Queen of Hearts
Nicole E. Woolaston
Queen of Hearts
Copyright ã 2015 Nicole E Woolaston, Woolaston Entertainment
No part of this book may be reproduced by any means without permission from the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used for entertainment purposes only. This book was printed in the United States of America.
For Mom: Thanks for always being my rock.
Part One: The Syndicate
1. Homecoming 11
2. Right Car; Wrong Girl 14
3. Seeking New Employment 24
4. Michael Aldus 27
5. The Job 32
6. Outside Help 35
7. Part of the Syndicate 39
Part Two: Family Values
8. Keep Your Hands to Yourself 45
9. Little Sister 51
10. The Debt 59
11. Until I See You Again 62
12. You Matter 65
13. Lorenzo 69
Part Three: Roman Holiday
14. Mac Avery 75
15. The Position Can Not Be Filled 80
16. The Test 82
17. Blame 86
18. To Italy 95
19. You Must Have Thought I Was Someone Else 101
20. Sins of the Father 111
21. Women With Guns 118
22. There Are Places I Can Put You 120
23. War 122
Part Four: Queen of Hearts
24. Miss McCormick Goes to California 127
25. Who is the Black Queen? 130
26. Protect the Queen of Hearts 132
27. Surrounded 137
28. A Shot in the Dark 140
Veronica jumped excitedly from the couch the moment she heard a key enter the lock of the door to the apartment. Melinda and Victoria were sitting next to her. Vincent was sitting in the arm chair, facing the door. They all smiled when the door opened, and Val entered the apartment. She was carrying her duffle bag in one hand and her keys in the other. She came inside and closed the door, and dropped her bag on the floor. Giving a heavy sigh, she said, “Hello, everyone.”
“Welcome home, Vally Girl,” Vincent said, as he stood up from his seat.
Veronica couldn’t contain herself any longer. She giggled and ran up to her cousin and threw her arms around her. “You’re home!” she exclaimed. “I’m so glad you’re home.”
“I only came home because you promised me a birthday cake,” Val said, returning Veronica’s gesture. “And because Lola said she was getting sick of me.”
Melinda and Victoria laughed and stood up from the couch. Veronica released Val and stepped away, while the two teen girls hugged Val at the same time. Val put her arms around both of them and smiled. “Did you miss me?” she asked, her face sandwiched between their heads.
“Of course we missed you!” Melinda declared.
“Don’t ever leave us again,” Victoria added.
Val looked straight ahead at the one person she hadn’t hugged yet. Vincent took a step forward. Melinda and Victoria decided their time was up, and moved aside. Val walked up to her father, and the two of them embraced. Vincent kissed his daughter’s forehead. “I missed you,” he whispered.
Val could feel her eyes growing watery. “I missed you too, Daddy,” she said, quietly.
“I’m sorry,” Vincent said. “I’m sorry if I made you feel like you don’t matter. I never meant to hurt you.” He released her, and looked into her eyes. “You are important to me, and I love you. Always remember that.”
Val smiled. “I will,” she said. She cleared her throat, and turned to Veronica. “So, about my birthday cake?”
“Actually, it’s our birthday cake,” Veronica corrected.
“I can’t believe you guys were born one day apart,” Victoria said.
“I can’t believe Valentine’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day,” Melinda said. “What are the chances?”
Veronica shook her head and headed towards the kitchen. Val followed her. “It’s chocolate, right? Because it has to be chocolate.”
“Yes, Val,” Veronica said. “It’s chocolate.” She grinned, and embraced her cousin again. “I’m sorry I’m so emotional,” she whispered. “I’m just so happy you’re home. This place doesn’t feel right without you.”
Val squeezed Veronica and sighed. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” Veronica said. She released her, and used the heel of her hand to wipe away a tear from her right eye. “You needed some space. I just hope, the next time you’re not feeling strong enough to walk on your own, you’ll let me carry you. You’re not just my cousin, Val, you’re my best friend.”
Val smiled at her. “You’re not going to get all yuri on me, are you?”
Veronica shook her head and giggled. “No!” she said. “Okay! Cake time!”