The Hitwoman and the Mother Load
Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman Book 14
You think you’ve got problems? Don’t talk to Maggie Lee about problems.
Her mother’s escaped from the loony bin, and rumor has it she’s robbing people for ice cream money.
A mob boss is insisting she liberate his daughter from a mental hospital that Maggie’s pretty sure she belongs in.
And people keep trying to kill her.
While Maggie deals with all that, she must also contend with her dysfunctional family; the challenges of parenting her orphaned niece; a handsome, but dangerously curious reporter; a hot manny who lives under her roof and gets under her skin; a smooth and sexy con man; and a certain murder mentor/cop redhead. And, honestly, it’s getting too much to bear. Good thing she has her talking animals to confide in.
But with everything that’s going on, can the intrepid, yet inept, hitwoman figure out how to keep everyone she loves safe without ending up in jail or killed?
Or will she just take up residence in a rubber room herself? Truth be told, she could use the break.
You know it’s going to be a bad day when the only weapon you have to defend yourself with is a rubber chicken.
My name is Maggie Lee, and you’d think that as a semi-professional assassin I’d have a whole arsenal of weapons at my disposal, but at the moment, all I had was my missing sister’s journal and the aforementioned chicken dog toy.
DeeDee, my Doberman pinscher, growled at the intruder. “Attack?”
I was about ready to give her the “Attack” command from where I hid behind the couch, except we don’t have an attack command, I can barely get her to walk on a leash on our good days…anyway, I was ready to tell her to attack whoever had broken in, when God, a brown anole lizard named Godzilla, God for short, said, “Don’t be an idiot. Don’t you know who that is?”
“Maggie?” a voice whispered.
I didn’t answer. I held my breath trying to figure out who entered uninvited.
“Are you here?” the voice called softly.
“Patrick!” DeeDee panted excitedly, sounding like a blonde bimbo. “Patrick!”
I shoved the journal under the sofa, sucked in a deep breath, and took a moment to compose myself. For a second, my heart fluttered with the hope that, although he’d missed Valentine’s Day by a few hours, he was here to make some wild romantic gesture, hopefully something that didn’t include another key stuck in a bar of soap – but that’s a whole other story. I was hoping for chocolate. Or roses. Or maybe something sparkly. I’d have even been happy if he’d given me a jar of olives.
But when I stood up I saw that my sometime lover was empty-handed. “What is wrong with you?” I whisper-screamed at the redhead standing only a few feet away. “You scared the hell out of me.”
“Sorry,” he murmured, bending to pet the dog’s head. “I had to see you.”
Stepping around the dog, Patrick made his way to my side and wrapped his hand around my upper arm. “You need to promise me you won’t scream.”
Fresh alarm tickled my belly as I stared up into his serious face. I had the feeling that I had bigger problems to deal with than his lack of romantic gifts.
Patrick sighed heavily, his gaze boring into mine. “I’m so sorry to tell you this, but I thought you would want to know.”
In the momentary pause, my mind went to a dozen worst possible outcomes. Something had happened to someone in my family, or my friend, Armani, or even the mobster Delveccio, whose life I had just saved.
I wasn’t the only one bracing myself for bad news. My one-eyed cat, Piss, moaned, “Uh oh.”
“Your mom is missing.”
I blinked up at Patrick, trying to make sense of what he was saying. “What?”
“I heard it on the police scanner,” he explained. “Your mom has gone missing from the loo—” He snapped his mouth shut, realizing what he’d been about to say. “…the hospital.”
“Loony bin,” I muttered, finishing the thought he’d been too polite to voice.
“You shouldn’t call it that,” God opined haughtily from his terrarium.
Since Patrick couldn’t understand what the lizard was saying, all he heard was squeaking. He turned his head toward the noise.
I closed my eyes against a wave of pain and panic as the reality of his words hit me.
“Breathe, Maggie,” Patrick coached, his wintergreen breath fanning my face.
I forced my lungs to work and opened my eyes to search his face. Something was definitely off between us. Despite the news about my missing mother, I couldn’t let it go unmentioned. “You never call me that.”
“You always call me Mags, not Maggie.”
Something flickered in his gaze before he said gruffly, “I think you have more pressing problems. Don’t you?”
I tamped down the flare of anger I felt at his avoidance and forced myself to focus on the bigger issue. “She can’t have been gone that long. The hospital hasn’t even called us yet.”
Patrick nodded. “They’ll search the grounds and surrounding area before they make the notification. I just wanted to give you a heads-up before that happens.”
“It’s the least I could do.”
Something about the way he said that put me further on edge. Something was definitely going on, but I didn’t know what.
Before I could press him, he moved toward the door, absent-mindedly patting the dog on his way. “I should go.”
I swallowed hard, trying to control the confusion, anger, and fear I felt toward him. “Thanks for letting me know,” I said in the most neutral tone I could muster.
His green gaze met mine from across the room. For a split second I thought he would explain what was going on, but he shook his head, muttered, “Be careful,” and then let himself out.
“Well that was awkward,” God said.
“Shut up.” I threw the rubber chicken that I still held at his glass enclosure. It thudded to the floor harmlessly.
“No need to get violent,” the reptile huffed.
“Oh shut up,” I growled.
“It was uncomfortable,” Piss added, her uncharacteristic support of the lizard catching me off-guard.
Frowning, I picked up the chicken from the floor. I knew they were both right, but I didn’t want to talk about it. Now wasn’t the time to be worrying about the status of my relationship with the hitman/cop. My mother was missing. Not to mention all hell would break loose when her sisters found out.
“With me, DeeDee,” I said tiredly, heading for the stairs that led up to the kitchen.
“Just because the canine didn’t point out the obvious, is no reason to take her with you when you walk out on us.” God flicked his tail, signaling his outrage.
I sighed. “I’m taking her in the hopes that petting her will result in lowered blood pressures when they find out Mom is missing. But hey, if you want to let them all pet you…”
“Sensitive skin!” the lizard yelped.
“What about you?” I asked, glaring at the cat.
Wisely, she slipped under the sofa without a word.
“Upstairs,” I ordered the dog.
“I’ll find you something to eat,” I offered, hating myself for resorting to bribery, but too tired to order, cajole, or threaten her.
She bounded up the stairs just as the landline began to ring.