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Taken (Traded Series Book 3) by Rebecca Brooke (1)

CHAPTER 1

Brock

Snap.

Screams filled the room. Three of his fingers now lay at awkward angles. Blood continued to drip from his face onto the floor. Somehow the little shit managed to keep himself upright in the chair. Even though his other arm wasn’t bound by a zip tie anymore, Charlie had dislocated it getting Ray down the stairs and into the chair in the first place.

Snap.

Another finger flopped to the side. Miller wasn’t fucking around. Not that I could blame him. It was Ray Wasden’s fault that Marcello knew anything about Tess. If he’d borrowed the money from Ashton, Marcello wouldn’t have laid a hand on Tess. I had no idea whether his fingers were dislocated or broken. Either way, he wouldn’t be using that hand anytime soon. Honestly, he’d be lucky if he’d be able to drink out of a straw when all was said and done. A vein throbbed in Miller’s head.

Snap.

With no fingers left to damage, Miller dropped Ray’s hand. “I’m done.” Without another word, he turned back to the chair he’d vacated earlier, picking up the discarded bottle of scotch. He tipped the bottle back, drinking at least a few shots worth of the amber liquid. Ray now lay sprawled on the floor, blood dripping from various wounds on his body. The dumb shit had at least a few broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, five broken or dislocated fingers, and they were just the injuries I was sure of. There was no telling the damage my fists had done prior to getting him here. I glanced down at the knuckles on my right hand. The skin was split on a few of them. Nothing a little ice and time wouldn’t heal. I’d dealt with worse.

Malcolm’s cold tone brought me out of my thoughts. He was talking to Charlie. “You know the drill. Do whatever you want to him then leave him for cleanup.”

“You’ve got it, Malcolm.” Charlie hauled Wasden’s limp body off the ground.

Miller’s head snapped around. “Dean, I want to know what Marcello wants.”

“Fuck that,” Malcolm snapped and turned to me. “I want Nathan Marcello dead. I’m done with the sick motherfucker trying to destroy everything our family built. I want him out of the picture.”

I knew exactly what had to be done. “I’ll take care of it.” It was time to get to work. I walked out the door to the black sedan Malcolm kept at the dealership for situations like this. Discreet, plus the on-site detailing made cleanup that much easier. There was no way I’d take my baby to pick up a piece of shit like Ray Wasden. I’d drop it off and pick it up again when I had a game plan to get Marcello. No need to keep it out on the street any longer than necessary. First, I needed to know more about him than rumors and conjecture.

“Brock.”

I glanced over my shoulder to see Dean jogging up to me from the back of the building, his face illuminated by the lights from the parking lot. “Yeah?”

“What do you need from me to get this asshole?”

Dean and Charlie were Miller’s closest friends. Even without being ordered to do it, I should have expected they would want to do anything possible to help catch Marcello.

“Get me a list of everything he owns in town?”

He nodded. “I can get you everything in his name and everything that isn’t.”

“That’s exactly what I need. Once I have that, we’ll go from there.”

He pulled a set of keys from his pocket. “I’ll call when I have the whole list.”

I nodded and opened the driver’s side door.

He turned for his own car, determination written across his features. The man was a genius with computers, better than anyone else Malcolm had on his payroll. I knew I’d have the list in the next day or two, which would make it easier to find the sleazy bastard. I was the best in the business. I knew how to get in, finish the job, and get out without getting caught. There wasn’t time for mistakes, which left me waiting for more information before I made any moves.

My first stop was the dealership to switch cars. The familiar cherry red paint settled me. The engine came rumbling to life, a throaty sound that made me relax back into the seat. Adrenaline from the last hour fled my body as I backed out of the garage and set my foot on the gas. Tires squealed when I pulled from the lot, letting the wind swirl through the car.

I picked up my phone from the passenger seat and dialed Ashton’s number. It was early in the morning, but with Miller still at Orbit, I knew Ashton would be at the hospital with Tess. He answered on the first ring.

“Brock?” His voice was cautious.

“How’s Tess?” He’d get all the information we’d learned about Wasden and Marcello from Miller when he arrived.

“Same. She’s still unconscious. I’m guessing Miller’s on his way back.”

“He is. Are we still heading to the game tonight?” No matter the situation, we all knew how to deal with shit. We never mentioned business on our phones in case they were tapped.

Malcolm and Ashton had devised using sporting events as a way to collect debts without anyone knowing exactly what was going on. They had a private box at every professional sporting venue in the city. While Miller, with the help of Dean and Charlie, ran a club with back room gambling and a bar with sports betting, Ashton collected the family’s debts on top of running three different five-star restaurants in the city. Malcolm ran the dealership where the family laundered money for anyone willing to pay the right price.

At least twice a week, Ashton and I would catch a game and deal with as many clients as required. I was the hired muscle, which meant I got to sit back and watch the game with a drink, unless some smart-ass came in without the money, then it was time to get to work. Tonight was one of those nights. I wouldn’t blame Ashton for canceling, but it would be seen as weakness on his part. Nothing stopped debt collection. It gave people a reason not to pay.

“Yeah, but I’m bringing Elena with me. I’m not leaving her alone until Dad gets everything arranged.”

“I don’t blame you. I’ll see you tonight.”

I hung up the phone. I’d spent enough time with Elena while protecting her from her ex-husband to know she wouldn’t be a problem. Fuck, she was the one who shot him when he attacked her. She’d do what Ashton asked because it was for her safety. The moment I pulled in my drive, I shut off the car and went inside. The game wasn’t until tonight, enough time to grab a shower and get some sleep before heading over.

When I stepped out of the bathroom, after verifying that none of Wasden’s blood was left anywhere on me, I noticed a new text on my phone from Miller.

Call me.

After yanking on a pair of boxers, I dropped down onto the edge of the bed and dialed Miller. The phone barely rang once before he answered.

“Can you meet up tonight?”

No hello. No small talk. Just straight to the point. A point I understood, clear as day. Miller wanted something. “Where?”

“The hospital. I don’t want to leave Tess again.”

“I’m supposed to be meeting Ashton at the game.”

“It’ll be quick. I just need a change of clothes. Ashton won’t care if you’re a little late.”

Clothes? He’d changed before leaving Orbit. And Malcolm had already called the hit on Marcello, which meant he wanted something else.

I sighed. “Yeah, I’m gonna grab a few hours of sleep, then I’ll get clothes from your house and bring them by the hospital.”

“See you then.”

The phone disconnected and for a moment, I wondered what Miller might want that he couldn’t say over the phone. But exhaustion got the best of me. If I was going to be ready for whatever Ashton and I might have to deal with, I needed a few hours of sleep.

Hours later, I was pulled from sleep by the alarm on my phone. I glanced at the time. Just enough time to get dressed and have a cup of coffee before stopping by the hospital on the way to the stadium. There was no reason to stop by Miller’s. Asking for clothing was just a cover.

While I was sleeping, Miller texted me Tess’s room number, giving me the chance to bypass the front desk. I took the elevator to the fourth floor. The moment the door opened, Miller turned in his seat and gestured for me to come in. I shut the door behind me. Tess had taken a beating. Bruises covered her face and arms, which was all I could see with the sheet that covered the rest of her. I could only imagine the injuries to the rest of her body.

“I want him.”

 “The club. As little damage as possible. I’ll take care of the rest.” His voice was cold.

I ran a hand through my hair. Capturing Marcello was a fuckton harder than simply killing him. The latter meant I could make it look like robbery or a mugging gone bad. Bringing Marcello to Miller would require a whole new level of deception and planning to pull it off without leaving a single clue that could be traced back to the Hawes family. Then again, I wasn’t one to step away from a challenge. “It’ll take time.”

“I don’t give a fuck. I want him.” Miller’s tone was hard, cold.

“Then you’ll have him.”

 

 

 

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