Page 87 of Corrupt Kingdom

The next phone call I have to make is going to be harder, but some things don’t add up. I hit the contact on my phone and wait.

“Cyrus,” Alaric answers.

“Did you do it?” I ask.

“Do what?”

“Did you sell me out?”

“What? Fuck, no. What the hell are you talking about, man?”

I lean forward in my chair. “The island.”

“One, I have no fucking clue what you’re talking about. Two, think really carefully about your next words will be. They very well may be your last.”

I consider myself a good judge of character, and nothing in his pitch indicates he’s lying. I let out a deep breath. “If that’s the case, I need your help.”

“Cyrus, we have worked together a long time, and out of respect for those years, I won’t kill you for questioning me . . .”

He’s right, and I know he’s right.

In this business, you’re only as good as your honor, and by questioning his, I should be a dead man. I won’t apologize because that’s not me, but I fucked up by accusing him before I had proof. Ivy’s disappearance is making me act recklessly.

“Thank you.”

“Tell me what the fuck is going on, and how I can help.” The fact that Alaric is willing to help after what I accused him of speaks of his integrity. I’m not sure I would be that forgiving. I’ll owe him, but somehow that fact doesn’t bother me.

“I need guns and I’m prepared to offer you the same deal I gave Matteo.”

“Which is?”

“No interest for five years.”

“Done. What else?”

“Care to go to war?” I ask, and he chuckles through the phone at my request.

“Where and when. I’ll be there.”

War it is.

45

Ivy

I blink a few times to help my eyes adjust to the dark.

As the room starts to focus and the foggy haze that I’ve been in dissipates, confusion sets in. I’m staring at a wall. On a bed?

My head is pounding. My muscles ache. Where the hell am I?

Something bites at my skin when I try to move. That’s when I realize I can’t move.

A scream escapes my mouth.

“Help.” I kick myself up and try to leave the bed, but I don’t make it far, only a mere foot before a wave of nausea hits, making me retch.

I move in the opposite direction, trying to find something to illuminate the room.

The shackles bite my skin, rattling every time I try to move.

Where am I? I try to move again, but my distance is limited. I need to try to get them off. Sitting back down, I try to pull at them, but it’s impossible. They are on too tight, and even if I could manage to get out, I’m too dizzy to escape.

I must have lost more blood than I thought.

Lifting my chained arm, I touch my head. I rub at my temples and then bring it back down. Dried, caked-on blood is present on my fingertips.

The throbbing intensifies; the pain is too intense.

Tears run unbidden down my cheeks. I swipe them away.

I move to stand off the bed, but even that is too much. I’m feeling light-headed and all I have managed to do is sit up. I wrack my brain for memories of what happened to me.

Tears roll down my cheeks as it comes crashing back.

My fight with Cyrus. The boat.

Boris.

He found me.

And now I’m chained to a bed, waiting for him to come back. To hurt me. I bring my knees to my chest and rock back and forth. What am I going to do? My head shakes violently.

Fight.

You will fight. You will fight even if it’s with your last breath.

My body slumps to the cold bed. I don’t have enough energy to stand, plus I’m not sure how much distance I can even go, but I need to try.

How to get out of here.

I don’t even want to know why there is a bed in this place. What is this place?

My breathing picks up, and I will myself to calm.

That is, until I hear something. My grip tightens on my chains.

The door squeaks, and a glimmer of light appears in the dark room. Fear bursts through my veins like ice-cold water from a faucet.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

My heart beats so hard it might explode. I might pass out.

No. I can’t. If I pass out . . .

The door opens. More light streams in and a large figure strides closer to me. I recognize him, and it makes bile form in my mouth when I see what he’s holding. In Boris’s hand is a knife. But it’s not just any knife. No, it’s a butcher knife. I move away from him, launching my body as far away as I can.

I refuse to scream again, though. There is no way I will give the maniac that. My screams are his aphrodisiac, and I won’t give in.

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