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Kingpin(6)

By:Alexa Riley



I was seventeen the first time I killed a man, and I never once regretted it. He was the one who was responsible for their death and was the leader of a rival organization. That day I became a man, and to those around me, I became the boss. I was young, but I was smart. I knew exactly what my father had wanted for his men and their families, because he wanted the same for us. He wanted us to have a choice. We could lead a life of crime, but we could also have safety for our children. True, there are groups out there that sell drugs, guns, women, and we try to step in when that crosses our path. We’re no saints, but we want our area of Los Angeles clean, and we want to lead our lives in peace. That’s what I’ve been fighting for the last thirteen years.

I’ve thought about nothing but giving that to my men and making money. My people want for nothing, and that’s how it should be. Every now and then I have to take the trash out, like Joey last night. But for the most part, I’ve got a long list of people who can handle problems for me.

When I get to my office, three of my guys are sitting outside waiting on me. It’s five in the morning and everyone is dressed in suits. That’s one of my rules. You don’t come see me unless you’ve got your shit together. That includes your clothes.

Giovanni stands up and follows me as I enter. He’s my right-hand man and has been my best friend since I was ten. Our fathers ran this organization together, and he could have easily been the boss with me. But he keeps telling me that he wants a family, and once he’s got that he’s out. He’s not in this for life like I am, and the wife he takes is going to be the one who helps him walk out the door. I’ve been waiting on that day, but he hasn’t met her yet, and until he does, I’ll keep him close.

He’s got two of my top guys with him, and I say good morning to everyone as my assistant brings in coffee and we all sit down at the long conference table. My desk is on the other end, facing windows that look out into a garden in the back. Gio said I should have gotten a high-rise with views of the city, but I see enough of that shit. I want peace and tranquility for as long as possible during the day.

“You going to tell us what that phone call was about last night?” Gio asks as he sips his espresso.

The other guys keep quiet, listening and taking notes. They are looking to step into Giovanni’s place when he leaves, although we don’t know when that will be. So they’ve been on his heels for the past eight years. We’re both used to ignoring them by now.

“I just needed to know who runs it and what kind of condition it’s in,” I say, shrugging.

“I rode by there after your call and checked it out.” He shakes his head. “You can tell the condition of it just by looking at it.”

He says the word condition like he doesn’t believe me. He knows me better than anyone, so he knows something is up.

“The place is a dump. What do you want with it? It’s not in our territory, per se, but we could put some guys on it. I saw you had two out there last night when I went by. You going to tell me why?”

I eye him for a second and then shake my head. I’m not ready to explain what happened. Hell, I don’t even know what happened myself. By the time I got home and rubbed one out in the shower thinking about those ice gray eyes on me, it felt like a dream.

“Everything go okay with Joey last night?” He raises his eyebrow like he can read my fucking mind.

“Yeah. Took care of business. Clean-up came by just before three. In and out,” I confirm.

“Good,” Gio says, and grabs a bagel off the tray. “I’m sending the twins on the south route today to check in and pay respects to Dylan’s family.” He nods over to the two guys at the table. They look nothing like twins, but they’re always together, and Gio isn’t bothered to try to tell them apart. “Dylan’s mother died yesterday. She was ninety-nine. God love her, she died two days after her husband. I bet she wanted to be with him again.”

He gives me a sad smile. Gio is such a sucker for a love story. I want to roll my eyes, but an image of Thea runs through my mind, and I keep quiet.

“So, looks like I’m with you today. What are we up to?” Gio asks, and I’m annoyed.

I wanted to spend the day alone, because deep down, I wanted to pay Thea another visit. I already know where she works and lives; it shouldn’t be too hard to track her down. But I don’t want anyone with me when I see her again. Although maybe it would be less conspicuous if I just so happened to stop in for lunch where she works. If I had Gio with me, maybe she wouldn’t be so spooked this time. Or maybe she’d be more intimidated. Either way, I’ve got to see her again. That much is true.

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