Vanquished, page 1
Copyright © 2017 by LeTeisha Newton
Cover Art: © 2017 Boundless Tales Designs
Editor: © 2017 Beyond Def Lit
Formatter: © 2017 eBook Builders
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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Books by LeTeisha
Collared, Fidelity World Novella
The Lost Series
One Hour Girl
Going Under (MC Dark Romance)
Collared (BDSM Dark Romance)
A SEALed Fate Series
Corporate Hitman Trilogy
There is light at the end of the tunnel.
And don’t get mad about me calling you V this one time <3
Thank you to my editor—Tiffany Fox with Beyond Def Lit—for working with me, understanding me, and just being plain awesome.
To Tami C. because you are so damn amazing and the love you share just bowls me over. I hope I continue to delight you.
To Becca R. because where would a BaBB be without her BaBB sisters??
“Look, Caesar, I’ve got a buyer who can put us up nice. I know I owe you, but I’ve got the money to pay you back right here. What I want to know is if you want to go into another business opportunity?” Trace jerked against the thick ropes around his wrists, sweat dripping from his face. Dirt crusted his loose-fitting white t-shirt, and I wondered if, by the time I was done, he’d blend with the broken and rusted warehouse we were in. He had one simple job I required: to make me money when I put product in his hands. Instead, he decided to get high on the supply.
A naked yellowed bulb swung above us, the weak light flickering in the damp warehouse where I liked to do my dirty business. The thick, brick walls quieted the noise of the outside world, leaving me and my targets plenty of space and opportunity to get messy. I glanced over at Trace and wondered why the fuck he thought he could speak to me as if he knew me. No one, no one, called me by my name unless I wanted them to, and I hadn’t given him permission to speak. They called me C or nothing at all. Taking a step toward him, I braced myself between his legs. Tied to a chair by his wrists and ankles, he had nowhere to go.
I glimpsed the whites of his eyes and his nostrils flared as he struggled harder to be free. “Shit, I’m sorry—”
Ignoring his plea, I punched him with the brass knuckles square in the mouth. His gums split, blood spraying over my shirt before I stepped back. Trace groaned, his bleary, gray eyes scanning the room as he spat red-tinged saliva on the floor. Fucking nasty bastard could have had the decency to swallow the shit.
Just like a good bitch.
“I’ve got a good deal, I swear,” Trace started again.
I never should have started dealing with Trace. The pissant talked big and had a pocket full of cash, but he spent it just as quickly. The first few deals went down without a hitch. He didn’t buy his ice like a typical tweaker. Things were different this time, though, and I didn’t trust his angle. Going from meth to coke wasn’t odd, but my gut told me there was some shit in the wind.
I glanced over at the array of tools I’d laid out for working over Trace. I palmed the pliers, warming the steel in my hand.
“Please, I can pay you back. I’ve got the money.”
“Where is it?” I demanded.
“Listen, just for a minute, I’ve got a deal that will triple your investment and make it so I never have to come to you again.”
“That doesn’t sound like money,” I told him.
He fought against his bindings as I gripped his chin and forced the pliers into his mouth. His muffled pleas only added background noise as I gripped one of his front teeth. The art of pulling teeth was all about leverage. Planting one booted foot between his legs, I pulled upward at an angle. His thick gums fought me, squeezing the long root of his tooth, but I only pulled harder. He screamed, fingers digging into the arms of the chair. With a wet crack, I ripped his tooth from his mouth and dropped the bloody teeth on the table next to me. It clanked on the metal with a hollow sound.
“One down, thirty-one to go. My money better be in that bag.”
I sank to my haunches to look inside the duffle bag next to him on the ground. What I found when I unzipped it were dozens and dozens of pictures of some chick in various stages of undress and provocative poses. Her makeup was smeared, mascara ran around her eyes and darkened them, but it didn’t take away from her beauty. Instead, it enhanced it. I always loved the look of pain on a woman.
“She’s a hot piece, isn’t she?” he asked, desperation in his voice.
She was, of course. All golden eyes, long dark hair disappearing behind her shoulders, a big, full smile with lips I wanted around my cock, and an exotic face to match her nebulous bloodline origins. A half-breed upon half-breed, just like me. We were the real children of America—the ones who couldn’t claim any real connection to poor white trash or ghetto streets. In other pictures, she cried and fought against bindings. Red, angry flesh peeked out behind rough rope. They’d done a number on her, whoever she was. Faint, purple bruising marre
He knew what it meant; he knew better than anyone after bringing me several of my pets. And this wasn’t money, no matter how good the pussy might be.
“The fuck is this, Trace? Hm?” I stood and passed the duffle over to Sean. As my right-hand man and protection, I never went anywhere without him. Deceptively small and mild, Sean appeared more Wall Street banker than contract killer, and I enjoyed that. It tickled my balls to have some elite Ivy League graduate killing when I wanted him to. Me, the piece of shit boy from the wrong side of the tracks, covered in tats and a bad attitude. It fucking got me hard that I was even worse than Sean and could make his Ivy League ass piss his pants when I got mad.
But Trace? I’d fucking do him myself and save Sean for some meat worth killing.
“Look, she’s my sister, prime meat. I’ve had her trained by my homeboy. You know, the one I brought last time.”
The information ticked through my head. I never forgot a face, even if I wanted to. It helped me run my business in ways many others could not. You couldn’t cheat me when I’d seen you before; I could always place you. I also always laid eyes on anyone I did business with. You fucked me, I came for you, no matter what.
So, yeah, I remembered his “homeboy” just fine, and he’d been just as shifty as the little shit in front of me. Jason had been his name, if I recalled correctly. Jason the Bitch. No, I wouldn’t be using his boy as a point of reference for how good the girl was trained. I knew Jason had spent hard time in prison, been someone’s bitch, according to Sean’s research. What the fuck did it matter, though?
“Doesn’t spell dollars to me,” I told him.
Trace fought me harder, jerking his head from side to side when I went for his chin. I lifted the pliers high into the air and struck. The skin over his cheek split, bloody muscle and the white of his bone peeking through the hole. My fingertip met the slick bone as he hollered.
“Really easy question, Trace. Where. Is. My. Money?”
“She has some punk boyfriend at college, but I’ve kept things contained. She’s a smart girl, she knows the ropes. Even likes it when you get rough with her. She knows what I might need her to do.”
I hooked my finger into the flesh of his cheek and yanked, tearing his skin. The ragged wound of meat reminded me of a gunshot wound. His eyes rolled to the back of his head and his lids flickered. I slapped him.
“No, stay with me or I make this shit worse. I’ve previously given you product based on services rendered, and you took the profit for yourself. I’ve got forty thousand reasons to kill you.”
“The … the girl. Fuck.” He groaned, his head listing to the side.
I rubbed my beard and looked back to the photos of Trace’s “trained sister.” Beautiful fucking girl, her tears were like diamonds clinging to crescent-moon eyelashes. How much could she take? How hard did she like it? Fuck me if my dick didn’t twitch over the chance to find out.
But how much would it cost me, and could I get her for free?
Free. I liked the idea of free.
“But you still want the coke?” I asked.
Trace’s eye widened, and he hesitated but finally nodded. Dope fiends, couldn’t do proper business with them.
“You’re conked out of your mind, your momma’s looking for some hard shit, you already owe me money, and you want me to front you a cake? It doesn’t add up, pussy. A cake of coke, that’s pushing it for you. An ounce on your shit-ass corner is twelve hundred bucks at best. Sean,” I said, looking over at Sean. Dark and swarthy, he should have been in some boardroom with his pretty boy looks, black slacks, and white button-up shirt. “Give me that big brain of yours. If one ounce equals twelve hundred, and there’re about thirty-five ounces in a cake, how much is fuck boy looking to make?”
“That would be about forty-two thousand, Caesar.”
“Thank you. Doesn’t seem like much. He owes me forty large already. Exactly what amount were you thinking could give me triple? That would mean I’d have to give you three cakes, and you’d only take a cut of six thousand after all the selling. You can’t think I’m stupid enough to let that happen.”
“Take the bitch. Her dad left her a settlement, and she was the trustee. You have her, you’ve got access to two million, and all I want is the profit from the cake sale.”
Stupid fucking idiot. I’d never put my product in his hands. Besides, I mostly ran muscle and guns. The drugs were Sean’s thing, though I got most of the cut. But two million for a sweet piece of ass? Could be legit.
“Sean, what’s the profit margin if I take the girl and ditch the inside man?”
“He’s behind forty thousand and has no interest in paying it back. Take the girl to work for you, you’ll have an exponential profit based on her sales. Keep her for yourself, you still come out on top, as you could then have access to her trust fund. A few signatures and I can have it all moved over to your account.”
“I like my odds on that. Trace, I’m taking it all and keeping my product.”
“Oh God, please. No, Caesar.”
“You said my name again, fucker. I don’t like people who don’t follow instructions well. This could have gone easier for you.”
He screamed as I pulled my knife from my side and slid the blade out slowly. I traced the sharp tip against the flesh around his eyes and down over his cheek. His eyes bulged, his face turning a delightful shade of red.
“I had a sister once. Pretty little thing with big eyes. Someone sold her, too. I found her in pieces,” I told him, the old pain clogging my throat.
Yolanda. Sweet Yolanda. She’d been only sixteen, ripped from my life by some rich fuck. Left behind in so many pieces and burned to ashes for our mother to hold on to. I fingered the slender bullet hanging around my throat. I carried her with me, always.
Do you see, Yo? I still make the bad men disappear.
“I’ll do the same to you. Fitting, huh?” I asked him.
He screamed again, and it irritated me. Screaming didn’t change the outcome, it didn’t stop my blade from carving his flesh from his muscles, and it didn’t stop me from cutting out his tongue when I was finished. Nor did the incessant gurgling noise stop me from taking a hacksaw to his limbs. He finally stopped making noise by then. Even the adrenaline shots couldn’t keep him alive anymore. But he still died and, by the time I finished, I wasn’t as angry over the money he lost me and the prospect of having to go collect my earnings at some fucking college.
What did his screaming accomplish? Nothing but give me a fucking headache while I washed his blood off my skin in the shower two hours later. Men like Trace—hell, men like me—didn’t deserve to walk the earth. We destroyed the beautiful and good, leaving decrepit shit behind in our wake. It didn’t matter the reasoning, we all deserved to go to hell. Me? I just hoped I took down enough fuckers with me that I’d feel the rage of what I’d lost—the one angel I wished had never been touched—fade.
But I’d settle for just a moment, an infinitesimal second, of peace.
I inhaled the warm, comforting scent of butter as the kernels popped inside their glass casing, turning into fluffy, white popcorn for the moviegoers. Nothing quite competed with going to the movies. College was my only out from the horrors at home, the sick way I performed, and the nasty things I had to do.
Dance for me, pretty girl. Wouldn’t want Tamara to disappear.
I swallowed my fear and soaked up the scents inside the movie theater. No, I didn’t want my best friend, my only friend, to disappear. I danced, and played with poisonous pleasure to keep her alive.
Then, I’d received an envelope telling me about my father’s money.
Two million dollars, all for me, once I graduated coll
And the protection of marriage would keep my family from stealing it from me.
“Hey, baby, the line’s moving.”
Matt tugged on the end of my ponytail before he pushed me gently forward in the line. Quarterback of the football team and poised to get drafted to the NFL if he kept his game up, Matthew Hughes was the big, blond, blue-eyed package every girl in school wanted.
Except me—and he was mine.
Fucked up, I know.
But a name like his, Ryder University royalty with their alumni status, could give me a lot of protection. I needed it more than I needed him. I’d do anything to save the girl who’d tried to save me so many years ago and found herself trapped in the web.
“I don’t need to pay attention if I have you,” I told him. His soft lips were feather-light against my brow as he leaned in for a kiss. I steeled myself for the taste of him. I didn’t like it when he kissed me. Too soft or too kind, I wasn’t sure which, but my heart slowed and I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from wincing.
“Only a few more semesters until you can really be mine.”
More than a few—six to be exact. Six before I had to give myself to him as promised.
His breath raced over the shell of my ear and sent a cringe down my spine. He’d been so patient with me as we planned our future together—marriage, children, where we’d apply to for our Master’s programs if he didn’t get drafted first—everything, because he understood the hell I went through at home and why I couldn’t have sex just yet. He respected my wish to be married before we went any further, and we fell in love sweet and easy.
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