EPILOGUE – Counterplay ~ Coming November 24th
Two Months Later
“You’re such a striking couple.” Teresa hugged Coryn as the wedding photographer packed away his equipment.
Jack and his groomsmen headed for the open bar as the rest of their tight-knit circle of friends and new family scattered throughout the penthouse suite of The Lake Resort in Pineville, Idaho. The sunset wedding had taken place on the edge of the lake. Surrounded by the towering pines and changing colors of the Ash and Maple trees, it was the perfect backdrop to their special day.
Coryn had grown up in Pineville and it had been a secret wish of hers to get married there. The fact neither of her maternal grandparents were alive to witness the day had been the only downside to what turned out to be one of the best days of her life. They’d been staying in her grandparent’s lake cabin after Coryn left the FBI. Jack was still debating on whether to move Phantom, Inc. to the growing city, but for now, anywhere they could be together worked for her.
The wedding had been simple. Neither of them had wanted the trappings of a formal ceremony. Teresa stood up as her Matron of Honor. Adam was the Best Man. Rachel and Harvard were their witnesses, and Francesca attended along with her bodyguard.
“You said that the first time you saw Jack and me together. Do you remember?” Coryn removed her veil and locked onto her husband’s form, clad in the dark gray suit they picked out last week. She still marveled at the turn her life had taken in the previous few months. From orphan to member of a notorious mob family, then from a pretend marriage to the real thing in a matter of months.
“Yes, and it’ll always be true. You’ll make such beautiful babies.” Teresa sighed.
Babies? Coryn didn’t want to hurt her cousin’s feelings by shooting down the notion she’d be nursery shopping anytime soon. They had a lot of work to do in finding Braxton as well as digging into the murky mechanics of The Syndicate. Plus, she’d never allowed herself to think she’d ever be anything but an FBI agent, let alone a wife or a mother. Babies could wait.
She took Teresa’s hand. “Thank you so much for standing up for me, I know it’s been a hard road, but I’m so glad you’re here. I want to make sure you’re okay, that today hasn’t brought up any bad memories.”
Coryn knew Teresa was still grieving for her lost child. She had thrown herself into her charity work even more, but Coryn could see the toll Marco’s deceit and treachery were taking on her.
“No, please don’t worry about me. Your wedding has made me … hopeful, I guess is the word.” She grabbed Coryn’s hands in her own. “Never apologize for your joy. No one who sees how Jack looks at you could ever, or should ever, make you hide your happiness just because of someone else’s pain. I’m fine. Really.”
Coryn prayed Teresa was right. She wasn’t so sure she could handle losing a husband and an unborn child on the same day. Yet by some miracle, her cousin seemed to be holding her own.
Francesca joined them as they stepped apart. “I agree with Teresa. I so wish your Grandpapa had looked at me the way Jack looks at you, Coryn. It’s the way Alex looked at your mother.”
“Grandmother…” Teresa sighed.
“No, no. I’m old. I’m allowed my regrets. And Coryn should know how loved she was and how much in love her parents were before… well, that’s a story for another time.” She turned and faced Teresa. “One day you’ll find a new love. You grabbed onto Marco too quickly because he was and presented himself as what you’d always wanted. Someone outside the family ties. No, don’t shake your head at me. It’ll happen. And soon. I have a feeling about these things.”
Coryn and Teresa shared a smile as their grandmother made her way back to the door where her bodyguard was waiting. She turned before she left and blew them a kiss. They each stood lost in their thoughts as the Marcozi family’s matriarch left them with plenty of questions.
“She always loves to make a dramatic exit, our grandmother. I can’t wait to share those stories with you, cousin.”
Coryn couldn’t wait either. Family. She finally found her family. A new happiness had descended as of late, but how would she feel when she found her father and would all of Braxton’s claims be proven true?
Jack and Harvard joined them and handed Coryn a glass of champagne as Harvard offered one to Teresa.
“As much as I’d like to throw you over my shoulder and whisk you away to the airport, we have some business to discuss before we leave. I know it bites, but I promise it’ll be quick. Please?”
“Oh, but Teresa and I were just—”
“Coryn, he said please,” Teresa laughed. “Go. It’s okay. I’ll be fine. Really.”
The three of them watched as Teresa made her way over to the bar to join Rachel, Adam, and Beth, who was still in awe that she’d unknowingly been part of an investigation by the FBI. Coryn noticed Harvard watching Teresa and Jack noticed Coryn watching Harvard watching Teresa. Jack leaned toward her and asked in a stage whisper, “Why are we watching Harvard looking at Teresa?’
Coryn raised an eyebrow at Jack.
Harvard glared at Jack and Coryn. “What?”
“Nothing,” Coryn and Jack said in unison.
Harvard kept a straight face as if he hadn’t been caught checking out Teresa’s ass.
“What? Look, I’m not dead, man. She’s an attractive woman. So, sue me.”
“Right. You’re not dead. So, what can’t wait till after our honeymoon?”
“It’s about the video and the information Braxton dropped about the Syndicate. Seems Sergey Rostov is also interested in tracking down your father, Coryn. The Director has asked Phantom, Inc., dig around in the Ambassador’s connections.”
“Did you politely tell him we just got married? As in literally less than an hour ago.” Coryn added, “And when I say polite, I mean laugh in his face and tell him you can’t do it.”
“No. But since Sergey’s already seen my handsome face, I volunteered Adam. He’s raring to get back in the field. Rachel’s been reassigned by the new deputy director to work the FBI’s angle and be his liaison…wait, why are you laughing?”
Jack turned to Harvard, “Why’s she laughing? I say something funny?”
Harvard smirked and walked away.
“Coryn, c’mon what gives?”
“Look over at the bar, dear. You see those two well-trained, stubborn and unattached, attractive people butting heads over Lord knows what?”
“Rachel and Adam, right?”
Coryn again rolled her eyes. “It’s a good thing you’re cute. Yes, Rachel and Adam. Take a longer look. They remind you of anyone you know?”
“Yup.” Jack nuzzled Coryn’s neck. “Mm, you smell…edible.”
“Yup? That’s all I get? C’mon, play along.”
“I’ll play anything you want. And yes, I’m aware how similar those two over there are to us. I wish them luck. Now, let’s kick them all out and get naked.”
She shivered and wanted the same thing. Lucky her, she found the real deal, her death till us part. Her smart, arrogant mercenary.
Coryn wound an arm around her husband’s waist, rested her head on his shoulder. The fireworks Rachel and Adam would soon be setting off would be fun to watch and she wished them patience. They were going to need it.
She couldn’t wait to begin her life with this man and finding the truth.
*** I hope you enjoyed the epilogue! If I could ask a favor; could you share this link with
your reader friends and let them know how much you liked COUNTERPLAY? Also, the pre-order price of $3.99 is good through November 29th. The price increases to $4.99 on Nov. 30th.
- or copy the link below
Thank you again for being my first ever group of beta readers, Debra 🙂