Chapter One: Janey

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Her name, it is revealed, is Janie Starks, and the fellow with whom she ran off is named Tea Cake. Pheoby criticizes the other women on the porch for their malicious gossip and sticks up for Janie. Janie explains that she has returned alone because Tea Cake is gone but not for the reasons that the crowd on the porch assumes. She has returned from living with Tea Cake in the Everglades, she explains, because she can no longer be happy there. So this was a marriage! Janie is raised by her grandmother, Nanny.


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She never meets her mother or her father. Janie and Nanny inhabit a house in the backyard of a white couple, Mr. They often remind her that Mr. Nanny eventually buys some land and a house because she thinks that having their own place will be better for Janie. When Janie is sixteen, she often sits under a blossoming pear tree, deeply moved by the images of fertile springtime. One day, caught up in the atmosphere of her budding sexuality, she kisses a local boy named Johnny Taylor.

Nanny catches Janie with Johnny and decides to marry Janie off to Logan Killicks, a wealthy middle-aged farmer. She wants to see Janie in a secure situation, which Logan Killicks can provide, before she dies. Janie protests, and Nanny recounts to her the hardships that she has experienced. Nanny was born into slavery. She was raped by her master and, a week after her daughter Leafy was born, her master went to fight during the last days of the Civil War.

She planned to have Nanny viciously whipped and to sell Leafy once she was a month old. Nanny escaped with her baby and the two hid in the swamps until the war was over. Wilhelm had reversed the knob while I was passed out. Emptied the Ambien bottle as well as the medicine cabinet. A set of folded sweats and underwear rested on the side of the tub. I considered climbing into the giant Toto tub and going back to sleep.

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Only when I woke up, the haze would be totally gone. Surrendering, I stripped down. I stepped into the shower before turning it on, hoping the shock of cold water would make me feel something. Sometime while drying my hair, Wilhelm unlocked the bathroom door. I walked into the bedroom. The valet had changed the bedding, drawn the blackout shades, opened the windows, dusted, vacuumed and erased every sign of my grief hibernation.

I fell to my knees and pulled out his black t-shirt. I pressed it to my face. Paco Rabanne, leather, gun oil and somewhere, underneath, the faint pheromone magic that was Hank. I flipped his tee-shirt over my shoulder and dragged the hamper across to my set of built-in drawers. The bottom one was empty. I removed the canvas liner of the hamper and put it in the drawer, too. A silver cloche waited atop the other place setting, an open bottle of a Spanish granache between them. Lee looked up. He was handsome in a hard, uber-fit sort of way, with high-planed cheekbones and close set eyes the color of cool river mud.

Carrying that dense well-defined muscle that only shorter guys can carry. His navy suit coat lay across the bar. The dark shadow of the Sig Sauer in his in-waistband holster visible through the fitted Italian dress shirt. He was doubled up with a black leather shoulder rig for his other Sig. Last I checked, Sawyer gave you a week off.

Chapter One: Janey

Or is that how things work for the hotshots at the Bureau of Organized Crime? Not for my family or Lee. My eyes flickered across the room to the fat legal file on the coffee table. Strings knotted tight together. I shrugged. A steam of gruyere, rosemary and parmesan wafted up from the ramekin. It may as well have been stale cigarettes. My fork loitered above the golden brown breadcrumb topping, uninterested.

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We ate in silence. Unable to taste it, I matched him robotically bite for bite. Lee dropped his fork with a clatter and spun to face me.

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What if Renko comes back? You ever consider that? Slajic sends a new Renko to run Chicago? Goran Slajic the king of the Serbian underworld had hand-picked Hank to keep Stannis from going off the rails. He would know what happened to them. And if I played my cards right, so would I. Lee leaned in close, a breath away. Fix yourself the hell up and get your ass downtown, pronto. I surveyed myself in the full length mirror in the walk in closet.


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  • A tar black Dodge Hellcat and turned on the stereo. When I merged on the freeway, I hit the pedal like any girl who had a father and three older brothers were on the force. To the metal. I left my bags and purse. Stannis preferred his women to carry nothing.

    I got into the elevator, swiped the key card against the scanner and pressed the P for Penthouse, feeling better the higher I went.

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    The doors opened on a brawny grey-suited man with dead eyes and skin like steel wool. He bowed his head and then reached forward to hold the elevator door for me. Ten days she is not here. Answers no phone. Keck tells us so.