Material Witness

By: L.A. Mondello & Lisa Mondello

a Romantic Suspense Novel (Heroes of Providence Book 1)



Who does she trust when she’s living the real-life horror of one of her crime novels…

Bestselling crime novelist Cassie Alvarez, aka Cassie Lang, has murder on her mind when she walks into Rory's Bar underdressed and undercover to research her latest crime novel. Researching the cool, blue-eyed and dashingly handsome man at the end of the bar stirs her senses more than she wants to admit. But is this man of leather armor all he appears to be?

Playing White Knight to an innocent wasn't how Detective Jake Santos planned to spend his time undercover. But there’s no way "CJ" is what she claims to be, and that nagging tightness in Jake's chest tells him he'd better take her home to safety and leave it at that. Then the barroom explodes with gunfire, leaving a trail of dead that includes a notorious Providence crime boss and an undercover FBI agent. When Cassie’s name is leaked to the media as the only witness to the grisly murders, Cassie insists she only trusts Jake to protect her.

The FBI wants their star witness happy and will do anything to make sure Cassie testifies. But it is clear to Jake that the shooter isn’t the only person who wants Cassie dead. Not knowing who to trust, he vows to protect Cassie at all cost despite the fact that guarding the beautiful novelist is a serious distraction.





Chapter One




She was going to kill Maureen. There was no doubt about it now.

Cassie Alvarez yanked down the hem of her too-short red spandex mini-dress, trying to conceal what every man with a pulse at Rory's seemed to be ogling over. She was tired, cold and exposed, but it was no use. No matter how much she covered her bare flesh, she was all out there like the woman of the night she was pretending to be.

Damn Maureen…and damn her for listening.

It had taken Cassie all of ten seconds after seating herself at the bar to realize just how big a mistake she’d made in coming to a bar owned by one of Providence’s most notorious crime bosses. When you walk through fire, you get burned. With all the stares she’d gotten just walking across the floor, she felt like burnt toast.

Definitely murder. It was her forte. The only question left was how? She’d plotted many murders in the past. She was good at it. And nothing was too harsh for what Maureen was putting her through tonight. The least Maureen could have done was come here with her since it was her idea.

Maureen’s idea. But despite all the convincing, Cassie couldn’t figure out exactly why she’d actually agreed. Her editor had always been good at pulling her strings. And that nauseated Cassie even more than having her thighs stuck to the barstool.

Note to self: Learn to assert yourself with your editor even if she is your best friend.

Cassie vowed to do just that right after she was finished wringing Maureen's bony little neck.

Turning her attention to her diet soda, Cassie used her red-striped straw to play with the maraschino cherry that had sunk to the bottom of the glass. The bartender wiped the polished surface of the bar as he made his way closer to Cassie. She made eye contact with him when came close enough. With her hand still holding the sweating glass, he snatched her drink and dumped the contents into a bucket behind the counter.

“Hey, I was still drinking that.”

“You’ve been stirring it for an hour. It’s nothing but melted ice and you’re making a mess of my bar. Doesn’t look good. Here’s another one.”

Before she could protest further, he had a clean glass full of ice under the soda fountain and was filling it.

“Don’t worry. I don’t expect you to tip me twice.”

While her mouth was still dropped open, he made his way down to the other end of the bar, wiping as he went. She'd give anything to be home right now wearing her favorite Boston Bruins tee-shirt and the Brown University sweat pants that, even though they’d seen better days, Cassie refused to give up. Instead of three-and-a-half-inch stilettos, her feet would be warm in her fuzzy slippers. Instead, she was stuck in a bar watching people who’d be the inspiration for her next crime novel.

“Life mimicking art,” she mumbled. “How’s that for stupidity, Cass?”

She blinked her sore eyes as the haze of the neon lights on the window assaulted them. The quickest way to get out of here was to take notes and get into the head of her character. How could she write about a woman who was so devastated by circumstance, who felt trapped in a life beyond her control, if she hadn’t lived it? She needed to step outside herself to break this block.