Mafia King (Royal Mafia Book 3), page 1
Royal Mafia Series
By Bella J
Copyright © 2018 by Bella J.
All rights reserved.
First Print Edition: November 2018
Crave Publishing, LLC
Kailua, HI 96734
Formatting: Crave Publishing, LLC
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.
Table of Contents
I hated this part of my life, the part I kept secret from everyone. My family thought they knew me, but they didn’t. No one knew me. There were days I didn’t even know myself. But it was here, during my time spent watching, fantasizing, and reliving the past that I truly felt connected to the man I really was.
An immoral sinner.
A depraved mortal.
A cruel monster.
The list could go on and on. There was no end to the darkness which lurked deep within me, poisoning my psyche little by little, threatening to one day destroy me completely. The lust, the desire, the need for ultimate control had slowly started to eat away at my soul without me realizing. Until the day it almost ruined me.
I had gone too far. Fallen too deep. And when my own destruction stared me in the face, I had no choice but to bury that part of me, never to succumb to the monster which now lay dormant beneath the surface. But its claws still scratched against bone, its hunger still gnawing at the marrow of my existence. The threat was still there, the fear of my depravity one day taking possession of me once again. Then I might not be able to escape it as I once had.
Losing control was not an option for a man like me, which was why I only fed my wickedness what it needed to remain tame. I did what was necessary to silence my demons, lest they take possession of me once again.
I reveled in the depravity of others who put their indulgences on display.
Their heated skin, the glistening sweat, the pleasure of pain and rapture of release. It was here at Club X. A place for sick fucks like me. A place where we could pretend like the rest of the world didn’t exist. Here I was offered the luxury of acknowledging the part of me I wished never existed. The part I would have given anything to be able to erase as if it were a simple pencil mark on a white piece of paper. But I couldn’t, so here I was.
Reliving the past.
Hoping it wouldn’t destroy me one day…for good.
There was no escape.
Darkness cloaked me. Enveloped me. Swallowed me. It painted every corner of my existence, and it allowed me to feel…nothing. But nothing was good. Nothing was better than something. In my world, feeling something meant pain. It meant punishment. Death.
So, I had grown accustomed to the dark. Embraced it. It was within the dark that I found just a slither of solace. Feeling nothing.
But the darkness never stayed. It couldn’t. It only protected me for a short while, until the monsters came. Then it would abandon me, leave me vulnerable and exposed, the perfect prey for beasts to devour. During the time spent in the light of despair, those were the times my mind took control. Brick by brick, my mind had built a fortress, a place which allowed me to compartmentalize.
It was all there, safely tucked away, each within its own compartment. And once the darkness returned, I would push those compartments to the far corners of my mind, refusing to acknowledge any of its contents. It was how I survived. How I would continue to survive.
But this time the darkness stayed longer than usual. Much longer. Time stretched farther, and I had to fight the fear that threatened to destroy the comfort I had found in the dark.
Something was wrong.
It was different.
I didn’t like different.
Different meant change and change never meant anything good in my world. Change only meant new ways to feel pain and fear. New ways to be tortured and used.
It had been years since I lost all sense of time. Night or day, it all seemed the same to me. Seconds, minutes, hours—it didn’t matter while you were trapped inside this hell. So, I had no idea for how long I had been locked inside my new cage. All I knew was that it was different. Longer. Colder. My hunger pangs stronger, and almost incapacitating with the lingering sweet appetizing scent that never left.
The small amount of food I had was finished, but I knew better than to search for where the appetizing scent came from. If it was intended for me, it would have been given to me. I endured the pain of starvation as I sparingly sipped from the bottles of water which had been left in the corner I had been shoved into.
While I remained in the dark, cold and alone, the fear of being forgotten had started to creep in, digging its claws into my mind. But would that have been so bad? To be forgotten? To be left here for death to take? At least then I would have been free from the clutches of this damned world I had been fading away in.
Then I heard it, the creak of cage hinges. It was a new kind of fear that gripped my lungs, my shuddering no longer caused by the cold.
There were footsteps. Whispers. A faint sliver of light forcing its way through the darkness I thought would be endless.
And then…a man.
I wouldn’t lie to myself by thinking I had any kind of qualities. But one thing I did have after years of living in hell was the ability to recognize the devil. To know who the master was. Within the midst of a crowd, I was able to distinguish the puppets from the puppeteer. The one who held all the power. The one who needed to be obeyed. The one who stood between me and death.
The man who stood in front of me? It wasn’t him. By the surprise on his face when he found me, I knew he wasn’t of this world. I wasn’t meant for him.
Then he left. Turned and walked off, the sound of steel hinges following his exit. Gone was the sliver of light as well.
My heart beat faster. The chill which clung to my skin caused ice to spread down my spine. It wasn’t fear. It wasn’t panic. It was uncertainty. The worst kind of feeling there was for a woman like me.
I pushed myself harder against the walls, my naked body shivering against the steel. Again there was the sound of creaking hinges. Slivers of light.
My eyes had adjusted to the dark, which meant I saw him before he saw me.
Wild eyes. Dark hair. Pure conviction. Raw power. I sensed it. I felt it in every bone as it reached and clawed down toward where I sat huddled up in the corner.
It was him. The devil. The master.
And I…the puppet.
The universe had some really creative ways of throwing us mere mortals giant fuck yous while taunting the human race with class A irony. The time between now and when Lucio had called me, summoning me down to Boston Harbor, was the perfect example of this.
It had been three hours and twenty-seven minutes since we discovered the Jane Doe huddled in the corner of an unmarked container. It had also been three hours and twenty-seven minutes since my mind had officially been blown with the biggest what-the-fuck moment of my entire goddamn life.
Finding a naked, terrified young woman among thousands of overripe pineapples was not what I had expected when Lucio called me down to the harbor. But that was exactly what we found, and I had no fucking idea how to wrap my head around it.
Everything happened so fucking fast.
Within the first ten minutes after finding her, it was clear that either she didn’t understand us, or she chose not to speak. Big, brown eyes staring back at us with fear and panic was the only answer we got for every question we asked.
What is your name?
Where do you come from?
Who put you here?
Do you speak English?
Nothing. She gave us nothing but the occasional hissing sound and loud, rapid breaths.
When I tried to approach her, asking her in a low, calm voice if she was hurt, she let out a sob and pressed herself harder against the wall of the container. It was when I saw the distress and fear written all over her dirty face that I realized we needed help. There was no way Lucio and I would have been able to get her out of there without traumatizing her even more.
Within the hour, one of the doctors on our payroll had joined us, and with a few seconds of enduring her heart-wrenching cries as Lucio held her down, allowing the doctor to give her a sedative, we got her out of there.
Lucio carried her. With a blanket covering her tiny, sickeningly thin body, she seemed eerily flaccid in his arms. All I could do was stand to the side, watching the scene unfold while something stirred inside me. It was like everything about this—about her—was familiar in some twisted fucking way. I felt it all the way to the pit of my stomach, and it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
I’d seen some pretty fucked-up shit in my life. I’d done pretty fucked-up shit in my life. Watched people die without blinking. Witnessed gruesome executions. Disposed of bodies which had been mutilated beyond recognition. I’d tortured and killed more men than I would have cared to admit. And I once stood on the precipice of falling right into eternal hell. But I had never been more aware of my own humanity, as well as my own depravity, as when I watched Lucio carry the seemingly lifeless woman in his arms.
I could have helped the doctor restrain her in order to get the needle in her arm. I could have offered to carry her to the car. But instead, I let Lucio do it. Why? Because I was afraid it would ignite a flicker of life within the part of me I had suppressed for so long.
Once he had placed her in the back of his car, we decided it was best to take her back to the house until we figured out what the fuck was going on. Frankly, I wasn’t sure whether we had the right amount of ties and connections to keep all this on the lowdown. And we weren’t ready to answer questions, or cover shit up if this thing got blown wide open. Until we had figured out what was going on, taking her to the house was our only option.
The doctor drove with Lucio and the girl while I followed. I drove in silence while my thoughts reeled with possible explanations as to why a young woman would end up in a container which had absolutely no trace. There was no bill of lading, no mention of the cargo on the shipping manifest, and nor did the captain, after some extensive interrogation, know anything about it.
But one thing was for sure…trouble was coming. I could smell it in the fucking air, and if the chill in my spine was anything to go by, it was going to be big.
We arrived at the house and Dante met us inside the drive-in garage. We couldn’t chance carrying the girl from the car to the house out in the open. Every goddamn security measure had to be taken until we got this figured out.
Dante had been filled in by Lucio on our way back about what to expect, and Lorik was already in contact with his informants at the police department trying to figure out whose name was tied to the ghost container.
Lucio wasted no time carrying her to the room in the basement. While the six-foot walls and steel gates around the estate were designed to keep unwanted people out, this specific room was created to keep people in.
Merely a security precaution.
Lucio stayed behind in the room as Dr. Ramirez tended to the woman. We needed to know in what condition she was, and what to expect once she woke up. Karina also offered to help after she noticed how filthy the woman was.
Meanwhile, Dante, Lorik and I stood in the hall.
“It doesn’t make sense that there is absolutely no trace to that fucking container.” Lorik rubbed the stubble on his chin, and I could practically hear the wheels turn inside his head.
Dante leaned against the wall. “This has the stench of Mancuso all over it.”
“But the man has been MIA for weeks. It’s like he never even fucking existed.” Lorik pulled his hands through his hair, frustration plastered all over the lines on his face.
I remained silent, staring at them as they continued to try to put the puzzle pieces together. All the while, there was just one thought going through my mind.
I looked up at Dante and Lorik. “Human trafficking.”
Dante’s eyebrows almost touched his hairline. “Are you serious?”
“Why else would there be a naked Jane Doe in the back of a fucking container?”
Dante shrugged. “Maybe she’s a Mexican immigrant who paid to get here.”
“Naked, Dante. The girl was naked. What, did she pay with her clothes?”
“I don’t know. But human trafficking is real fucked-up shit, Antonio.”
“And Mancuso is one real fucked-up individual.” And so am I.
Lorik stepped in next to me. “So, we’re still suspecting Mancuso?”
I scowled at him. “Ah…yeah. It’s not a coincidence that the Mancusos used fruit to disguise their drug smuggling in the past, and here we find a container filled with fucking pineapples…and a naked woman.”
“My brother’s right. Until proven otherwise, we need to handle this as if Stefano Mancuso is behind it.”
Lorik nodded. “Okay. First things first, then. We need to figure out who this Jane Doe is. I’ll get her fingerprints and run it through the system.”
Dante turned to me as Lorik walked off. “Are you really thinking human trafficking?”
“I don’t know, brother. What I do know is that woman wasn’t huddled up in the back of that container out of her own free will.”
“Antonio, you’re implying she’s a, what? A—”
“Slave. Yeah. That’s exactly what I’m implying.”
“Jesus fucking Christ.” Dante rubbed the back of his neck. “This is real bad.”
The door opened, and Karina came walking out, looking straight at us. “What the hell is going on? Who is that woman?”
I kept her gaze. “We don’t know yet. But we sure as fuck plan on finding out. How is she?”
Karina crossed her arms. “She’s in pretty bad shape. The doctor is still with her, but based on what I saw, she had no joyride on her way here.”
I stepped closer. “Has she said anything?”
“She’s still sleeping. But what the hell is going on, Antonio? What is thi
I inched back and took a breath. “I have no idea. Lucio and his guys just found her, and when I got there, she wouldn’t talk to us. So I have no clue who she is or where she came from.”
Dante pulled out his phone. “I’m going to make some calls. See if I can find someone who actually knows something.”
I nodded and watched as Dante walked off.
“Antonio.” Karina touched my arm to get my attention.
She stared up at me, dark eyes filled with concern. “I know what you’re thinking.”
I frowned. “And what am I thinking?”
“I know you, Antonio. You always think the worst, plan for the worst. It’s written all over your face.”
I scoffed. “What, exactly, is written all over my face?”
“The fact that you won’t stop until you’ve pieced this puzzle together.”
“Is that a bad thing?”
She placed her hands on her hips. “I might not know everything going on between the three of you—”
“The three of us?”
“Yes. You, Dante, and that arrogant fiancé of mine.”
I snorted. “You said it.”
“I’m serious, Antonio. I know the three of you do stuff you hide from me and Layla, but I also know you do it for our protection. But this?” She pointed to the closed door. “This is problems even I can smell a mile away. This isn’t just drugs. This is human trafficking.”
I cocked a brow. “How do you—”
“I heard the three of you talking.”
“You shouldn’t eavesdrop.”
“That’s the only way to find out what the hell is going on around here.”
And then my little sister and I commenced with one of our regular mighty stare-offs. She might have been my little sister, but there was nothing little about her attitude. Growing up with two bigger brothers, and in the midst of mob family, Karina was tough as nails.
BELLA J. SERIES:
Other author's books:
- Royal Mafia Box Set: Books 1-4Blood and Lies (Twisted Duet Book 1)Mafia PrinceMafia Princess (Royal Mafia Book 1)
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