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Love for his father makes a man weak - what’ll happen when he gives his heart to a woman?
When Special Agent Finnegan O'Reilly gets shot, and the news brings on his father’s heart attack, he decides to take leave from more undercover assignments. The O'Reilly has suffered enough and Finnegan can’t be the cause of more distress for this beloved old rascal. Then his boss forces one more case on him - to take place in their own pub. Acting as the target to expose serial, suicide killers rampaging through New York City, Finn must play the part of a wife-beater, a cheating husband and an all-time jerk. No problem, until he meets his make-believe wife.
Renée Knight enjoys her job as a New York City cop. Her disguises have become a permanent fixture in her life. No one really knows what she looks like except for the father she loves fiercely… the man, whose suicide makes no sense. If it means going undercover in an Irish pub where the culprits hang out, she’s their girl. Playing the victim wife of the bar owner to catch the killers—easy. But they never intend for her to fall for this guy, she does this all on her own. Now she has to hire the assassins to arrange his suicide. Will she catch them, before they complete the mission?
Renée drove her open convertible north on Amsterdam Avenue. Once again, the day was surprisingly warm. In a city that normally suffered the cold in December, it was freakish weather for this time of the year.
Enjoying the wind, Renée took a deep breath, clearing away the cobwebs from her undercover deceit. Most times it didn’t bother her to play a part. After all, her job as a New York City cop had continuously forced her into all kinds of situations, some dangerous, others, like the one she was working now, not so much.
People stared at her for driving with the top down in the winter, but what the hell? She didn’t care. It was such a relief to be out of her school-girl character for a short time, so as long as it didn’t rain or snow she’d gladly let the chilly breeze blow.
Smiling, feeling glad to be alive for the first time since she’d found her father’s body; she turned on the radio to a holiday station in time for a favorite Christmas carol. Then she checked to make sure the black wig she wore, with long bangs, pinned-up curls and loose strands that twirled near her face, still fit tightly. Though she hadn’t taken any chances and had wrapped it up with a gauzy pink scarf, it still blew every which way, wanting to be free.
Her red coat done up snug around her neck added extra warmth, and she decided the world was a pretty good place. All around her were bars and pubs lining the streets, and the temptation to park and get something to eat gnawed at her empty stomach. Before she could get serious, she noticed a Harley coming up on her left. Big and black, a noisy monster, it came level just as the wind gave a final tug at her scarf and pulled it loose. Instantly, she slowed in time to see the motorcycle rider frantically tugging at the pink material as it wrapped itself around his face.
Oh, no! What’re the chances of something like this…? Frantic, she yanked her wheel to the right and braked, while he did a wheelie and missed her bumper with only inches to spare. The driver, dark hair visible, no helmet in sight, barely controlled the spin. With some fancy maneuvering on his part, the bike’s tires finally screamed to a stop. Vicious swear words were all she heard in the aftermath. Before she could get out of the car, violence barely controlled, the rider stomped to her door and threw the scarf into her lap.
“I’m so sorr—”
“Sorry?” He leaned in and yelled, his eyes flashing sparks of deep blue. “You’re bloody lucky I have such good reaction skills, or both my bike and my body would be under your car right now. What kind of an idiot has their top down when Christmas is just around the freakin’ corner and… wearing that ridiculous thing?” His finger pointed at the pink gauzy culprit, the cause of her discomfort. “Leapin’ lizards, would-ya turn down that racket?”
Renée felt horrible. As she reached to turn off the noise, the heat in her face intensified. “It’s weeks to go before the holida—”
“Why didn’t you have the damn scarf tied properly? Blowing in the wind like some kind of a silly damn banner only a nutbar would wear.”
Nutbar! He was justifiably angry, but he had no right to call her names or to keep her from getting out of the vehicle and standing up. Totally at a disadvantage, she tried to keep her cool. “Look here, I had it tied and I never realized the wind would be so strong. I can see you’re upset—”
“Upset? His voice rose higher. “Up-set?” Many on the street were now stopping to see what the ruckus was and Renée hated being the center of attention. “If you’d let me out of the car, I could apologize and—”
“I don’t want your damn apology.”
Okay! This was enough. Exasperation overcame her calm, and her temper kicked in to high gear. “Stop interrupting me.”
“You think saying I’m sorry will fix you almost killing me?”
“Well then, what the hell do you want me to say?”
Still peeved, the tall guy stepped back. Physically appealing, his toned body temporarily distracted her from her snit. When he put his hands on his hips, his leather jacket opened enough to for her to see the O’Reilly’s emblem on the black t-shirt peeking through.
Suddenly, she remembered seeing the same man outside her Uncle Jack’s office at the agency the day before. Since he was so casually dressed, she’d scratched the notion that he was an FBI employee. Those robots all wore suits. A thought popped into her head and caused a strange reaction in her already jumpy stomach. She hoped he wasn’t a criminal. Seeing how angry the dude was, she didn’t want any trouble. Before she could mention anything about their previous encounter, he slapped his hands on her door and growled. Obviously pissed because of her inattention, he said, “For Chrissake, use your brains. Put the hood up and drive like a person who deserves to have a licence. That’s all I ask, lady. Not a hell of a lot.”
Before she could respond with some sarcasm of her own, a beat cop quickly approached and waved the audience away. “Okay, folks, show’s over. Let’s break it up.” Then he tipped his hat at Renée and surveyed the angry man whose arms were crossed, while attitude screamed in his sour expression.
“Hey, O'Reilly, what’s up?”
O'Reilly? Oh shit! Renée could see this wasn’t going to go well.
“Hey, Ben. We’re all good here. This pretty lady lost her scarf and I was just returning it to her.”
Whaaa!! Renée’s mouth hung open. Shock blasted her irritation into smidgeons and left her brain laughing inanely.
With a salute for the officer, a last pat on the top of her door and a smile that would soften the heart of misery, O'Reilly sauntered over to his bike, set it upright and roared off.
Renée watched him with her heart thudding off-key, the pounding in her chest making it hard for her to put two thoughts together clearly. What an irritating… man!