Junkie broken doll 1, p.1
Junkie (Broken Doll #1), p.1Heather C. Leigh
Broken Doll #1
Heather C Leigh
Copyright © 2016 by Shelbyville Publishing, Inc. for Heather C Leigh
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I opened the door slowly, knowing it wouldn’t make a sound. Took care of that squeaky bitch earlier today by oiling the hinges. Moonlight spilt through the windows, casting a faint bluish glow in the room. Moving silently, which was damn hard for a big guy like me, I crossed to stand next to the bed.
My lips pulled back, exposing my teeth. If the girl were awake, she’d probably shit herself at the sight. I’ve been known to frighten more than a few people with a single scowl. Asleep, the redhead looked harmless—skinny, hollow-cheeked, arms riddled with track marks. But I knew better. She might not be physically strong, but the pathetic girl had the power to bring down everything I worked for.
Years I waited for the opportunity to take down the former boss. Patiently watching, learning, finding his weaknesses—only someone else found them first. Just like that, I had to start from scratch. Denied my rightful place, I had to go back to the beginning and plan my rise to the top all over again. Now, I was almost there.
Then this… this thing was threatening to take it all down, just like last time.
No. I wouldn’t be denied my rightful place. Not again.
I loomed over the girl and picked up a lock of her copper hair, sifting it through my fingers. Somehow, I would turn this weakness into my biggest weapon. I just had to figure out how. Grinning, I snuck back out of the room and pulled the door behind me.
It might take a few months, but I would make it happen.
I was going to be the next boss of Austin.
I had less than a second to revel in the sound of my fist connecting with the man’s jaw as it echoed throughout the dingy warehouse before the pain shot through my knuckles and up my arm. To my extreme satisfaction, his battered head snapped violently to the side before rolling to hang limp on his chest, blood, spit, and snot pouring from his nose and mouth.
Humidity in Texas was high this time of year, the air in the warehouse heavy and reeking of ozone and body odor. Sweat continuously rolled down my back and trickled between my shoulder blades to soak into the waistband of my pants.
My clothes were getting all fucked, which really pissed me off.
I snatched a hunk of his greasy blond hair and wrenched his head back, ignoring his screams. I wanted this asshole to look into my eyes and know just how much fucking trouble he was in. To see firsthand what happened to those who crossed me. The man’s trembling lip and frightened eyes only served to make me angrier. Pussy. Motherfucker had no right to try to make me feel sorry for his thieving ass.
Pity was something I was quite lacking. There were some who said I didn’t even have a conscious. Or a soul.
“It’s this whore I’ve been fucking, Boss. She must have swiped some. I-I didn’t…”
The backhanded blow landed perfectly across his cheek and his skin split open from the force. Blood gushed down his neck and into the collar of his filthy shirt.
“Don’t fucking lie to me, Mason! I know exactly what you did. Did you think I wouldn’t find out?”
I ignored the ache in my hand to crouch in front of the chair the man was tied to, resisting the urge to grimace at the sight of his bloody face and the splatter on my expensive suit. Nothing irritated me more than dirt and filth, especially on my clothes. The only thing that pissed me off more than his blood fucking up my nice clothes and tainting my skin was finding out one of my employees was stealing from me.
I grabbed his swollen chin and squeezed his cheeks until he cried out like the little bitch he was. A bead of sweat trickled down his nose. I could almost taste his fear. It was a struggle to keep my composure when I spoke. My voice came out low and menacing as it rumbled from my chest. “No one skims from me, Smith. No one.”
Disgusted by the mess the sniveling man made on my pristine summer weight wool suit, I stood, turned to leave, and motioned to an enormous blond man waiting patiently in a dark corner of the warehouse. The blond immediately came to my side, bringing with him a cloud of expensive cologne. His huge body was vibrating with excitement.
“Yeah, Boss.” The brute’s tone combined with the heated spark in his eyes confirmed what I already knew about my employee. Unlike me, my large friend couldn’t wait to get his hands dirty. I did this out of necessity. He did it out of enjoyment.
“Take care of that.” I gestured in the direction of the sobbing mess behind me while I shook out my sore hand and frowned at the blood on it. I honestly didn’t care what happened to Mason Smith at that point. All I could think about was scrubbing off that piece of shit’s blood and changing into something clean.
“Sure thing, Boss.” The blond, my top lieutenant, Milo, cracked his neck and his dark eyes lit up with a sick kind of glee. Gruesome shit was definitely my lieutenant’s thing, and it was also why Milo was my right-hand man as well as my bodyguard-slash-enforcer. The guy was sadistic to the core.
I ran a hand down my front to straighten my clothes and grimaced at the streak of blood it left behind. “I’m going home, Milo. Report to me when it’s done.”
The blond gave me a quick nod and a wide, cruel grin. Fully confident I could trust Milo to take care of the mess, I spun on my heel and stalked out of the dilapidated structure I owned on the outskirts north of Austin. Fresh air, though heavy with humidity, cleansed my offended nostrils. I inhaled deep to rid myself of the stench of blood and sweat.
“Ready to go, Boss?” My driver, Frank, who had been with me for years, held open the back door of a large sedan. It closed quietly after I ducked inside. A thick pad was laid out on the backseat along with crinkling paper lining the floorboards. As I carefully shifted across the seat, I made sure not to touch anything.
“Get me the fuck out of here, Frank.”
I was in a shitty mood for getting called to my warehouse in the middle of my already busy day to handle a situation where one of my own dealers was skimming drugs off his supply. My supply. Worse, I didn’t have time to change beforehand, so I was covered in blood and one of my favorite suits was ruined. I looked down and frowned at the spots on the fine material. I swallowed down the anxiety that threatened to rise from the mess.
Frank maneuvered the car down the bumpy, pothole-filled road leading away from the warehouse while I fiddled with a tiny compartment in the console between the front seats. I wrapped a silk pocket square around my fingers to undo the latch. Inside, I found what I needed and yanked out a couple of wet wipes to clean the blood off my hands. It didn’t eliminate the coppery scent of blood, but at least it wasn’t staining my hands. I carelessly tossed the used wipes to the floor. People were paid very good money
I didn’t rise to the top of a very profitable drug trafficking operation—taking over all illegal drug sales in Austin—without getting my hands dirty, literally. It was understood that violence went with the job and anyone who didn’t have the stomach to cut down their enemies, and to deal with the unpleasant shit that needed to be done, was destined to end up the one strapped to a chair in some hot as hell warehouse at an abandoned industrial site in rural Texas.
So yes, I had to get dirty, but I wasn’t stupid. Afterward, I made damn certain all evidence was cleaned up properly.
The drive back to the sprawling, ten-thousand-square-foot brick and stucco mansion I’d called home for the last five years took almost an hour. An entire hour of sitting on the covered backseat of the sedan, repulsed by my odor and my clothes and the dark flecks of blood dried on my skin. It wasn’t the blood that pissed me off per se. I simply liked to maintain a certain appearance, one of power and control. At least, that’s what I told myself.
To stay occupied and stop my wandering thoughts, I threaded my lucky coin, a quarter given to me by my sister years ago, over and under my knuckles, but tonight it didn’t work. Nothing distracted me for very long. It felt like my brain never turned off. I was pretty sure I had some kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder. I just didn’t like to think about it too much. The more I fixated on things, the worse my urges became.
I didn’t care for the word neurotic, but for as long as I could remember, that was pretty much how my mind worked. I would relentlessly go over shit in my head again and again until it drove me crazy. Shit like business—all the moving parts, the people, the potential for leaks, for theft, for employees narcing to the cops or working for my rivals—or other things, like my clothes, the cleanliness of my house, or worse, my past and my family. I’d rather obsess over minor shit like dirt than the darker times in my life. Yet time and time again, I would torment myself with those thoughts until I either started drinking or turned into an angry, agitated bastard.
Right now, there wasn’t any alcohol available, and agitated bastard was winning by a landslide.
By the time the car came to a slow roll in the circular drive, I was anxious and twitching and desperate to get the fuck out of that goddamn tin can and my bloodstained clothes and into a hot shower. The vehicle was still moving when I flung open the door and jumped out before Frank had a clue his only passenger was leaving.
“See you in the morning, Frank.” I dismissed my driver and closed the door without a single glance back.
“Yeah, okay. See ya, Boss.” The quiet purr of the engine let me know Frank was pulling the sleek luxury sedan into my eight-car garage for the evening. My shoulders fell and I let out a long exhale. The sun had almost finished its descent in the sky. An entire day of work under my belt and still so much to be done.
First things first. Get rid of evidence.
On the stone steps of the mansion, I toed off my favorite buttery soft Italian loafers, now completely ruined. Giving them one last sorrowful look, I left them on the step for the staff to collect and dispose of. I used the same silk pocket square to open the front door, and padded across the enormous, two-story marble foyer to the wide, curving staircase that led to the upstairs hall. A right turn at the top took me through the master bedroom to the sprawling master bath.
With the exception of the garage, which was tricked out with enough fancy tools and gadgets to make any gear head cream his pants, this bathroom was my haven. A place to escape the never-ending bullshit that came with being the boss, up to and including the need to escape my own insidious thoughts. For some reason, standing under the soothing jets of my shower was the only time I was able to turn off my constantly firing neurons and actually relax.
Frank had called ahead to get the house ready and tasked one of my employees with spreading a drop cloth out over the carpet in the master bedroom and the tile floor of the bathroom. I paused in front of the vanity before stripping and scowled when I took in my reflection. What I saw was shocking. The stranger staring back at me looked like shit warmed over—scary, murderous, criminal shit. Most days, I gave the appearance of a well-groomed, wealthy businessman. Personal hygiene was important to me. Milo would joke and call me a metrosexual, which he thought was hilarious, but sometimes it made me want to punch out his gold tooth.
Tonight, however, the man in the mirror was far from well groomed. Tonight, I looked every bit the ruthless drug lord that I was.
My dark brows were low and heavy over flashing eyes that were currently a few shades darker than their usual cobalt blue. My lips were pressed into a grim line, my face heavy with stress. The custom white button-up and light gray designer suit I wore, both of which were pristine this morning, were now splattered with blood and streaks of dirt. The spray was heavier on my chest and abdomen, thick drops that trailed up to a fine mist across my throat. My knuckles, while somewhat clean from the wipes, were red and swollen. There would be bruises on them tomorrow.
I let out an unamused snort and shook my head. Son of a bitch. I still couldn’t believe that stupid motherfucker, Mason Smith, was stealing from me.
I wish I hit that fucker harder.
It only took a minute to peel off the offensive clothing and toss the entire bundle onto the drop cloth. I rolled all of it up and stuffed the large wad into a plastic-lined hamper marked “trash.” The items would be handled by my staff, incinerated to ash before the remains were disposed of at a landfill to make certain all evidence was destroyed. While the clothes were taken care of, other employees would thoroughly decontaminate the floors, from the front steps all the way to my bathroom, eliminating any trace of blood.
Frank was in charge of sanitizing the car. He would wipe away anything not caught by the seat cover or floor liners, using a special light to ensure all bodily fluids were gone. Everything I touched would be sterilized until the event in the warehouse no longer existed anywhere but in my memory.
Clothes shed, I unfastened the two black sheaths wrapped around my wrists, small but lethal steel blades tucked inside each one. Those, I placed carefully on the countertop. My sleeves kept them from getting dirty, so they wouldn’t need to be replaced. Thank god I didn’t feel the need to use my knives tonight. My hands might hurt, but punching was much less messy than stabbing and cutting someone. I wrinkled my nose at the thought of the powerful spray of blood that came from hitting an artery.
Anxiety rippled over my skin as I stepped over to the huge spa shower. A few taps on a digital panel and the oversized shower roared to life. Hot water shot from wall jets while a rain head in the ceiling sent a soothing cascade spilling down. Desperate to be clean, I stepped in and hissed at the sting of the scalding spray. My olive skin instantly reddened under the blistering heat of the water. It was too hot, but that was my way, my routine every evening, especially after nights like tonight. Not only did I need to make sure I was completely clean and free of blood, the heat helped loosen the tight muscles in my body, and washed away both the evidence and the anxiety as the water pounded down.
With single-minded focus, I grabbed a washcloth and poured a healthy amount of fragrant soap onto it, scrubbing every single inch of skin and hair. Once rinsed, I repeated the process as usual, scouring my body until my skin was rubbed raw and became too sensitive to continue.
I stepped out of the shower, my body pink from the thorough cleansing, and wrapped a towel around my waist. The washcloth was tossed into the disposal bin with my clothes and I returned to stand in front of the mirror and examine my face. I frowned at what I saw. No doubt I had aged a lot in the last five years, more than was natural. Life hadn’t been kind. Or easy.
At twenty-eight, the man in the reflection looked more like thirty-eight. Lines that didn’t exist a few years ago now crinkled from the corners of my eyes like tributaries off a river. The short, designer stubble I maintained didn’t help me appear any younger; in fact, it did the opposite.
Already speckled with gray, the scruff was a shocking contrast to my near-black hair. But the facial hair made me look more like a scary motherfucker and less like a baby-faced kid playing grown-up in this game. A game that, above all, required instilling copious amounts of both fear and respect—things not handed over easily—into rivals who had seen it all and punks who were barely old enough to drink, let alone run an illegal drug empire. I shook my head and stepped away from the stranger in the mirror.
Dressed in a pair of Armani track pants and a fitted tee, I padded barefoot down the stairs and headed for my study. With a thumb to the digital keypad, I unlocked the reinforced door. The light flashed green, soundlessly retracting the seven separate two-inch-thick bolts and releasing the airtight seal with a soft hiss. The door also took a key or combination in case of a power outage, but I was the only one with access to either of those. The study was the one room in the house that was designed to be completely impenetrable—a panic room. While every single window in the mansion was specially crafted out of bulletproof glass, the study also boasted lightweight, armored steel plates beneath the drywall and a high-tech air filtration system connected to a generator.
Desperate to free my mind from the obsessive thoughts urging me to do unhealthy things, I crossed the room to an elaborate bar carved out between two large bookcases, poured a healthy portion of whiskey, and downed it in one gulp.
Fuck, that burns so goddamn good.
I poured another, this time adding ice and sipping it slowly as I circled the desk. Mentally and physically exhausted, I dropped into the plush leather chair. My entire body relaxed into the seat. I didn’t want to contemplate tonight’s events. What was done was done. I never had regrets, not with business anyway, yet I felt myself becoming maudlin. My mind kept drifting, bringing me back to my past despite my aversion to doing so.
Junkie (Broken Doll #1) by Heather C. Leigh / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes