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The Game Changer (Mafia Made #2)

By´╝ÜScott Hildreth

The Game Changer (Mafia Made #2)
Author: Scott Hildreth

Chapter One


I wasn't obsessed with money, but at times it sure seemed I was preoccupied with succeeding. It just so happened that my means of measuring success was wealth.

Based on the military experience behind me and my employees, the mob boss offered me fifty thousand dollars to provide a security detail for his business dealings. The first two transactions went without incident. The third, however, was a disaster. I quickly realized being in business with the mafia brought certain risks along with it.

Life-threatening risks.

I was caught in the middle of an attempted midday cigarette purchase that had gone to hell in the proverbial handbasket. The offer of one million dollars' worth of tobacco for two hundred thousand should have warned me of what was to come, but I was partially blinded by greed.

After Mad Sal's inspection of the cargo, I asked him to walk away from the deal. The driver of the truck, a man named Wesley, seemed to have all his answers prepared, and right at the tip of his tongue. This, combined with his calm demeanor and odd grace, could only mean one thing.

The operation was a setup.

A disagreement between Wesley and me regarding our refusal of the shipment turned into an argument. The argument escalated, and he tried to grab me. An instinctive judo move on my part ended with him being humiliated-and landing flat on his back beside the cigarette-filled truck. Upon returning to his feet, he pulled out a gun in retaliation.

A gun that was now trained on my temple.

In response, an employee of mine-Cap-had his weapon drawn and pointed at the man I was convinced was a federal agent.

All life-or-death situations bring with them uncertainty. A sinking feeling of losing control. Most of the similar instances I had been involved in, however, allowed me to react-and maintain control of my life.

Be it because I had no time to respond, or that I was fully aware that I was no longer in control of anything, a potato-sized lump had risen in my throat. I fought to swallow and waited for the asshole to give his demands.

He stood to my immediate right. Cap was ten feet behind him with his pistol pointed at the back of the gun-wielding prick's head. Mad Sal, the orchestrator of the botched tobacco buy, was farther to my right, between Cap and the tractor-trailer rig's cargo.

"You don't know me, and I don't know you, so I'm going to give you a little background on me." Cap remained rock-steady with his pistol held at arm's length. "Me and that fella you're pointing your gun at go way back. We've lived through far too much shit for it to all end here. I'm gonna give you a chance to collect your thoughts and lower that weapon. If you don't, I'm gonna put a bullet in your skull."

Say something, you son of a bitch.


I could count how many times my instincts had been wrong on one finger, but the silence that followed sank into the pit of my stomach like a heavy stone.

"I'm a former Force RECON marine," Cap said flatly. "I've killed more men than I can count. Lower the weapon by my three count, or I'll add you to the list."

"Get down on the ground and place your hands behind your head," Wesley demanded.

Shoot this cop son of a bitch, Cap.

An immediate reaction on Cap's part would have been nice, but it didn't come. In hope of some reassurance that he and I were on the same page, I shifted my eyes in his direction.

Cap's jaw was clenched tight, and his focus was undeniable. I glanced at Mad Sal. He looked indifferent. It seemed he could care less.

Cap cleared his throat. "One."

Sal's eyes went thin. There was no doubt in my mind that he was armed, but his clear lack of experience in such situations left him uncertain of how to continue. He, no differently than the rest of the mafia, was far more versed in acting offensively than acting defensively.

I counted silently as I waited for Cap to reach two.

"Two," Cap barked.

Three seconds.

Although no one else knew for certain what was sure to follow if Wesley didn't lower his weapon, I did.

One, one thousand. Two, one thousand...

I leaped backward.


My eardrums were pummeled by the sound of the gunshot. Wesley fell with a thud at my feet.

"You alright?" Cap asked.

I could tell that he shouted, but it sounded like a whisper. I nodded. "I'm good."

He kicked Wesley's gun to the side, then picked up his shell casing and put it in his pocket. "You think he's a cop?"

"Acted like one." I nervously glanced over each shoulder, fully expecting a team of federal agents to come rushing toward us. Tingling from head-to-toe from the overdose of adrenaline that was running through my veins, I knelt and took Wesley's non-existent pulse. "He's dead."

"Toss him in the trunk of the Cadillac," Mad Sal said without an ounce of emotion. "I'll take care of the body. Who's driving the truck?"

"We're leaving it," I said.

Sal returned a confused look. "Why would we leave it? We've got the money and the cigarettes."

I searched Wesley for any form of identification, and upon finding nothing, stood. "I think he's a cop. If he is, I'm sure there'll be a tracking device in the truck somewhere. Is that a risk you're willing to take?"

Sal tilted his head toward Wesley's body. "Did he have an ID?"


"We're taking the truck."

I cleared my throat. "I'm in charge of the safety of this operation. The truck stays."

Sal chuckled a light laugh as if I'd told a joke. Cap stepped around him and climbed into the cab of the truck. After a moment, he returned.

"Truck's clean," he said. "Clean, as in spotless. There ain't anything in that fucker, not even a registration or driving log."

"I don't like it one bit." I looked at Sal and cocked an eyebrow.

"We're leavin