Page 28 of Code of Silence

Bones pauses it. “I have fifteen more just like this.”

“I can explain …”

“We don’t need an explanation,” Bones says. “See …” He places his tatted hands flat on the desk “The only thing I care about is money. And you owe us five grand.”

“I … I can … I’ll …”

“You’ll pay us back,” I say.

He nods quickly and begins to dig in his pocket. He throws some twenties on the desk. “That’s everything I have on me.” He quickly pats his other pockets to double-check.

Bones ignores the money and grabs a blank piece of paper from the printer. He sets it on the desk along with a pen. “Sign this.”

“What?” Marco blinks.

“I said sign it.”

“But there’s nothing there.” His round eyes look it over.

There’s a tic in Bones jaw. “If you don’t sign your name on this, I will break both of your hands. Do you understand?”

The guy grabs the pen and scribbles his name down.

“You have five days to come up with the money,” he says, falling back down into his seat.

Marco nods, jumps up, and storms out without another word. He doesn’t have to be told twice.

The door slams shut, and Bones leans his head back, closing his eyes.

“Go home. Get some rest,” I tell him. “You look like shit.”

He runs a hand down his unshaven face. “I’m heading to Kingdom.”

No one knows about our business deal here. Two years ago, I went to Bones with a plan. I wanted to start a business that didn’t involve my father. I wanted something that was completely mine. Something I had control over. I had the perfect place and the money. I just needed someone to help me with it while I was in Italy. A partner.

Bones was the perfect candidate.

So we went into business together and bought Glass, a strip club right in the heart of Sin City. It was once a run-down wedding chapel, so it felt fitting.

The girls are the elite of Vegas strippers. They must be at least twenty-one and audition, but other than that, they can pretty much do whatever the fuck they want. We have VIP rooms. The men pay for bottle service, and the girls decide how far they want to take it. We make sure the girls are taken care of and well protected. We always have armed guards on the property. Plus, most of them also work for the queens at Kingdom. They’re literally rolling in cash.

His phone rings, and he digs it out of his pocket. Hitting answer, he leans back in the chair. “Hello?” He pauses. “Yeah, I’m about to head that way.” He runs a hand down his face again. “I’ll take care of it.” Then he hangs up and stands. “I gotta go. Make sure Marco pays up. If not, let me know, and I’ll deliver the threat.”

HAVEN

I sit out on a chaise on the large balcony to our room. Nite stands off to the side by the sliding glass door. True to Luca’s word, the bastard has been breathing down my neck ever since this morning. I look over the black railing at the heart of Sin City. You can see the Strip from where the house sits. I always found Las Vegas ugly and dirty during the day, but at night, it comes to life and shines brighter than all the stars in the sky.

Standing out the most, Kingdom, dominates the sky with four towers—one for each king. Back when their fathers owned it, it only had two. They’ve built onto it over the years. When they took over after college, they made some changes. And those alterations made them even more untouchable. More royalty in this town. And gave them even more enemies.

I take a puff from my cigarette. Leaning my head back, I let it out slowly and close my eyes, thinking of Emilee and how much I miss her. I visited her recently in Chicago.

“So what are we gonna do while I’m in town?” I ask, falling onto her bed. Her entire apartment is about as big as her bedroom back at home, but she doesn’t seem to mind. Emilee never needed expensive things.

She walks out of her bathroom and gives me a big smile. “We’re going out tonight.”

“Where to?”

“A club.”

“That’s vague.”

She winks at me.

I laugh because I love seeing her like this. So free. Bones always had a hold on her. She swore she didn’t love him, and I believed her, but the Kings were two years older than us. So when Bones, Titan, and Cross graduated, they started to take over Kingdom, and that left Emilee alone. She has never said it out loud, but I know that hurt her. They grew apart, and she started seeing someone in our grade. After graduation, she chose to move to Chicago, and that was that. She was gone. I think she was running away from something she knew she couldn’t have. None of the Kings would ever settle down. They were meant to be ruthless playboys who ruled their own world and had no room for women or families.

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