Elite, p.21
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       Elite, p.21

         Part #1 of Eagle Elite series by Rachel Van Dyken
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  “And here.” I pointed to my mouth.

  Nixon smiled, and then devoured — not kissed — my lips. His mouth covered mine completely as his tongue slipped in and pushed against mine.

  My hands reached around his neck as I pulled him firmer against me. After a bit of hesitation he slowly moved on top of me, careful to keep his weight from crushing me. His hands dove into my hair as he deepened the kiss. I bit down on his lip and sucked his lip ring.

  A growl escaped his mouth as his hands gripped my face. My body still didn’t feel close enough to his, so I arched up to meet him but was pushed gently back against the bed.

  “You’re killing me, Trace.” Nixon groaned against my neck. With another groan he pulled back. “And I’m probably going to hate myself later tonight for saying this, but after everything…” He shook his head. “I can’t… I can’t—” I licked my lips and leaned forward.

  “Ah, hell.” Nixon’s mouth was on mine in an instant. Eager and hot, his kiss met mine. He pushed, I pulled, he tugged, and I gripped. My body melted into his. I wanted to rip my clothes off, to lose myself in him in order to forget the nightmare of what had just happened to me.

  My hands moved to his shirt.

  A loud throat cleared.

  Nixon jerked away from me and snapped. “This better be good, Chase, or I’m going to strangle you.”

  Chase’s eyes met mine and for a second I felt guilty. I looked at the position I was in, underneath Nixon’s body, out of breath and flushed with excitement.

  All after Chase had said he loved me and covered me up with his jacket. I licked my lips and noticed Chase’s blue eyes narrow. He blinked a few times in my direction and gripped the doorframe with his hand. His knuckles turned a few shades whiter before his eyes left mine and fell on Nixon.

  “I just thought you should know that Mr. Alfero has everything set up and ready. Seems he was a bit over zealous about getting some of the men together. I didn’t think you would want Phoenix to die without letting Trace have a crack.”

  “A crack?” I repeated.

  “At Phoenix.” Chase’s smile didn’t reach his eyes. “You do want to slap him, don’t you? Because if you don’t, I sure as hell will. Shit. I’ll break both his legs for you.”

  I knew he meant it. I also knew that if I let him and everyone else unleash on Phoenix I’d have a murder on my conscience. Is that how they dealt with everything in the mafia?

  “How are you?” Chase walked into the room. Nixon held up his hand for him to stop.

  “She’s fine,” Nixon answered for me. His teeth clenched as he narrowed his gaze on Chase.

  “She can answer for herself,” Chase argued. “Trace, I—”

  Nixon leapt off the bed. “I said she’s fine. You aren’t needed anymore. Alright? Text me the address and we’ll be there in a few. I’ve gotta get her some clothes to put on.”

  Chase’s nostrils flared. “Maybe you should have been thinking about that before you started taking her clothes off.”

  Nixon lunged for Chase’s body. I scrambled off the bed to intervene and nearly tripped over my feet in the process. “Guys, stop!”

  Were they insane? There was way too much testosterone flowing through that room and I’d have enough fighting for the day. My voice cracked when I yelled again, gaining both of their attention.

  Chase reached for me first, but it was Nixon who tucked me into the crook of his arm and kissed my head. “Sorry, Trace. I’m just… shit, I’m just a little messed up after seeing everything go down today.”

  I swallowed the lump in my throat and locked eyes with Chase. His eyes burned through mine briefly before he shook his head and walked away.

  My heart clenched and shattered into a million pieces. Everything hurt all over again. What was wrong with me? I truly loved Nixon, but Chase… well, Chase had been my best friend for the past few weeks when Nixon was off fighting Phoenix and the evil of his family.

  I was tired and stressed. That was it. It wasn’t anything more. I tucked the feelings I had for Chase in the back of my mind while I hugged Nixon back.

  “Now what?” I asked.

  “Now…” He sighed. “You decide if he lives or dies. Just know, my vote is death.”

  “And if I want him to get punished but live?”

  Nixon didn’t respond for a few seconds. Finally, he released me and walked toward the door. “I’ll try to listen.”

  Chapter Thirty-three

  My hands were sweating. I had to keep wiping them on my jeans. Nixon hadn’t said a word to me during the drive to the location or spot as he called it. I wasn’t sure if he was deep in thought or just pissed off that I wanted to let Phoenix live. At any rate, I was ready for this nightmare of a day to be over.

  My clothes even felt uncomfortable, as if they didn’t belong there, just like the rest of me.

  How had I ended up in this predicament in the first place?

  Oh right. Grandpa, my parents… ugh. I guess the old saying is true. You can’t help what you’re born into.

  After a few minutes we finally turned down a street behind an old restaurant and stopped.

  “You ready?” Nixon said without emotion.

  I shook my head. I wasn’t ready. How would I ever be ready for this? To face the guy who tried to rape me? Especially in front of other men? I wasn’t ready for any of it, and I wanted nothing more than to stick my head in the sand and pretend that none of it happened.

  I didn’t realize I was shaking until Nixon grabbed my hand and brought it to his lips. “You’ll do fine. I promise. I won’t let anything happen to you.”

  His eyes were like ice. I touched his face. He blinked and heaved a sigh. This was just as hard for him as it was for me. I knew it. Because I knew that if anyone ever messed with my family or those I loved, I wouldn’t think twice about hurting them, but it was entirely different when it was you and when it would be on your conscience. I knew Nixon wanted to rip Phoenix’s arms from his body, but I couldn’t fathom how I could sleep at night if I knew everything had to do with me and that it was my fault.

  I turned away from Nixon and opened my car door. Two steps. I took two steps before I had to stop, close my eyes, and tell myself it was going to be okay. Nixon called out to me and I walked around the car to join him. His hand grasped mine and pulled me into the shelter of his body as he walked with me into an old abandoned building.

  Had my sense of humor decided to visit me in that second I may have mentioned that the building and his last name were one in the same? Instead, I licked my dry lips and swallowed the lump of fear in my throat.

  We walked down a dimly lit hallway and then turned left where a few men were gathered around laughing.

  Laughing.

  What?

  I looked around me.

  The room wasn’t dimly lit like I expected. And Phoenix wasn’t in chains. Instead, he was sitting calmly in a chair with his hands tied in front of him with zip ties.

  The men around the room were eating food and drinking wine. Holy crap it was like they were feasting!

  Soon everyone noticed our presence and dropped whatever food they were holding and put their wine glasses down. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Grandpa make his way toward me.

  I would have looked at him or maybe even acknowledged him had Phoenix not looked directly through me and smirked.

  Bad idea.

  I lunged for him and before anyone could stop me, slapped him so hard across the face that my hand throbbed.

  He cursed and fell to the cement ground.

  The room fell silent.

  “Is that it?” Phoenix taunted from the ground.

  I made another move to kick him in the head, but Nixon gently pulled me into his arms while a few men helped Phoenix back into the chair and began tying his arms down.

  Grandpa cleared his throat. “Will all members of the commission please stand?”

  “Commission?” I repeated, still not taking my eyes of off Phoenix.


  Nixon pulled me close to him. “Each family is represented by one person. It’s kind of how we hold court. Each person has a representative, and each representative gets a vote.”

  “Are you one?” I asked, looking into his eyes.

  “Unfortunately, no. Since I’m one of the bosses I elected someone else from my family.”

  “Who?”

  Nixon bit down on his lip, causing his lip ring to shimmer from the light in the room. “Chase.”

  “Oh.” I nodded. “That’s good then.”

  “Great,” Nixon said dryly as his eyes fell to the door where Chase was now walking in.

  “Everyone’s present,” Grandpa announced. “Each representative of the commission is allowed to speak on behalf of their family. I’ll go last considering the subject matter.”

  This was followed by several grunts and head nods.

  “I’ll go first.” Someone stepped forward. I didn’t recognize him, but I felt like I should. He looked to be a few years older than me, most likely Nixon’s age. His eyes scanned the room and then fell on me. “Trace, is it?”

  His voice held a slight accent. I wasn’t sure if he was mocking me or if that’s just the way his voice sounded. I nodded my head anyway and waited for him to keep talking.

  Nixon tensed next to me as the guy approached. “Faust Assante, at your service.” He gave a wide smile and bent over my hand, his lips were warm against my knuckles as he brushed a kiss across them. I could have sworn I heard Nixon growl next to me. “Now.” Faust stood to his full height which towered over me and tilted his head to the side looking skeptical and methodical. Had I not had my fair share of hot guy run-ins this year I would have probably swallowed my tongue. The guy was as good-looking as they come, only something about him was cold.

  “Your side of the story, if you don’t mind.” He nodded. “When you’re ready, Trace.”

  “My side?” I squeaked. “Does that mean even he gets to have a say?” I pointed a shaky finger at Phoenix. “After what he did to me? Well, Faust…” I said his name like an expletive. “My side is pretty much summed up in one word. Rape. That guy sitting over there beat me, bruised me, and then tried to rip my clothes off me. When I said no, he said yes, when I pushed, he pushed back, so yeah that’s basically my side. He would have killed me had Chase and Nixon not intervened.”

  “You don’t know that.” Faust’s eyes flashed. “After all, if what you’re wearing now is any indication of what you wear on a day to day basis, I’d say you were a tease.”

  Nixon pushed me behind him and stood in front of Faust. “You’ve got to be kidding me, who the hell do you think you are?”

  Faust smirked. “I am merely stating a fact. If a woman is asking for something and not careful, well, she will get exactly what she deserves.”

  Nixon swung hard and hit Faust across the jaw, sending him sailing to the ground. “Anyone else care to tell Trace what she deserves? Be my guest.”His breathing was ragged as he stood there and waited for someone to speak. Grandpa moved to stand next to him, as did Chase. The rest of the men in the room shifted on their feet and looked to me. I wanted to die on the spot. What was so bad about a t-shirt and jeans? I self-consciously pulled my shirt lower so that it covered my butt. Maybe Faust was right. Maybe I did somehow ask for it. I looked down at my shaking hands. Warm arms came around me and I knew in an instant whose they were. Not Nixon’s, not Grandpa’s, but Chase’s. I leaned into him. His scent — everything about him was familiar.

  “I have something to say,” Chase said, still holding me.

  All eyes fell on him.

  “I should have killed that bastard the minute I saw him on top of Trace, to be honest, the only reason I didn’t was because I was saving the honor for her. So if anyone else has anything to say, say it now. We’re just wasting time, and honestly every breath that asshole breathes offends me so much that I want to crush his windpipe.”

  The rest of the commission whispered to one another and nodded. A man stepped forward. “We do not need to hear anything else. Mr. Alfero?”

  Grandpa looked ticked. He moved away from Nixon and stood in front of Phoenix. “You’ve hurt this family for the last time.”

  Phoenix smirked. “I seriously doubt that. After all, it’s only a matter of time before they figure out who she is. And when they do, there won’t be anything that can save you. Not your power, not your money, and not your name. They will come for you all. And I’ll be smiling from hell.”

  Grandpa was handed a bat.

  I felt myself pale.

  He swung hard and hit Phoenix in the head, sending him to the ground with a grunt.

  Grandpa turned. “Your choice, Trace. Make the call.”

  I looked at all the expectant eyes around me. Chase’s arms still encircled my waist. Slowly, I pried myself free and approached Phoenix’s limp form. One swift kick between his legs is really all I needed. I’d like to think I made it impossible for him to have children and poison the earth with his offspring. He was already passed out, but I smiled at the thought of him waking up in such excruciating pain he’d wish for death.

  “He lives,” I whispered, turning to Nixon. “Remember what you said about the whole setting him up thing?”

  Nixon nodded once. “Done.”

  Exhaling in relief, I walked over to Nixon, but he had turned to talk to Faust who had at that point woken up and stood.

  Chase held open his arms. I walked into them and laid my head against his chest. “You should have let me kill him.”

  “Sorry to ruin your fun,” I mumbled.

  Chase sighed. “Not fun. Just pleasure.”

  ****

  What felt like hours later, Phoenix awoke, screaming in pain. Nixon had contacted Phoenix’s father and asked him to meet us at the site.

  Dean De Lange walked in and swore. “Phoenix, what have you done?”

  “Yes.” Nixon sneered. “What have you done?”

  Phoenix smirked. Blood stained his teeth where he had been punched repeatedly. “You think you can silence me?” He laughed. “Father, guess who our little Tracey is? You should know, after all, you killed her parents.”

  “What?” Mr. De Lange paled and gaped at his son. “What the hell are you talking about?”

  “It’s over. And I’m not stupid.” Phoenix spat. “You set them up. I know everything and now they do too.”

  “I didn’t—” his father repeated, but his words were silenced, by the crack of a gun. I gasped as he fell to the ground, blood was everywhere. I looked to Nixon, but he seemed just as shocked as me. But Grandpa, he wasn’t shocked at all. In fact, he was the one aiming the gun.

  “It is over,” Grandpa said hoarsely.

  Phoenix laughed from his position on the ground, blood trailing down his chin. “Oh, it’s far from over… you have any idea what you’ve just done?”

  “Killed the man who murdered my son!” Grandpa yelled.

  “I lied.” Phoenix grinned. “And now you’ll never know. By the way, congratulations on killing the one man standing in the way of making me the boss. You just bought me my freedom.”

  “Like hell he did!” Nixon stepped forward, but Grandpa held out his hand to stop him.

  “War is coming,” Faust said from behind me.

  “The Sicilians are coming.” Phoenix laughed from the ground.

  “God help us all.” Chase swore and tugged me out of the room, swearing in Sicilian the entire way.

  Chapter Thirty-four

  I didn’t hear from Nixon all the next day. Chase was eerily quiet as he walked me back to my room. For once I was okay with him having his gun out as he searched around me for any sort of sketchy person.

  Once we reached my room, I asked. “War? And the Sicilians?”

  Chase swore. I’d never seen him freaked out, but he looked about ten seconds away from losing it. “Our family — we’ve been in charge of keeping the peace for over a hundred years, Trace. Your grandfather just shot the De La
nge mob boss in cold blood, who the hell knows what’s going to happen to Phoenix? We either have to kill him or buy his silence. You can’t just go around shooting people.”

  “Yeah, got that part. But aren’t you the mafia, I mean—”

  Chase swore. “Trace, listen, you clearly don’t understand. You don’t want the Sicilians here. Hell, I don’t even want them in Sicily. If they come, and if they find out everything that’s been happening. Shit!” He kicked the bed.

  “But they won’t find out. I mean who’s going to tell?”

  Chase looked at me like I was insane. “Trace, did you see all the men in there? Do you realize how desperate some of them are for money or to get on the good side of one of the originals? You can’t control people, and you sure as hell can’t keep them from looking out for themselves.”

  “What does this mean, for… for all of us?” I asked, numbly sitting on the bed.

  “It means we face them. Together,” a voice said from the door. I gasped and looked up. Nixon was sporting a black eye and bloody lip.

  “What happened?”

  Nixon shook his head and winced. “Don’t worry about it. Pack your stuff, you’re leaving.”

  “Leaving?”

  He ignored me and looked at Chase. “Get a bag?”

  “Hold on one second!” I threw my hands into the air. “You can’t just make me leave!”

  “Trace.” Nixon pinched the bridge of his nose. “Your grandfather and I decided it’s safer for you to be with me at all times. I can’t exactly shimmy into your dorm at all hours without people finding out. It’s just not safe.”

  “So I’m going to be a prisoner in my grandfather’s home?”

  “Of course not.” Nixon smiled. “You’re going to be a prisoner in mine.”

  Chase snorted.

  “What was that?” Nixon snapped at Chase.

  “Air. I coughed. Found a bag.” He handed Nixon my small duffel and saluted me. “Love ya, Trace. I’ll be waiting at Nixon’s. I think it’s best if we all pow-wow together.”

 
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