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Possess(The Syndicate: Crime and Passion 1)

By:Kaye Blue

Possess(The Syndicate: Crime and Passion 1)


Prologue





Ten Years Ago…



He stepped over the first body, careful to avoid the blood that pooled around it.

It was best not to make a mess, but as he looked around the room, his disgust rising with every passing second, he was reminded that the man who had come here before him not only had no concerns about making a mess, he reveled in messes.

He looked around the room again, his face muscles twisting with his displeasure at what he saw.

A small, tidy family room, pictures on the wall, a TV in one corner. The TV still played, but the screen was dimmed by the splattered blood that covered it.

He moved deeper into the house and maneuvered around the woman who lay in the middle of the floor.

He didn’t have to look closely to know that she, like the man at the door, was dead, so after a brief glimpse at her stiff, glassy-eyed face, he turned his attention to the scene unfolding in front of him.

“Get out here, you little bitch!”

His face muscles dropping even more, he focused on the man who had bellowed those words in a voice that vibrated with rage, menace, and more than a hint of excitement.

Santo Carmelli had centered himself in the narrow hallway, blocking whoever he had cornered from any chance of exit. He was also frothing at the mouth, his entire body seeming to expand with rage—and excitement—with each breath he took.

No different than usual, except now that Santo had a taste of the violence he seemed to feed on, he wouldn’t be satisfied until he’d had his fill. When Santo was like this, two kills wouldn’t be nearly enough.

“No more, Santo. Let’s go,” Maxim said, keeping his voice calm, disinterested, and not letting his irritation come through, difficult though it was.

If Santo heard, he gave no indication, too far gone in the bloodlust that made him so valued by his superiors and such a pain in Maxim’s ass.

Santo let out an animalistic growl and began stomping down the hallway, uncaring of the gore that coated his shoes and hands.

Maxim didn’t follow immediately, and instead debated whether he should just end this now.

Santo, never a reasonable man, had gotten worse. Much worse. And it always fell on Maxim to clean up his messes, a task Maxim had more than tired of, a task made that much worse by Santo’s sloppiness and his inability to think when he was like this. Santo’s proclivities were also crude, tiresome, not respectable.

It was an odd thing. Maxim didn’t care for niceties, respectability, hated them, in fact. He could also be as brutal as Santo, more so if the situation called for it.

But Santo was too far gone.

Maxim lifted his hand to the small but lethally sharp knife he kept in his waistband.

Santo was so distracted it would be easy to get close. Two quick slashes, and one of Maxim’s biggest annoyances and biggest potential rivals would be eliminated.

A tempting prospect, but one Maxim disregarded.

He was close, and all the pieces he needed for his takeover were in place. In a few weeks, the Syndicate would be his.

Then he’d deal with the Santo problem.

Until then…

“Santo,” he said, still calm, tone not betraying how close he’d been to ending Santo’s life.

His voice must have penetrated Santo’s blind rage, for he turned and looked at Maxim.

“Fuck off, Maxim. I’m busy,” he yelled.

“I can see that,” Maxim replied. “Busy and too fucking crazy to do this right. Go now, Santo.”

He shook his head. “No fucking way. She’s back there somewhere trying to hide from me.” As he spoke, he glared down the hallway, yelling even louder. Then he looked back at Maxim, eyes wild with uncontrolled rage. “You think I’m letting this go? That bitch scratched me!” he said, gesturing at the gouges that marked his arms.

Good for her.

Santo probably hadn’t even felt it, but it was good that she’d fought back. Doing so had only pissed Santo off more, and only made Maxim’s already-hard job harder, but Maxim didn’t care. A few scratches were nothing, but Maxim would savor any victory against Santo, no matter how small and symbolic or how much it inconvenienced him.

“I’ll take care of it, Santo,” Maxim said, holding the other man’s gaze.

They were equals in the Syndicate, at least in name, and Maxim had no real authority to give orders, at least not yet. But while Maxim had no official authority over Santo, he had clout, influence, and support that Santo, despite how valued he was by certain members of leadership, did not. Even when he was like this, caught up in his rage and little else, Santo knew that.

Santo’s breath began to smooth out, some of the minuscule reason he had clearing the rage in his eyes.

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