Vlad, p.1

VLAD, page 1

 part  #1 of  V Games Series

 

VLAD
 


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VLAD


  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright

  Dedication

  The V Games Cast of Characters

  Prologue

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Epilogue

  Playlist

  Acknowledgements from Ker Dukey

  Acknowledgements from K Webster

  About Ker Dukey

  About Author K Webster

  Books by Ker

  Books by K Webster

  Vlad

  Copyright © 2018 Ker Dukey and K Webster

  Cover Design: All By Design

  Photo: Adobe Stock

  Editor: Word Nerd Editing

  Formatting: Champagne Book Design

  Russian Translator: Liana Vanoyan

  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information and retrieval system without express written permission from the Author/Publisher.

  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 actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright

  Dedication

  The V Games Cast of Characters

  Prologue

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Epilogue

  Playlist

  Acknowledgements from Ker Dukey

  Acknowledgements from K Webster

  About Ker Dukey

  About Author K Webster

  Books by Ker

  Books by K Webster

  To our readers who delight in playing our devious games.

  Ker & K

  The V Games Cast of Characters

  (in order of power and influence)

  The First Families:

  Vasiliev Family (V Games’ Host—drugs/human trafficking/arms dealing)

  Yuri—Father (52)

  Vera—Mother (45) Left them not long after twins were born.

  Vlad—Oldest brother (22)

  Vika—Twin sister (18)

  Viktor—Twin brother (18)

  Vetrov Family (Human trafficking/legitimate real estate and developers)

  Yegor—Father (59)

  Anna—Mother (45) Deceased.

  Veniamin “Ven”—Oldest brother (28)

  Niko—Second brother (18) Deceased.

  Ruslan—Third brother (17)

  Volkov Family (Owners of Volkov Spirits and other various businesses)

  Leonid—Father (55)

  Olga—Mother (46)

  Diana—Older sister (24)

  Irina “Shadow”—Younger sister (18)

  Vas—Maid’s son (18)

  Anton—Diana’s bodyguard (51)

  Voskoboynikov Family (Oil and gas)

  Iosif—Father (61)

  Veronika—Mother (55)

  Ivan—Older brother (30)

  Artur—Younger brother (28)

  Alyona—Youngest sister (19)

  The Second Families:

  Orlov Family (Huge drug runners)

  Arkady—Eldest son (28)

  Koslov Family (Smaller arms dealers)

  Stepan—Only son (19) Vlad’s new V Games trainee.

  Egorov Family

  Other Characters:

  Oleg—Vlad’s arms dealer

  Darya—Girl in the basement

  Rada—Vasiliev servant

  Danill—Vlad’s acquirer of women

  Vile.

  Vicious.

  Villainous.

  Vasiliev.

  The V Games…

  A parent rears their child and molds them as they grow so they may enter the world as someone with the potential to be great. They do this by giving good advice, encouragement, and guidance.

  And most of all: love.

  Or so I’m told.

  When you’re a Vasiliev, you don’t enter the world with potential to be great, you are great. You’re better than great. You’re the fucking best.

  Because Father demands it.

  Brilliant. Cunning. Feral yet refined.

  Under Father’s reign, you learn how to not only play games, but how to win them all. Women, power, money—all at your fingertips if you follow his strict instructions.

  Vasiliev men aren’t weak.

  Vasiliev men bow to no one.

  Vasiliev men are kings.

  Father’s rules, Father’s games, Father’s world.

  And because we share his blood, it’s ours too.

  “Good luck, brat,” I mutter to my brother as I squeeze the back of his neck in an affectionate gesture.

  Viktor turns his gaze my way. His amber eyes flicker with anticipation. At eighteen, he’s about to enter The V Games. Strong. Intelligent. A masterful player. My brother will win the games and further solidify my family’s power in Kazan.

  Vasiliev men don’t lose.

  “Luck is for the weak,” he says, an impish grin on his young face. “Luck is for lazy people who don’t want to work for what they want.” Despite the playfulness in his voice, I can’t help but notice just how much he sounds like Father.

  Arrogance is a Vasiliev trait that only works well on an old man who’s experienced everything.

  Arrogance is foolish on a boy barely turned man.

  He may be my younger brother, but my instincts are probably more paternal in nature than our father. I want to grab Vik by the shoulders and give him a good hard shake. He needs a dose of reality. The vipers in our world lie in wait, eager to take golden eggs we’ve worked so hard to create.

  “Stay alive,” I say, shaking my head. “Deflate your head a little and don’t ignore what’s right in front of you by thinking you can eliminate everything that sneaks up behind you. Your eyes must be everywhere—inside and outside the arena.” I hold out a dagger given to me by my father. “Here. You’ll need this.”

  He takes the dagger from my palm and inspects the crest etched into the blade. Our family crest. The imperial two-headed eagle. When Viktor completes The V Games, another head will be added.

  Powerful.

  Unwavering.

  Brutal.

  A trinity of three men who will solidify our family’s future, easily ruling an uncontrollable world by using t
heir lust and debauchery against them. A made-up kingdom where there are no literal kings or peasants. A world created by my father to be ruled by his sons.

  The Vasiliev men tap into their deepest and darkest cravings. We meet their truest desires by giving them a devil’s playground within The V Games. Everything we do is to encourage their darkness. We present it to them like a vial full of heroin waiting to be injected. All they have to do is pull the trigger.

  Viktor gives me a nod, his fiery eyes blazing with determination. His arrogance takes a back seat as the adrenaline fuels him forward. The boyish look on his face hardens into the glare of our father.

  He will win.

  I’ve trained him just as my father trained me.

  Fierce. Deadly. Brutal. Cunning.

  Only winning.

  We think many, many, many moves ahead.

  It’s the Vasiliev way.

  “Welcome to The V Games,” the announcer rumbles through the intercom.

  An arena full of spectators roar on the other side of the doors as adrenaline pumps into my veins.

  In another twenty-four hours, the same arena will drip with blood, stink of sex, and be littered with corpses.

  Stay alive, brother.

  When the doors open, the crowd becomes deafening. I watch with clenched teeth as my brother prowls out of safety into the fray. The doors close behind him, sucking my breath along with them.

  “He likes to win, Vlad,” Vika, my sister and Viktor’s twin, purrs as she comes to stand beside me. Her rose perfume suffocates anyone she nears, and I’m not immune. I’m sure it’s a power play. She’s a woman, and Vasiliev women have a much different role than the men. They’re pawns in our game—to be married off to strengthen ties between families we need in our court. I try to hold my breath, but my eyes water from her sickly, flowery stench. It smells like desperation and weakness. She’s been shedding her sweet innocence lately in favor of this sly act. I’ve seen her flirting and enticing the men around us to notice her blossoming.

  The problem with Vika is she never had a mother figure, or any woman, to show her the right way to conduct herself, and it appears she’s mimicking the roles of our father’s whores who’ve come and gone over the years. It’s a game she thinks she’s mastered, but she’s wrong. Cute and innocent would have served her much better than this desperate act.

  “Vasiliev men always do,” I tell her calmly, no inflection in my voice despite my desire to offer her comfort in this moment. Affection can be used as a weapon when given to women, especially one as cunning as our dear sister.

  “You sound just like Otets.” Father. She squints her eyes.

  I puff my chest in a small show of dominance. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

  She bristles, and I bite back a smirk. What my sister doesn’t realize is she may carry our last name, but she’s another viper hungry for a golden egg. Duplicitous and out for herself. I love her, but I’m not stupid. She snuck around with my once best friend, Niko Vetrov, thinking she had the power to determine her own fate. She was born a Vasiliev, so the need for supremacy is in her blood. However, it won’t always be so. She will marry and her name will change. My sister doesn’t think she’s been caught vying for her boyfriend Niko’s older brother Veniamin’s attention. She wants the next in line—not the second. The more influential sibling. Despite almost destroying my and Niko’s friendship in the process. I’m irritated she’s made such a mess of things to get her way.

  “Where’s Niko?” she questions, as if reading my mind, turning her tawny eyes my way. They gleam with satisfaction. Her gaze is desperate to find any signs of my weakness—a way in.

  She’ll find none.

  Father taught me well.

  “Perhaps you should call him,” I say, a pleasant smile gracing my lips. “He’s your boyfriend, not mine.”

  Her nostrils flare and she crosses her arms over her chest. She wants me to crack. To bite back at her and accuse her of the things we both know she’s done. My sister wants to feel in control, but these are my games.

  I could tell her maybe she should check Viktor’s room since that’s where he longs to be—just to rile her up. But that would be childish. The way I play is much, much darker.

  Niko’s affection for my brat isn’t subtle, even if he tries for it to be. That’s why his and Vika’s coupling came as such a shock. Her plans to use Niko to get to Ven are amateur and transparent to everyone—especially me.

  She is naïve, however, and has only thought one big move ahead.

  And while she may think she’s won in the short run, I have every move mapped out until the day she dies. It’s part of my duty. Our father insists on it. She is a chess piece to be played when necessary, so we let her have her games for now. She will be marrying Niko. Vika made her bed, and now she will be forced to lie in it.

  She doesn’t win the end game, though.

  Her future is already written, and I’m holding the pen.

  One week later…

  These things are so boring and irritating. A time-sucking waste. My fingers itch to write in my diary—to scribble down all the frustrations simmering inside, just waiting for someone to shake me like a can of pop and watch the explosion of chaos. Instead, ink will display my thoughts written in urgent scrawls as soon as I get home and throw this dress back in my sister’s closet where it belongs. Why I must attend these things baffles me. Usually, I’m seen but not heard—ushered away in the shadow of my incredible sister, Diana.

  Quite frankly, I’m happy to be there, if I can’t be anywhere else.

  My brain is going numb, and I’m about to slip into a power nap if this guy keeps talking about how perfect Viktor is—was—and how sad and unjust his early death is…was.

  Viktor was as driven and brutal as the rest of the Vasiliev family. His death came as a surprise, but sitting here pretending he died doing something heroic is a stretch.

  I actually liked him. Not that he ever noticed me, but he did have this air about him. A hypnotic charm. And it’s a shame, at eighteen, he thought he had to prove his worth by entering such a vicious, degrading, sadistic game. What’s more shameful is his father allowed him to. Encouraged him to.

  The Games are the backbone of all our family empires. It’s what keeps us at the top of the food chain. Feed the wealthy their desires and depravities, and they’ll keep your wallets fat and your influence far and wide.

  My father is a sponsor, and unbeknownst to me, before Viktor’s passing, he was also hoping to acquire partnership via marriage. Not his, of course. That’s what daughters are bred for.

  Bastard.

  Slipping a flask from my inside jacket pocket and discreetly uncapping the lid, I bring the bottle to my lips and take a hearty swig. The burn ignites a warm path down my throat and settles in my stomach. An older lady seated beside me on the left eyes me, distaste crinkling her lips into a purse.

  Screw you, lady.

  This is the second funeral I’ve been forced to sit through this week. Viktor should have been a sure thing. The Vasilievs are the freaking Games for crying out loud. My father let them know how much faith he had in Viktor by dropping a large amount on him competing.

  Now, that money’s gone. Someone had a hit on Viktor, that much is known, but who ordered it may never be uncovered. God help them if it ever does. It’s the rule that no retaliation can come from a death carried out within the arena, but our father, the cunning Leonid Volkov, doesn’t play by anyone’s rules but his own, and the Vasilievs sure as hell don’t either.

  He’s beyond angry.

  And when dear old dad is angry, he gets even. In a few months from now, I bet he’ll have a plan to settle the score. I cringe just thinking about what that may be.

  The liquor pools in my stomach, urging me to eat something to soak it up.

  Drinking is out of character for me, but the rebellious young woman inside me is screaming to be allowed to take over for a while.

  I like her.

/>   And once she’s out, it’s hard to stuff her back inside.

  The gentle murmur of the wind rattling the church doors reminds me why I never wear dresses. If not for the alcohol warming my blood, I’d be a popsicle right now. The church is full, but there’s an odd emptiness in the atmosphere, causing a shiver to race through me.

  My gaze searches for him. Vlad Vasiliev. Strong. Formidable. Beautiful. His dark hair is gelled into a style that makes me crave to run my fingers through it and mess it up. The thought of him having messy hair for once in his life has me stifling a highly inappropriate giggle.

  Maybe I should calm down with the flask sipping.

  I let my eyes fixate on the tick of his jaw. All humor dissipates as I appreciate the muscle in his neck flexing every now and again. I wonder what he tastes like right there. He’s sitting to the right, just in front of me. If I lean forward, I could probably smell the shampoo he uses. I bet it’s something masculine and expensive.

  I straighten my back and clench my thighs. The lady beside me shifts and I notice her watching me as I check Vlad out. Ignoring her barely contained curled lip, I continue my visual sampling. It’s not often I get to be this close to him and stare unabashedly.

  The suit he’s wearing fits over his broad shoulders like a second skin, not a wrinkle or piece of lint to be seen. His polished look is like his armor—it deters people from even approaching him. I certainly never have.

  Dominance, money, and supremacy emanate from him in droves, like a forcefield he’s conjured up through sheer will.

  I’ve been watching him from the background since I could walk. Learning, deconstructing, and pining despite my brain wishing I didn’t. But it’s impossible not to. He’s my favorite addiction.

  I take him in like air to my lungs and breathe.

  He appears more angry than sad based on the way he’s gritting his teeth and how tense he is. Figures, these assholes are probably more pissed off their Viktor didn’t make it out than they are at losing a loved one.

  My sister told me a secret the day Viktor died—one that turned my whole life on its head. She was to be promised to Viktor. Father was already in negotiations for their arranged marriage, and she was to be his wife—a widow if The Games had happened half a year later. Another reason why Father was furious. It’s almost like he blames Yuri Vasiliev for sacrificing his youngest son to prevent their union.

 
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