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Wrong (Wrong #1)
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My life was mapped out and planned to perfection. I knew exactly what I wanted and where I was going, until I was thrust into his world and ripped from mine. In the blink of an eye everything shattered, proving to be nothing more than a cheap illusion. Now I’m living in this twisted form of hell, where enemies and friends are one and the same. I thought I wanted perfection. Now I don’t know what I want – perhaps not even my own freedom.
I’m the definition of wrong. I’m violent, I’m greedy, and I stop at nothing to win. I’m a notorious bookie and in my game paying with your life is not just a figure of speech. You lose, I collect. I take whatever you have. She’s collateral for a debt, and if that debt’s not paid someone will die. This should be just business, so why can’t I kill her?
Lust. Blood. Lies.
Nothing this wrong should feel so right.
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This won’t be the first time I’ve killed someone, and it won’t be the last, so why is my heart pounding so damn hard right now?
Most people might say that what I’m about to do makes me one sick fucker, but when someone slaughters your family, you, in turn, kill theirs. I’m doing this for revenge, pure and simple. Merciless vengeance, it’s just how it goes in my world: you use violence and power to enforce your rules. When you make a living illegally, you learn how easy it is to prosper from others’ fear, although not all bookies are as brutal as I am. Having a conscience is where other bookies fail. Brutality is the difference between making a few dollars and making a million. You cannot be weak and survive in this profession, and the moment someone no longer fears you, you’re fucked.
I’m not fucking weak! I’m trying to psyche myself up, slightly pissed that I’m finding this harder to swallow than I thought I would. I know the only reason I’m still standing here with my pulse banging in my ears is because this particular situation involves a woman. You’d think it would be no problem to follow through with, seeing as how I don’t really have morals—right and wrong, I don’t play by those rules, I wasn’t raised to. Hell, I grew up in a house where arsenals were kept in every room “just in case.” I witnessed my first murder when I was only twelve. So I can’t understand why I’m conflicted right now. A soft moan and the thud of the headboard hitting the wall carries down the hall, and I shake those thoughts from my head.
Marney and I press our backs to the wall. My heart is still thrashing around like a caged gorilla. I try to regulate my breathing, but it’s nearly impossible with all the adrenaline that’s flooding my system. I stare at the door. I want to utterly destroy Joe Campbell, I want him to be so miserable death is the only thing he has left to look forward to, and if this is the way I have to do it, so be it!
There’s only one light on at the end of the hallway, and it’s just enough that I catch Marney make eye contact with me, then nod toward the door. I push away from the wall and kick the door in, startling the man and woman fucking on the bed. She shrieks and scrambles to her feet, covering herself with the sheets.
The man jumps up. Taking a boxing stance, he throws a punch at me. I duck and pull the gun from my belt, cocking it as I aim directly at his head. He freezes and tosses his hands in the air. I narrow my gaze and realize this is not a middle-aged man. This is not Joe, which fucks everything up.
“Shit! Where’s Joe?” I shout at the woman now cowering in the corner.
“He’s not here,” she sobs. Her eyes fix on me, taking in each detail of my face.
I glare at the man still frozen in front of me.
“Don’t hurt us, please,” he grovels.
“The safe is in the basement. There’s over a million dollars in there,” the woman frantically offers. “Take it! Take whatever Joe owes you,” she pleads, her voice trembling.
“Shut up,” Marney shouts.
I clench my jaw. “Oh, you’re gonna pay, sweetheart, but this debt can’t be paid in anything but blood.” I tilt my head to the side as her eyes focus on mine. She’s shaking and crying. “Your husband took something from me, and I’m going to take something from him.”
I swing my gaze to the naked man and stalk toward him. “Too bad for you, you chose the wrong woman to fuck around with. Wrong place, wrong time.” I stop about three feet in front of him, point the gun at his face, and pull the trigger. His body jerks backwards and collapses to the floor with a thud.
A shrill, drawn-out scream pierces the air, falling silent when the woman pulls in a large breath only to scream some more. I turn, the gun still raised, and she runs across the room toward the door. I go to pull back on the trigger, and I can’t. I really didn’t think it would be this hard to kill a woman.
Marney catches her and slams her onto the ground, pressing her down by her throat. “It’s not personal. This is all for your husband.”
“Please don’t kill me. I’m a mother…my boys…please!” she weeps.
“I’ll make it quick. I promise.” His tone is vacant of any emotion, completely monotone and matter-of-fact.
Headlights stream through the window, bouncing around the dark room, and she lets out another tortured cry. She fights, yanking and jerking. She bites Marney’s arm and I watch an animal-like scowl shoot over his face as he pulls his gun, shoves it against her temple, and BAM. She lies completely still. Marney wipes the blood splatter from his face with his sleeve. “Now what? Not as effective since we couldn’t tie the bastard up and make him watch, huh?”