Wayward Read Online Mary Calmes

Categories Genre: Crime, M-M Romance, Mafia Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 82
Estimated words: 79850 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 399(@200wpm)___ 319(@250wpm)___ 266(@300wpm)

Maksim Lenkov is certain he’s not a good man. His father isn’t, and since Maks is his second in command, then certainly, he’s just as evil. The list of sins is long, and there’s no getting around that. What’s messing him up is that despite all that, in the midst of life and death, his only friend tells him he’s been a blessing; law enforcement is treating him like he prevented more bloodshed than he caused, and everyone is concerned with doing right by him. Why? And how is Maks supposed to figure out who he is, when everything he thought he knew is suddenly turned upside down? It only gets weirder once he begins his new life in witness protection. Because if he’s a guardian angel of women and children, dogs, and one eccentric heiress, can he really be a bad man? Added into the mix is a handsome, loyal deputy chief of police, who lives next door and thinks Maks hangs the moon. Is it possible that living in hell never actually made him into the devil? Perhaps it was only a wayward life, and now it’s time to chart a new course.

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“Please!” the man screamed.

I always wondered why people waited until they were faced with imminent death to finally see that they were in over their head. Like this guy. He had been warned on so many occasions, I had given him more chances than others said I should have, and still, in each instance, he had taken my kindness for weakness. The last time we’d met, he’d taunted me, even spit in my face, and I took it, in front of my men, in hopes that it was bravado in public but behind closed doors he would piss his pants in fear and do the right thing and fall in line. It wasn’t good, or healthy, to challenge me, and I’d made it clear he was walking the razor’s edge by trying to move drugs in any of the many businesses owned by my family. We didn’t allow drugs, and he was ordered to stop before it was too late.

And now it was.

I turned away, unwilling to hear the begging and pleading anymore. He’d been so arrogant, so absolutely unaware that he was mucking through a minefield until he was suddenly there, in the middle, surrounded on all sides.

Stupid. If I lived to be a thousand—which, honestly, I’d be lucky if I made it to forty—I would never understand people without a drop of common sense. You saw the devil right there, in front of you, but still, there was no fear. Not until now. At the end.

I walked toward the door of the warehouse, away from the man in shackles hanging over a drain. It was easier to wash blood and urine away at the beginning than add it to everything else when it was over.

“Maks!” Lev Kamenov, my oldest friend, yelled at me. “What’re you doing?”

“Let the new guys take care of it,” I said over my shoulder. “We have to be at the house.”

There had been a time, years ago, when I had made it my mission to watch every man I ordered killed in my father’s name, take his last breath. My thought was, it was happening because of me, by my hand or on my order. Any way you sliced it, I had to watch the life drain from their eyes because they were stains on my soul. When I was in hell, I had to know why and remember. The worst thing I could think of was being punished and not understanding the reason.

In the car, sitting beside Lev in the back seat, it hit me that since I’d turned eighteen and taken over the family business, my life had become a never-ending series of inspections and checks. I watched everything and everyone. Small wonder that I fell into bed exhausted every night, incapable of even making it through a half-hour sitcom. My life came down to being a watchdog. It was all I was. I made certain no one deviated from my father’s plans and that all his ideas were seen to fruition. It had been that way since I was fifteen, when my father first put a gun in my hand.

“Show them who you are, Maks.”

And I had.

He’d taken me with him since I was ten, and I’d seen things much scarier than any horror movie. At eighteen, he put me in charge of keeping the peace, and I became the one who decided when to expand, when to put more money into a business, and when to shed blood.

It was the strangest thing, because I’d been raised Catholic and yet everything I’d been taught in Sunday school went against all the things I saw and did. Killing people, rendering them unidentifiable to their loved ones, had nothing to do with God. What I did on a day-to-day basis was such a contrast to how I’d been brought up, and I’d wondered, often, how my mother could still kiss me and hug me and love me. And then she died in a car bombing when I was nineteen and I’d lost her. She’d been my light, and she was extinguished. After that, I wasn’t me anymore. It made no sense to question anything. There was only blood when all was said and done.

At her funeral, when she was lowered into the ground, my heart went into the grave with her. When my first act afterward was finding the man who ordered the hit on my father that accidentally took her instead and making him pay, it was clear, given what I was capable of, that whatever she’d seen in me that had been good, was gone.

Now I operated on autopilot. I sounded right, acted right, but it was all muscle memory and retention. I knew what to do, when to do it, and that was what I did. And no one cared, even those closest to me, that I was dead inside. Only my mother had ever truly known me and my heart. But there was no time to dwell on me. I wasn’t the important one. Only the family mattered.