Keep: Romanian Mob Chronicles

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Keep
Romanian Mob Chronicles
Kaye Blue

K
eep Copyright ©
2015 by Kaye Blue

All rights reserved.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, businesses, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination. Any similarities to real people, locales, businesses, or events are unintentional. This work is intended for mature audiences only. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Welcome to the Family

HER:

I
thought
the
only thing I feared was living another day in the hell my life had become. But when I looked at his hulking, tattooed body, the icy brutality in his eyes, I realized I was wrong.

HIM:

Familie
. My clan.

I’d fight for it, kill for it, die for it. It’s all that matters to me. But her innocence, only barely hidden by thick layers of makeup, the curves that her tight dress can’t hide, calls to me.

So I’ve decided to keep her.

No matter how deadly the consequences.

One

V
asile


O
ffer my guest a drink
, bitch!”

The woman didn’t flinch, gave no outward reaction to David Ashmore’s harsh tone or insult. Instead, moving with unimaginable speed and grace for one perched on sky-high stilettos, she crossed the large room and stood in front of me, close enough that I could smell the softly floral scent of her perfume.

“May I offer you a drink, sir?”

Her words were low, a barely audible whisper, but her voice didn’t tremble. Still, I thought I caught a flash of wariness in her eyes. It was hard to tell through the heavy false eyelashes she wore and the long blond locks that hid most of her face and cascaded down her back to brush her ass.

I continued to regard her, taking in the thick layers of makeup caked on her face, the tight dress that clung to the more than generous curves of her body and exposed more of her ample cleavage than was decent. The dress barely covered her, exposing the fullness of her thighs, her rounded knees, the long expanse of her bare legs.

She was a study in contrasts, painted up and displayed as if she were available for the highest bidder, the ease of her movements and seeming lack of discomfort making it appear as if she didn’t mind her body was on display, that Ashmore had talked to her so crudely.

And yet…there was something about her. Maybe it was the healthy glow of her brown skin, the brightness of her brown eyes, both of which told me she hadn’t yet fallen to the ravages of drugs or other dangers of the lifestyle. Perhaps it was the distance in her eyes, an innocence, maybe, that told me she wasn’t as at ease as she seemed.

Experience had taught me innocence was nearly always a facade, but my gut told me her apparent goodness was real.

Which made no sense.

Good people, innocent people weren’t with men like Ashmore, men like me. And if they were, they didn’t last too long, not intact anyway. But there she stood, under the clothes and makeup looking every bit the good, normal woman. I tried to meet her eyes again, but she kept them lowered, staring in my direction but not looking at me, and I felt the inexplicable urge to make her, to look into her eyes until I had decided whether she was an innocent or it was all a front.

And on the heels of that urge came the question of why I cared. Whether she was what she appeared, how she’d found herself here, her ultimate fate, none of those things were my concern. But still I wondered, at least for a moment, preoccupied with the conundrum of this woman instead of the business I’d come here to attend to.

The woman moved then, and using those same graceful steps, returned to stand at Ashmore’s side. I followed her progress and after a final look, focused on my host, a worm of a man I’d rather kick to death than do business with. But my personal feelings on the matter weren’t important. What was best for my clan came first.

Always.

I ran the family now, and was quickly learning that dealing with dregs like Ashmore was more than half the job.

I hated it, would have preferred to be on the streets. There, things were simple and clear. Power was respected, our code held sacred, violations met with swift and brutal retribution. But here, with people like him, I had to pretend to be a businessman, make at least some effort to keep my disdain for Ashmore and those like him to myself, all in the name of peace. It didn’t come naturally to me. In fact, I hated it, but if doing so would stave off war, keep the blood of my clan from flowing in the streets, I’d hold my tongue and keep my fists at my sides.

My father had wanted this for me, had dreamed that one day me and my brother would get away from the streets, that I would rise to be leader as he had been. He’d groomed me for it every day of my life, and I would not dishonor his wishes, at least not entirely. He wouldn’t have given the woman a second thought, probably wouldn’t have noticed her in the first place, but her presence annoyed me, and I needed her gone so I could focus on the matter at hand.

I tilted my head toward the woman and then stared at Ashmore. “Should she be here?” I asked, speaking slowly in broken, heavily accented English.

“She doesn’t hear anything, and knows better than to open her mouth if she does. Ain’t that right?” he said, looking at the woman. “Can you hear me, bitch?”

The woman didn’t move, didn’t even blink, just stood on those ridiculous heels like a statue.

“Told you,” he replied, turning his eyes back to me. “Heard about your father. He was a great man, and there was a lot of respect between us. But I’m excited about our partnership.”

He flashed a wolfish grin at me, his overly white teeth clashing against his tanned, leathery skin. Whether the expression was intended to reassure me or not, it only managed to annoy me more. Respect between him and my father? My father had respected few men and none as foolish as Ashmore.

“Leave,” I said, again looking at the woman.

She reacted then, inhaling and then lifting her eyes at me quickly. But she didn’t move.

“I told you, it’s cool, man,” Ashmore said, again flashing a slick smile that only emphasized how sleazy he was.

I met the woman’s gaze. “Leave.”

Her breasts rose and fell with her rapid breaths, and I could see the calculation in her mind. She regarded me indirectly, not making eye contact, but her gaze taking in every part of me, snagging momentarily on my arms, or more likely, the tattoos that covered every inch of them.

She backed away slowly, tentatively, seeming to have decided to leave but not quite sure how Ashmore would react. And I was again impressed with how she moved on those silly shoes, the sharp
clack
of her heels against the marble floor the only sound in the room.

Ashmore, whose face was now bright red, tilted so he faced her and then barked, “Move your ass, bitch, or do you need some incentive? My guest is busy, no time to fucking wait on you.”

The woman heaved a sigh, and to me, it seemed one of relief. Then she turned and practically ran out of the room, moving so fast that I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself. And it made me wonder how unpleasant Ashmore’s “incentives” were that they could inspire such stealth. Made me want to give Ashmore a few of my own.

Ashmore looked back toward me, his eyes narrowing briefly before his features softened into that slimy expression that seemed his default.

“It wouldn’t have been a problem,” he said, seeming to feel compelled to not let the point go.

I stayed silent, not interested in explaining that being here was a concession I’d only given out of respect to his father and mine, but that discussing my business in front of an outsider, a woman no less, would never happen.

“One hundred per week, correct?” I said, turning back to the matter at hand.

He nodded rapidly, head bobbing like one of those dolls. “Same for you as the other clans. Drop it off Friday, and I’ll have the clean cash to you by Monday, minus my cut of course.”

“Of course,” I said and then went silent, waiting. It didn’t take long for Ashmore to continue his pitch.

“And that doesn’t have to be the only element of our relationship. I can clean as much cash as you need, and if the volume increases, I’d be happy to give you a discount.”

He paused, expression expectant like I should be excited about the opportunity to let him get his tentacles further into my affairs. Unlikely. I didn’t want to work with him at all, but for peace and for honor, I would.

He nodded again, his brown hair flopping against his forehead with the vehemence of the motion. “Like I said, whatever you need. I like to think of myself as full-service, a lifestyle provider if you will, and I’ll go that extra mile for important clients like you. Drugs. Women. Men. Problems you need taken care of. I can handle any of that for you. I know a man of your…status is in the spotlight, but if you need some discreet personal attention, I’m one call away.”

He smiled again and the anger that had been simmering in my gut rose into my throat. I wouldn’t entrust one cent more of my money than was necessary to keep peace on the streets. And his offer? The very suggestion that there was something he could give me that I couldn’t get myself was laughable.

“So whatever you need,” he repeated.

Then a devious gleam lit his eye, and he smiled bright.

“Get your ass back in here,” he called over his shoulder.

The woman materialized in a split second, which stoked my anger even higher. The purpose of sending her away was so that she wouldn’t be privy to our conversation, yet she’d shown up in an instant, proof she’d heard every word. She walked to Ashmore, stood meekly at his side.

“You like her?” he asked, resting his hand on the woman’s wide hip and then stroking her lewdly. “She’s not much to look at, but she does okay when she’s dressed up. Lots of padding, especially on that ass”—he punctuated his words with a slap on said ass—“but she can take a pounding. And her pussy stays tight.”

He stood then, and the woman lowered her eyes, but she didn’t shrink away or otherwise show the disgust I knew she must have felt. She even remained still when Ashmore roughly grabbed her chin and put his thumb between her full, pillowy lips.

“And she sucks cock better than anyone I’ve ever had.”

He regarded the woman with a glare that was both dismissive and possessive, one even I found somewhat unnerving. But she stayed stock-still. I did too, but only barely. I tried to remind myself I was here for peace, that this woman wasn’t mine or one of my clan’s, wasn’t worth the trouble that interfering would cause.

“Hey, if you want, she can suck you off.” Ashmore brightened as if he’d just come up with the most brilliant idea. “Yeah,” he said, nodding enthusiastically, “you should let her. She’ll swallow every drop. Or you can come on her tits if you want. Not on her face, though.”

I stood, somehow managing to move slowly even though the anger in my throat now pounded at my temple, testing my control. The woman looked at me then, her eyes widening ever so slightly when she did, though her body stayed rigid. She was afraid. Of Ashmore, of me probably, and that had the corners of my vision going white with rage.

“Of course,” he continued, voice turning coy, “I’d have to watch. Make sure you don’t try to take things too far.”

As if he could stop me if I wanted to. As if I had to take things from women when they were freely offered. As if I were a victimizing piece of garbage like him.

I stared at him, not moving, though the urge to knock all of the teeth out of his mouth boiled inside me. I couldn’t place the source of my rage, had seen women treated worse. But something about her roused my sympathy. Or maybe it wasn’t her. Maybe it was the fact that Ashmore had control over anyone, let alone someone who was powerless against him. Someone who couldn’t fight back, who didn’t have the ability to end him without thought or consequence, something the rage that had my vision clouded almost compelled me to do.

I had no illusions about who I was, where I stood, which was why men like him bothered me so. He was scum. I’d known him for less than twenty minutes and I knew that. He was lower than dirt, and he had no idea. Thought that his ties elevated him. Thought that whatever power he had over defenseless women like her made him something.

In that instant, I decided I was going to disabuse him of that notion, end his life if it came to that.

“Wait a second. I’m treating you like some banger off the corner. But I know you’re an important man, a powerful one, and I’d like us to be friends.”

The rage that sparked at that suggestion had me taking a step toward him. She flinched, the movement slight but enough that I noticed. Ashmore did not, and instead he stared at me, his eyes gleaming conspiratorially. “I’ve never offered this, but if you want, you can fuck her.”

The woman reacted even more strongly then, inhaling sharply, but just as quickly going placid. It seemed Ashmore still didn’t notice, for he watched me, his eyes gleaming even brighter. I exhaled, a sense of purpose beating back the rage, pulled myself to my full height, and then walked to where they stood, towering over him and the woman both. A glance at her showed that she watched me, but I turned my attention to him and stared down at him until he blinked.

“I keep her,” I said after a long moment.

Ashmore blinked as if confused, looking worried, slightly panicked, mouth opening and closing, but then he smiled and his face brightened as if a light was coming on inside him.

“Yeah, yeah,” he said, voice high-pitched. “You can stay the night. She’ll entertain you, won’t you, bitch?”

As if I would lay my head in his home.

When I stayed silent, the panic on his face spiked, worry filling his eyes, but still he forged on. “Show him to our guest quarters.” Then he lowered his voice, the threat hanging clear. “And don’t give him any trouble.”

The woman didn’t move, and instead stared at me, eyes so wide that even through her false lashes, I could see that her brown orbs were marked with terror, and unbidden, the desire to comfort her, to see that terror fade sparked in my chest.

“Now!” Ashmore yelled.

The woman jumped and then went to move, but I caught her and wrapped my hand around her wrist, the bones feeling delicate in my grip even through her padded flesh. I looked back at Ashmore.

“No. I keep her. For good.”

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