Having a fucked up face doesn’t always make people stare like everyone says—it makes people avoid you. They look anywhere else they possibly can to avoid looking in your eyes, because pity and shame are emotions better kept hidden. My face wasn’t always marred like this. I was born a cute kid, took after my momma with dark blond hair and bright blue eyes. People treat you differently when you’re attractive. But in my line of work, I don’t need to be a pretty boy, instead I’m an avenging angel. I’m the last face criminals see before they face full justice. I’m a bounty hunter. I work for myself and I answer to no one.
Most people would think I’d have ended up on the wrong side of the law growing up on the streets as I did, but when I witnessed firsthand what drugs did to my family, I vowed to dedicate my life to making sure no other kids had to go through what I suffered. I now put criminals in jail. If they want redemption, that’s on them. My job is to get them to trial alive and let the powers that be judge them.
The place was disgusting, some abandoned dive bar off the highway leading to nowhere. The greyish building looked rundown, like it’d been ignored for decades The paint on the siding was peeling, curling into itself, and garbage floated aimlessly in the wind. The scent wafting in to the open window of the car was stale smoke and desperation. A place where dreams went to die—a no-way-out dead end.
I sat in the car looking the place over. I’d made a pretty good reputation for myself over the years as a ruthless man who got what he wanted—at any cost. I’d worked hard and liked the look of fear I’d earned in the eyes of my opponents. I liked the speeding of my heart and the pure exhilaration of adrenaline pumping in my veins when their eyes exhibited defeat. I still had a little of that delinquent left in me and that’s why so many of these so called criminals were petrified of me. One look at my face and most of them cringed or backed away like maybe they thought being ugly was contagious. I liked that they were scared of me; fear was the only way to cultivate power and I needed the power. I never wanted to feel helpless again.
No one messed with me. My reputation was enough to make men much braver than Paul Sutton quiver in their boots. He was becoming a regular, which wasn’t a good thing when it comes to running from the authorities. A life on the lam was no way to live, especially if kids were involved, and in this case, his daughter Olivia was my main concern.
I’d been on both sides of the law and I knew the ins and outs of everybody in the business. I had connections on both sides, loyalty to none. I’d gone from criminal to cop and come out a bounty hunter working on my own terms and making bank like I never saw on the force, and without the guilt that a life of crime had burdened me with. I worked hard to establish who I was. There were two types of criminals: bosses and henchmen, and I knew early on that I was never going to bow down to anyone—even the lords of the underworld respected me. Fear guaranteed they would. I worked alongside Kyle and no one else, he was a brother to me and there wasn’t anyone I trusted more. Kyle was a lawyer by trade, my best friend, and the only human I allowed to bring in a fugitive with me. We didn’t always work together, but whenever I needed back up, he was there. Kyle was my ride or die and I’d take a bullet for him without any hesitation whatsoever. He and his mother rescued me from the streets and they were my family. Annie always said that she and Kyle owed their lives to me, but it was the other way around—without them I’d have ended up an anonymous body in a morgue.
Our inside connections with law enforcement got us our marks, and our background in the underworld gave us the snitches to give up where they were hiding out. No one could keep up with us, let alone beat us. We delivered the most wanted into the hands of law enforcement and in return made an unintentional killing. Our reputation as ruthless bounty hunters wasn’t far off. Maybe we barked worse than we bit, but we took no shit and we took no prisoners.
Paul had no fucking idea how to run a business and to top it off he was a complete mess. He was busy shooting up what profit he made. It wasn’t the first time we’d brought him in. When we started doing bounty work, he was one of our first. Served his time, got out, but made even worse connections on the inside.