#RunningWilde Ch. 9 | How To Lose You

The sticky red bottoms of Vince’s Louboutin brogues treaded into the main office with cool measured steps. The smell of blood and death clung to his tailored suit, his usually perfectly slicked back hair was tousled and his icy blue eyes wild with redemption. He felt better now, he felt like himself. Beating that little punk to death was therapeutic, the only problem was that now he didn’t have anything to leverage getting his only child, Ava-Marie, back with.

Chris -Vince’s underboss -and three capos were in the office. The capos were discussing the move they had made on the Diamond Mafia’s salon earlier that day and were busy plotting their next move while Chris was on the phone to Max being updated on the aftermath. He hung up the moment he saw Vince walk in looking like a massacre.

                “Lemme call you back… Boss what the hell happened to you?”

                “I’m fine,” Vince huffed fanning his long-time partner and friend off as he made his way to the minibar in the corner and poured himself a double shot of scotch, the good kind he saved for special occasions.

Chris noticed the wounds on Vince’s knuckles and his jaw tightened, “Vinny, what did you do?” He only called him Vinny when it was serious, when he had to be more than The Syndicate underboss; when he had to be a friend.

Vince ran his bloodied hand through his tousled chestnut locks and took a deep swig of his scotch. He wasn’t fond of Chris referring to him as Vinny in front of company and Chris knew that, but the fact that he had done it anyway meant that Vince must look a sight. He sunk down into his leather desk chair and took off his suit jacket then handed it to Chris, “I need some fresh clothes,” he replied flippantly. He took another swig.

Chris held the bloodied suit jacket out to Bruce, one of the capos, “You heard the boss, go get him some clean shit.” Bruce nodded and left the room. Chris turned back to Vince who was now in the process of unbuttoning his ruined white shirt; that much blood was never going to come out of the previously pristine fabric properly. Chris sucked his teeth, “You shoulda taken off your outerwear; you taught me that.”

Vince glanced up, his wild blue eyes glinting under the bright spotlights that were embedded in the low dark ceiling like an electric starry night; “I know,” he said lowly through gritted teeth, “I got carried away.”

“Doing what? Vinny you gotta start talking. What do we need to clean up?” Chris pressed holding out his hand for Vince’s shirt.

“The basement,” he replied morbidly looking away from his men and glaring into his now empty tumbler. He fucked up big time and now he had to admit it. Vince never liked admitting that he fucked up.

“The basement?” Chris’s forehead wrinkled, “Boss, are you serious? That kid was all we had_”

“YOU THINK I DON’T KNOW THAT?” Vince boomed slamming his palms down on his desk and jumping to his feet. The capos flinched but Chris didn’t even blink, he simply waited for Vince to compose himself and continue. Vince sighed, “We need to find something else; we need a new plan because K. Dot is dead.”

                “What else? The whole reason Michaels took Ava-Marie is because we took his brother. What the fuck do you think he’s gonna do to her once he finds out you offed him?”

                “He’s not gonna find out, not until we get Ava back, so think Chris.”

Bruce came back in the room with a navy suit by Tom Ford for Vince in a clothing bag. “Here you go boss.”  

Vince looked away from Chris’s disappointed face and removed the remainder of his tainted clothing. This was a real rookie move for him, something he would have been stupid enough to do when he was just a solider, and something he knew better than to do as the boss. But it had felt so good when his fists pummelled the boy who had started all of this mess, the stupid boy who made Vince put his little girl’s life in jeopardy at the hands of the notoriously dangerous Aiden Michaels, and it had been so long since Vince had gotten his hands dirty -as the boss he usually had other men handling the gritty stuff so his hands could stay clean. As good as it felt, Vince was quickly wishing that his hands were clean because the longer he spent in Chris’s presence the more it weighed down on him about what he’d just done. The risk of losing Ava-Marie was realer than ever before, and if he didn’t find some way to get her back before that bastard Michaels found out, he would lose her forever.

“Leave us,” he snapped at his capos. He had to speak to Chris alone, Chris would figure out what to do. They’d always made a good team, Vince and Chris. They’d met in their late teens working under the previous holder of The Syndicate, Harry Thronton -God rest his soul -and had worked their way up. When Harry got popped Vince was his successor and had taken The Syndicate to a whole new level with Chris as his right hand man. Whenever he went off the rails Chris was the one who helped him get back on again. He needed him to do that now because he was so far off the rails that he couldn’t think straight. Once the room was cleared Vince looked over at his friend and waited.

Chris pulled a black and gold Sobranie cigarette from his breast pocket and slotted it between his thin lips, “Vinny, you fucked up, big time,” he said patting his jacket for his lighter.

Vince slid open his desk draw and grabbed one of his spares and tossed it to Chris; he was always losing his lighters. “Chris you don’t understand. That bastard put my baby on the phone…and he was doing things to her…” he trailed off and closed his eyes, forcing his mind to sing a melody over the memory of the illicit song that Ava-Marie whimpered for their enemy. He needed another shot of that scotch. “The fucker told her about Louise too.”

Chris froze mid-imported Russian cigarette lighting; “Oh shit! How the fuck did he know?”

“His team is exceptional. We never should’ve fucked with them,” Vince admitted quietly. Yup, he definitely needed that scotch now. He poured himself another double.

“Vinny, we’re The Syndicate, we run this fuckin’ city, which means that we can fuck with whoever we want. The DM is getting too big for their boots and it’s up to us to put ‘em back where they belong; in the fucking gutters of the ghetto.” He lit the fancy cigarette.

“They’ve got Ava, Chris! We got cocky and we weren’t prepared for this. I wasn’t prepared for this and now I’ve fucked up and there’s a dead kid in our basement.”

“Don’t even worry about that; clean-up will clean up and there will be no trace of him. We’ll be all right, Vinny,” Chris replied confidently, not because he believed it, but because for the sake of their livelihood he needed his boss to.

Vince frowned at his underboss, “How? We have no leverage.”

Chris pursed his lips around the gold filter then clicked his fingers promisingly, “We might,” he smiled.

“Well let me hear it ‘cause we got two days left and nothing to trade Ava for.”

Chris leant over Vince’s desk and ashed his cigarette into the empty glass tumbler –Vince had had enough to drink. “I just got off the phone with Max. He’s down at the salon watching who shows up to handle business.”

“And?”

“Right, so the front owner of the salon, Trish, ain’t been around since the day after I got K Dot.”

“So?”

“Turns out that K Dot’s girl, Sofia, had a kid with the little punk and Trish is the God mother. I sent some guys round to his place to see if we could find the baby, figured that a little more leverage with Michaels’ nephew might make him a little more cooperative with Ava, but the place was swept clean, no fingerprints, no evidence of where he went, so we asked around. One of the neighbours said he was probably with Trish.”

“Michaels’ probably shipped them off. We won’t find ‘em.” Vince sighed.

“Not exactly; Aiden sent Dougie down to the salon to talk with the police and try to get shit sorted. Trish’s last name is Monroe; she’s Dougie’s sister. We get Max to bring him in we may be able to lure Trish out of hiding and that way we get the kid.”

“No,” Vince shook his head. The plan had sounded promising up until then. “Max can’t handle Dougie. He’s not ready.”

“Ahh Vinny c’mon; you’ve been schooling this kid for years, of course he’s ready! He’s a Syndicate solider; let him do what he’s supposed to do. You had him trailing after Ava-Marie for the past three years, wasting his talents, and then he fuckin’ loses her to chase after some pussy and you don’t even top him!” Vince glares angrily at Chris. “All I’m saying is the kid needs to earn his place back among us. Make him prove that he deserves this second chance Vinny, make him bring in Dougie.”

“And what if he can’t? I practically raised Max since he was fifteen, he’s loyal, he’s family; what if Dougie kills him?” Chris looked away. “Dougie Monroe ain’t like the rest of those DM fuckers_”

“Neither is Max!” Chris snapped. “Look Vinny, if you don’t get this kid to do this we have nothing, and if we have nothing we don’t have a chance in hell of getting Ava back. I know this shit’s fucking with your head right now but you gotta get it together. You’re Vince Lockewood; people don’t fuck with Vince Lockewood cause you do whatever the fuck you need to do to keep your house in order.” Chris thrusts his phone in Vince’s direction, “So keep your house in order.”

*

Max was stood at the bus stop across the street from Diamond’s hair salon watching smugly as the locals gaped at the ruin The Syndicate had unleashed on it. Crowds milled about, stylists fluttered in and out, police tried to keep everything under control, and in the middle of the chaos he could see Dougie.

Dougie was like the eye of the storm; chaos surrounded him but he was calm and collected as he answered the necessary questions the feds fired at him. You could see that they didn’t trust him; Dougie didn’t look like a business man. Aiden could pull the act off if he put on a suit, but not Dougie; his entire persona rejected the idea. Dougie never rocked suits because he couldn’t move in them the way he wanted too, it threw off his lethal skills, so he rocked his Diamond Mafia uniform of black proudly, with a bit of thug in every drop. As much as the police had nothing on him it didn’t stop them from looking at him sideways, but Dougie didn’t care, they couldn’t touch him. The Diamond Mafia were no secret but Aiden had their operation sewn so tightly with crooked cops in one pocket and happy, cooperative, community members in the other that they had to let them all be.

Max watched the way Dougie moved among them, steadfast and self-assured, but not cocky. He’d heard about the likes of Dougie Monroe and how he was a silent and deadly force, that as soon as he wanted you dead, you were, and no amount of protection could save you from him. Dougie was the living hand of death. Max respectfully admired him; Dougie was a legend in their line of work. You never wanted to find out that Dougie was looking for you because it was a notification to let you know that your time was almost up. It was better not to know if he was coming for you –at least that way you didn’t waste your final hours trying to hide how scared you were to be on his radar up until the time his weapon of choice brought your existence to a swift and brutal close.

Max’s phone vibrated in his pocket; it was Vince.

“Yeah?” he answered.

“You still got eyes on Dougie?”

“Yeah.”

“Bring him to me.”

“Got it.”

Vince hung up.

Max tucked his phone away and tried not to lose his cool as he tried to digest that Vince wanted him to bring in Dougie Monroe, the living hand of death. Either his boss believed in Max’s capabilities that much or he was punishing him for losing his only reason to live; his little girl, the girl Max loved more than life, Ava-Marie. The thought of her forced him to calm his nerves. He would do it, he would get Dougie Monroe and bring him to Vince; for Ava-Marie he would do anything.

He swiped his spiked jet black hair out of his face and looked up to re-evaluate his new target, only to see his new target staring right back at him with a smirk that made Max’s blood run cold. He thought of Ava again.

*

With a towel hanging precariously off of his sculpted hips, flaunting his deep v that led to the part of him that caused many women to cross their legs at the mere thought of it, Aiden carried a sleeping Ava back to her room wrapped in a fluffy black towel. The effect of the wine and the cake and the ever tempting Mr Michaels had taken their toll on her. Her underwear and the long black satin robe still lay in a delicate heap on the tiled slate grey floor of the bathroom. To be honest they were both quite worn out after a further forty-five minutes of talking in the hot, scented bath. Yes, Aiden and Ava-Marie managed to have an actual conversation.

Naturally Ava was suspicious and hesitant at first, but Aiden was persistent. He liked the way her voice sounded soft and husky like a thousand waves crashing against the shoreline, and how expressively she used her pretty little hands when she spoke. It was like she couldn’t keep still, like she couldn’t contain herself once she let go. Everything was so much more with Ava-Marie and Aiden liked that too. Maybe it was because he was still high off of his sadistic addiction, but there was just something about her. She was so alive it was like she wasn’t even real; this cinnamon skinned fantasy with romantic lips and eyes of autumn, who blushed rose gold, whose existence thrummed through her with every breath she took…and every breath she missed. Ava missed many breaths with Aiden, he’d noticed, and it wasn’t because she was scared, it was because she felt him. Whatever black magic a man like him was made of, she could sense it, and she responded to it with a breathless enchantment that made him only want to continue taking her breath away. Even as she lay against him, if he so much as shifted in any way, or spoke too deep, or too softly, she would squirm.

There were moments there with her in the deep oval tub where it was almost as if they had forgotten that they were captor and captive, both of their realities and its pressing demands quieting for a little while to allow them exist together, but she’d remember in random spots of clarity when the weed and alcohol took a brief break from dulling her logic, and she’d freeze up. Aiden liked that also, it reminded them both of who was in charge, and Aiden was a man who loved being in charge and having his formidable power acknowledged. Every time she’d show fear and remember her place, he’d ask her questions, purely to hear her begrudgingly call him ‘sir’ when she answered. It kept his hard-on going, which he used to persuade her to warm up to him again by gently bumping his length against her slit.

His fullness ached from being stood at attention for so long. God he longed to ram himself deep into her pink velvet and unearth her secret self, the secret self that women like Ava only revealed in the throes of passion -but he didn’t. As fun as it was for him to torture her, he found solace in torturing himself too. He was strong, he had will power, he would not break his control, not for anyone, especially not for a woman with wild hazel eyes that blushed rose gold, and hated him as much as she craved him. Not for her.

They spoke about Ava’s childhood mostly; Aiden was curious to know how Ava-Marie had no idea about her father’s dodgy dealings, and how it felt to be sent away to boarding school, and what it was like to lose her mother. Ava didn’t say much about that last bit. Every time she tried to talk the hurt came back, teamed with the recent heart-breaking discovery of her father’s betrayal. It was so much worse than before. You never really get over losing someone, no matter how much time goes by because you’re haunted –the people who touch your life never really leave you, so you just learn how to live with it. You build a wall around it and you try your best not to visit that dark place inside of you where their ghost resides, but you do eventually. Whenever you do something that you were used to having them around for, their ghost speaks, and its voice carries over the wall saying all the things that person would say, and suddenly you’re on the other side of the wall imagining yourself talking with them…and then that God awful twinge of realisation that none of it is real comes, and you miss them again. You miss them and it fucking hurts. So no, Ava didn’t say much when Aiden asked about her mother, she just told him, “I’m living with it.”

There was silence after that. Ava had closed her eyes with a heavy heart, the feel of Aiden at her back and his soothing scent mixing with the expensive bath products, and she fell asleep. Aiden let her sleep because somehow even silence with Ava-Mare was something to be revered. The silence wasn’t empty with her. He was so used to empty silences that when he shared this reverential one with Ava-Marie sleeping beautifully in his arms, surrounded by water and bubble kingdoms that had formed over the surface, he wanted them to exist together some more. It made him want to keep her, but Aiden shouldn’t keep beautiful things, especially not beautiful women.

***

Aiden lowered Ava’s sleeping frame onto the bed of her temporary prison and unwrapped the plush black towel from around her slowly, pinching the top corners of the material that he had tucked tightly around her pert brown breasts and dragging them away slowly to reveal her body to him all over again. He sucked in a breath as his dark eyes examined her peaceful naked form covered in tiny water droplets that made her golden skin glisten in the light, and the physical start of her ruin around her neck, wrists and feet. The corner of his lip quirked upward; she had come to him an image of exotic perfection and within a few hours he had made her flawed. He preferred her this way; not because she was marked up, but because she wasn’t perfect anymore. Perfection was overrated in Aiden’s book. A little bit of damage was far more interesting to behold.

He slipped a t-shirt over her head, refastened her restraints which were still attached to the four bed posts and pulled the duvet over her. She could rest for now while he checked in with the team and handled some outstanding business, but he would be back for her later on. He grabbed the discarded towel and headed for the door, turning out the lights as he twisted the door handle when Ava shifted and strained against the ropes thenspoke his name.

“Aiden...”

Aiden froze and his back stiffened as his name fell from her blushing lips like a prayer. She wasn’t meant to call him that, he had warned her many times and surely after today’s experiences she knew better. He turned back on the light to glare at her only to find that she was still asleep. He frowned. Why would she speak his name in her sleep; was she dreaming of him? He found himself wondering briefly if it was a good dream…or a nightmare. Aiden shook the thought from his head; it wasn’t like it mattered either way. Ava-Marie was just his captive, living collateral damage that he would be thrilled to be rid of once he got his baby brother back. He turned from her and left the room, flicking the light back off and plunging her back into darkness where she could continue to dream or have nightmares of him.

*

Once Aiden was dressed in his signature Diamond Mafia blacks he ordered the maids to clean the bathroom and headed back to the meeting room for the evening check in with his crew. Stone sat in his usual seat in the corner smoking a blunt, this time with three large black duffle bags in front of him. Mighty was tapping away at his laptop with his headphones on. The music he was playing was loud enough for Aiden to hear that it was that death metal shit that he didn’t like. He tapped Mighty on the shoulder as he passed to let him know he was there so he could put an end to the electric guitars and satanic howling.

Mighty pulled the headphones off his ears grinned up at Aiden, “You all right boss?” he wiggled his eyebrows making Aiden furrow his.

“Yeah, I’m good,” Aiden replied sank down into his usual seat at the head of the table.

“I bet you are,” Mighty scoffed switching his music off and running his hands through his shaggy blonde hair.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“She’s a loud one,” Stone smirked.

Aiden furrowed his brow further, confused as to what his pot head capo was on about.  “What?

Stone took a quick drag of his blueberry blunt, “Lockewood’s daughter fam, she was loud as fuck; the whole compound could hear her. Gina’s cake had her loosened up nicely, yeah?” he laughed making cannabis smoke fill the air in small translucent grey bursts.

“It must have,” Mighty said wide eyed, “I mean Jesus, Aiden, what were you doing to her? One minute she’s crying and the next she’s_”

“Coming.”

Mighty, Stone and Aiden looked over to the door to see a very disgruntled Ash staring them down. Aiden clenched his jaw; if what his men said about Ava’s moans filling the compound was true then there was no doubt that Ash heard her too, and if Ash heard her too then that was another problem on top of the many Aiden already had to deal with.

Mighty looked away from Aiden’s jealous ex-lover and back to his computer screen where he didn’t have to deal with the weight of her scrutinising turquoise eyes shooting daggers at them. “I told you she was loud,” he said quietly. He leant a little closer to Aiden, “But if you’d like to give me a few pointers I’d be much obliged.”

“Mighty!” Aiden warned stiffly, shooting a cautious look at Ash who still hadn’t made a move to sit down.

Ash raised her perfectly arched eyebrow at him with controlled annoyance. She was seething inside but tried her best not to show it because she knew there was no place for her personal emotions when they were discussing business. “No don’t mind me. It’s not like I care or anything.” She sat in the chair the furthest away from Aiden, kicking out her long legs as she crossed them, with her infamous siren smile on her painted red lips.

“Sorry bro but not all of us have the luxury of being a handsome, rich and powerful, six foot tall black man. I can use all the help I can get,” Mighty chuckled, “I’ve never made one of my girls scream like that.”

“And you never will,” Ash snapped. She didn’t want to hear another word about Aiden and that little Lockewood bitch, she was having a hard enough time trying to block out the memory of her innocent moans echoing down the hallway as her former lover did the things he used to do to Ash to his so called prisoner. “Now can we stop wasting time and talk business like we came here to do. You lot will have plenty of time to trade tickle dick tips later.”

                Aiden rolled his eyes; Ash knew better than anyone that Aiden didn’t have a tickle dick. He’d made her scream louder than Ava had once upon a time. “Stone, how we doing?” he asked choosing to jump right in rather than waste more time talking about things that would piss Ash off.

Stone rose to his feet in his fluid high fashion, and unzipped the three duffle bags to reveal the wads of cash stacked by the thousands and held together with thick rubber bands. He chucked two stacks into the centre of the black top table, “We made about eighty G’s,” he said neutrally waiting for Aiden to decide how he felt about their recent takings before he decided to voice how he truly felt about it.

Just like Stone thought he would, Aiden frowned; “Eighty grand! What the fuck is this, Stone? We should be raking in one-fifty minimum, and that’s on a bad week. What the fuck is going on?”

“This shit with the Syndicate is too hot, fam. Some of our distributors are either laying low for the time being, or they’ve pulled out altogether,” Stone explained tightly.

Aiden gritted his teeth in an attempt to try and keep a lid on his temper. As the boss, he couldn’t get mad the way he used too when the Mafia were just a bunch of small time hustlers. They were a well-respected criminal organisation on the come up so even if everybody was running around screaming, Aiden had to keep his cool. “What do you mean some of them pulled out?”

Stone sat back down and took another drag of his blunt, “Bruv, we’re up against Vincent Lockewood. They’re more shook of him than they are of us.”

“Then they’re even dumber than they look.” Aiden growled.

“The real idiot here is the person who’s stealing our business,” Mighty chimed in unexpectedly, chewing on the corner of his lips, deep in thought. They all hushed and turned to look at him. Once Mighty stopped being irritating and was actually making good use of his genius, he was worth listening to.

“You think someone’s stealing from us?” Ash asked uncrossing her legs and leaning forward.

“It’s possible; I mean there has to be another source. All these distributors can’t drop us without having a back-up.”

“You think they could be going to the Syndicate instead?”

Mighty shook his head, tossing his dirty blonde tresses and making them fall back into his face, “No, Vince would never reach that far down the food chain, not even to piss us off.”

“We run the south. There is no one out there on our level that could take our spot,” Stone interjected arrogantly.

“No one that we know of...”

Aiden lifted his elbows onto the table and rubbed his large hands together mechanically -he was itching to hit something. His mind instantly went to Ava-Marie, tied to the bed and sighing his name in her sleep. He cracked his knuckles. “I want a list of every mother fucker that is stupid enough to think they can fuck with our cash flow, including the ones who are laying low. If Mighty’s right and these pricks have found another source I wanna know who the fuck it is so I can put them and every single one of these pussy’oles out of business.”

“How are we gonna do that? Aiden, we’ve already got one war on our hands, do you really think we can afford to start another one alongside it?” Ash asked.

Aiden’s dark, stormy eyes peered at her over his still moving hands. He licked his lips, “Simple, a little bit of divide and conquer,” he said darkly. He rested his palms on the table and cocked his head to the side, “Work ‘em from the inside out.”

Ash shifted in her seat and dropped her once withering gaze to the less intimidating blackness of her top. She watched her cleavage tremble within the low cut confines of her top as she tried to control her shaky breathing, trying not to let on how much his gaze was affecting her. It had been a while since Aiden looked at her like that, like he wanted to bend her across the desk and take his frustrations out on her until she was swollen and sore between her long pale legs. Whatever he had done with the Lockewood girl in that bathroom had triggered the part of him he had sworn off of. Aiden’s sexual predatory demon had been reawakened and was hell bent on making it hard for Ash to focus on doing her job.   

“Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter,” Mighty grinned, cottoning on to where Aiden was going with this.

Reluctantly, Aiden ripped his eyes away from Ash and looked ordinarily at Mighty. That gave Ash the opportunity to look up again without fear of whimpering and blushing. She crossed her legs and sat straighter as if nothing had happened, as if Aiden had not undone her with just one heated look and two sexual innuendos.

“Once the sheep scatter we recruit them for our cause,” Aiden said; the corner of his moist lips quirking upwards smugly at how easy it was to make Ash react to him.

Back on form, Ash narrowed her eyes at him, “And if they refuse?”

Aiden cocked his eyebrow, “What makes you think they would refuse us?”

“We’re on shaky ground right now Aiden, our name might not be enough,” Mighty said, “The streets know a war is coming and they’re picking sides. We’re up against the Syndicate, ain’t no way in hell they’re pegging us as the victors.”

“Are you bitching up on me Mighty? ‘Cause if you are_”

Mighty threw up his hands, “I’m not, I’m just saying it how it is boss. Until K Dot is back they ain’t gonna hear us and you know it.”

“I’ve got Lockewood’s daughter,” Aiden pointed out.

“Lockewood’s got the whole of London,” Stone countered.

“So what, you got a better idea, brainbox?” Ash snapped at Mighty, irritated that they were back at square one.

“As a matter of fact I do,” he smirked at her.

“Well let’s hear it then.”

“You.” Ash stiffened. Mighty turned to Aiden, “We can’t afford to make new enemies right now and nobody wants to lose out on money, so how about instead of pissing the distributors off, we send in the Siren to make friends with them for the time being?”

“I don’t fuck small timers,” Ash sneered narrowing her eyes at Mighty. She wanted to slap him for even suggesting something so beneath her.

“That could work,” Aiden said settling back into his chair “Good thinking, Mighty.”

“What?” Ash blinked at him in disbelief, “Have you lost your fucking mind?”

“We need to send you out there Ash. You play nice with them and get them back on our side so that we can get our money right, and when this shit blows up we’ve got enough soldiers to take on Lockewood. Once it’s over we can send in Dougie for Aiden’s divide and conquer plan,” Mighty explained in a logical manner.

“I like it,” Aiden nodded. This was a good plan and if they pulled it off right then not only would they have a better chance of beating The Syndicate, but this could elevate them to the next level in the game.

“Aiden, the shit hasn’t even blown up and yet and these fuck boys are already running, and you expect me to lay down with them? They’ll fuck you over the first chance they get,” Ash yelled, her perfect freckled alabaster face turning a deep shade of red.

“No they won’t, Ash. You’re good at what you do. I’ve got faith in my little Siren,” he said firmly, the undertone of a warning for her to remember her place evident in his tone.

“In your little whore, you mean!”

Aiden glared at her. Stone and Mighty shifted in their seats.

“Ash, babes, we’re under a lot of pressure right now, we can’t afford to rock anymore boats. You down with us like you say you are or what?” Stone asked gently, hoping that his mellow approach would diffuse some of the tension.

Ash huffed, “Of course I’m down with you lot, but_”

“But nothin’!” Aiden snarled, “If you’re down, then be down. Do it for the crew.”

Ash bit down on her red lips and closed her eyes to gather her thoughts. “Everything I’ve ever done has been for the crew,” she said quietly. She looked at Aiden, “And look at how the crew is doing me.” Aiden’s jaw tightened and he looked away.

“How we’re doing you? What? This is what you do, Ash,” Mighty stressed confused as to what the big deal was when Ash did this sort of thing all the time.

“Yes, with the odd world leader, sheik and mob boss, not with these run of the mill dope boys.”

“A dick’s a dick Ash,” he shrugged, “I don’t get why you’re being difficult.”

“Of course you don’t get it, you’d jump at the chance to fuck something other than your hand,” she hissed. She sighed and put her head in her hands, “Stone, how many guys are we talking, roughly?”

Stone shrugged like it wasn’t a big deal but diverted his eyes, “I dunno b, about seven man_”

“SEVEN! I have to spread my legs for seven fuck-boys, basically one after the other,” she was back to glaring at Mighty, “And you don’t get it?”

“I don’t have time for this,” Aiden sighed. Every moment they wasted arguing was another moment nothing got done. “Are you down or not Ash, yes or no? ‘Cause if you’re not, you know where the door is.”

***

#RunningWilde Ch. 8 | Afflictions & Addictions

tumblr_ngrpx2zH2Q1qesepao1_540.png

Aiden released Ava’s shuddering frame and stepped down into the large oval bathtub. Ava watched in wonder as his towering chocolate frame melted away into the abundant eucalyptus and Ylang Ylang scented bubbles, down, down until all she could see were his perfect pecs, tattooed arms and his undeniably striking face. His nudity was a lot easier to observe like this, but even though his more intimate areas were covered it didn’t take away the eroticism that Aiden exuded as effortlessly as breathing. There was something in his genetic makeup that reached out and grabbed Ava by the heart making it race and skip vital beats, leaving her in a constant state of something between light-headedness, fear and arousal. Aiden extended his illustrated arms out along the edge of the bathtub, then staring at her in his intensely dark way he licked his lips and gestured for her to follow through with his throaty orders –Take off your underwear.

Ava was gravitating between two realities; the real one where she knew that she was Aiden’s captive, and that this current intimate situation was only taking place because she had to make a choice, and she chose not to experience the brutal kind of pain that he had inflicted on her earlier that had led to her being strung up from the ceiling with tears pouring down her face and blood dripping from her sore wrists. In the other reality however, she was intoxicated to the point where her morals, dignity and inhibitions were out of sight and out of mind; she actually wanted to get in the tub with all six foot four inches of Aiden Michaels –that was the side that was winning right now. The way he made her feel in his presence was something that she had never experienced before; something she never knew was possible to feel for another person she barely knew. Aiden was her enemy, the bad guy whose only intention was to destroy her in the name of street principalities, but something intangible about him drew her in. Yes he was the most erogenous looking man she’d ever laid eyes on, but it was more than physical, so much more. There was something inside of Aiden that sparked beneath his shield of sex and cold indifference, she could see it when she looked into his daunting ebony eyes; it was dark, it was dirty, but damn if it wasn’t delicious. She knew it was bad and that it would cause the kind of irreversible damage that she would have to bear the scars for, for the rest of her life, but whatever it was, she wanted it more than she wanted peace. She wanted his arduous destruction. So she began to strip for him, because his eyes called for it the way they glinted under the dim lighting like they held unexplored galaxies inside of them, hinting that if she was ever to connect and become one with this beautiful chaos of a man that she would discover places that no one else would ever be able to take her to.

She reached behind her back and unclasped the hooks of her bra one by one while Aiden watched her in silence. Of course being a female with a lifetime of practice at removing her own bra she could have unhooked it in one go, but along with the fear of Aiden in general, there was a virginal hesitancy in her that wouldn’t allow her to rush this. She removed the padded lace away from her breasts then let it fall to the floor, letting her shy hazel eyes follow it before bringing her arms up to hide herself from him. She couldn’t look at Aiden while she was stood before him like this because she knew what she would see; that carnal energy composed of dark fire burning behind his eyes that would cause her breath to stop short and make her tummy flutter and twitch.

Ava had shied away from her sexuality for her whole life. She had always been daddy’s good girl; the polished apple of his eye whose goal in life was to make him happy and proud, especially after her mother passed away. Ava witnessed what her mother’s death did to her father; it robbed him of some of his light, it changed him. When the wounds of her loss were still fresh, Ava and Vince would spend time together remembering her mother, and then Vince would tell Ava how proud he was of her and how wonderful she was because she was the only good thing he had left in his life (now that she knew what his life was really like, Ava realised the true weight of that statement). She had wanted him to keep thinking of her that way so she kept her head in her books and her body away from boys. When she was younger it was easier to do because she didn’t find boys all that interesting, but as she matured mentally and physically, keeping the boys at bay was a conscious decision that she had to make. Once Max was appointed as he personal bodyguard Ava found that this particular task wasn’t as hard to carry out anymore because Max was always nearby watching out for her with his stern mouth and trained eyes that made most men not want to see what would happen if they did try. Ava was a beautiful girl with a mind and heart to match, and yet she’d only ever been on a handful of dates and had only had one short-lived relationship which ended shy of three months because the guy had a problem with Max guarding her so heavily and also was a little intimidated of her being as wealthy as she was. But Max wasn’t here now and Aiden definitely wasn’t intimidated by anything about her. Ava was completely outside of her comfort zone and although she was being held prisoner, for the first time in her life Ava felt free. She knew what her father really was now so she no longer felt any obligation to play daddy little princess any more, Max wasn’t around watching over her every move, which although she missed him, was a nice change, and then there was Aiden, the key to and keeper of her freedom. God she didn’t know what to make of him. He frightened and excited her with the way he handled her so mercurially. One moment it was hand cuffs and harsh words, then in that same breath he’d speak to her with a voice made for phone sex and caress her body like a long lost lover rediscovering the other half of his soul.

                “Did I tell you to stop Ava-Marie?” Aiden’s smooth voice stunned Ava back to consciousness. She had forgotten herself in her thoughts and hadn’t realised that she’d been standing there staring aimlessly at the ground. She swallowed and looked up at him to see that look that she’d been trying to avoid. His crippling eyes wrapped her up in his invasive aura, his potent eroticism seeping into her pores and stirring something under her skin that made Ava’s lower half twitch. All of this with just a look of heady admiration, all of this heaven and hell held in those damn eyes of his.

Ava shifted her footing, “No... I mean, no Sir.”

                “Then why have you?”

                She looked away from him again and her cheeks lit up with the warm rose gold colour that Aiden was steadily growing quite fond of; “Because I can’t.”

                 “It’s just a bath Ava-Marie. I’m not going to fuck you if that’s what you’re worried about,” Aiden said rolling his dark eyes as if he was already growing bored of her. Ava didn’t know why it bothered her so much, but she didn’t want Aiden to become bored with her. She liked the way he looked at her like she was this fascinating new breed of woman complied out of sex and secrets. The part of her brain with sense reasoned that maybe his boredom would be a good thing because then he might leave her alone, but the uninhibited side of her that was drawn to him didn’t want him to and was admittedly a little disappointed that he wasn’t going to fuck her.

                “I know but…” she trailed off. Suddenly she felt silly for having to admit that she was twenty-one years old and no man had ever seen her naked, let alone touched her while she was. It was her personal business which she rarely disclosed to anyone and now she was contemplating telling him.

                “But what?” he snapped impatiently.

                “I’ve never been naked in front of anyone,” she mumbled into her chest.

                Aiden blinked at her; he hadn’t realised that she would be a virgin, not looking the way that she did but he couldn’t show her sympathy now, not when he had gone this far. He had told her to make a choice between two paths and this is the one that she’d chosen, so until she was out of his custody this would be the one that they followed. “Ava-Marie, take of your panties and get in. You’re filthy,” he stopped looking at her.

Ava’s mouth pressed into a tight line. She didn’t know why, but she had hoped that he might show her a little sympathy and understanding, because lord knows how daunting it can be to reveal all of yourself to another person for the first time in your life. You really are exposed in all senses of the word, and you worry -my god do you worry -about what they might think, and what you think of yourself gets in the way too because no matter how damn near perfect you are there’s always that one flaw (or more) that bugs the hell out of you that you hope the other person doesn’t notice or mind because you don’t want the real you that you hide underneath your adornments, to put them off. Instead of making her feel like that fascinating woman made of sex and secrets, Aiden’s sharp dismissal of her shyness had managed to make Ava feel like this naïve, unimportant little girl who he was barely entertaining himself with. ‘Oh Ava-Marie, stop deluding yourself, you silly girl.  This man doesn’t care about you; you are his entertainment and you must remember that,’ she mentally scolded herself, her hurt feelings allowing her common sense to make a brief re-appearance. She placed her fingers along the edges of her lingerie with the intention of approaching her full nudity the way one would approach ripping off a band aid, but as her hands shifted the material a fraction lower, she found herself pressing the black lace edges into her skin reluctant to go through with it. Aiden’s mouth tightened and he lifted his arm into the air, gesturing at her with his middle and index fingers to approach the tub. Ava slowly stepped unsteadily towards him, this being the first time she had to move without him there to support her made her realise exactly how intoxicated she really was.

When she reached the bath Aiden finally looked at her again from under his long lashes, but even from below there was just as much of his formidable power held in his steadfast gaze. “Perhaps I haven’t made myself clear,” he growled lowly, “When I tell you to do something, you don’t get to contemplate it or make a fuss, you just do it. If you don’t comply then I will resort to methods that will make sure that you do in future. Turn around.” Ava swallowed and shook her head, so afraid of what was to come that she dared to defy him some more. Aiden’s eyes flashed dangerously and she caught a glimpse of that black flame below the inky surface starting to burn through, “Don’t fucking play with me Ava-Marie,” he warned.

She drew a breath and turned so her back was to him with only the string of her lace thong to protect her. She blushed furiously and her switched footing trying to imagine what thoughts were running through his mind as she stood with her pert round ass to him, and she wondered if they matched the red and blue ones that ran through hers. A timid whimper escaped her lips when his hand came into contact with the small of her back. She shivered as he slowly dragged his intimidating touch down her spine, down the middle of her ass cheeks and buried his hands in the tight space between her trembling legs. She puffed out a bewildered breath as Aiden hooked two of his thick fingers u and over the tiny seam where the triangle and the slim slice of her thong were connected. Ava closed her eyes and felt her face get warmer; there was no way that he couldn’t feel how wet she was, but Aiden didn’t pause or make any comment to indicate that he did, he simply got a good grip on the material and then tore it away with an animalistic force that made the lace it burst at the seams. The delicate threads frayed and snapped and the sound filled the large bathroom like a whip tearing through the thick and heavy air. Ava gasped; she was naked. Instinctively, she brought her hands around to her front, shielding her sex from him, not that he could see it from behind her, but just the thought of knowing that there was no longer a barrier to conceal her decency made her want to hide away. Ava had seen naked men from afar, not men like Aiden, but she had seen them. No one had ever seen a naked Ava. Her knees wobbled underneath her and Aiden took her hips in his large palm to hold her steady. Once she was able to maintain her own balance again he let her go. His eyes ran over the expanse of her uninterrupted skin and he ran his tongue over his lips.

“Bend over and place your hands on your knees,” he ordered her in a controlled flat tone so as not to highlight the tightening sensation in his abdominal muscles through his vocals. Ava glanced back at him with wide eyes to silently beg him to reconsider but Aiden’s eyes weren’t on her face, they were studying her smooth caramel planes, romanticising her slender curves, counting her freckles and watching the tiny ash blonde body hairs rise up as her goosebumps spread across every available surface. He looked up and glared at her, “Don’t make me tell you again Ava-Marie. You’re in enough trouble as it is.”

Ava took a short sharp breath and blocked out everything her pride was screaming at her from the other side of her dual reality. She leant forward timidly, resting her grubby hands on her knees, wincing a little as the sore skin around her wrist bunched up and pressed and stretched the circular wounds. Aiden’s hands were on her again, this time with a handful of frothy scented bubbles. He wiped the white froth across her ass, spreading it in a figure of eight motion moving from cheek to cheek with slow, sensual swirls. Ava closed her eyes and bit down on her lip, quivering with anticipation every time his thick fingers dipped low enough to brush across her swollen slit. Her breathing grew hard and sluggish and she was about to let out an embarrassed moan come tumbling out when Aiden’s huge hands disappeared them came back down on top of her ass cheek with an almighty thwack that sliced through the air and turned her moan into a scream. She stumbled forward and grabbed her bottom trying to sooth the sting of his slap, but with her wet skin and heightened senses it seemed to go on forever.

Aiden glared at her and beckoned her back to him with his two fingers again, “I’m not finished,” he panted. Ava pouted hesitant to return for more, but she knew she had no choice. Meek and whimpering she returned to him and resumed the same position, bent over, wet and trembling, waiting for another blow. Instead she got another dose of bubbles being caressed into her backside in the lulling figure of eight motion, feeling the tiny bubbles melt into water and drip down her as the heat from the mark of the previous slap powered through them. Aiden kept going, stroking her with measured breaths, up and over then down and under, slow and steady, and just when she begun to feel the pleasure begin to rebuild itself his hand disappeared and he whacked her again. Ava gritted her teeth and growled through the pain, digging her fingers into her knees and holding her ground. Aiden’s breath quickened and he hit her again, and again till finally she screamed and fell onto all-fours with soap suds, water and wetness sliding down her and rosy ass cheeks. He grunted, closed his eyes and settled back into the tub, giving them both time to catch their breaths and abate their individual throbbing. “Now get in,” he said and there was a calmness to his voice that wasn’t there before.

Aiden hadn’t touched a woman that way since Ash. He had forced himself to take it down a notch with the throwaway lovers that came after her because he knew how addictive that level of sexual interaction could be. The kind of intense submission that Aiden craved frightened most women, but that was the appeal of it; not that they feared him or because he got to hurt them, it was just that when he did, that was when their every feminine pretence fell away. In their wildest moments was when these women were most human and he loved that –causing them pain them whilst in the throes of pleasure made them real. The soft moans and the pouty painted lips were replaced with wild screams and smudged lipstick. He felt better for spanking Ava. Her moans turned to screams, turned to growls, turned to howls made his shaft pulsate under the water, and feeling how wet she was for him made him want to take back what he’d said about not fucking her. He was ready to sink into her and pound himself against her g-spot until she clawed at his back and whispered the safe word in staccato...but he had to wait until she wanted him to. He would do nothing invasive until she wanted him to –it was more fun that way.

Ava got up off of the floor and turned to face him with her hands in front of her sex and a deep blush warming her cheeks. Aiden reached out his hand and she took it, timorously stepping into the hot water and settling her back against his hard body. The hot water felt good on her flustered skin, the eucalyptus adding a surprisingly pleasurable element to the experience that made her skin tingle all over. Aiden pulled Ava’s long braids up and wound them into a high bun before he proceeded with care to cleaning the sweat, blood and dirt off of her glowing skin. He smiled behind her back; her glowing was a good sign, it meant that he could be like that with her again. He reached his hand underneath the bubbles and pulled out a sponge then started with her back, getting the sponge sopping wet before squeezing it and letting the warm water gush over her, then he took her arm and wiped gently around the cuff wound. She winced.

“How do you feel, Ava-Marie?” he asked softly, taking his time to dab away the dried blood without antagonising her skin further.

Ava watched him and shrugged, “I’m not sure.”

Aiden paused and pulled her head back so that she was forced to look at him; “Don’t be so quick to forget your manners sweetheart, I’m only going easy on you right now because I imagine that you have never done this before so it will take some getting used to, but soon enough I won’t let you off at all.”

Ava tightened her lips and sneered, “I’m not sure, sir!”

Aiden glared at her; this kind of defiance made him want to grab a handful of her hair and slam all of himself into that tight wet space at the meeting of her thighs, but he had to control himself –Ava was increasingly making that harder to do. He hadn’t expected her to have such a tumultuous effect on him, but she was so beautiful and the fact that he wasn’t meant to have her made her all the more tempting. He was guiding her right where he wanted her so he couldn’t afford to give in to temptation now otherwise he’d be passing over the control to her, and he would be damned if he let this young naïve girl get the better of him. He was the man who had tamed Ash ‘The Siren’, better yet the man whose name put fear into thieves and murderers all over South London, so Ava was not going to be his undoing, not if he could help it. “Your attitude will do you no favours either,” he growled making it rumble in his chest and send small vibrational waves across the water. “We’re having a conversation, I’m being nice. Don’t ruin it.” Ava swallowed and looked down. “So, why aren’t you sure if you’re okay?” he asked releasing her head and continuing his cleansing of her.

“Because everything is wrong,” she half sulked, “Because I feel like I’m in hell but I’m not sure if I hate it. Because what I thought knew of my heaven is ruined to the point where I don’t know which is worse, sir.”

He offered her a silver-lining, “At least hell is honest.”

“It is,” she nodded, “But hell is also terrifying. You are terrifying, sir.”

Aiden dipped the sponge back into the water and began rubbing slow soapy circles across her shoulders, watching as the lather cascaded down and around the curves of her pert breasts. Ava sucked in a breath. “Are you saying that I am hell, Ava-Marie?” he smirked.

“You’re something like it.”

Aiden let go of the sponge and used both his hands to circulate the thick white lather over her chest. Ava’s breath caught in her throat and she shifted against him growing more and more aware of his length pressing into her back. Aiden leant forward and kissed the space below her ear. His voice was low and raspy, “You don’t know hell Ava-Marie. If anything this is limbo; that place in between, simply because I have shown you mercy. I gave you a choice.” His hands slipped lower beneath the water and grazed the outskirts of her sex. Ava shuddered and fell back against him, slipping lower to try and get him to touch her there, but he wouldn’t. “What is happening to my brother is not happening to you. I gave you a choice,” he repeated, gripping the inside of her thighs right at the crevice and pulling her up into his lap, “You should be thanking me for this so-called hell.” Ava squeaked feeling his fullness lying directly under her opening and high curiosity persuaded her to try and tilt her pelvis so that she could feel more of it. Aiden held her still. He lifted himself against her discreetly and curled his hips once.

Ava’s breaths we’re ragged and Aiden could tell that he had her close to losing herself. The mixture of the wine, the weed, the pain and the forbidden pleasure was something she wasn’t used to and it made her responses unhinged and her body ache. Even as she tried to fight him mentally, reminding herself that Aiden was the enemy, her body was succumbing to him willingly; it didn’t matter that her head didn’t understand what was happening, her body did and it liked the way he made it feel so much that it was persuading her thoughts to come around. Aiden shifted down so that his member had enough space to spring up and then he came back up and let it rest against her slit. Ava gripped the sides of the bath and groaned, fighting against Aiden hold to press against him a little more, but Aiden wouldn’t let up. He grabbed her by the hair and put his lips to her skin, pressing amatorial kisses along her shoulder blade

“I haven’t heard you thank me yet?” he groaned giving her a little more.

Ava whimpered “Thank you…”

Aiden bit down on her shoulder and she cried out and gripped the edge of the tub harder. “Manners, Ava-Marie,” he reprimanded her.

“Thank you, sir.”

A slow satisfied grin spread across his sinful lips and he kissed her where his teeth marks lay.

*

Vince stormed into the compound and headed downstairs into the basement without a word to any of his men. He punched in the security code and unlocked the door to the room where Keegan Michaels was shivering on the floor still covered in his own blood, his wounds seeping with infections and he smelt of urine. They hadn’t fed him or taken him to the bathroom since his arrival and the nineteen year old was quickly falling into a destitute state. 

Vince glared at him with hate in his eyes; this little punk started this shit. If it wasn’t for Keegan then Ava would be safe because Vince wouldn’t have had a reason to mess with the Diamond Mafia in the first place and this bastard’s cunt of a brother wouldn’t be doing things to his little girl that made Vince bite down on his lips so hard that it drew blood just to keep from crying. He had to get Ava back and he wished it was as simple as simply handing the boy back to the Diamond Mafia, but the overall risk was too great. He couldn’t’ have people saying that some young thug on the come up muscled The Syndicate out of £20 million after his brother stole £10 million of their gear in the first place. Vince had no choice but to make an example of them because once he got Ava back there could be more rookies trying to use her for bait to take him down now that they knew she existed. Ava would never be safe again so Vince had to make sure that people didn’t want to fuck with her, period. Once she was returned to him he’d send her far, far away, change her name, double…no, triple her security and he would keep his distance. It would be hard but Ava was the only good thing Vince had in his life, plus even if he got her back she’d probably never want to speak to him again now that she knew who he really was and what he’d done to her mother.

Fuck Aiden Michaels!

Vince reared back and stomped down on Keegan’s wrist that was still tethered to the iron pipe along the wall. A terrible crunching sound came from under his shoe and Keegan woke up howling. “You did this you little prick! You got my Ava taken away from me!” He kicked Keegan in his already bruised ribs, “Your fucking brother put his hands on her; he touched my little girl.” Vince got to his knees not caring that he was kneeling in the bloody, urine soaked mattress and grabbed Keegan by the collar of his grubby shirt, his icy blue eyes blazing and his usually neat chestnut brown hair unruly and flopping over onto his forehead, “This is your fault and I am going to make sure I get the lot of you fuckers, starting with you.” He drew back his fist punched Keegan in-between his eyes. He punched him again, and again, and again.

Keegan howled through his distorted mouth, his once handsome face now in complete tatters, so destroyed that even if it did heal he would be deformed. He was too weak to try and firm Vince’s murderous blows and in no position to escape from them, everything was just pain and more pain like his body has been thrown into a pit and large rocks were being launched at him, bruising his flesh, breaking his bones and then in the end his tormentors set him on fire and all he could see was the light of the flames burning brighter and brighter until they consumed him whole...

Vince kept on going, even when Keegan stopped howling he kept going. Even when his fists became sticky with blood, he kept going. And when Keegan stopped moving, he kept going. Even when Keegan took his last breath and his soul vanished from his eyes, Vince was so enraged that he just kept on going, and going, and going...

When he finally stopped and realised what he’d done, his suit was spattered with bright droplets of warm red liquid that smelt like sweat and rust and it was far too late. K Dot of the Diamond Mafia lay dead at his feet dead. Aiden could not find out, not until Ava was safe.  

#RunningWilde Ch. 7 | Rock-A-Bye Baby

Six hours, forty-seven minutes and twenty-two seconds. It had been six hours, forty-seven minutes and twenty-two seconds since Aiden had walked out of the basement and left Ava dangling from the ceiling in tears. He knew because he had been timing it on his phone the moment he set foot outside of the bleak grey main room in the basement with the bright fluorescent lights. For six hours, forty-seven minutes and twenty-two seconds, Ava-Marie Lockewood was denied comfort, human contact and nourishment. By the time the seventh hour struck she would have run through every emotion pertained to her situation –anger, fear, resentment, denial, self-pity, sorrow, and once the seventh hour arrived -surrender. She would be so exhausted from channelling all of her energy into trying to process and escape from the mental and physical prison that Aiden had constructed from the jagged pieces of her shattered reality that she would just give up, and that was when he would finally acknowledge all of her unanswered cries for help.

It was always tiresome to wait out the first few hours with a hostage; they made such a terrible racket as they stormed through the phases, but if you kept them uncomfortable enough and didn’t attend to their basic human needs, sooner or later they would fall silent and accept that their tragic fate was in your hands. Of course you had to make sure that you caught them before they wore themselves out and fell asleep, because once they had had a rest from their living nightmare and actually had a chance to dream of better days, they’d wake up and realise that they had something to fight for, and then you’d have to start the waiting process all over again. Aiden was anxious to get Ava out of there so he could initiate the next phase of his torture.

Over the years, Aiden studied the people he captured and found that a certain personality type followed a certain pattern. He had passed some of his waiting time by thoroughly scouring through her Facebook profile to better understand her so he knew what to do with her next. Ava was a humanitarian. Like Aiden, Ava had a saviour complex, but hers was pure. She was passionate about making the world a better place for everyone else, even if she couldn’t benefit from it, which is why she participated in so many good causes. Ava’s father had provided her with an exceptional life, making sure she wanted for nothing, making sure that she knew that she was loved, cared for, and that she had his support (no matter how radical her charitable endeavours). Ava was happy, and all she wanted was to spread that happiness to other people, requiring no personal gain, not like Aiden did. 

Ava was something beautifully rare; she was made of so much unfiltered light and love that it almost bothered Aiden that he had crashed into her world so hard that he left cracks in her skin. Although she had proven to be an angel on paper, Aiden could sense wildfire in her veins. It flared to life when he touched her, making itself known by the wicked way her cinnamon skin flushed rose gold and burned like a double shot of Appleton rum, the way her toasted early autumn eyes flashed like afternoon sunlight peeking through the quivering leaves, and the way her short, sharp, shallow breaths became heavier, struggling to take flight from between her pleasantly parted lips. That inner fire was craving to consume her and burn her golden halo of virtue to blackened ashes of pleasurable sin.

That is how Aiden would ruin her; his darkness was going to slip between the cracks in her skin and fill them with gasoline, then present her with a match disguised as a new cause to fight for; him. Once she reached for him she would catch alight and it would be all over for her -the price of Aiden’s ‘salvation’ was Ava’s destruction.

“Isn’t it about time you let her down now? It’s been seven hours.”

Aiden looked up from his computer screen to see Ash in his office, leaning over his desk with her scarlet hair falling unintentionally seductively in front of her deep turquoise eyes. He pressed his lips together and leant back in his padded leather desk chair, “This doesn’t concern you,” he growled quietly.

Ash straightened up and folded her arms across her chest, “Mighty told me what you did to her, so I had to go and see for myself.”

“Why?”

“Because I know what it’s like to hang from those chains,” she murmured silkily, raising her perfectly arched eyebrow at him, “Or have you forgotten?”

Aiden scowled at her. He didn’t have time for Ash to make more of Ava’s torture than it was. He didn’t have time for her to make it about her. “Ash, this is different,” he said firmly, providing no further explanation.

“I noticed. Her wrists are cut up pretty badly,” she smiled approvingly.

He cocked his head to the side, his dark eyes studying her carefully, “And that makes you happy?”

“Yes,” she replied without hesitation or shame.

“Why?”

Ash’s smile became tainted by a nostalgic sadness; “Because you never hurt me like that,” she said quietly.

Aiden clasped his large hands together on top of his desk, forcing professional formality into the informal conversation that he didn’t want to have. “Like I said; this is different.”

“It’s not that different though. Mighty said you…touched her.”

“I did,” he admitted in a clipped tone, his patience was wearing thin.

Ash closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and forced herself to swallow the aching lump in her throat, fashioned from envy and her lingering heartache. “Will you touch her again?” she whispered.

“Ashley…” Aiden breathed heavily. His tongue was weighed down with a tarnished apology that he had uttered so many times that it had lost its value. He wouldn’t say it again; one more time or a hundred more times wouldn’t make a difference. Things were the way they were and they had to stay that way. He cleared his throat, “Ash, this doesn’t concern you. If there is nothing else you want, leave now and go and do your job.” He turned his attention back to his computer.

Ash’s stance changed; she stood straighter with her shoulders back and her nose in the air, looking down at her boss with a controlled expression. When she spoke, her voice was void of her previous emotions; she sounded clear and concise. She was following orders. She was doing her job. “There is something else; The Syndicate hit the salon.”

Aiden stopped typing, “Fuck! What’s the damage?”

“It’s bad, A. Polly’s in a state; she said there was a shootout and that Vince’s men completely wrecked the place.”

Aiden growled and slammed his fist against the table so hard that Ash jumped. A barrage of curse words shot from his mouth like bullets from a semi-automatic. He'd known that Vince’s men were going to send a message, he had mentally prepared himself for it, but that didn’t make it any less frustrating now that it had actually happened. “Is anybody dead?”

“No. Femi and Q got shot, but they’re okay.”

Aiden exhaled with relief, “Good,” he said, a little calmer.

Ash’s professional stance melted away in an instant and she smiled at him admirably; it was just like Aiden to worry about his people before anything else. He barely had anything growing up, what with his mother being so neglectful and destructive, and Aiden taking it upon himself to take care of her and Keegan as best as he could. Whilst poverty tended to make some people selfish, greedy and materialistic because they were so afraid of their circumstances robbing them of the pleasures that others took for granted, it taught Aiden what really mattered. He knew that money and fancy things were fleeting, but that the people you could call family weren’t so easy to come by. That was why Ash was in love with him, because underneath all of his misdemeanours Aiden loved everyone else.

“Did they get into the vault,” he asked next, now that he knew that his people were okay.

“No. Polly said they tried though. Thank God for that security system Mighty installed.”

“Thank God for Mighty.”

“Thank God for Mighty,” Ash agreed. “The police are down there questioning everyone. They want to talk to you.”

“I can’t speak to them right now,” he said tightly. Naturally, being a young black man from the hood, Aiden wasn’t exactly fond of the feds.

“I know. It’s not safe for you out there…” she reached out to touch his hand but Aiden shifted away from her with a warning look: ‘Do your job’. Ash cleared her throat and put her hands behind her back with a sharp nod. “I don’t want anything to happen to you, A.”

“I appreciate the concern, Ash. You’re a good friend.”

Ash’s face tightened as she tried not to frown. They were friends; she knew that and she was okay with it -well that’s what she told herself anyway -but that didn’t mean that she didn’t miss him. It annoyed her that Aiden acted as if she didn’t have a right to let him know how much she missed him, and constantly forced her to reign in her emotions, but she understood why he did it; it was easier this way…for him. It was only easier for him. For Ash it was like suffocating slowly; constantly walking the line between living and almost dying.  

Ash was ‘The Siren’. She was exceptionally good at her job, but when she belonged to Aiden, he wouldn’t allow her to do everything that she had to do get things done because he didn’t’ like sharing. He made her bad at her job. Ash didn’t mind being bad at her job because she loved Aiden. She would have given it all up for him, but he wouldn’t let her. As much as Aiden had wanted to keep Ash back then, he thought his desire made him selfish. He had to make sure that the whole team was good; having Ash to himself jeopardised that so he had to let her go. That had hurt Ashley more than anything; the fact that he would throw her away so that everyone else could be happy. Ash and Aiden had had as hard a life as any of the members of the Diamond Mafia, she felt that they deserved to be happy too, but Aiden promised everyone that he took in that he would take care of them, and he wasn’t about to break that promise for some pussy…so Ash left. She couldn’t be around him wanting him the way she did, like air to her lungs to end the suffocating. Eventually she came back because even though suffocating wasn’t breathing, it was something that let her know she wasn’t dead yet. Despite his damage, his love for his people made Aiden a good man underneath it all, and the DM was her family. Even though it killed her, she knew he had made the right choice, and at the end of the day, that was what mattered. Ash became the moon to his sun, resigning herself to the darkness without him, but still glowing only because even though they couldn’t be together, he wasn’t far away.

“What do you want us to do?” she asked.

“Send Dougie down to the station to talk to PC Morden. I’m assuming the greedy fuck put himself on the case?”

“You know he did. You pay him too much.”

“I pay him enough, that’s why he’s so reliable. Tell Dougie to tell Morden that I’m out of the country, so he’ll be filling in for me. After that, get Driver to take him down to the insurance company, a face to face consult should speed up the process. I don’t want the HMRC nosing about in my taxes, so the salon needs to be up and running again, pronto.”

“Got it.”

Aiden’s phone timer beeped -the seventh hour had arrived. He smiled and shut his computer down, “Vince wants to break my things? I’ll break his.”

***

 

The room was pitch black, and would have been silent if it weren’t for Ava-Marie's rattling dry heaves of that reverberated dramatically off of the concrete walls sounding like she was trying to hold onto her soul with every skirmishing breath she took. Aiden flipped the switch and the blinding florescent white light glared from the ceiling, filling the room with its unforgiving harshness. Ava squinted and moaned wearily. Her bare feet were curled beneath her in shades of scarlet and sooty black from the painful friction of the hard floor and the dirt that covered it. Her arms were red and swollen, with her dark blue veins embossed and pulsating against her skin, under pressure from holding up all of her weight for so long. Her late summer eyes had run out of tears by the fifth hour, and were puffy and red, shadowed underneath by depressing dark circles. Her lips were so dry and chapped that the delicate layer of skin covering them had shrivelled into flaky, translucent patches, that split and bled if she moved her mouth out of the confines that the paper thin skin allowed. Her body smelt like sweet salty sweat, decorated in thousands of tiny goosebumps from the lack of heat in the room and the lack of blood circulating through her veins properly. Small rivulets of her blood trickled from the sores around her dripping wrists where Aiden could see some pink flesh exposed around the base of the metal handcuffs, half way down her forearms.

Aiden stroked her tear-stained face from her temple to her chin then lifted it, forcing her to look at him. “You’re a mess, Ava-Marie,” he said quietly. Ava looked shattered; like she had stumbled across a landmine site with her loved ones, barely making it out alive by the skin of her teeth, only to find that everyone she held dear had been blown to smithereens; like her happiness had been ripped from her chest and she knew she would never get it back. She was broken. Aiden had broken her. He reached above her and tugged down the chain that the thick hook was attached to, pulling it low enough to unhook her. Ava’s body folded into itself as she descended stirring the strained muscles, the relief reminding her of how much pain she had mentally forced herself to endure. She cried out in anguish; her wail was a heart-breaking strangled sound that pretended he couldn’t hear as he scooped her up into his thick arms. It bothered him. “Let’s clean you up.”

Ava didn’t want Aiden to touch her, but she had no choice; she was too sore and too weak to do anything but lay catatonically in his in his arms with her head lolling back as he cradled her to his chest and carried her back upstairs. He took her down the hall to a large granite bathroom fitted with silver fixtures and charcoal grey furnishings. Aiden sat on the edge of the deep oval bath with Ava in his lap, as it gradually filled with hot water and a stimulating mix of frothy eucalyptus and ylang ylang scented bubbles. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out the small silver key that would unlock the dreadful handcuffs. The cuffs clicked open and Ava howled again -the removal of the cuffs not providing the relief she had expected.

“Ssh,” he hushed her, touching the tips of his fingers to the translucent flakes of split skin scattered across her lips. “I know it hurts, but I’m going to make it all better. Do you want me to make it better Ava-Marie?” Ava’s blood ran cold and she immediately stiffened at his intrusive contact, lowering her eyes to her mouth, watching Aiden’s index finger glide across it slowly, as he touched her like she was made of glass...glass that he only intended to toy with before he pushed it off a ledge and watched it fall to the ground and smash. She was too scared to say a word. “C’mon Ava-Marie, tell me what you want,” his finger trailed down from her lips, rising and falling over the dips and peaks of her skin, leaving more prominent goosebumps in its path as it reached her damaged wrist. His hand clasped her wrist and Aiden brought her it to his mouth, hovering his lips over the shallow wound that decorated the circumference. “Do you want me to make it better?” he purred, pressing his lips to it with a soothing languid intensity that made Ava wince a little and gasp in spite of herself. Aiden smiled amused by how she seemed incapable of shielding her forbidden longing for him, before his dark eyes hardened, “Or do you want me to make it worse?” Suddenly his careful grip tightened and he pressed pitilessly onto the wound, restraining Ava with the arm he was using to hold her so that she couldn’t wiggle away.

“AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH, STOP IT PLEASEEEEEE. PLEASE AIDEN, PLEASEEEEE!” she cried, tussling with him to free herself, but Aiden was far too powerful for her, especially up against her current fragile state. She didn’t have the energy to do more that scream, thrash and hope that he would stop.

His bottomless eyes looked right through her; he had to numb himself to her anguish because he had a job to do. His voice was flat; “You have to make a choice Ava-Marie. Life is made up of choices and every choice guides the course of your life, and right now your life is in my hands, so I am telling you to make your choice and be prepared to live with it.” He released her completely and she fell to the floor with an ungainly thump. He loomed over her “It’s very simple; do you want me to make it better or worse Ava-Marie? It’s your choice. Make it now.” 

Ava didn’t know which option to choose, only that she had to choose right now; Aiden had established that he wasn’t fond of unanswered questions so she couldn’t fall back on silence and hope that he would just leave her be. He wouldn’t give her the luxury of being stubborn and sulky; she was his captive she needed to remember that. Bearing that in mind made Ava’s decision even harder; it was obvious that opting to let him make it better was the less painful option, but that didn’t mean that it wouldn’t be torture. Aiden was not here to make this experience a pleasant one –they weren’t fighting for the same side. Regardless of how innocent Ava was in all of this, Aiden was using her for revenge and as bait to get what he wanted from her father. Aiden would not be good to her because Aiden was bad, and anything good he did would surely come with a price. That was basically what he was demanding of her, to pick between two evils; two different forms of torture -one that would bring her pain and the other that would bring her pleasure but was just as undesirable because she knew that it was wrong. Both were humiliating, both would break her, but both were at completely different scales of the sensory reaction chart. She didn’t want to pick the first option, it made her feel cheap, but after spending what felt like an eternity hanging from the ceiling trapped in her own personal hell on earth, what other choice did she have? She couldn’t go through that again.

“…Make it better,” she whispered pathetically underneath her sobs.

Aiden knelt beside her and rolled her onto her back, “I didn’t quite catch that sweetheart, what did you say?” he leant his ear close to her mouth.

Ava closed her eyes and swallowed her pride, for it had no place here. If she didn’t give it up on her own, Aiden would only find a way to take it from her. “Make it better,” she said more clearly. Aiden turned his head and stared into her sad autumnal eyes with such intensity that Ava was forced to hold his gaze. She wanted to look away but he was so close to her now that he was everywhere. Even if she turned she would still feel his heat, still smell his scent, still be trapped by his presence that demanded to be felt and felt and felt.

“Where are your manners, Ava-Marie?”

“Um…please,” she murmured through gritted teeth and angry tears. Was it not enough that he had her in this position already by coercing her into making this degrading choice? Had he not shamed her enough?

Aiden narrowed his empty eyes at her, “Please who?”

“Aiden.” She spat his name out venomously.

Aiden’s eyes burned like hot coals as he placed his large hand on her throat, wrapping each long, thick finger around its girth one by one, but he didn’t squeeze, he didn’t have to; Ava’s fear of what he might do alone was enough to stop her breath short. “No,” he barked, “Sir. You will call me Sir, do you understand Ava-Marie.”

Ava blinked back tears as she began to grasp what Aiden version of ‘making it better’ really meant. His new weapon was something Ava had shied away from for her whole life until Aiden happened to her. His new weapon was sex and as much as she detested the idea, there was still that traitorous part of her that was inexorably drawn to this dark and dangerous man. Her voice quavered; “Yes.”

Aiden squeezed her throat with brute force, pressing the inner curve of his knuckle into her windpipe so sharply that her air was cut off in an instant. With his other hand he caressed her face affectionately, leaving Ava confused her as to whether she should panic or not. He leant closer to her, hovering close enough to taste her tears if he chose to. “Yes Sir, Ava-Marie. You must say Sir,” he wiped her tear away with his index finger, brought it to her lips and spread it over thedamaged skin with a sardonic smile, “You must always refer to me as Sir. Do you understand?”

“Yes Sir,” she croaked.

 “Good girl. Now stop crying and tell me what you want. Don’t forget your manners this time.” Aiden stopped squeezing her throat but he didn’t remove his hand. Ava gasped dramatically for air, panting under his chastening grip and trying to put an end to her tears. She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath, preparing herself to sign her impending surrender on the dotted line that hung heavily in the air like the black promise of a death sentence. She opened her mouth to speak but Aiden stopped her; “I want you to look at me when you say it.”

She opened her eyes and stared up into the face of hell’s angel, “Make it better please…Sir.”

Aiden’s lip turned up at the corner triumphantly, “Well since you asked so nicely.” He let go of her throat, wrapped his arms around her satin swathed waist and picked her up again. He placed her on top of the cool granite counter and slipped his large hands down onto her thighs. “Do you think you made the right choice, Ava-Marie?”

Ava nervously bit the inside of her cheek. This was a trick question; there was no right choice, she just got to choose which hell she wanted to endure at his hands. “No,” she hissed.

Aiden’s dark eyes flashed like a storm at midnight and he grabbed a fistful of her braids, roughly tugging her head to the side, “No who?” he growled

“No Sir!”

“Would you rather the other option, Ava-Marie?”

“No; I would rather my freedom, Sir.”

Aiden furrowed his brow and let her go, “I’m sure that my brother wishes for the same thing, but for some reason, even after hearing the way you screamed for me as I fucked with you, your father still hasn’t handed him over.” He fetched a bottle of Shiraz from a mini-fridge under the counter and an indulgent slice of rich chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. He set it down on the counter next to her then pulled a fork out of a draw, and then a large glass out of a cupboard mounted on the wall behind her. “If someone like me took my kid, I’d do whatever I had to do to get them back, just like I’m doing for Keegan, which is why you are here.” He poured the dry, dark berry coloured wine into the glass, “You must never forget that the only reason that you are still here is because your dad isn’t doing whatever he has to do to get you back, Ava-Marie. Know this; I do not want to keep you…”he reached out and stroked her hair as if that was his way for apologising for tugging on it so viscously before, “A man like me shouldn’t keep beautiful women...” he trailed off and removed his hand.

Ava stared at him; he was so befuddling. It was like he enjoyed playing the villain, but that wasn’t who he really was. One moment he’d terrify her and then he’d just stop, as if to take a breather before getting back to executing his role.

Aiden noticed the curious look in her eyes and thrust the glass at her. “Drink,” he growled.

She looked thoughtfully at the glass of fermented fruity liquid. Originally she wasn’t in the mood for wine, but the mention of her father made her reconsider. She would drink it, not because Aiden told her to, but so that she could temporarily forget the life-altering fact that her father was a murderous international drug lord who kidnapped people and killed her mother.  A lonely tear slid down her cheek and she tipped the spicy liquid into her parched mouth. It burned her throat –all of her dehydrated screaming had made it raw and tight -and she immediately wanted to stop drinking but she was so thirsty and so desperate for liquid oblivion that she couldn’t stop until the glass was empty.

“I bet that feels better already,” Aiden smirked watching how desperately she had drank it. “Would you like some more, Ava-Marie?”

“Yes,” she panted. She hadn’t stopped for air whilst drinking; she didn’t want to breathe, she wanted to get drunk and now she was out of breath. She saw Aiden frown at her reply and quickly corrected herself before he punished her for not addressing him properly, “Yes Sir...I mean yes please, Sir.” Aiden smiled, took the glass from her and filled it again. Ava drank recklessly again, partially wishing that he had given her something less acidic, like water, but grateful that he hadn’t because the alcohol was beginning to shift her state of consciousness. Everything was beginning to feel a little less like the sky was falling and more like she was rising up to meet it. She polished off her second helping in record time and hoped he would offer her more. He didn’t. Instead he took the empty glass from her and put it to the side, then picked up the small plate with the chocolate cake slice and the fork, cut away a small piece and lifted it to Ava’s wine-stained lips.

“Eat.” Ava opened her mouth and let Aiden slide it in. She noticed the way his gothic eyes dropped just as the fork entered, observing her mouth intently as her lips closed around the long metal prongs. He cocked his head to the side elongating his tattooed neck; “You have a lovely mouth Ava-Marie,” he murmured erotically, pulling it out with a deliberate slowness. He put one hand back on her bare thigh midway between her knee and her hip, with his thumb extending inward so that it lay against the warmer skin on the supple flesh inside of her leg. He rubbed it back and forth, lightly massaging the sensitive nerve endings that connected to the carnal hollow at the meeting of her thighs and said, “It’s good, isn’t it?”

Ava didn’t know whether he was asking about the cake or the erogenous mini massage he was giving her. She wished she hadn’t drunk the wine so fast because either way she looked at it, her answer was: “Yes Sir.”

His hand crept up her thigh, stopping only an inch away from her sex. Ava bit down on her lip and stifled a gasp. Aiden leant closer so that the tips of their noses touched and their Cupid’s bows whispered against each other’s. He licked his lips, catching hers with the smooth underside of his tongue as he did so, making her cheeks blush rose gold and her wine-stained mouth fall open. “Do you want more?”

Ava puckered her lips, tasting Aiden in her mouth. Did she want more what; cake or Aiden? Did it matter? The wine was talking to her, singing songs of inebriated liberation through her veins, answering for her; “Yes Sir,” she breathed.

Aiden made a bemused sound. “Okay,” he cut off another piece and offered it to her, “Open your mouth.” He continued feeding her in silence, offering her more and more of the delicious cake–it was the best chocolate cake she had tasted in her life, the frosting was creamy, the sponge was moist and had the right amount of sweetness balanced out by another ingredient that she couldn’t quite put her finger on. She moaned appreciatively. “I think that’s enough,” Aiden put down the cake, “It’s laced with high grade. Too much of this will have you seeing stars, and only I want that privilege.” Aiden smiled and cut off a piece for himself, “Stone’s girlfriend makes these. The best weed cake there ever was, don’t you agree?”

Ava gritted her teeth and mentally scolded herself; how could she not realise that she was eating space cake? The wine was already stirring her senses, and now that the cannabis was added to the mix her wish for oblivion would come much sooner and much harder than she anticipated -her mouth was already beginning to feel like cotton. In her defence, the cake had been made so well, and she was so hungry, that the pungent earthy flavour of the weed had been overpowered by the chocolate.

He poured her some more wine, “Here. Drink.”

“Go to hell!”

 He thrust her legs apart and spanked the inside of her thigh, hard. Ava yelped. The slap stung, but it didn’t hurt as much as it should have; the dual intoxication was taking effect and slowly her fatigued body was re-awakening, translating the sensation into the something it shouldn’t. She could feel the area where Aiden’s open palm made contact and it made her ache, and it burned, and it resonated in lulling waves of masochistic satisfaction that reached the deepest, darkest parts of her. “I said drink.”

“But_”

He slapped the inside of her other thigh –harder, “Do not play with me Ava-Marie,” he warned.

She took the wine and sipped it. The unpleasant cotton mouthed sensation subsided as the alcohol seeped into her taste buds. It tasted even more delicious after the cake a side effect of her impending munchies. She drank more.

Aiden stepped away and went to turn off the tap. The tub was full. He turned his back to her and began peeling off his clothing, tugging his top over his head, kicking off his boots, unbuckling his belt, unzipping his leather trousers, popping the button and sliding them down his legs before stepping out of them, pulling off his socks, and then his finger slipped under the edge of the waistband of his boxers. Ava choked on her wine. Aiden was naked, and if she had found it difficult to admit before, the weed and the wine were certainly making her confession a whole lot easier to express; he was a God. He stood tall and glorious with his deep cocoa butter brown skin encasing his huge rippling muscles as if someone had poured dark chocolate on him and it had set perfectly over every plane and groove. There were even more tattoos from this angle; a huge tribal piece to mask several scars, that swallowed his entire back and curled around his sides, hugging his obliques and intensifying his warrior like resemblance. His ass was firm and toned, sat on top of legs as thick as tree trunks, giving him the perfect top to bottom body ratio. He looked over his shoulder at her and Ava could see the full length of is lacy black lashes that added an element of androgynous romance to his destructively handsome features.

“Are you finished?” he asked.

Ava ran her tongue over her chapped wine-stained lips, “No…no sir.”

Aiden turned to face her, gracing her bewildered eyes with all of his glory. He bit down on the corner of his lips and cocked his eyebrow, “Am I distracting you, Ava-Marie?”

Ava blushed rose gold, embarrassed that she was staring so hard. She had never seen a naked man in real life before, only the suggestive glimpses of nudity in movies, in art galleries, and anatomically correct drawings in biology text books from her secondary school days, but didn’t prepare her for seeing Aiden. She didn’t even think that women who had seen their fair share of naked men would be prepared to see Aiden. Seeing Aiden naked was like being caught in an avalanche; he was made to crash into you and freeze time. She watched with a hammering heart as he sauntered over. He looked erotic; not in a sordid pornographic way, because he wasn’t even trying to be sexy, he just was. Aiden exuded an intimate demeanour that didn’t make you want to shy away from him; he made you want to admire him the way you would admire Michelangelo’s ‘David’, appreciating every carefully sculpted part of him that God had crafted. Unlike the statue of David, Aiden was exceptionally well-endowed…and he wasn’t even aroused yet. Ava’s breath caught in her throat and she too another sip of wine. He was fucking magnificent.

Aiden settled himself between her legs. His hips brushed the heated insides of her thighs. “I asked you a question…”

“You’re naked,” she giggled. The weed and the wines effect was becoming stronger and Ava’s fears and inhibitions were quickly dissolving into nothing. She knew she was being held captive, but there in the granite and silver bathroom, high, with a glass of wine in her hand, dressed in nothing more than underwear and a satin robe, while the beautiful man who had spanked her thighs and fed her cake stood naked between her legs, she didn’t feel like it.

“I am,” he nodded.

“You look really good naked.” Boldly, she reached out and touched his stomach. He was so hot and rigid. He made her stomach tie itself up in knots that the butterflies couldn’t unravel.

“How do you feel, Ava-Marie?”

Ava gulped down the rest of the wine and grinned, “Never better, Sir.”

“Hmm,” Aiden hummed. He took the wine glass from her and set it on the side before lifting her off of the counter to stand in front of him. He walked behind her and brought his large hands to her shoulders then pulled off the robe. The heavy material dropped to the floor in a pool of black satin around her feet. Aiden stepped closer to her, pressing his steadily swelling member against her backside. He brushed his parted lips against her ear and groaned gutturally, “Take off your underwear.”

Ava swallowed a mouthful of hot air and squeezed her eyes shut to try and regain some focus and common sense. “Why?” she whispered shakily as she tried to remind herself that her mind was compromised, and that this -this enlivening feeling so much of his brown skin rubbing directly onto her brown skin -was wrong. Dear God, it was so very wrong.

Aiden wrapped his arm around her waist and used his fingers to trace circles around her navel; small tight ones followed by larger explorative ones. “I’m going to bathe you.”

Ava shuddered. 

#RunningWilde Ch. 6 | The Shattering

tumblr_m5g0496BRN1qi0b8uo1_500.jpg

Aiden dug into his brief case and removed four white circular pads with wires attached to them that were connected to a small black box with a row of small led lights lining the side of it and a switch on the top. He gathered the equipment in his arm, then extracted a wireless Bluetooth headset from his back pocket and slotted it into his ear.

“Hello?” Aiden smiled sinisterly at the sound of Vince Lockewood’s curious voice, but didn’t reply to him. Instead he spoke to Ava in his low velvet tone, his deep brown eyes wandering over her indulgent, agile curves.

“I’m going to place each of these monitors on your beautiful body, Ava-Marie,” he drew her name out clearly and concisely to make sure that Vince knew that he was about to touch his daughter.

“MICHEALS!” Vince bellowed “I SWEAR TO GOD IF YOU LAY ONE FILTHY FINGER ON HER I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN AND CUT THEM OFF ONE BY ONE. DO YOU HEAR ME MICHEALS?”

Aiden ignored him and stepped closer to Ava. She stiffened as he knelt before her and put the small black box down carefully in the space between her bare feet that teetered unsteadily on the cool concrete floor due to the upward tug of the chains and handcuffs. Aiden’s knuckles lightly brushed against her instep and she released a shudder. His dark eyes flitted upwards to look inquisitively at her, “Are you ticklish Ava-Marie, or did I misread that reaction?”

Ava tightened her jaw and looked ahead; to look down at Aiden staring up at her whilst on his knees in front of her as she stood before him in nothing but a bra, a thong and an open satin dress robe would only bring the tell-tell redness of her unwanted blush to her cheeks. “You misread it;” she replied tightly, “That reaction was me recoiling from your touch, you bastard.”

Aiden narrowed his eyes at her, “What would you father think if he heard his little princess using such unbecoming language,” he jested sadistically as Vince continued to rant in his ear.

                Ava looked down at him quickly, “He would be proud.” She returned her head to its previous position before Aiden’s unabashed desirability could affect her.

                “And how would he feel about you lying?” he smirked.

                “What am I lying about now?” she sighed. She had accepted that until Aiden connected the lie detector to her that he would not believe a word of what she was saying.

                Aiden wrapped his fingers around her ankle roughly, causing her body to sway a little from the upward tug of her restraints. Ava shrieked and tried to right herself. It wasn’t like she could fall over being strung up like this, but being steady was the only control that she had left over herself in this current situation; Aiden had forced her to submit everything else. He waited with amused patience, allowing Ava to regain some control over herself before he saw fit to take it from her again. He loosened his grip and begun to let his hand slide arduously up the inside of her smooth cinnamon leg, his velvety grip on her expanding as his fingers caressed the widening curve of her calf, contracting when it got to her knee then broadening once more as it ascended up her inner thigh. Ava writhed and whimpered as his refined touch neared the delicate apex where her thighs met. She attempted to raise her other leg to kick him away but the uncalculated manoeuvre threw her balance off completely and her foot slipped from beneath her, which was rewarded by a painful strain on her arms as her wrists were forced to bear the full weight of her body and by the same token, sped up the process of what she has been trying to impede –her sex pressed against Aiden’s thick fingers. She shrieked and thrashed about even more, but the restriction of her movements only made things worse as her softness grinded back and forth against the solidness of the side of his hand. Aiden did nothing to sojourn her actions; he hadn’t budged an inch and actually had no intention of touching her there…yet. He figured she’d either realise that in order to stop her core being touched that she’d have to stop fussing and stand up straight again, or she’d eventually begin to enjoy it and keep going, which would certainly be something for Vince to hear –he thought to himself with a exulting smile.

“AVA!” Vince called in vain. He knew that she couldn’t hear him, but it was all he could do. That was his daughter screaming at the top of her lungs and he had no way to help her. His men were already looking for where the Diamond Mafia was keeping her and so far had come up empty-handed, so until they rescued her, all he could do was pray, yell, and wait. “What are you doing to her Michaels?”

Aiden snickered and continued to wait to see what Ava would do. Eventually she planted one foot on the ground and hopped back into position with her braids falling in her face, flushed skin and heavy panting, which he couldn’t discern if it was down to exertion or sexual provocation. “Are you quite finished?” he asked as his hand slipped back into place near the upper inside part of her thigh.

“You’re sick!” she snarled trying to regulate her breathing again.

“I didn’t do anything,” he said in an unfazed tone, “In case the obvious surpassed you, Ava-Marie, I didn’t move a muscle; that was you doing all the work. I was simply trying to do this…” With his cavernous, sable eyes still staring up at her, Aiden lifted the first monitor pad to his lips and licked the back of it with an allusive slowness that made Ava’s breath get trapped in her lungs, then carefully pressed it to the main arterythat resided in the fold between her thigh and her sex. He noticed how much warmer she had become between her legs since colliding with his hand over and over, and let his hand linger there a little while longer -Ava cleared her throat and looked forward again. “And as for the lying,” Aiden continued, getting to his feet, “I’m sure Daddy dearest would hate to know that a part of you enjoys it when I touch you. He’d hate it more than you wish that you did, Ava-Marie.” His eyes darkened further as he lifted another pad to his mouth and swept his tongue over it right in front of her face, then stuck it to the inside of her wrist, then another to her chest. He held the final pad between his fingers “You like it when I touch you, don’t you?” he susurrated, pushing her hair out of her face with his free hand.

Ava turned her head away from him. “No,” she growled through clenched teeth as her tell-tell blush deepened from embarrassment. She didn’t like it when Aiden touched her, it made her skin crawl, but she couldn’t deny that there were also butterflies whenever he did. He frightened her, but it wasn’t only in the bad way that it should have been; there was excitement in the fear because of his physical appearance, and the erotically charged way that he handled her. Aiden spoke to her with the enticing voice of a forbidden lover, and whenever they came into contact, even if it was to adjust restraints that he had ordered to be put on her, or to stick monitor tabs on her bare skin, he touched her like a forbidden lover would – evanescently, and then with everything he possessed, all at once. His whole demeanour was beguiling, and looking the way he did made ignoring his warped seduction even harder. He looked like a beautiful disaster waiting to happen, and Ava was afraid that he would happen to her. A part of her wished that he would be crueller in his method, not because she wanted to be in more danger than she already was, but because it would drive the unsolicited feelings (that made her lower muscles tighten) away so she could hate him properly.

Aiden slipped his hand under the flowing black sheet of satin that fell against Ava’s sun kissed brown skin, and wrapped it around her waist. He didn’t press his body against her this time; he left a miniscule gap between them that the slightest movement could close it. He dipped his head to her ear, “No?” he asked, still unconvinced that she didn’t enjoy the rush of their skin to skin contact, “Not even now?”

“Not even now,” she breathed stubbornly. God, why did he have to be so intense? This is not the way kidnappers were supposed to be; they weren’t meant to feel like they were seducing you.

“Hmm,” he began to run his fingers up and down the line of her spine, still refusing to close the gap between them, “You see, in regards to your adamance about not knowing what your father is really up to, I have a slight inclination to believe you, but with this…” he let his lips graze her earlobe before pushing one of his legs between hers, parting them and letting the heel of his boot rest on the switch on top of the small black box, “…I’m not so sure I do.”

Ava pursed her lips to stifle a sharp intake of breath as the smooth satin triangle of her thong slid gratifyingly against the slick black leather of his trousers, troubling her roused sex. “I don’t care what you believe.”

“Oh but you should Ava-Marie,” he yanked her to him, sliding her kitty further up against his powerfully built, leather clad thigh so that their bodies met at the pelvis, and pressed his full lips to the hollow behind her ear. Ava gasped, trying the feign outrage as Aiden’s warm tongue licked sensuously at her flaming flesh, creating a circle of moisture as he twirled it around. He felt her heart rate start climbing, throbbing wildly against his wild mouth, so he pressed the last pad to her skin, dropped his heel on the switch and pulled away, leaving her hanging and undeniably horny. “Because my belief in the things you and your father tell me is the only thing keeping you alive.” He took five paces back, “Let’s begin. What is your name?”

“What?” Ava puffed, “My name…you know my name.” The problem was that she had been so taken with his seduction that she had temporarily forgotten it herself.

“This is a basic tester question. Tell me your name.”

“Ava-Marie Lockewood,” she remembered.

“The light is green, you’re telling the truth. Good girl. Next question, do you like it when I touch you Ava-Marie?”

“No!” she answered brusquely.

Aiden’s lip quirked upward on one side and he took a step forward, “The lie detector says that’s a lie.”

“It’s not a lie!” Aiden took another step forward. “What are you doing?”

“It said you lied again,” he explained.

“But you said I had five chances; you’ve only asked me two questions and one of them was a tester!”

“I said you had five chances to tell me the truth. You’ve lied two times, so I’ve taken two steps forward. You should be more careful about the words that come out of your pretty mouth. Next question, have you heard of me or the Diamond Mafia before today?”

Ava paused; she had sort of meant it when she said that she didn’t like it when Aiden touched her, but this machine translated her confusion as a lie. What if it was unreliable and made her answers come out as lies, or what if Aiden had rigged it?

“Ava-Marie, I’m not a patient man. Answer me; have you heard of me or the Diamond Mafia before today?”

“No.”

“The machine says you are telling the truth.”

Ava exhaled gratefully. The machine wasn’t unreliable or rigged.

“Of course she’s telling the truth you idiot! She doesn’t know anything,” Vince’s voice snarled venomously in Aiden’s ear. He had fallen silent when his daughter’s breathing had gotten heavy with lust and he’d wanted to hang up so badly because of course no father wants to hear his daughter react like that to another person, but he had to know what else Aiden had in store for her so he closed his eyes, bit down on his fist, and endured it.

Aiden ignored Vince and moved onto his next question. “Did you know that your father kidnapped my brother before I told you?”

“My father didn’t kidnap_”

“ANSWER THE FUCKING QUESTION!” Aiden yelled. He was not about to stand through another irritating session of ‘my father, the saint’, he just wanted to hear the truth.

“No,” Ava whispered feeling her hatred for Aiden rising again. She was upset that he yelled at her, but it was better this way. At least when he was behaving like this she felt the right kind of fear. Maybe if he asked her if she liked him touching her now, she could say no and really mean it.

“You’re telling the truth,” he confirmed in a calmer tone. “Okay, did you know that you father is the head of one of the biggest international drug cartels in the world, called The Syndicate?”

“What?”

“You little bastard,” Vince hissed.

“Answer me please, Ava-Marie.”

“No.”

“Humph,” Aiden mused “You are telling the truth.” He thought for sure she’d been lying about that at least, but it was now apparent that Vince had well and truly kept her in the dark about all of his dirty dealings. “Your father has kept a lot of things from you Ava-Marie, with good reason; I mean the man’s a monster. I bet if you knew the person he really was you would despise him. That’s probably why he’s been lying to you for all these years.”

“My father is not a monster,” Ava hissed defensively, “YOU are a monster Aiden Michaels and this game of yours proves nothing, only that I never lied to you. Who’s to say that you’re not lying to me, Aiden? Where’s your test?”

Aiden cocked his head to the side and ran his tongue over his pearly white teeth, “You want to test me Ava-Marie?” he asked suggestively.

Ava jutted her chin out, refusing to be swayed by his sexuality this time; “I want you to prove these wild accusations against my father. This whole situation is fucked up but there would be some comfort in knowing that it’s not all in vain.”

“As you wish.” Aiden pulled his shirt over his head and threw it across the room, unveiling his sculpted chocolate chest -Ava looked away. He took the last three steps in her direction and reached down between their bodies. His rippling arm tickled her stomach while the tips of his fingers brushed against her skin; feeling around for the monitor tab placed at the meeting of her thigh and her pussy. He peeled it back carefully.

Ava’s face contorted with mild discomfort as the tug of the tab stung the sensitive skin underneath it, but the fact that Aiden was removing it as he watched her, topless with his hooded liquid eyes, translated some of the pain into something else -something she wasn’t proud of. No man had ever touched her there, she’d never allowed it, and now this tall, dark and dangerous man was doing it in ways that she considered too kinky for someone as prudish as she was, and yet she found that it drove her crazy and was afraid that if he continued to handle her in this fashion that eventually her barrier would dissolve and reveal just how much she enjoyed this extremely guilty pleasure.

Aiden brought the back of the tab to Ava’s mouth and growled, “Lick it.”

“No!”

He raised an eyebrow at her defiance, “I said that if by the end of my questions you hadn’t used up your chances to tell the truth, that I would reward you with a gift. My gift for your honesty is my honesty in return, but the only way you will get my honesty is by doing as you are told.”

“Lick it yourself!” she snapped.

Aiden regarded the space between her legs intently, making sure that she could see where his gaze fell before his eyes returned to hers and he replied in a voice dripping with sin, “I intend to.”

Ava gulped.

“Open your mouth for me Ava-Marie,” he stepped closer, leaving the minuscule gap between them that quickly filled with their igneous body heat. Aiden tilted his pelvis towards her so that their centres grazed each other’s, making Ava gasp louder than before. “Well that’s a start,” Aiden chuckled, “Now stick out your tongue.”

Ava snapped her mouth shut again “No!” she shrieked. He tilted his pelvis a little more then wrapped his free arm around her so that their sexes did a little more than graze. Satin crushed to leather again, searing, throbbing and dishonourably tempting. “Stop it,” Ava rasped guiltily, dropping her head to veil the colour that this new sensation brought to her cheeks. This was wrong; she was handcuffed to the ceiling in next to nothing with a devastatingly handsome bad boy softly churning his growing erection into her, whilst making debasing demands of her, and promising a reward if she obeyed. When he had told her that he would torture her, she expected to be starved and beaten like she’d see in the movies, but she could see now that Aiden’s torture was more calculated and cunning than that. The real torture was trying to decide whether to do what was right, or to do what felt right, and the way he was slowly working her over was messing with her head, making her lean towards the wrong option. He didn’t force himself on her, he simply offered her lingering samples of the dark side and let her decide if she liked the taste of sin before he offered her more, and she dammit she wanted more.

“Do you really want me to stop?” he asked throatily, running his fingers up and down her spine again.

“Yes,” she whispered. The dots on the small black box flashed red.

“You’re lying to me.” He slid his arms down until he reached the back of her thigh and hooked it onto his hip. She was forced to wrap the other leg around him to stop the cuffs from taking her full weight and cutting into her wrists. Aiden bit down on his lips and held her close, churning a little harder into her middle. She quivered. “Tongue. Now.” Ava couldn’t fight him anymore, with his powerful body pressed up against her and his articulate erection sinking further into her softness, it was impossible to say no. She surrendered; she reopened her mouth and stuck her tongue out for him. Aiden placed the tab in the centre of it, rested his index finger on top it and pushed it back and forth against the length of her wet tongue purring, “Good girl.” Ava whimpered as the sensation of the gentle oral thrusting of his finger pushing the tab in and out of her mouth, and the teasing gyrations of his cock bridled by leather, made her sex begin to leak through the satin triangle of her thong.

Aiden gave her a rewarding smile, removed the tab from her mouth and stuck it to the left side of his chest. He unravelled her from around his hips, setting her back on solid ground to stand on her trembling legs, before taking the rest of the tabs off of her skin. “Now I am the only one with the lie detector on me.” He bent down and picked the small black box up from the space between her legs, holding up the side with the lights on it so that she could see; “Now it is my turn to tell you the truth.” He removed his wireless Bluetooth headset and pressed his finger to his lips, signalling to her to be quiet before he slotted it into place on her ear.

Vince had heard her whimpering again and was back to quietly biting his fist but Aiden knew that what he had to say next would get him talking again. “Your father is the head of the international drug cartel, The Syndicate.”

Ava saw the light flash green.

“He kidnapped my brother and had him brutally tortured because my brother stole ten million pounds worth of cocaine from him.”

The light flashed green again.

“And your mother never committed suicide Ava-Marie. Your father had her killed.”

The light flashed green. Ava furrowed her brow and shook her head; that had to be a lie.

She was about to defend her father again and claim that there was fault with the machine when Vince perked up in her ear, confirming what Aiden had said; “How the fuck did you know that? Who told you that Michaels? I swear to God when I get my hands on you I’m going to slit your throat and watch you choke to death on your own blood while your fucking brother watches, and then I’m going to kill him too, and then you can both join my whore of a wife in hell!”

For a moment Ava couldn’t say anything. She was forced to stand there with this headset loge in her ear listening to her father say these terrible things, confirming the kind of person Aiden accused him of being. “Dad?” she choked. It was suddenly hard for her to breathe, and her hazel eyes began to burn as the weight of the perfect that world her father had carefully crafted for her all these years began to crash and burns around her all at once.

Vince gasped; “Ava? Ava honey, can you hear me?” His voice seemed so normal and sweet, yet filled with worry for his little girl; that was the kind of man she knew her father to be; protective, thoughtful and loving, but now she knew better and listening to him fall back into the role of the doting father just didn’t fit him anymore. “Honey, are you okay? I promise I’m going to get you out of there as soon as I can, okay? Don’t listen to any of his lies baby; he just wants to hurt you_”

“It’s too late. I heard you Dad.”

Aiden signalled to Dougie to disconnect the call and the line went dead. Ava found that she could no longer stand up. The ruins of her perfect world had collapsed on top of her and were crushing her from the inside out. The cuffs cut into her wrists breaking the surface of her skin and a thin red line appeared dotted with blood, but she didn’t care. She hung there and cried.

Aiden walked out and left her.


What do you think about Aiden's methods of torture? Let me know in the comments.

Ch. 7 | Rock-A-Bye Baby will be up next Friday.

Please click the heart and share if you enjoyed this chapter.

#RunningWilde | Ch. 5 | Wicked Games

Ava clenched her eyes shut, almost as if she believed that she was simply experiencing a bad dream that she would wake up from any moment now, but she couldn’t ignore the smell of Molten Brown shower gel and crippling body heat of the man who identified himself as Aiden Michaels, hovering over her as she trembled beneath him, tied to a bed. “This is insane,” she whispered half to herself, half to her captor, “This doesn’t make any sense; why on earth would my father kidnap your brother?”

“Because the jack ass stole your father’s product, and unluckily for him, your father found out.”

Ava opened her eyes, confused. “Product? What do you mean he stole his product –how on earth do you steal a night club? Was he stealing drinks from behind the bar? That hardly seems like a good enough reason to kidnap somebody. I don’t understand_”

“You know damn well I’m not talking about that shit!” he growled, making her flinch, shriek, and shrink further into the mattress.

“Please don’t hurt me,” she screamed, “Please, I don’t know what else there is, I just wanna go home! Please, let me go home. I don’t know anything Aiden, I swe_” Aiden slammed his fist down close to her head, crushing it forcefully into the pillow and cutting her frantic pleas short.

“DON’T LIE TO ME AVA-MARIE!”

“I’m not lying. I just want go home.”

“You’re Vince Lockewood’s daughter; do you really expect me to believe a word you say?”

“Yes, because I’m telling you the truth!” Aiden detected an edge to her voice that cut through the fear; she was getting angry. “You can’t threaten me and keep me tied up like some animal. You have no right!”

Aiden smirked sardonically and carried his face closer to hers, with a stare so intense that as much as Ava wanted to, she was unable to look away. He had her trapped. She could feel his warm breath blowing across her lips, the crippling heat from his dripping frame emitting intrusively onto her skin, and his freshly showered scent surround her. “I can do whatever the fuck I want, and believe me, Ava-Marie, I will exercise my right to do so -” she noticed his dark eyes flick down to her mouth then back up again, “Thoroughly.”

She gasped at the possible implications of what his threat could mean, but just before she could scream, Aiden clamped his large hand over her mouth, forcing her to swallow it.

“Here’s the deal sweetheart; I have given your father three days to return my brother to me alive and the sum of twenty million pounds in order to get you back. If he doesn’t comply, you die.” Ava’s strangled cry for help reverberated inside the palm of his hand. His hand that rested deep in the pillow next to her head began to descend slowly, approaching her trembling frame as he spoke softly; “It’s only fair, Ava-Marie, don’t you think? I mean, your father had his men torture my little brother,” his hand grazed the length of her neck, then crept up over her shoulder and onto her collar bone, “Beat him so bad that he couldn’t even speak,” he lifted the heel of his hand so that the padded tips of his fingers were the only thing stroking down her soft mound of breast tissue, slowing even more as they skimmed the curve of her nipple. Ava sobbed harder. “As if it wasn’t bad enough that they took him from me in the first place, they tortured him too, so I figured that it’s only right that you receive the same treatment,” his fingers passed her breast and his palm was now flat against her rib cage, gliding down her stomach to the hem of her tank top. Once he reached the edge, he slipped his hand underneath and begun to push upwards, causing her top to rise with his touch.

Ava eyes widened; she thrashed around in a panic, screaming so hard that her face flushed from red to puce and her tears flowed heavier, leaving puddles by her ears. The restraints that Aiden loosened started cutting into her wrists again, but she forced herself to tune out the pain. The danger that he presented had her shaken senseless. She had to get away from him, no matter how hopeless her freedom seemed.

Aiden continued purring threats at her in his luxurious velvet voice, “While you are here, I will torture you day and night, every day and night. I will make you scream and beg me for mercy, but I will not be merciful. I will enjoy it,” he stopped pushing her top up once it reached the satin bound underwire of her bra, and snatched his hand away from her warm skin, “Just as your father’s men enjoyed torturing my brother.”

Ava stared up at him and shook her head, pleading with him with fear in her wide eyes, not to follow through with his vengeful plan. Aiden looked down at her blankly; he’d seen fear more than enough times in his line of work and had trained himself to become desensitised to it so that he could do his job right. Crying, trembling and screaming bloody murder didn’t move him anymore, because victims are supposed to be scared. He loved that Vince’s daughter feared him; it made him feel powerful to bring her to such a state of tragic desperation, he loved the control it gave him…but this wasn’t how he wanted her to respond to him. Fear is a useful way to control people, but fear backfires if the person on the receiving ends decides to stop being scared. Aiden knew the best way to control someone was to make them love you; it was the method he had used with every member of his crew, which is why they were all loyal to him. In one way or another, Aiden had saved them and nurtured them, and because of that, they all felt as if he was a saviour of some sort and that they owed him something. He needed answers if he wanted to get Keegan back and he was going to make sure Ava gave them to him. It would be easy to knock her about like The Syndicate had done to his brother, but that wasn’t Aiden’s style when it came to women. Growing up he’d had to rescue his mother from countless numbers of abusive junkie lovers, and he would be damned if he did to another female what those men had done to his mum. Ava had to want to tell him everything, and for her to want to do that, she had to want him.

“I’m going to remove my hand now Ava-Marie. If you scream, I will gag you. Are you going to scream?”

Ava shook her head.

“Good girl.” He removed his hand, but as he suspected she would, Ava let out an ear-splitting cry for help. Aiden rolled his eyes; she could yell all she wanted, it wasn’t like anyone would be able to hear her. The compound was situated in the warehouse district on the outskirts of South West London, leading into Surrey, which was generally deserted most of the time unless the few people that rented some of the spaces were picking up things or dropping them off, which wasn’t too frequent. Aiden had selected the warehouse deep in the centre of the industrial park where there was nothing but buildings and more building surrounding them. He had double glazing, fire doors, thick insulated walls, floors and ceilings installed when the barren space was being converted into one of his compounds, so that even if someone was nearby, they wouldn’t be able to hear anything. Ava’s screaming annoyed him. He clamped his hand over her mouth again, “Are you trying to piss me off Ava-Marie?” She mumbled something into his hand. He lifted it, “Say that again.”

“Please, this is crazy! My father is a nightclub owner; he doesn’t have your brother. You’ve got the wrong person!”

Aiden sighed, “How long are you going to keep this up? Everybody knows what your father really is, so stop acting like you don’t. It’s getting really old, really fast.”

“I’m not acting,” she cried, “You’re not listening to me. I’m telling you the truth!”

“We’ll see.”

Aiden got to his feet and walked to the door, poked his head out and called for The Maids. Two of them appeared in uniformed looks of sleek black cat suits, gloves, boots and dark cat-eyed sunglasses, with their hair slicked back into immaculately ponytails. They were definitely not what Ava expected to see when she’d heard Aiden call for maids; they looked more like glamorous assassins and it was immediately clear that these women were no ordinary maids, and that maybe Maids was just an ironic title to soften the reality of what their jobs really entailed. They entered the room side by side –seemingly not acknowledging Ava -and awaited their orders from Aiden.

“Clean her up and feed her. Have her downstairs in one hour. Oh, and gag her if she makes too much noise; I have a headache.” The Maids nodded at him and he left the room without another word.

The Maids finally acknowledged Ava.

Ava screamed.

After going over the next step of his plan, Aiden yanked on a long sleeve polo shirt and made his way to the boardroom at the back of the compound. He had called a team meeting to find out where the Diamond Mafia stood as far as getting Keegan back, and to make sure that the rest of the crew were carrying out business as usual so that the rival gangs didn’t know that something was up. In the world of street crime, if chinks in a crew’s armour become common knowledge, there was no shortage of enemies willing to see if they could find the opportunity to take a stab at you and steal your crown. He had fought too hard to get to where he was and would be damned before he let any of those two-bit gangsters think they could take his spot. He shoved open the double doors of the large charcoal grey room to see Ash with her long legs up on the table and filing her nails, Mighty tapping away manically at his laptop, Dougie sat quietly in the corner watching the multiple CCTV camera screens mounted on the wall, and Stone rolling up his afternoon joint -business as usual.

“Any word on Keegan’s whereabouts?” he asked.

Mighty glanced up from his computer screen; “Not yet, A. I’ve tried tracking his phone, but wherever they are keeping him either has a really dense structure, is deep underground, or they have a DK500 machine blocking the signal.”

“I’ve been checking in with the soldiers to see if they have anything to report,” Dougie said, “So far no one has any information, but they’re gonna keep trying. The good news is that Driver called in to say that he delivered Trish and Jamie safely to the other compound. He wasn’t followed.”

“I’ve got my boys tracking Syndicate soldiers. We sure that they’re gonna make a move soon, and when they do, we’ll be the first to know,” Stone added.

Aiden slid his hands into his pockets, “Okay. Does anyone have any useful information?” he asked tightly. He knew that his lieutenants and capos were doing their best, but as they were now on day one of the three day threat, he needed to know something that could give him another leg up in this face-off, because he knew that Vince wasn’t about to go down quietly. He was going to make a move, and when he did, Aiden needed everyone to be ready.

“I do,” Ash smiled smugly, raising her freshly filed fingernails into the air –Stone rolled his eyes. Aiden nodded at her. “Yang is awake and on the move. I took the liberty of planting a bug in his phone before I left. He spoke to Vince a few hours ago,”

“Saying what?”

“Vince is talking war. Said he’s sending some Syndicate soldiers out to dig around our hood, and you know what that means.”

Aiden frowned, “Where do you think he’s gonna hit first?”

“I reckon either the salon or your mother’s house,” Stone guessed. “Those are the two most obvious choices and Vince’s soldiers aren’t all that bright. He still doesn’t see us as being on his level; he’ll probably just send a bunch of goons.”

“I don’t know about that,” Dougie interjected, “Vince already underestimated Aiden once, I don’t think he’s gonna be so quick as to do it again. We’ve got his kid, he’s not just trying to make some noise, he wants to send a message; 'don’t fuck with me'. This is Vince Lockewood we’re dealing with; he’s got a lot of powerful allies in high places, and my bet is that he’s gonna call in some favours for his daughter’s sake.”

“Dougie’s right,” Aiden agreed, “Vince wants me to know that this is his city and he will spare no resources to make sure I know that. You think he’s gonna hit my mum and Diamond’s first?” he asked Stone.

“I’m positive. I’ve already sent some of the man dem to patrol your mum’s place and make sure she’s cool, and I’ve got a few gal dem posted in the salon as customers just in case some shit pops off.”

“Good looking out Stone.”

“Also,” Ash piped up again, not appreciating the shine being taken off of her, “Vince sent Yang to come for Ava.”

“You say that like I should be worried,” Aiden scoffed. He knew that Yang was good, but Yang was just a solider; Aiden was a mob boss.

“That’s because you should be,” Ash replied tightly, annoyed by his cockiness. “I don’t know when and I don’t know how, but I can promise you Yang will find you, A.”

“What makes you so sure?”

“He is in love with her; he will find you,” she said with confident finality as if it were written in the stars just because some solider was infatutated.

Aiden jutted out his chin, too proud to share Ash’s concerns. “Well if he does, then I feel sorry for him.”

“Ugh,” Ash rolled her eyes, “He’s probably thinking the same thing about you, you arrogant twit!”

“Ashley!” Aiden warned gruffly, his dark eyes flashing at her. She looked away.

“Sorry, but I’m just calling it as I see it.”

“What, you think I can’t take him?”

Ash lifted her head and made a point to look her boss in the eye; “I think love makes people do crazy things.” There was a pregnant pause that made the atmosphere in the room suddenly turn thick and awkward, giving Aiden a nagging urge to leave. He hated it when she lost her professional edge.

“Yeah, well, I’ve got things to do. If there are any further developments then let me know right away, got it?” They all mumbled that they understood. “Good. Mighty, pick up your laptop, you’re coming with me.”

“I thought you said she was over it?” Mighty whispered the moment the double doors swung shut behind them.

“She is,” Aiden replied stiffly, keeping his eyes forward, not believing his own words.

“Doesn’t seem that way to me,” Mighty didn’t believe Aiden’s words either, “Maybe you should talk to her.”

“And say what?” he snapped.

“I dunno, A,” he shrugged. “You know Ash better than I do. What I do know is that we’ve all gotta stay focused and work together as best as we can if we wanna get K Dot back. Ash is one of our strongest members; we can’t afford to have her running off again, not now. All I’m saying is to make sure she’s straight.”

“A’ight, I hear you,” Aiden conceded. If Ash flipped out and left in the midst of this war, the Diamond Mafia’s chances of winning and getting Keegan back would be dramatically reduced.

The two men made their way downstairs to the basement and Aiden took Mighty inside the small control room. “The Maids will be bringing Ava-Marie down to the main room soon for questioning. Set up the audio feed and when I give you the signal, connect it to Vince’s phone. Channel the audio to my wireless headset.”

“No problem!” Mighty grinned and hooked his laptop into the control room workstation. He didn’t bother to ask Aiden what his plan was exactly, and to be honest, he didn’t really care. As long as Mighty got to play with his toys, Mighty was happy. He powered up the control panel, fiddled with the necessary buttons and knobs to turn on the microphones in the main basement area, set up the compound’s own DK500 machine to stop The Syndicate from tracking their signal once they contacted Vince, then entered Vince’s number into the system, keeping it on standby for when Aiden needed it. “Ready when you are, big guy!”

Aiden messaged The Maids and instructed them to bring Ava downstairs and put her in the main room. A few minutes later he walked in with a leather briefcase in his hand, which he set down on top of a cabinet against the back wall, and there she was, beautiful and barefoot, wrapped in a floor-length black satin robe with a Diamond stitched onto the breast pocket in metallic silver thread, her micro braids loose and tumbling all the way down to the back of her thighs, and not a lick of makeup on her face. She looked younger, more vulnerable than before. Her wrists were now handcuffed behind her back and Aiden noted that The Maids had gagged her too; she had solidified herself as a screamer. Good, Aiden smiled to himself.

Ava’s watery eyes watched him cautiously as he approached. She had finally stopped crying but knew that he would probably set her off again. She’d made her mind up; nothing good would ever come from being left alone room with Aiden Michaels. She hated him, and during her time with The Maids she had fantasized various ways of maiming him that would remain a fantasy because she wasn’t the agile bad ass that she envisioned, in real life. She was just a pampered little rich girl with no real clue of how to protect herself. Max had always protected her, but Max wasn’t there –Aiden was.

Aiden opened the briefcase, “I hope you’re feeling better, Ava-Marie. You were in quite a state this morning,” he said with his back to her. “I hope The Maids weren’t too harsh either; they can be a bit clinical at times, but they’re good at what they do.” He turned to face her with a soft expression that momentarily tricked Ava into believing that he wasn’t a monster, “They certainly cleaned you up well.” He approached her and carefully took her face in his hands and skimming the tip of his nose along her cheekbone the way a lover would, “I can’t fathom why you wear makeup. You’re so beautiful Ava-Marie, you don’t need it.”

There was the crippling body heat and expensive shower gel smell again; Ava’s breath hitched in her chest against her better judgement and she cursed herself internally; it was unfair that her captor was so engrossing -it distracted her from hating him properly.

Aiden distanced his face from hers. “I had a little think about what you said -about how you were telling the truth. You seemed so adamant about it that I thought I’d give you the benefit of the doubt and give you the chance to prove if you are as honest as you claim to be, so we’re going to play a little game.” He reached behind her head and undid the gag. “Do you want to know what the game is?”

She didn’t reply.

“This is no time to get all shy on me now Ava-Marie, this game requires you to talk. It’s called Lie to Me; have you played it before?”

“No.”

“I didn’t think you would have. Let me explain the rules, it’s pretty simple; you see that briefcase on top of the cabinet? There is a lie detector inside of it.”

In one swift motion, Aiden unravelled the sash that held Ava’s robe closed. The robe opened up, presenting Ava’s body to him with a flamboyant flourish of black satin.  All the maids had left Ava in underneath it was her underwear. She whimpered and bit down on her lip to stop herself from bursting into tears again; she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction. Aiden took a step back to admire her shape. She had the perfect, slim hourglass figure, with the kind of blemish free skin only money could maintain; not a stretch mark or patch of offensive body hair in sight, just a smooth, seamless cinnamon canvas.

He hooked his finger under her thong strap that rested on her hip and pulled her deeper into the room where a heavy iron hook connected to thick chains hung from the ceiling. Aiden disappeared behind her and undid one side of the handcuffs. He held onto both of her wrist in case she got any bright ideas and brought her hands forward, pressing his provocative body lightly against her and wrapping her in an almost embrace as he fastened the cuffs once more. He brought her arms up over her head and caught the chain between the cuffs onto the hook, elongating her svelte frame. He sauntered back into her line of sight.

“I’ll be placing the heart rate monitors on you and stand five paces away, giving you only five chances not to lie to me,” he warned. “I will ask you a series of questions, and every time the machine says you’re lying, I will take a step towards you. If by the end of the questions I don’t reach you, I will reward your honesty, but if not...” he turned towards the camera and signalled to Mighty to call Vince, “…well. I guess you’ll just have to pay the price. Are you ready to play?”

#RunningWilde Ch. 4 | You Belong To Me

“Oh my God, do you think he’s dead?”

“No he’s not dead you idiot, he’s still breathing.”

“Then why won’t he wake up? Should we call the police?”

Max groaned and rolled over in the bed, dragging the pillow with him to muffle the sounds of the shrill female voices that were painfully loud. As he rolled he felt a breeze along the right side of his body; he wasn’t wearing any clothes. Not only was he not wearing any clothes, he was not laying in his own bed. He sat up too fast and opened his eyes, making the dull pain in his temples sharpen suddenly. His body felt sore and overused, and his mouth was bone dry. He had only had the one drink last night, so he was having a hard time trying to figure out what could possibly have gotten him in such a bad way. He squinted into the brightness and found himself being stared at by the two shrill voiced girls whom he vaguely recognised as part of Ava’s circle.

“Max? Thank God you woke up, you had us scared,” said the flustered blonde.

He winced at the sound. “Ava…” he croaked, “Where is Ava?”

“Is that who you were fucking in my bed?” asked the irritated brunette.

Max shook his head quickly and peered around paranoid that somehow Vince would hear the scandalous accusation and shoot his dick off. “What? I was not fucking anyone and I have no idea why I am in your bed. Where is Ava?” he snapped.

“Last I saw, she left the bar with that red head you were talking to,” said the blonde.

Max furrowed his brow, “What red head?”

“The one from the bar with legs for days…I bet that’s who you were fucking!” the brunette accused again.

“I didn’t fuck anyone!” he growled. If he’d had sex, he’d think he’d remember. It wasn’t like he was getting it in the way he used to before he had to follow Ava up to Excelsior; having sex would have been an acme.

“Then why are your clothes on the floor, and why are you naked in my bed?”

Max recalled wondering the same thing a few seconds ago; it didn’t make sense. He shook his head, “Believe me, I wish I knew.” He swung back the covers and stood up slowly, gritting his teeth to lessen the pain of the headache and his sore muscles. The girls gasped and looked away as his glorious unsheathed form stood brazenly before them. Max simply picked his clothes up and put them back on without another word. He couldn’t remember what had happened between the last time he recalled watching Ava in the student union bar, to him waking up in this poor girl’s bed, sore and naked after supposedly speaking to a leggy red head that Ava had left the bar with. Something had gone horribly wrong, and the fact that he had no idea where the girl he had sworn his life to protect was, made him feel even worse. It wasn’t until he looked at his phone on his way out that he realised the magnitude of the direness of the situation that presented itself in an infinite number of missed calls from Vince. He called him back immediately.

“Yang.”

Max swallowed the quivering lump of fear that formed in his throat. “Sir,” he replied firmly, knowing that he was in a shit load of trouble.

For a few seconds Vince remained silent, letting the air hang between them filled with white noise that simmered with tension just so Max could get an idea of how badly he had fucked up. “I’ve been calling you for hours,” he snarled.

“My apologies, sir; it appears that I was unconscious. I have no recollection of the past couple of hours. One minute I’m watching Ava-Marie, and the next I’m waking up naked in some girl’s bed. I don’t know what happened,” he confessed.

“Some punk kidnapped my daughter while she was under your protection, that’s what happened!” Vince bellowed.

Max stopped dead in his tracks; someone had taken Ava. He had to fight not to crumble there and then because if anything happened to her he would never forgive himself…and neither would Vince. “Who?” he asked barely above a whisper, his voice weighed down with guilt as the feeling of failure started to pull him under.

“Aiden Michaels.”

Max stiffened at the sound of his name. “‘Diamond Mafia’, Aiden Michaels?”

“You know him?”

“Not personally, but I’ve heard things. I can’t imagine that there’s a person on the circuit who hasn’t heard of Aiden.”

“What do you know?”

“I know that he’s not to be fucked with. From what I hear, Aiden is just as, if not more cut throat than you, sir. If what you’re saying is true and he has Ava, we may never see her again.”

“Oh yes we will Yang,” Vince hissed, “Because if I never see my daughter again, you will never see daylight again, you incompetent little shit!”

Max jutted out his chin and pursed his lips at the threat that he knew Vince would make good on if he didn’t return his daughter to him. He couldn’t understand how this could have happened; in all his years as Ava’s body guard, she hadn’t gotten so much as a scratch on her pretty skin whilst he was present, so how was it possible that the Diamond Mafia got a hold of her? Maybe it had something to do with the elusive red head Ava’s friends had mentioned. This had always been the downside of protecting Ava, the fact that if something happened to her whilst she was under his protection, he would pay for it with his life. He had known that when he agreed to take on the role, with little hesitation, because he lived for Ava, and if he had to die, he would be honoured to die for her. “Understood, sir,” Max replied bravely. If he had to die as a punishment for her death, he would go quietly because if he was at fault for her being the reason she didn’t exist anymore, he deserved to die.

Vince sighed heavily, torn between anger and a speck of compassion he had for the young man he raised. “If you were any other solider I would have you hunted down and killed right now, but you’re practically my son, so I will give you a chance to make this right. Find Ava, Yang. Find my little girl and bring her back to me -alive.”

“You have my word, sir. I’ll talk to her friends and see if they can give me any more clues as to what happened. They mentioned a red head.”

Vince paused; “A red head?”

“Yes sir.”

“Did you happen to get a look at this red head?”

“No sir. They said that I was speaking to her but I have no recollection of her.”

“Of course you don’t; that was Ashley Garner; she’s who they call ‘The Siren’. Never has a title been so deserved; I hear she’s excellent at what she does. Explains why you woke up naked,” Vince almost laughed.

“I don’t understand.”

“You had sex with The Siren, Yang, and once she had you satisfied she probably drugged you and took Ava right out from under your nose. Idiot! Anyway, I’ve sent some of the others out to dig around Aiden’s neighbourhood and see what they can find.” Max knew what that meant; Vince was about to start a war. There would be blood, that was a given, but with Aiden as his opponent, there was sure to be chaos too. Aiden’s name wasn’t notorious for no reason. Sure Vince had the money and power to go up against him, but Aiden was street smart in a way that Vince was too privileged to comprehend; he played smarter and dirtier than every London mob boss put together, which is why his crew was climbing the ranks so quickly. You couldn’t be any old run of the mill thug to run with the Diamond Mafia, Aiden only took on the very best of what the streets had to offer, his crew was made up of cold blooded criminal with a unique flair for getting the job done, whether it was robbery, kidnap, moving product, or murder. The only good thing Max had heard about Aiden was that he was honourable; he lived by a code of loyalty and respect and he knew the correct protocol to handle a mob issue. For him to do something as foolish as to kidnap Vince Lockewood’s daughter, Vince must have really pissed him off.

“It would help to know why they took Ava, sir,” Max pressed cautiously. He had been told many times not to ask questions about affairs that didn’t directly concern him –Vince had trust issues, so everything in the Syndicate was only learned on a need to know basis, and Vince didn’t believe that everyone needed to know everything.

“How would it help?”

“If I know what his motive is, it will give me a better idea of what I’m dealing with, like if he intends to harm her or not…” he trails off, hoping that his explanation will warrant an explanation from Vince.

“He intends to harm her,” Vince replied bitterly, “He told me he would.”

Max covered the microphone and turned his mouth away from his phone to curse. He couldn’t handle the notion of someone hurting Ava, especially when that someone was the cut throat head of the Diamond Mafia. Now he was even madder at himself for letting someone take Ava from him, but more at Vince for pissing off Aiden in the first place. If he’d handled whatever their issue was in a more diplomatic manner, then maybe Ava wouldn’t be at the mercy of the Diamond Mafia at all, but Vince was arrogant; he knew how much power he had and he wasn’t afraid to abuse it. Usually it didn’t matter because not many people could go up against The Syndicate, but the Diamond Mafia were most definitely not most people. Max spoke in a quiet, controlled voice, “What did you do to him?”

“His brother stole from me, so I stole his brother,” Vince answered justifiably.

“And now he’s stolen Ava. Sir, with all due respect, what the fuck were you thinking?”

“I was thinking that this is my fucking city. You’d be wise to remember that Yang,” Vince warned not liking the way his soldier was addressing him. “I’m done talking -find Ava!”

Ava stirred, finally awakening from the sleep that was forced upon her, in a bed that did not feel like her own. She opened her eyes to see only darkness; there were no windows in the room or electronics that even so much as flashed from a corner of the endless black. Ava’s first instinct was to lift her hand to wipe the sleep from her eyes, only to find that she could not move; her whole body was being restrained by something. Panicking, she jerked only to find that all of her limbs had been tethered to the four corners of the foreign bed frame. “What the hell?” she croaked with a raspy effect on her vocal chords, her throat dry from lack of use and fluids. She tugged at the restraints, twisting her wrist, straightening her fingers and bringing them all together as tightly as she could, in an attempt to make the shape of her hand slim enough to stand a chance to slip through the expertly tied knots. I didn’t work. “What’s going on? Where am I?” She tugged harder. The rope tightened, cutting into her skin and cutting off her circulation, and the more she pulled, the tighter it got. Her body flayed in the bed as her heartbeat climbed to drastic levels, trembling in her chest as the realisation that she was well and truly trapped sunk in. “MAX!” she howled in vain for her protector, “MAX, WHERE ARE YOU? HELP! HELP ME!” Hot, salty tears began to rain from her eyes as the tips of her fingers turned blue and sore, faint red rings formed around her joints from where the rope rubbed against her flawless cinnamon skin. “HELP! SOMEBODY HELP ME, PLEASE! HELP ME!”

She quieted at the heavy sound of slow, steady footsteps beating along the corridor, getting louder the closer they came to the pitch black room that she was tied up in. Ava whimpered and tugged at the ropes even more; she knew that the more she pulled, the worse it would be, but she was scared for her life, and doing nothing seemed like an even worse fate than trying to break free did. A key slid into the lock, the deadbolt clicked open with a dull clunking sound, and a strip of light sliced into the dark room, growing wider the farther the door opened. Standing with a halo of light around him, looking like a dark saviour, was a man that Ava didn’t recognise. His back was to the light so she couldn’t make out his features, but his stature was impressive; big, broad and bound with menacing muscles, giving him the almighty silhouette of a Spartan. He took a step into the room and Ava shrunk herself against the mattress as best as she could, her hazel eyes wide and watering with more tears of fear. The man reached to his left and flipped the light switch. Ava squinted against the brightness, turning her face towards the wall to lessen the strain on her pupils. She heard the huge man advance in her direction so she forced her eyes to adjust so that she could look upon him. He was blurry at first, still big and bulging, but as he came closer his details formed into a legible person with skin as dark as cocoa, eyes the deepest shade of night framed by long, thick lashes that softened his ruggedly handsome features. She couldn’t help but notice that the black Spartan was topless; all abs and intricate tattoos than spanned from his neck, fanned across his sturdy shoulders, down both of his intimidatingly cut arms, and across his swollen pectoral muscles. A pair of baggy leather trousers, reminiscent of the New Jack Swing era of the early 90s, hung from his sculpted hips, with the button meant to fasten it, undone, revealing the top of the intimate area where his soft pubic hair blossomed from. Tiny rivulets of water dripped down his torso, flowing between the defined creases between his muscles, and he smelt like Molten Brown shower gel. As scared as she was, she had to admit, he was something.

The man knelt at her bedside, staring down at her in silence as she whimpered quietly, the urge to scream now subdued to pitiful, panicky pants and squeaks.

“I’ve been looking forward to meeting you, Ava-Marie,” his voice was alluring; heavy and soft at the same time; almost soothing, but with an edge that warned Ava that she was not safe. “Do you know who I am?”

“No,” she whispered.

“I’m Aiden Michaels,” he replied simply as if his name should mean something to her.

He waited for some recognition to cross over her pretty face, but there was none, instead Ava trembled and replied, “Aiden, please let me go.” She had heard that if you addressed your attacker using their name that it was easier to reason with them.

He shook his head. “I’m afraid I can’t do that, Ava-Marie” he said, drawing her name out like smoke, letting his dark eyes roam over her, taking her in -Mighty was right, she was fucking hot. Tied to the bed, wrapped in her cinnamon skin, with her fitted jeans, manicured toes, tight white vest top, her micro-braids piled high on her head, and large, striking eyes the colour of early autumn, Aiden thought she was one of those rare beauties that you could confidently say was a ten out of ten. It was a shame they had to meet under such unfortunate circumstances.

“Please,” she sobbed “I haven’t done anything.”

“I know you haven’t, but your father has.”

“My father?” she furrowed her eyebrows, “What did he do that would warrant this?” she tugged on her restraints.

Aiden saw that the restraints were cutting into her; he intended to cause her pain, but not like this. He stood up and reached for her wrist closest to him, ignoring the way she flinched and yelped when his fingers made contact with her skin. “He kidnapped my little brother and had his men beat him until he was unable to speak,” he told her as he shifted down her quaking body and loosened the binds around each of her ankles before he moved back up and leant over her to get the last one on her other wrist, “So until I get him back,” he brought his face to hers, stared penetratingly into her October eyes and said, “You belong to me.”

#RunningWilde Ch. 3 | Two Can Play That Game

There’s something intoxicating about a wild woman; the way she refuses to be repressed by society’s definition of what a woman should be, and how she is unapologetically her true self. It can be quite a paradox for some men to deal with; on the one hand he may become conflicted in how he perceives her because she is completely unconventional, with socially questionable principles and values, a girl that you are wary of taking home to meet the family. On the other hand, the wild woman is one of the most beautiful creatures a man can encounter, not only for her outer appearance, but because of her aura too; she is liberating like the first gasp of air to hit your lungs after being held underwater for too long.

Max was in love with Ava; it had been that way since the day he met her when he was 15 and she was only 8. It didn’t start out as a romantic love; it was love of the purest kind, innocent and nurturing. Her serene nature derived from her naivety held a certain sweetness that made you want to shield her from anything that would corrupt her perfect, happy little world so that she could always stand in the light, but Ava had a habit of seeking out the darkness and trying to right it; she was annoyingly passionate about doing it with all of her ‘save the world’ projects, and yet she was oblivious to the darkness that was her father’s legacy -and it was Max’s job to keep it that way. As far as Ava was concerned, Max was sent to look after her while she was away from Daddy dearest simply because her father had drummed into her head that as he was such an extremely wealthy businessman, that these things were expected of him. She’d argued that none of her peers who were also from prestigious families, had bodyguards. Her father said that just because they had money and titles that didn’t make them as important as she was. Ava sighed and accepted Max as her protector, chalking her father’s overprotectiveness as fear of losing another member of his family. He had been devastated when her mother committed (what Ava and the rest of the world were led to believe was) ‘suicide’ all those years ago, and couldn’t bear to lose his darling daughter too.

Max owed Vince his life. As a child he’d had a rough time growing up; his parents had come to London from Taiwan in search of a better life for their family, but sadly things didn’t go to plan. They struggled to find work and even when they did find work it still never paid enough for them to survive adequately on. Max’s two older sisters both turned to prostitution, his father got sick and his mother fell into a deep depression, so by the time he was ten years old, Max learned to fend for himself. Instead of going to school he did odd cash in hand jobs, and spent a lot of time in the library teaching himself about the world through endless piles of books, and escaping it through them too. He was often picked on by the rougher kids in his neighbourhood because he would rather work and read than associate with them, which is how he learnt how to fight. He had to; otherwise they never would have stopped. Although he wasn’t a violent person, Max was good at fighting. Once the bullying became too frequent, he started to read about different martial art techniques, practice them at home and try them out on his tormentors. Each time they came for him, he got better and better and they could see it.

One day when he was 15, five boys tried to jump him at once. On this particular day, Vince was passing through Max’s neighbourhood and watched in awe as this lanky Asian boy brought down every single one of them on his own without the advantage of weapons. Vince pulled over, chased the bruised and battered boys off and had a chat with Max. He told him that he admired the fight in him and asked about Max’s home life. Max stood proudly before Vince and told him the truth about his unfortunate circumstances. Vince decided that a boy of Max’s talents shouldn’t go to waste and offered him a better life as one of the soldiers of The Syndicate. Max was wary of this strange well-dressed white man’s offer, and was about to turn him down when from the back window of the man’s Bentley rolled down and a little brown girl popped her head out of the window and yelled out impatiently, “Daddyyyyyy!” She noticed Max, blinked her huge hazel eyes at him and then she smiled warmly and waved. Something about this child put Max’s soul at peace; he saw light in her that he’d never seen in anyone else and decided that he would like to be around her for the rest of his life. He didn’t know why, but at that moment, that was all he wanted. Max waved back at her and agreed to go with Vince.

He’d never meant to end up as a bodyguard, but Max didn’t mind it all that much because it allowed him to be with Ava. As they grew he developed stronger feelings for her, watching as she blossomed into the beautiful young woman with the same heart of gold that had drawn him to her in the first place. Although he loved her, Max knew that he could never be with her -Vince would never allow it -so day by day he moved with her, protecting her from the darkness, with the unsung love song for the ages on his tongue that she would never hear, trying to ignore the ache from the weight of unrequited love.

He wasn’t supposed to leave Ava’s side, but Ashley had stirred something within him; a feral fire that he hadn’t satiated in a long time. Guarding Ava was a fulltime job, but he figured that nothing bad could happen to her while she was surrounded by her girls at the student union bar, plus, Ava was a sensible girl (more or less), so she wouldn’t do anything stupid. She was also a little prudish, so taking some guy back to her dorm was not on the cards at all. Max told himself that she’d be fine without him for a few minutes while he discovered exactly how much trouble Ashley was.

Ash was something of a siren; a mistress of seduction with the capabilities to bring even the most powerful men to their knees. Ash understood men and their quiet need to feel real love, disguised with inflated egos and chauvinism. Like women, men wanted to be worshipped and adored, but each man has different preferences on the way his worship and adoration was delivered, so different tactics had to be used. To unearth their desire, it was important to pay attention to the clues they revealed in their casual manner. Max was Ava’s bodyguard; a protector. Ash found that when it came to sex, people often craved the opposite of what their casual demeanours portrayed, which meant that in Max’s case, it was likely that rather than take care with her, he’d prefer to dominate and ruin her instead; his arrogance and watchfulness hinted at that.

They tumbled into the empty dorm room that Ash had stolen the Excelsior sweater from, joined at their fervent lips whilst violently tugging off items of clothing until their thrashing bodies backed onto the unmade bed in just their underwear. The only light in the room was from the pearly ice-blue glow of the moon that shone softly through the double glazed window. Max admired how the moonlight transformed Ashley’s freckled porcelain skin, giving it an ethereal quality that made her look like a red haired fire nymph. It had been a long while since he had been with a woman, so the feel of Ashley’s warm, toned body felt almost foreign to him. He had missed this exquisitely simple pleasure; being able to caress, stroke, manipulate and mould a beautiful woman’s anatomy beneath his fingers and watch in awe as she reacted to his  provocative touch. That was the best part of making love to someone, the control that you had over them, the way you could sync their nature with yours and make them sigh, undulate and cry out for you. He wanted to hear Ashley cry out for him.

Slowly, Max retracted his lips from Ashley’s and laced his arm under the deep curve of her back to hold her in place so that he could watch her come undone. With his other hand, he placed his palm flat on her flat stomach then gradually let it glide upward to the edge of her ivory lace bra, enjoying the feeling of her breath catching and releasing the higher he got. His thumb circulated her areola through the intricately woven brocade pattern of the delicate lace, until her nipples stood to attention, pert and aching to be relieved by something more. Ash whined and arched her back, presenting herself to him. Max opened his palm and cupped her breast, kneading it gently through the material before he peeled away her left bra cup and kissed it. He repeated this routine on her other breast then let his hand travel between her legs.

Ash sighed and settled back onto his arm, pressing the softness of her sex into his probing fingers. They slipped beneath the now damp lace, and he inserted one into her, pulling it in and out of her opening at an agonisingly slow rate that agitated and excited her. Max stared down at her artistic features, marvelling at how much more fascinating she was to look at whilst in this state of erotic animation. He studied the way her full flushed lips parted slightly as she released soft moans and heavy breaths for him, the way her turquoise orbs glittered and glazed over every time his finger massaged her quivering g-spot, and the blush of reckless abandon that warmed her pale speckled cheeks when he pulled out. She gyrated on his finger, patiently following his tortuous rhythm, encouraging him to reach further into her.

“Keep still,” he grunted huskily, his voice thick with arousal as he slipped another finger in. Ash jerked in surprise and Max halted his slow torment. “Ashley, keep still or I will make you keep still,” he warned.

“Will you now?” she smirked languidly, daring to curve her waist and slide up and down Max’s slick fingers. He allowed her to pleasure herself for a few seconds; it was a sight to see this rebellious red haired woman fuck his hand with a smile on her face, but he wanted to control her reactions and Ash knew this. Her moving on his fingers was only meant to serve one purpose -to challenge him so that when he did finally take her, he would not hold back. Men like Max wanted complete control when it came to making love, and if you did not give it to them willingly, they would cleverly find a way to take it.

Max slid his arm out from under her back and pressed down on her abdomen to halt her movements; “I will.” Keeping her pinned in place, he thrust his fingers into her quickly, pumping his arm furiously and listening to the wet squishing sound of his knuckles coming up against her lower lips. He kept hitting the same spot over and over while Ashley struggled to jerk beneath him, trying to respond the way her body wanted to, but her instincts were thwarted by the ever growing pressure of his hand on her stomach. Her mouth fell open and her breathing became more infrequent as the pressure in her lower region began to skyrocket from his consistent attack on her g-spot. She gripped the bed sheets and threw her head back, her soft whimpers and heavy panting turning into cries of sexual injustice as she fought to free herself from his restrictive hold. Her legs began to shake.

“Don’t cum yet,” he whispered and leant down to kiss her mouth. She bit his bottom lip. Max winced and growled at her. In one fluid movement the hand that pressed down on her stomach was at her throat, and the one inside her tugged down his boxers, unleashing his pulsating member. He crashed into her purposefully, like flint against a rock, setting her on fire and gripping her throat so hard that her windpipe was constricted –that was like dousing her flame in gasoline. Ash gasped with pleasure and clawed at his arm, gagging for air between heated, breathless kisses. She spread her thighs wider for him, wanting to feel the base of his dick kiss her lower lips as he slammed harder and faster into her. Max groaned and pulled his mouth away so that he could lift his torso from hers and watch her as he granted her masochistic request; he fell deeper inside.

Ash’s body began to go limp, and her fire steadily dimmed with every heavy blink of her surrendering eyelids. She was too lightheaded to do anything more than feel Max’s savageness as he attacked her quivering body with the intensity of a great warrior. Her arms fell to her side and her head lolled, then like a quiet storm the orgasm took over, creeping up on her gradually until there was nothing but a blinding white light flashing beneath her eyelids and an explosion of feeling.

Max sighed gratuitously as her walls clench around his shaft followed by the warm rush of her release as she came hard all over him. He released her neck, waited for her dramatic gasp of air before he lifted her hips up to meet his, and crushed her creamed core onto his cock at an unnatural pace, until he trembled, clutched her against him and exploded inside of her.

He collapsed next to Ash, panting and smiling, completely satiated. “You were worth the trouble,” he joked.

“You weren’t too bad yourself,” she laughed as she discreetly reached under the bed, pulled a syringe full of Rohypnol out from where she had hidden it between the bed frame and the mattress and stuck it into his neck, hitting the main artery like an expert assassin. She smiled down at him as the tranquiliser took effect, “I kinda wish I didn’t have to do that; you’re an excellent lover Max Yang, but I have a job to do. When you wake up, give my regards to Vince Lockewood. Tell him we’ll take good care of Ava-Marie until we get Keegan back.”

“Ava…” Max gurgled groggily as the tranquiliser set in. The last thing he saw was Ash’s beautifully speckled porcelain body glowing in the moonlight before it blurred into darkness.

*

Aiden walked through the entrance of Rococo Lounge with Dougie and Stone flanking him, all dressed in black nightclub attire, subtly flying the official colour of the Diamond Mafia with pride to announce their presence. Driver was sitting in the black out Range Rover down one of the backstreets, with the engine still running just in case they needed to make a quick getaway.

It was an attractive place, decorated with black floors and black, purple and gold brocade walls, with grand gold pillars, beautiful sculptures of naked goddesses and angels, and soft blinking gold and purple lights that flashed in an entrancing sequence.

As Aiden made his way to the back of the club, the women stopped and stared with lust in their eyes so apparent that he could feel them undressing him -he did look particularly handsome in a suit. He was used to the way women fawned over him; he was the dream of a melanin demi-god made reality; tall, dark and handsome with a proud mouth, heavily lashed dark eyes that appeared to be black unless seen under the right light, smooth dark chocolate skin with a few scars here and there that made him look a bit more rugged but didn’t diminish his attractiveness, and tattoos covering him from the neck down. His hair was cut low and fell across his scalp in slick dark waves, with a thin goatee and moustache that connected to his chinstrap. He looked like a bad boy should, and acted like a bad boy did, but the ladies loved him anyway.

Aiden stepped up to one of Vince’s men who guarding the door that led to the exclusive VIP box upstairs that looked out over the whole establishment, where Vince and his guys hung out when they were in the area. The security guard was big, burly and (to a regular civilian) intimidating, with sunglasses on, a headset and a large coat that concealed multiple weapons and security gadgets beneath it. He looked blankly at Aiden.

“I’m here to see Vince,” Aiden said, not waiting for the man to ask him any questions. He had been trying to keep his cool the whole way here, anxious to get to Keegan, and now that he was this close, his impatience was beginning to show.

“Who are you?” the guard rumbled in an unnaturally deep, authorative voice.

“A business associate.”

“Care to give me your name, Mr ‘Business Associate’?” the guard sneered.

“Not really.” Aiden made a subtle gesture with his head and Dougie stepped forward, drew a blade from his sleeve and slit the guard’s throat. Before the large man could fall and draw attention to them, Stone pushed the door behind him open, and he and Dougie ushered the guard through quickly while Aiden strolled coolly in after them, stepping over the lifeless body. “Stone, go hide him somewhere and keep look out for any more of them. If you do see any more of them, deal with them. Ash will let you know when she has the girl; once she does, I want you to call me right away.”

Stone grunted and nodded lazily; he wasn’t much of a talker, Stone mostly just smoked and grunted, which is how he got the nickname. He was the biggest stoner of the crew; high from the moment he woke up to the moment he fell asleep, so his attitude was generally very laid back, but he operated well on it. When he wasn’t high (which was only first thing in the morning) Stone would get agitated very easily, and would be all over the place, fidgeting and fussing with everything. The weed balanced him out.

Aiden and Dougie walked past the elevator, not wanting to risk being trapped inside if the security guard watching the camera spotted them and trapped them inside. They headed down the dimly lit corridor until they found the stairs, and climbed up three flights, hitting the floor that led to the VIP box. Dougie stepped in front of Aiden and peeked discreetly into the circular pane of glass to see how many security guard Vince had in there with him; he counted five of them –two by the door, one by the window overlooking the club, one behind Vince and the other against the back wall. The room was a decent size, carpeted and filled with a mini bar, a circular couch and a large glass table in the centre of it. There were gold wall lights and long, slim black speakers mounted in each corner that played Jazz music. He slipped his blade back into its sheath hidden in the sleeve of his jacket and double checked for his pistol hidden at his back, before pushing the door open casually so Aiden could step inside.

Amongst the guards and Vince, there were a few of Vince’s lieutenants and capos with two skinny, scantily clad girls to every man, sipping champagne, smoking Cuban cigars and sniffing cocaine off of their breasts. They paused their party to look up at the unexpected intruders -the security stepped in front with their guns out, and Vince’s men did the same. Dougie smiled.

“Gentlemen,” Vince said coolly, lifting the strung out girl off of his lap and getting to his feet, “Are you lost?” Vince was around 5”11, with a head full of thick chestnut hair that had streaks of grey on the side that curled around his ears and at the nape of his neck. His face was pale and uniquely distinguished, with exotic features that weren’t usually found on Caucasian men, like his thick, heavy set eyebrows, a prominent mouth and high cheek bones. His eyes were his best feature; they were an icy blue shade, so light that they were almost colourless, with a ring of indigo on the outside that gave them a haunting quality if he stared at you for too long. He was clean shaven and had laugh lines around his eyes and mouth (which took years off of his forty-something appearance), and he was dressed impeccably in a navy blue suit from Tom Ford, with platinum cufflinks, a white shirt and skinny black tie.

“No, we are not lost,” Aiden answered matching Vince’s cool tone.

“Then how may I help you?”

“Tell your men to stand down; my friend doesn’t respond well to guns being pulled on him,” Aiden gestured at the sinister grin on Dougie’s face, “And I find it really irritating.”

“They’re doing their job, so until I know what it is that you want, I am not inclined to tell them to do otherwise. So, what do you want?”

“I want to talk about what you have done with my brother.”

“And you are? Forgive me, I would like to know so I know whose brother is the subject here, there are so many of them.”

“I am Aiden Michaels. My brother is K Dot.”

“Ah, Aiden” Vince smiled, “The head of the Diamond Mafia, am I correct?”

“Yes.” Aiden confirmed tightly. He wasn’t surprised that Vince knew who he was; Vince ran the drug scene in London, he knew everyone.

“And this must be Dougie. Please, come in gentlemen.” Vince made a whistling sound and his security backed away and lowered their guns. Vince returned to his seat and gestured for Aiden and Dougie to sit in the seats opposite him on the circular couch. They both noted how Vince’s men didn’t put their weapons away, but instead had them rested in their laps ready for use. Dougie kept smiling.

“Can I get you something to drink?”

“No. I came for my brother, not to play frenemies with you.”

Vince’s ice-blue eyes hardened like a glacier at Aiden’s insolence, “Suit yourself.” He took his cigar from the ashtray on the table in front of him and puffed on it with an air of arrogant supremacy. The pungent smell of the tobacco made Aiden gag slightly; he never understood why people smoked them, they smelt bad and tasted even worse. “I like you Aiden; I’ve heard good things about you and was hoping that we could talk business one day. It’s a shame we couldn’t meet under better circumstances. I’m afraid that I can’t just give you your brother back. His stupidity caused me quite a bit of trouble with one of my clients, not to mention the money he owes me and my missing product. If I just gave him back to you after all of that, how would that make me look?”

Aiden spoke through gritted teeth, “I understand the position this puts you in; K Dot was stupid for doing this, and if I’d have known, I’d have dealt with him accordingly, but as I only found out today after discovering that you had your men pick him up without discussing it with me, that puts us in a bit of a predicament.”

“I suppose it does,” Vince smirked, “So what do you suggest we do to get out of this predicament.”

                Aiden leant back in his seat, “You give me Keegan back, I’ll give you the remainder of your product and make him work until he pays you back for what he sold.”

“And what about his payment for the trouble he caused?”

“What do you suggest?”

Vince leant back in his seat, “10 million, upfront.”

“You and I both know that I don’t have that kind of money on hand,” Aiden scowled.

Vince shrugged and too another puff of his cigar, “That’s not my problem. Those are my terms if you want your brother back. I hear you’re good, so I’m sure you can find the amount, and because I like you, I’ll give you three days to find it, but once those three days are up, your brother will be dead.” He smiled. Aiden saw the reason Vince had all of those laugh lines; it was because he had achieved the kind of power that meant he didn’t have to stress about anything because he always came out on top by any means necessary. “Think of it as motivation.”

Aiden clenched his fists tightly, trying to keep his head; Vince knew that he could never gather that amount of money in three days. As well off as Aiden was, he hadn’t reached the point where he could just hand over 10 million like it was nothing yet. Vince wanted to make an example out of Keegan and was dangling this offer in front of Aiden just to make him think he had a chance when he really didn’t. “That’s not going to work for me.”

“I don’t care if it works for you. Those are my terms and if you ever want to see your brother again, you will find a way to make it work.”

Aiden cracked his knuckles. He needed to stall for time until he had news of Ava-Marie’s capture so that he could get Vince to reconsider. “How do I even know that you haven’t killed him already?”

“You don’t, you’ll just have to take my word for it.” Vince grinned.

Aiden’s eyes darkened, he didn’t like the way this man was toying with him so flippantly. He may not have been as powerful as Vince yet, but he was just as dangerous, if not more, which is why Vince had heard his name. Aiden was one of the last men to mess with because if he couldn’t come out on top, he would make sure that his enemy couldn’t either. “Fuck your word, I want to speak to my brother,” Aiden hissed.

“Fuck what you want!” Vince narrowed his eyes at Aiden through the stream of cigar smoke; was this junior really trying to belittle him on his own turf while he held his brother in captive? “This is my city; I call the shots here, not you!”

“Do you really think that I’m going to bust my ass to get your shit back to you, plus 10 million pounds on top of that if I have no guarantee that my brother is even alive?”

“Yes,” Vince replied bluntly. He leant forward in his seat and peered at the young drug lord, “I mean, it’s not like you really have a choice is it? You either do as I say and hope that your brother comes back to you, or you don’t do, and you have no hope of ever seeing him again. Those are your choices; pick one.”

Aiden glared at the king pin with eyes full of hatred, “You’re very arrogant, you know that?” he sneered.

Vince put his cigar down “And you’re just as stupid as your idiot brother if you think you can sit here and insult me under my own roof. I think it’s time you and your little friend left.”

“We haven’t finished talking.”

“Oh yes we have.” Vince nodded at his security. They advanced on Aiden and Dougie with their guns aimed at them once more. Dougie reached for his, his twisted smile was back again.

“I’m not leaving until I speak to Keegan,” Aiden said getting to his feet. As he stood up he reached under the hem of his trousers and pulled out his pistol and aimed it at Vince, not caring that every gun in the room was trained on him and Dougie.

Vince laughed in disbelief; how could this boy be so cavalier? The odds clearly weren’t in his favour and yet he was still pushing his luck. He admired his spirit, but thought he was an idiot. “This is getting ridiculous. You haven’t got a leg to stand on, and still you continue to challenge me?”

“He is my brother.”

“I’ve stated my terms,” Vince sighed, quickly growing bored of this tedious pissing contest, “If you don’t leave now then I will make you leave in a body bag. It’s your choice.”

Just then Aiden’s phone began to vibrate. Keeping his pistol trained on Vince, he pulled the phone out and pressed it to his ear.

“It is done.” Stone murmured. Aiden hung up and nodded at Dougie. They lowered their weapons and smiled at Vince.

Vince knew something had just gone horribly wrong. Whatever that person said to Aiden on the phone made the previously hostile young man too calm for his liking. He frowned, “What?”

“I think you should let me speak to my brother now,” Aden suggested evenly, “That is if you ever want to speak to your daughter again.”

Vince paused for a moment, confused as to how this glorified thug knew about Ava-Marie; nobody outside of the first circle of Vince’s most trusted Lieutenants in The Syndicate knew she existed. “What do you mean?”

“I mean that I figured that there was a chance that you may have been unreasonable, so I got some leverage just in case.”

The room fell silent as Vince sat glaring at the opponent that he had sorely underestimated. He had made every precaution to make sure that Ava would be kept away from all of this; shipping her out of London, making her live amongst the British upper-class, and shielding her from the dark reality of his world to keep her safe, and now this young thug on the rise had tracked her down and dragged her into this mess all because of his stupid brother. Vince was livid, “I will kill you!” He spat.

“That wouldn’t be a very smart move. What do you think will happen to Ava if my soldiers find out that I’m dead?”

Vince dragged his fingers through his hair and cursed. He got to his feet, “Someone get me a phone!” he bellowed. One of his capo’s handed him their mobile and Vince scrolled down to find Chris’s number.

Chris picked up on the third ring. “Mikey, it’s 4am, what the fuck do you want?”

“It’s Vince,” he said tightly.

“Oh, my bad boss. What’s going on?”

“I need you to put the Michael’s kid on the phone.”

“Don’t waste your time, boss,” Chris chuckled, “The kid can barely speak. Hurly did a number on his face.”

Vince glanced at Aiden, who stood watching him through the barrage of stocky men in bulletproof vests. “It doesn’t matter, put him on the phone.”

“Okay boss.” Chris got up from the table where he had been playing poker and puffing cigars with Hurly and a few of the other Syndicate guys, and made his way down to the basement of one of their compounds. He unlocked the door and flipped a switch, flooding the bare cement walls with a blinding fluorescent light. In the corner curled up on a dirty mattress on the floor, chained to a cast iron pipe was the body of 19-year-old Keegan Michaels, covered in dried blood, weeping wounds, severe swelling, and his once honey brown skin now splotched with aggressive bruises. Chris kicked him in his side, “Wake up you little shit!” Keegan released a strangled howl, his mouth too swollen for his to part his lips properly. Chris grabbed him by the collar of his black Ralph polo shirt and yanked him to his feet. Keegan groaned and stumbled, wincing as tears formed at the corner of his eyes and fell, the saltiness stinging the cuts across his cheekbone. “The boss wants to talk to ya.” He put the phone on loud speaker.

“Keegan?” Vince called harshly.

Keegan looked at the phone but made no attempt to speak. That earned him a punch to the stomach from Chris. Keegan howled again.

“Speak when you’re spoken to, boy!” Chris snarled.

“Keegan, your brother Aden has come to see me. He wants to talk to you to make sure you’re still alive. Can you talk?”

Keegan mumbled an inaudible response.

“Close enough.” Vince shrugged. He stuck the phone out, beckoning Aiden to take it from him. The guards stepped aside to let Aiden pass, but closed back around Dougie, letting him know that was not okay to follow.

Aiden snatched the phone from Vince, but kept his eyes locked on him just in case he decided to do something stupid.“Keegz, you all right?”

Keegan tried harder to form words to let his big brother know that he was far from all right, that these bastards had beat him so bad that it hurt to breathe, but that it was cool because he was the trillest nigga in the Diamond Mafia and that once he got better he would kill them all…but it only made his face hurt more. His muffled speech turned into more distorted howls.

Aiden clenched his fist, wanting so badly to drive it through Vince’s face. “Don’t try to talk. I just needed to know that you’re still alive. I’m gonna get you home okay, just hang in there.” He hung up and handed the phone back to Vince with a menacing grimace on his face, “Here’s what’s going to happen since you and your boys think you can fuck with my family; I am going to get my soldiers to drop off the rest of your product and then you are going to give me back my little brother and 20 million pounds for the trouble you and your men have caused me_”

“Excuse me?” Vince choked.

“You heard me. I will return your product to you and you will give me Keegan and 20 million. Once Keegan is back in my custody and fit to work again once he heals from the shit your men did to him, he will work off the rest of the money he owes you and not a penny more. As you were kind enough to give me three days, I will extend the same courtesy to you.”

“I know you don’t think that’s going to fly with me kid.”

“I don’t give a fuck if it flies with you or not old man, I have your little girl and I will torture and kill her in three days if you do not do as I say,” he said smugly. “This could have gone a different way had you been more reasonable, but now the ball is in my court so we’re playing this my way.”

Vince narrowed his eyes at his new enemy, “And, how do I know you’re not bullshitting me about Ava?”

Aiden shrugged, “You don’t, you’ll just have to take my word for it, though I imagine once Max Yang is conscious again in a few hours, he’ll tell you himself.”

“Or I could just kill your brother, you and your little friend right now.”

“You could, but you won’t. I’m guessing from the lengths you went through to hide Ava that you wouldn’t risk her life like that.”

“My men will find her!”

“I promise you, they won’t,” Aiden said stonily. “You’ve already underestimate me once, old man, do you really want to make that mistake again?”

Vince grabbed Aiden’s arm, yanking him forward so that his face was inches from his. His anger had turned his pale skin a shade of puce that only made his icy eyes all the more haunting. “You will die for this!” he hissed.

“Not before you I won’t.” Aiden nodded in Dougie’s direction where he was stood proudly amongst the guards with his gun aimed at Vince’s head whilst the guards has their guns aimed at him. His smirk was too confident for Vince to take the risk; he had heard stories about Dougie too. He released Aiden, “Get out!”

*

Ash lifted Ava’s limp frame out of the boot of the car and carried her to the entrance of the compound. Once Max was out of the way it wasn’t that hard to capture her mark; she’d simply ran back and told her that Max was hurt and was asking for her. Ava followed without question and as soon as they were outside Ash stuck her with another one of her Rohypnol needles, and dragged her stumbling, semi-conscious frame to the car, binding her wrists and ankles, and gagging her mouth before she crammed her small body into the boot and closed the lid on her.

Once they were inside, two of The Maids of assigned to this compound took Ava from Ash and took her to the bedroom at the end of the hall, dumped her on the double bed, removed her gag, undid her bindings and fastened themto the posters of the bed frame.

“Poor girl,” one of them said to the other, “She has no idea what kind of hell is coming her way.”

#RunningWilde Ch. 2 | Leverage

With her head thrown back as her small waist curled and her thick hips rolled dangerously along his shaft, making her lover cling to her as if the key to his salvation was between her thighs, Trish sighed luxuriously and leant down as if to kiss him. She grazed her trademark rouged lips against his open, panting mouth, and slowly reached up towards the top of the bed, using one hand to grip the wrought iron headboard (using the leverage to take him deeper into her), and the other to slide down the back of her queen-sized mattress, before snapping back into the upright position with her heart-shaped face and torso twisted towards her bedroom door. Her butterfly pearl handled 22 was extended in front of her, aiming at the head of the tall dark figure who had quietly appeared in her doorway.

"Aiden, what have I told you about sneaking up on me?" She purred irritably, still making love to the clinging man who was struggling to release himself from her enchanting hip undulations to see who dared to disturb them.

“I didn’t realise you had company,” Aiden’s gravelly voice answered disapprovingly as he stepped out of the shadows with Trish’s spare keys dangling from his clenched fist. He strolled in arrogantly, unfazed by the intimate scene before him, picked up her lover’s jeans from the floor and chucked them at him. “Hurry up and get out,” he ordered.

“Yo what the fuck!" Her lover half yelled, half panted, glaring up at Aiden, tempted to throw Trish off and swing at him for disrupting the best sex of his life -but he didn’t dare to pull out yet; being buried inside her felt like the first hit of some good weed; euphoric. Before he knew it, Trish sped up, pounding her pelvis hard and fast against him, taking him all the way in, as deep as he could go, until he clenched his eyes shut, dug his fingers into the soft flesh of her curvaceous hips and grunted. His orgasm shook him harder than an earthquake; uncontrollable and intense as if he had just overdosed on her.

Trish slid off of him and pecked him sulkily on the lips while he tried to regain his composure. “Sorry baby; if Aiden says you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.”

Her lover stared up at her wide eyed and unable to form words. He nodded.

Trisha sashayed over to her chaise lounge, put down her gun and picked up her white satin dressing gown with a frown on her face; Aiden got on her last nerve sometimes. “Go and wait in the living room, I’ll be down in a minute,” she snapped at him. Aiden shot another disapproving look at her lover, but left without another word.

After apologising profusely and promising to make it up to him, Trish bid her lover farewell and stormed in to her living room, ready to give her old friend a piece of her mind, when she saw Jamie asleep in his arms. She sighed and sat next to him, taking her God Son from him and settling back into her sofa. “What’s going on A?” she asked with dark curiosity, knowing that whatever was coming was bad.

“Keegan’s missing.”

Trish clutched Jamie a little tighter; “Are you sure? You know Keegz can be a bit wild sometimes. You positive he ain’t ran off with one of his hoes’ for a few days?”

“He’s missing Trish. I know who took him and I need to get him back before they kill him,” Aiden replied morbidly, wishing that Trish’s assumption were true. “I need you to keep Jamie until this is over.”

Trish furrowed her brow, “Me? Where’s Sofia?” Aiden fell silent and looked away. Trish cursed under her breath knowing exactly what his silence meant. She slid one arm out from under Jamie and swung at Aiden, her palm slapping against his already tensed chest –he knew she would hit him. “Aiden, she’s Jamie’s mother for crying out loud!”

“She’s the reason they took Keegan,” he growled.

Trish’s mouth formed a red ‘o’ shape and she instantly regretted striking him. “Who is ‘they’?” she asked in a softer tone.

“The Syndicate.” Now it was time for Trish to fall silent as the direness of the situation sunk in. She pressed her lips into a flat line and bit down on her tongue to keep herself from crying; the Syndicate taking Keegan meant that he was as good as dead. She quickly forgave Aiden for killing that backstabbing bitch Sofia and reasoned that in truth she never liked her that much anyway, she only put up with her for Keegan’s sake.

Trisha was Dougie’s little sister; she had grown up next door to Aiden and Keegan on Myatts Field Estate, and with them being so close with her older brother, she became Aiden and Keegan’s little sister too -albeit with a less than conventional sibling like relationship, especially in Keegan’s case. As Trish was family, Aiden had her working for him, purposely placing her somewhere that she could stay out of trouble. She ran the Diamond’s Hair Salon -one of Aiden’s front businesses to keep the tax man off of his back -where she could keep an eye on things in their town –you’d be surprised about how much you can learn from gossip in a hair shop.

“Have you sent The Maids in yet?” she asked, referring to Aiden’s team of cleaners who would enter a crime scene after the Diamond Mafia had done their business, to make sure that there was no trace of themever being there.

Aiden nodded. Within an hour of their departure, Aiden had The Maids at Sofia’s place removing all traces of his and Dougie’s presence. The Diamond Mafia were quick and efficient, part of the reason why their crew had exceeded the common street gang status, to one of South London’s biggest up and coming organised crime cartels. Leaving Sofia’s body crumpled haphazardly in the middle of her living room floor, The Maids switched on the television and damaged the lock on the front door, turned sections of the house upside down to make it seem as if someone had been there searching for something, and that poor Sofia was simply collateral damage. It was the only logical outcome for the police when they would finally turn up later on.

“Good. I’ll get Polly to run the salon while I have Jamie.”

“Okay,” he squeezed her hand, silently thanking her for cooperating without a fuss and got to his feet, “I’ll wire you some extra money later on so you can get what you need to take care of him. Once the police have been to Sofia’s place, I’ll send one of The Maids over to bring some of his things, and then I want you and Jamie out of London until this is sorted. I’ll send Driver to pick you up.”

Trish stood and grabbed Aiden’s hand just as he turned to leave. Her bottom lip was trembling, “Bring him back. I don’t care what you have to do, you bring Keegan back home!”

Aiden looked down at her cradling his nephew protectively, watching as she stubbornly held back her tears –Trish hated crying, she said it made her feel weak, but Keegan meant a lot to her so there was a chance that she might unwillingly make an exception for him. He carefully pulled her into hug, being mindful of Jamie’s sleeping frame, pushed her bleached blonde curls out of the way and kissed her forehead. “I’ll do everything in my power,” he promised.

Aiden paced up and down his apartment, waiting to hear back from Dougie about the whereabouts of Vince Lockewood. It was 3am and he’d been trying to pace himself with his drinking so that his head would be clear enough when it was time to handle business, alternating between Hennessey and water to steady his nerves. For the first time in a long time, Aiden was afraid. There was a very real chance that he would lose his brother and he knew that if that happened he would lose his mind. Not knowing where he was or if he was even still alive was driving him crazy. He would’ve loved nothing more than to drink himself into oblivion so that he could have a few moments to escape from this terrifying ordeal, but he had to keep his head. Keegan’s life (if he still had one) depended on it.

Suddenly his phone vibrated, and it was all he could do not to leap across the table to answer it. It was Mighty.

“We’ve found Vince,” Mighty answered the instant Aiden picked up, “He’s at the Rococo Lounge in Charing Cross. Driver, Dougie, and Stone are on their way to get you. They should be there in the next 10 minutes; wear something pretty.”

Aiden rolled his eyes at his soldier’s constant need for light-heartedness. “Cool. Any word on Keegan?”

“Not yet, I’m still looking, but I did find someone that might interest you and could provide a little leverage to get him back,” Mighty grinned devilishly into his headset. Aiden could hear his deft fingers hacking away at the keyboard, which meant that he was bringing up a file on this person of interest.

“Who?”

“Vince’s daughter.”

Aiden paused momentarily; “Lockewood has a kid? I didn’t know that.”

“No one did,” Mighty boasted excitedly, “Vince kept her under wraps in case some clever bastard decided to use her against him.”

“You clever bastard,” Aiden chuckled dryly, backing some water before heading to his bedroom to pick out some suitable attire that would be fitting for Rococo Lounge, and would allow him to conceal a weapon.

“You’re too kind,” Mighty laughed. “Her name is Ava-Marie. She’s 21 and attends Excelsior University where she’s studying to be a vet.”

“A vet?”

“Yeah, she’s a right little do-gooder this one. She volunteers and regularly donates to a bunch of charities, works at the local animal shelter at the weekends, she’s did a stint in the Peace Corps, she’s a vegan AND takes part in anti-war protests…plus, she’s fucking hot!”

“How are you finding all of this?” Aiden asked, impressed with the extent of personal information that Mighty had dug up on the daughter of one of the world’s biggest drug lords, that no one knew existed.

“I’d like to pretend that I went into super hacker mode, but it was actually pretty simple. She’s on Facebook.”

Aiden’s impressed face fell, “Facebook? So how did no one know about her?”

“Well, because no one else is a clever bastard, so they didn’t know where to look. She’s on here as Ava-Marie Wallace –that’s her mother, Louise Lockewood’s, maiden name. I remembered that Vince had been married once, so I was originally looking for Louise to use her as leverage, but it turns out that she’s been dead a few years now. Her death is recorded as suicide, but we both know what that really means.”

“Vince topped her?” Aiden guessed.

“Yup! Found out that she’d been screwing one of his Capos; killed them both. Anyway, I came across and old holiday photo of Vince and Louise with a little girl on holiday in Dubai on their Intel database when they had been following him that year all those sheiks kept turning up dead. All they had on Ava was her name. I searched for her under Lockewood but there was nothing, then I figured that if she was being kept a secret, that Daddy wouldn’t approve of her being traceable. You know how kids are; they get a bit of life experience and think they know better than their parents and start to rebel; she shoulda listened to her father. I tried Wallace on my second go and she popped right up.”

“Okay, send Ash out to pick her up,” Aiden ordered looking in the mirror at the tie he had chosen to wear with his black Emporio Armani suit. He frowned and decided against it.

“Way ahead of you, big guy! I tracked down the Lockewood girl’s phone number and located her device, then gave Ash the co-ordinates. She’s already on her way. With any luck we should have her in a few hours.”

Aiden paused; “You sent Ash out without my order?” he yelled.

“Not me A, Dougie did.”

“So what, is Dougie running the show now?”

“No, but it needed to be done sooner than later. We all want Keegan back just as much as you do A; he’s our family too,” Mighty said in a firmer tone than Aiden was used to him using. Mighty was the techy geek of the crew; he was still as bad as the rest of them once his temper flared up, but generally he had a light-hearted disposition, which at times became quite childlike when he cracked some new government code, infiltrated some top secret system or found a new gadget that would give the Diamond Mafia an edge on the opposition.  Mighty used to use his talent to rob some of the world’s biggest, high security banks, but his last heist went up in flames and landed him in the penitentiary. The moment he got out he was broke and homeless, with no one to turn to for help. Aiden kept seeing him around the area, watching how Mighty would stake out the cash machines then type in some codes and withdraw money without using a card -and without ever getting caught. He figured he could use someone like that in his crew, so he took him off the streets, gave him a place to stay, and put money in his pockets in exchange for his talents, with the promise that he’d never be homeless or lonely again.

“Fine,” Aiden resolved, making a mental note to have a word with Dougie later, “Tell Ash to take her to the compound once she’s secured her.”

“That’s if she secures her. You ever heard of Max Yang?”

“The name sounds familiar.”

“He’s one of Vince’s boys. He’s assigned to protect Ava-Marie and he’s very good at his job.”

Aiden opened a small cabinet at the bottom of his wardrobe, pulled out a sheathed pocket blade, and his Weihrauch Silver Star pistol, then slotted them into a the holder concealed under his arm and around his calf. “Ash is better.”

*

Ash peeked up at the handsome young man across the room perched on a stool, watching the way he watched the young girl with the sweet cinnamon skin, hazel eyes and braided hair, longingly and protectively. He was in love with her; it wasn’t obvious, but there was no denying it once you noticed the way his eyes softened when she laughed, that it was there.

She pushed up the sleeves of the navy ‘University of Excelsior’ sweater that she’d stolen from one of the dorm rooms, and loosened a few strands of her fiery red hair from her messy bun to frame her heavily freckled face, before she stepped across the threshold of the entrance to the Excelsior Student Union bar, where most of the people in attendance were chugging down pints of beer with their eyes fixated on one of the four big screens mounted on the wall, watching the FIFA World Cup. As she made her way to the bar, she noted that unlike the rest of the men in the vicinity, her mark wasn’t watching the game. Even when he took his eyes off of her other mark, he didn’t look at the screen; well at least now she had an idea of how to start the conversation. She ordered a cranberry juice and sauntered over to him, casually sat on the stool next to him, took a sip of her juice, and looked dismally at the screen. This time when he looked away from the cinnamon skinned girl, he glanced at Ash -and she pretended not to notice. He was even more attractive up close, with his warm complexion, slanted eyes, straight nose and tousled jet black hair. He smelt clean, like Dove soap and chewing gum, and although he was slim, she could tell that he worked out; his clothes fit him the way that people who worked out did -like the body of a male mannequin in the display window of JD Sports.

He glanced at her again, like she knew he would; Ash had a peculiar beauty that wasn’t instantly noticeable, but she looked like art, so you always felt compelled to look again to pin point what it was about her that you found so aesthetically fascinating. This time she glanced back at him then back to the screen, tucking a strand of her brilliant hair behind her ear to stir the air between them so that he could get a waft of her soft floral scent.

After a moment, she leant into him slightly and talked over the noise; “Who are you rooting for?”

He seemed surprised that she had said anything; most women were intimidated by him and his sharp, angular features. He had a nice face, but it wasn’t a welcoming one. He glanced at the screen, “I don’t even know who’s playing,” he admitted, reaching behind him to retrieve his bottle of Desperado beer with a slice of lime wedged in the top of it, “Football’s not really my thing.”

Ash raised her eyebrow at him, “Then why are you here?”

He glanced at the cinnamon girl surrounded by a gaggle of blondes and brunettes chatting away in tank tops and tight jeans, sipping white wine and waiting for the match to end so that the men would take an interest in them again. He pushed the lime down into the bottle and took a swig; “I’m with my friend.”

“How come you’re sat here by yourself then?” She asked, slowly taking the straw between her naturally flushed lips and peering up at him through her long lashes.

He looked down at her; his eyes fell to her lips wrapped around the straw momentarily, then quickly up to her curious turquoise eyes. He shrugged, “It’s quieter over here.”

“Giggling girls not your thing either?” she bumped her shoulder against his playfully.

“Not really,” he smiled tightly.

“Me neither,” she smiled back. She extended her hand to him and introduced herself, “Ashley.”

He shook it. “You don’t look like an Ashley.”

“Oh? So what do I look like then?” she slipped the straw back between her lips. His eyes fell to her mouth again, lingering there a little longer this time before meeting her eyes once more.

“Trouble.”

Ash released his hand and laughed, “Me? I’m an angel!”

He settled back on his stool, rested his arms on the shelf behind him and said, “Lucifer was an angel. He was trouble.” He focused his attention back on the cinnamon girl.

Ash sat a little straighter, asserting her presence. She had a job to do and she wasn’t about to let him think he could shake her that easily. She had seduced mob bosses, world leaders and sheiks; this solider wasn’t about to turn her down. She crossed her long legs, brushing her shapely calf up against his knee, “But I’m not Lucifer darling, I’m Ashley. And you are?”

He smirked at her; he knew he was right, this girl definitely was trouble, but she had a certain charm to her that he couldn’t ignore. “Max.”

“Max,” she purred, “It suits you.”

“Does it?” he chuckled.

Ash let her eyes run over him from head to toe, inch by glorious inch. “I imagine it does,” she smiled suggestively. Max took another swig of his Desperado. She couldn’t help but think what a lovely looking mark he was –a little arrogant, but lovely nonetheless. She was going to enjoy this. She finished her drink and slid off of the stool, “So what’s it gonna be Max; you gonna sit here and watch the girls giggle, or you gonna come with me and live up to your namesake?”

Max’s almond eyes widened and he almost choked on his beer, “What? We don’t even know each other!” he spluttered, losing his cool edge.

Ash took his hand, “Yes we do darling. You’re Max,” she drew him closer to her and draped his arm around her waist, letting his hand rest on the curve of her back. She bit her lip and smiled mischievously, “And I’m trouble.”


What are your thoughts on our boss ass female characters, Trish and Ash? Please leave a comment below and click the heart if you enjoyed this chapter.

Ch. 3 will be up next Friday. Until then, please click the lil blue envelope in the corner to join my mailing list.

Love Scotty xx

#RunningWilde Ch. 1 | Family Matters

“Tell me what happened.”

“I told you; I sent him out to get some more formula for Jamie and he never came back.”

“Didn’t he give you money to get all that last week?”

“Yes, but it ran out.”

“You’re telling me that Jamie finished a whole tub of formula in a week?”

“Yes!”

Aiden’s jaw tightened, “Sofia, do I look stupid to you?”

“No Aiden.”

“Then why the fuck are you lying to me?” He growled.

“I’m not Aiden, I swear.”

“Yo Doug!”

A tall wiry figure appeared from a dark doorway of Sofia’s home, dressed head to toe in black -the signature colour of the Diamond Mafia -with his baseball cap pulled down low so that the peak shadowed his eyes; Dougie Monroe, Aiden’s best friend and most faithful lieutenant with a reputation for being one of the most lethal hitmen the streets of London has ever known.

“Yeah?”

Aiden glanced over his shoulder at his friend; “Go to the kitchen and open the cupboard next to the cooker. Tell me if you see a tin of SMA baby formula.”

Dougie nodded and went to investigate, moving silently like a trained assassin, a skill he had mastered many years ago; you never knew that Dougie was coming for you until it was too late.

Sofia Sanchez, mother of Aiden’s 7 month old nephew Jamie, tried to keep her body language calm. She knew that if she started fidgeting, even a little, Aiden would know for sure that she was lying…not that it mattered now; once Dougie looked in the cupboard he would see the two large tins of baby formula that she purchased last week when Keegan -Aiden’s 19-year-old brother and Jamie’s father -paid her child support. She wanted to believe that the fact that she was Jamie’s mother would stop Aiden from killing her, but deep down she knew that wasn’t true -Aiden is no soft touch and once he found out what she did, all hell would break loose. Keegan is missing and it’s all her fault.

“Yeah, there’s two of ‘em,” Dougie called from the kitchen.

Aiden sighed irritably and slowly turned back to Sofia with his jaw clenched and his nostrils flared –he hated being lied to; he saw it as a waste of his time because he was always hell bent on knowing the truth by any means necessary. The more time that was wasted getting Sofia to confess what she knew about Keegan’s sudden disappearance, the more time whoever took his brother had to take him further away and do God knows what to him.

“Two tins?” Aiden growled quietly as the deep brown colour of his eyes hardened.

“My mistake,” Sofia shrugged almost carelessly, hoping that he didn’t notice the way her voice quivered slightly as she continued to avoid telling him the truth, “I thought we ran out.”

Aiden crouched his thick, six-foot-four frame down low, so that he could glare at Sofia at eye level as she sat stock still on her two-seater sofa with tears behind her eyes. She tried her best to hide her fear but he could see that she was afraid, and she should be -Aiden Michaels didn’t become one of the most notorious and highly dangerous drug lords of one of the biggest organised crime cartels in South London by allowing people to think they could cross him and get away with it. There were only two things that Aiden cared about; his money and his family, Keegan especially. Growing up on Myatts Field Estate (one of the rougher sectors of Brixton) had been tough on him and his younger sibling; with a junkie for a mother and both of their fathers pulling a disappearing act before they were born, Aiden and Keegan only ever really had each other. Nine years his senior, Aiden had done his best to try and raise Keegan; stealing food to feed him when their mother had used up their benefit money on drugs and cheap cider, teaching him how to fight so that he would be ready for the day someone from a different block would eventually try to jump him, protecting him from witnessing the things their mother did when she was skint and desperate for her next high (which usually involved her and a suspicious looking man behind a locked door), making sure that he went to school every day (even though Keegan would end up ditching halfway through the day), he bought him his first gun and taught him how to use it, showed him how to make fast money the smart way, and even taught him about girls -something Keegan picked up effortlessly. Keegan, as troublesome as he was, was Aiden’s world, and now Sofia was the reason that he was missing. Aiden reached behind him and pulled his revolver out of the waistband of his jeans and pressed it to her temple.

Sofia begun to cry, whimpering and trembling as the cold steel of the barrel made direct contact with her skin. “Aiden, please…”

“I’m going to ask you one more time; what happened to my brother Sofia?”

“I already told you,” she sobbed, running a manicured finger under her lower lash line to stop her eyeliner from running down her face.

“No, you lied to me,” he scowled. “You know I don’t like liars. Tell me the truth before I have to do something I don’t want to do.”

“I am telling you the truth, you just don’t want to believe me! Aiden please, you can’t hurt me; what about Jamie?”

“Jamie is family. Jamie is safe.”

“I’m family. I’m his mother Aiden, I’m family!”

“No, you’re the money grabbing hoodrat from the block that I warned Keegan was gonna get him into some bullshit one day, and now look; he’s missing and you won’t tell me where he is. You ain’t no fuckin’ family of mine!”

“I told you_”

Aiden slammed his fist down on the small coffee table next to the sofa, cutting off another useless reply from Sofia. He wanted to shoot her but he knew that Keegan would be pissed, and that without her, he may never see his little brother again, so he decided to give her one last chance. He removed the barrel of the gun from her temple, opened the chamber and took out 5 of the 6 bullets before spinning it and closing it back. He put the barrel between her eyebrows. “Just because you are Jamie’s mother, I’mma give you the opportunity to save your own life and tell me what you know. There is one bullet loaded in a random chamber of this gun; every time I think you are lying I will pull the trigger without a second thought.”

Sofia gulped.

“One of two things may happen; you may get the chance to keep talking, or you will die instantly. I hope for your sake that you stop being stupid and tell me what the fuck I need to know so that I can find my brother and bring him home, otherwise another woman will be raising your son, do you understand me?”

“Yes,” Sofia squeaked as more hot tears rolled down her face.

“Good. Start talking.”

“Aiden please, I keep telling you, I sent him to the store to get more formula and he didn’t come ba_”

*CLICK*

Sofia jumped and screamed so loudly at the sound of Aiden pulling the trigger that it woke Jamie, who had been sound asleep only moments ago in the nursery upstairs. Her son’s cries rang noisily over the baby monitor, clearly distressed by the sound of his mother’s fear.

Aiden was unmoved. “You got lucky that time, Sofia. Go again.”

“Aiden please! Please Aiden, please don’t do this…please,” she wailed.

“TALK!” he boomed; silencing her pleas.

“I sent him to get form_”

*CLICK*

“Nooooooooo!” she cried as the trigger sounded again.

Aiden lowered the gun and grabbed her face roughly, squeezing her jaw tightly with his large, powerful hands, so hard that her cinnamon skin reddened around the grooves that his dark chocolate fingers created. “Sofia, I don’t have time for this. If you don’t tell me what happened to Keegan, he will die and then the only person Jamie will have is me because I will kill you. Is that what you want?”

“No.”

“Then you are going to tell me the truth and if you don’t I will keep on squeezing this trigger until it gets to the bullet. Now, I think that what you need is a little more incentive seeing as you apparently don’t give a shit about whether Keegan lives or dies…Dougie!”

Dougie appeared from the kitchen, chewing casually with a half-eaten banana in his hand -when killing people is your job, you tend to become desensitized to certain situations. “Yeah?”

“Go get Jamie.”

Dougie nodded and headed upstairs. A few seconds later he returned with a cute, curly haired, wide eyed baby boy, now quietly sucking on his pacifier and smiling up at Dougie. Aiden didn’t look up to see his nephew –it would only distract him -instead he made a show of pulling back the hammer and placed the barrel of the revolver back between Sofia’s eyebrows.

“Are you sick? You’re gonna shoot me in front of my son?”

“If that’s what it takes to get you to talk,” he said tightly, flexing his fingers around the handle making the inked skin around his thick muscles undulate dangerously. “Would you like to tell him goodbye or are you ready to stop bullshitting me? I’ve already fired two shots, and you know what they say; third times the charm.”

Sofia looked over at her tiny child cradled contentedly in Dougie’s arms, and knew that if she didn’t tell Aiden what he wanted to know, that she would never see her baby again. “Okay, okay I’ll talk, just please, put the gun down,” she sobbed.

“No. Talk.”

Sofia sighed. “Keegan was having some money issues,” she began, “He started gambling with some very shady people and ended up owing them a lot -I’m talking tens of thousands of pounds. His debt got so bad that he wasn’t able to pay the bills_”

“So why didn’t he come to me?” Aiden inquired, confused as to why Keegan would subject himself to hard times when he knew that no matter how badly he messed up, his big brother would always have his back.

“He knew you’d be mad at him and he wanted to take care of us on his own,” she explained. “One night he comes home with a bag full of gear that he stole from another crew -claimed it was worth 10 mill -so he started moving that without the family knowing. Soon he paid off all his debts and we had more money than we knew what to do with. Everything was good at first; he bought me gifts and took me places; anything I wanted, he got it for me…and then he started doing the same for Jasmin, Rhonda, Chanel, Karlie, and whoever the fuck else caught his attention,” she sneered. “We started fighting, I was always pulling him up on some bullshit, but it didn’t matter what I said because he was ‘K. Dot’, and he had the paper, so he could do whatever the fuck he wanted and I had to shut up, stay home and look after the baby. Then Jasmin got pregnant and I lost it…” she trailed off and a fresh round of tears began. “I just wanted my boyfriend back, I swear Aiden. I love Keegz so much, but I couldn’t let him get away with it. I just wanted him back.”

Aiden gripped the gun tighter, “What did you do, Sofia?”

“I knew who the gear belonged to,” she whispered, shame colouring her guilty tone.

“Who?”

“…The Syndicate.”

Aiden lowered the gun and got to his feet. Being a man of his word, he couldn’t shoot her because she was telling the truth, and he had said to her that if she told him the truth that he wouldn’t -but God he wanted to. “Sofia,” he said in a measured tone, trying his hardest to keep it together because he knew that whatever she had to say to him after this point was going to make him want to throttle her with his bare hands. The Syndicate was run by Vincent Lockewood, an extremely powerful ‘business man’ who owned a majority of the top luxury nightclubs, bars and casinos in London, and a few overseas –well, that was his front anyway. For those on the circuit who knew better, Vince was the kingpin of drug trafficking in London; any products that came in or out of the city were controlled by him. He’d pull in the huge shipments and distribute them to all of the smaller drug lords who would then sell them on to other small-time dealers. He was the top dog, completely untouchable, even for someone as powerful as Aiden. How could Keegan have been so stupid as to fuck with Vince’s shit? That was like asking for a death sentence. “What did you do?” he repeated.

Sofia’s body quaked with panic, but she knew she had to keep going; “The night I found out about Jasmin I got drunk went to one of Vince’s spots, and bumped into one of his capo’s, a guy called Chris.”

“Fuck!” That was Dougie. Not many people could impress Dougie because he was so good at his job, but Chris Mullins was a blood thirsty psychopath who enjoyed torturing and killing people the way musicians loved music.

“And?” Aiden probed, ignoring Dougie’s reaction.

“I was so mad; I told him everything. He seemed like such a nice guy. I knew he wasn’t, and I knew that I shouldn’t have said a word to him, but…I was just so angry. Jamie is only 7 months old; how could Keegan get another girl pregnant?” She swiped her fingers underneath her lash line again. “Chris told me not to worry, that I was a beautiful woman and that I deserved better than a punk like Keegan Michaels. He promised me that Keegan would pay for what he’d done. I was so naïve, I thought that he meant that Kegan would pay for what he’d done to me…but he meant Vince.”

“Of course he meant Vince, you stupid bitch!” Aiden yelled. Jamie stirred and whined in Dougie’s arms.

“I know, I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking. The next thing I know I’m giving this asshole directions to my house. He follows me in, knocks Keegan out and takes him away. He said that it was nothing personal, just business that was to be settled between Keegan and The Syndicate, and that if I talked he’d come back for me and Jamie.”

“Fuck!” That was Dougie again.

Aiden begun pacing up and down the living room, trying to think of how to handle the situation without endangering his brother’s life any further, although it was probably no use; once someone crossed Vince, they were as good as dead. Keegan had done a lot of stupid things in his time, but stealing from Vince was definitely the dumbest move his sibling would ever make. He stopped pacing and spoke to Sofia again, refusing to look at her as the sight of her made his trigger finger itch. “How much of the gear did my idiot brother move?”

“About 3 million so far.”

“Where the rest?”

“Here.”

“Go get it,” he snapped.

“Okay.” Sofia sprinted off in the direction of the bathroom.

Aiden turned to Dougie, “D, I need you, Stone, Ash and Mighty to find out where Vince is; tell him I want a sit down. I’m gonna take Jamie_”

“Take Jamie where?” Sofia re-entered the room supporting a large black duffle bag with two arms.

“Somewhere safe,” Aiden replied, annoyed that she was back so soon.

“What about me?”

“Bitch, fuck you,” he snarled, snatching the bag out of her arms, “You ain’t family!” He hoisted the straps over one shoulder then with other free hand, he scooped Jamie out of Dougie’s arms and ordered him under his breath, “Handle that.”

Dougie nodded.

As Aiden walked down the hall with his nephew and the remaining shipment of Vince’s gear that had started all of this drama, in tow, he heard the start of Sofia’s ear-splitting scream as the whipping sound of one of Dougie’s bullets shot through his silencer and into her head.

Aiden was a man of his word; he’d said that he wouldn’t kill her –he never said anything about Dougie.


Hope you enjoyed the first chapter of Running Wilde. Give it a heart if you did and let me know what you think about Aiden so far.

Ch. 2 will be up next Friday.

Love Scotty xx