Overdue

ASIN: TBD
ISBN: TBD
Serialized 2024

A mafia adjacent steamy Greek billionaire romance currently being serialized in Lucy’s Newsletter. Subscribe here.

AMELIA

I love Deerbrush Point. The townspeople are my family. The crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean my solace. I have my dream job as assistant librarian at the Deerbrush Community Public Library until the head librarian jumps on the banned books crusade. Quitting a breath before I am fired, I am determined to open my own small public access library and sanctuary for banned books.

ZEPHYR

I’m the legitimate face of the Hades Brotherhood. I don’t get my hands dirty anymore, but use my status as a billionaire businessman to provide cover for my family’s more clandestine operations. I’m in Deerbrush Point to set up a Environmental Recovery Think Tank. It’s the perfect cover for the smuggling operation my cousin wants to set up south of the small town. I run the think tank. He runs the delivery access point.

The only problem is the curvalicious owner of the old Victorian house on the bluff who has decided not to sell. There are a lot of legitimate ways to get what I want, but when I start falling for the small town beauty, will I regret setting them in motion?

Note from Lucy: Once this book is completed, it will be published in eBook and paperback, including the spicy scenes not included in the newsletter for obvious reasons. Newsletter subscribers will be given the opportunity to download the entire eBook (including those scenes) before the book goes up for sale on Amazon.

CW: Be prepared for a nosy small town intent on matchmaking and doing what’s best for Amelia, a shady realtor and a sexy mafia man who has to keep his nose clean for the good of the Brotherhood and snappy repartee between Amelia and Zephyr.

There is no on the page violence, though some may be alluded to. Steamy scenes are reserved for the published book to keep the newsletter police away from Lucy. There is reference to family abandonment in Amelia’s backstory.

Scroll down to read the first chapter excerpt.



 

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Excerpt

Prologue
ZEPHYR

“I am not sitting on your lap during the meeting.” Lucia laughs and smacks my cousin’s arm.
Atlas grins at her. “But my lap is more comfortable than the chairs.”
Before Atlas met Lucia, he never smiled.
Never. Not an exaggeration. A fact.
As our mafia’s top assassin, he had no reason to.
Now, with a baby on the way and a wife that he adores, he doesn’t just grin. He laughs. Not a lot, but it happens.
He is 100% whipped and does not give two fucks who knows it.
I like Lucia, but no woman is ever going to hold that kind of power over me.
“Sit wherever the hell you want. Just get your assess situated so we can get this done.” Zeus glares at the rest of us.
My oldest cousin has always been grumpy, but he’s only gotten more irascible since becoming the head of the Hades Brotherhood in Oregon.
Zeus sits down at the head of the table. Orion, his middle brother and our lawyer slides into the chair on his right. Instead of Atlas sitting to his left, like he used to do, he helps his wife into that seat before taking the one next to her.
And consequently between me and Lucia.
She won the argument of getting he own chair, but no way is she ever going to win the one about sitting next to me.
Yes, I am twenty-eight years old with a leadership position in the Hades Brotherhood, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped enjoying getting a rise out of my older cousin.
Atlas is too easy to poke. One implication that you want to flirt with his wife and he’s throwing you into a wall.
I grin and lean around Atlas to wink at Lucia. “You look beautiful today, cousin.”
Atlas growls.
But Lucia grins and thanks me.
“Give it a rest,” my older brother, Helios, says. “I have to get back to the club.”
I make a motion for things to proceed. “By all means. Let’s get this meeting going.”
“Thanks for your approval,” Zeus says sardonically before nodding to Lucia. “Tell us what you’ve found.”
“I ran the numbers in several different scenarios and purchasing our own property on the Oregon coast for delivery access makes the most sense.”
She taps something on her tablet and mine dings with a notification. So does everyone else’s at the table.
“If you look at the report I just sent,” she says, indicating our tablets. “You’ll see that in terms of reward-risk ratios and net profits, it’s the most feasible option long term.”
I scan the parameters and numbers in her report documentation. It all supports her conclusion.
“Even as a short-term proposition, it makes the most sense,” I say.
Helios frowns without look up from his device. “Especially after our current connection tried to increase their receiving fees after the last shipment arrived.”
We convinced them to stick with the original terms of the agreement, but now we know they can’t be trusted. Our choice was to find another receiving company, buy or own property, or put our own people in charge of the current business.
Small towns on the Oregon coast are like small towns everywhere. Too many people know too much about everybody’s business. If we came in and took over, it would draw attention we don’t need.
Finding a new company carries the same risk as sticking with the old one.
“But purchasing our own access is going to require some kind of front and a consistent presence.”
“A completely legitimate enterprise run by a private billionaire with no known ties to organized crime,” Zeus agrees, his gazed fixed squarely on me.
I look around the table and realize everyone else is looking at me too.
“Why do I get the feeling I’m the last to hear about this?”
My brother, Helios, shrugs. “We need another front man and I’m already busy with the club. Orion is our lawyer. He can’t move to the Oregon Coast.”
“I’m building Lucia a house here,” Atlas says, like that’s an iron clad excuse not to relocate.
“We need a front corporation in Oregon to do business on our behalf that cannot be traced back to the Hades Brotherhood,” Zeus says to me.
“Your status as a billionaire in your own right makes you the ideal person for the role,” Orion adds.
“I knew designing that app was going to come back to bite me in the ass.” It already had once.
I spent the time I was supposed to be listening to lectures on business law designing a combined dating and social media app. It went viral and I became a millionaire pretty much overnight.
Our uncle, who is also the West Coast Godfather of the Night, was not happy that when the app went viral, so did my name. He had to pull in favors to get my name and picture out of the media while distancing me from the family business.
The best part, besides the money, was that his damage control included removing me from the pre-law program I’d never wanted to be in the first place.
My millionaire status jumped to billionaire status when I sold the app to a major software company. After that, I turned my attention to financial investments and have nearly doubled the billions I got for selling the app since.
Now I am one of the least talked about billionaires in the United States, just like most of the other mafia related men on Forbes Fortune 500 list. Unlike the other billionaires connected to organized crime, my fortune is entirely my own.
I tithe to the Brotherhood, like every other person who has taken the oath, but that’s it. On the surface, I am a squeaky-clean businessman who made it big in an industry inundated by entrepreneurs.
Which is exactly why they want me to buy the property on the coast. “Why do I have to move the coast? Why can’t I just buy the property?”
“The move will further distance you from us. Once you are established there, you can do more business for us without drawing attention to our endeavors here.”
“This is a long-term solution you’ve been thinking about for a while.” Zeus inclines his head.
Of course, he has. He is our anax. He’s always thinking ahead about what is best for our Brotherhood. How to keep our family not only safe, but thriving.
And apparently part of that plan includes me establishing my identity as a no doubt reclusive billionaire living on the Oregon Coast.
I glare at Helios. “Why didn’t you warn me about this?”
“You are too busy picking up chicks when you come into the club to talk.” My brother doesn’t sound even a little repentant.
“I wonder what your app users would think knowing the developer has never once used the platform?” Lucia muses.
I shrug. “I don’t care.”
I have never been the public face of the app and now I don’t even own it.
“I’m a city guy. What the hell am I supposed to do for dates in some Podunk town on the coast?”
“The female population of Portland will survive your absence,” Zeus says.
I snap right back, “Just because you are happy to live like a monk, doesn’t mean the rest of us are.”
I have a healthy sex drive and no desire for commitment. That means I need a city size dating pool, not a small town where everyone knows my business.
“I don’t want you participating in our import business. You know what to look for in the property, but once you buy it. We’ll set up everything for receiving goods and transporting them without detection.”
“If I buy a house on the beach and suddenly start limiting access to the property to cover your operations, that in itself will be suspicious.”
Lucia leans around her ape of a husband to grin at me. “Not if the beach property is for a think tank dedicated to environmental conservation and climate change solutions.”
We talked about that once while she was waiting for Atlas to get back from a trip to Russia. Lucia had been a little stressed with him out of the country, and we kept her entertained with a game of what would your perfect life look like?
I’d been a smartass and said mine would be participating in a think tank to find ways to reverse the damage we’ve done to our planet.
Apparently, she’d taken me at my word.
The only problem? I’d been using sarcasm to cover my very real desire to do something to make our world better.
Not the typical attitude of a made man.
“What the hell do I know about a think tank?” It’s ridiculous to think I could become something so completely different than what I am.
I have never been ashamed of my family, or how we make our living. The man I killed to become made hurt children and he kept getting away with it.
But I like finding solutions. It’s how my brain works. Turning that onto improving the future of our planet? Is one endeavor I don’t think I could ever get bored of.
There’s too much to do.
Zeus shrugs. “You’re smart. You can figure it out.”
“There’s nothing you can’t do if you set your mind to it,” Helios agrees.
I stare at my cousin and brother, for once completely speechless.
“What did you know about dating apps when you designed yours?” Orion asks. “Nothing. But you designed the best app on the market.”
I smile when Orion doesn’t caveat the claim with one of the best. That’s our Brotherhood. We always win.
And if we’re going to fix some of the problems facing our planet and the population living on it, it will take the ruthlessness of our nature to do it right.
“We protect our family and our business,” Atlas says. “Part of that is giving them both a future.”
And suddenly, I’m not just a legitimate frontman for our mafia, but I am it’s hope of the future too.

Chapter 1
AMELIA

Ada Nelson slams a copy of Handmaid’s Tale onto an already large stack of books on the library cart.
I move closer so I can see the other titles and my stomach cramps.
They are all books that have been banned in other places. There have been no petitions to ban books in the Deerbrush Point Community Library that I am aware of though.
“Are you reshelving those?” I ask hopefully.
Mrs. Nelson looks up, a maniacal glint in her weathered blue eyes. “No, dear. We will be disposing of them. We aren’t going to have books like these on the shelves of my library. Not anymore.”
“It’s the town’s library, isn’t it?” I have to curl my fingers into a fist to stop myself reaching out and grabbing as many of the books as I can and running with them.
“Of course, dear. However, we must protect impressionable minds, don’t you agree?” She smiles at me sweetly, but that smile is a lie.
There is nothing sweet about what she’s doing.
I see a Judy Bloom book in the stack and can’t hold back my gasp.
That book was a childhood friend.
Is that a children’s dictionary? A dictionary?
I’ve bitten my tongue many times when Mrs. Nelson has one of her ideas.
Like deciding to take the chairs out of the children’s books section, to discourage parents dropping their children off for free babysitting.
The head librarian felt the prominently placed signs telling parents all children twelve and under must be accompanied by a responsible adult weren’t enough. That particular effort backfired on her though.
Most kids don’t mind sitting on the floor and that’s exactly what they started doing. Little legs sprawling into the aisles was one thing. But Mrs. Nelson about had a coronary when those same children started laying books out on the carpet in front of them to read.
The chairs reappeared pretty darn quickly.
Once these books are gone, they aren’t coming back though. Whether she throws them away, or recycles them, by the time patrons start complaining, the volumes will be long gone.
And there isn’t money in the library’s budget to replace them all. Which is what she’s counting on, I bet.
“No, I don’t agree.” I grab the children’s dictionary and shake it at her. “Young minds need to be challenged and fed, not buried under a bunch of fertilizer and kept in the dark like mushrooms.”
“With an attitude like that it’s a good thing you aren’t the head librarian.” She pulls another book and adds it to the pile.
“You may be head librarian, but you cannot cull the library shelves like this without board approval.”
“You are mistaken. Part of my job description is to maintain the collection, removing books that are no longer popular and purchasing others to keep our offerings current.”
“Those books aren’t unpopular.” Several are so dogeared, they need replacing, not disposing of.
I don’t say this though because she’ll use that as another excuse to dispose of the books.
“You are exceeding your authority,” I tell her, my heart racing and my palms wet from sweat.
I hate confrontation.
“I think not, Amelia.”
How many times have I asked her to call me Mel? Too many to count.
“It is you who is out of line.” She gives me a measuring look from beneath beetled brows. “I am sure you do not wish to lose the job you love so much for insubordination, but my patience is not limitless.”
“What’s the point of working in a library with no books?” I rashly demand.
“There are plenty of books left. Good books that do not perpetrate an unacceptable agenda.” She uses air quotes when she says agenda.
“What agenda would that be?” I demand. “Education?”
“Do not be facetious, Amelia. It is unbecoming. Your youth and inexperience may blind you to the risk inherent in the ideas propagated by these books, buts I know what I need to do to protect our community.”
“Ideas propagated by a dictionary?” I ask with disbelief.
“Please return that book to the cart, Amelia.”
I hold it close to my chest. “No.”
“Perhaps you need a moment to collect yourself. Please do so and return with an appropriate attitude, or do not return at all.”
The children’s dictionary tucked tightly under one arm, I pull my phone out and start recording my boss. “Please repeat why you are removing all of these books from the library shelves.”
She glares at me. “Cell phone usage is prohibited in the library, as you know. Please put that away.”
I don’t listen, but instead angle my phone so I can record the titles being removed from the library.
“Are you planning to throw these books away?” Sweat trickles down my back and soaks my armpits.
“Of course not.” Her indignant tone matches her expression. “They will be recycled. Deerbrush Point Community Library is green certified.”
I cannot believe this woman. Does she think recycling the books somehow makes what she’s doing better?
The righteous glint in her eyes says she does.
“I quit.”
Her jaw drops, her eyes popping.
She’s shocked? I’m shocked!
What am I doing?
I spent four years away from my ailing grandparents to get my degree in information science. When I landed my dream job in my hometown without having to complete a masters degree in library science, I was over the moon.
It felt like it was too good to be true, but here I am after four years, still working as a librarian in Deerbrush Point.
Here I was anyway.
Oh, man. Am I really doing this?
“Do not be melodramatic, Amelia. You are not quitting over something so insignificant as me pulling a few books from the shelves.”
“First, it is just a few. You’ve got at least twenty books there already. Second, it is not insignificant. What you are doing goes against everything a public library stands for.” I turn off my phone and tuck it away in sweater pocket.
Then, I pull my lanyard with my badge declaring me an Assistant Librarian over my head, and put it on top of the books.
Next, I remove the key to the library from my keyring and drop it beside the lanyard. Pulling in my next breath feels like I’m doing it under water.
I only got that key six months ago.

“There’s no point in having a key to a library that isn’t a library anymore.” Dyani slurps her chocolate milkshake through the straw, her dark brown eyes snapping with annoyance.
I stir my pineapple milkshake before trying to suck some up through the straw. A fruit chunk gets caught and my cheeks hollow, trying to move it.
Giving up, I use my spoon. Pineapple, sugary goodness bursts across my tastebuds. “I can’t believe the president of the library board agrees with Ada.”
While I always defer to her preference for formality, she never respects mine for being called Mel. Now that I don’t work for the woman anymore, I’m not extending her the courtesy of calling her Mrs. Nelson any longer.
Anyway, Ada is an improvement over the word I’d rather call her.
Dyani tilts her head and purses her lips. “Uh, I’m not sure Blakely taking the old bat’s side has anything to do with her beliefs about what books should, or should not be in the library.”
“She’s married to my cousin, for goodness’ sake. She should take my side.”
“You mean the same cousin who tells everybody who will listen how wrong it was that your grandparents left their house to you?”
“We’ve gotten past that.”
“Yeah, no.” Dyani shakes her head. “He is not over it.”
“The house passed down through the oldest sons. His dad wouldn’t have inherited regardless.” And Percy was never even in the running.
“Grandpa only bypassed my dad in my favor because he trusted me not to sell to developers.”
The homestead overlooking Ipset Cove has been in the Pierson family for over a hundred and fifty years. Since before Deerbrush Point was designated a township. Property developers have been trying to buy it off the family for the past four generations.
“I know that. You know that. But your cousin can’t seem to get that through his head.”
“He would sell to developers in a heartbeat.”
“There are lots of people in town who wouldn’t be sad to see that happen.” Dyani pushes away her now empty milkshake glass and sits back in the red vinyl covered booth to stare at me. “What are you going to do?”
“About the house? Keep it like grandpa wanted.”
Dyani shakes her head. “Not about the house, doofus. About the library.”
“What can I do?”
“Fight it.”
“I’m not much of a fighter.” I’m more of a hide in a quiet nook and read kind of girl.
“So you’re just going to let the Adas of this world win?”
My best friend does not shy from confrontation. If there’s a protest, she’s always standing on the front line.
I’m the one who makes the signs.
“How? Am I supposed to start a competing library?”
Grandpa may have left me a house and property worth a couple of million, but the only money he left me is in a trust for the house’s upkeep and property taxes. The rest went to my dad.
I live off the wages I earn.
Which is going to be exactly zero dollars, with no unemployment benefits since I quit my job.
“Come on. You’re a Pierson. If you won’t do anything, who will?”
Three of the founding families have descendants still living in Deerbrush Point: the Piersons, the Washingtons and the Richards.
“Grandpa was a Pierson with a capital P. I’m just me.” Amelia Pierson, average height, medium brown hair, eyes the same color as almost half the U.S. population, brown and a body just on the fluffy side of average.
“Last time I checked your last name was capitalized too.”
“It’s not the same.”
“It’s exactly the same. You have a responsibility to the community.”
I can’t argue with a woman who takes her own responsibility to the land and people of this region as seriously as Dyani Acothley. She comes from a long line of Chinook conservationists that are the driving force behind the green footprint of our small coastal town.
“Are you going to let her throw those books away?”
“She plans to recycle them.” In the bins in the back of the library.
That won’t be picked up for two more days.
“Dumpster diving is legal, right?”
“For the most part. Why?”
“Are you busy tonight?”
“No. Again, why?”
“Want to do some dumpster diving with me?”
“Sounds smelly.”
“I don’t mean actual dumpsters.”
“What do you mean?”
The people of Deerbrush Point and surrounding communities deserve access to the books Ada is throwing out via the recycle bins.
I’m not sure how to make that happen, but it starts with rescuing the books from the garbage service.

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