Kace (Allen Securities #2)

By: Madison Stevens

Chapter One

The club still thundered with the heavy beat of techno music. Things had been hopping all night, and Jessica was glad to have ushered the last customers out the door. The steady strum of the music usually didn’t bother her much, but tonight was another story.

She sat at the desk in the tiny office in the back of Cortex. Leaning back in her high-back chair, she scanned the room, not really focusing on anything specific. A few pictures littered the walls, mostly from the renovation of the place and the first dollar made. None really caught her eye. She stopped on the couch. The dark brown leather couch felt like butter and called to her.

Jessica shook her head. The last thing she needed to do was crash out on the couch. It certainly wasn’t going to help the growing problem in front of her. She looked back down to the spreadsheet she’d just printed out. Staring at the computer wasn’t helping things, but she thought maybe printing it off and staring at it would.

She was startled when Alyssa popped into the room.

“Dale and I are all finished out front,” Alyssa said, gesturing over her shoulder to the bar area. Jessica couldn’t help but smile every time she saw the little blonde waitress. Her short, pale blonde hair curled in such a way that she resembled a cherub or fairy.

“Okay,” Jessica said. “Have a good night.”

Alyssa frowned slightly as she looked at Jessica. “Are you sure you don’t want us to stay until you finish?”

Jessica shook her head. “Nope, this is going to take a bit more. You all get out of here while you can, and thanks again to both of you for covering so many hours. I just don’t get why we can’t seem to keep people.” Jessica sighed. “Just make sure the door locks behind you.”

Alyssa stepped out. A moment later, the music fell silent.

Jessica listened as their footsteps receded, and the clack of the door rang through the now empty main room.

She looked back down at the paperwork and sighed. Things weren’t lining up right again. She had run the numbers for the last week, and they just didn’t make sense. Even accounting for free booze and the occasional “nice tits” discount, the numbers still weren’t adding up. The amount of alcohol they were selling versus what remained didn’t match, and the money in the account didn’t match what they had taken in. It wasn’t off by a lot but enough there was reason to be concerned. What truly baffled her was how they were doing it. Aside from her, most people didn’t have the opportunity.

She picked up the phone and hesitated. Making the call wasn’t a question, but she still dreaded it. No one wanted to tell a mob boss someone was stealing from them. More importantly, she needed this job.

“Finn,” he said on the second ring.

“Just checking in,” she said.

“Still seeing discrepancies?” His voice was calm over the line, but she could sense the cold menace sweeping through. Finn was not a man to mess with, especially when it came to money.

“Yeah,” she said. “I just can’t figure it out. Maybe my math skills aren’t as good as I thought, but regardless, things are off.”

Finn sighed over the receiver. “No, it’s not you. I’ve run over it as well. For now I’m going to start placing the funds in a different account, but keep this one open. Maybe I can get Reed to put one of his men on it. After all, he does owe me one.”

Jessica’s thoughts went to her very pregnant friend Olivia and her baby daddy Reed. After the lengths Finn went to for them, Reed did owe him a debt. However, she hoped they wouldn’t need to call in that favor.

“Relax,” Finn said, drawing her out of her thoughts. “I’m just going to see if they can trace it.”

She sighed. Several months of working for him, and it seemed like he knew her better than she knew herself sometimes. Of course, he closely watched people. In her time with him, she had rarely seen him be wrong about a person.

Well except in this case.

“I’m just certain it will lead back to her,” he said. “You know I don’t trust Alyssa. She just smells like trouble.”

“Except for the fact she’s on time, does her job, is well liked and cute as a button.” She leaned back in her chair to stare out into the front area.

“Cute as a button is often what gets men killed,” he said dryly.

“I think she’s great, and everything in me says this isn’t her. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, you want to fire her, do it yourself.”

“That’s almost worse,” he mumbled.

Jessica snickered. It had never really bothered her that Finn had some business that wasn’t always on the up and up. She did her thing and he did his. As long as he wasn’t crossing the line between illegal and immoral, she was fine, but she couldn’t help but laugh at his reaction to Alyssa.