Home > Bound by Vengeance (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #5)(14)

Bound by Vengeance (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #5)(14)
Author: Cora Reilly

They took him for dim witted, thought of him as nothing but a stupid lapdog to do their biding without the barest inkling of what they were up to. Like one of the many fight dogs Falcone and so many of the other men kept for entertainment.

But many people had done the same error – mistaken silence for stupidity, equaled lack of words with lack of understanding and knowledge. It was an error they might pay for one day. He knew most of their deepest and darkest secrets, simply because they didn’t keep their fucking mouths shut when he was around. They thought he wasn’t listening, and even if he were, how could he ever grasp what they were saying?

He despised them but they paid well and respected him for his strength and brutality, that was enough for him. He had no intention of using his knowledge. He didn’t need much: money to buy food for his dogs and himself, and for women and a drink now and then. He liked his simple life. He didn’t want complications. He cast his eyes over the cowering girl in the passenger seat. He hoped she wouldn’t turn out to be a complication. He could hardly give her back. Falcone wouldn’t like that.

Not that Growl had any intention of giving her back. She was his most valuable possession to this date. She was looking out of the window, ignoring him. Like she’d done at the party. Like they all did until they couldn’t ignore him anymore. Did she still think she was above him? He turned his gaze back to the road. It didn’t matter. She was his now. The idea sent a stab of pride through him and his groin tightened in anticipation.

CARA

I could barely breathe. From fear, and because of the stench. God, the stench was worse than anything I’d ever smelled before. Blood. Metallic and sweet, oppressing. I could still see the pool of blood spreading beneath Father’s lifeless body, could see Mother kneeling amidst the red liquid, and Talia’s horror-widened eyes. Every moment of tonight seemed to be burned into my mind.

My eyes flitted to the man beside me.

Growl. He steered the car with one hand, looking relaxed, almost at peace.

How could anyone look at peace after what had happened? After what he’d done?

His clothes were covered in blood, so were his hands. So much blood. Revulsion crippled me.

A few weeks ago my bodyguards would have quickly ushered me away from a man like him. My mother had practically dragged me away from him at Falcone’s party.

And now I was at his mercy.

He was a brutal, violent hand of Falcone’s will. He turned to me.

His eyes were empty, a mirror to throw back my own fear at me. His arms and chest were covered with martial tattoos, knives and thorns and guns.

I couldn’t stop looking at him, even though I wanted to. I needed to, but I was frozen. Eventually he returned his attention back to the street. I shivered, and let my head fall forward until my forehead came to rest against the cool window. There was a low buzz in my head. I couldn’t think straight. Get a grip.

I needed to figure out a way out of this.

But we were already slowing down as we turned into a shabby residential area. The paint had peeled off of most of the fronts, and garbage littered the front yards. In a few driveways cars without tires and with broken windows were parked. They wouldn’t be driving anywhere.

Growl stopped the car in front of a garage, which was freshly painted, then he climbed out. Before I could come up with a plan, he was at my side and opened the door. He grabbed my upper arm and pulled me out. My legs could hardly support me but he didn’t seem to care. He led me around the car, over cracked pavement and an overgrown front lawn. A group of teenagers was clustered together two houses down, listening to music and smoking, and across the street a woman with a stained tank top and tattoos snaking up her arms took out the garbage, looking like she would be giving birth any second.

I opened my mouth to call for help.

Growl released a harsh breath. “Do it. Scream. They won’t help you. They have their own problems.”

I hesitated. The teenagers and the woman were actually looking at us, watching how Growl was dragging me toward his house, and they didn’t even blink. Even the blood on Growl didn’t seem to shock them. There was resignation in their expressions, it seemed to seep from their pores. They didn’t have the energy to take care of themselves, to take control of their own lives, to fight for their future, much less for mine. I pleaded them with my eyes anyway, hoping. Still hoping after everything. The woman was the first to look away and walk back into her own house, moments later the teenagers returned to whatever they’d been doing.

Those people didn’t care what was happening to me. They wouldn’t help me.

We arrived in front of a door. The paint had peeled off, revealing sun-bleached wood. Growl opened the door. It hadn’t been locked. My eyes darted toward the group of teenage boys again. They didn’t look like they’d pass up an opportunity to break into a house that wasn’t even locked. I peered up at my captor, at the scar running the length of his throat, the blood on his shirt and hands, at the hard lines of his face.

Growl met my gaze head on and my legs almost buckled under the darkness in his amber eyes. He didn’t say anything.

“Even in this area nobody dares to cross you,” I whispered.

“That’s true. But that’s not why I don’t have to lock my door. Most of the people in the area are junkies and have nothing to lose.” Growl pulled me into his house and closed the door. The inside of the house was even worse than its interior. The AC was running at the maximum, turning the small corridor we stood in into a freezer.

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