The Hitwoman Under Pressure
Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman Book 15
Maggie Lee’s dedication to her family knows no limits.
Even though her life is in chaos, she’ll take any chance to repair her fractured family.
All she has do is:
Get out of the loony bin
Eliminate the killer who’s hunting her sister
Make sure her family doesn’t go off the rails (yup, this one’s the toughest)
Thankfully she’s got the help of an ex-lover, a conman, and a sexy sailor, along with her psychic friend, her loyal, but bickering, pets, and her favorite mob boss.
If only she could rely on them to help her stop the man who wants her sister dead. With two hitmen already killed for going after him, Maggie could use all the help she can get.
Maggie’s skills (and sanity) are put to the test and the stakes have never been higher.
You just know it’s going to be a bad day when you can’t get out of the loony bin.
My name is Maggie Lee, and while I admit there are times that I probably belong in a mental institution, this wasn’t one of them. I’d come to visit my mother, to ask her about a brother I’d never known existed and now I was trapped.
That would’ve been bad enough, but my mom and I were not alone. In fact, her room was pretty crowded.
Tony, or maybe it was Anthony (if the cops can’t tell them apart, neither can I) Delveccio, the local mob boss who occasionally gives me assignments to kill people (only bad people, I promise), had shown up to visit my mother also. And because he never travels alone, he’d brought along his bodyguard, Gino.
And because I’m not in a position to go anywhere by myself, my friend/assigned protector, Zeke, was there too. I’d tried to leave him at home, or in the car, or even down the hall, but he’d insisted on coming along, reminding me that my safety was his responsibility. I’d gone along with it since I didn’t want to get him in trouble with the law-bending organization we both work for on occasion.
With the exception of my mother, who was staring out the window and mumbling happily about feathers, no one was comfortable with the situation.
All hell had broken loose almost an hour earlier. We’d heard a stampede of people rushing past the door, patients crying and screaming, staff bellowing orders about lockdowns and security protocols.
An orderly had stuck his head in the room to tell us not to leave and to close the door behind him.
Zeke, who had an aversion to following orders, had immediately stepped into the hallway to find out what was going on. A shot rang out and he almost ended up catching a bullet for not listening to the orderly. Jumping back into the room, he slammed the door shut, and leaned against it, eyes wide, face pale.
“We’re trapped,” Zeke announced.
“No shit, Sherlock,” a snooty Englishman said, except it wasn’t an Englishman, it was Godzilla, or as he prefers to be called, God, a brown anole lizard who was currently using my bra as his personal hammock.
Of course no one else heard what he said, all they heard was squeaking coming from my chest.
Gino immediately pulled out his own gun.
I jumped back, afraid he might shoot at the squeaking and therefore me.
My mother screamed.
“Put that away,” I growled, as though I hadn’t just nearly soiled myself. “Can’t you see it’s scaring her?”
“Can’t you see that a crazed gunman is scaring me?” Gino countered, waving the gun.
I couldn’t really blame him for being on edge. After all, it hadn’t been that long since the Cupid Killer had shot him.
My mother continued screaming.
“Mom,” I tried. “You need to calm down.”
Delveccio motioned to his bodyguard. “Put it away. You don’t need it right now.”
Grudgingly, Gino did as his boss wanted and moved toward the only window in the room.
“There should be a rule prohibiting guns in places that house the insane,” Zeke muttered.
“My thoughts exactly,” God commented.
The mobster shook his head. “Do you ever leave that lizard at home?”
I shrugged helplessly. It wasn’t as though I could explain that the little guy was my closest confidant.
“I want a feather too,” my mother announced.
“I’ll get you one,” I promised, grateful that she’d stopped screaming, and willing to do almost anything to keep her calm and quiet.
Gino looked out the window. “Cops are pulling up.”
Most people would have been relieved by this development, but considering that both the mobster and his guard were known criminals, Zeke is a con man/thief, and I occasionally kill people for money, none of us were too thrilled by the arrival of the police.
“We should just let them handle it,” Zeke declared from where he still leaned against the closed door.
“I agree,” I said quickly before Delveccio tried to overrule him.
The paunchy mobster settled himself into a visitor’s chair, making it clear he’d resigned himself to waiting. “You two a couple or something?”
“No,” I probably said a tad too quickly.
“So what’s he doing here?” Delveccio asked.
I couldn’t tell him that Zeke had been tasked with the job of keeping me out of trouble by a secret organization that I sometimes did work for, but I didn’t want to lie to the mobster who’d treated me so well. “Zeke’s known my mother for a long time. He’s very good with her.”
Delveccio glanced at my mother, lines of consternation furrowing his forehead. “You needed someone to run interference?”
“It never hurts,” I admitted sheepishly. “What are you doing here?”
I sensed Gino look at me sharply. No doubt he was unaccustomed to people questioning his boss. I ignored him.
“I’ve known your mother a long time too,” Delveccio answered easily. “I thought I’d pay her a visit.” He met my gaze steadily, silently warning me not to pursue the subject.
I didn’t. Now wasn’t the time to get into a discussion about the torch he’d once carried for my mom. If his showing up here was any indication, maybe he still did.
Another shot rang out in the hallway. Zeke flinched. Mom whimpered.
Gino rushed toward the door, hand on the butt of his holstered weapon.
I jumped in front of him. “I thought we decided to let the police handle this.”
The bodyguard jerked to a halt, indecision flashing in his gaze. He watched me worriedly. Not that I could blame him, he’d seen me get the better of Delveccio’s other bodyguard, Vinnie, in a hand-to-hand fight. He didn’t know that the victory had just been dumb luck on my part. He thought I was a pretty bad ass chick.
“I just wanted to put something in front of the door,” he said carefully.
“Excellent idea.” Zeke left his post at the door, tugged at my elbow, and pulled me out of the path of the other man. “I’ll help.”
Together, Gino and Zeke pushed the dresser against the door, effectively barricading us in just as my mother started to cry.
Delveccio frowned at me. “Do something.”
“Don’t cry, Mom,” I soothed. “Everything is going to be okay.”
She cried harder.
I moved to her side and put my arms around her.
That made her cry even more.
“I don’t know what to do,” I said helplessly.
“Let’s sing,” Zeke suggested.
“A hearty round of Kumbaya always helps,” God said dryly.
Everyone stared at my squeaking chest, even my mother.
“That or a Spoonful of Sugar,” the lizard continued, oblivious to the attention I was getting.
“Shut up,” I said through clenched teeth.
Ignoring the squeaking, Zeke moved to the other side of my mother, took her hand in his, and began to softly sing The Rose. “Some say love it is a river…”
I held my breath.
Gino rolled his eyes.
A moment later, my mother’s tremulous voice joined Zeke’s.
I flashed him a grateful smile.
Delveccio nodded his approval. “I see why you brought him.”
I left them to sing and made my way to stand beside the mobster. “He’s always had a way with her.”
“Maybe you should hire him to be Katie’s manny,” he suggested.
I bit back a smile. He wasn’t thrilled that his nephew, Angel, was in charge of my niece’s care. It really wasn’t the kind of job a macho sailor normally took on, and it certainly wasn’t the employment a crime boss expected for a family member. Still, to his credit, Delveccio kept his protests about the situation relatively quiet and mild.
As Zeke and my mom sang, we heard footsteps marching down the hallway.
“Cops are here,” Gino announced.
He’d barely gotten the words out when multiple gunshots exploded.
Somehow, Zeke kept my mother singing.
Gino’s hand strayed to the butt of his gun, but he didn’t take it out. I found myself wishing that I too had brought a weapon.
“I’m not crazy,” a man shouted from the other side of the door, “but I am getting out of here, even if I have to burn the place down.”
“This is going from bad to worse,” Delveccio muttered.
“Come any closer,” the man yelled, “and I’ll set the place on fire.”
Gino’s gulp was audible. “I don’t want to burn, boss.”
Delveccio rose from his seat. “I’m not going to sit around waiting for the cops to save us.”
I didn’t like his tone. He was a man accustomed to getting what he wanted, through any means necessary. I was afraid he’d do something stupid and put the rest of us at risk.
I swallowed hard, not having a clue as to how to stop him.
Then we heard another voice.