“Shades of Justice” Chapter Fifty

The next day, Jack rented a Bayliner 255 Cruiser. It was just the right size with room to sleep four. Later the same afternoon Kathy found an ideal waterfront cottage on Brigantine Boulevard just north of the Brigantine Bridge. She signed a month’s lease and paid in advance with cash. The boathouse, in addition to covering a small cabin cruiser, also could sleep two with a small bath and breakfast nook.

“We’ll question Dom here in the boathouse,” Jack said. “Bring him in the trunk of a rental into the garage and hustle him along the pier to the boathouse. No use waiting. We go tonight. About 10:00.”

“Good! I hate waiting around. Good thing I brought my war paint. Gives me a chance to get ‘tarted up’ for the casino cameras. Our timing has to be near perfect. Even then some luck would be nice.”

Kathy turned heads that night when she walked through the front entrance to the Silver Chalice in her short black skirt, black sleeveless jacket, and four-inch heels. The ruffled white blouse showed off a deep cleavage. Her blonde hair was loose and swinging. A necklace of small diamonds matched the diamond earrings. A ten-carat emerald on her right hand was impossible not to notice. Her left hand was bare. Make-up covered the faint white band from her wedding ring. The casino floor was busy, but not crowded. Kathy made her way to the bar where she ordered a tequila-based bloody Mary. The bartender set the drink on the counter and said no charge. Carrying her drink, Kathy moved about the floor until she spotted Dom looking over a high stakes blackjack table. Kathy moved over to the table and out of the corner of her eye noted Dom moving to pull out her chair. Kathy looked up, smiled at him. She thought, This guy looks much younger than his age. He is obviously meticulous. Every hair in place, perfectly tailored tux, and a recent manicure. Kathy sat down, smiled at the dealer and slid $5,000 in front of her. The dealer pushed over ten $500 chips. She caught the dealer flash a look at Dom still standing behind her.

She was dealt a king and an eight. She had gambled quite a bit and knew the odds. She decided to stand pat. The man next to her did the same. Two other players took hits and went over 21 and lost their $500 bet. The dealer looked at Kathy’s showing eight of diamonds, turned over his hole card and dealt himself a four of hearts for a 16 and a ten of spades, putting him over 21. He paid Kathy and the man beside her. Kathy lost the next round. She increased her bet to $2,500 and won two in a row, both times with a diamond card showing. Kathy stacked her chips and said, “Diamonds are my lucky charm.”

Dom was still hovering behind her chair. He noticed her drink was low and sent for another. When the drink came Dom reached over her shoulder to put the drink in front of her. Kathy acted startled and bumped his arm, splashing tomato juice and tequila all over Dom’s jacket and white shirt. She jumped up and said, “I’m so sorry. You startled me. Let me help clean up this mess.”

Dom said, “My fault. You’ll have to excuse me while I get cleaned up.”

Kathy said, “Me too.” Her cleavage and white blouse were splattered. “Is there a place I can clean up? I can’t win at blackjack unless I feel elegant. It’s hard to feel elegant after a shower of a bloody Mary.”

“Come with me,” he said. “I have a suite in the hotel. My fiancée is there so you will be properly chaperoned.”

Kathy smiled. “Do I look like I need to be chaperoned?”

Dom laughed and said, “You’re safe with me.”

Kathy got up, pushed her chips toward the dealer, put the cash into her evening bag and transmitted the go signal to Jack. She took Dom’s arm and said, “Let’s go.”

She had studied Ted’s sketched layout of the casino and exit to the hotel elevators. Exiting the casino’s security perimeter with Dom, she saw Jack waiting for them by the elevators. Kathy maneuvered Dom so he was between Jack and her. Jack took Dom’s arm and when he started to struggle, pressed a nerve on the inside of Dom’s forearm near the elbow. The pain was intense. “Dom Salvatori, if you want to live, listen and obey. I want information, then you can go and never mention our talk to Jim or Conrad.”

“What’s this all about?”

Jack pressed harder on the nerve and said, “I ask the questions. You answer.”

Kathy was on her way to bring the car up to the nearby exit. Jack had passed her a note with the keys showing where the car was parked.

When Dom nodded, Jack said, “Come with me. No fuss or I’ll break your neck and leave you in the parking lot.”

By the time Jack and Dom exited the hotel to the parking garage, Kathy was pulling up. She popped the trunk. Jack put Dom out by cutting off the blood flow to the brain and put him in the trunk. Kathy drove out of the parking garage and they were soon pulling into the garage at their rented waterfront cottage.

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Filed under Action thrillers, Barry Kelly, Books, Spy novels

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