“I’m not the white-picket-fence kind of guy. So don’t go building castles in the air. You’ll get trapped in the rubble when they collapse.”
I’d been labeled with the term my entire adult life. While I subscribed to the lifestyle including my love of fast cars and fancy bars, when it came time to handle business, my mind remained focused.
I had one thing on my mind.
Liars. Rats. Thieves.
I hated all three, but when someone had the fucking audacity to steal from my family’s empire, there was no redemption possible. The person would pay a severe price.
That was no different for the biker scum who’d crossed me, attempting to forge a business relationship with another party. Now the man was going to pay.
As I got out of the rental car, I took a deep breath, able to gather a slight whiff of the ocean. Galveston, Texas. While the area was important to the family’s continued growth, I wasn’t fond of the location. I’d also expressed my doubts about entering into a relationship with the Los Pirados, but their involvement had been an easy choice for my brother, the man now considered the Don of the King family. The brutal biker club was well known for wreaking havoc and terror on the city in their effort to increase their profits. Their initial reaction to our generous offer had left a bad taste in my mouth.
Then they’d come to see things our way. I smiled at the thought. Things had run smoothly for several months after that.
Now this bullshit.
I slipped my weapon into the shoulder holster before buttoning my jacket and adjusted the cuffs on my shirt. This was only the first stop of the night.
The facility I was prepared to visit had been acquisitioned for our use, the owner offering no resistance. The aging man had known better, our reputation firmly planted in the locals’ minds. My soldiers had been sent ahead in order to prep for the night’s festivities, as well as to acquire the asshole from his usual Friday night gambling spree.
When I walked inside, the frigid air was invigorating, the cold storage location useful for several reasons. Tonight, it was all about one in particular.
My footsteps echoed on the hard concrete floor as I walked slowly toward the savage noise of the man held against his will, his squeal reminding me of a terrified pig. I’d always noticed that it didn’t matter how big or rugged they were, they still crumbled like a lamb waiting for the slaughter. As I rounded the corner, the stench of fresh blood wafted into my nostrils.
My soldiers immediately stopped their actions, shifting away from the biker.
I took my time approaching, gazing up and down at his bruised and bloody form. Chains had been wrapped around his wrists, his body hoisted from the floor and attached to a metal bar. The creaking sound the metal made as his heavy body swung back and forth only added to the festive atmosphere.
“Angel Riviera,” I said quietly.
He didn’t budge, his head hung low. Only his fingers twitched, showing any signs of recognition that he’d been addressed.
The hard blow provided to his abdomen by my Capo provided a breathless grunt followed by a trickle of blood oozing from Angel’s mouth.
“You acknowledge the boss, fucker,” Alejandro hissed as he flexed his fingers. He’d been my first in command for only a few months. A brutal, unforgiving man, he suited my needs perfectly.
Angel sucked in his breath, wheezing as he attempted to lift his head. My soldiers had done a fantastic job of allowing him to begin to see the error of his ways. However, the fun was just beginning.
I moved closer, taking a casual look at the container that had been prepared. It was a perfect size, allowing for easy access. I was pleased. “You know, Angel, what you did was reprehensible.”
The asshole actually had the stupidity of chuckling.
As if his bravado was going to save him.
When Alejandro lifted his arm, prepared to teach him another lesson, I held up my hand, shaking my head. I was in no mood to allow this to go on longer than necessary. It had been a long week and the thought of enjoying a drink or two sounded excellent.
“I can see that you don’t understand the issue at hand,” I continued, walking closer until I was able to glance into Angel’s bloodshot eyes. He was lucky he could even see out of them, swelling already kicking in. Not that it mattered at this point. “I need the name of the entity you sold our property to.”
Street value of the loss was near two million, the cocaine brought in of the highest quality. The number of bricks stolen was substantial enough that it would provide undue stress. Our wealthy clients expected perfection, which we’d always supplied.
Whoever had purchased the order had substantial cash as well as connections. That didn’t bode well on any level. The last thing we needed was another party attempting to move in on our turf.
His two-word answer had been expected. By all rights, I should cut out his tongue, and I would if it weren’t for the decision I’d already made regarding his fate.
“Fair enough. I can see that our business ties have been severed. Permanently. Get him down.” I backed away, turning toward the rest of the facility as chains were rattled behind me. I could even tell the biker still had some fight left in him. Good for him. I applauded his effort, even if he was a treacherous bastard.
“Fuck all of you,” Angel hissed as he was dragged across the concrete toward the container.
“Why don’t you allow our… former employee to see what he can expect.” I smiled, grateful that my father had been such a brutal man, his creative methods of handling difficult situations well known down in the south. For his immediate and permanent responses, he’d garnered significant respect from almost anyone who knew him.
Feared by those who didn’t.
“What the fuck?” Angel snarled seconds later.
That was my cue to turn around. There was nothing like watching the varied expressions on the face of a man facing certain death. The changes were extraordinary. His more colorful than I’d seen in a while.
A light fog misted into the air surrounding the standing container. As I walked closer, inspecting the inside, I gave Alejandro and the other soldiers a respectful nod. I’d purposely selected the cold facility because of the seclusion as well as the insulated walls. Quite frankly, I didn’t want anyone interfering with handling this round of punishment.
“Angel, I’m very disappointed in your actions. Your betrayal is… unfortunate,” I said in a tone that held no inflection.
I waited as a sound that could only be described as a whimper pushed past his puffy lips.
“Asshole,” he managed.
“Hmmm… Yes, that may be true. I think you were made aware the second you became a part of the King regime that disloyalty would not be tolerated. Do you know what happens to bastards who refuse to follow the rules?” I patted his cheek, offering him a kind smile.
“No? I repeated, making a tsking sound. “Your days of being able to say anything are long gone, Angel. You fucked with the King family. Now, you pay the price.” I waited until the information kicked in. The entire situation had already left a bitter taste in my mouth. I actually loathed this part of my job, even though there was no way that his behavior could be tolerated. I took a deep breath as I eased my weapon into my hand.
If either Cristiano or Lucian were here, two brothers who truly enjoyed methods of torture, they’d take their time, even hours if necessary. However, I wasn’t a patient man. I had other things to do and the time was ticking away. In a way, the man would get off easy in comparison. At least the point would be made.
Fuck with the King family and you will be hunted down.
I glanced at my men, knowing they’d take care of dealing with the aftermath. They were good soldiers, loyal to the extreme. As I placed the barrel of my gun against Angel’s forehead, I made certain to look into his eyes. “You had an excellent opportunity to better your situation, Angel. I’m truly sorry you chose to defy my orders.”
Only a single shot was needed, his death instantaneous.
Exhaling, I headed for the door, eager to finish out the tasks for the night. We’d be delivering the final package to the Los Pirados leader later tonight.
Onto the second requirement of the day.
At least this one would have an added benefit according to my sister. Angelique had insisted that I take time to hear her favorite band in the world, Rebel’s Cause. How coincidental that my next stop was the very club in which the band was playing for the weekend.
However, I couldn’t care less about the music.
The lead singer, however, was another story.
Soon, she would learn about the wrath of the Kings.
The club was one of the most popular destinations in Galveston. It was also a location frequented by members of the Los Pirados, the most notorious biker gang in Texas and surrounding states. They were brutal and harsh, the leader one demented asshole.
Given the club’s location as well as the clientele, the neon-infused bar where Cristal champagne flowed like water and tequila was served in crystal tumblers, the place was pristine for making deals on party favors.
I’d brought a single soldier with me, Cobra just as lethal as his name sounded. He’d been recruited from El Salvador, his weaponry skills only second to his understanding of the biker community. However, the remainder of the evening was all about garnering information.
There wasn’t a single person within the dark confines of the club who didn’t turn their attention to the two of us as we walked through the crowded space, securing a table near the stage. It would take time for news of Angel’s disappearance to trickle down to any members of the club, but we were prepared in case one of the members attempted any level of violence.
I studied the empty stage as we sat down, tapping my fingers on the table. I wasn’t a patient man. I’d learned that none of the King brothers were, preferring to secure whatever they wanted within minutes of deciding. Tonight was no different. I was finished with playing games or even making a necessary point. There was far too much business to handle and the last thing I needed was for our enemies to smell blood in the water.
Within a few minutes, drinks had been placed in front of us, the lights dimming as the band was prepared to return to the stage. I was eager to see what I knew Angel had considered his prized toy. As several of the band members swaggered onto the platform, I swirled my drink, scanning from right to left as I waited for the lead singer’s arrival.
I wasn’t in the business of hurting women. That wasn’t a King tradition. However, as the former Los Pirados VP’s main squeeze, there was no doubt she’d been privy to pertinent information that I needed.
She had no choice but to surrender what she knew or face the consequences.
I sat back in my seat as the guitarist started strumming, a grin on his face. The lights were flashing back and forth across the stage, several of the audience members fueling their anticipation by clapping and stomping on the floor. All I could do was chuckle before I took a sip of my drink. At least the tequila was decent, the smooth liquor sliding down the back of my throat.
“Rebel. Rebel. Rebel.” The chants were loud, the majority of the customers already half lit. Several men crowded closer to the stage only to be yanked back by several of the burly bouncers.
“Interesting crowd,” Cobra huffed, twirling his bottle of beer as he scanned the room.
I said nothing, my thoughts drifting to the reason for Angel’s betrayal. Every decision he’d made was mandated by the president of the club. Pedro Santana’s distaste for the King family was well known, but his love of money and power had influenced him to take the deal. However, anyone could be turned, be it by bribes or by threats. I was determined to find out which.
There was a momentary influx of shimmering lights, the effects better than I would have imagined. Blinded by the spectacular floor show, I kept my eyes locked on the bass guitar and microphone holding center stage. Within seconds, the music started, the booming sounds of the drummer as he pounded his drumsticks delighting the crowd.
Then she appeared like a beacon of light, holding her arms into the air as the crowd went wild. All I could do was smile, the dramatic entrance giving the famished bastards just a taste of what to expect.
“Hello, fuckers! Are you ready to rock and roll?” She laughed as she raced from one end of the stage to the other, lifting her middle finger as her energized fans reached in her direction.
“Nice,” I huffed, shaking my head. I could tell the chick was crude as hell, exactly like Angel would enjoy.
Yet the crowd cheered her on, whistling as she made several crude gestures, even going as far as almost exposing her voluptuous breasts. When Cobra snickered, I gave him a hard look, instantly shutting him down. This wasn’t about the girl. Only the information.
While I didn’t particularly care for the music, the hard metal driving me back to memories from my past best left in the darkness, I could easily tell the woman was talented. With her short-cropped platinum blonde hair and garish makeup, the leather skirt hiding little of what God had given her, she was a powerful draw. As she yanked the bass guitar into her hand, never missing a beat, I had to say I was impressed. She let out several angry growls as she approached the edge of the stage, her fingers flying over the strings.
Suddenly, the entire band stopped playing, the stage going black.
“What the fuck?” Cobra hissed.
I held out my hand, knowing a dramatic gesture when I saw one. True to form, within seconds, a shimmer of blue lights erupted from the edge of the stage, floating up toward the ceiling. Then a single pulsing light was centered on her microphone. Without her bass guitar, she appeared more vulnerable, both hands wrapped around the microphone stand. She stared into the audience, yet she wasn’t looking at anyone in particular, merely taking several shallow breaths before she began to sing.
And her voice was that of an angry angel.
I sat forward, instantly mesmerized as well as shocked from the melodic tone, the song a soft reminder of some forgotten love.
Within minutes, my cock twitched, a burning desire filtering into my system. I hadn’t hungered for a single woman in well over a year. Business had been far too important. Just the issues we’d had with the Morales Cartel had prevented any indulgences.
As the first song ended, she took the microphone into both hands, turning her head in my direction. “My name is Rebel and tonight… I’m going to rock your world.”
My balls swelling, adrenaline pulsing through my veins, I couldn’t seem to take my eyes off her.
And I knew.
Not only would Rebel face my hand of discipline, she would surrender to my needs.
For I was the hunter.
And she was the prey.