The Ruthless Preacher Excerpt
The next message was directed to Sonny, but he can't answer it. It's from Larry Miller. I remember Sonny had an odd call from him the day before Michael died."
"Really." Jamie picked up the message. "Call off the attack dogs? What does that mean?"
Gwen shook her head. "I don't have a clue."
"What does he want?"
"You'd have to ask Sonny that and right now you can't."
Mike Hennings strolled in. "Hi doll. Coffee, black?"
Gwen sneered, but said, "Hi. Yeah, I know."
He sat in one of the two armchairs. "Hi Boss."
"Hi Mike. Boss?"
"Well, with Sonny knocked out, who does that leave? Like it or not, you're de facto boss and if anything happens to you, SOL is fucked."
"Maybe, but that's a lot of pressure for someone that's only been here three-and-a-half months."
"I've been watching you. You're good. You're gonna make it big. If you wanna concentrate on charming the suckers, just hire a corporate big wig to run the company."
"I hope you're right. What can I do for you?"
"What about it."
"Here's your coffee."
Mike looked up. "Thanks doll."
Jamie Lee looked at his secretary. She hadn't called him Mr. Vincent in months. "Yes?"
I forgot to tell you, right after Sonny received Larry Miller's initial call, he asked me to call Mike."
Mike Hennings fidgeted in his seat and became agitated. "Hold on. Wait a minute! Initial call, Larry Miller. What are you talking about?"
Jamie Lee said, "Thanks, Gwen," and handed the message slip to Mike.
He read the note, "Call your attack dogs off?" Noticing Gwen hadn't budged, Hennings cleared his throat to get Jamie Lee attention and hitched his head toward Gwen.
Jamie Lee repeated his dismissal, "Thanks Gwen. Would you close the door behind you?"
"Yeah, ah, sure."
She turned, hurried out and pulled the door closed.
Jamie Lee leaned forward. "Now, what's going on with Larry Miller?"
Mike leaned back in his chair and clasped his hands together in his lap. "He was the man we leaked to the press and anyone else who needed to know as your Daddy."
"I remember now. Is he?"
Hennings lifted his hands and shrugged. "Could be. We weren't out to prove paternity, just have a suspect."
Jamie leaned back in his executive chair. "What does he want?
"Money. I went to see him and told him we don't pay blackmail. He acted insulted and tried to say it was something else. I gave him a warning and put taps on his phones."
Hennings sniggered. "The guy must have been scared shitless, because he vanished. Just pulled up and left his house and job."
Jamie Lee frowned. "I don't get it. He's scared of a church? What does he think we'd do, baptize him?
Mike laughed. "Wouldn't want that, would he? Actually, Boss, there's more to SOL than just the church."
"Can't tell you right now. But now that Sonny is laid up, I'm sure you'll find out soon.
"All right. I'll trust you on that, but why do we even care, everyone knows I'm a bastard now, so what harm can Larry Miller do?"
"That you were born out of wedlock is only half the story. How you were conceived is the big story."
"And how was that."
"Sorry boss, I can't tell you. I swore to Sonny who swore to your mother that the story would go no further."
"Geez. You're a fucking fountain of information today! Can't you tell me anything? If it was such a fucking secret, why'd Sonny tell you?"
"I'm the security director. Everything goes through me. We were trying to clean up your record and you needed a father so I had to know."
"Aw fuck it. I'll ask my mother."
"If she'll tell you."