Meet the Characters of The Cartel: Nick Mattera

From Chapter 12:

Nick Mattera had other plans for this Valentine’s Day.

Originally, he’d thought about taking Rachel to dinner downtown – maybe Charlie Trotter’s or The Girl and the Goat. Or Taxim, a great little Greek place in Bucktown they’d heard about and had been planning to go to.

The CartelNick had thought about taking her to dinner and proposing to her. Just laying his cards all out on the table, telling Rachel how much he loved her, how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. He was all ready to do that. After the waiter brought the coffee – Nick had gotten Rachel into having café coretto (espresso ith grappa) after big meals – he’d get down on one knee, “in front of God and everyone,” as his Aunt Gilda used to say, and ask Rachel to marry him.

But then Nick had second thoughts. He’d always had good instincts – in the Marine Corps, on the fire ground, and with women.

“Nicky the Coke” was the nickname that the guys at the firehouse had given Nick. It was really “Nicky the Cock,” but the guys pronounced it like “Coke.” He’d earned it because, until Rachel came around, Nick was with a different woman almost every weekend. There were a few that lasted a month or maybe six weeks, but they were rare. Nick was a player; and why not.

He was buff.

He had dark, Mediterranean good looks.

And he was a firefighter.

Nick Mattera could basically walk into almost any bar in Chicago, pick out the best-looking woman in the place, and walk out with her phone number in about a half hour.

His instincts were particularly good when it came to Rachel. It was one of the things that she liked about him. He could read her moods. He knew her…sometimes better than she knew herself. And Nick’s gut told him that the time wasn’t right to bring out the ring (although he half suspected that Rachel had found it one day, putting his socks away after doing a load of laundry, and simply didn’t know what to say).

No, Nick had another plan.

About Mark Yost
Mark Yost is the author of the Rick Crane Noir series, published by Stay Thirsty Press. Rick Crane is the classic, anti-hero private eye in the spirit of Sam Spade and Jim Rockford. He works in the unmistakably noirish underworld of Upstate New York, running errands and fixing problems for Jimmy Ricchiati Sr., one of Upstate New York's most notorious crime bosses. But readers quickly learn that deep down, Rick Crane is one of the good guys. "Cooper's Daughter," the first book in the widely acclaimed series, is a fast-moving tale in which a heartbroken father comes to Rick and asks him to find out what really happened to his daughter, who was murdered and the details buried in the Unsolved Crimes File of the local police department. The second book in the series is "Jimmy's Nephew," which begins with the death of Joey "Boom Boom" Bonadeo, an up-and-coming boxer and the nephew of Rick's underworld boss. What starts out as a routine investigation turns into a case that will test Rick's faith -- in the Catholic Church and his fellow man. Book No. 3 in the series, "Mary's Fate" is due out in August 2015. Mark Yost also writes for The Wall Street Journal Arts in Review page, as well as the Book Review section. He is a member of the Mystery Writers of America -- Midwest Chapter, International Thriller Writers, and a number of other author groups. He is also a member of the Amazon Author's Program. Mark lives in the Loyola neighborhood of Chicago, but he and his son, George, call the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn "home."

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