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Killer With a Heart
Killer Series Book 1
by J L Hill
Genre: Adult Crime Fiction
Nicky ‘Nails’ Rocci’s gang is thick as thieves, but stealing mob money leads to murder. However, failing to kill Morris ‘Mojo’ Johnson is a costly mistake for the Banoa family that adds to Morris’ mystique.
Maria Marino is a bewitching beauty, a sexy firebrand that has captured the heart of the feared warlord, Morris.
Joey Banoa’s lust for Maria, Morris Johnson’s desire for vengeance, and Nicky’s aspirations to lead his gang to the top of the criminal scene will ignite a mob war and unleash Hellfire on the streets of New York.
A Hundred Friends
The sun is rising in the cloudless pale blue sky when I stop for a moment in front of my house and think about climbing through the bathroom window over the back porch; but I really don’t want Mom seeing me like this, and I definitely do not want to explain how I escaped a mob hit squad, or why. Instead, I decide to keep going and hang out at the Raven until I have a good story to tell her. Besides, the way my sides throb I don’t think I can climb onto the back porch. I probe my left side gently; it hurts like hell but I don’t think the ribs are broken. I run my tongue around my teeth and find the hole at the back on the right where my tooth used to be. Those guys tossed me a pretty good beat-down.
Sitting on the sidewalk with my back against the wall feels good. I slowly begin picking morsels from the French roll I took from the bread bag as I walked past the deli. I hadn’t realized until I pop that first piece of bread into my mouth how hungry I am; haven’t eaten since yesterday afternoon. I get like this in the summer, especially when it’s hot. And even though it is only the first week of June, the temperature is already in the nineties and that is unusually hot for New York. I close my eyes and let the sunshine melt the pain away and clear my head of any thoughts. There is nothing but the red glow of the inside of my eyelids.
Blackness interrupts the crimson haze in my head momentarily. My eyes dart open, I instinctively spring to my feet, and reach around my back for the 007 switchblade.
“You’re one jumpy jungle bunny,” says Nicky Rocci. “But I guess you would be from the looks of you. Black eye, swollen jaw, some nasty black and blues… Well, blues on your sides,” he continues while holding my leather jacket open.
“You look like you had a rough night too, you whop cocksucker,” I reply, sliding back down to the sidewalk. “Who worked over your face, Nails?” I call him Nails partly because his family is in the construction business and he likes to tell everyone that he can chew nails and spit bullets. He is sporting a black eye, busted lip, and his nose looks like it was moved around his face a bit.
“My Dad wasn’t too happy about the job we pulled on the
Deli Man. Let me get a piece of that bread.”
“Get your own,” I say. “And while you’re over there, grab a couple of quarts. I know the Deli Man won’t mind.”
Nicky Nails disappears into the alley that leads to the back of the deli and comes out with two quarts of Budweiser then reaches into the big brown bread bag and pulls out an Italian loaf. As he crosses the street I notice a slight limp, probably got stomped on too.
“So, why did you tell him about the Deli Man? I thought we all agreed to keep our mouths shut. No matter what!” I ask as I shade my eyes and gaze up at him.
“I didn’t tell him anything. It seems the Deli Man is more connected than we thought.”
“Not, we thought,” I correct, “You thought. You said he was a small time numbers guy. Easy pickings.”
“Well, MoJo,” Nicky sits down beside me.
He calls me MoJo, which is short for Morris Johnson, and after the lyrics in the Doors song, ‘L. A. Woman’. I love that song, play it all the time.
“Not only is he more mobbed up than I thought; he was paying my family to keep his bank here. Naturally, when we hit him, he complained to my father about not protecting his money. My dad asked me what I knew.”
“And you bitched up!”
“Does it look like I talked?”
I take a long deep swig of cold beer.
Nicky continues, “We saw Deli Man’s guys grab you. I guess you kept quiet too.”
“Of course I did; we wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. He was going to keep on beating me until I gave him the answer he wanted. That’s when he found out about Elizabeth and me, and went fucking ape shit.”
Nicky shakes his head, “I told you fucking his daughter was a bad, bad idea. She talked, didn’t she?”
“No.” I pause for a moment, as my mind jumps back to Deli Man’s kitchen, “Elizabeth was in the hall crying. Deli Man looked at her, and said something in Italian, which I didn’t understand. Her mother dragged her off down the hall. I thought he told her to get Elizabeth out of there. But a few minutes later her mother yelled ‘mignotta’, which I did understand, ‘whore’. She must have given her the old Virgin Finger Test. Deli Man forgot all about his money, and told his men to kill me.”
“Yeah, well, I told you, if you fucked his daughter he would kill you.”
“But at least he stopped beating on me.”
“Wait a second,” Nicky has a surprised look on his face. “If he told his guys to kill you, how are you here?”
I am about to answer when a black Ford Fury jumps the curb and screeched to a stop, its bumper inches from our faces.
Detects. We know who they are, Fitzpatrick and Mancotti, or
Batman and Robin as we call them. They grab us by the shirt, well, me by my leather jacket since I’m not wearing a shirt, and shove us into the back of the car. No one says a word, not the two cops, not Nicky, and definitely not me. They drive a couple of blocks up to East Tremont and then down a little side street that dead-ends at the train tracks. It’s a secluded place where junkies come to shoot up or do other deeds that one won’t do in public. They get out of the car and walk back up the street a bit, leaving Nicky and me locked in the back.
Nicky and I look at each other; knowing we are both thinking the same thing. Either this is an open mike trick, or we are being setup for a hit. I am leaning more towards the former. It’s an old cop ploy. Leave a couple of suspects in a room with a hidden microphone or tape recorder and wait for them to turn on each other. It works just as well in the back of a police car, but Nicky and I are not about to fall for that. We sit in absolute silence. And if they are going to turn us over to the mob it will be just as easy to do, as it is really early in the morning and no one saw us get picked up. But then they would have been here waiting for us already. In my mind, there is no doubt this is the open mike bullshit, so all we have to do is sit here and be quiet. They will eventually get bored and cut us loose.
Fifteen or twenty minutes pass and the two detectives get back in the car. We smile at them. We are not some scared little school boys afraid they are going to tell our mommies on us.
Nicky says, “If you are finished playing games, you can drop us off back on the corner, our beers are going flat.”
“Shut the fuck up!” yells Mancotti. “You boys will be lucky if you see the light of day again.”
The car rips up the street in reverse and spins around at the intersection. They flip on the siren and speed down East Tremont Avenue again, catching the attention of the few people waiting at the bus stop. Thankfully, there are some people on their way to work this early Saturday morning already. We race through the street until we get to the police station, where we are summarily marched upstairs, not in handcuffs mind you, and into individual cells. They push us in and slam the doors shut behind us. It’s dark and stinks of urine and shit but there is also a long and narrow metal bench opposite the door. I sit on it then lie on my back; I am finally going to get some sleep.
Almost complete darkness greets me when I open my eyes again and I lie there staring at the ceiling. ‘This has been one long fucked up day,’ I think. Hell, it’s been one long fucked up month, as it has been just about that long since Nicky told us of his plan for robbing the Deli Man. May, second, to be exact.
Killer With Three Heads
Killer Series Book 2
Time to KillThe sign over the door of the two-story brick building on the corner reads, Sons of Italy Social Club. Or at least, that is what it said years ago before five of the letters fell off. But it has been there long enough that the missing letters, the O’s and the I’s, left their mark on the brick façade. The blackened glass windows look out to the east and north while double steel doors angled between them face the busy intersection. They swing open, letting in the bright morning sun; they are not locked. The Sons of Italy Social Club is never closed. The blinding daylight draws everyone’s attention to the thigh-high black leather boots, red micro-mini skirt, and rabbit fur jacket that barely clothes a raven-haired ebony Queen. Five men and a barmaid squint to focus on her until the doors shut and the light gives way to a more normal view.
“Marone!” says the old man sitting at the card table facing the woman. The other two middle-aged men nearly snap their necks doing a double take. “You got the wrong place, honey,” he continues, slicking back his gray and black dyed hair. “This is a private club. You want the bus depot down the block.”
“I think I’m in the right place,” she coos and saunters deeper into the room. “I’m here for Benny. It’s his birthday and I’m here to make him a man.”
A skinny pimply-faced boy standing at the pool table’s voice cracks with uneasy arousal, “I’m Benny, but my birthday ain’t until next week.”
His pool partner, a slightly older boy, slaps him on the back of his head.
The woman stops at a table two feet from the boys, places her foot on the seat of the chair, so they can see right up the skirt, and reveals everything she has to offer. She kicks the chair and it slides across the floor to the pool table. Benny’s friend hustles him to the chair and pushes him down onto it. The three card-playing men position their chairs for a better view and one of them calls out, “Red, put on some music.”
The barmaid flips a switch and the club fills with Disco sounds, loud and pulsating. The woman starts swaying her hips and shaking her tits, which are now out of the rabbit fur and protruding from her red halter-top. She swings one leg high over Benny’s head, giving all the men a preview of what’s to come, while spinning around and thrusting her naked butt in his face. She slowly rubs her bare bottom down his chest and onto his lap. Benny already has a hard-on sticking up through his jeans and she is sure the other men have them too. Hands on her knees, she gyrates and bounces on his lap, rotating her cunt so close to his face he can smell her tangy juices and feel the heat that produces them.
The men are spellbound when she leaps up, spins around in the air, and lands on his lap again, wrapping her legs around him, and her ankles lock around the back legs of the chair. His face buried in her ample cleavage, he can feel his pants filling with cum. Ashamed, he tries to stop but his body is out of control, trapped by her overpowering essence. Everything is happening too fast.
The woman runs her hands through her long silky black hair, taking all eyes with them. She reaches down into the back of the rabbit fur jacket, as the men are glued to every move and watch intently as she pulls two .22 revolvers from her back. Hypnotized like rabbits in headlights, they don’t even blink when she fires point-blank into the pool player’s face. Then with the gun in her right hand, she sweeps across the card table, placing a slug in each man’s forehead.
“Sorry Benny, this is as close as you get to being a man,” she whispers in his ear before putting a bullet in it. Then pushing him to the floor, she quickly goes to the backroom door and kicks it in with a black thigh-high boot. With disco music blaring behind her and two .22s outstretched before her, she freezes in the inner office’s doorway.
“Vicky! I knew it was you I heard getting the boys all worked up,” says Nicky Nails with an easy smile. “Haven’t seen you in ages. Did you leave any of my guys alive?”
“I told her to kill them all!”
“Goddamn it, MoJo! This is a day for surprises.” Nicky’s eyes beam at the sight of the man standing behind Vicky in the back office.
She takes another two steps into the room and Morris Johnson slides to the right.
“I go by the name John Morrison now. Morris Johnson has been dead for ten years.”
“Worst alias I’ve ever heard,” Nicky laughs while still seated behind his desk.
“And I told you before, call me Clarita Sanchez.” Vicky snarls then turns to me. “Why don’t you let me kill this guinea prick and we can get on with our business?”
“Because,” I sigh heavily as I explain it to her one more time, “This guinea prick is my friend. And he has the drop on us. See he has his hands positioned on the edge of his big metal desk?”
“He probably has a hand grenade between his knees and is prepared to drop it and flip the desk over for cover.”
“That’s right,” replies Nicky. “This nigger taught me to always keep a hand grenade handy. And I guess you have one in your pocket too. Can we put the pins in now and get down to business?”
“Sure… and Honey can come out of the closet over there,” I show Nicky my grenade and thumb the pin back into the handle.
He reaches under the desk and does the same to his. Honey opens a secret panel in the wall behind him and comes out toting a sawed off shotgun. The three of us exchange embraces as Vicky reloads and holsters her guns, still angry that she doesn’t get to kill Nicky.
Rozalina brings in a large bottle of Absolute and Nicky pours five shots of vodka, we clink glasses and down the shots. She whispers in his ear and I say, “Come on Cherry Bomb, we are all friends here.”
“That’s Mrs. Cherry Bomb Rocci to you,” Nicky corrects me.
“What? You’re kidding, right?”
Rozalina holds up her hand to show off the huge sparkling diamond ring as proof.
“Immigration was trying to deport her,” explains Nicky, “I couldn’t let my favorite girl go.”
“Some guys are out there,” Rozalina tells him, “Cleaning up the mess.”
“Your friends from Chicago had something to do with my daughter’s kidnapping,” I let fly a heated accusation. “I intend to find out what. And—”
“Hold on, MoJo,” Nicky pours another round, “I don’t think Chicago is behind Maria’s kidnapping. They have nothing to gain; it’s not the way we operate.”
I accept the drink sitting on the edge of his desk. Vicky looks nervous and Honey, who had returned the sawed-off back to the hidden closet stares at the two of us, not knowing what to expect next.
I kinda don’t blame them; I disappeared for four years and now return to light up the club with Vicky. “As I understand it, you are about to replace your father as head of the New York Mob. Maybe they want to draw me out and discredit your loyalty to the family. After all, you are where you are today because you supposedly had me killed.”
“Yeah, but that’s ancient history now.” Nicky downs his drink and continues, “That all died the day Angelo did as well. Besides, anybody who could stand in my way of taking over from my father is already at the bottom of the East River. Those guys are here… well, were here… because your boys are moving in on their territory back in Chicago. I have been telling your boys to pull back before we end up in a shooting war.”
“I have them keeping a close eye up north because you have been asleep at the wheel,” I tell him and down my next shot. “Those guys have been muscling in on our drug trade and infiltrating your operations.”
“Oh Yeah? How about that little motherfucker, Benny?”
“Benny!” Nicky half laughs, “I had him running for me since he was in the third grade. I was fucking his mother for years,” Nicky quickly shoots an apologetic look at Rozalina. “Before I married you, honey.”
“That might be so, but his Grandfather is Beniamino Brunello. You know, the Chicago godfather. They have been setting up a power play for years and I think they are going to use Maria as their pawn.”
“Look, Maria is my goddaughter,” Nicky says, the smile gone from his face. He looks me in the eye with a dead-cold stare. “I have her bodyguards down in the basement, and they’ve been telling me exactly what happened yesterday. I know they are telling the truth. No one from the north is involved. If I thought for a second they were, bullets would be flying and the streets of Chicago would be flowing with blood.”
“You sure about this?”
“Yes, and as soon as those two stunods come to, I’ll finish getting the information out of them.”
I notice the bruises on his hands. His knuckles are skinned and scraped. Nicky Nails has put on thirty or so pounds since I last saw him, and it’s all muscle. Now, he does look like he could chew nails and spit bullets.
“For now, you stay out of sight; I’ll handle Chicago and find out where Maria is. Man, I hate to have to tell Benny’s mother he’s dead. She is gonna be pissed. And if she is connected to Chicago, things are going to get ugly.”
“Don’t worry about them, call her up and tell her you sent him on a job. My boys will handle the rest. I also got them working the streets, we will find Maria.”
“Yeah, we will,” he looks down and then back at me with his boyish grin, “You haven’t seen Elizabeth yet, have you?”
“No.” I say flatly. “I wanted to have some good news to tell her.”
“Well, just seeing you’re alive will be good news,” he tells me. “She is quite sure that you died in Colombia when you didn’t return from that last mission. Four years is a long time, MoJo. What the hell happened? Oh, and by the way, I wouldn’t just go walking in the front door, the feds are there.”
“It is a kidnapping case,” Nicky says angrily, “It’s kinda their thing? And you know they never stopped paying her a little attention. Anyway, you know the guy, he came out of retirement or something to work this case.”
A young black man in a red jumpsuit knocks on the door that is hanging half off the hinges. “All done, John,” he says.
Nicky looks him over from his paper hair net to his paper booties. He looks like he just stepped out of an operating theatre.
“They are in the van,” he continues, “Do you want us to dispose of them in the usual manner?”
“No,” I reply as I come to my feet. “We are gonna have to store those guys for a while. I’ll be out in a minute.”
“Real professional,” remarks Nicky then refills my glass and gives it a tap. “Girls, give us a minute.”
The three women return to the bar. Rozalina is amazed at the sight, not a drop of blood anywhere, not a chair overturned, the place spotless. When she left minutes previously there were rivers of blood on the floor and flowing from the card table. As precise as Vicky was, shooting five people in the head leaves a mess, but now one can’t tell a harsh word had been spoken in the place. The cleanup crew, five husky black guys in red one-piece jumpsuits transformed the place. It looks better than it ever did.
“I’m leaving Vicky here to help you with security,” I inform Nicky. He gives me a frown and then resigns himself to the inevitable. “Until we get to the bottom of this, you need someone you can trust watching your back.”
“Watching my back,” Nicky downs another shot, “She’s more likely to put a knife in it. You know she thinks I left you hanging in Colombia. I didn’t, you know. I had our people all over the place trying to find you. What the fuck happened down there?”
“I know you did but it’s like I told you that night, the government was about to pull a double cross, and did. You saved both of our lives. You didn’t tell her, did you?”
Nicky shakes his head, “Not a word, although I don’t know why you wanted to keep it from her. Anyway, how many times do I have to tell you? Never work with the government. They’ll fuck you every time.”
I run a hand across my chest and up to my left shoulder, it’s an automatic reaction to the phantom pain that flares up when I think about Colombia. “She knows now. I told her two days ago. She wasn’t very happy.”
Vicky sits at the bar staring into a half-full glass of vodka. Rozalina and Izolda give her plenty of space; they can tell she wants to be alone. She had slipped on underwear and jeans and sits there barefoot, her mind nowhere near the bar. She is in the Grand Caymans, days ago…
It was 2 a.m. and the only person who could get the drop on her was kneeling by her bedside with his hand over her mouth.
Her eyes snapped open; her fist flew wildly then changed to an embrace midflight. Her arm wrapped around MoJo’s neck as he spun and whipped her out of bed without disturbing her sleeping husband, Derrick. His hand went from her mouth to clutching her bare ass and he carried her into the living room.
“My God! You’re alive,” she whispered then pulled my shirt open, down over my arms, and places her right hand carefully on my chest over the three bullet-hole scars, making sure I was not a ghost. She fell against my chest and I could feel the tears rolling down my body. “I knew you were alive. I told Derrick. I told Nicky. I told them all, it would take more than three bullets to kill you,” she said defiantly. “We’ve got to wake up Derrick; he has to know you are back—”
“Not just yet,” I tell her. I notice her eyes are tracing the whiplash welts that crisscross my body. I take her by the hand and lead her out into the night. I hold her tight against my body, searching for the words I must impart. Her body melts into mine, her fingers running along the marks on my back. Finally, I place my hands firmly on her shoulders and hold her at arm’s length, “It was Derrick. He set you up. These bullets were meant for you.”
“No. No, you’re wrong. The Colombians fought back.” Tears welled in her eyes, pain and anger collided with confusion and reason in her mind. Her face contorted as thoughts and rehashed events buried for four years but never forgotten resurfaced. “No,” she cried. “No. He loves me. He’s my husband now; we’ve been married two years…”
“I know,” I said impassively, “And I wouldn’t say so if I wasn’t sure. I told you he was CIA, not to trust him. He set up the mission; the raid was designed to get you killed. Remember, I wasn’t supposed to be there, and that’s why I waited until the last minute to show up.”
“Half the team got killed that day in the jungle,” her voice was hard.
Vicky turned and walked back into the house. Her slender body stiff, her nightgown fluttered in the gentle island breeze, but she was oblivious to it all, had already switched into killer mode, and from that moment on, she felt nothing, merely focused on the job at hand, moving with precision. Quiet, just as I taught her, she re-entered the bedroom, and slid back between the sheets. Derrick inhaled deeply as if he were asleep. Vicky stretched an arm across his stomach and waited. The minutes passed slowly, both lying in wait for the perfect moment to strike. Vicky turned onto her side, facing him, and her arm went limp across his body. Derrick was lying on his back and thought this was his chance. He flipped over on top of her, clamped his huge hands on her throat, and was about to use his full body weight to break her neck when flames erupted in his abdomen. It coursed through his stomach and exploded into his chest, ripping it way out of his shoulder. And before the first shockwave of pain could be fully realized and reacted to, another fireball cooked his intestines, followed by another, and another.
Within seconds, Derrick’s massive weight came down on Vicky’s petite frame, wet and bloodied. Vicky lay there with the gun in her left hand and her husband’s head cradled to her in her right. She couldn’t breathe. She didn’t want to. She stared into the dark night, oblivious to everything around her.
Get a 10% discount on ANY Rock Hill Publishing ebook direct from the publisher!
Enter the exclusive discount code KSBT6719 (not case sensitive)
at the website HERE!
A native New Yorker, born and raised in the Bronx, James L Hill spent his adolescence years in Fort Apache, the South Bronx 41st precinct during the 60’s, a time when you needed to have a gang to go to the store. Raised on blues, soul, and rock and roll gave him the heart of a flower child. Educated by the turmoil of Vietnam, Civil Rights, and the Sexual Revolution turned James into a gladiator. Realizing the precariousness of life, he took on an adventurous outlook trying anything once, and if it did not kill him, maybe twice.
12 years of Catholic education and a couple of years in college spread between wild drug induce euphoric years, which did not kill him, produced an unique moral compass that swings in any direction it wants. A scientific mind and a spirit that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough guides his writings. He enjoys traveling to new places and seeing what life has to offer.
With little other interest outside the bedroom, and still a hopeless insomniac, he is free to pound out plots. Killer With A Heart is the first in a series for Bulletproof Morris ‘Mojo’ Johnson and Killer With Three Heads continues the saga. James writes crime stories (as J L Hill) and science fictions, with a slant on the dark side of life. He recently penned, The Emerald Lady, the first in the fantasy Gem Stones Series is coming soon.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
I am a planner. I write synopsis, chapter outlines, and character profiles. I start the story with all the major people firmly in place. I know when and where they will make their appearances. But with all the planning some people still find their way into the story that I didn’t plan on. They introduce themselves at just the right time. I take them as they come and add them to the profiles. Stories are a fluid thing; I can’t plan for every twist or everyone that shows up.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
The publishing marketplace has never been easy to navigate. Some may think it is better, easier, and open to all today. That last part is true, but it does not make it better. I returned to writing and started my publishing company, RockHill Publishing LLC, because it is easier. However, the same rules and standards must be upheld. Many people who self-publish skip the basics of good editing, strong plots, and well-defined themes. Which means some books that are published shouldn’t be, and when the traditional publishing houses were the gatekeepers they weren’t.
There are publishers who will print anything for a price, but the new technologies are slowly putting them out of business. Or at least cutting into their business. Independent and small publishers can put out quality work without ripping off the authors. We do the things the major houses do, and most importantly, making sure the book is ready for the marketplace.
Pen or computer?
I write mostly, almost exclusively, on computer. Computers make editing, rewriting, and writing in the first place easier. I used to write longhand because I am that old. I wrote on typewriters, even though I am a terrible typist. Sometimes, when I come to an important part of the story, I go back to pen and paper. Because I can write faster and freer, get my thoughts down before they escape my mind. I cannot type as fast as I can write, I cannot write as fast as I think, and I cannot dictate at all.
Describe your writing style
My writing style has morphed over the last few years. I still outline and plan my novels before I begin. I would write a few chapters, go back over them and edit, then move forward. I write and edit at the same time. It helped me keep the storyline straight and on track. It took a year or more of actual writing to complete a book. It takes two to three years to put a book together this way.
A couple of years ago I joined NANOWRIMO, the national novel writing month competition, during which you write a novel in one month. Throughout November, you try to reach 50k words, the bare minimum for a novel. The plan is to write 1,666 words each day without looking back. No editing, no rewriting, just move forward. I have done three novels that way, The Emerald Lady, Killer With Black Blood, and The Ruby Cradle.
The Emerald Lady is in print. Killer With Black Blood and The Ruby Cradle are going through editing and rewrites as we speak.
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