Mistaken for the Mob [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Ginny Aiken
eBook Category: Romance/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Description: Death and the Dewey Decimal System! Being mistaken for a gangster and accused of a series of murders she didn't commit was hardly the quiet life Maryanne Wellborn expected as a Philadelphia librarian. Who would have thought volunteering at her father's retirement home would be so complicated? When handsome but determined FBI agent J. Z. Prophet takes the case, Maryanne can tell he's prepared to bring her down--or die trying. But then the real mob gets involved, and the situation turns deadly....
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Steeple Hill
Fictionwise Release Date: July 2006
7 Reader Ratings:
Mary Margaret Muldoon was terminated.
As were Helmut Rheinemann, Toby Matthias and Muriel Harper. J.Z. Prophet held the death certificates of the well-to-do seniors in his left hand. On a neat pile before him sat autopsy reports that identified the cause of death as natural in all four cases. But the papers in his right hand belied those certificates.
"E-mail," he muttered to his partner, Dan Maddox. "What self-respecting mobster orders hits through e-mail? But here they are: Terminate Mary Margaret Muldoon, and Terminate Helmut Rheinemann."
J.Z. could have read the others, too. But why? They said the same thing. And the same woman had sent them all: Maryanne Wellborn.
He flung the pages onto his desk and rose from his chair. He went for his coffeepot, which he'd brought to the office when he got tired of FBI sludge, and poured himself his fourth cup of the morning. It was only seven o'clock.
After another hit of caffeine, he asked, "What kind of librarian would order a bunch of hits?"
Dan, an easygoing guy, shifted in his chair and shrugged. "Hey, it's a great cover—if they were hits."
"Okay. It is. But I want to know how she's offing them. Pathology found no evidence of foul play. The causes of death are listed as asphyxiation from emphysema, congestive heart failure, liver cancer and pneumonia. We might be able to pin the asphyxiation on her, but how'd she kill the others?"
"I think it's our job to find that out."
"It's our job to get the evidence that'll lock her up."
"Hmm…a librarian. Maryanne Wellborn, you say?"
"She's behind these hits."
"Sure of yourself, aren't you? And letting it get personal."
The accusation slugged J.Z. in the gut. "Not at all. This is business. The other's past history." He set his coffee mug on the corner of his desk, then jabbed a finger toward Dan. "Don't forget. You were right at my side the last six months. You helped me track the Verdis and their mob pals as they scammed their way through these ritzy retirement homes. You counted the bodies they left behind, just as I did, and looked just as hard as I did for something to stick on them—"
"Something stuck. Joey-O's behind bars."
"Not for this. He shot Carlo Papparelli. Aside from those shaky connections to Joey-O and Tony the Toe Verdi—scum, if ever there was scum—we didn't come up with a single solid thing to nail the deaths of the old people on them. But I know their game. And this perp in New Camden is just the latest in the string of killers we've been after. The only difference is that this one made a mistake. She left us these e-mails. How generous of her."
His partner's hands went up in surrender. "Okay, okay. Lay off the lecture. It was just a friendly warning I gave you. Can't let your old man's troubles mess with your mind on a case. My future's in your hands."
J.Z. snorted. "Last time I looked, there was a line of ladies wanting to take it in theirs."
Dan winked. "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do."
"This man's—" J.Z. tapped Dan's chest then glanced at the papers on the desk "—got a job to do. He can't be thinking about his next date, and do it right."
"You complaining about my work?"
"Warning you against dropping your guard."
"That's uncalled for," Dan countered, his voice tight.
"Just put your social life on ice while we're on this one." J.Z. knew he was out of line but couldn't back down. Dan's reminder of the skeletons in the Prophet family closet rankled. "It's clear Wellborn's got brains and more guts than most. Takes a cocky crook to send this kind of message out for the world to read."
"Weeeell…," Dan drawled, "e-mail's not exactly out there for everyone to read."
"We got copies, didn't we?"
"Sure, but it took Zelda—computer geek extraordinaire—days to track them down. It's not as if Wellborn posted them to a bulletin board or announced them in a chat room."
J.Z. rolled his eyes. "Don't give me that Internet junk. If we can get the stuff, anyone can. Maryanne-the-library-anne is one arrogant cookie. It's time to wrap up months of paper trails, bank-and account-hopping fortunes that then disappear without a trace, if you'll remember. We did interviews, surveillance and pored over autopsy reports that coughed up nothing concrete. We even planted an agent at the nursing home in New Jersey. The pattern's the same at Peaceful Meadows—cushy retirement home, dead seniors, buckets of money. Wellborn's in the thick of it, ordering hits, and I'm going to bring her down."
Paperwork in hand, he stood. "Come on. We have to get a judge to sign the permits so we can bug her office and tap her home phone. Then we can head out to New Camden."
"I'll have Zelda come with us—you know, for the computer stuff. We'll probably get more from that than the other."
J.Z. grimaced. "That Internet stuff is garbage. This is going to take the usual: surveillance, taping, interviewing witnesses. Not that e-mail business."
"Still an Internet-phobe, huh?"
"And proud of it."
"Have it your way, but I want Zelda's magic fingers on our side. From the looks of it, we're going to need all the help and evidence we can get."
J.Z. crossed to his office door. "Do whatever you want. Bottom line, I'm going to nail Wellborn. Who'd figure a librarian as a mobster, putting out hits on old people in a nursing home? And for money…As if her breed—mobsters, not librarians—doesn't have enough of the bloody kind already. Organized crime's the worst form of scum, but this woman's taken their usual a notch lower."
Copyright © 2006 by Grisel Anikienko.