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Archive for May 24th, 2022

Title: UNORGANIZED CRIME
Author: Judy Serrano
Publisher: 6K Publishing
Pages: 220
Genre: Romantic Suspense

 As Jazz finds herself falling from a helicopter, Gage St. Claire comes to her rescue. Organized crime is once again the culprit of her parents’ situation, and as usual, she is caught in the crossfire. Gage pulls her out of the water and helps her escape to safety. The love between them is undiscovered as he tries to leave her behind in an attempt to keep her safe and move forward with his black ops pursuit. Jazz becomes an undercover cop with wiping out organized crime forever as her goal. After Jazz exposes one of the largest crime families in the country, quite by accident, she is hired to expose crime syndicate leader Michael Giambetti Jr., otherwise known as Achilles. Achilles earned his nickname because he has no weaknesses. He has no weaknesses, that is until he meets Jazz. Achilles has been untouchable, and if she were to break this case, she could finally prove herself as a serious undercover officer. Her job is not an easy one, and people around her are not who they appear to be. Will Gage come back for Jazz, or will he be lost to her forever? Will she crack the case on her own? Read as this courageous upstart stumbles through another adventure.

Book Information

Release Date: July 7, 2020

Publisher: 6K Publishing

Soft Cover: ISBN: 979-8655914537; 220 pages; $10.99; E-Book, $2.99

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3Bq8uru  


Chapter 1

            The doors flew open, and the room filled quietly with black shirts marked “FBI” looking almost like smoke blackening my vision. Some were wearing black ski-masks to conceal their identity. Those would be the undercover agents. Somehow it made the whole situation a bit more disconcerting. “Hands up!” the voices shouted, as more FBI officers appeared, shoving several bystanders up against the walls. “Everyone down on the floor!” was shouted to those who had not yet surrendered. People were running for cover, jumping out windows, screams of desperation were heard all over the building, as FBI climbed the stairs and handcuffed anyone and everyone who crossed their paths. One of the masked agents approached me and grabbed my hands, handcuffing them behind my back, hard.

            “Ouch!” I shouted as he pulled the cuffs around my wrists. “You know who I am, right?” I asked.

            “Yes, Miss Burns, painfully aware.” He squeezed the cuffs tighter.

            “And I am painfully aware that you are cuffing me. Lay off, will you?”

            “Right now, you’re just a whore, Miss Burns, just like the rest of them.”

I turned around to sneer at him. I was pissed. It took me almost a year to bust this establishment wide open. He had to pretend to arrest me so that my cover wouldn’t be exposed, but he didn’t have to be so rough. He was tall and muscular. As a matter of fact, he was so well-built that I could see the muscles in his arms through his shirt. Because my hands were restrained behind my back, I was unable to wipe the drool from my mouth. Okay, not really, but he was looking pretty good from where I was standing, even if my point of view may have been obstructed by the activity in the room. He pulled off his mask so that I could see who he was. Now, it all made sense. He had dark brown eyes, black hair, and a small mustache just around his nose and mouth.  Even though he towered over me, the temptation to kick him in the shin was overwhelming. So, I succumbed.

            “Ouch!” he shouted, letting go of me and grabbing the shin I just injured.

            “Just trying to keep it real, Special Agent, sir.” He grabbed me by my cuffs and dragged me out the door, backward. I knew he was ticked. He wanted in on this case for months, but I was so close that I didn’t want him messing it up for me. I was about half the way in when they discovered the madam of this fine establishment was connected to organized crime. I was personally responsible for bringing down one of the largest crime families in Las Vegas. It was totally accidental. The only thing they ever let me do was bust whorehouses and puppy mills. This was the first time I’d seen the FBI get involved. It was exciting and intrusive all at the same time.

            He turned me around so that I was facing the squad car, put his hand on the top of my head, and pushed me inside. Needless to say, the ride to the station was a tense one. We said nothing to each other the whole way there. When we finally arrived, he opened my door and dragged me out, pulling me by my elbow into the captain’s office. “Cut it out!” I shouted moving to kick him again, but he managed to avoid me this time. “Un-cuff me, Special Agent … what’s your name?”

            “It’s Alex, and I’m getting to it.”

            “Come on, Alex, don’t be a sore loser,” the captain offered. Alex finally removed my cuffs. I rubbed my wrists and showed the marks left by the cuffs to my captain. “Was that really necessary?” he asked him.

            “She kicked me,” he answered.

Luke laughed. That was my captain’s name. “I’m sure it wasn’t unwarranted.”

“Look,” I said, “I’m sick and tired of these low budget cases. I want something bigger. I want to break something open that makes it worth dressing like this.” I pulled off one of my red, high-heeled shoes and showed it to him.

“Please, Burns, sit,” Luke suggested, motioning to the chair. I put my shoe back on and gave him my best wounded-expression before complying with his request. Just then, Hector walked in with another man. Ah, Hector Montiago. He was quite the firecracker in his day. Even now, he could melt an ice cream cone with just his smile, leaving you glad that your hands were warm and sticky. He had blond hair, blue eyes, was tall and well built, but that’s not the best thing about Hector. Hector was Mexican with a thick Spanish accent with surprisingly light skin. If he didn’t have that accent, you would never know that his family was connected to the Mexican Mafia. That’s right, I said it. He was well connected. Oh, and one more minor detail. He was a highly respected FBI operative. I know, crazy, right?

“Jazz,” he said, smiling. I stood up and hugged him. “Gosh, Jazz, I’m so proud of you. You busted the Russo family business wide open. Good job.” Then he touched my hair, which was an auburn color for this particular job. My natural hair color was blond. I was also wearing brown contacts to cover my blue eyes. I could tell he wasn’t impressed. “We’re going back to blond tomorrow, yes?” He smiled again, and the butterflies in my stomach became less than dormant.

“Yes, Hector, going back to normal tomorrow. And thanks, by the way. I’m kind of proud of myself.”

“You should be. Your parents would be proud.” I sneered, not as subtly as I had hoped.

“What are you doing here?” Alex asked him. Clearly, Hector made him a little uncomfortable. That was only to be expected. Hector had an interesting background story. Not only was he ridiculously yummy, but Hector was unique in his situation. As I mentioned before, Hector was well connected. He belonged to one of the biggest crime families in the United States and Mexico. The Montiagos were untouchable. Hector and his brother, Max, were FBI planted in their brother’s organization to try to take him down many years ago. To make a long story short, his brother, Max, is dead, and the family business is still up and running. That’s right- untouchable. Diego Montiago Jr., otherwise known as simply Junior, runs the organization now. It appears that the only person who can keep him in line is his uncle Hector. Hector does a rather dangerous balancing act on the delicate line between right and wrong and we sort of, “look the other way,” in return for Hector’s very unique skills and insight.

Hector looked over at me and patted Alex on the back. “I understand you’ve already met Alex.”

“Yes, I’ve had the pleasure.” Alex winked at Hector, which I did not appreciate.

“Would you mind excusing us, Burns? We have business to discuss,” Hector said.

“I want in,” I told him. “If you’re here, it must be big. Let me in.”

“Jazz, this is out of your league. I’m not sure you’re … well … that you’re right for this.” No matter how old I got, no matter what successes have headed my way, to Hector I was still a little girl. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get past that image of me that he must have had in his mind.

“I can do it, Hector. What is it?”

He laughed a little, smirking at me. “You’ve probably never even had to pull your gun.”

I pulled it out of the back of my waistband and pointed it at him. “How’s this?”

“Oh, little girl, if I had a dime for every woman who pulled a gun on me. Put it away, and play nice.” He put his hand on the barrel of my gun and pushed it so that it was facing the floor. He and all the other men in the room let out some quiet laughter at my expense. I could feel my face flush, much to my own disgust. He was quite the bad boy in his day. Never slept alone. Never had to. “You wouldn’t be working with me,” he continued. “I’m just here to let go of the information I have acquired personally from my own experience. You’d be working with them.” He motioned to the man he came in with and Alex. “This is Jacob.” Jacob walked closer to me and shook my hand. “He is the Lieutenant in charge of the case. I’m too close to this,” he continued. “I need to plant a woman. I was going to use McCall. She’s been around the block a few times and…”

“Hector, I can do this. Who’s the mark? Give me a chance.”

He sighed. “It’s the Giambetti family. Michael Giambetti Jr., to be specific.”

My heart started pounding. It was crashing against my chest so hard that I was afraid they would hear it if I didn’t get ahold of myself. I could feel my face flush again, as I began to understand why he was afraid to put me inside. Michael Giambetti Jr. was the biggest competition for the Montiago family. He also had a reputation for being quite the playboy. They called him Achilles. Just like Junior Montiago was famous for having no remorse, Michael Giambetti Jr. was famous for having no weaknesses. Trying to find his so-called “heel” has been a fruitless venture. No one has found anything or anyone that has meant enough to him to control his behavior. So consequently, that’s what he was known as by his peers. Achilles.

“Michael Giambetti?”

“The father’s deceased. Michael Giambetti Sr. used to be involved with…” Hector paused and looked like he might be a little embarrassed. “There was a woman. Never mind, it’s not important. Let’s just say we have too much history. That’s why Jacob will be your contact. I will bow out after this conversation.” Hector smiled for a second as though he was thinking about something naughty. “Besides, the whole Achilles, Hector thing just weirds me out.” We all laughed, thinking about the old myth where Achilles actually kills Hector. I guess that could be a prophecy that one would not want to explore. “Alex has been Michael’s right-hand man for two years, and we’re no closer to busting him now then we were back then.”

“So, his incompetence is causing you to call in the big dogs,” I added.

I am pretty sure that was steam now coming out of Alex’s ears. “I’m not incompetent. He’s very clever. He owns a few nightclubs and restaurants and only discusses his sleazy little business with his brother and sister. So, we are going to have to plant a woman.”

“You want me to sleep with him?”

“God, no,” Hector answered. “You and your long blond hair and curvy body will certainly catch his attention. You will be blond again, I’m assuming.”

“Yes, yes, would you cut it out.”

He looked at me like I was nothing more than a mild form of entertainment for him as he continued, already set on leaving me out of this. “The plan is to set it up so that the woman and Alex hook up at a bar. You would flash your baby-blues; Alex pretends to take you home and BAM! You’re in.”

“Ewe…”

“The thought doesn’t do much for me either,” Alex added. “McCall is the better choice.”

“I dunno,” Luke interrupted. “Jazz possesses a sort of innocence that McCall doesn’t have. This may intrigue Achilles, and he may decide to try to get close to her. This might work.”

 “No,” Hector added. “I’m with Alex. McCall it is.”

“Hector, I am not a little girl anymore. I am a grown woman. I can do this.”

“Methinks the lady doth protest too much,” Hector says, quoting Shakespeare of all people, obviously still entertained by my persistence.

“I just burned the Russo’s organization to the ground,” I reminded them.

“Quite accidentally,” Luke added.

“Fine,” I said. “Ask McCall.”

I got up and walked away. My pride was injured, and I was sick and tired of all these weak assignments. So, I went home like a good little girl to lick my wounds.

***

When morning came, I was rudely awakened by my doorbell. I was only wearing an undershirt and a pair of short-shorts and clearly, I wasn’t thinking straight at the time, or I would’ve covered up. I grabbed my gun and walked to the front door. I carefully peeked through the peephole. It was Hector, Jacob, and Alex. This couldn’t be good.

            I pulled open the door, and Alex greeted me with a, “Good morning, sunshine.” He pushed his way through the door and sat down presumptuously on my easy chair. A little too comfortably if you asked me. “Thanks for the outfit,” he continued, looking me up and down like I was some kind of poster girl. “I think you just cheered me up considerably.”

            “Shut up, Alex. It’s not like I invited you here.” I noticed the worry in Hector’s face, which sobered me up a bit. “What’s going on? What are you all doing here?”

            “We need to talk,” Hector answered. He and Jacob walked in and made themselves comfortable on my couch. “Jazz, please … sit.”

            Hector motioned for me to sit beside him. He took my hands when I did. “You’re scaring me, Hector. What’s going on?”

            “McCall tried to get inside last night after we saw you.”

            “And…” My voice cracked. I was pretty sure what they were going to say.

            “Her plan was for her to hook up with Achilles directly. She didn’t want to go through Alex. She thought she was better than that.”

            “He killed her, Jazz,” Alex interrupted, “and if you don’t want to do this, we understand completely.”

            I swallowed hard. “Tell me what happened.”

            “First of all,” Hector started, “she didn’t follow directions. She went to him, climbed all over him, and went home with him. He was suspicious from the get-go. Maybe he was tipped off … we’re not sure. This is very risky. We know you’re engaged. Why don’t you take some time to talk to Sean. See what he says. We’ll give it a few days. Let things cool down a little. Then you decide.” I nodded, unable to speak. “The plan is pretty simple. You will go home with Alex. When you get there, just bounce around a little on the bed, make some noises and … you know … make it sound believable.” I think I threw up a little inside my mouth. “You’ll have to tell your fiancée that you can’t see him for a while. You will have to appear to be exclusive with Alex. Do you think he can handle that?”

            “In public, you mean, right?”

            “Someone like Achilles will have you checked out and watched the moment you step foot inside his house. So, no booty calls for a while. Fortunately, since you are an undercover cop, he won’t be able to find any real details about you.” Hector sat there, tapping his foot, staring at me, waiting for an answer.

            “I’ll talk to him,” I answered. “No problem.” I was lying of course. There was no way Sean was going to go for this.

            “Listen,” he continued, “under no circumstances are you to sleep with Giambetti.” I looked at him, quite startled. “My brother, Max, sacrificed his integrity all for the glory of the case.”

            “Hector, I…”

            “He’s very dead now. Understand?”

            “Yes, sir, I understand.”

            “Think it over. Give Luke your answer in the morning.”

            They all left except for Alex, who was still invasively sitting in my easy chair. “Give us a minute, will you please?” Alex said, waiting for them to go. They nodded as they vacated, and he stayed behind. He got up and stood next to me at the door putting his hands on my shoulders. “I won’t think you’re weak if you don’t want to do this. He made McCall right away. He may figure you out too. I’m willing to let this one go. There will be another case.”

            “Where did she meet him?”

            “She didn’t wait for me. She went to one of his nightclubs and hit on him. You would go to a place called Troy’s. It’s the downtown mob hangout. You’d wait for me. I’ll hit on you. You come home with me. I live in the Giambetti estate.”

            “Troy’s? How … uncomfortably fitting.”

“Don’t think the irony isn’t lost on me.”

“I’ll do it, Alex.”

            “Think about it.”

            “I’ll do it. I’ll go see Luke in the morning for my instructions.”

            He looked at me and sighed realizing he was losing this battle. “There will be other cases.”

            “Not for me,” I told him. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Lieutenant.”

            “That’s Special Agent Hawkins, to you, young lady.” I smiled. He put his finger under my chin and looked me in the eyes like the sun losing its desire for fire. “God, I hope I don’t regret this.”

***

            I didn’t talk to Sean. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even wait till the morning. I ran down to the station and staked my claim on this job. I was pretty sure Luke would still be there, blaming himself for all that had happened to McCall. It appeared that he had been up all night. His eyes were bloodshot, and he looked quite shaken. Luke reluctantly handed me a piece of paper with my instructions, and after what felt like several hours of him trying to talk me out of this assignment, I went home to get ready. I was feeling a little shaken myself. Was I crazy to take this on?

 My first instructions were to find a beauty salon and get my hair color changed. Apparently, Alex likes blonds, and it had to look authentic. Somehow that little fact didn’t surprise me even a little.

When morning arrived, I headed out to the hairdresser. She turned me back into myself, so to speak, straightened my hair, and sent me on my way. I put on a short red dress, high heels, and extra makeup. Sticking my double D’s into that tight red dress was no easy feat, I might add, but certainly worth it once the task was done. My eyes were bluer than blue with my black eyeliner making its statement. As darkness began to cloak the city, I called a cab and headed for Troy’s. The cab driver asked me twice if I was sure I wanted to go there. I assured him that I knew what I was doing. The truth was that I really had no idea.

            When I walked inside, all eyes were on me. Not that I could blame them. I was stunning. I walked over to the bar and got the bartender’s immediate attention. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in here before,” he stared. “I’m sure I would remember eyes as blue as yours.” As if he was looking at my eyes. I smiled, trying to stay in character. He passed me a quick wink and then checked me out quite obviously. The temptation to remind him where my eyes really were was overwhelming. “What can I get you, pretty lady?”

            “Scotch on the rocks, please.” He raised an eyebrow at me, which made me think I should have ordered something foofier like a white wine or a strawberry daiquiri. He handed it to me, and I sipped it. Alex was supposed to show up with Achilles at 9 and it was 8:55. A man sat down next to me and put his hand on my bottom. To say I was surprised was an understatement.

            “How much, baby?”

            I put my drink down and looked at him. “How much what?”

            “How much for a little piece of this?” He squeezed my bottom. No, I’m not kidding. Then it dawned on me. Oh my gosh … he thinks I’m a hooker. Of course, he does … jeez.

            “I’m not for sale, so if you wouldn’t mind, you can remove your hand now.”

            “Come on, sweetheart, I’ve got lots of cash.” He showed me a roll of bills with his other hand and began to work his hand under my skirt.

            “I told you, I am not a prostitute. Remove your hand.” I reached to move his grip from my very inappropriate area, but he was too strong, and I began to realize that I may have to blow my cover to get him off of me.

            He put his face in my neck and whispered something that a lady would never repeat, so I won’t. At that point, I reached over to where I had sat my drink and threw it in his face. I could see Alex and who must have been Achilles come through the door. They made a beeline for me. The man jumped up and grabbed me, roughly by the arm, unsteadying me as I fell off of the barstool, standing off balance on my heels. “You bitch!”

            “Let her go, Jimmy,” a voice said from behind. I turned and looked. It was Achilles. “She’s with me.”

            The man was visibly stunned and slightly traumatized. “I’m sorry, Mr. Giambetti,” he stuttered. “I thought … I had no idea … I’m really sorry, man … I…”

            “Apologize to the lady, and go home to your wife. You understand me, Jimmy?”

            I rolled my eyes. Of course, he was married. “I’m sorry, Miss, for mistakin’ you for a whore. Real sorry.” He ran off like a cockroach under a flashlight.

“Thank you,” I said to Achilles. Although that was the most ridiculous apology I have ever heard. I tried to steady my hands, but it was tough. I sat back down at the bar in a valiant effort to stop shaking. Alex attempted to come over to me by stepping past Achilles, but Achilles put his hand up to Alex’s chest and pushed him backward. “This one is mine.”

About the Author

Judy Serrano graduated from Texas A&M University-Commerce with a master’s degree in English. She is the owner of Make Cents Editing Services, is an English teacher at a local high school, and an adjunct professor at a local junior college. Judy writes romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and Mafia romance novels. She is the author of The Easter’s Lilly Series, The Linked Series, Ivy Vines Visions, and Unorganized Crime. Although originally from New York, she lives in Texas with her husband and near her four boys. In her spare time, Judy plays guitar and sings at her church, and dotes on her fur babies. 

You can visit her website at https://www.judyserrano.com/ or connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

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