MADE – Copyright © 2017 J. L. Lora. All Rights Reserved.


You can run as fast as you can, but when the light flares in your face, you can no longer hide.



It was no wonder karma had made them all into her regular bitches. They were constantly provoking it.

Gia Corey would kill for one day where she didn’t have to be the bad guy. Today had been shot to shit when revenge stomped its muddy hooves through a house of God. And it wasn’t even noon.

Soft whispers echoed along with the soft tapping of seven pairs of shoes through the nearly-empty Holy Angels Church. She rocked her goddaughter in her arms and shoved away the heavy burden pooling in her belly. She’d been here twice in the past three months. The first time for Nelly’s memorial service. Nelly. God, her name was a wound that wouldn’t stop bleeding.

Her murderer had not only taken away a beautiful, young life. With a bullet through her chest, he’d stolen the late-night calls, the gushing about hot guys Nelly had bumped into at the gym, and the crumbled Butterfinger bars during their girls’ nights. And the joy out of Mel.

Today, they’d come together to baptize Carissa and Alec’s twins. Baptisms should be happy occasions that bring families together. They should be about healing, not dealing with business or revenge. It was too much. Accusations clung to everything around the massive room. The stained-glass windows, with their biblical scenes, the flickering candles in their red glass holders, even the angel statue that stared right at her with condemning statue eyes. Instead of pressed in steeple form, the angel’s fingers should be pointing at her, at all of them.

She averted her eyes, her gaze colliding with Noah McLean’s sea-under-the-sunny-sky eyes. His gaze so hot it should have melted the clothes off her skin. The playful grin on his lips had nothing to do with anything holy. Instead of candle wax smell, she was sure sulfur would waft through the floorboards and the devil would drag them all down. She anchored herself in the soothing scent of chamomile that clung to the baby’s skin.

Her best friends, Carissa and Mel, whispered to each other. Carissa was no doubt dropping the same bomb on Mel that she had whispered in Gia’s ears seconds before. Agent Davies had met his maker. Well, he had been given a ride to the station and put on the express train to hell. He’d booked the ticket when he’d sold himself to their enemy, with the help of a family member, to set up Carissa. Yeah, Davies had been dirty. Still, it didn’t wash away the blood in Gia’s hands.

“Let’s trade. Give me the baby and take my phone. I want to take a photo with Alec, Father Anthony, and the twins in front of the church.” Carissa beamed. She was happy with her husband, twins, and the justice they’d taken into their own hands.

Her friend kissed the top of her daughter’s head and smiled when the baby’s hand wrapped around one of her hanging curls. The tender, motherly gesture held none of the glee that darkened her hazel eyes when she’d learned of Davies’ death. Carissa had become the proverbial lioness, willing to do anything to keep what was hers.

They walked out of the church and it might as well have been another world. The contrast between the Gothic Revival exterior of Holy Angels and the brick and glass buildings around it had a whiplash effect on the senses. That was Manhattan for you.

Gia went down some steps and snapped a few pictures while trying to assuage her conscience that yes, they’d done the right thing with Davies. She avoided looking at Noah, who couldn’t seem to contain his lascivious looks, even in the presence of God. She shot him her best forbidding look but she was dying to put his hands, broad shoulders, sexy smiling mouth, and every inch of his six-foot-two body to good use.

Carissa’s phone went off in her hand, snatching her thoughts off their sinning trail. She waved it at her friend, who motioned for her to answer.

“What did you decide? Can I count on you to ice the pig?” a booming male voice asked. It was Alonzo, an ally looking for a favor.

A favor? That’s a cute way of saying someone wants you to kill a cop for them.

The sinking feeling threatened to bring her down but she exhaled. She wanted to tell him to do his own dirty work, but it wasn’t a decision she could make on her own. “Can’t talk right now. We’re out communing. We’ll call you.”

She hung up and shot her friends the “duty-calls” look.

A few minutes before, Gia had become a godmother. The moment she stepped out of the church, she was back to being a criminal. Fucking yay. She and her friends didn’t get to go home to put away the rosaries and bibles. They had to shed their individual personas, while still on God’s property, to become The Trinity, the most powerful force in New York. And yes, that shit took the shine out of everything.

She signaled for the limo. At the top of the stairs, Carissa handed Brooklyn to her father and Mel placed Hudson in his uncle’s arms. Noah mouthed the word “later” and Gia nodded. Yes, she would need a later with him.

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