REDEMPTION (Book One: The London Crime King)

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CHAPTER TWELVE

Liam

"Where's Nate?" I kick my feet onto the desk. On the surveillance, I catch sight of Josh slipping behind the bar, rag cloth over his shoulder. He lasered in on Alexa, playfully aggravating, fuck-assin' about when meant to be working.

"On route." Brad studiously sieved through documents on the table. "He did a few drop-offs tonight—disperse the greens before our shipment."

I hummed, eyes returning to the screen. Against behest, Josh stands a bit too close to Alexa, an elbow rested on her shoulder, fomenting the impatient, indignant side of me. "I need you to extend street business, get some more errand bitches on those corners."

Brad dipped his head, tapping notes into his phone.

Alexa wanders off the bar. Josh diverts his attention to Natalie. I lean forward, finger hovering over the touchpad, skipping through camera angles. I locate her then, dashing down the hallway toward the toilet facilities. And in a sudden blur, an arm appeared from nowhere, yanking her body away from the security footage.

Frowning, I dropped my legs from the table, edged closer, exited the scroll browser, bringing up multiple screens. I saw red, turmoil cutting my chest. "Motherfucker." I jumped up in tandem with a startled Brad, but I didn't relay the witnessed attack. I bolted out of the office with him hot on my heels, the image of that man's hands over an innocent girl, dragging her into the male bathrooms.

"Boss," Brad called, descending the stairs with me. "What happened?"

Ground level, I ambled around the corner, counted the black and chrome doors. Unhesitant, I brought my leg back, booted the lock. The door splintered open, crashing into the tiled walls. On the floor, Alexa lays unconscious. Arms slackened beside her head, black shorts resting mid-thigh. I sensed Nate appear before seeing him enter the small space me. Brad seals the damaged door behind us, knowing and ready.

"Mr Warren," the guy stutters, shocked, gold-rimmed glasses skewed on his nose. "I came in and found her on the floor, passed out."

Eyes drilling into him, I lost my suit jacket, unclipped my cufflinks, rolled up my shirt sleeves, casually sitting them on my elbows. "Just like that, huh?"

He staggered backwards, ebbing from my prowling men, both geared up for a fight. "I—" Brad licked him in the jaw with a mean left hook and uppercut combination, the force knocking his body into the marble unit. "No, please." He slid down the wall, cowering behind his hands. "I didn't do—" It was Nate this time, booting him under the chin, wrecking his perfectly bone structured jawline.

"You came into my club and violated one of my women." I squat beside Alexa, press two fingers to her neck, detecting a steady pulse. "Unjustifiable violation which, not only harmed a young girl but disrespected me with such dauntless yet foolish magnitude."

Rising to my full height, I stepped over her lifeless body, loomed above his slouched form. I took the dusters out of my pocket, weighed them in my hands. "Which do you prefer?" I muse, exhibiting some of my favourite toys. "This one?" I chucked the solid gold one to Brad, slipped the metal spikes over my wiggling fingers. "Artistically effective." Fisting his shirt, I ripped him onto his feet, impaled him with spine-shattering hits, sharpened spokes lacerating his battered cheeks, shredding and tearing. "You fucking cunt."

He shrieked and pleaded through violent intervals, gnarled flesh chunks disintegrating, blood splattering across the floor, dousing his shirt. I roared words and threats. I was furious, too far gone to hear or listen to his snivelling appeals.

I trudged back, let Brad get another hit, heard Alexa whimper. Nate assisted, going to her side. I didn't check on her, though. I rallied up with Brad until the guy stopped breathing, face disfigured, unrecognisable. If Alexa weren't here, I'd have that man's trousers down, amputate the muscle between his legs.

I released the dusters from my fists, and they dropped to the floor with a loud clang, wiped my bloodied hands over my trousers, and ordered the men to ditch his dead body.

I looked at Alexa. In a state of shock and near verge vomiting, she clung to the basin, breathing heavily, eyes cast to the floor as she gathered herself.

"Alexa?" I brushed my fingers down her spine. She became rigid, body locking into place. I didn't consider my actions when recklessly lifting her timid body into my arms, carrying her away from the bathroom.

Her panting evened out, hands fisting my shirt, unmoved by the blood on my hands. She felt strangely good in my arms, vulnerable yet reliant—like she needed me to breathe again.

I kicked open the fire exit, strode down the alleyway behind the club, blindly searched for the Bentley keys to unlock the door.

Lowering her onto the passenger seat, I waited until she settled, rounded the car and collapsed behind the steering wheel.

Not looking at her was challenging. I fired the engine, revved out of there, toward her side of town, the council complex.

She watched me intently as I worked the steering wheel, tempting me to glance or say something. I did neither, driving over the speed limit, blurring out passing buildings.

Fifteen minutes later, I veered into her street. "What?" I asked, easing off the accelerator.

"Nothing," she lied, fumbling with her seatbelt. "It's the block here on the left."

I mounted the car onto the curbside and cut the engine. I am pleased to see those loitering youths paid attention. There's not a soul in sight; however, that communal garden worsens day by day. I hadn't noticed discarded clothes scattered across the grass when here last.

"Thank you for tonight." She climbs out the car, keys jingling in her pocket. Head down, she walks to her building, opens the main door, slips inside.

I blew out an irate sigh, strummed my fingers on the steering wheel, glanced back to the building. Going inside and following her is stupid. I should leave, drive away, not look back. Instead, I soared from the car, locked the door and jogged behind her.

As I round the stairwell, I can hear her shoes clicking, echoing throughout. I reached the top just as she's ready to go inside, taking her off-guard. "Jesus," she chides, dropping the keys. "I thought you left." She bends over to pick them up, shakily unlocks the door.

I clasped my hands onto the doorframe, eyes flickering past her head, into the flat. "Are you going to invite me in, or must I push past you?"

Alexa blinked, nervously peering over her shoulder. I know that look, unsure, hesitant, concerned. She thinks I'll judge her living conditions. "Why? Do you often visit your employees outside of work?" No, I pay no interest to the women at Club 11. "Don't answer that," she quickly adds. "Feel free to come inside. I don't have any of that expensive stuff you drink at the club, though," she jokes, cheeks burning up. "You'll have to settle for a cheap beer."

When she stepped back, welcoming me indoors, I brushed past her and entered the living room in four strides. I hadn't gotten this far the last time I was here, so I scoped the bare walls, mismatched furnishings and dated entertainment systems.

Alexa wandered into the kitchen, flicked on the light, rummaged through the fridge. Not looking at me, she returned, passing me a chilled beer. "Seriously, thank you for tonight. For dropping me home and handling that guy..."

I side-eyed her, waiting for that unfinished sentence. "I didn't like seeing where his hands were." I pulled a drink from the bottle, perching my backside onto the wooden coffee table. "No one touches what's mine." She drew in a sharp, hopeful breath, and I inwardly scolded myself. "You belong to the club, Alexa. I'd never tolerate it."

Hurt flashed in those doe eyes. She nods, leaving her bottle on the floor to head back to the kitchen. I admired those legs as she retraced, and rubbed a hand down my frustrated features. Fuck, I am a heartless bastard. It's been barely thirty minutes since her attack, and all I can think about is getting my head between those thighs and tasting that sweet cunt.

Dropping my head forward, I focused on the floor and contemplated leaving when she settles before me, resting on her haunches, unclipping a first aid kit. "What are you doing?" I carefully straightened. She craned her neck to look up at me. Not good. Her kneeling between my thighs, looking like that—fuck. She doesn't want to tempt me—couldn't handle me.

Nervous but resolute, Alexa claimed my hand and cleaned my busted knuckles. I could tell her it's unnecessary. Battered fists are a daily occurrence in my life. Alternatively, I welcomed her gentle touch and tested the waters, stroking her inner wrist with my thumb, awaiting a reaction. Not a flinch. Unperturbed, she eliminated cracked blood from my fingers, smiling once finished.

"Brad and Nate," I said, not recognising myself tonight. "The only employees that I socialise with outside of work."

Those fascinating hazel coloured eyes scanned my face thoroughly. "What?" She sat back on her calves, absently worrying her bottom lip.

Stop, I thought, inhaling through my nose. I am seconds away from grasping her face in my hands and tasting that mouth. "You asked if I often visited my employees' homes," I remind her, heart rate doing double time. "Those two men are the only people I socialise with outside of work." It's an evasive response. I am trying to admit that coming here, visiting a woman, is a first for me. I fuck and play around on the job, but share my free time with nobody.

Alexa closed the first aid kit, eyebrows drawn, marshalling my vague admittance. "Then why are you here?"

"I don't know." I want to fuck you, I thought. "Do you want to talk about what happened tonight?"

"Not really." She smiled flatly at me. "I'm not sure I want to know what happened after I blacked out. It might be better for my sanity if I'm ignorant of it."

"He didn't touch you. Not like that." I was on him before he achieved. "If that's what you're worried about."

Surely women who undergo violation or almost experience rape aren't so oddly calm. "I was in the bathroom the moment you went down," I probed, eyeing her reactions.

"Thank you," she whispers.

"I wouldn't let anyone hurt you, Alexa."

She rasped and exhaled. "I need to use the bathroom."

I wait until she's gone and stand to leave. "Fuck," I growled, spearing a hand through my hair, concreted in place. I am a selfish son of a bitch. I'm not leaving, not until I have her. Fuck the consequences. Fuck the aftermath. I want her beneath me, writhing and moaning my name. My cock hardens at the thought—fucking teenager hormones.

Yanking my trousers to make room for my bulge, I halted in the kitchen, took in the clean counters, searched for a coffee machine or food—something to eliminate this immoral prick maundering inside my head.

"Fucking hell," I rasp, hand landing on the fridge freezer, ready to check the shelves...I stare at the magnetic picture and my arousal wilted in a heartbeat.

Narrowing my eyes, I unclipped the photo, recognising that devious smile. Kathy Pearl. It hit me to the bone, rattled my core. The two girls sit close on a kitchen counter. Kathy has an arm coiled around the younger girl. The same girl currently held up in the bathroom. "Alexa," I said in a hollow voice, confused. The harrowing realisation struck the buried resentment inside me. I crushed the image in a tight fist, flung it in the sink in time to hear her footsteps.

"Mr Warren," she called, and I drew out my trusted Eagle. "Sir?"

Rage boiled up quickly. I knew I'd kill her. I'd wrap my hands around her fucking throat and brandish that deceitful soul from her body. In slow motion, blood pressure pumping, I stormed out of the kitchen, prowling like a predator to prey.

Alexa flinched and opened her mouth to say something, but I didn't let it get that far. I abruptly seized her throat, slammed her body against the wall, ripped a panicked scream from her. "Please," she begged, shrinking under my cruel gaze, hands clinging to my wrist. "You're hurting me."

I found my voice. "You better start talking bitch," I seethed, thrusting the barrel under her chin, trigger finger twitching. "Now!" Her lip wobbled. I fucking hated it. I withdrew the gun, knowing I'll hastily react and flung her body across the room.

Alexa toppled over the coffee table, her weight shattering the bottles. "Liam, " she sobbed, tumbling onto the floor, rolling into fragments. "Please." Moving onto all fours, she tried to crawl away from me. "Mr—"

"No." Gripping her hips, I put her on her back, straddled her waist, pinning her beneath me. "Alexa!"

"I don't know what you're talking about," she cries, mascara stained tears streaking down her cheeks. "You're hurting me."

"The photo on your fridge," I barked, fisting her hair, putting us nose-to-nose. "Start. Talking."

Breathless, Alexa gazed up at me through glassy eyes, eyebrows meshed together. I saw it then—understanding. "It's not what you think."

Nostrils flaring, I shoved the barrel back under her chin, becoming impatient. "I won't ask again."

Her attacking hands ceased, defeat claiming her body, devastated tears rolling over her red and white blotchy cheeks. "That girl in the photo is my sister and..." Sister, I repeated, stunned. "She's my sister and I..." Her whimpers spiralled to inconsolable heartbreak.

"Alexa." Easing my grasp on her hair, I shook her violently, urging her to calm down. "That's enough." Her loud, hyperventilating and sobbing pierced my eardrums. I released her, and she scampered away from me, back hitting the sofa. "Stop!"

She furiously shook her head as if battling something bigger than me threatening her life. "I'm sorry." Dragging her fingernails down her bare arms, she deliberately tore layers, conflicting pain, breaching blood. It wasn't enough. "No." Her fingers tangled into her hair and she tugged, needing pain, needing anything but the sicking medley inside her head.

"Don't fucking do that shit." I snapped out of whatever trance she put me in, crouched beside her. "Breathe through it."

Aquiver and misted in sweat, Alexa curled up, cowering away from me, screaming and yelling like a possessed woman. "What's happening to me?" she cried, ready to rip chunks from her hair.

"Breathe, Alexa." I intervened before she took it too far, untangled her fingers from her scraggly hair. "Deep breaths." Her black, soulless eyes peered up at me, hands latching onto my forearms—good girl. "Bring yourself back."

I witnessed fear, felt her hold strengthening on my arms. "Don't allow yourself to go there." Fuck if I know what I am doing, but I help regardless. The second I notice emptiness in those sorrowful eyes, I fist the back of her hair, sharp, enough to spill a wince from those lips. "It's just you and me."

"You...and...me," she whispers, her pupils gradually enlarging. "You...and me."

"That's right," I whisper against her lips, nodding her through it. "Just us." Whatever's going through her head right now—it's not real. "Alexa?" Hazel eyes stare back at me, breathing shallow but calmer. "There you are."

She averted her gaze, humiliation flooding those cheeks, fingers curling against the carpet.

"Get cleaned up," I ordered, putting my back to her, "and then we'll talk." Her footsteps faded. I light a cigarette, blow out a heavy exhale. Never had I seen something so fucked-up.

I look to the hallway, moved to check on her, wavered by the bathroom door, listened to running water—No. I need to leave. I had to get away from there—from Her. I don't trust myself, not when I am this enraged.

I thought about Kathy and ineffectively chided irritation. I loathe that woman and everything about her.

Falling into the Bentley, I fired the engine, blasted the accelerator and sped far away from Alexa Haines before I changed my mind, returned and depleted the life from her eyes.

Tonight pulled me into a dark place, evoked filthy memories.

I locked the door behind me, stood before the wall-mounted stainless-steel urinal, got my cock out, take a piss. Hands latching around my shaft, I whistled in coincide with the music playing in the bar. In the cubicle behind me, theatrical moans and panting. Neither care for potential ears—couldn't give two shits that someone's listening.

"Suck it," he groaned, and pornographic moans by the woman whose yet to be fucked. "Like you own it!"

Chuckling dryly, I rolled my eyes, tucked myself away, washing my hands and did a quick once-over of my reflection in the mirror. I knocked on the door.

"What?" he barked. "Can't you see that we're busy?"

I rest my shoulder to the wall. "Jonathan, isn't it?"

"I don't know who you think I am or why you're even talking to me for that matter. But I'm a little occupied right now, so fuck off."

"Jonathan," I said his name, knowing it'll startle him. "I can't do that."

"Listen, dickhead." The woman unlocked the door, greeted me with pink lipstick smeared across her cheek. "You need—"

I whipped out my gun, pulled the trigger, putting a bullet in her skull. Her head snapped back, body collapsing disjointedly into Johnathan, blood spraying across his face. "Holy fuck!" he screeches, thrusting himself away from her lifeless body. "Why did you do that? But you—oh, Lord. Please don't kill me. I beg you!"

"Shut the fuck up," I barked, jerking the gun, ordering him to move. "Stop talking." He steps over her dead body, eyes darting to the door, considering escape. I tsk him. "I wouldn't do that if I were you."

"Please," the coward begs. "I don't understand why you're doing this. I don't know you—"

"Well, let's rectify that." I tucked my firearm away, extended my arm. "Liam Warren."

Jonathan's eyes widened. He firmly shook my hand. "I don't know you personally, but I've heard of you," he admits, wiping blood from his cheek. "What do you want?"

"It's not me that requires anything."

"What is this about?"

I point to his bare finger. "Where's your engagement ring?"

He scrutinises me for a moment. "It's in my pocket, but what does that have to do with you? You don't know my fiancé or me."

"You're mistaken, Jonathan. I know Lucy rather well," I lied. I've never met the woman before in my life.

His eyes narrow, jealousy coming off him in waves. "How do you know my fiancé?"

I smirked at his sharp tone. I revel on getting under one's skin. "Let's just say we have grown rather fond of each other."

"You're lying!" Furious, he balled his hands into fists. "Lucy would never—"

"Fuck me?" I arched my brow. "Suck my cock? Hate to be the bearer of bad news, Jonathan, but I've been fucking that pretty ass for months."

"You fucking wanker!" He seethes, foolishly launching for me.

I ducked, punching him across the face. Bellowing, he captured his unhinged jaw, begging for leniency. I give zero shits for his cries. I drag his whipping body to the cubicle and shove his head down the toilet. "Please—" Pinning him beneath the water, I pulled the flush—his gargling, music to my ears.

I draw his head back. He choked, gasping for breath. "Please, stop—"

Fisting his hair, I repeat the torture, hold his head into the water. And then, just for special effect, I smash his face onto the ceramic rim, impale him with the toilet seat with three brutal blows. "That'll do," I said, bored, flinging his body across the dead girl.

He rolled into the sinks, whimpering, dragging himself across the floor.

I trailed calmly, palms flattened on my head, neatening my hair. "I am good at my job." Consequences be damned—eye on the prize. When my victims sob for their mammas—I smile. When bones break—it gives me chills. Blood fills me with accomplishment. "It's all I'm good at, Johnathan."

His chest heaves, saliva and blood dribbling from his mouth. "I need you to stop fucking my fiancé."

This man can't be serious. Even if I were fucking this Lucy, I wouldn't stop for his benefit. "Take your phone out."

"What?" He paled, resting his back to the wall. "Why?"

"Jonathan, I don't like repeating myself." He reluctantly fetched his phone. "Send a message to your accountant—transfer every penny to Lucy."

"I can't do that—"

I whip my gun back out, yank the hammer. "I'll fucking kill you."

The man finally breaks. His lip wobbles, eyes glaze over as he sends the message. "It's done... You're still going to kill me, aren't you?"

"Yes," I said, devoid of emotion.

"But why?" He looks at me despairingly. "I don't understand."

"Because I can." I pulled the trigger—one bullet between his eyes, the bang reverberating across the walls.

Tucking my Eagle away, I flip my wrist to check the time. Three. Two. One. "Bossman." Brad rattles the handle. "Open up."

I unlocked the door. Brad winked, striding into the bathroom like he owns the place.

"Clean-up crew is outside," Nate drawls, adjusting his beanie hat. "I'll tell them we're ready."

Brad balanced a toothpick between his lips, nudging the woman with his foot. "Why the girl?"

"Collateral damage."

"We'll finish up here." Nate snapped on a pair of gloves. "Shall we wait for you?"

"The club," I tell them, exiting the bathroom.

Twenty minutes later, I join Gregory, the man who requested my services that night, in a nearby cafe. "Mr Millan."

"Warren." Sad eyes meet mine. His black-framed glasses sit on the bridge of his nose, lenses accentuating folds of skin encircling his brown eyes. His silver hair sticks out from under his green woollen flat cap, wooden cane beside him. "Would you like me to buy you a cup of tea?"

I take a seat, set my phone onto the table. "Coffee. Black." He came to me a week ago with a proposition. He wanted to pay me a significant amount of money to whack off his granddaughters' fiancé. At first, I was somewhat offended by his offer. I had stated time and time again that I am not a hired hitman. He insisted I heard him out. I informed him that committing any crimes for him was an act of kindness. However, I will collect a favour in the future.

Jonathan was engaged to his granddaughter. He was violent, repeatedly put his hands on her and caused her to miscarry their child. Gregory stressed his granddaughter loved Johnathan too much to press charges and she didn't want to leave him. She was told her fiancé fucked another woman but refused to believe it.

"You were correct about his infidelity," I reassured him. "He was with another woman tonight."

"So, the stories were correct?"

"Indeed."

He dipped his head, swigged coffee. "I'm going to have to pick up the pieces after this. Lucy will be beside herself."

"Picking up the pieces beat finding her dead," I cruelly remind him. "Bigger picture."

"Absolutely." He set the mug down. "I know you were adamant that money wasn't a requirement. So, I made you something." He held up a black leathered box.

Gregory owns a shop down in Richmond. It's a family run business, extended from generation to generation. They specialise in exquisite jewellery. I've used his company for many years, purchasing white gold tags for my men.

I popped open the lid—a white gold ring which would only be worn by a female.

"It has a scintillating halo of dazzling bead-set diamonds and a stunning pear-shaped centre stone. And if you turn it," he said, tilting the box, "light reflects throughout—a unique display of brilliance. The pear consolidates the round glorious and marquise cuts, forming a teardrop. It's one of my favourites."

I blink. Twice. "Why are you giving me this? I don't even have a fucking girlfriend, and I have no intentions of getting married." I closed the box and slid it back across the table. "It's brilliant. But giving me your hard work is wasteful."

"Well, it's no good to me now. I engraved your name under the band," he informs me. "You might never give that to a woman, but it doesn't hurt to hold on to it." Cane in hand, he stood on shaky legs, tilting his hat to me. "Just in case." He squeezes my shoulder with a frail hand. "Mr Warren, it's always a pleasure."

I opened the box again, read the engraving. "Property of Liam Warren."

Steering the Bentley behind Club 11, I killed the engine, sat back and mustered the strength to face the men. After everything that's happened with Alexa tonight, I could do win a drink, a line, or even a good fuck to blow off some tension.

"How did the meeting go with Greg?" Brad asked, leaning forward, snorting a line from the table.

I bring the Jameson bottle to my lips. "He's glad it's done." Josh's shadow falls over us. He stands there, awkward, annoying. "What?"

Josh's younger than us, and it shows. When he first applied for a job, he'd requested a security position. I laughed in his face. The lad is lanky, scrawny, and could never work alongside my men. It's not only the physical strength he lacks. He's too soft.

However, as he asked so nicely, I offered him a position behind the bar. I'm pleased I'd hired him. He's a hardworking colleague who never calls in sick—never late for a shift. He works exceptionally hard, and the female customers love him. Understandable. He's a nice-looking lad—represents the club well.

Josh tore his gaze away from the naked women. "There's someone downstairs demanding to see you."

"Tell him to fuck off," Brad mutters over the rim of his glass.

"She," Josh clarifies with a dramatic wince. "She's quite persistent. Kind of scary too."

"What did she do to you, virgin boy?" Brad laughed. "Ask to suck your pecker?"

Josh turned ashen.

I sighed. "Did she say what it was regarding?"

"No." He shook his head. "She just said it was important."

"Okay." I place the bottle down and rise to my feet. "Tell security to send her to my office."

I returned to my office, sat behind the desk and examined my unwanted gift again.

"For some special?" A female voice chimes.

It was the first time I'd clapped eyes on Kathy Pearl. Tall, curvaceous, long black hair and scant clothing. "I heard you scared one of my men."

She grinned, showing me her pearly white teeth. "You mean the cute kid from the bar?"

"Josh," I point to the chair. "His name is Josh."

The woman sat, crossed her legs. "Kathy." Her shirt skirt rose, revealing her bare pussy. "Kathy Pearl."

"Liam Warren." Observant, I relaxed in my chair. "I have positions for the cages and bar. Which are you applying for?"

"How do you know I wanted a job?" She arched her brow, nails strumming on the wooden armrests.

Kathy wears next to nothing. She came here tonight, wanting to stand out and make an impression. "Lucky guess."

"I want to dance."

"Experience?"

"I don't need experience," she said confidently. "I know how things get done around here."

I appreciated her boldness. "And how do things get done around here?"

"I'll dance out there for you, or I'll dance with men in private—for you." She paused. "I heard women earn extra cash when satisfying customers further."

Not subtle. Yes, the dancers fuck and please clients for money. It's unspoken, though. Just an exchange and I profit greatly. "First things first. Are you in a relationship? Do you have a family that I need to be made aware of?"

When women sell themselves, it's easier for me if they come without baggage.

"No boyfriend. No family." She doesn't miss a beat. "Parents died when I was young. I've been getting on with life ever since."

I nodded. "I can give you a trial run in the cages. If I'm satisfied, you'll sign a contract. Disclosing any information from clientele is prohibited. Men of power come here, needing a release."

"How about I show you right now?" She implied suggestively. "I can seal the deal—satisfy you with my mouth around your cock."

I am only fucking human.

I parted my thighs. "What do you have in mind?"

Kathy climbed onto the desk and crawled toward me. "What would please you, Mr Warren?" She bites down on her lower lip, and before I can comprehend what's shifting, she's straddling me. "Would you like me to suck your cock? Or would you rather fuck me?"

I hate myself for touching Kathy.

Not my finest hour.

She dragged her fingernails down my neck. "How about both?"

I let her slip between my thighs, unzip my pants, fist and engulf my cock with her wet mouth. "Fuck," I spat through gritted teeth, fisting her long hair. "That's it." I bucked my hips, fucked her mouth. "Deeper."

We fucked on my desk. She bent for me, backed that ass up, mewled as I smashed my hips into her. Moments later, Brad interrupted and decided to join us. It wasn't the first time he and I shared another woman; however, Kathy's willingness and keenness was unexpected.

It became a regular occurrence—us fucking. I had zero feelings toward Kathy Pearl, but she gave good head and fucked better than most.

"Fucking hell," I punched the steering wheel, unable to shake this festering anger surging through me.

How the fuck did I miss this?

Alexa and Kathy.

They might've dropped from the same cunt, but those women are nothing alike. Kathy Pearl is a snake, a lying, manipulative bitch who played me like a goddamn fiddle. No, Alexa's innocent. She's pure, sweet, modest and unassuming, right? But she lied to me. She didn't need a job—she's looking for her sister. That doesn't explain why she came to me...Unless there's an ulterior motive. I missed something. Kathy stole from me. The bitch raided my office, emptied fifty grand from my safe and bounced.

Is that the real reason Alexa came to me? Is she picking up where her sister left off?

I need Brad. I jogged toward the fire exit, jerked my chin to security, ventured to my office.

Playing me, I thought, sweat beading at my brow. Alexa got inside my head just like her sister. The fucking fraud. If she had any sense, she'd run. Leave London.

I hate this. I liked having Alexa around. She intrigued me. Made me smile—a genuine smile. And as much as it pains me to admit, I am attracted to her. Never have I wanted anything so much in my goddamn life.

"Boss, where have you been?" Nate asked, hand firmly gripping documents as he followed me into the office. "We have a problem."

Nate's been with me for the last five years. I remember the night I found him like it was yesterday.

He wandered around the streets of Hackney, brown skin covered in blood—someone else's blood. A pocket knife tightly clutched in his right hand, unfazed that I'd noticed.

The night we met, I approached him, hands hidden in my pockets, a cigarette between my lips. "What did you do?"

He slumped onto a car bonnet, his eyes enlarged, black, bleak. "Who the fuck are you?"

"Liam Warren." He flinched, eyes narrowing as he assessed me. "And you are?"

"Nathaniel." He sneered at my looming men in the distance. "What does Warren want with me?

Nate was a big lad, merciless—a lost cause. "I want to help."

He grimaced. "No, thanks. I don't want to discard my soul."

That had made me laugh. "Do you think your soul is redeemable?" I arched a mocking eyebrow. "Judging by your appearance tonight, I'd say you're pretty much fucked."

He nodded, turning away from me. "It was warranted."

I crouched, levelling him with my eyes. "I can help you, Nate. I can make whatever happened to you tonight go away."

"You'd do that?" he asked, unconvinced. "What do you want in return?"

"Duty," I'd said with no hesitation. "Loyalty, blood ties and bond. A brother, someone I can trust. tell me, Nate..." I titled my head. "Why are you covered in blood?"

Nate had killed his mother, stabbing her more than twenty times after castrating her lover. His mother defended the cunt she was fucking. The same cunt that molested his little sister.

Nate reacted. He became a wild animal. Ruthless.

I decided I wanted to keep him around. I ordered my men to clean up the mess—police put it down to the mother abandoning her children and closed the case—thanks to Reginald. His sister was sent to live with their aunt. And Nate became one of mine.

"Nate, where the fuck is Brad when I need him? Your shit can wait." I snagged a bottle from the mini bar, poured a drink. "Get him in my office."

"Calm down, Bossman. I came here the moment you returned. So, how was she?" Brad steals the bottle from my hand and slumps onto the sofa beside Nate. "I assume you finally got your dick sucked."

"Brad, whether or not some bitch sucked my cock is not of your business." I glared at my men, both bearing the same grim expressions. "If you must know. No, I didn't. I do, however, need you to do a background check. I found out tonight that Alexa Haines is Kathy Pearl's sister. I want to know everything about them. Have it on my desk by morning."

"What the fuck?" They both respond in unison.

I downed a shot.

Brad blinked disbelievingly. "That can't be right, surely?"

"Alexa is nothing like Kathy," Nate drawled, folding his arms. "Fuck, no."

"Too right, she's nothing like that fucking bitch." Brad ruffled his mane. "Are you sure you got this, right?"

"When I dropped Alexa home tonight, I found a picture stuck to her fridge—Alexa and Kathy. There is no denying those two are sisters."

"I guess they do kinda look alike, but I'm still fucking shocked." Brad shakes his head in disbelief. "I didn't see that one coming. What are you hoping to find?"

"I want to rule out Alexa's involvement with Kathy, ensure this innocent persona isn't an act." I clenched the back of my leather chair, knuckles whitening. "I don't take kindly to traitors." For the first time in my life, I want to be fucking wrong. I don't want Alexa to be a snake. "Fucking hell."

"I'm already on it, Boss." Brad pulls out his phone and starts making the calls.

"Nate, what is it you wanted to tell me?" I rub my hands up and down my face, tired, frustrated.

"Our cargo shipment at Gateway is missing. Darren called tonight, said someone already picked it up. Five hundred Glock pistols smuggled over from France and about two hundred thousand rounds of ammunition." He rigidly clears his throat, adjusting his tie. "If we don't find it, you've taken a hit of nearly nine hundred thousand."

The men observe me, awaiting my reaction. I grounded down on my teeth, nostrils flaring, striving to keep my cool. I grab the Jim, down a large gulp—It's taken me twelve months to get those fucking Glocks.

"Motherfucker!" I launch the bottle at the wall, glass shattering into a thousand pieces.

Somebody fucked with me tonight.

Somebody declared war.

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