“You see, Josslyn, murder is brash. It’s derived out of careless impulses, leading to a trail of mistakes and ultimately capture. It’s elementary and messy. But revenge … Revenge is entirely different, my dear. It’s methodical and gratifying. Revenge stews and festers as your mind has nothing to do except ingest the hate—to transform and become the hate. Revenge only seeks one outcome. It wants them to pay and pay dearly.”~Nikolai Petrov
To Nikolai Petrov, being a criminal was not a choice. It was a necessity. In and out of Russia’s
deadliest prisons, he learned how to survive and ultimately flourish amongst the worst criminals the broken society has ever seen. He rose through the ranks, soon becoming a valued member of one of Russia’s most feared organizations—Vory V Zakone, Thieves in Law. For Josslyn Stowe, growing up in a typical American household was not in her fate. She experienced her own tragedy after the murder of her father. Soon after, her life was set on a one track course, right down to her chosen profession as a third generation police officer. It did not take long for Josslyn to form a prestigious career. She owed her success to the unrelenting drive to do whatever it takes to capture the worst criminals. It was the tragic murder of an unknown family that sent these two powerhouse individuals on a collision course toward their opposing fate. Their story soon becomes a cat and mouse thriller that will have you wondering if there is good versus evil, right versus wrong, and retribution versus justice. Or are we all merely a lesser version of those who stand next to us?
I turn to Boris and say, “You know what happens next, old man.” I lean down and get his eye lid in-between my fingers.
“You’re a sick fuck!”
I make sure I look only in his eyes when I release the trigger and fasten his eyelid to his brow.
“Ahhhhhhh!” he screams more than I’ve ever heard a man scream before.
He will be talking soon. I can tell by the sound of his suffering. It won’t be long now.
I pull the scalpel out of the case and decide I will work on his eyeball before I staple the other lid.
Once I slowly lean over and put the blade very close to his eye, Boris freezes. He stops screaming and lies motionless, knowing if he bucks his head, the tip of the knife will go straight into his eye. He is panting as he tries to control his rapid breathing.
“Okay, okay,” he finally relents. “Stravinsky wants you dead because you’re a fucking traitor, Nikolai!”
I cock my head to the side and look incredulously at him. “A traitor? That’s his motive for trying to kill me? Really? If I am anything to Stravinsky and the organization, it’s loyal. Loyal!” I bend down and scream in his face. I hold the knife over his head, moments away from slitting his throat. “I have never once disobeyed Stravinsky or deterred from the direction of our organization. I only assisted us. He told me to kill, and I did it. He told me to go to fucking prison and kill, and I did it! I devoted twenty years of my life to that man. I held him higher than any person in my life, and he is calling me a traitor? He’s the fucking traitor!”
M.S. Brannon was born and raised in the Midwest. She still resides there today with her wonderful husband and son. When she is not writing or reading, M.S. Brannon spends time with her family, watching movies, and discovering new music. She writes romance because she believes love and heartache is the rawest emotion one can experience.
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