My fist slams against the bag. I see my uncle’s face. I throw a right hook. Next, a left jab. Over and over I slam my fists into the leather until my muscles scream with pain. And then I push myself harder. I feel my knuckles crack under the weight of my hits. The sound of my fists making contact with the heavy bag doesn’t do anything to relieve this tension, though. I want to hear the crunch of his jaw. Fucking rat. That coward destroyed my family, and ruined my life. And I can’t do shit about it. I can’t turn back time.
I hit the bag again and again, trying to get this weight that’s crushing my chest to leave me. I hear my father’s voice, the screech of the tires. The gunshots. I grab the bag and slow my racing heart. A deep breath fills my lungs, but it only serves to fuel my anger further. They hunted us all down because of my fucking coward uncle. And I can’t do shit to change any of that.
“Kane!” Marco shouts; his voice echoes in the empty room. I hear the door swing shut and his boots smack against the concrete floor of the warehouse. I wipe the sweat off my face.
I needed to get out some aggression, but I have to be presentable for the meet, so I grab the towel on the pile of boxes next to me and wipe down quickly. I hear Marco walk toward me as I pick up my shirt and slip it on. I button it up, concentrating on keeping my anger at bay. Aggression would not be good right now. Not when I’m on my own, completely outnumbered, and about to meet the new boss of the Marzano Cartel.
Abram Petrov. He's become notorious for taking over the industry quickly, and with lethal force. Recently he's acquired the lead cartel in Mexico as well as heavy hitters in France and Russia, where he’s from. He’s a new force that’s not scared to play dirty, and now he’s on my doorstep.
“I’m ready!” I yell over my shoulder, and stalk toward him. Time to meet the new famila, or Bratva as the Russian fucks keep calling it. Or whatever the fuck he calls his crew. I have to try to earn a position with a mob that’s willing to take in the nephew of a rat. I swallow thickly. I’ve been waiting for a few weeks for this meet-up, staying in the warehouse and lying low with a target on my back. This place used to be a safe house for my family. Now it’s my bargaining chip to get the attention of Petrov.
His crew came and set up yesterday, but I kept my distance. They know it’s my place and they came to do business here, which is great. But I’m not a part of their crew. I’d rather give them the space they want and a warm welcome without getting involved in their shit. I can’t fuck this up.
“This is gonna be great. I know it will.” Marco grins at me and slaps his hand on my back. His arm has to reach up to hit me square on my shoulders. I’m six-foot-five and all muscle. Next to Marco I look like a fucking beast. I was the top earner in the famila for a reason. I’m a terrifying fucker to go up against. People tend to pay up rather than piss me off. But even with all the money I was bringing in, they tried to have me killed. They tried, and they failed.
“Boss’s already impressed with everything you did to those pussies.” My gut twists and my chest tightens with pain. They should’ve known better than to come for me. That shit with my uncle had nothing to do with me. Or my father. And they sure as fuck knew my sister and my mother didn’t have shit to do with any of it. They fucking came for us all the same, though. They should’ve made sure we were all dead. Those fuckers left me alive. And they paid the price. Even if they were the only people I had in this world.
I grin at him and huff a laugh. I need the boss to like me. I need somewhere to go, someone to be. I grew up in this life. And everyone I knew turned their backs on me. If I hadn’t been so fucked up, I could’ve started the business myself. I have contacts. A few I still trust. But I made this call too soon. Now I need to go through with it.
I breathe in deep and walk through the hall to the hangar. The meeting’s going down here. I’m ready for this. It’s not an ambush, but they could easily kill me. It’s just me against all of them. They’re not here for that. No one’s touching me after what I did. Revenge will make a man crazy. Unstoppable. Untouchable. But it’s also left me alone. I’m ready to move on and get back to work.
There are a few small planes in the relatively empty hangar. Stacks of cocaine bricks wrapped in plastic are sitting on a folding table. It's not what I’m used to. I’m more of a blackmail-the-politician type. But shipping and selling will have to do in the beginning, I suppose. Onward and upward or some shit like that. I’ll prove my worth.
Four men in black and grey suits surround the table, watching the two workers weigh and bag the product. As they hear our footsteps, they turn to face us. The boss, Abram, walks toward me. His underboss walks next to him, but a step or two behind. The other two men with them are obviously soldiers, judging from their broad shoulders. One has a scar across his face. It looks like it came from a slash that should’ve taken his eye out. The other has a tattoo scrolling up his neck. Both of the soldiers read as highly dangerous, nothing like Abram himself. Their dark eyes stare back at me as they put their arms behind their backs and square their shoulders, waiting for orders. Marco walks behind them and back to the table. He’s just a soldier. And he’s completely happy with that. He’s a dumb fucker.