“Warehouse district on the north side of the city. The source is coming from one of the Heralds of Hell. Apparently a probationary was out on a task and spotted them dragging Meghan toward a warehouse,” Simon says.

“Probably out there checking for new spots to hide a body,” Andrew says.

“With them? I’d think they’re smarter than that,” Johnathan responds.

“That’s neither here nor there. The probationary wasn’t able to say which one of the two warehouses they’re at just yet. But he is in a spot that he can remain in incase they leave,” Simon says.

“Are the HoH willing to provide us a security perimeter?” I ask as I aim the car toward the north side of the city.

“Perimeter security only, at the moment. They don’t have enough of a lockdown on the city, and are already spread thin with their war going on with the cartels trying to get a foothold,” Simon says.

“Offer a very large cash incentive and a favor from us,” Lucifer says through the line. “I don’t want these pests getting away from us.”

“That could be costly. They’re in a large bind right now with members and infighting,” Johnathan says.

“I don’t give a fucking shit about cost. I’ll do anything they need me to do if they help,” I say.

The line goes silent as we head toward the warehouse districts. My head is fucking racing a mile a minute as I try to figure out an angle that will work. I can’t risk another fucking minute of Meghan getting hurt.

“I’m sending the latest updates on the warehouses they’re suspected to be in to your phones. James, you’re closest. Get a position up high and see if you can spot heat signatures with any of the gear you have,” Simon says.

“Roger that, but I need to leave here as soon as this shit’s over. I’ve got something I need to take care of.”

“What do you have that’s more pressing?” Simon snarls out.

“He’s cleared it with me and I’m in full agreement. James needs to do another job. Right now, we have a small group of outsiders tailing the police chief’s daughter. We need one of us watching her now. We still don’t know why they took out the chief,” Lucifer says.

“Fine, but we all need to have a meeting soon. We’re becoming stretched too thin. We need more men in here,” Simon snaps.

The suspected warehouses are only fifteen minutes away, but it feels like fifteen hundred fucking miles.

Five minutes out, a panting James comes back on the line. “Got into a nice little hidey-hole. Saw the probationary for HoH, he didn’t see me though.”

“Do you have heat signatures in the buildings?” Simon asks.

“Confirming right now. First building is as empty as your testicles, Simon,” James says with a chuckle.

“You little fucking shit—” Simon starts to snarl at him.

“Hush, young man, I’m working here,” James retorts. “Everyone hold about a minute out. I’m getting heat signatures and I need to get placements.”

“Can you confirm any of the Russians?” Lucifer asks after a minute. “We don’t need to break up a meat packing plant.”

“Nah, we won’t be doing that,” James says, then goes on. “Got ‘em. Eleven bodies. One is laying down on what is probably a table, but shows no cold spots. Gonna say from the sizing it’s Gabriel’s little munchkin. She’s got two men with her. One is going to be Alexei, I bet.”

“Good,” Lucifer says. “Meet up and swarm.”



Pain. So much pain pumps through me, tearing through my head, my heart, my very being, I sink into the oblivion to escape it.

I welcome the darkness. I welcome the relief it gives.

I don’t want to remember; I just want to forget.

But words drift into my dreams. Words that tickle at my mind and threaten to pull me back to my horrible reality.

Words that don’t make any sense.

“I should have blown you up with that mother of yours… or sold you to the fucking Saudis. You’ve been nothing but a pain in my ass since the moment I laid eyes on you.”

The pounding behind my eyes increases. It’s so terrible, I fight off consciousness. Fight off having to face it.

Someone sighs heavily.

“But alas, you’ve fucking bewitched me…”

Blissful silence wraps around me, the annoying voice quieting, and I begin to drift away…

Only to be yanked back again.

“If only you weren’t so beautiful… so perfect…”

Something touches my head and I whimper, trying to move away from it.

Just go away and leave me in peace, I want to yell, but it would take too much effort to do so.

“Are you hurting, zaika?”

I groan and squeeze my eyes tight, wishing the words would just stop. Not only do they cut through my head, they’re also a hook and line, reeling me out of my darkness.

“Good,” the voice practically purrs, and then there’s a sharp tug on my scalp. “You deserve the pain and so much more for what you’ve put me through.”

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