Dakota Bombay prided himself on his Bond-like image—bad-guy killer by day, lady-killer by night. But his life gets both shaken and stirred by an irate grandmother demanding a marketing plan for the family assassination business, a precocious six-year-old son he never knew he had, and a mysterious redheaded funeral director who's got him intrigued in more ways than one.
Suddenly the perennial playboy is knee deep in pie charts and play-dates, while juggling the demands of the not-so-family-friendly family business. Throw in a team of rival assassins, and Dak's dreams of living trigger-happily ever after just may be put on ice.
“Langtry’s ability to make this lethal and outrageous clan both funny and somewhat endearing is a testament to her style. Who knew the assassination business could produce so many laughs…”
-Romantic Times BOOK Reviews
“If you need a really good laugh, then get Guns Will Keep Us Together. The characters and plot emphasize a funny, even wacky view of life and a guaranteed happily ever after.”
-Romance Reviews Today
“This novel is uproariously funny and will have you chuckling until the last page is turned…Guns Will Keep Us Together proves to be a definite keeper novel as it is one of the funniest romances I have read in a long, long time.”
-Romance Reader at Heart
“Another wicked blend of action, romance, mystery and dark humor, Guns Will Keep Us Together gives readers bullets, buff guys and bad boys…I hope the Bombay family continues on with their deadly misadventures.”
“The Addams Family credo. ‘Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc.’ We gladly feast on those who would subdue us. Not just pretty words.”
-Morticia Addams, The Addams Family
Getting a phone call can be a good thing. It could be someone calling to inform you of an inheritance, or that cute blonde you met last night begging for another round of “find the kielbasa.”
On the other hand, it could be the doctor calling to tell you that you did, indeed, pick up an intestinal parasite while in Uruguay, or the husband of the aforementioned blonde saying he will be stopping by this evening with a baseball bat. It’s all a matter of where you are and what you’re doing that can turn a simple phone call into a bonus or disaster. This was one of the latter. I was in the middle of working when my cell rang.
Now, when I say I was working, I mean to say I had my foot on a man’s throat, slowly crushing his trachea. That’s my job. My name is Dakota Bombay, and I’m an assassin. Of course, the damn phone begins to ring, and the worst part was that it was playing Don’t Worry, Be Happy.
To be fair, I’d just gotten the phone and didn’t have time to change the ring tone. But how do you scare the hell out of your victim if some stupid shit like that is playing? My victim, or Vic, as we called them in the biz began to smirk. I scowled and pressed harder with my foot. The son-of-a-bitch was a serial pedophile and son of a diplomat – meaning he was untouchable to everyone. Everyone that is, but me.
Damn. The display showed that this was one call I had to take.
“Mom,” I said, never losing eye contact with the guy under my shoe. Did I imagine it or did he smirk again? “This is a bad time. I’m working here.” I pressed a little harder until I got that oh-so-satisfying gurgle.
“Fine.” Mom sniffled, and blew her nose into the phone. She was crying. “Call me in five.” And with that, Carolina Bombay hung up. Fantastic.
“Not your lucky day,” I said to Vic as I pulled out my silenced Glock .45. “Normally, I’d make this look like an accident. But Mom sounds upset; so we need to move this along.”
I pulled the trigger twice, and with a thffft thffft, it was over. In a few moments I’d retrieved the two spent casings, scanned the area for any evidence I might have left behind, then walked out of Vic’s life (or should I say, death?).
Mom crying was not a good thing. Not when you come from a family of professional killers. That’s right. The Bombay Family has been the first name in assassination since 2000 B.C.E. The legacy was handed down from parent to child, blood relatives only.
Four or five nightmare scenarios went through my mind, as I pulled onto the highway and flipped open my phone. It hadn’t been a banner year for the Bombays. Just six months ago, my sister, Gin, was forced into a messed up situation from the Council (the family elders who dole out assignments) and her daughter was kidnapped. It all ended up okay. Romi was fine and Gin was granted an unprecedented early retirement. But after shit like that, you tend to worry a little when Mom’s upset.
“Yeah, Mom. What is it?” I’d called her back within five minutes. I’m not a moron. In this family, you do what you’re told. Discipline comes in the form of an ice pick through the ear instead of the traditional spanking.
I heard a little sniffling and thought that was weird, because my mom is pretty tough. I mean she can take on five or six guys and walk away from their corpses without so much as a wrinkle in her denim jumper.
“Romi doesn’t want to cuddle anymore!” She screamed, locked in one long sob and pronouncing the sentence as a single word.
“What?” Maybe I didn’t hear her right. Important assassin alert number one: Always know what you heard. One of my great-great aunts once made a fatal error because she thought she heard, “Kill the Australian Prime Minister,” when what the Council said was, “Let’s get the Australian prime rib dinner.” As a result, Great - Great Aunt Orleans was made an example of at the 1965 Bombay Family Reunion. I guess the old family adage is true: You can’t pick your family, but you can pick them off.
Carolina Bombay repeated slowly, “Romi doesn’t want to cuddle anymore.”
“Uh, and this has what to do with me?” I considered asking for Dad to find out if she was going through menopause or toying with insanity. Of course, in this family, you couldn’t get a Section 8 to get out of the business. We kind of look at lunacy as a benefit to the job.
“Don’t take that tone with me, Dakota Bombay!” Ah. The voice was clearer now. “You need to get married and give me more grandchildren!”
Okay. She was definitely crazy. And crazy, I didn’t need. You know how creepy it is when your run-of-the-mill, average parent loses it? Well, it’s ten times worse when your mom is one of the best killers in the business.
“Okay, Mom. Calm down. Stop drinking, or take some pills, or something. Cuz it won’t happen anytime soon.”
And that was the truth. I might be thirty-seven, but I was having one hell of a good time. The Bombays lived the good life. Only one or two “assignments” a year, multi-million dollar trust funds and performance reviews only every five years. (Those aren’t bad. There really is no gray area in “well, did you kill him or not?”) I was too busy jet-setting and sampling the international buffet of leggy blondes to settle down now. Maybe never.
“Dinner.” she said.
“Dinner?” Great, we were down to one-word sentences.
“Yes, dinner tomorrow night at seven.” It was amazing (and seriously scary) how quickly her voice went from hysterical to stone-cold professional.
“Um, okay. Why?”
“I’m fixing you up with a nice girl.”
“Whoa!” I pulled the car over to the curb, afraid to drive during this conversation. “No, you’re not. Every time you do that, it ends in disaster.”
“Nonsense.” Did Mom actually say nonsense? How very Charles Dickens. “It wasn’t Millie’s fault she had a hump.”
I rolled my eyes, wishing she could see me. I continued, “Remember Kelly? She was deathly afraid of trees. Trees! And how about Lacy? She wanted to have eight children and told me I’d be good breeding stock!” I left out Dora, the uber-perky Junior Leaguer who dressed like Jackie Onassis and asked if I had any political aspirations (which I thought was ironic). Oh, and Sasha, who passionately loved her job with the Illinois State Museum where she had devoted her life to studying molds and fungus. (Insert shudder here. She actually said, “You seem like a fun-gi! Get it?” Believe me. I got it.)
“Well, Nora is nothing like those other women. You’ll see.”
“No, Mom. I’m not coming.” I think I even stuck out my lower lip. That’s me. The Pouting Assassin. What? I am the baby of the family.
“You’ll be there if I have to get one of Gin’s knockout drugs and tie your unconscious body to one of the dining room chairs.”
Okay, she had me there. Mainly because my petite, blonde mother was strong as an ox run amok on an adrenalin high and as stubborn as a pit bull when you tried to take meat away from it.
“Fine. But no guarantees I’ll stay.” I made a quick mental note to start carrying a sharp pocket knife with me at all times.
“You’ll stay and like it!” With that, Mom hung up on me.
So, Dakota Bombay, debonair assassin and sophisticated world traveler, was going to Mommy’s house tomorrow to meet a girl she hoped I’d marry on the spot, and possibly begin pro-creating with on the dining room table before desert.
I did the only thing I could think of. I stopped by my sister’s house to complain.
Gin, short for Virginia, is two years older than me. Once widowed with a five-year-old daughter, my big sister is now married to a retired Australian bodyguard.
You might be wondering about all these names; Carolina, Dakota, Virginia. . .well, the Bombay Family has a lot of weird traditions, including the of assigning geographic names to their progeny. I know. I think it’s totally stupid too.
I rang the doorbell and grinned into the security cameras. Bombays are nothing if not security conscious.
“Hey, Dak!” Diego (my brother-in-law from Down Under) answered the door and ushered me in with a clap on the back.
“Dude,” I replied. “How’s it going?”
Diego smiled and led me into the kitchen, “Great and quiet. And with your family, that’s just the way I like it. Want a beer?” He’d already opened the fridge door and was holding a large can of Fosters Lager.
“Yeah,” I ran my fingers through my hair, “I just finished a job and Mom called. So I could use one.”
Diego laughed and sat down at the table. It still amazed me that he was part of the family now. I mean, Gin’s okay, but she’s my sister. I don’t know how she scored a great guy like this. Especially since she killed his client right out from under him. Oh well, they say opposites attract.
“Uncle Dak!” Romi and Gin burst into the room and my little niece climbed up into my lap, fiercely hugging me. Maybe the reason I couldn’t commit was that my heart already belonged to this little brat.
“Hey, kid.” I squeezed her back. “What’s this about you not cuddling with Grandma anymore?”
Gin arched her right eyebrow. “Oh. You heard about that.”
“Yeah. Mom called in the middle of my hit, sobbing that I need to give her more grandkids. Of course, I blame you.”
Gin snatched a bag of Milano cookies from my hands. Sure, they were her cookies, but she could’ve asked. After all, I was a guest.
“Romi just told Mom she was too old to cuddle all the time.” Gin explained.
“Well, thanks to you, I have to have dinner with them and some chick named Nora tomorrow.”
Gin and Diego exchanged looks. Uh oh.
“Hey!” I protested, “I saw that. What?”
Gin plucked a cookie out of the bag and pushed the rest to me. Double Uh oh.
“Nothing.” She said.
Oh shit. “What? Who is Nora? And why are you looking at me like that?”
Gin shrugged. “She’s nice. Pretty, even. And blonde. You’d like her.”
I rubbed my chin. “Okay. So what’s wrong with her?”
Gin looked at Diego, who threw up his hands in protest. She turned back to me. “Well, she’s – um – Dad’s doctor.”
“That doesn’t sound so bad.” I could do Dad’s doctor. As long as she didn’t “accidentally” screw up his meds when I dumped her.
“What is she? Heart doctor?” Gin shook her head, and I started to sweat. “Podiatrist?” Another no. “Proctologist?” Nope. I had a bad feeling about this. “Chiropractor?” I offered hopefully.
Gin shook her head one more time (and I have to admit, I was getting a little sick of that). “She’s his -” she hesitated for a moment - “E.D. specialist.”
That didn’t sound so bad. “What’s the E.D. for?”
The pause got me. I knew I was screwed because Gin started laughing.
“Erectile dysfunction.” Her laughter gained momentum until tears were flowing down her cheeks.