Excerpt: Beyond Secrets
"Sierra Madison. We meet at last." The man, looking like a mobster dressed in casual business clothing, sat down beside Sierra at the bus stop.
"Do I know you?" She was confused, but had to keep her cool. No one would know she was the face of Mrs. Chatty, since she'd just gotten the job at the Chicago Life Newspaper. Maybe this guy knew Uncle Nick. If so, she'd try to get away from him. But first, she needed to know more.
The man's smile was slimy. "No, we don't know each other yet, but we're going to be best friends." He whipped out his card and handed it to her. "The name's Ronny Samuels, just like my card says. I'm a lawyer for Joey Angelo."
She glanced down at the card. "Who's Joey Angelo?" When she lifted her eyes to Ronny's face, his evil smile made the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. His eyes then narrowed as if he wanted to eat Sierra for lunch. She had to remember she was from New Jersey and pull out what she liked to call her 'Jerseytude,' even though he frightened her.
His bushy eyebrows lowered slightly. "You don't know that name?"
"No, sir." Sierra donned a bit of attitude and put her hand on her hip. "Should I?"
Mr. Slimy nodded. "Everyone should know that name. Joey is a silent partner for your business. He's part owner." Ronny leaned closer. "I'll be watching you, after that article you wrote about fish."
This man knew a lot. "The one about local restaurants serving fish with mercury in them? What about it?"
He nodded. "That's the one. Why do you think you were demoted to the basement janitor's closet?"
She sat up. Finally, some answers. "Because of that article, according to Mr. Warren. But I don't understand why and he wouldn't tell me." Mr. Warren was her boss. His office was on the fifth floor, where her office used to be located.
Ronny shook his head slowly. "Joey owns six restaurants, all of them serving fish. That article made the inspectors sit up and take notice in Joey's businesses."
Her eyebrows rose considerably. "I had no idea. So, I wrote about the silent partner owner and bashed one of his other businesses?"
"Yes, you did." He paused, his beady brown eyes seeming to throw daggers at her. "Watch your step. Mr. Angelo plays for keeps."
The bus pulled up to the stop but she didn't move. Instead, she stared him down. "Is that a threat?"
He nodded and stood up. "Good day, Miss Madison."
As he walked away, Sierra decided against going to the Victorian tea party she'd been assigned to report about. She'd just found the best article for her page, but knew if she wrote it, her life would be in danger.
She decided her articles shouldn't be about fluff, but should reflect the undertone of Chicago and how dangerous it was. She couldn't mention Joey Angelo, but she could describe how the city wasn't for the faint of heart. However, Mrs. Chatty wasn't usually dramatic, so if she wrote it tongue-in-cheek, she might be able to actually get a bigger readership. It was time to let Ronny Samuels and Joey Angelo have it, Jersey style. If need be, she'd call in the big guns—her uncle, who'd been rumored to be involved with the mob in Atlantic City. She might do that anyway, just to protect herself.
She needed a place to think, seeing a coffee shop across the street. It was time to go undercover, and what better way than to load up on caffeine.
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