Catch Me If You Can

Catch Me If You Can

Brenna Lyons

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Meet Angelo Maretti, the conscience of the Maretti-Rizzulo crime families. He was your typical straight-laced college student, until a rival family killed his sister. Now, the name of the game is getting revenge without starting a war. The only way to do that? Make every death of the guilty Ortegas look like natural causes.... In the footsteps of the original Grimms tale, ‘The Hare and The Hedgehog,’ it all comes back to one fact, Angelena was a dead ringer (pardon the pun) for her twin brother.
 
PUBLISHED BY: Under the Moon
ISBN: 1-934153-57-5
PUBLICATION DATE: 2008
WORD COUNT: 17389
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 3 3 3
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense
KEYWORDS: Urban Fantasy, Erotic Thriller, Grimms Tale
 

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EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Brenna Lyons/2008
"Lena?" Angelo sauntered through the door to his sister's apartment at the edges of campus, wondering at her absence from their morning computer class. "Lena? You sick? You never miss class."

At what point he knew something was seriously wrong, he couldn't say. At once, the apartment seemed too still. Little things were out of place. The space felt stale, unused, though they'd laughed over cappuccino only the evening before.

His heart pounded, and his throat felt too tight. He reached for the doorknob to her bedroom with a shaking hand, hearing the individual clicks of the tumblers like gunshots on Cousin Gabriel's range.

The door swung open, and the room came into view in patches.

Dust motes danced in the sunlight streaming through the unshaded window. Angelo watched them for a long moment before he acknowledged that he was afraid to look anywhere else.

Her vanity was in disarray. Bottles were swept to one side, their contents spilled and mixed, powders dusting the mirror and rug, the overpowering scent of perfumes cloying. His eyes watered in response. Or, maybe it was the beginnings of tears.

He saw the crimson streaks and splatters in the hazy mirror and denied them. It was the roses on the bed linens, he rationalized. There must be a ribbon design that he'd never noticed before. That was all it was. Maybe some abstract design between the roses...

Lena was his sister, his twin, older by less than an hour. She was sweet, refined, loving, innocent...even of the harsher realities of what their family was. She wasn't allowed to bleed, to hurt...to die.

Angelo was in motion that simply. There was no question what had happened. She'd been beaten and cut with some sort of sharp blades, tied down to her bed, sexually abused. A length of silk and lace, likely a pair of her underwear, was stuffed in her mouth to mute her screams.

He touched her cheek, praying for warmth at the same time he hoped she'd died quickly. The cold seemed to steal his own warmth, and eyes he'd pinned his faith on being wide in shock stared at the ceiling, dead. Dead... He tried to find a prettier word, but there wasn't one, and this wasn't pretty.

Angelo couldn't feel, couldn't reason, could barely see.

The rush of sights and smells left him nerveless and weaving in dizziness. The scent of blood and urine mixed with the perfumes and powders. How had he missed that earlier? Was it new? No, that was unlikely.

Other odors, unmentionable ones that should never have been associated with Lena, assaulted him, and he gagged, staggering a step away from the bed.

The stench of stomach acid and bile hit him next. He was kneeling now...with no memory of leaving his feet, the sheet fisted in his hand and his arm muscles tight, as if he'd fallen and tried to catch himself.

The hot liquid soaking through the knees of his jeans drew his gaze down to the puddle that encompassed the sum total of his stomach contents. His throat burned, shouting the story of lost moments.

Angelo looked back to his sister, reaching for the silk in her mouth, his boneless fingers plucking at and missing it again and again. His breathing was harsh in his own ears.

His cell phone was in his hand, though he had no memory of retrieving it from his pocket. Angelo spoke, though he had no idea who he called, or what he said to them.

Uncle Vince and a uniformed officer he didn't recognize came through the door together. Angelo realized that the phone was still pressed to his ear, as silent as the apartment had been when he'd entered, shut off when it timed out.

Vince removed it gently, closing the flap. "Come with me, Angelo." His voice was low, calming, urging without the force he usually exerted with his tone alone.

Angelo didn't move his gaze away from Lena. He couldn't. He wasn't certain he was blinking. His eyes burned and ached, but still he stared, watching for signs of breathing that didn't exist.

"Angelo!"

He snapped his head around, staring at Vince in confusion. What was his uncle doing here? Was that the call he made? What was going on around him? There were more people, people he didn't remember arriving. Nothing made sense.

"Come with me," Vince repeated.

Angelo nodded, vaguely noting the fact that Vince was dragging him to his feet. Her bedroom passed behind him in a dizzying rush, and they were soon enveloped in the safety of Lena's living room.

The officer he'd seen first spoke in low tones, most likely into a radio or cell phone, since no one else was near him.

Something pressed to Angelo's hand, and he looked down, numb in body and soul, save the aching in his knees. It was a flask, the engraved silver one Vince carried. It had belonged to Vince's father...and likely his grandfather, as well.

"I don't understand," he managed.

"Drink it. Mother of God, don't fight me on this; drink it."

Angelo didn't argue, though Vince's request made no more sense than anything else he was seeing and hearing did. The amber liquid burned a painful trail down his throat, and Angelo coughed in response, his eyes watering. He managed two more swallows before Vince took the flask away and drained it.

Angelo couldn't look at him. He trailed his gaze around aimlessly, finally settling on a half-written note on the coffee table.

The greeting caught his eyes, the simple "Hi, Lo" she'd used in response to his "Hi, Lena" since they were children. A lump in his throat made breathing difficult.

"Hi, Lena," he croaked.

Then he was crying, great wracking sobs, on his knees on the floor, the note fisted in his hands. Angelo screamed incoherently, venting his anguish to the heavens...and Vince let him.

 
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