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Delicious Prey
Author: Sonja Grey


Chapter 1






I take the drink Ivan offers me, but when he waves at the leather chair in front of his massive desk, I remain standing.

“Always so fucking stubborn,” he mutters in Russian.

The head of the Teterev Bratva pours himself a vodka and lights a cigarette. His cold, brown eyes meet mine. We’ve been working together for a decade, ever since I turned fifteen and proved my worth to him by taking out a competitor who was trying to creep into Ivan’s territory. No one else could get the hit on Mikhail, but I’d managed it. When I’d brought Ivan the man’s head, he’d hired me on the spot. I’ve been his best hitman ever since. The pay is good, the work is relatively light, and I get to do what I love. It’s a win-win.

“So tell me about last night,” he says, filling his lungs and blowing the smoke out through his nose.

I take a drink and rest my arm on the mantle of the fireplace that takes up a ridiculous amount of space in his office. Ivan’s never been a subtle guy, though, and that’s why he likes me. We both like to make statements. I may live in the shadows, but everyone is aware of my work. Together, we’ve kept the Teterev Bratva at the top of the food chain by ensuring that everyone else is too scared to fuck with us.

“You’re too damn tall to hover,” Ivan says, taking another drag of his cigarette.

I smile and toss back the rest of my drink before sitting in the chair opposite his desk. Stretching my long legs out, I unbutton my suit jacket and meet his eyes.

“Last night went well, very well, actually.”

Ivan smiles. “Details, Kirill. You know I like the details.”

I lift my hands and give a small shrug. “Not much to tell. He’s dead. Two shots to the head. No witnesses.”

“You never leave witnesses.”

He’s right. I never do. I’m also not stupid enough to have witnesses in the first place, but sometimes it just can’t be avoided. The few times it has happened, it’s been a quick fix. Unfortunate, yes, but the alternative is to let them go and possibly identify me later, which is not something I can allow, no matter how much they may beg and promise that they’ll never tell a living soul about what they’ve seen. You can’t trust someone who’s begging for their life. They’ll always tell you whatever they think you want to hear.

Ivan stubs out his cigarette and pours us both another drink. The gold of his wedding band clinks against the glass decanter. His office is devoid of family photos, but I’ve met his wife and three kids on more than one occasion. I’ve even met all three of his mistresses. Ivan’s a man who keeps busy. I’ve told him before that every single one of them is a liability, that men like me will always see them as targets, a way to send a warning or to hurt and weaken him enough so another man can come in and take over, but he refuses to heed my advice. He maintains he loves them all and could never part with a single one. I told him he’s full of shit and just likes to get his dick wet. If I was anyone else, that comment would’ve gotten me killed, but Ivan had just laughed and nodded his head in agreement.

“That I do, Kirill,” he’d said with a laugh. “It keeps a man young.”

He’s been head of the Bratva ever since his dad died, and now that he’s nearing fifty, he’s been even more paranoid than usual. He’s convinced everyone is just waiting for him to show the slightest sign of weakness, and once they see it, they’re going to pounce. He’s not wrong. That’s part of what last night’s hit was about. The Faretti family killed one of his men a few days ago, and the man I killed was retaliation. Ivan had lost a low-level drug runner, but I’d taken out a man who was much higher up in the ranks.

“So how’d you manage to get Lorenzo?”

I smile and shake my head. “I don’t reveal my secrets, Ivan. You know that. I’m the best for a reason. I don’t trust anyone. I have my ways, and I always get the job done. That’s all you or anyone else needs to know.”

Ivan laughs and lights another cigarette. “Fair enough.” Grabbing his iPad, he pulls up a file and then scoots it across the desk to me. “I need this one taken care of tonight.”

I arch a brow at him. He knows I require more of a heads-up so I can fully prepare for the job.

“I know, I know,” he says before I can speak. “I just found out he’s in town less than an hour ago, and he’s leaving tomorrow morning. This is the only window we have. It has to be tonight, and I’ll pay double, of course, for the inconvenience.”

When I see who the file is on, I meet Ivan’s eyes again. “You sure you want to do this? There’s no going back after you give me the okay.”

“I’m sure,” Ivan says. “The fucker needs to go. His dad needs to know how serious I am.”

I look back at the photo of Matteo Faretti, knowing his death is going to start a war. It’s going to trigger something that will be impossible to stop once it’s in motion. I remind Ivan of this.

“Enzo will never let this go if you have his son killed. You’ll have to destroy the entire Faretti family.”

Ivan waves away my concern with the cigarette still clutched between his fingers. “If he wants a war, then he’ll get one. He can either get the fuck out of my city, or I’ll take down his entire family.”

When it’s obvious Ivan isn’t going to change his mind, I put my focus back on Matteo’s file, memorizing every detail of it until I know the man better than he probably knows himself. He’s staying at one of the bigger hotel chains, and I’m sure the security around him is going to be an absolute bitch, but it’s nothing I can’t handle.

“Consider it done.” I set the iPad on his desk and stand up. “He’ll be dead before the sun rises.”

Ivan smiles, but it’s not friendly. He’s already envisioning the war that’s about to start and the victory that he assumes will be an easy one. I’m not convinced Ivan’s going to win it, but that’s the beauty of being a hired hitman. If the Teterev Bratva gets taken down, I can just find another one. My services are in no short supply. Everyone wants to hire the ghost that never gets caught. My loyalties are to no one but myself. That’s why I’m still alive, and I intend to keep it that way.

“I’ll transfer the money into your account,” he says as I turn to leave. I don’t bother looking back at him. With the short notice he’s given me, I don’t have any time to waste.

When it’s close to midnight, I walk onto the roof of the hotel and make my way to the side that faces the ocean. The penthouse suite is right below me. Vadim, the man I regularly use to scope out locations for me, already informed me that Matteo is inside with one of his many mistresses. He has two guards positioned outside his door and one inside with him. It’s almost like he’s inviting me to come inside. Sometimes it’s just too damn easy.

Stepping to the edge, I look down and smile at the adrenaline rush it gives me. Hundreds of feet below is the unforgiving brick veranda. It’s too far away and too dark for me to see it, but I know it’s there. Taking a few steps to the right, I watch the small balcony that extends from Matteo’s suite, waiting for any sign of movement. I’d studied the hotel’s layout, so I know this particular balcony leads directly into the bedroom, a place his guard is unlikely to be. It’s a warm enough night for the French doors to remain open, and that’s exactly what careless Matteo has done. He knows it’s an unscheduled visit into the city and that his visit has remained hidden, and it’s made him lazy with his security—a mistake he won’t live to regret.

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