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BY GILLIAN Y. GODDEN
Tony Lambrianu might look like he’s sitting pretty, but when you’re the kingpin of a gangland empire you have to keep your guard up at all times. Deceit and betrayal lurk around every corner.
With threats looming from all sides, he is about to find out just who his real enemies are.
Meanwhile, Scarlet and Katie Lambrianu have their sights set on realising their own ambitions in life. They are determined to build their own empire and establish a Lambrianu legacy of their own.
Tony faces the biggest challenge of his life as he fights for personal survival and to protect his family. Danger comes from unexpected places. Will his empire crumble? It seems everyone is willing to resort to Dirty Dealings … how low will Tony go to avoid the devastating consequences of failure?
Editorial Note: Edited for language.
‘I’m not sharing a hotel room with you, Tony, I never get any sleep. All night long you’re on the telephone to Francesca. It gets on my nerves. What have you got to say to each other that takes that f**king long? No, I want my own room.’ Jake and Tony were standing at the hotel reception desk and Jake was adamant he wanted his own room.
‘I speak to my wife, Jake. It’s quiet then. Everyone is in bed and we can be alone to talk. Don’t you want to talk to Sharon?’
Jake’s face dropped. ‘Not really. Not at the moment.’ Jake picked up his room keys and bag and started walking towards the elevator.
Catching him up, Tony frowned at him. ‘Something wrong, Jake? Are you and Sharon having problems?’
Jake sighed and shook his head. ‘Nothing more than usual.’ He shrugged it off and walked into the lift.
‘Jake, you can talk to me, you know. What’s wrong? Menopause or something?’ Tony laughed, hoping this would help lighten the mood, but he could see it wasn’t working.
Turning to Tony, tired and fed up of the interrogation, Jake said angrily, ‘Look, Tony, we can’t all be happy and smiling in our own cosy husband and wife bubble. Some people have problems, okay? Now just leave it!’
It was a rarity for Jake to snap like that. Tony could see he was stressed out about the situation. He dropped the conversation immediately. Jake would tell him in his own good time.
Tony had made a point of letting all the casino staff think they had left Paris, which is why it was paramount that no one saw them and they didn’t leave their rooms. Everything was room service. He agreed with Jake, it was suffocating, but also necessary. No one would think of stealing off him if they thought he was in Paris.
The hotel room had been set up as an office. They trawled through mindless recordings that showed nothing but people gambling, drinking and enjoying themselves. It was boring. Three days in, Jake was pacing the floor. ‘For f**k’s sake, Tony, there is nothing. Absolutely nothing. What are we waiting for? God, it’s like painting the Forth Bridge – it never ends. We’re hanging around for nothing!’
‘We’re hanging around here to clear our names. That’s what we’re doing.’
‘I know. I’m just at my wits’ end. We can’t leave this room because you don’t want anyone to know that we’re here and I’m sick to my back teeth of it! What if Ralph is wrong about all of this? Have you thought of that?’
‘I have, Jake. But, let’s be honest, that old bastard is never wrong and he knows a lot more than he is telling us. I’m going to beat him at his own game. Why don’t you go home? It sounds like you have other things to deal with.’ Tony didn’t want to mention Sharon, but it was apparent she was at the forefront of Jake’s mind.
‘Are you sure you don’t need me? I can’t really leave you here going stir crazy, can I?’
‘You go, mate. I’m pretty sure you have other priorities.’ Mentally, Tony meant Sharon. He knew Jake well enough by now to know that he wanted to go home.
‘Yes, you go and make sure everything is okay there. If I need you, well, you’re a couple of hours away. It’s taken me longer to get across London than it has to come here. Go, Jake.’
No sooner were the words out of his mouth than Jake was packing. He couldn’t understand how Tony could stand all this waiting and watching for what seemed like an eternity.
Tony sat in his hotel room; he, too, was fed up. He missed Francesca. Even though they spoke daily, it wasn’t the same as seeing her. Graham had befriended every casino manager in the area. He’d brought more recordings for Tony and still there was nothing. Maybe Jake was right. Maybe, just maybe, Ralph was wrong and it was just a gang of chancers card counting. Tony decided to give it a couple more days and, if there was still nothing, then it would be time to go home.
Coming out of the shower, Tony heard knocking at his door. He had ordered some room service and opened the door expecting to see a waiter. Instead, Graham stood there. Seeing that Tony was in his dressing gown and drying his hair with a towel he realised that he had come at a bad time. Maybe I should have telephoned ahead, Graham thought to himself.
‘Mr Lambrianu …’ Graham felt nervous. Although he had worked for Tony for years, he knew what he was about to tell him was not good news and he didn’t want to be on the receiving end of Tony’s wrath. God, this man could lose his temper in the blink of an eye. In an instant, this handsome, charming man could turn into the very devil himself.
Opening the door wider, Tony invited him in and offered him a seat. ‘I take it the reason you are here is that you have something for me, Graham? Do you want a drink or something?’
Shaking his head, Graham waited while Tony poured himself a drink and sat down.
The silence hung in the air as Tony waited for Graham to speak. Opening his briefcase, Graham put a video tape on the coffee table before Tony. ‘It’s an inside job, Mr Lambrianu. I have double checked everything before coming here today.’ His heart was pounding and he wished he had taken that drink now, his throat was so dry.
Tony’s eyes narrowed and a frown appeared on his brow. Graham swallowed hard. ‘It’s none of my business, Mr Lambrianu, but there are times when you have “special deliveries” at the casino …’ Graham paused, waiting for some outburst, but none came. He could see that Tony didn’t like this cat and mouse game and was losing his patience. He continued. ‘There is a gang of young men that seem to come in on the very same nights that you have these special deliveries. There are two women involved. That tape shows the two women targeting certain blackjack tables.’ Graham felt he had said more than enough. His job was done and he wanted to go home.
Tony picked up the tape and looked at it, weighing up what Graham had told him and the contents of the tape. ‘When you say an inside job, Graham, I take it you mean members of the staff and this tape has footage of them helping themselves to my money and bringing any other activities to the attention of the authorities?’
Graham started edging towards the end of his seat nervously. Tony couldn’t help but wonder why Graham was so nervous and agitated. Surely he should have been pleased that he had accomplished his mission. ‘Are Ralph and Julie Gold on this tape, Graham? Is that why you’re acting so nervous?’ The thought had crossed his mind.
Shaking his head emphatically, Graham spoke louder than he should have. In fact, he was almost shouting. ‘No. No way, Mr Lambrianu. Definitely not. Just watch the tape when I have gone; it will answer all of your questions.’
‘Okay, Graham, I will, thanks.’ Tony could see Graham couldn’t wait to get out of the room and, furthermore, he couldn’t wait to see what was on the recording. Graham stood up and left without further ado.
Tony put the recording on and waited. He saw nothing of particular interest at first, but then he spotted a group of young men come in and instantly spread out towards the card tables. Looking closely, Tony saw a woman turn around and kiss the man she was standing next to. She was adorned in furs and diamonds. It was pretty obvious she had been drinking because she was a little unsteady on her feet and using the man for support.
Suddenly feeling the bile rise in his throat, Tony wanted to be sick. Pausing the recording, he stared at the woman on the screen. Now he understood why Graham had looked so uncomfortable and nervous. His head was swimming and he felt dizzy; he ran to the bathroom and vomit spewed from his mouth. He was shaking as he bent down over the toilet. Tears were brimming in his eyes. Picking up a hand towel and wiping his mouth, he wandered back into the room and stared at the screen again. He poured a large whisky, then sat down and rested his head on the back of the sofa.
His emotions were all over the place, he felt confused and lost. For the first time in his life he didn’t know what to do. He felt anger, betrayal and most of all sadness. Did he destroy the recording and forget what he had seen? Or did he show it to Ralph Gold? Tony was in turmoil. He had never had to face anything like this before.
Loyalty was a double-edged sword and he had been betrayed. His thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door. He presumed it would be the waiter with the food he had ordered earlier, and it was. But standing behind the waiter was Ralph Gold.
Check out Gillian Godden’s
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Gillian Godden Books
About Author Gillian Godden…
“I work as a doctors receptionist at the local health centre, close to where I live. I’ve experienced a lot of support in the writing community and have seen my titles flourish under the microscope that is Amazon. The only part of writing I find difficult is the promotion. Bloggers help authors to market, advertise, and publicise our wares, but I’d far rather be writing them.
“I live in Yorkshire with my dog Susie. Walking her around the park after ten-hour shifts clears my head and allows me to plot ideas. The best murderous plans come to me this way. My son, Robert, lives in London. I’d love to move back there someday.
“My books appear in Fantastic Fiction, London Crime, and during a recent visit to Streatham library I donated one copy of each of my books. People regularly send me photos of themselves reading them while on holiday. And I often receive messages from those who’ve enjoyed my works.
Links to Gillian‘s website, blog, books, etc.
Amazon US (Dangerous Games, Book 1):
Amazon US (Nasty Business, Book 2):
Amazon US (Francesca, Book 3):
Amazon US (Dirty Dealings, Book 4):
You can buy all of Gillian’s books here:
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Thanks, Gillian, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!