Today I am delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour for Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb. This is the fourth book in the series, so fans will know just what to expect – but for those who don’t I have an excellent extract to give you a taste of what you’ve been missing.
Lets dive in!
The fourth book in the award-winning Lori Anderson series, Deep Dark Night sees daring bounty hunter and single mother Lori Anderson journey from Florida to Chicago to take down a notorious crime family. Published to coincide with International Women’s Month, it will see the full series rebranded a fresh, contemporary new look.
Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe, Florida bounty hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the
Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.
An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand
over the pieces, one by one. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.
When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.
And that’s just the beginning…
I wait on the bridge. Alone. My chest aches from where the blond asshole punched me, and blood’s smeared over my forearm from the slash of his blade. I’ve got no purse, no pawn to show Critten, and there’s no sign of JT.
I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
On either side of the bridge skyscrapers tower – huge, glinting buildings of glass and chrome reflected in the water running beneath me. They say there’s honour among the old-school mobsters, and that being honourable is a real good thing. I guess that’s true, but the honest truth is, sometimes honour will get you killed. In this world disagreements are settled in blood, and respect and strength are king. Getting mugged and bloody sure as hell isn’t the way to win the Cabressa family’s respect.
I check my watch. They’re late. Thirty-four minutes have passed since the message from the unknown number. The traffic continues along the bridge, a steady stream of SUVs and sedans. The foot-traffic is minimal, and I feel kind of exposed standing here, leaning against the iron railings, not doing a whole lot of anything. I glance around again. The breeze tickles against my face and makes my hair billow around my shoulders. I tuck it behind my ears.
A homeless guy ambles past me. ‘Got any change?’ he asks.
I dig in my pocket and pull out a few quarters. ‘Sorry, it’s all I got.’
He smiles, exposing blackening teeth. ‘Thanks, lady.’ And then sings me a couple of lines of an old Cole Porter song.
His voice is so good it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention, and for a moment I forget the pain in my chest and why I’m here on the bridge
Then I hear tyres slowing against asphalt and turn to see a black SUV pull up alongside me. It’s got Illinois plates featuring the Bulls and dark tinted windows. My heart starts hammering, and I forget about the homeless guy with the stunning voice.
The rear passenger-side window slides down. The man inside has curly black hair and wears a dark suit that’s tight around the biceps – Critten. He looks at me over the top of his shades. ‘Get in.’
I do as he says and climb inside. Try not to look fazed. The back seat seems too small. Critten’s bulk takes up far more space than I do, and him being so close makes me feel trapped and claustrophobic. A flashback to the bearded asshole and getting mugged plays on a loop in my mind. Critten might look more gentlemanly, but the threat feels real similar. I force myself to stay calm. Clasp my hands together, attempting to disguise that they’re trembling.
I’ve always felt an element of fear about the jobs I do. In the right dosage it can help you. It gets your adrenaline firing, makes you think clearer, faster – gets you alert and ready to tackle anything that comes your way. But if the fear builds too much, all that good stuff swings things around; the nerves make you hesitant, jumpy and too cautious. That’s when you start making mistakes. And mistakes, in my world, can be fatal.
As the doors lock and we move out into the traffic I know that I’m trapped. My heart rate accelerates.
Critten leans across the leather seat and checks me for a wire. I say nothing, don’t complain. Feel kind of violated, but I figure there isn’t any point. He’s showing me I’m his prisoner now, in this car, so I have to play by his rules. I decide to let him keep thinking that for now.
Satisfied there’s no wire, he speaks. ‘The boss liked your sample. He wants the rest.’
I frown. ‘What sample?’
Critten smiles. ‘The pawn.’
I’m confused a moment. Then I hear a cellphone ringing. Glancing down into the footwell in front of Critten I see my purse. Guess that it’s JT calling me. Glare back at Critten. ‘You had your people mug me?’
‘You’re in our city now, wanting to play with the big hitters. We needed to test how tough you are.’
I cuss under my breath. Hot anger rises inside me but I keep my tone cold and hard. ‘I don’t like to be treated like I ain’t got a lick of sense.’
‘I get that,’ says Critten, adjusting his shades. ‘Turns out you’re real impressive for an itty bit of a girl.’
I hold his gaze. Narrow my eyes. ‘I’m a woman not a girl.’
Critten nods. ‘You’re tougher than your back-up guy for sure.’
‘What the hell did you—?’
‘Cool it. He’s fine.’ Critten smiles, showing a set of impossibly white teeth. ‘A little tickle with the Taser never hurt no one.’
The flames of anger in my belly leap higher. ‘You bastard.’
Critten shrugs. ‘You needed to understand the situation, Miss Anderson.’
‘That you need to do as we say, or you’ll regret it.
I give a little shake of my head. Look Critten up and down. To hell with respect and getting in with these assholes. They might dress like gentlemen but the only thing these people understand is tough talk and tougher actions. My tone is granite hard as I say, ‘Don’t let your mouth write a cheque your ass can’t cash.’
Critten stares at me a long moment. Just as the silence is getting real uncomfortable and I’m thinking I’m going to need to make a leap from another moving car today, he laughs and slaps me on the shoulder. ‘You’re quite a girl, Miss Anderson.’ He passes me my purse. ‘You’ve got a deal – eight hundred thousand for the chess set. Let’s hope your ass can cash the cheque your mouth’s written.
I’m relieved Cabressa’s taken the bait, but I’m still real angry. But I don’t let either emotion show; instead I think fast, and start to outline my proposal for the exchange. ‘No problem. Let’s do this by—’
‘You play poker?’ Critten asks, interrupting me.
I frown. Lie. ‘Sure.’
‘Friday night at eleven, come to suite 6311 in the Skyland Tower.’
‘And then what?’
Critten smiles. ‘Then you play.’
This is not what I expected, but I say nothing. Wait for him to continue.
‘Stay in the game until you’re heads-up, just you two. Then bet the pieces and let him win.’
That makes no kind of sense. If I’m betting the pieces so Cabressa can win them, what about the money? My cover story is that I’m here to sell the pieces – it’ll fall apart if I seem too eager. I narrow my gaze. ‘No. That doesn’t work for me. I need to get paid.’
Critten thinks a moment. Huffs and puffs a bit like this is a big inconvenience. Then begrudgingly says, ‘Okay. Have it your way. Once you’re heads-up, Cabressa will put in your fee as a bet of eight hundred thousand dollars, or something of that value, and you’ll bet the chess set to match him. He’ll lose the game, and you’ll keep the money, but you’ll let him keep the chess pieces as a gift, a mark of respect for a good player.’
I narrow my eyes. Unsure. ‘What if he doesn’t lose?’
‘If we’ve agreed he’ll lose then he’ll lose. He’ll fold a winning hand if needs be to get the pieces.’
I’m more comfortable with this plan, but I still have to wait until we’re one-on-one. ‘What happens if I don’t make it to headsup?’
Critten fixes me with a serious stare. ‘Then he’ll be pissed, and you don’t want to let that happen.’
I swallow hard. Stay cool. The plan works – I’ll get the fee Monroe wants through Cabressa’s eight-hundred-thousand-dollar bet, and I’ll gift him the chess pieces. I nod. ‘Okay, let’s do this.’
Critten taps his hand against the driver’s headrest and the SUV glides to a stop. The door beside me unlocks.
‘Eleven p.m., Friday,’ Critten says. ‘Skyland Tower 6311.’
I nod and pull on the handle, opening the door – keen to escape the car and these assholes.
As I turn to get out, Critten grabs my arm, his meaty fingers pinching my bare flesh just below the wound from the bearded asshole’s blade. He looks at me over the top of his shades. His cold, dead eyes bore into mine. ‘The buy-in’s fifty thousand dollars, Miss Anderson. Bring it in cash, and bring the pieces.’
‘How am I meant to get that kind of cash?’
‘That’s not my concern. Just get it, or don’t bother showing. It’s your choice.’
‘I’ll get it, and I’ll be there,’ I say, hoping Monroe can get his hands on some FBI funds fast.
Critten squeezes my wrist tighter. ‘Don’t fuck it up. Don’t deviate from the plan. The boss doesn’t enjoy surprises.’
I pull my arm away from him. Meet his gaze with a serious glare of my own. ‘Neither do I.’
Back on the sidewalk I wait until the SUV has driven away, then call JT. I tell him I’m okay, and he tells me that he’s fine. We arrange to meet back at base. Ending the call I get my bearings and start walking back towards the hotel. I rub my wrist. Look at the red marks Critten left and the long tear in my skin from the bearded guy’s knife. Assholes. If I didn’t need to keep Critten sweet for this job I’d have gotten a whole lot of pleasure pressing my Taser against the barrel of his belly and firing both pins into his domineering flesh.
I shake my head. Paranoid gangsters are worse than the everyday kind, and from what I’ve heard Cabressa is plenty paranoid, with all kinds of vices. From my conversation with Critten it seems that poker is one of those.
It’s too bad I’ve never played a game in my life.
I’m definitely sucked in for this one! Get it NOW
Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire.
Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alterego
– Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges in her love of all things crime fiction
by blogging at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews
the latest releases. She is also a member of the crime-themed girl band The
Splice Girls. Steph is an alumni of the MA Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at
City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California, which
inspired her Lori Anderson thrilliers, She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded
by horses, cows and chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was
shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number
one on the UK and AU kindle charts. My Little Eye, her first novel under her
pseudonym, Stephanie Marland was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018.
Please continue to support the blogs on this tour
Thanks for the blog tour support Jimmy xx
LikeLiked by 1 person
Comments are closed.