Reno and Sal Gabrini:Fire with Fire

By: Mallory Monroe

PROLOGUE




Levoca, Slovakia

PRESENT DAY



The security gate opened wide and the military-grade Jeep drove through. Three hours on the road and it still felt like they weren’t getting anywhere. Sal checked his watch again, but all the good that did. It was too dark to see shit because of the blackened windows, and the driver was driving so fast he couldn’t calculate the miles they’d already traveled.

Reno fidgeted in his seat. “Got us in a fucking jungle,” he murmured as he heard the slashing of tree limbs brushing against the already scratched-up Jeep, and the splashing of water puddles as they rode a bumpy ride through hole after hole across the treacherous terrain. Then he looked at Sal. “If they harm one hair on their heads,” Reno said.

A sad look appeared in Sal’s eyes, as if he didn’t even want to think about that. He was nodding agreement before Reno could finish his sentence. “He knows better than that.”

“How would you know what he knows?” Reno asked. “Oh, yeah! How could I forget? You know all about him, don’t you? It’s your ass that got us in this fucking nightmare to begin with.”

“It wasn’t my ass that got us into shit. Did I put that cap in Pump? Did I do that? I didn’t start this shit!”

“I know that,” Reno responded. “I just need somebody to lash out at.” He gave a half-smile. “And since you’re available,” he added.

Sal gave a half-smile too. And then both smiles were gone. Because reality hit. Because there was nothing about their situation worth smiling about.

But when the Jeep came to what felt like an unexpected stop, both men sat up. And waited. Their heartbeats were beating so loud they glanced at each other. This was crazy. Why the fuck were they subjecting themselves to this craziness? It was Reno Gabrini they were fucking with, the owner of the largest hotel and casino on the Vegas Strip, the son of a mob boss, the nephew of Mick fucking Sinatra! It was Sal Luca Gabrini, one of the most feared mob bosses in the world, the nephew of Mick fucking Sinatra, and they were pulling this shit on him too? But the fucker had them by the balls. There was no denying it. There was no better way.

Both back-passenger doors were flung open by armed men in military fatigues, casting such a bright light into the darkened jeep that Reno and Sal had to squint their eyes and place a hand over their eyebrows.

“Chod’ von!” said one guard. When they didn’t respond, he said it again. “Chod’ von!” But neither Reno nor Sal spoke the language.

“Get the fuck out!” said another guard in heavily-accented, fractured English, and Reno and Sal spoke that language very well.

With both men carrying a briefcase; with both men dressed in well-worn suits that had traveled much too far to maintain any elegance, they got out.

Guns were pointed at them from all directions. Before they could get their footing good, they were pushed in front and escorted down a long dirt path that led to what looked like a guard house that sat in front of a bigger building. Everywhere they looked were armed men. It was like a compound with one purpose: to protect the man inside. And when the door to that guard house was opened, and Reno and Sal were shoved inside, the man himself was just standing there. His back was to them: but they knew that fucker.

When he turned around, he motioned for the guards that had shoved Reno and Sal inside to leave them alone. The guards glanced at each other as if they didn’t think it was a good idea, but they didn’t exactly have a say in the matter. They left, closing the door behind them.

Bartholomew Garbo walked past Reno and Sal and over to the door. He locked it. Then he walked back past Reno and Sal and stood in front of them. “Good evening, gentlemen,” he said.

Reno nor Sal were interested in any small talk, and that included a greeting. Reno tossed his briefcase onto the table. Sal did so too.

Bartholomew smiled. “You behave as if this is a hostage situation. I told you it is not.”

“There’s your product,” Reno said. “Top grade like you wanted. As much as you’d ever need where that came from.”

Bartholomew walked up to the table and opened Reno’s briefcase. Inside were uncut diamonds, all rich, all rough, more than he’d ever seen at one time. Worth tens of millions of dollars.

“They’re the real deal,” Reno said. “We don’t fuck around. Have your experts check them out. Then give us what we came for.”

Bartholomew grinned. “I know about Sal. I know all about Sal Luca. But I heard about you. I heard you were a very impatient man. Rich. Powerful. Accustomed to … How do you say it? Accustomed to getting, no, to having your way?” Then his smile left. “But you are in my world now. You do not run anything, or get or have any way, in my world.”