The Long Con
By: Lori Toland | Other books by Lori Toland
Published By: Loose Id LLC
Published: Apr 17, 2012
ISBN # 9781611186949
Published By: Loose Id LLC
Published: Apr 17, 2012
ISBN # 9781611186949
Word Count: 56,719
Price: $6.99 $4.89 (after rebate)
Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Reader, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc), Mobipocket (.mobi), Epub
DescriptionGenre: LGBT Contemporary
British Agent Nathaniel Bradley is tasked with bringing home a stolen heirloom. After tracking the Faberge egg all the way to a group of criminals in New York, Bradley infiltrates a ring of con artists and gets sucked into the role of a high priced prostitute.
While hoping for a chance to take back what is rightfully his, Bradley's sole mission becomes to seduce Tony Terranova, Jr, the heir to a notorious mafia dynasty. Though Tony is strikingly handsome, the usually dominant Bradley is hesitant to submit to the sexual whims of a dangerous Mafioso.
What Bradley doesn't expect is for Tony to fall to his knees so eagerly for him, leaving him blindsided by how intensely their dark tastes complement each other. Now Bradley is caught up in a deadly game of lies and desire, where what he truly wants may not be what duty requires.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: BDSM elements, male/male sexual practices, spanking.
Reader Rating: Not rated (0 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating: Not rated
Excerpt:I wasn’t sure how I ended up at this gala event. I woke up this morning an ordinary government agent, but by the end of the evening I was supposed to whore out my big dick to the son of a major Mafia boss.
Wearing tuxedos and mingling with the rich and famous wasn’t an everyday occurrence for me, nor was going to an art auction to benefit the New York Museum of Modern Art. But I did my best to look comfortable among the leggy blondes and art for sale worth more than a year’s salary back in England.
I tugged on my bow tie, which earned me a glare from the woman who had tied it earlier this evening. It wasn’t too tight. I just hated having it around my neck.
She sauntered my way, and I turned toward one of the paintings on display. I sipped my champagne as she walked up to me.
“Terranova’s here,” she said.
A jolt of excitement hit my stomach at the mention of our target’s name. I smirked at her. “And let me guess, he’s wearing a tuxedo.”
Amanda’s smile put all of the women here to shame. Her stunning looks drew attention as she walked beside me to the next painting, and the red ball gown made me wonder how she could breathe. It molded to her body, hiding nothing.
“Maybe he came in his birthday suit,” she said. “That would make him stand out.”
“You’re almost naked too. If you were in the buff, no one would notice him,” I said.
She sighed as she plucked a glass of champagne from one of the passing servers’ trays. “It’s not my job to be the distraction. It’s yours, remember?”
How could I forget? Their ridiculous scheme to con the son of a Mafia boss was pure stupidity. Messing about with an organized crime family could mean death, as I knew all too well.
Being an agent for SOCA put me in front of the most dangerous criminals in the world—the people who thought they were above the law. Amanda was one of those people. She was smarter than she was beautiful, which was saying something, and she used that deadly intelligence to con people out of their hard-earned money.
Well, not honestly acquired, or so Amanda claimed. They stuck to Wall Street criminals and other crooked people looking to make an easy dollar. Little old women on pensions were safe from their schemes.
They worked the long con, which was an elaborate and expensive confidence trick with often a big payout. Their scheme to sell Tony Terranova, the son of a Mafia boss, a fake Fabergé egg was suicidal, considering he already played outside the rules of regular society. Retribution would be swift, but hopefully I would be safely back in England with my part done when the worst happened.
It should have been a perfect con for them, except per my intelligence data, their “fake” egg was the same treasure stolen from my grandfather’s house six months ago. I didn’t have confirmation, but I had a reliable source.
“Do you remember what you’re doing?”
I nodded. My role was getting Terranova interested in me, which shouldn’t be too difficult because with as many looks as Amanda was getting, I had even more. Looks of lust from the women; from the men there was respect, some jealousy, and even a few hungering leers. I’d grown accustomed to the glances, but most people were only interested in me for my face, and I often ignored them.
“Seduction’s on the menu for tonight. Are you sure I can’t serve you too?” I asked and winked at her.
Amanda smirked. “I think you’re better off trying for a piece of Terranova.”
Anthony Terranova, Jr. was the heir of the Terranova crime family, and like any good coach I knew she referenced him to keep my mind in the game. “I had to try to get in your knickers.” I shrugged. I was testing the waters, seeing how far I could push, even though I didn’t have an interest in her.
She reached up and brushed a tiny bit of invisible lint from my lapel. “Save it for Terranova. Just work your magic on him like you do with all your johns. I’m sure you’re an old hand at this.”
Whatever it was that screamed prostitute about my manner of dress, I would change it when I got back to the UK. Being mistaken for a hustler was bad enough, but being roped into this scheme by the woman standing in front of me was a distraction from my goal: the Fabergé egg.
For months I’d tracked the egg with Interpol intelligence I requested through my contacts. It moved often as it made its way across Europe and then suddenly showed up in America at a black market dealer. When the egg disappeared off the radar, I knew I had to make a move or lose it forever.
I came to the States and had spent the last couple of days poking around, trying to locate it. All I received was a name: Derek Jans, a local con artist. For someone who was on the wrong side of the law he was almost too easy to find.
When I had approached Derek to find out if he indeed had the egg, Amanda had accused me of being a prostitute. Instead of turning me in to the police, she propositioned me herself and dragged me into their plan.
I wasn’t accustomed to whoring myself out, not even for my government. Her instructions irritated me, but I bit my tongue. I knew how to handle myself around the son of a Mafia boss. I arrested people like Terranova on an average day.
“Don’t be nervous.”
Her words were meant to soothe me, but I didn’t need it.
“I’m not nervous.” I looked her in the eye. I was excited but not nervous. I didn’t skulk around in the dark. I went into conflict with weapons drawn. I’d faced worse before.
“You’ll do fine. Just stick to the plan; don’t deviate from it. Brent and Mickey will be listening in on your conversation with Tony through your earpiece too, and Brent will keep us apprised of what’s going on.”
Brent was the backup, the man who worked this con behind the scenes. He had hacked into the security system at the museum so he could watch and advise us. Mickey often played the inside man, but he was in the truck as well. Later on he would be the owner of the egg looking for a buyer.
Derek was the leader. His role was an antiquities dealer, and he hoped to score a chance meeting with Terranova tonight. Usually Amanda was the lure, or the distraction. Her beautiful face could make a man forget where he was.
Tonight I played her part, and she was the world-famous Professor Egorov, who spoke at universities and museums around the world about Romanov culture. She would be their expert on all things Romanov and give her opinion on the condition of the egg.
She was a key player in this, to convince Terranova the egg was worth the money he was paying, especially since the con artists believed the egg was fake. Too bad her talent of persuasion would be wasted on an egg that I hoped to be real.
She smoothed a nonexistent wrinkle in my tuxedo. “Concentrate. Just bat your eyelashes and use that hot little British accent of yours. He won’t know what hit him.”
I narrowed my eyes. “You’re pretty confident of my prowess.” She was too sure of herself, and that often led to someone being stupid.
She cocked one dark gold eyebrow. “Have you looked in a mirror recently?”
“Every morning when I shave,” I said. I was a good-looking man. I never lacked for eager bed partners with my blond wavy hair and model-like features, which was why people hadn’t stopped looking at us. We made a handsome couple. “But still, all of this is a crapshoot.”
“That’s why I bet on eleven.”
I frowned. “Those aren’t the best odds, you know.”
“But it’s always a big winner on the come-out roll.” She strolled away with those final words.
Even though she seemed overly confident their plan would work, I still wondered why they picked Terranova, him being the son of a Mafia boss. I was sure they could have chosen an easier target.
Besides having a new person on the team being dangerous to them, they’d needed to outsource an important part of their operation. Since Terranova was quietly gay, another person besides Amanda had to play the lure.
The con men had their agenda, but I had mine as well. For me, Terranova was the means to an end, and I was willing to do anything to get the information I needed.
I’d seen the egg often enough to be able to identify it on sight if I could inspect it. There were so many things that could go wrong along the way: being discovered, or even worse, this might not be Margaret’s egg.
“Terranova’s behind you. He’s wearing a gray tux,” Brent said in my earpiece.
I walked through the crowd and traded my glass of champagne just as I saw my target. He knew how to dress to stand out, and it wasn’t just the color of his jacket.
His thick build was obvious and accentuated by the cut of his jacket. His muscles rippled beneath the expensive material as he lifted a glass of champagne to his mouth. I swallowed my sigh.
He glanced my way, and I froze. Amanda had described him and shown me a few grainy reconnaissance photos, but nothing prepared me for facing him head-on. His dark hair and tanned skin contrasted with his pale blue eyes, and I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.
I held his gaze for a minute and then turned away, but his curious expression made my heart pound. I walked toward another display near the one he stood by, a portrait by a famous Russian artist. Terranova noticed me, but he wasn’t being obvious with his interest.
It was this perfect moment where everything seemed to be falling into place, and for one second I worried this was a setup. Always being on my guard kept me alive, especially during drug busts and dangerous missions. I brushed aside the fears and pushed on.
I looked over at him and shot him an enigmatic smile, one that begged him to come and find out what I was thinking. When I saw him walking in my direction, I mentally patted myself on the back and sipped my champagne as he got closer to me. His gaze never left mine.
I could see why this man intimidated people. His eye contact alone would make almost anyone nervous, but not me. He had an aura about him, as if he were a caged animal kept hungry and was just waiting to pounce. Confidence poured from every ounce of his being. I didn’t look away as he came up to me. I couldn’t; he had seduced me.
© Lori Toland, April 2012
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