Author: S.E. Jakes
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: March 13, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary/Law Enforcement/Mob
Page Count: 310
Sometimes a broken man ends up stronger than he ever was—and far more dangerous…
Travis Smith is a grifter who’s wanted by both the Russian Mob and the FBI. He’s got the means and motive to stay hidden—until he’s picked up by Lochlan “Loch” Black, a CIA operative who threatens to unravel all Travis’s secrets.
Loch has enough secrets of his own, and they all lead back to the man he and the CIA have been hunting for years. And when Loch realizes Travis might be the key to that op, he and longtime friend and fellow agent, Tarquin “Tar” Simons, have no choice but to keep Travis under their protection.
But no one’s able to protect them all from the man who’s been hunting them back for years. Jabez Snow is a former CIA operative who didn’t stop his experiments when he disappeared.
And when Travis, Loch and Tar get involved, it triggers a chain of events none of them could foresee, and it threatens all their futures, unless they can hunt down Snow…before he finds them.
This is a brand new, never-before released title from SE Jakes. It’s also a standalone with an HEA and complete wrap-up at the end of the book.
Buy LinksAmazon Amazon Global GoodReads
About SE Jakes
SE Jakes writes m/m romance. She believes in happy endings and fighting for what you want in both fiction and real life. She lives in New York with her family and most days, she can be found happily writing (in bed). No really…
SE Jakes is the pen name for New York Times Bestselling author Stephanie Tyler, and half the co-write team of Sydney Croft. First published in 2011, SE Jakes has quickly risen to be a bestselling author in the LGBT romance genre, as well as a fan favorite. Her books are frequently highlighted in USA Today and her books have been reviewed by Library Journal and RT Books Magazine. She’s been nominated by several sites for Favorite M/M author of 2013 Tyler-2-big-2and finaling in the Goodreads MM Romance Readers Choice Awards in 7 categories. She writes for Riptide Publishing and she Indie publishes as well.
Sinners Chapter One
The door to the bedroom slammed open with a shout, followed quickly in turn by a heart-stopping, unexpectedly loud-as-fuck bang and a flash of blinding light that Travis swore he could see behind closed eyelids, all of which immediately disoriented him, leaving him to struggle out of the bed and blindly find the door.
Smoke and popping sounds filled the air, accompanied by yells of panic. Travis resisted the urge to panic, even when he realized he couldn’t see or hear very well.
Later, he’d find out that the SWAT Team assisting the FBI had thrown in flash-bang grenades ahead of their bust, but all he knew in the moment was pure fear and total confusion.
He’d been nearly naked, in bed, and suddenly he was being dragged by strong arms that wouldn’t let go no matter how hard he’d struggled. Whether this was a kidnapping or an attempted takeover by another Russian mob family, he hadn’t been able to differentiate…not until he heard, “You’re under arrest. On the floor on your stomach, hands behind your back.”
Travis complied, freezing against the concrete. The metal cuffs clicked tightly on his wrists, he was unceremoniously hauled up, and a blanket was roughly shoved over his shoulders.
“Travis Smith,” was all he’d give them. They kept asking him, over and over, what his connection with the Russian mob was until he finally said, “I fuck Serge. That’s all. I have no idea about anything else you’re talking about.”
Which was a partial truth—he knew Sergei was Russian mafia and he fucked him anyway. Partially because he wanted to, but mainly because Travis was grifting Sergei, and had been over the past eight months.
Finally, the feds shoved him into the van, already packed with Russians Travis had seen at one time or another in Sergei’s house, now all handcuffed and chained together.
Across from him, Sergei mouthed, “One word and you’re dead,” and Travis nodded because he wasn’t stupid. He didn’t want anything to do with the police at all.
But the law had other plans for him. And even after he lawyered up, it didn’t seem to matter because all decisions seem to have been made about the best way to handle him. Apparently, it was an end run to force him into testifying, and his public defender didn’t seem too familiar with the concept of defending. Because his pathetic choices boiled down to snitch or prison, which, translated, equaled dead or dead.
He heard a cage door slam open and then there was blessed silence in the retreat. He didn’t recall anything more until waking in the middle of a police interrogation room, looking down at a paper he’d signed agreeing to turn against Sergei. The cage door slammed shut and Travis understood what he needed to do, why the paper had been signed. He could play along, since he’d been given his escape route.
He was always grateful for that cage door.
He let the marshals get him settled in a safe location, but they weren’t about to give him twenty-four seven protection. Instead, he got new identification and some pocket money and had to check in several times a day. And he did that for several days, merely running on survival mode, because he was damned good at surviving. He wanted nothing more than to get the hell out from under the government’s stranglehold and go back to what he did best: grifting. Maybe he’d stay away from sleeping with the men he grifted and maybe he wouldn’t. But the money he’d earned over the years was tucked away safe and sound, from both the government and other criminals, in an overseas account.
He had no fear of the marshals, the law, authority figures in general. The latter were all he’d known growing up, and he’d spent his twenty-three years learning to thwart, escape, defy and embarrass them.
Granted, Sergei ended up playing a crucial role in this escape—especially when Travis had passed a message through his lawyer about how best to help him get out from under the marshal’s watchful eye, which would in turn let him escape the feds and their insistence on his testimony. It involved a chain of people to keep names far removed from Sergei and his reach, but it had been worth it, especially because it would put Travis back with Dodge.
Dodge was mid-forties, handsome as fuck—a silver fox who was also a master thief with a penchant for helping guys in need get back on their feet. He’d told Travis when they’d first met that someone long ago had helped him get off the streets, and even though he ended up continuing to work them for several more years, it was under his own control, not anyone else’s. He charged rent but he didn’t care how you earned your money, as long as you kept yourself, and the rest of the house, safe. And if you couldn’t figure out how to earn, he’d help you with that too.
Dodge wasn’t a monk or a saint, but he was the closest thing to the latter that Travis had met so far.
Now, after leaving behind everything the marshals had given him, he walked along the edge of the highway for half a mile and found Dodge waiting for him, his car running as if he’d just pulled over to take a few minutes rest.
He got into the front seat of Doge’s car and breathed a sigh of relief. “It’s been a while. Thanks for taking the 911.”
“I told you that I always would.” Dodge pulled the car back onto the highway smoothly.
The stop was pretty full, mainly truckers and drivers, all of whom were sleepy and distracted enough that they’d believe Travis came out of the bathrooms and hadn’t walked up the highway.
If they did, and if the FBI questioned them, he and Dodge would be long gone anyway, Dodge’s black car ready to ghost through the night. Travis had no doubt the FBI would be searching for him after this. “You can just drop me off at the nearest train station. I don’t want to bring trouble for you.”
Dodge threw a smile in his direction. “I won’t lie—deciding to help you is causing us all to relocate, but it was time. Things got too comfortable, and with comfort comes mistakes.”
“Where to now?”
“I think you’ll like it. Upstate New York—not too big, not too small. Close enough to the city but not too close.”
“Middle of nowhere. Middle of everywhere.” Travis closed his eyes and leaned back against the seat, letting a few moments of safety lull him into relaxation. “Best place to be.”