Book two in the Brooklyn Sinners series, Sinner, Savior.
Gun runner Pablo Castillo has cemented his reputation in the gun trade as callous and cold-hearted. Personal feelings no longer matter, not with everyone out to make him a sacrifice on their way to the top. He remains untouchable, until a meeting with a rival gang leader and a new deal brings him face-to-face with temptation.
Dev is the right hand to a sadistic bastard out for blood and glory. He hides his true feelings of distaste for his boss, not the least of his many secrets. He could’ve sworn those secrets were safe, but after meeting Pablo he’s not so sure. The two men come together in a heated affair neither can deny, battling themselves, each other and a deadly enemy bent on spilling blood. Pablo and Dev will have to stick together or walk away from a love neither man expected to find. The choice should be simple. It never is.
Pablo Castillo strode through the doors of the damn near deserted Lindenwood Diner with his lips curled into a smirk. An hour and a half late to a meeting he set up, but he couldn’t appear too enthusiastic to those bastards. Couldn’t make them think he wanted or even needed the business they were so eager to provide.
And eager they were.
The two men sitting with their heads together in the corner booth broke off their conversation, attention zeroing in on him.
The older of the two men, Jeffery York, eyed him with open hostility in those shifty eyes. Pablo shrugged off York’s anger and focused on the man with him. Considerably younger. Longish dark hair, bit of a scruff, and tanned skin. As if he spent too much time in the sun.
Movement in his periphery made Pablo shake his head. Of course York would bring his goons.
Who in turn brought their guns.
“This is how you do business, Castillo? Making people wait for you?” York motioned and two men appeared on either side of Pablo.
He raised his hands, turning around slowly. Impersonal hands patted him down. Someone kicked the insides of his legs to spread them. Pablo held his tongue, keeping his temper in check while York’s men went through their routine.
When they finished, one of them tapped him on the shoulder, indicating permission for Pablo to approach York and Pablo murmured a sarcastic, “Thanks.” He slid into the booth opposite York and his man.
A new face.
“Who’s the pretty face?” Pablo sat back, draping his right arm over the booth divider. Sure, anyone looking in from the outside would see three men having an amiable conversation over breakfast, but looks were deceiving.
Pablo didn’t do casual, and especially with Jeffery York, he didn’t do amiable.
“I don’t like having my time wasted, Castillo.” Salt-and-pepper hair gelled down to his scalp, York grasped a knife, his knuckles ashen, and took his sweet time spreading butter over his dark toast. The man next to him didn’t speak once, sipping from a white coffee cup, eyes alert and centered on Pablo.
He should feel flattered by the attention, but all he wanted was a name. “I don’t know what you think this is, York, but I don’t do business with people I don’t know. Introduce me to pretty boy over here, or I’m walking.”
Not a bluff. York was the one in need of weapons. The weapons Pablo had.
The knife in York’s hand clattered onto his plate, loud in the tense silence of the diner. “You dare to show your face almost two hours late and make demands?” Though he kept his voice low, the words rumbled between them as York’s eyes narrowed to slits. “You dare to—”
“I dare whatever the fuck I want.” Pablo leaned forward, elbows on the table.
Pretty boy shifted.
“You know full well who runs this, despite your posturing. You called for this meeting, which means you need me. I don’t need you or your fucking business.” Through his rant Pablo kept his face impassive, his moves controlled. “Either introduce me to pretty boy over there,” he jerked his chin in the direction of Mr. Silent, “or I walk.” He sat back. “You choose.”
“There’s a third option.” York picked up the knife. Gray eyes greedy with barely contained bloodlust, he said, “I have two guns trained on you. I could just do myself and a whole lot of people a solid and shoot you where you sit.” He smiled and Pablo couldn’t help but shudder. He imagined a snake would look like that doing the same thing. “Someone would surely thank me for ending you.”
“You could do that.” Pablo paused as if gathering his thoughts. “I ever tell you about my Aunt Marisol’s boyfriend, Benny?” He raised an eyebrow. When no answer was forthcoming he continued. “Big guy. Huge. One palm as big as my head.” He chuckled. “Had a problem with his sister. Her husband kept beating on her. Nasty business that.” He shook his head. “I mean, some shit men just don’t do. Hitting a woman is one of those.”
Pretty boy’s censorious gaze was hot on Pablo’s skin.
“Anyway, long story short. Benny came to me, wanted me to do something. I had to, they lived in my neighborhood. Some say the husband left the wife and ran away with someone else. Some say he’s on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean. No one knows where he is, but Benny now owes me a favor.” He allowed a self-satisfied smile to spread. “By the way, have you seen the guy who cooks here? Big guy. Huge. One palm as big as my head? Heard he was called in this morning when the other cook got sick. How’s your eggs, York?”
Red blotches covered York’s otherwise pale face and neck. He coughed and sputtered, covering his mouth with a napkin he clutched tightly. Pretty boy made a sound—could’ve been a laugh—into his coffee cup and Pablo turned his gaze to him, but their third wheel didn’t meet his eyes.
“Let’s dispense with the size comparisons and get on with business,” Pablo said. “Besides, it goes without saying that mine is bigger.” He slapped his palms down flat on the table, rattling the dishes.
A gun cocked.
Pablo turned his head, into the barrel of pretty boy’s .45.
Well. Well. Pablo met those eyes, dark blue if he wasn’t mistaken. Clear and steady. Quick draw. He really shouldn’t like that the way he did. Or those full pink lips. Holding pretty boy’s gaze, he spoke to York. “Last time I saw you, Zander was glued to your side. Skipping to your command. Who is this motherfucker?”
York took his time, dabbing at the corners of his mouth and resting the napkin on the table before he spoke. “Zander is no longer part of my inner circle. Dev here has been with me for a long time, just in a lower capacity.”
“So what, he’s been promoted?”
Huh. Pablo winked at pretty boy, a.k.a. Dev. “All right. That works for now.” He sat back, crossed his arms over his chest. “You have thirty seconds to tell me what you want and why I should give it to you.”
York nodded at Dev, who produced a slip of paper he held out to Pablo. He eyed it for a second before taking it from long, slender fingers. Seriously, one only had to listen to his inner monologue to know he’d been fucking his palm for too damn long. Long, slender fingers.
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