Then he asks, “Really, habibti? You would do this for me?”

I smile at him and nod.

Oh, I’m going to do it for you, buddy.

Muttering something in Arabic, he reaches down and begins to fumble with the buckle of his belt.

I start the countdown in my head.

One.

Yanking hard on his belt, he manages to undo the buckle and quickly unbuttons his slacks.

Two.

Eagerly, he pulls down his zipper and takes himself in his hand.

Three.

Surging forward, I push out with everything I have. I scream as my hands connect with his stomach, praying that it’s enough.

His arms flail out and he takes one stumbling step back, then another.

For a split second, I fear it wasn’t enough and I have no fucking clue what I’ll do now, but then his back hits the rail and he goes tumbling over.

He hits the water with a loud splash and I rush up to the rail. Gripping it, I lean over and watch the water.

A couple of seconds pass before his head bobs up, breaking the surface.

“Meredith!” he yells, flailing about.

Yeah, I never understood why the stupid fuck owns a yacht if he doesn’t know how to swim.

His head sinks below the surface and I glance nervously towards the cabins. If any of the crew appears I’ll just act hysteric. After all, it was a total accident.

His servants must be very afraid of him though because none come running to his rescue.

Good for me, bad for him.

I look back to the water and try to watch for bubbles, but it’s hard to see given the dark and all the waves the yacht is kicking up.

His dark head suddenly surfaces again, farther away, but he doesn’t cry out. No, he’s completely silent before he disappears again.

I watch and watch. Seconds turning into minutes. When he doesn’t make a reappearance, I finally relax.

He’s gone… and it was almost too easy. Shouldn’t murder be harder? I don’t know. I’ll have to ask Matthew…

But no, it wasn’t quite murder was it? It was self-defense. Yes, self-defense. It was kill or be killed. Because if he would have taken me to Saudi Arabia and made me his third wife, there’s no way I would have survived. Once he learned who I really am, they probably would have stoned me to death.

I had no choice, really. He forced my hand.

Bolstered by my reasoning, I push away from the rail and straighten my dress.

Now all that remains is to sneak out once we dock before the crew figures out what happened.

1

Simon

Three months after Christmas

“Hold him still, Andrew. I can barely work with him squirming around like this,” I say as I wrestle with the man’s hand.

The gag shoved in this fat sweaty asshole’s mouth is crammed in tight, but it does little to silence the pleading squeal of his beet-red face. He’s most likely desperately trying to tell us all his dirty little secrets, but it’s too late for that now.

“Simon, I thought we agreed that there would be no removal of body parts…” Lucifer says quietly behind me as I hear him walk into the room.

“I’m not removing anything that belongs to him. The only thing I need is his prints,” I say as I finally slam the man’s hand down into the square plate. Its clear gelatin oozes around the hand a moment before I yank it back out.

Pushing the plate to the side, I motion to Andrew. “Let’s get his left hand and then he can disappear.”

“Thank god, this man’s sweat smells like boiled fucking cabbage,” Andrew says before wrestling with the second hand.

“So, you don’t count his identity as belonging to him?” Lucifer asks with a chuckle, perching himself on an old metal shop desk. “It hardly seems fair… But then again he did steal from us.”

“No one but our inner circle may keep their identities intact, Matthew. Anyone who run afoul of us… they lose the choice of having anything of their own,” I growl out. “Embezzlers like this piece of trash go to the lowest level of hell for betraying us.”

“Isn’t the ninth level set for treachery? Then again, I suppose stabbing one’s boss in the back, as well as stealing, could be looked upon as treachery. Though, if I remember correctly, fraud is on the eighth tier,” Lucifer says with a smile.

“You damn ecclesiastical types,” Andrew mutters before pushing the left hand in front of me.

Grabbing the hand, I press it firmly into the clear mold before pulling it back out. “You see, Andrew… We didn’t even need to use violence to solve this little issue.”

“That’s fine with me.” Andrew stands up as he pulls the man sharply back down in the chair. “Stay the fuck there, Eugene.”

Motioning for Lucifer, I point to Eugene Bancroft, our latest debtor. One who decided to steal from the very hand that feeds him. “All the money and information has been turned over to us. I also spoke with Marco, he’s been updated and paid back his missing portion of what we’ve been able to find.”

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