was trying to come up with the right words.  As he looked about the room, he finally returned his gaze to Amato, then confessed, “It’s Cohen, he’s requesting your personnel file.”

“So what?” Amato responded, unimpressed.

“You don’t know this guy Amato, he’s a total dick.  He’s sacked more than one guy in his day and it looks like he’s got his sights set on you.”

“Thanks for the warning Jimmy, but I’m a big boy and can handle myself.”

Putting his hands up Jimmy said, “I’m just the messenger, Nicholson wanted me to warn you.”

Just as he said that, the crowd on television erupted in cheers as the Mets shut down the Blue Jays.  The ending was anticlimactic but Jimmy seemed to be thrilled that the game ended in a win.  Getting up he announced, “I’ll see myself out, just remember to watch your back from now on.”

“It’s the only way I know how to roll.” Amato reassured him.

When Jimmy left, Amato was alone to contemplate whether or not he would bother participating in this case.  After all, Cassandra Fenetti wasn’t necessarily in need of his help.  She was probably on the other side of the planet, if she were smart.  However something told him, that this wasn’t the case.  Feeling it in his gut, he knew she was nearby and if Cohen approached her, she might blow his head off.  So all in all, if he kept his hands off the wheel, Cassandra would take care of his Cohen problem.  Smiling, the idea did appeal to him.  Nonetheless, there was piece of him that needed to see her again.  Amato wasn’t sure if it schadenfreude, or if he actually had feelings for her.  No matter the case, it was stupid of him to come running when she was in trouble, not after she two-timed him.  So what was he going to do when he saw her again, say I told you so?  Having dragged his feet for nearly half the day, he rose to his feet and declared, “Okay Amato, it’s time to get that damsel.”  Slipping his feet into a pair of rubber soled Oxfords, he grabbed his badge and gun then went out the front door.  Standing outside in the hall was none other than Jimmy, “Jesus Christ, Amato, you take foreva to do right,” he complained.

“Sorry, I forgot we were in this together.”

“Damn straight,” Jimmy said popping his collar.

Seeing him getting psyched up, Amato chuckled and asked, “Whose car are we taking General?” referring to his old street name.

Without batting an eyelash, Jimmy answered, “Whatcha working with?”

“I got a 2017 Chevy Camaro,”

“When they bring that back?”

“Oh about 2010, you probably didn’t notice since you were busy gerneraling and all.” Amato said in jest.

“Yeesh!  It’s like the 80’s all over again.”

Pushing the button for the elevator, Amato said, “Before my time, brotha,” as the door opened, they both stepped inside.  Jimmy pushed the button to the ground floor and like that, they were on their way to their next adventure, just like old times.

books, Crime, Rachel Rueben, Romance

Fedelta 2: Making The Next Move

Fedelta Book 2 Making The Next Move

As Amato and Jimmy made their plans, Cassandra was making hers.  Desperate for cash, she knew she had to start liquidating her assets if she wanted to escape.  Doing her best to stay one step ahead of the cops, she grabbed her spare phone, and started looking up the number to her local bank branch manager.  With her fingers crossed, she called and explained that she needed to withdraw all of her money.  “In cash?” the manager asked rather surprised.

“No, in puka shells,” she retorted, “Of course in cash!”

“Well Ms. Fenetti, we’ll need at least 24 hours.”

“Why?”

“We’re low in cash,” the manager explained.

“You’re a bank, how is that even possible?”

“Just bear with us Ms. Fenetti. We’ll have all of the funds tomorrow.”

“Urgh!  Okay, I’ll be there at opening.”

“Alright, see you then.” He said in a sickening sweet tone.

Hanging up the phone the manager place a call to his supervisor, the Vice president of the branch, “Steve, it’s Marty, sorry to bother you but Fenetti called.  She’s coming by tomorrow morning at opening.”

“Thanks Marty, I handle this one myself.” He said.

He wasn’t quite sure why the President of the bank would want to personally handle the closing of an account, but Marty, simply agreed to have his admin send the files to his boss’s computer.  That was one less account he had to deal with, and since it was the end of the day, he grabbed his jacket along with his brief case and left for home.

In the meantime, Cassandra had to figure out where she was going once she had the cash.  Placing a call to her favorite airline, she chartered a plane to the Cayman Islands.  Once she got off the phone with them, she booked a hotel room at the Hilton.  Nonetheless she still wasn’t done, Cassandra had to make sure no one would be able to track her, not the cops, and certainly not the killers.  She already knew that the cops were checking phone records and looking at security footage.  As if that weren’t enough, Cassandra would have to change her appearance as well as get a new identity.  Placing a few calls to some of the best forgers in New York, she put in an order for a new driver’s license as well as a passport.  The ones she had were old, and looked outdated.  Sending him a recent photo of herself, she got the okay from the forger and they worked out a deal.  She regretted not staying on top of these things, she knew better, being the daughter of a mobster and the fiancé of another.  This life was unpredictable and deadly, Inpatient she mumbled to herself, “When will you ever learn?”.

This was only phase one of her plan, she still had to keep herself alive and evade police for the next 16 hours.  Cassandra had to lay low, if she was going to survive the night.  Starting the engine, she made a journey to her old hideout, a safe house of sorts.  Making her way through Little Italy, she made it to an old pizzeria.  Parking down the street, she took out a key and went to the back and climbed a set of rickety stairs to a tiny apartment.  Cassandra figured she would be safe here since she and Stephano rented it under the table.  There was no paper trail and they were careful to not tell anyone about it.  Despite all that, she was still paranoid and took out her glock.  Quietly she went from room to room to be absolutely sure she was alone.  When she was able to let her guard down, Cassandra put the gun away and went straight to the closet to find the clothes she had purchased for a time like this.  There was an array of outfits, some of them were shabby chic, while the others were high end luxury brands.  There was no way she could dress as she always had.  Too many people knew her style, and if her instincts were right, the cops were already creating a profile of her, if they hadn’t already.  It was a hot day and she still wasn’t feeling well, so Cassandra decided to take a shower and call it a day.

Collapsing on the bed, she made herself comfortable and clutched a pillow.  Fighting the urge to cry, she refused to think about what happened and focused instead on what needed to be done.  Going over the plan in her head, she went over  every possible scenario again and again like a mantra of sorts.  After all, Cassandra needed something to believe in and her plan was that thing.  She would succeed, she would pull herself out of this mess.  Confident, she slowly drifted to sleep, safe for now.

books, Crime, Fiction, Rachel Rueben

Fedelta: Authority Issues

Fedelta Book 2: Authority Issues

Warning: Language

On the other side of town, Amato was winding down the day and getting himself ready for dinner.  Since his divorce he had to learn to live like a bachelor and it really didn’t appeal to him.  He had a service that prepared his meals for him after nearly burning down his kitchen when trying to fry an egg.  He also had a cleaning service come in and clean his apartment after breaking his thumb while trying to scrap the ash from the stove after the the egg debacle.  It was getting expensive being alone, not to mention humiliating.  Amato always prided himself on being independent but he wasn’t cut out for this life.  He was missing companionship of the female kind.  Online dating didn’t suit him because he knew from his work that you’re just one serial killer away from making the nightly news.  Besides, he was sick of disappointment and dating was the express lane to Regretsville.  He would either be disappointed by finding out his date lived with 100 cats or she would be disappointed by his unhealthy obsession with his work.  Amato had to face reality, he was no catch.  He was approaching his 40’s and the grey streaks were already starting to appear in his dark brown hair.  His left knee now cracked every time he bent it and he was even prescribed a pair of reading glasses.  It was safe to say he was getting a little long in the tooth.

As he began heating up his vegan eggplant parmesan, there was a knock at the door.  Knowing exactly who it was, he made no attempt at hurrying to answer.  Setting the oven’s thermostat to 350°, he gently put the eggplant dish in the oven.  After closing the oven door, he heard  a second knock.  Hearing the frustration of his guest as they began pounding on the door, Amato smiled.  Taking his time to the door, he threw a kitchen towel over his shoulder and yelled, “Hang on!”

When he opened the door, it was none other than Special Agent Cohen, looking worn out and angry.  “Oh hi, Agent Cohen, what brings you to this part of town?” Amato inquired.  Glaring up at him, Cohen growled, “When I call, you answer the fucking phone.  Got that, you piece of shit!”

“Whoooa!  Wait a minute here, you didn’t come all this way to insult me, did you?”

“Fuck you Amato!” he said with his finger pointed in his face.  “I ain’t got time for your stupid games.”

Laying down the law Amato warned, “Apparently you’re under the impression that we’re at work.  If you want to bark orders and berate your fellow piss ants you might want to return to the office.  But if you wanna stay for some eggplant parmesan, you’re welcome.”  Pretending as if he didn’t understand the severity of the situation, Amato smiled then added, “It’s vegan.”

“You’re a disgrace.” Cohen bellowed.

Admitting to defeat Amato threw his hands up in the air, “Well, I tried to make nice,” he declared as he began closing the door on Special Agent Cohen.

“The fellas were right, that Fenetti chick got you all pussy whipped.”

Not falling for it, Amato kept his temper and closed the door.  Walking away, he refused to deal with Cohen in this state, even if it meant losing his job.  So he went back to preparing dinner while Cohen began making his plan to end Amato’s career.  Cohen was going to be damn sure he got whatever he needed for his investigation even if he had to pull it out of Amato’s gullet.  As he retreated to the elevator, Cohen began making phone calls.

On the outside it seemed like Amato just poked a bear with a small stick when in fact, he was politicking.  Not content to be a solider in Cohen’s army, he would not play second fiddle to anyone on the force anymore.  He nearly lost his life the last time.  One might say he had control issues now when it came to his work.  Turning on the Mets game in the living room, he listened from the kitchen as he got the veggies out crisper.  Carefully, Amato began chopping up his salad while he waited for Cohen to make the next move.

By the time Cohen made it back to headquarters, he made a b-line to Agent Nicholson’s office.  Storming in without so much as knocking, Cohen demanded, “I want his file.”  Confused, Nicholson asked, “What the hell ya talking about?”

“Amato, I want John Amato’s personnel file,” he said nearly out of breath.

“What the hell for?”

“Just send me his God damn file,” Cohen said through gritted teeth.

“You know that you gotta send a request through the proper channels.”
“Not you too?” Cohen said bewildered.

“We have rules Cohen, I can’t just go showing personnel files to any ol’ body.” Nicholson said rather annoyed by his request.

“Damn it, I got a job to do!” Cohen yelled.

“So do we.” Nicholson retorted, “Fill out the paperwork and send it my way.”

Disgusted, Cohen barged out of the office.  Knowing this was serious, Nicholson made a phone call to a mutual acquaintance of both he and Amato’s in order to warn him about what was going down.  He didn’t want to get directly in the middle of this, Amato just wasn’t worth it.  At least not to him, he had no skin in this game.  However Nicholson knew that Cohen was vindictive and had ruined several careers,  and he thought it would be shame if Cohen struck again.  He knew that snake wouldn’t rest until he had Amato’s head hanging on his office wall.  Unfortunately, Nicholson couldn’t take him down by himself, but he could send a message indirectly, and whatever happened, was up to fate.  If Amato was as good as people said, he would be able to handle Cohen if not, there would be a new opening in the office.

books, Rachel Rueben, Romance, Thriller

Fedelta 2: Hustling

Fedelta Excerpt 3
Image via Pixabay

*Warning Language*

Meanwhile, just a few blocks away in front of a laundromat, Cassandra was hunting for new clothes.  In most people’s eyes, she was loaded but in reality, she was asset rich and cash poor.  She couldn’t just walk into a store and pay with her jewelry, no matter how nice and expensive it was.  So in essence she was broke, so Casssandra did what she always did when she was broke, she stole.  First, she cased the joint for security guards but only found surveillance cameras on the outside of the building as well at the register.  The rest of the place was free of interference.  Relieved, she began looking for women who were about her size and observed their alertness.  The last thing she needed was someone putting up a fight.  However as she scanned the place, Cassandra noticed only one woman who fit the bill and she seemed to be a young woman with three small children.  It didn’t feel right, so Cassandra decided to make it right.  Sitting in one of the plastic neon orange chairs near her target, she began taking off her diamond earrings.  She figured they were worth around $10,000, way more than anything this woman owned and slipped them into the woman’s purse. With the flick of the wrist, Cassandra slid the goods into the woman’s bag and began her scheme.

Appearing to be busy on her phone, Cassandra patiently waited for the woman to be distracted and it didn’t take long when her kids began fighting.  Completely overwhelmed, the woman snatched one of the boys by the arm and began yelling.  As she did, the baby next to her started crying.  The woman sighed and commanded, “Come on!” as she headed off to the lady’s restroom.  It was the diaper change sent from the gods, and without arousing any suspicion, Cassandra went over to the dryer and plucked out a damp t-shirt with a pair of jeans from the load.  Then without saying a word, she left the laundromat before the woman could return.  When she got to her car, she began putting on the lavender peasant top and cropped blue jeans.  Now the look was complete, no one would ever think of looking for her driving a dirty SUV while dressed in Boxmart style clothes.  Even though she wasn’t dressed like her normal attire, it was still way better than the sweaty and dirty evening gown that she was nearly murdered in.  When Cassandra got to the nearest Mc Restaurant, she threw the gown in the dumpster.  Smelling the food inside her stomach growled.   It had been over 6 hours since she last ate and though it would kill her family to know that she was eating food cooked under a heat lamp, it was cheap and convenient.

None of that mattered because she still had no money, and the only thing Cassandra had left to give away was her engagement ring.  There was no way she would ever part with that.  So she had to find another way.  Looking through her purse, she desperately looked for anything but all she had was makeup, tissues and gum.  Then her phone vibrated.  Looking at the screen, Cassandra noticed the call had a local area code with an unfamiliar number.  She knew better than to answer.  In fact, she knew what to do next, she had to pawn the phone.  But before she did that, Cassandra deleted all the contact info as well as all the apps.  She had another phone in her suitcase, she wasn’t going to miss this one.  Before Cassandra left the restaurant, she looked around for a fencer.  Usually, they hustled on corners or in parking lots.  She knew there would be interest in her phone because it was brand new and had a brand named.  Scouring the block for her new buyer, she noticed a man in front of a gas station.  Checking him out, she noticed he was dressed in a newish football jersey and jeans so he wasn’t homeless.  Cautiously, she scanned the block to make sure he wasn’t a cop.  Cassandra couldn’t see any unusual cars parked on the street and decided to take the risk.  Casually, she walked over to him and smiled then, asked for the time.  Returning the smile he said, “Baby, I got all the time in the world.”  It was the corniest thing she had ever heard, and couldn’t help but roll her eyes.  Seeing the ice had been broken, she straight up asked him, “Hey, I’m looking to unload a phone, is there a pawn shop ‘round here?”

“Naw, baby girl, but lemme look.”

From a distance she held up the phone and his eyes bulged, “That’s the new Andromeda 10!”  Hearing the excitement in his voice, Cassandra asked, “Yeah, you interested?”  And before you knew it, she had closed the deal and scored an extra $40 in her pocket.  It wasn’t a lot but enough for food and little bit of gas for her ride.  With this Cassandra ordered her McSlop which she ate in the car because she was too embarrassed to eat inside.  As she inhaled her food, Cassandra wondered about her next move.  It was the first time in nearly 8 hours she had time to sit down and think.  She could flee the country but she had to do it quickly before she was named a suspect or a person of interest by law enforcement.  And since she stuck a gun in a cop’s face, they were more likely to just book her on that.  Then there was Stephano’s killers, she would have to deal with them sooner or later.  She needed to get her hands on Danny Marchesi, the man who ruined her life and took Stephano’s.  Angry, all Cassandra could do was fantasize about what she would do with him and his crew once she got a hold of them.  But for now, she was just some chick in a fast food parking lot and wasn’t riding with any crew.  In fact, she had to assume that everyone had turned on her.  It was the safest thing to do.

Feeling all alone, the tears streamed down her face but Cassandra decided to shut that part of her brain down in order to survive.  She needed to survive this attack on her life, Casssandra needed to survive the police and their bullshit, and more importantly, she needed to survive for Stephano.  She was the only one who could deliver justice for him now.  With her mind already made up, she threw what was left of her lunch out of the window and started the car.  It was reckoning time.

 

Thank you for following along with the Fedelta series, if you need to get caught up here are the first two posts:

books, Fiction, Rachel Rueben, Romance, Thriller

Fedelta 2: Hardball

Fedelta 2 Second Excerpt

Meanwhile across town, Detective Amato was back in his cubicle with the other detectives in the financial crimes unit.  It was his own personal nightmare, a desk job  he had to do from a shoe box but at least he had a job.  In the last year, he went from fugitive, to being welcomed back into the fold and it was all a complete mystery to him.  Well not really, he knew that someone called in a favor and he was let back into the force through the cat flap.  Amato managed to keep his nose to the grind and keep out of trouble but it was secretly killing him.  He wanted more and Amato wasn’t even sure if this is how he wanted to live his life.  Looking at spreadsheets and nitpicking over ledgers was not what he dedicated himself to at the academy.  It was pathetic, he didn’t even have a gun anymore.  The last time he discharged his firearm was when he was taking the marksmanship test.  He felt like a dog that had been neutered, a ball-less wonder.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t the gun that was bothering him so much.  Maybe it was the fact that he knew that the only reason why he was back on the force was because of Cassandra Fenetti.  The woman who he owed his newly resurrected career to and the woman he wanted dead for betraying him.

With blurry eyes, he did his best to read the rows and columns of financial data that graced the screen.  His job was to flag any inconsistencies and send the documents off to his supervisor.  Rinse and repeat, all the day long.  It was soul crushing for a man who was used of being out in the field taking risks and chasing bad guys.  He didn’t know how long he could take this, in fact, he had already started looking for another job in another town.  There had to be someone, somewhere, who needed a cop?  As his mind wondered off, his boss, Agent Nicholson, yelled from his office, “Amato, get in here.”  Startled, he nearly tripped over his own feet trying to exit his work station, God he couldn’t wait until this day was over.

Once in the office, he noticed Supervisory Special Agent Cohen from the Organized Crime Unit was sitting across from his boss’ desk.  “Shut the door,” Nicholson ordered.  Doing as he was told, Amato shut the door and approached the desk.  Pointing to a folding chair, his boss commanded, “Take a seat.” Once seated, Cohen addressed Amato, “There was a hit this morning on Columbus Avenue and 96th Street.  Double homicide, both males.”  On the desk was a folder which he reached into and pulled out several photos of two men in a vehicle, shot multiple times.  Handing them over to Amato, he asked, “Recognize, the vics?”

Stunned, Amato answered, “Yes, the male behind the wheel is Lucus Hobbs, driver for Stephano Rimaldi, the very dead gentleman in the backseat.”

“Right,”  Cohen said as he pulled out a tablet and handed it to Amato, “Press play.” Doing as instructed, a grainy surveillance video played the final moments of the unlucky occupants in the car.  “This is overkill” Amato remarked as he saw four men shooting at the vehicle.  He watched as the assassins fled the scene and the patrolman approached the vehicle.  Pressing stop, Cohen corrected him saying, “No, keep going.”  Not certain as to what he meant, Amato pressed play again and watched as Cassie appeared in camera range.  “Recognize the female?”  Cohen asked.

Hesitantly, Amato answered, “Yes, it’s Fenetti, Cassandra Fenetti.  She’s the fiancé of Rimaldi.”

“Interesting,” Cohen said staring at Amato.  “Those of us in homicide would appreciate any assistance you can offer in our little investigation.”

“Of course,” Amato replied.

“We’re looking for the female suspect,”

“Suspect?”

“She couldn’t have done this.”

“No, we don’t believe she’s the mastermind of the hit, but she did threaten an officer with a weapon and we would like to talk to her.”

Chuckling, Amato answered, “Good luck finding her, let alone getting her to talk.”

“Yeah about that,” Cohen said sitting back in his chair, “We want you to lead the fugitive task force.”

“Wait, what?” Amato exclaimed, “This is the wrong way to approach the case.”

Smirking, Cohen looked at Amato, “It’s not your call.”

“I’ll provide intel but I’m not leading any task force.  It’s a waste of time.”

“Why?”  Cohen asked.

“Because she’s probably halfway to Timbuktu already.”

“Are you saying you can’t do it?”

“I’m saying she’s one of the richest women in this town and it will be a million times harder to trace than she was before.”

Questioning his loyalty Cohen asked, “Why should we believe you?  Word is you had a relationship with Fenetti during your excursion away from the force.”

A rush of heat hit Amato’s face from the insinuation that he was protecting some girlfriend.  Nonetheless, he took a deep breath and as calmly as he could, Amato responded, “I stepped in to protect a witness when our agency was unable.  There was never any inappropriate relationship between myself and Miss. Fenetti.”  He kept referring to her by her last name to keep his distance emotionally but also to show that he was not on friendly terms with her which, at that point, he wasn’t.

“If you don’t trust me, then find another agent to do the job.  Problem solved,” Amato said, calling Cohen’s bluff.

“I don’t like your attitude, no wonder they put you in the shitter.”

“Hey!” Nicholson interrupted, “I run this shitter and right now I’m flushing you right back to OC (Organized Crime).”

Without a word, Cohen stood up and gathered his tablet as well as his folder and walked out of the office.

“God, I hate those guys.” Nicholson said with disgust.

‘Yeah, me too.”

“You’re dying to get back in OC ain’t ya?”

“Yep,” Amato said as he stood up.

“So what was all that, I’m not the guy for the job shtick?”

“I’m gonna make them beg.”

Rolling his eyes, Agent Nicholson said, “Get the hell out my office.”

 

 

books, Fiction, Rachel Rueben, Romance, Thriller

She’s Back…

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Image via Pixabay

Warning: Language

Stephano quickly returned with her shawl and his jacket which he draped over his arm.  Fortunately for them, the gala was held on the first floor of the hotel so Cassandra didn’t have to endure the elevator.  God only knows what would happened there.  As they got to the front door, their Bentley Bentayaga was already waiting for them.  While Stephano opened the door, she noticed a man who looked out of place, he was wearing faded jeans and a white t-shirt.  With a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, Cassandra figured he was just of the hotel employees, a poorly dressed one at that.  Nothing to look at here she thought to herself until, he gave them the side eye.  Okay, so he was a badly dressed hotel employee with an attitude problem.  However, Cassandra’s gut told her there was something more to this perceived slight but she wasn’t feeling well and figured she wasn’t thinking straight.  Maybe it was the wine?

As the driver opened the passenger door, Cassandra happily got in while Stephano followed.  Once they pulled away from the curb Cassandra started to relax knowing they were only ten minutes from their apartment.  When they pulled up to a red light, Stephano remarked about the lack of traffic and just as he made that statement, the car behind them turned up their high beems, blinding the driver.  Cassandra’s heart stopped as she realized what was going on.  Looking at Stephano, she grabbed his arm but before anything came out of her mouth, several men approached the car from the front as well as the side.  Two of them pulled out guns, and started shooting, “Oh God!” she gasped as a hail of bullets started showering the car.  In an act of utter selflessness, Stephano pulled her down to the floor and covered her with his body.  Though it only lasted seconds, it felt like an eternity for the shooting to stop.  Shaking to her core, Cassandra said not one word as she heard footsteps approaching the car.  Hearing the driver’s door open, she heard a raspy voice announce, “Yeah, they’re dead.”  Listening as the others approach, Cassandra had to fight the urge to shake.  Closing her eyes, she controlled her breathing and lied as still as she could. “Good job fellas,” said one of the men.  This voice she recognized, it was Danny Marchesi, Stephano’s best friend.

“Dump the car and the bodies in the river,” Danny instructed one of the henchmen.  However before they could follow through, Danny groaned “Aw shit!” Listening closely, Cassandra heard several footsteps running in the opposite direction of the car.  As she remained motionless, she heard a car slowly pulling up and to her relief it was an elderly couple who stopped when they saw the driver slump over the wheel.  Thinking he was having a heart attack, they called 9-1-1 and within minutes, a patrol car arrived.  When the officer assessed the scene he knew immediately he was not dealing with a motorist in distress, this was a shooting.  Cautiously, he approached the car, and as he inched closer, he drew his weapon just in case the perpetrators were nearby.  Observing the driver, he nudged him with his hand and asked, “Sir, are you alright?”  After two attempts to communicate with the driver, he stepped back and noticed a black heap of clothing in the back seat area.  With his weapon still in hand, he opened the back door and realized it was yet another male.  Again, he repeated the proper procedure and tried to make contact with the male.  When he nudged Stephano, Cassandra popped out from under him.  Pulling back in fear, the officer nearly fell backwards into the street.  Drawing his weapon on her, he demanded, “Hands in the air.”  However, instead of complying, Cassandra pulled out her Glock 26 and yelled, “Fuck off!”

As the officer took cover behind his car, Cassandra got out of the passenger door and without taking her eyes off the guy, she retreated to a nearby alley.  Calling for backup, the officer could only watch as Cassandra disappeared from his range of vision and when assistance finally arrived, it was already too late, she was long gone.

Article, publishing, Rachel Rueben, writer's life

Advice To Self-Published Authors

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Image via Pixabay

In 2009, I decided to become an author, unfortunately, I had no idea what kind of journey I was signing up for.  As I threw my hat into the race, publishers were closing left and right due to the Great Recession.  Also, Amazon had just started challenging the U.S. publishing industry by creating the Kindle e-reader and their Kindle Direct Publishing company.  Now in 2018, the publishing industry has changed so much, today, many authors are choosing to go indie and major publishers are being even more selective about what they acquire.  So what would I say to an author just starting out today?  Well, I gathered some of the best advice I could and decided to publish it all here.  Hopefully, you too will pass it on to the next generation of newbie authors who don’t have a clue about how the publishing thing works.

 

  1. Educate yourself on the business and keep up with industry news. ~Rachel Rueben

 

  1. My advice to authors is to EDIT EVERYTHING WELL! If you aren’t confident of your own skills, hire someone. Yes, it gets expensive, but it’s worth it. We all make mistakes, miss things, or simply don’t know the correct way to say something. Research your would-be editor well. I’ve seen professionally edited, big company published, best selling authors, with grammatical errors. Apparently, neither they, nor their editors, knew the correct grammar. Find someone who will do a good job at a fair price. If you can’t afford an editor, then read your manuscript until your eyes bleed and your brain melts.” ~Dellani Oakes

 

  1. Avoid vanity presses they accept your manuscript but they charge you for the privilege of getting published.  It’s fine if you have money to throw at the endeavor but you are better off self publishing on Amazon.” ~Karen Vaughan

 

  1. Best advice? Decide how much control you want in the decisions about your new work. A finished story can be like the writer’s baby, so that writer has to decide how they feel about letting it go to another for the “growing up” process. Whether to self-publish with a POD, an ebook indie publisher, or try for the traditional publishing houses, it can be a matter of time and persistence. However, the bigger the publisher, the less control a writer might have on the decisions of cover, marketing, or even the edits. So, a new writer will have to choose whether they want to take the time to submit queries, submissions, and find agents so that they can possibly get more notice (and hopefully money) for their work, but have to let the fine details go to someone else and start working on the next. Or, if they have the tenacity to market themselves, they can have complete control of their baby and self-publish. An indie ebook press can offer a range between these two. Some have their own artists and editors, some let the author have the final say. But, once you have your “baby” fresh from your brain and “on paper” (as most books are files rather than typed manuscripts anymore), you need to decide which path of hard work, long hours, and promotion you want to do. It’s a lot of tedious work either way. As a self-publisher, I like having a say in what my books look like, but I sure would appreciate someone else doing the editing and marketing sometimes. Having a strong network of fellow authors is always good to have as well, no matter how you decide to publish..” ~Ruth Davis Hays

 

  1. Business is business, dead weight is just that, dead weight. If they are not contributing revenue they will drain your resources, cut them loose.” ~ Mike Thrasher – Chief Sales and Marketing Officer – Apex Capital From Amanda Thrasher

 

  1. On verbal agreements: “Some states do not honor verbal agreements. Others do. If one of the parties in your contract is from one of those states, then you could be agreeing to something you think you’ve mentioned casually over the phone.This one fact alone is why I do not conduct telephone negotiations with anyone on any project for any reason.

    People who want to negotiate with me must do so by letter or, these days, by email. I print those emails and keep them as work product for any agreement that we come up with, or don’t come up with, as the case may be.”  ~ Kristine Kathyrn Rusch

 

  1. You can definitely build an author platform and generate good sales from free marketing – but you will pay with your time.” ~ Joanna Penn

 

  1. About mistakes he sees authors make on social media:  “Shouting, ‘buy my book’, ad nauseam, on Twitter. No one is listening.” ~Mark Dawson

 

  1. Whatever you may have heard, self-publishing is not a shortcut to anything. Except maybe insanity. Self-publishing, like every other kind of publishing, is hard work. You don’t wake up one morning good at it. You have to work for that. ~ Zoe Winters

 

Here are a just a few books worth reading if you want to learn more about self-publishing:

  • (APE) Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki
  • Write. Publish. Repeat: The No Luck Required Guide to Self- Publishing Success by Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant and David Wright
  • Closing the Deal on Your Own terms by Kristine Kathyrn Rusch
  • Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook, Second Edition, by Helen Sedwick
  • How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn (This is book 2, in a series.)
  • Let’s Get Visible by David Gaughran

Also, if you want more information and resources you can check out: Important Resources for Indie Authors Parts One & Two, right here on the Cereal Authors blog.

 

Happy 2018, if you have any advice that you would like to impart to the next generation, please share it in the comments section.