“Yes, but you also assured us that after the event, they would all go home, except the two for that night.”
“I specifically recall you saying that Palmer would never keep more than three bodyguards for the night because he was a stingy bastard,” Liam added. “Isn’t that why you two had a falling out? He wouldn’t compensate you fairly for losing an eye while working for him?”
Mickey glanced from Liam to me, shifting his weight from foot to foot. “I’m telling the truth, man. Why would I double-cross you? Why would anyone double-cross you, knowing what would come next?”
“Maybe you thought we would end up dead because of the bad intel you fed us.”
He clicked his tongue. “You think the whole world doesn’t know Palmer got fucked over? Wouldn’t I be on a plane somewhere far away from you guys if I’d set this shit up for you to be killed? I’m telling you, I had nothing to do with whatever change Palmer made. Maybe someone tipped him off that you were after him.”
“He was too unprepared for that to be the reason. He would have been more cautious.”
“But something made him increase his security presence for sure,” Liam said.
What were we missing?
“Maybe it’s the Grimaldos.”
The cartel family. I straightened and gave Mickey my full attention. “Explain.”
“There’s talk on the streets that the Grimaldos are sending threats to those who work around their turf. They still have no idea who’s responsible for Ivan Grimaldo’s death, and until they get an answer, they’ve sworn to make trouble for everyone.”
I could feel Liam’s stare on me, but I ignored him. “Do you know anything else about Grimaldo’s death and what the family is planning?”
Mickey licked his lips. “Well, you know, information doesn’t float around for free.”
The last word was barely out of his mouth when I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and yanked him closer to me.
“Let me get this straight. I was almost killed because of worthless information I paid you for the last time, and you’re trying to extort money from me again? You’re lucky your tongue still works to negotiate.”
His face turned pale. “I-it was just a joke.”
“My apologies if I’m not in the fucking mood to laugh. If I wanted standup comedy, I’d go to a live show. What do you know about the Grimaldos and Ivan’s death?”
“Not much,” he said in a rush. “I-I—there’s talk they’re getting close to finding someone connected to the brother’s murder, but no one’s saying much. In the meantime, everyone’s on fucking pins and needles waiting for the family to make a move.”
“Is that all?”
“The Benedicts. One of their warehouses burned down, and the Grimaldos are the ones responsible. At least from what everyone is saying, so no one’s taking a chance these days. Businesses are stepping up to protect their interests.”
Could that really be the reason Palmer had extra security at his home? There was no love lost between him and the Grimaldos since he stole one of the family’s clients in providing a shipment of guns when the Grimaldos shipment had been delayed.
I released Mickey, and he smoothed his hands down his shirt. “I swear that’s all I know, and before you accuse me of feeding you false information, I can’t verify if any of this is true. Like I said, just talks I hear around.”
“That’ll do for now.” I stepped toward the door. I can’t get out of here soon enough. “If you hear anything else, you know how to reach me.”
Tired, I entered the house and closed the door behind me. Was Kit home? I hadn’t heard from him since he went out with Tack to spend the day, but that wasn’t unusual. I’d never encountered two boys who could get lost shopping like those two did.
I shrugged off my coat and hung it in the closet. Slowly I walked to the kitchen, where I poured myself a well-deserved drink. I rang Kit’s phone. Somewhere in the house, his ringtone for me jingled. I smiled.
My baby was home.
Heat rose in my cheeks. Where had that thought come from? But wasn’t that what he was? I downed the glass of scotch.
I lowered the glass and turned. My heart jolted. Instead of Cinnamon or Pumpkin, as I had expected, Kit was sitting pretty for me. He looked beautiful and downright sexy in his pink-and-white kitty costume. Pink-and-white clip-on cat ears in his hair and a sheer, low-cut pink top with ruffles that showed off the brand-new pink padded collar with white fringes at the top and bottom. The short skirt was transparent and rode so high up his thighs I caught a glimpse of his lacy thong beneath.
As I stared like a starved man, Kit meowed again and crawled toward me. My nostrils flared at his movements, so graceful and sensual. The muscles in his arms and along his back showed definition with each step on his hands and knees. He didn’t stop until he was next to my feet. He rubbed his head against my thighs, circling me and clawing at my pants.