“Kane,” Abram greets, as he extends his hand to me. He's a tall, slender man, with black hair that's slicked back with oil. I shake his hand firmly and stare into his eyes; they’re so dark, they appear black as well.
Abram’s a deadly boss. I heard about what he did to the cartel in Mazatlan. I’m not all that happy seeing how he cut ties purely for business reasons. And by cut ties, I mean demolished their businesses, stole everything they had, and murdered them. To call him ruthless would be putting it lightly, but beggars can’t be choosers. I know there’s a target on my back. I need to find a place and lie low. And this is the only option I have right now. So I’m making a deal with the devil.
“Abram. Or should I call you Boss?” I ask, with the hint of a grin on my face.
He smiles back broadly. “Boss, I think.” Hearing that allows me to breathe, but I don’t show my relief. He turns and wraps his arm around my shoulders, guiding me to the group of men. It’s an awkward hold on me, because I’m so much taller than him, but I allow it. “Thank you again, for making this transition easier on us. I appreciate the gesture.”
“No problem.” I nod my head and take a look at the product lined up on the table. That’s a lot of coke. No doubt using my hangar was a decent option for them. And a sign of trust that they accepted my offer.
“I’d like you to meet Vadik, my second-in-command,” Abram says. I reach out my hand to the underboss and he’s quick to take it with a smile. Another good sign. This man is older. Vadik looks to be somewhere around my father’s age, whereas Abram can’t be any older than 35. Abram’s face has the hint of wrinkles around his eyes. This man, however, has earned his age. Grey hair that’s slicked back the same way as Abram's and deep-set wrinkles on his face. His pale blue eyes are like ice. So fucking cold. This man reads as deadly. Abram could easily fool you into thinking he's less dangerous than he is, lulling you into a false sense of security. Based on everything I've heard about him, he's succeeded in doing that multiple times in the past with former rivals. But this man, Vadik, looks like a killer.
“Nice to meet you.” I shake his hand. He puts his other hand on top of mine.
“It is indeed, Kane. I’ve been anxious to meet the man who took down the entire Armeno family in one night.” He smiles wickedly as he says, “You’ve made quite an impression.”
“I’m happy to hear that.” I say the words, but I’m not happy at all. I did what I had to do. I didn’t want to. I had to.
“I’ve considered your proposal to join me,” Abram begins, while looking me in the eyes. I can feel a “but” coming, and I don’t like it. I keep my expression impassive as he continues. “I like it. I like it a lot. I think we’ll work well together.” My brows raise slightly and he registers my surprise.
“We’re going to have some more guests in a moment,” Abram says, motioning with his hand and guiding me to the front of the hangar. The doors are open, and the sun is shining through. It’s a bright, beautiful day. The breeze is refreshing. Too fucking bad there’s so much adrenaline pumping in my blood that I can barely breathe.
“More guests?” I ask, with a bit of curiosity in my voice. I’m not curious though--I’m pissed. I offered my place to him to use for entry into the US. Not for him to use as a base for his operations. And definitely not so he could invite more people. But I’m sure as shit not going to tell him that. Not right now, anyway. I may be fueled by anger, but I’m not a hothead.
“Now that our competitor is no more, we have a few business meetings to conduct.” He stops in the open runway, looking toward the road. “Have you heard of the Valettis?”
I nod my head at his question. The Valettis are a tight pack. They're nearly the only famila left that has an actual family related by blood heading up their organization. At least around these parts. I’ve heard good things about them, promising things. But we’ve never met personally. They stayed in their territory and we stayed in ours.
“Well, they did business with our former competitor and now they’re coming to meet us regarding our new terms.”
“New terms?” I question. I’m surprised to hear that. I know they can raise their prices now that they’re the lead exporter. But I’m not sure it’s the wisest to do that at the beginning of a business relationship.
“You’ll see,” Vadik says from my left side with a crooked grin and a twinkle in his cold eyes. I don’t like the way he says it, but again, I don’t give them anything. Instead, I nod my head and stare at the two black Range Rovers driving up the dirt road to the landing strip. My heart beats faster in my chest and it’s harder to keep the anger from showing.