“I told you I was a fighter—through and through.”
“Then be prepared to accept the consequences of your actions.” He rose to his feet and carried the dishes into the kitchen.
I stayed at the kitchen table and thought about the last threat he issued. I wanted to think he was bluffing, but he claimed he never lied. He wanted me to make Lucian suffer, and if Balto wasn’t fucking me, then he would have to get his revenge some other way. He’d killed Lucian’s brother…so would he kill me too?
After he rinsed the dishes, he left the kitchen and walked past me without a second glance.
My back was turned to him so I couldn’t see his expression. “What do you want from me?”
His feet stopped on the hardwood floor.
I stared out the floor-to-ceiling window that overlooked the city. “What’s the point in all this?”
He slowly walked back toward me, his footsteps getting louder as he approached me from behind. His scent entered my nose once he was directly behind my chair. His hand slid under the back of my hair, and he gripped my neck, a hint of possessiveness in his fingertips. “I like to torture my enemies, and there are several ways to do that. You can start cutting off fingers and toes, or you could do something more extreme, like psychological warfare. I want Lucian to suffer every single day as he wonders what I’m doing to you, if I’m fucking you in the mouth, pussy, or ass. I want him to be humiliated every time I step out in public with you, when the world knows what I took from him without fear. Eventually, he might try to get you back. When he does, I can let you go for a price. Or I can cross him the way he crossed me and shoot you in the back of the head once he fulfills his end of the bargain. I already enjoy fucking you, beat off to you, so I suggest you become so valuable, so irreplaceable that you’re worth more than that fucking diamond and his weapons. Otherwise, you’ll end up back where you started…or dead.”
I sat in the dimly lit room with my drink resting on the table in front of me. The strip joint was quiet tonight, probably because it was almost two in the morning on a Wednesday. The only men in the place were pathetic ones who had nowhere else to go—and criminals that never slept.
Heath sat in the back, a gun tucked under his jacket. He had me in his line of sight in case this meeting went to shit.
Finally, the man I was meeting made his move. He sat in the chair beside me, a cigar in his mouth and a drink in his hand. He blew out the smoke as he stared at the girls as they spun on their poles with their tits hanging out. A noticeable scar stretched from the top of his hand up his forearm. It was clearly a stab wound. Someone had pierced him with a knife and dragged the blade all the way to his elbow, skinning him like an animal after a hunt. “Hunter Reyes is undercutting you. He’s got a lot more money pouring in than he reports. He’s not just skimming off the top. We’re talking big money here.”
“Proof?” I couldn’t torture and kill a man without being certain. The world respected me because I was fair and just. Only if you were truly guilty would you be put to death. If I killed an innocent man, it would make me seem stupid and careless. Men believed in my verdicts, so they had to always be accurate. Besides, I didn’t want to kill a man who made me money.
“I don’t have any. It’s just what I’ve seen.”
It was hard to get proof without sticking out your neck too far. When my spies reported information to me, I knew they were legitimate. They couldn’t always provide me paperwork, photos, or recordings, but that didn’t make it untrue. “I’ll look into it.” All I had to do was stop by unexpectedly and take a look myself. If I found something, I’d finish the job then and there. If I didn’t find something, it would scare them so much they would take advantage of their second chance to do the right thing. “How much is he skimming?”
“I know he bagged ten during his last deal. But he only reported five.”
Hunter did only report five, so that made my spy more credible. I pulled out the wad of cash and set it on the table. “Leave.”
He stuffed the money into his jacket then left the strip club.
I stared straight ahead and looked at the girls without paying attention to them. My thoughts were focused entirely on Hunter Reyes, head of one of my biggest drug cartels. He pulled in money from the eastern countries. He had the most connections and the most men, so he was able to produce his product very quickly. The Cardello brothers were becoming the next biggest competitors with their amazing product. Case Cardello appeared fearless, but he didn’t seem stupid enough to cross me.