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I crave power. I relish in it. And now that I have most of Vegas under my thumb, it's time to procure all of it. There's just one problem.
I'm supposed to prove to the elders that I've relinquished my need for revenge against a mortal enemy. But one trip to his club and I've found something I want more than appeasing the elders. Something I crave more than power. Something I need more than vengeance.
Release date: May 14, 2021
Publisher: Jaycee Leigh
Print pages: 140
Content advisory: 18+
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I have every intention of making nice with Petushki tonight. It’s all a part of the plan to pacify the families by making sure to keep the peace between my organization and the Petushki clan. There has always been too much bad blood. So much so, it started a war that lasted well over twenty years. Both sides lost people. Good people. And in some cases, innocent people. Yet, my only regret has been not getting my revenge before the truce was set in place. Everyone knows that. And it’s my job to convince them I can put aside petty differences for the sake of money and raking it in for all parties involved. I’ll admit, there are a million things I’d rather do than pacify anyone. I’ve spent years relishing in the pain and misery I’ve caused others. I’ve enjoyed exacting revenge and dishing out punishments to those who’ve crossed me. I’ve answered to no one. Not even the man whose seat I seized to begin my reign. If I want something I take it. It’s as simple as that. Brute force. That’s what I learned gains power. It has suited me well so far and has allowed me to align myself with the strongest—most powerful people in Vegas. Other organization leaders. The police. The FBI. The CIA. You name it and I have a hand in it. I own most of this city. But most is not all.
I enter the club and already feel slimy. But I’m a man with a purpose. And I’m not leaving without a surefire way to get what I’m after. More power. A woman wearing just as little as the women walking around the main floor greets me with a smile. She already knows who I am, and I her. Though it might appear that she works for Petushki, as a house mom, I follow her willingly, knowing she’s on my payroll. Just another mole hired to keep me up to date on an enemy’s dealings. It just so happens this one has got her foot in every door in town, which will come in handy soon enough. Once I’ve found a way to ease the elders’ minds, everything I’m after is as good as mine. I’ll need the info she has when that happens.
“Ivan isn’t in yet.” Gia says. “But wait here. I’ll see if I can find something to occupy your time.”
Already, I’m annoyed. No one keeps me waiting. Least of all Ivan Petushki. Young. Impulsive. And untrained. A childish imbecile who only inherited his power based on one thoughtless task. A task that earned him my hatred. I don’t have the patience for his bullshit tonight. He should be so lucky that my plans align with his needs. Even if he wasn’t expecting me, he should be here. Working. Not out, too busy enjoying his own fucking product to keep up with business. It’s after midnight. How could he not have reported to his club yet? I’ve already been to visit all of mine and have taken care of every dealing on my agenda today. Hell, I’ve already started in on my day tomorrow, and he hasn’t even bothered to stop in to make sure shit is running smoothly. It just goes to show, he doesn’t deserve to be in charge of his own destiny. He needs someone to come in and rule his territories. Tell him what to do, before he runs his entire clan into the ground. His father would be so disappointed. And unlike me, that kind of shit matters to him.
I wave a dismissive hand to Gia, as she leaves me in one of the Champagne rooms. Not long after, a rear door opens, and all thoughts are silenced as another woman enters.
The deep purple lights are supposed to shield my eyes from her curves until the last possible second. Instead, they call attention to her every move. The sway of her hips, as she struts up the four steps onto the platform. Every line and slope of her scantily clad figure in a tiny maroon dress that leaves barely anything to the imagination. Her hips rock as she slowly circles around the platform, following the seductive tune that blares overhead. It’s like falling into a trans. Watching the glow of her tanned skin under the stage lights, while she taunts me with promises of her naked form. I don’t frequent strip clubs. For damn sure, not this one. But damn, if I suddenly don’t feel the loss of what I’ve been missing by not stopping in sooner. She toys with the idea of raising the dress above her waist. Then, with the idea of lowering it below her enticing cleavage. Ultimately, she stores the thought away behind a mischievous grin before effortlessly folding her body around the pole. I’m thoroughly entertained watching her perform, twirling and spinning on the metallic beam. But it’s something about her. The way she confidently takes the pole in her hands, and works her body, that keeps me captive. I’m not a weak man. But watching her is as close to my knees as I’ve ever been brought.
The small dress adjusts over her shape and reforms with each passing curve as she rolls it down her body. Fuck. Her gorgeous hourglass figure is even more fit than it seemed beneath the tight spandex of the dress. Beautiful round breasts with nipples shielded by the thin triangular fabrics she wore beneath the dress. Her heart-shaped ass tempts me in her tiny black thong, as she circles her hips. I watch it, while she bends over to push the dress to her ankles, before kicking it onto the floor. My fingers curve around the arms of the chair I’m seated in, as I watch her hands smooth over the ridges of her soft flesh. I want to feel her skin under my fingertips. Not the polished surface of the faux leather chair.
Her eyes cut to mine, as if realizing for the first time that someone else is in the room. It doesn’t cause her to lose a single step though. Instead, she remains fixed on me, through the semi-darkness. I’ve lived my life in the shadows for so long, I forgot what it was like to be seen. No one has dared to make eye-contact like that with me in over three years. And if they did, there’d be hell to pay. Yet, as she does it, I can’t think of one sinister thing I’d like to do to remind her, her place. I can, however, concoct a much better way to make her pay for her insolence and it starts with her on her knees, taking my dick between those beautiful plump lips.
Her sexy little dance resorts to lying on her back and spreading her legs. Then fanning them around, while she poises her body on display beneath the spotlight. I sit forward. No woman—no one—has this kind of control over me, yet I’m sitting on the edge of my chair, preoccupied with the idea of her spreading those legs for me. Unacceptable. I’ve never been distracted from business, and I won’t start now. As much as I’m enjoying the show, I will not be swayed from my task for anything. Even a piece as fine as her, which is why I fight through the reluctance and clear my throat to end the dance. With a couple large bills in my hand, I hold them up into the light, where she can see.
Her hips ping back and forth, as she saunters over, stretching out every step. I wait with anticipation to hand her the money, eager for this to be over, while she stares me in the face. Her fingers sift through her long black locks, and she tucks her heavily painted bottom lip between her teeth. I’d bite that lip. I’d tug those locks between my fist, while filling her with my cock, and drilling into her a not-so-subtle reminder about who’s in control.
This time, she does miss a step, almost stumbling over. But she catches herself quick enough that if I were anyone else, I would’ve missed it. Maybe it’s because she’s recognized me, but the rise and fall of her chest suggests something else. Instead of walking away with the money, she tucks it into her G-string, and climbs into my lap. If she has recognized me, knowing who I am hasn’t scared her away.
I know I shouldn’t. But I sit back, as she brushes her firm ass over my dick, which twitches against the inseam of my pants. Rather than letting that stop her, she rubs her body up against mine, swaying her hips back and forth, and melting into me, with her wild hair tickling the side of my face. Damn it. She feels good. I press a hand to her waist, and she doesn’t balk at the contact. In fact, she yields to it, placing a hand on top of mine, while she glances over her shoulder. This floors me. She’s even more breathtaking this close up, which means more distracting. She brings her other hand up to close around the string keeping her top in place. I catch her fingers, stopping her, before she has a chance to tug it free and steal what’s left of my focus. Once again, she peers over her shoulder, through curved lashes to look at me. Damn. Her big, brown, eyes, are sucking me in all over again.
It’s been too long since I’ve felt this kind of fire. None of my mistresses possess it. They’re all hand-picked submissive types, that come with the promise of pussy anyway I like. Anytime. Even if it is what I asked for, it’s still unsatisfying. So much to the point that I’ve barely called on them over the last month. Not even the woman whose bed I’ve frequented the longest has been able to regain the ability to leave me content. Now, that I’ve seen the woman in my lap, it’s possible none of them ever will again.
Her eyes drop to my mouth, as she parts her lips, waiting for me to speak. I can’t help but do the same. And although, I don’t go for kissing, I’m tempted, leaning in so that we’re just a breath away from one another.
The door snaps open, and Petushki steps inside. Even under the lights I can see his reddened face. So can she, as she instantly jumps to her feet and takes a step away.
“Reign.” Ivan forces a smile, while casually glancing at the woman whose fire and energy I can still feel burning through my veins. “I wish I’d known you were coming tonight. I would’ve had better girl for you.”
Rising to my feet, I button my jacket, annoyed with the interruption. However, I don’t speak on it, as I slide an additional one-hundred-dollar bill from the clip in my pocket. “Hope you don’t mind me stopping in. I thought it important, now that this feud is behind us.”
He nods, his obvious disdain for me buried beneath the mask he wears. Ivan hates me just as much as I hate him. “Absolutely. We should toast to such an occasion. Get us something to drink.”
Petushki barks out the order, but she rolls her eyes in disrespect, taking her time to walk away on those stilts. The bar is only across the room, and I watch—again distracted—as she prances on her heels. She pours two drinks and returns to stand between me and Ivan, who’s still yammering on about some bullshit I can’t care about right now. This too is unsatisfactory. Same as the brief eye-contact she makes, when passing me my drink. I offer her the bill I’ve been holding since the second she vacated my lap, but she hesitates before taking it.
“Come now, Moya Kiska. Don’t be rude.” The Russian’s thick accent falls heavily over the words spoken in his native tongue. And even though my Russian is fucking pathetic, I have to fight off my reaction to the name he calls her. ‘My Pussy’. The woman wraps her fingers around the bill. “Thank you.” She says, bunching up all the money and shoving it into Ivan’s empty hand. “I thought I’d save you the trouble.”
“Watch yourself, Moya Kiska.”
“Watch yourself, Ivan. And don’t call me that.”
“As long as you’re in debt to me, I will call you what I like. You should be so lucky to be mine.” He sneers, while brushing a fingertip over her exposed shoulder.
She slaps his hand away. “But I’m not yours.”
Listening to them squabble is just another thing I don’t have the patience for. But her response intrigues me enough to indulge them.
“We’ll talk later. I think it’s time you learned who you belong to. Your loyalty is to me, whether you want it or not. Unless you can pay your debt today.”
“How could I? You don’t let me dance. You don’t let me touch the money I make. I have no clue how much I still owe.”
“You’re no good dancer. If you were better, you could make more. Then maybe you wouldn’t be in such a hole. I place money on your debt. And some for fees. Anything else… just look at it as an additional finder’s fee. I found you. I found the clients. I deserve a taste. Just think. If you’d stop this nonsense, submit to me, I’ll take care of you. Wipe your debt. You won’t have to work.”
She shakes her head. “I don’t need you taking care of me. I don’t want it. And I don’t want you.”
She falls to the floor from the force of Ivan’s strike, as a loud crack rings in the air over the music that’s still playing to the song’s end.
“Reign. Forgive her. She hasn’t been properly broken in yet.” He closes in on the woman puddled at the floor. “You embarrass me in front of my guest.”
Even now, as he attempts to intimidate her, she sits up straighter. “No. You embarrass you.”
I remind myself of the peace that’s my responsibility to keep, as I force aside the idea of putting a bullet in his skull. Ivan is already scum that doesn’t deserve another breath for striking a woman. The fact that he’s willing to cheat someone out of there cut, does nothing to change the way I feel about doing business with him. I may rule by force, with just enough of a moral compass to not give a shit about the business I’m in. But I have always been fair enough to stay true to my word. If I offer you a deal, it’s as good as done. It’s the only way to stay in this line of work. Your track record—your follow through—is all you have. For this alone I should kill him now. For the woman on the floor, I should make him suffer. Slowly. Painfully.
I answer to no one. But I consider, again, the men I’m trying to appease. And I know kickstarting the war again could—in no way—benefit my organization or my plans. My fists tighten, angry at my mind’s conclusion to stay out of it.
“You act like you’ve got it so bad with me.” Petushki says with outrage.
“I’ll never be with you.” She says through clenched teeth.
If she could kill with her eyes, Ivan would be a dead man. He doesn’t know what to do with that kind of fire. He’s too busy trying to contain it, not realizing she can never be tamed. That kind of passion needs to be harnessed—wielded by a man who can take charge and show her everything she never knew she craved. Ivan isn’t the man to do it.
I should leave it alone. It isn’t any of my fucking business. Nor are his plans for her. She isn’t mine to protect. The problem is I want her. I did from the moment she walked into this room. And it’s even more true now that I know Ivan hasn’t had her yet. My jaw ticks I’m grinding my teeth so hard, trying to bottle up the rage brewing inside, at his hardhanded treatment of the woman at my feet. Petushki reaches down, viciously grabbing her by the hair, and ripping her to her feet. “You will. Tonight. It’s time I take what you owe. Get dressed and go wait for me at the car with Genrikh.”
“That’s enough!” I bark out, before I have a chance to stop myself. This freezes him in his tracks.
“You dislike the way I handle what’s mine?” The Russian asks.
“Business first.” I say, trying to conceal my temper.
Ivan’s anger eases as well. Just enough so he nods and releases the woman. I hand him the envelope I’d planned to give him as a show of good faith.
“I trust your washer is having a smooth transition.”
“Please.” Ivan says. “Don’t insult. Couple hundred-thousand is easy.”
“Good. Then that’ll take care of your share.”
“You give now?” He asks.
I nod. “Good faith. In honor of our new alliance.”
“This is good.” The Russian laughs, unaware of what’s being cooked up in my head.
I look to the woman, easing the dress back over her hips, when I say my next words. “She comes with me.”
“Bullshit.” He replies instantly.
She’s staring at me, and I have to tear my eyes away so that I can look at Ivan.
“Reign.” He says, in a calmer tone than his expression suggests. “She’s my best girl. I have others. Better ones that you can have.”
“Now who’s full of shit?” I ask. “You don’t put her in rotation. She said so herself.”
“Not this one. I need her.” Ivan says.
This time, I acknowledge her. “Are you two involved? I won’t take you, if you are.”
This is her out. Her chance to say she doesn’t want to come with me. There’s no doubt she knows exactly who I am. If she wants to keep her distance from me, all she needs to do is tell one little lie.
I wait to see her decision, before she shakes her head, staring angrily at Petushki.
“Then what keeps you here?”
“Shut up, Moya Kiska.” Ivan snaps, and she glares at him, once again, before I have the chance.
“I owe him money.”
“Money for what?” I ask.
“Shut the fuck up!” Ivan yells, with enough force, spit falls from his lips.
“I stole from him. Twenty-grand. Six months ago.” She answers. “So, whatever you want with me can’t be worse than the last six months have been.”
“I plan to fuck you.” I tell her candidly and wait again for a reaction. She doesn’t have one. Not that I can tell, which peaks my interest.
“You sure you aren’t his?” I ask one final time. I don’t give second chances, but I’m giving her one—her last one—now that she has all the facts.
“No. I don’t belong to anyone.” She confirms.
“How much would it cost if you did?” I half-expect her false bravery to shrink before my eyes, but she frowns as if she’s prepared to tell me to go to hell. I’d be satisfied either way knowing that I was right. But then she shocks the hell out both me and Petushki.
“Enough that I can start over when you’re done with me.”
Maybe it’s not false bravery at all.
“Wait a minute.” Ivan says, taking a step forward.
I reach inside my pocket and pull the wad of cash free from my money clip. Tucking the empty clip away, I rest the cash on top of the envelop I just relinquished. “There’s your twenty-grand. With an extra ten on top.”
“I don’t understand.” Ivan says, looking at the money.
My eyes must flash with the amusement I feel. “Think of it as a finder’s fee. On top of the debt of-course.”
No matter how well he hides it, I know Ivan must be seething and not just at his words being tossed back at him. But the implication that this woman—a woman he’s been trying to obtain for himself—will come with me, sell herself to me, just so she doesn’t have to spend another moment with him. She holds no cards. I could’ve easily paid Petushki and demanded she pay back her debt naked and beneath me. Hell, if the last fifteen minutes is any indication, I could’ve had her with barely any prompting. But this way, we both get something out of it, which makes her decision to come with me an easy one. And me? The look on Ivan’s scorned face promises this deal will pay off tenfold. At this point, I’d damn near promise her anything she wants just to relive this moment again.
“You want payment? When I’m through with you, you’ll be set for life.” I finally tell her, and she nods agreement.
“You can’t take her!” Ivan yells. His skin so red it looks like his head’s about to pop off his shoulders. “I won’t let you.”
Cage, my head of security, comes barging into the room, along with Ivan’s guy, Genrikh.
“It’s done.” I say, prepared to lead her out.
“You can’t!” He charges toward us, roughly snatching her arm, in an attempt to knock her off her heels. But she maneuvers gracefully, steadying herself from falling over.
When he lunges again, grabbing her by the hair, she stumbles and hits her head on the platform. I land a heavy blow against his temple—enough to knock him back a step. My gun is trained on his head, before he has a chance to recover. When I glance behind me, Cage is knelt down checking on her, his gun pointed at Genrikh, who has his gun on me. None of us move.
“You won’t kill me.” Ivan says, forcing my eyes to snap to his.
I lean closer to him, so he’ll understand if I had my way, he’d already be dead. Whatever he sees when he looks at me, wipes the smug look from his face.
“Not yet. But if you keep testing my patience, I guess we’ll both find out how much of it I have. Your debt is paid. The girl is mine now.”
“Gentlemen.” Gia enters the room on a whisper. “There is a club full of people out there, including the mayor, the police chief, and enough major players to make this shit go from bad to worse.”
We all consider her words. Whatever weapons hang in the air are shelved, and I step away from Ivan.
“I’ll get her back.” He says. “You can’t keep me away from her forever.”
I’m inclined to smile. He’s forgetting that—thanks to the truce—there is one way to keep her away from him. Forever. Even when I set her free, he can’t touch her. It’d be punishable by death. I’ll win either way.
“Cage, grab my prize. I’ve got everything I came for.”
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