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Jonathan Dunsky

Family Ties - Ebook

Family Ties - Ebook

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Mike has always had his cousin Jimmy's back. Ever since they were kids, stealing candy from a local store.

As they got older, and the crimes got bigger, Mike even did time in prison for Jimmy.

Now, Mike is a recently released ex-con, and he's determined never to go back to prison. But when Jimmy comes to him for help, Mike doesn't turn him away.

Not even when he senses Jimmy is about to drag him into trouble again.

Not even when the blood begins flowing.

Not even if it means risking his own life.

Chapter 1 Look Inside

Chapter 1:

I heard the rumble of the sports car's engine a moment before the knock on the door. It was my cousin Jimmy, with a hangdog look on his bulldog face. Jimmy's refrigerator shoulders were encased in a tight leather jacket. His sledgehammer hands hung at his sides, car keys jutting from one massive fist. Even though
he stood on the second of three steps to my trailer home, he looked down at me. Jimmy had always been big, and in the two and a half years since we last saw each other, he'd only gotten bigger across the shoulders and chest.

"Hey, Mike," Jimmy said, his voice as deep as his barrel chest.

Despite the chill of the night, Jimmy's black scalp was beaded with sweat. His deep-set eyes had fear in them. I got a sick feeling in my stomach. Jimmy was about to drag me into something nasty again.

"Hey, Jimmy." We clasped hands, and he pulled me into a bear hug. I was surprised to realize I had missed him. Even after all I'd been through, and his part in it, I had missed him.

I moved back to let him enter. The trailer sagged under his weight. I waved my hand around and said, "Welcome. It's not much, but it beats a jail cell."

This was true on both counts. The trailer was better and
bigger than my jail cell had been, but it wasn't much. There was one long and narrow space. On one end was a small niche with a bed, on the other a tiny kitchenette. In the middle was the living area, with a secondhand couch, a scarred wooden coffee table, a fifteen-inch TV, and two plastic folding chairs. There was a pizza box on the table, a bottle of beer beside it.

I was embarrassed that Jimmy was seeing this. I used to have cars, a big apartment, more women than I could handle. All the things that ill-gotten money could buy.

Jimmy still had those things. Because Jimmy never went to jail for the crimes we'd committed. I had. And now that I was out and working the only kind of honest job an ex-con could get—a minimum wage one—I could no longer afford the things Jimmy still could.

I got an extra beer from the mini-fridge, and Jimmy helped himself to some pizza.

"This is nice," Jimmy said. "Real nice."

I could always tell when Jimmy was lying. He wouldn't be caught dead living in this dump. From the sound of its engine, his car had cost more than I would make in three years packing groceries, maybe even longer.

"Sorry I didn't come visit you sooner," Jimmy said.

I told him not to worry about it. The truth was, I wanted him to stay away. Don't get me wrong, I loved him, always have and always will, but I needed time to settle in. I also did a lot of thinking while I was locked up. I knew that Jimmy was bad news. He was deep in the life and would never turn straight. And I wanted to turn straight. I wanted never to be in a cage again.

Jimmy finished his slice of pizza and wiped sauce from his fingers.

"I need some help," he said.

"If this is about a job, Jimmy, then no. I'm out of the life. I've seen the consequences, and they aren't pretty. They're so bad this trailer looks like the Taj Mahal to me."

Jimmy frowned, and I realized that my cousin didn't know what the Taj Mahal was. He didn't ask, though, so I didn't say anything.

"It's not about a job. I'm in serious trouble, and I got no one else who will help me."

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