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Hard Up

By´╝ÜVivian Wood

Hard Up


Black Saints Book One
1


Viola had never pointed a gun at anyone before.

Her hands shook as she gripped the little revolver.

The thug hadn’t seen her slip from the front door of the bar, didn’t hear her come up behind him. It seemed he was too focused on his prey, the target he’d been sent to assassinate.

One second, the bad guy was standing over Callum's supine body, staring down at Callum where he lie sprawled on the rain-slicked cement. The parking lot was empty except for Vi, the two men, and a glossy black Mercedes.

The next second, the guy thrust back the hood of his jacket. Vi took in his dark hair and olive skin, her brain instantly firing off: Italian. Mobbed up.

Then she saw the glint of silver in his hand as he raised his gun.

Something inside her bubbled up, the part that was born and bred to a life of just this sort of violence. A part that knew what to do, even after years of hiding from her old life.

She looked at Callum, a man she barely knew, unconscious on the ground.

Vi knew she couldn’t let the assassin fire a second shot.

Her hand clenched, finger on the trigger. Before she could even think, the gun went off.

CRACK.

Her mouth opened in a surprised O.

For a few seconds, everything seemed to slow way down, like she was watching a movie of her own life.

Twenty feet away, the hitman froze, a dark stain blossoming on the back of his hoodie.

He dropped his gun and reached down to pluck at his chest, as if he could stop the blood pouring from the wound.

He tried to turn to look at her, to see the person who’d come out of nowhere to take his life.

She’d shot him in the back. In cold blood, as her father would have said.

Her target couldn’t turn fast enough to see her.

Vi didn’t even get a good look at his face as she fired. Just that he was dark-haired and tan, wearing a black hoodie. And he had that look about him, the same look of all the men she’d grown up with.

Sicilian, some might say. But to Vi, she could only think: made man.

He stumbled, looked like he was about to drop.

She stood rooted in place, knowing she didn’t have the courage to shoot him a second time.

Vi watched as he collapsed onto the pavement. The wound she’d inflicted had proved fatal after all.

She blinked away the mist clinging to her eyelashes and dripping from her brows. The gun was still warm in her shaking hands as she lowered the weapon.

Just then, everything sped back up, a rush of sensations all coming back to her at once.

Her heart started to pound, her throat thick, mouth dry.

She glanced around for a second before crouching to drop the gun on the ground.

If anyone had heard the gunshots, they weren’t making themselves known. Still, she couldn’t just stand here with a target on her back.

She stepped over the gun, leaving it where it lay. It’d served her well, but now adrenaline was surging through her body and brain. She was shaking too much now for the gun to be of any use.

She moved toward Callum, her pulse racing.

If she’d ever wondered if she was capable of shooting someone… here was her answer.

Was it any surprise, really?

Vi was her father’s daughter. She knew exactly how to handle situations like this one. She probably should’ve shot the guy, wiped down and dumped the gun, and then got the hell out of this parking lot before anyone ever knew she’d been here.

She could almost hear her father’s voice, coaching her through her next steps.

Move quick, stay sharp.

She looked over at the only witness to her crime.

Callum was still and quiet but awake now, lying against the wheel well of a gleaming Range Rover. Watching her with those unnerving green eyes, curious and unafraid.

She couldn’t meet his gaze.

Pressing her knuckles against her lips, Vi whirled, turning her back on Callum. She sucked in a breath, holding in the panicked sob that threatened to escape.

What have I done? she wondered. She began to shake in earnest, her hot tears mingling with the icy rain on her cheeks. I can’t believe I shot someone.

No, she thought. Killed someone. I’ve killed someone.

She’d always been impulsive, but this time she’d fucked up, bad.

She’d taken a life. Worse, she’d thrown herself in the middle of a turf war between the Irish and the Italians. So, so stupid.

And for what?

To save some guy she’d slept with once?

A one-night stand, no matter how incredible, did not merit dropping a body for someone.

The worst part was, she had the idea that her father would be proud.

Maybe you finally learned some loyalty, she imagined him saying.

“Shit,” she whispered.

A gust of wind carried away her words, and they slipped into the darkness of the wintry night.

Wrapping her arms around herself, Vi stood in the parking lot and started to pray.

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