SHANK (A Wilde Crime Series)

 

 

 

SHANK

A WILDE CRIME

Book II

By j.a. kazimer

 

 

 

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.

 

Copyright © 2012 by j.a.kazimer. All Rights Reserved. For more information, contact OBSCURE Publishing, Denver, Colorado.

www.jakazimer.c
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FIRST EDITION

***

Buy the first book,
Dope Sick: A Love Story
, in the Wilde Crime Series

Once a famous rock star, Colin Wilde nearly dies on a dirty bathroom floor, a lethal dose of heroin in his veins and the name of his murdered wife, Lisa, on his lips. Two years later, finally clean and on the verge of a major comeback, he meets Zoe, a beautiful strung
-out dancer. With her help, Colin maneuvers through the seedy world of sex, drugs, and record deals in search of a killer.

SHANK

Table of Contents:

About the Author

Start Reading

***

Money can’t buy happiness.

 

Ian Wilde knows a bluff when he hears one. The tattooed ex-con is so sure the twelve million dollars of stolen money sitting in a bank on Grand Cayman Island will buy his happiness, not to mention his best friend’s life that he risks everything in a desperate con game to acquire it.

 

But the tables are soon turned on the gambler when a new player, Frankie Hurley, a feisty woman from his troubled past joins the mix. With the aid of a mismatched crew of childhood friends and the love of Lady Luck, Ian could walk away a winner, or dead.    

 

One thing is for sure though, he can’t just walk away.

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Sex, sand, and twelve million
in stolen cash. Paradise. I eyed the brunette sitting two patio chairs away and smiled. Even in heaven you bet on a sure thing. I swallowed the rest of my drink in one gulp. Tequila smoldered its way down my throat, quenching a part of my thirst. I focused on the sun goddess again, tanned, and toned to trophy-wife perfection. A black tattoo snaked up the back of her thigh. She smirked, watching me watching her, and undid the top string of her bikini. My eyes followed its path to the sand, and I thanked whatever island God had smiled on me.

Motioning
to the bartender, I ordered another round, “No lime.” Like my life I enjoyed my liquor straight up. No frills or complications to get in my way. I dug into my Bermuda shorts for a wad of hundred dollar bills and tossed him one. “I’ll be over there.” I gestured to the empty seat next to the woman. The barman winked. I stood, hot sand burning into the bare soles of my feet and headed toward the topless beauty….

Searing pain
kicked me in the nuts, dragging me from my fantasy. I opened and closed my eyes, trying to clear my fogged brain. The daydream disappeared and reality charged in. Island sunlight grayed into a green cloud of hospital lighting. Ice chips, not tequila, quenched my arid throat. And without looking up I knew my fantasy girl had vanished as well.

When my eye
s adjusted to the light it was worse than I suspected. My sun goddess had changed from a vision of perfection to Nurse Becket, a sixty-year-old grandmother in surgical scrubs and orthopedic shoes. Thankfully Nurse Becket’s sagging breasts were hidden beneath her uniform. The pain in my chest grew. A kid, not old enough to play doctor, prodded my wound, humming Whistle While You Work under his breath.

Reality sucked.

I closed my eyes, trying to return to the fantasy and a sandy beach in Grand Cayman with a suitcase of twelve million dollars in cash. It didn’t work.


Well, Ian,” the young doc said to me, “the infection’s almost cleared up, but you need to stay a couple more days.” Doogie Howser repacked the bullet hole with sterile gauze. A pair of wire-rimmed glasses slipped down his plastic surgically straight nose. My own nose, broken seven times, curved slightly to the right.

“No.” I winced
when the bandage tightened against my fractured ribs. Five in all. Amazing the amount of damage a bullet fired at close range did to the human body. “I appreciate what you’ve done...” Doogie had saved my life, not once but twice. The first time, he had removed a bullet from my chest, a tricky procedure that lasted fourteen hours. Two weeks later he saved me again when infection set in.

Nurse Becket frowned, her thin lips forming a perfect circle.
“You’ll do as Dr. Simon says.” I grinned and closed my eyes. A cross between a drill sergeant and Mother Theresa, Nurse Becket told me when to eat and get out of bed, threatened me with sponge baths, and changed the television to soap operas when I fell asleep. If there was a hell on Earth Nurse Becket ran it. Late at night, I thought of ways to dispose of her body instead of counting sheep. Wood chippers and large garbage disposals came to mind.

Dr. Simon’s
next words pulled me from my murderous musings. “How about this, if the infection’s gone by Friday I’ll release you.”

I didn’t trust him
, and I hated being tied down with tubes and painkillers. It was like prison but without the shackles or lumpy oatmeal. I had to get out. I had a business to run. It wasn’t much of one, but without me, who knew what shape I’d find it. Frankie looked out for things, but O’Malley’s took a special touch and the willingness to crack a few skulls to keep it in the black. Not that it had ever been in the black but I remained optimistic. “Friday?” I glanced up from the fresh bandage.

Simon nodded.
Nurse Becket shot a clear substance into my I.V., and my pain receded along with my ability to think. A warm haze swirled around me, and I closed my eyes.

A warm ocean breeze played with the straps of the brunette’s bikini. The taste of tequila was sweet on my tongue…
.

Chapter
2

 

“Ian.” My cousin, Colin, stood over my hospital bed, his voice pulling me from the drugged depths of a narco-slumber. I cracked open an eyelid. A dim overhead bulb kept the room in shadows. My eyeballs felt gritty, a side effect of the morphine and the sandman.

Rubbing
the whiskers on my cheek, I examined my cousin. He looked happier than I’d seen him in a long time. Clean. Healthy. His face had lost its hard edges of grief and sorrow. A Betty Boop look-a-like named Zoë had changed everything for Colin. Indirectly, she was also the reason I was laid up in the hospital but I didn’t blame her. Somewhere there was a bullet with each of our names on it. This one happened to have mine.

“What’s up?”
My greeting came out slurred, like after one too many shots of good Irish whiskey. I opened and closed my mouth, trying to unstick my tongue. At my pleading look, Colin handed me a cup of water and a pink-stripped straw. Tricky to look like a hard ass when drinking from a pink straw, but I tried anyway.

Colin smiled, enjoying my struggle. “I want you to be my best man.”

I choked, spitting a fountain of water from my shocked lips. Marriage? Damn. “Congratulations,” I said, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. Marriage and family were huge responsibilities. I had all the responsibility I could handle running a business and staying out of the joint. I chose my words with care. “I’d be honored…”


Good. The date’s set for one month from now.” His expression lacked the horror I expected from someone who’d be married in a month. If it were me I’d be heading for the nearest exit screaming like a girl.

“Are you sure
you want me to be your best man?” I asked.

Deep frown lines etched Colin’s face
. “I don’t care what anyone thinks. You are the only family I have.”

I grinned
, easing the tension. “As long as I don’t have to wear a suit.”

A knock sounded on my door, and
Zoë walked in. Her short black hair curled around her face like the halo of an innocent angel, but I knew better. She was tough, much tougher than I’d given her credit for six weeks ago.

“And a tie.”
She winked at me, long lashes hiding darkening circles around her eyes.

Colin
wound his arm around her waist. “You heard the lady.”

I groaned,
already dreading the rented tuxedo with year-old sweat stains I’d be forced to wear. Zoë glanced at Colin and they burst into laughter. So much for compassion. “I heard from Clair,” Zoë said as she took a seat at the edge of my bed.

I wasn
’t sure how I felt about Clair, a coke addict who’d almost had cost Colin and Zoë their lives, yet when it mattered she’d come through and saved my ass. We’d spent a few blissful hours getting to know each other, but neither of us was in a position to get more involved, no matter how great she looked naked. “How is she?” I asked, picturing Clair’s beautiful body and even more enticing lips. After the shootout, she had left New York for a rehab clinic in Washington, DC. She sent me a postcard of the Washington Monument, signing it ‘with love’. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that either.

“She’s doing
well.” Zoë gave me a sad smile.

Colin rolled his eyes, l
ike me he was less forgiving of Clair’s treachery. “When are they letting you out?”

“Friday.”
Otherwise I’d flee bare-assed down the hallway and out the front door.

Guilt filled his face.
“I’m so sorry.” It wasn’t the first time he’d said that.

“Enough.
This,” I waved down at the bandage, “wasn’t your fault. It was my mistake.” Colin had asked me to protect Zoë and Clair while he took care of some business. There was an ambush and I walked into a bullet. Simple.

Zoë patted
Colin’s hand. “The blame belongs on Bev and her cronies.” Bev a high society trophy wife murdered Colin’s first wife and then her own husband, Jack for millions and millions of drug dollars. Of course Jack deserved it so it was like an act of karma. But then she also unjustly attempted to kill Colin, which put her on my shit list. I nodded, reinforcing Zoë’s words. Colin still looked unsure.


Bev’s charged with two counts of first degree murder.” Zoë smiled. “She’ll never get out.”

“What about Oscar
?” The machine closest to the bed beeped in warning as my blood pressure rose. Bev’s lover, Oscar, had escaped capture after we uncovered their dirty deeds. He walked the streets with an ax to grind, both crazy and dangerous. I knew, one day soon, I’d see him again and this time he’d be the one riddled with bullets.

Colin shook his head. “No luck.
Oscar’s in the wind.”

“I’ll find him,
” I said with complete confidence, my tone as harsh as the rasp in my lungs. Zoë shivered and Colin rubbed her shoulders. “Did the cops get Jack’s Grand Cayman stash?” I asked, remembering my fantasy of a topless woman and millions of greenbacks. Jack, before his loving wife put a bullet between his eyes, had stashed twelve million dollars at a bank on the island.

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