Final Target (Triskelion Team #1) - Zara Keane Page 0,1

himself face-to-face with a priest. His face split into a grin. “Hey, Uncle Malachy.”

“Don’t ‘Hey’ me, lad.” The grooves on his favorite uncle’s weather-beaten face deepened. “What were you doing with that rat Spoons Maginty?”

Lar gave a low laugh. “You should be more concerned about what Spoons was doing in one of your confessionals when I found him.”

“Not masturbating again?” The glint in Malachy’s pale blue eyes blunted his exasperated tone.

“Yeah. It wasn’t a pretty sight.”

Malachy glanced across the nave. Apart from the old woman lighting devotional candles, the church was deserted. He dropped his forty-a-day smoker’s voice to a whisper. “I need a word with you, Lar. In private.”

The hairs on the nape of Lar’s neck stood to attention. If Malachy needed “a word,” it had to be about Uncle Frank. Any news related to Uncle Frank wouldn’t be good.

“Unless you’re afraid of being struck by lightning for hanging around a church too long, can we head to the sacristy?” Malachy nodded toward the back of the church, where his office-come-changing room was located.

“Not going to persuade me to take confession?”

The corners of the priest’s mouth twitched. “I’m due to say mass in twenty minutes. We’d need at least a day to wade through all your sins.”

Laughing, Lar followed his uncle to the back of St. Patrick’s Church and into the small room off the altar area. The polished mahogany and faded crimson upholstery of the sacristy was exactly as he recalled from his childhood. A bittersweet smile tugged at one corner of his mouth. The last time he’d been in here, his mother had been alive.

The creak of the wooden door shutting behind him yanked Lar back to the present.

Malachy winced when he sat down in his desk chair. “Rheumatism,” he added, correctly interpreting Lar’s raised eyebrow. “Take a seat.”

Lar took the chair on the other side of his uncle’s cluttered desk. “Why do you need to speak to me in private?” he asked, although he already knew the answer.

A shadow flickered over Malachy’s lined face. “Francis is looking for you. The cat got out of the proverbial bag while you were in Berlin.”

Malachy was the only person who called Francis Delaney by his given name. The rest of the family knew him as Frank. And the media, which loved to give notorious criminals a headline-grabbing moniker, referred to him as Mad Dog Delaney. The name fit.

Lar cracked his knuckles against the arms of his chair. “He knows about my plans, then?”

“Yeah. He’s not impressed. You’ve unduly influenced Shane, apparently.” Malachy snorted. “As if the lad isn’t well capable of thinking for himself. Frank has always underestimated him. And you, for that matter.”

Lar swore beneath his breath. He’d known Frank wouldn’t let him and his cousin Shane waltz away from the family “business” to set up shop on their own without a protest, but he’d hoped to keep relations between the sides amicable. Why the hell hadn’t Shane spoken to his father like he’d said he would? “I’ll go by Valentine’s later and talk to him.”

“That would be wise. Better you go to him than he tracks you down.” Malachy’s lips twisted into a grimace. “If you wanted out, you should have stayed in America.”

A wave of grief hit him in the solar plexus, eliciting memories of his brother’s cheeky grin and Moira’s sweet smile. Despite his long list of former girlfriends, Moira was the only woman who’d succeeded in capturing his heart. They’d had four blissful months together before her death had left him an emotional wreck.

“I was supposed to work behind the bar that night,” he said in a thick voice. “Tony asked me to swap shifts with him so he could go on a date the following evening. I should have been there instead of him.”

“You can’t change the past, Lar,” the priest said gently. “Tony and your girlfriend were in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you’d worked at the club that night, you’d have been killed instead of Tony, but Moira would still have died.”

Lar stared, unseeing, at the stained glass window behind his uncle’s desk. “I couldn’t stay in America. Not after what happened. Besides, my daughter lives in Ireland, and I want to be a part of her life.”

“I understand your reasons for coming home, but as far as Francis is concerned, any family member living in Ireland works for him. By moving back to Kilpatrick, you indicated you were good with that arrangement.”

A burning rage seared through him.