It's day two of our blitz!!! Who's excited to see what our boys get into today?? Okay, here we go!!
Black Collar Beginnings: Manhattan Dry
Everything in the Morgan syndicate is poised on the edge of change, and no one understands that more than Caleb. A senior in high school, he’s balanced between a false legitimate life and the deadly one as head of the family’s weapons division.
When an attack comes out of nowhere, the two sides of his world collide and the effects of that will touch everyone in the family…
Black Collar Beginnings: Manhattan Dry Part 2
Morgan Estates, New York City.
Friday nights usually find a gaggle of Irving's elite of the elite at a hidden speakeasy called Manhattan Dry in lower Manhattan. Caleb knows this because the place is also a syndicate hot spot for sit downs and deals. The club owners get hefty payoffs so they don’t mind playing host to criminals.
As Seth and Caleb take the slow elevator ride to the underground garage of their building, Caleb dials the number to the bar.
“Hey Shawn, it's Caleb . . . yeah man, got a question for you. You remember those guys I got a round for a few weeks ago, from my swim team? . . . Yeah, the ones I said were assholes. That's them. Are they there?”
Seth can hear the deep baritone of the bartender rumbling from Caleb's phone, but he can't quite understand what's being said. He can't keep the fascination from his face as he watches Caleb work the situation exactly as he might handle the division he was recently named head of.
“How many are there?” Caleb asks, his sudden shift to a business demeanor almost alarming to Seth. Caleb smirks, “Five? w Is the blond one with the dipshit hipster glasses there? . . . Ok, I need you to tell your other customers that the owner has requested those fucks have exclusive access to the bar. High roller shit.. Whatever, get rid of them somehow. Give them their money back if you have to. Then, give those guys a bottle of something strong on me – yeah, but don't tell them it's from me. We'll be there in half an hour. We're not hot.”
When he hangs up the phone, Seth's staring in adoration. Not hot, meaning they aren't carrying guns. Caleb smirks again. “You look stupid,” he says, but he can't deny the pang in his chest of his brother's respect, something he only sees in his brother and their cousin. The elevator dings, then opens, so Caleb seizes the moment to avoid having a moment. “When's the last time you rode?” he asks as Seth trails him.
“Last time I rode with you."
“Christ, Seth, that was months ago.”
Caleb leads them to where his two Ducatis are parked. He picks up the helmet of the lighter bike, and shoves it toward Seth. He never rides that one, but he would never admit that he bought it for Seth.. He says, “Do you even remember what you're doing?”
“You know I don't ride alone,” Seth says as he throws a leg over and settles on the seat. It's a worthy defense. Caleb had bought another bike so Seth could ride with him, but he never has time to go anymore.
Caleb is holding his black helmet, about to put it on, but he pauses. Seth's words echo through the parking garage, and Caleb looks over to catch Seth's eye. Caleb says, “Just stay sharp. Don't do anything stupid.”
Seth rolls his eyes, and says, “Yeah, ok. I can handle it.”
They shove their helmets in place, and start their bikes, which cuts off any communication except the honesty of brotherly connection. They back out, and Seth lets Caleb take the lead. As they wait for the gate to rise and let them out, Seth realizes he misses riding, but mostly he misses riding with Caleb. Apparently, being a high school senior is time consuming, never mind the Morgan Syndicate weapons division.
The gates clear and Caleb guns his bike without waiting to see if his brother will follow. Shoving thoughts aside, he does.
About thirty minutes later, they are walking into the false store front, and Caleb is picking up the pay phone. He hits the buzzer once.
“We all set? . . . Ok.”
He hangs up the phone and takes a deep breath. He pins Seth with a heavy look. “Ready?”
Seth grins, nods. “Let's show them how the real elite roll.”
Caleb lifts a fist, knuckles in place. Seth answers, and the metal clinks together when their hands connect. The door opens, and the Morgans make their entrance. They left their coats with the bikes, and so they are the perfect image of business casual, slacks and button-downs; Seth with his sleeves rolled up above his elbows and hands behind his back, and Caleb with his hands in his pockets.
“Gentlemen,” Caleb says as they stroll in like they own the place. At the moment, they do. “That bottle is on me, to show my gratitude for proving to me what a perfect waste of space you are.”
The teammates are swimming out of their good times to realize that the situation has turned hostile, but since they have no experience in such situations, they are much too slow in their calculations. It helps that they are also quite drunk on expensive liquor, a “gift” from the “house”.
Caleb continues, as he and Seth split to circle the group and their table. “The truth is, you're jealous. But rather than work for it, you jump me like pussies. Well, here's something you don't know about me. I've worked for it.”
The group is scrambling by this point, pushing chairs back and standing unsteadily. Seth and Caleb are sober, and all the rage that they have helped each other control comes roaring to the surface. Caleb goes straight to the source, to the captain who so despises him. One hand closes around
Aidenn's throat and the other – the left – splits the flesh of his right cheek. He howls, of course, prick can't take what he could dish. Caleb has to let him go in order to dodge the sloppy punch that comes near his nose.
On the other side of the table, the other three have just attempted to jump Seth at once. To their disadvantage, he is one-hundred per cent sober, and he's the the quickest experienced fighter among them. He dances around their jabs and swings, catching one of them under the jaw with the knuckles, then smashing his opposing elbow into a nose. The third catches the misfortune of a knee to the groin, and he has knocked them all back in his first go. His eyes are alight as he sniffs haughtily.
Caleb delivers a solid right then left combination to the second teammate who tries to hit him. He hears the bridge of the guy's nose crack. Blood explodes, and he cries out and stumbles backward. Caleb turns back toward Aidenn, who is about to throw a fist. Caleb sidesteps and drives his fist against his captain's mouth. Aidenn yelps and crumbles. Caleb wants to pound his fists into his opponent's ribs until they break, but he knows that to perpetuate this could kill these yelps.
He looks over in time to see Seth land a three-hit combo in the gut of one, and nail the next directly in the forehead. Both hit theirs knees, and Seth turns to the last, who has crouched and is about to lunge.
Seth just laughs, and says, “Ok, if you think you can.”
The goon rushes – or what he thinks to be rushing – Seth, who waits until the very last second to slip to side, hook a foot around the other's foot, and shove his opposite shoulder. The momentum sends the goon sprawling backward, and as the back of his head hits the floor, Seth nails him in the liver with one quick jab.
The guy freezes from the shock of the liver hit, then drags himself onto his side and pukes. Seth stands up and rolls his shoulders. In less than ten minutes they have decimated five of the seven seniors on the school's swim team. He slips off the knuckles and flexes his right hand, then he grins.
“It only hurt a little,” he said.
Caleb can't help but smirk in answer. He flicks his head toward the bar, and they leave the swim team groaning against the floor of the bar. The bartender, a smooth faced, light eyed black man with a karat diamond in each ear, pushes them two healthy pours of legitimate Appalachian moonshine.
Caleb smirks, and says, “I didn't know this bar served kerosene.”
“Yes, you did,” answers Shawn.
Caleb laughs audibly, and takes a brave sip, nearly half the straight grain alcohol. At the same time, Seth takes a much larger gulp – that sweet, sweet innocence – and the other two can all but hear the fire in his exhalation. Seconds later, he's coughing. Caleb laughs harder, making a point to watch Seth try to recover from his audacity. “Shawn, you know my brother, Seth.”
“We've met once or twice,” answers Shawn with a brilliant smile accentuated by deep dimples.
Caleb tries to battle the face that matches the feeling of his insides burning. His breath is hot when he says, “You'll understand if we can't stay. I believe you have my billing information on file. I appreciate the accommodation at such short notice.”
He slips a roll of hundreds into Shawn's hand with a half-cocked grin. A few grand will make up for the business that is lost for the evening.
“Always a pleasure,” says Shawn, eyes bright in the knowledge that he just made his rent money plus some.
Caleb ignores the protest in his gut, and downs the rest of his white lightning. To Great-Grandpa Morgan, one of the original bootleggers. Then he says, “Come on, Seth.”
Seth eyes his moonshine warily, but forces himself to swallow it. For a moment, his eyes bulge and he doesn't move, but then he releases another cough and clanks his glass onto the bar. He doesn't speak as he follows Caleb out.
Catch up on the series now!!
Black Collar Empire:
After two years away, Seth Morgan has returned to New York, desperate to honor his father’s dying wish for a unified family. But the heir’s welcome is sadly lacking: his family’s criminal empire is divided, the woman he loves hates him, and his brother Caleb has become a cold stranger.
When a brotherly spat becomes a vicious misunderstanding that ends with Caleb dead, Seth is left reeling, and unsure who to trust.
Emma Morgan grew up while her closest cousin was away. She’s been sheltered her entire life from the realities of their family—something Seth has every intention of changing upon his return.
But not everyone in the syndicate is happy to have Seth home, and there are secrets surrounding Caleb’s murder. The deeper Seth and Emma dig, the clearer it becomes that not everyone shares their dream for the Morgan Syndicate, and not everyone wants the heir to ascend.
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Black Collar Beginnings: New York
Caleb Morgan is the black sheep of the family. Two years of his brother’s absence has left him cold and alone—except for Emma, the youngest Morgan. Because with Seth gone, there is no one else to teach—or protect—their innocent cousin. But teaching isn’t always pretty—not in family who peddles in crime.
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks
Black Collar Beginnings: Cuba
Alone in Cuba, Seth Morgan isn’t mafia royalty—he’s a thug with a gun, and everything to prove. When the shadowy kingpin behind the Cuban syndicate finally takes notice, nothing in Seth’s world will ever be the same.
Before the Empire, there was exile. A novella, set just before Black Collar Empire.
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Part 1—Monday, Nov 3rd.
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Home Is Where the Wine Is Book Blog | Can't Talk, I'm Reading | Addicted Readers | Best Book Boyfriends | One Last Page Book Blog
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AN Latro loves good wine and the ocean, and prefers to write with both. She has a passion for bad boys in books, and stories that make you feel. She can most often be found along the Florida coast.
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