Grievous (Wanted Men #5) - Nancy Haviland


The only thing Yasmeen Michaels imagined was worse than attending a funeral was hosting one. Correction. Hosting one like this.

The crowded room at the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue in Manhattan ebbed and flowed with conversation and laughter. Laughter. How obscene. What was wrong with these people? Couldn’t they feel that? The desolation in the air? Couldn’t they see it every time they looked at the ones left behind? A man had been shot and killed in a parking garage, left to die alone. And these people were sharing amusing stories that had nothing to do with Markus Fane and the legacy he’d left behind.

Just over an hour ago, she’d been in a front pew in a gorgeous church on the Upper East Side, sitting next to Markus’s older brother. His agony had been silent, but it had kept her on the verge of tears throughout the entire service. Now she was at the reception she didn’t quite understand the point of, her gaze involuntarily wandering—again—in search of the only man who would since his staff had organized it. The man who hadn’t left her thoughts since she’d learned of Markus’s murder on CNN. She’d been at the gallery, working on placements for an up-and-coming artist’s first showing and her laptop had been keeping her company. The news had been nothing but white noise until she’d heard Markus Fane’s name. She’d dropped the easel she’d been unfolding and had watched, learning the viewing would begin any minute, and the lineup was already hundreds of people long. Her monotonous, blinders-in-place, only-one-goal-mattered trip along the highway of life had screeched to a halt, and she’d left work early for the first time since landing her dream job as a gallery assistant at Nebulous World Art. When she’d walked into the funeral home and seen Lucian Fane for the first time in over two years, she’d immediately realized her mistake. She should have sent flowers.

Coming out of her head, Yasmeen focused on Mr. I’m-A-Real-Estate-Tycoon-Wanna-Know-My-Bank-Balance and was happy to see he was addressing his sales pitch to the man on her right. They’d sidled over a few minutes ago. Probably thought because she was on her own that she would be grateful for the company. They were wrong. If there was one person she was comfortable being with, it was herself.

As her fingers tightened on the strap of her knock-off Prada handbag, she made sure the mildly curious expression she’d perfected was in place. Her ears perked up when the man whose name she couldn’t remember said something to the other man whose name she couldn’t remember about the latest deal their company—another name she couldn’t remember—had done with TarMor Inc. That company she remembered because Markus had worked there since graduating from Yale over a decade ago. He’d been the executive VP, and apparently, the job he’d done exceptionally well had been his life.

She looked over to where his two bosses stood amid a group of men just like them. Mafioso. Many people would chuckle at hearing the label put to them. Yasmeen didn’t. She’d lived her whole life in New York, and having grown up on the streets in an area of the Bronx that was now becoming a relatively safe place to raise a family, she’d seen and heard enough to know organized crime was real. She’d even “worked” for a family for a few weeks when she was thirteen.

As usual, she’d been putting off going home to avoid “the man of the house” when an Italian guy wearing nice clothes had approached her where she’d sat in the mouth of an alley. As she prepared to bolt, he’d put up his hands in a show of peace that had meant nothing to her, and had offered her a hundred dollars to do a simple job for him. She’d warily listened, and had soon found herself taking a cell phone and agreeing to call the only saved number in it if she saw cops drive by. That’s it? she’d asked suspiciously. And you’ll give me a hundred bucks.

Yeah, sweetheart. But if you take off with the phone or fuck me over in any way, you’ll be sorry. How old are you?


Oh. Too bad. You look older.

She’d almost rolled her eyes right in front of him. She’d nodded her acceptance of his terms without provoking him with a show of disrespect, he’d left, no cops had appeared. He’d returned less than thirty minutes later with his knuckles bleeding and his lip swelling. He’d