Silent Sentry by Theresa Rizzo
Published: April 3, 2016
Published by: Rizzo Publishing
Award-winning author Theresa Rizzo delivers a thrilling crime novel packed with suspense, romance, and redemption.
The Scarfilis and Donnatellis love deeply and protect fiercely. “Family takes care of family” is the code they live by.
So when a hacker threatens Gianna Donnatelli’s life, Dr. Joe Scarfili is determined to keep her safe, only he has no police or tech experience, and Gianna’s penchant for aiding Detroit’s underprivileged is the same kind of altruism that got his wife killed. Gianna protects Joe with the same unyielding resolve.
Gianna pushes all his insecurity buttons. Joe tries her patience like no other. But together they’ll fight to save each other and their love… Or die trying.
Set up—Gianna was nearly blown up after exiting Joe’s car. Detective, Pat, is friends with hero, Joe. Faye is Gianna’s partner and friend, and she doesn’t like Joe and accused him of blowing up his own car.
Joe walked Pat to the door. “How could you take that idiot, Faye, seriously?”
“It’s my job.”
“Give me a break.”
Expression blank, Pat waited a long minute before cracking a wide smile. “Scarfili, you have a pathological love for that car. You couldn’t destroy your pride and joy even for revenge. A-n-d,” he drew out. “Ms. Harris obviously doesn’t know many doctors. I haven’t met one doc that doesn’t have a hand fetish. You surgeons are the worst.” He grinned. “But she was entertaining.”
Joe refused to be needled. He opened the door and followed Pat onto the front porch before closing it firmly behind them. He lowered his voice. “Gianna dropped a file, a life insurance policy with Forever Life. If the policy’s for a lot, that would give her beneficiaries motive. You should check it out. And check out her will too. If I remember correctly, Gianna’s mother’s family was wealthy. She could be worth a bundle. It’d be interesting to see who would profit from her death.”
“Anything else?” Pat asked sarcastically. “Buddy, maybe you should stop tellin’ me how to do my job and try thinking about yourself. What makes you think you weren’t the target?”
“Me?” He glanced sharply at Pat.
“It was your car blown to bits. It could have been meant for you.”
Joe made a face and shook his head. “Naw.”
“Have any outstanding malpractice suits? Enemies? Patients with a grudge? Patients who owe you money? Jealous docs?” Pat frowned. “Do you have a gambling problem I don’t know about? Owe a bookie?”
“Don’t be ridiculous.” Enemies? Hmm…
Pat inclined his head. “You’d be surprised at what turns out to be ridiculous.”
Images of the night flew through Joe’s mind. Gianna hurtling toward him silhouetted by the sudden brightness of the explosion. The burning, charred remains of his Jag.
“Not me,” he said with quiet conviction. “Besides, nobody could have known when I’d pick up the car.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “I can take care of myself. Gianna’s vulnerable.”
“And you’re Superman?” Pat’s nostrils flared in anger. “A bullet can’t kill you like the rest of us? You’d best be careful, son. The gloves are off. Whoever blew up that car means business.”
Joe watched Pat stalk away, then reentered the house. What makes you think you weren’t the target? He moved into the kitchen and checked the lock on the door before making certain the window over the sink was firmly closed and locked. The gloves are off. He flipped off the light, plunging the room into darkness. He walked down the hall toward the front stairs. Whoever blew up that car means business.
Joe stared upstairs to where Gianna prepared for bed. What the hell made him think he could protect Gianna? He didn’t know squat about protection. Somebody had blown up his car and nearly Gianna with it. This was no longer a simple break-in; somebody wanted her dead. Or him. You’d be surprised at what turns out to be ridiculous.
After everybody had left and he’d been alone with Gianna in the pantry, watching her shaking hands dial that combination three times before opening it had been Joe’s undoing. He told her that he hugged her because she needed a hug; in truth he’d probably needed comforting more. He needed to feel the reassurance of her warm body, solid form, and heart beating strong against his. Joe needed Gianna, and that scared him silly. He hadn’t felt this way since Meggie and he hated it.
The stately grandfather clock in the foyer below bonged three times.
Did he have enemies? Joe washed a hand over his face. What the hell was he going to do? Start by eliminating the ridiculous. A familiar face flashed into Joe’s mind. Surely not—he couldn’t be behind this, could he? Joe hardened his resolve.
Three o’clock. He looked at her bedroom door. Gianna was taking a bath; he couldn’t leave her now. A phone call wouldn’t do. He needed to see the look in his eyes to be sure he wasn’t lying. Joe wanted to get to him as soon as possible to catch him off guard. But leaving Gianna alone wasn’t an option. Damn it.
Resigned to using the phone, Joe walked through the darkened house into the study and closed the door behind him. He scrolled through his address book and made the call.
“Joey, what’s wrong?” Uncle Al’s voice was rough with sleep. He’d be getting up shortly to go to work at the family bakery.
“Someone blew up my Jag tonight. Was it you?”
“Wha—? Blew up—Are you okay?”
Joe pushed past the concern. “Was it you?”
“What? No! Wh—”
“Nick? Did you hire someone?” he rapid-fired the questions hoping to get an honest answer.
“No—of course not. What the fuck’s the matter with you?” Uncle Al snapped, his voice thick with outrage. “Where are you? I’ll be right there.”
Slowly the tension eased out of Joe. “No, stay. I’m fine. I was at Gianna’s and someone blew up my Jag.”
“And you thought of me?”
Joe ignored the hurt in his uncle’s voice. “A little while back when Nick called, I refused you a favor.”
Uncle Al was silent. Damn, Joe wished he could see his uncle’s expression. Were his feelings hurt or was he scheming? Joe refused to apologize. “Gianna could have been killed. I won’t take chances with her life.”
“Is she okay?”
“Fine. Shaken, but okay.” He paused, listening for noises from Gianna. Nothing. “I’ve got to go.
“Joey, come see me tomorrow. Nobody threatens a Scarfili.”
Meet Theresa Rizzo ~
Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes romantic crime fiction and emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty-three years. After attaining a BS in Nursing, Theresa retired to raise four wonderful children and write.
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