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I rescued Sabrina from a mafia bloodbath when she was thirteen. Doing right by her became a priority for me, even while I was busy as the new head of the Philly syndicate. I sent her to the best boarding schools and kept her as far away from the life as possible. It worked perfectly. Until she turned 18. Until she came home. Until I realized that the timid girl was gone and in her place lived a smart mouth, a wicked imagination, and a body that demanded my attention. Who am I? I’m F*cked. Nice to meet you.
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“If you lose another finger, who’s going to get your girlfriend off?” I waved the thick blade in front of Vigo’s eyes, which promptly began bugging out. “You’ve already lost the bird finger. I’m going to take this one.” I slammed Vigo’s hand down on the desk and pinned his index finger as David held him still.
“Just tell him.” Peter hovered at my elbow, his pistol pointed at Vigo’s sweaty forehead.
“I swear it wasn’t me.” Vigo shook his head as much as David’s grip would allow.
I stabbed the knife into the desk, only half an inch from Vigo’s finger. He screamed, and the scent of hot piss filled the musty back office.
Peter groaned. “Jesus, Vigo. Have some self-respect.”
“It wasn’t me.” Tears leaked down Vigo’s pasty face and dribbled along his stubbly cheeks. He was a low level nobody—the guy in gangster movies who always wound up with an anonymous death long before the credits rolled.
I stood and used the tip of the blade to scratch my chin. Did I think he was telling the truth? Maybe. Did it matter? No. What mattered was that on his watch, an entire shipment of the choicest weed Mexico had to offer went missing and wound up in the hands of the fucking Russians. Two of my men died, and the piece of shit Vigo was the only survivor. Sketchy as fuck. But even if he wasn’t working with the Russians, I’d still have to make an example of him.
In the five years since I became the head of our organization, I’d worked nonstop to tighten the ship, streamline our services, and propagate a legitimate front for all the dirty-dealing that went on behind the scenes. The Russians, and now Vigo, were a threat to all my progress.
I ran a fingertip down the faint scar along my jaw—a bullet graze from the latest attempt on my life. They’d been trying to move in on our turf and take what was ours. From the minute the old boss, Vince, choked on his own blood, the Russians had been poking and prodding. Testing and taking. But that would all come to an end within the month when I allied with the Irish for control of the entire city. Then I’d handle the Russians—go fucking rathole by rathole if I had to—and eliminate every mobster who so much as looked at me wrong.
For the time being, though, I had to hold it all together. The easiest glue I’d ever found was fear. It sealed the holes right up and kept my men in line.
“Hold him.” I pointed my blade at David.
“No!” Vigo squealed.
“I take no pleasure in this.” I twirled my blade in my palm. “But be thankful it’s not your life I’m taking.” I leaned down and met Vigo’s beady eyes. “If I so much as get a tickle in my ass crack that leads me to believe you’re with the Russians, I’ll send David to finish you.”
David laughed low in his throat. If fear was my glue, it was his art form. His nickname, the Butcher, was well earned. Handy with a gun, but beautifully lethal with a knife, he could carve a man up like a Honeybaked Ham and smile while he did it.
“Send your girl on over to my place.” Peter wiggled his free hand in front of Vigo. “I’ll give her the three-finger special since you’ll be out of commission.”
Vigo’s tears began anew as I pinned his index finger to the desk. I would make it quick, then send him on his way to the hospital.
“Don’t fuck up again.” I kept my gaze tied with his as I swung the knife in a vicious downward arc.
His finger came off clean right at the joint, a spurt of blood shooting out and spraying the front of my light blue button-down. He screamed as I pulled a handkerchief from my pocket and wrapped the nub. It matched his missing bird finger, though given the scarring, my cut had been far more precise.
David released Vigo, who clutched his maimed hand to his chest.
Peter snagged the finger. “Can’t have you trying for a medical miracle, now can we?”
Vigo blubbered as I wiped my knife on his shirt sleeve then pocketed it.
“Get him an ambulance.” I pointed to Peter. “Industrial accident.”
He nodded and pulled his cell from his pocket. The three of us left the Trenholm Shipping office as Vigo sniffled and wailed behind us. Three of our guys stood next to the trucks, their eyes wide as we passed.
“The fuck you think this is? Break time?” David banged his fist on the side of one of the trailers. “Get to fucking work.”
They started moving, loading pallets of bottled soft drinks onto the trucks. The visible bottles contained Coke. The not-so-visible bottles also had coke, the non-fizzy kind. Peter bumped into the foreman, then continued walking ahead of me to the car.