Eagle Elite Book 4
by Rachel Van Dyken
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part, electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright violation.
Copyright © 2014 RACHEL VAN DYKEN
ISBN 13: 978-099158725-4
Cover Art by P.S. Cover Design
To my husband
This book series wouldn’t be where it is without you.
You started it all when you said, “You know thirty miles from us an ex-mafia hit man was arrested after being in hiding for twenty years by pretending to be a farmer… write that. I’d read that.”
Love you so much!
Elicit: To evoke or draw out (a response or an answer or a fact) from someone in reaction to one’s own actions or questions. Existence: A corrupt heart elicits in an hour all that is bad in us.
RAGE CONSUMED ME as I looked around the building. A sea of familiar faces stared right through me. It was as if the past twenty-five years of my life had held no meaning at all.
Had I been nothing to them?
Nothing but a joke.
The reality of my situation hit me full force, I stifled a groan as I fought to suck in long, even breaths of the stale dusty air.
“It is your choice.” The voice said in an even steady tone, piercing the air with its finality.
“Wrong.” I stared at the cement floor; the muted color of grey was stained with spots of blood. “If I really had a choice, I would have chosen to die in the womb. I would have drowned myself when I was three. I would have shot myself when I had the chance. You’ve given me no damn choice, and you know it.”
“You do not fear death?” The voice mocked.
Slowly, I raised my head, locked eyes with Mo, and whispered, “It’s life. Life scares the hell out of me.”
A single tear fell from her chin, and in that moment I knew what I had to do. After all, life was about choices. And I was about to make mine. Without hesitation, I grabbed the gun from the waistband at my back, pointed it at Mo and pulled the trigger.
With a gasp she fell to the ground. A bullet grazed my shoulder as I knelt taking time to reach for the semiautomatic on the concrete. When I stood, I let loose a string of ammo; the sound of it hitting cement, brick, bodies, chairs, and anything else in the line of fire filled me with more peace than I’d had in a lifetime of war.
I stalked towards him, the man I was going to kill, the man who had made me feel like my existence meant nothing. I held the gun to his chest and squeezed the trigger one last time. When he collapsed in front of me, it was with a smile on his face, his eyes still open in amusement.
Chaos reigned around me and then suddenly, everything stopped.
When I turned it was to see at least twenty dead, and Nixon staring at me like he didn’t know me at all—but maybe he never had. And wasn’t that a bitch?
He took a step forward his hand in the air. “Tex—”
“No,” I said, smirking. “Not Tex. To you?” I pointed the gun and pulled the trigger. “I’m the Cappo.”
Part One: A Rise To Power
Two weeks before the incident…
“NO! NO! STOP!” Mo tossed and turned in her sleep, her arms flying around the bed as if she was trying to punch someone—though really she was only landing blows to the air.
With a sigh I grabbed her fists as gently as I could and whispered in her ear, my lips damn near shaking with the need to caress hers, to make her feel better “Mo, you were dreaming.”
Her long lashes blinked against her skin a few times, possibly clearing out the images that had just haunted her rest. “Sorry.” Her glance fell to my hands as they held her wrists midair, and she jerked away from me and moved to the side of the bed. “It was just a bad dream.”
My touch had once comforted her. She used to crave it; at least I thought she had. It had always been about me and Mo. We were a team, a dysfunctional one, but a team’s a team right?
“It’s okay,” I lied. It was absolutely not okay that she wanted nothing to do with me, that she was scared of me, that she was pregnant and I’d done everything within my power to make it easy on her—even when every day it was harder on me. “Just go back to sleep, and things will look better in the morning.”
But they wouldn’t. She knew it. I knew it. Hell, everyone who knew us and our family knew it. Things never looked better in the morning.
Actually, I preferred night. Not because I actually enjoyed sleeping—hell if I didn’t need sleep I wouldn’t do it. Too many images ran through my mind, pictures of death, blood, more death. But the real messed up part? I wasn’t haunted by the dreams like Mo was—no I was the exact opposite. Death inspired me, it drove me, it motivated me. Hell, I was the one you’d least expect. Chase even had problems doing some of the dirty work.
I was the worst type of person.
Because I craved blood like a drug.
I craved death. I craved war. I craved it like an addict. And I loathed the days of peace because they reminded me that I was basically an orphan. Unwanted by my family, unloved. And now? Unwanted by the girl I’d sworn to love for the rest of my life.
So, sugarplums? Santa? Unicorns? Sheep? Nah, that shit didn’t fit in my dreams.
It never had.
Mo moved away from me pulling the covers up around her frail body. She’d been losing so much weight it was ridiculous. Weren’t you supposed to gain weight when you were pregnant? It stung that she didn’t want me to go to her doctor’s appointment with her. Apparently he’d said she was stressed. Right, like I could do anything to help that. I was doing everything within my power to fix things—to fix us—to fix her—to fix the family. Nothing worked.
Nothing ever. Freaking. Worked.
Being with Mo wasn’t just my peace, it was like I’d finally found someone that got me, someone who understood who I was, even when I chose not to reveal my whole self to her. One look, and I knew she knew. All the shit that went on in my head, but she didn’t pester me, didn’t make me explain anything, just loved me as I was. And now, it was gone. I was gone. There was literally nothing left.
My role was no longer fulfilling its purpose. I’d known it for a while now, without wanting to admit it. But the signs were clear.
It was time to take my place. Time to bring the nightmare to life, to wake the beast, to be what I was born to be.
Vito Campisi’s son.
Dreams are believed to be 1/60th prophecy.
I’D HAD THE SAME damn dream for the past three nights in a row. Small details changed. One time I was out in an open field, the next I was in an abandoned warehouse. And the most recent one? I was in Tex’s car. The dream started off normal, Tex and I would be laughing and joking around, and then all of a sudden a gunshot would ring out into the night sky and I would find blood on my fingertips.
When I asked Tex for help, he shook his head and laughed.
He said I deserved it.
And I always woke up with the feeling that I actually did. I deserved it. I groaned and reached for my phone to check the time. It was only seven in the morning. Tex and I had been away from the family for four days. They’d freaked w
So naturally they assumed we were dead.
Because when you work for the Mafia? Yeah, that’s just a normal assumption. I mean if Nixon was missing I wouldn’t call the cops. I’d call the family to order and start torturing people to find his whereabouts. We always assume death before life.
Sucks, but it’s the truth.
“Hey!” Tex knocked on the bedroom door. “You ready for breakfast in a bit? The plane landed a few minutes ago so we should probably—”
“—get ready.” I forced a smile. “Sure thing. Just give me a minute.”
Tex didn’t move from his spot in the doorway. His eyes drank me in; he always stared at me like that. Like a man who could never get his fill. I used to love it. Now it just made me feel guilty and sick to my stomach.
I wished it were possible to emotionally survive off memories. Because if it was, I’d survive off all of ours together.
“Hey Mo, you ready to go or… well damn me.” Tex walked into the room, his face went completely hard. “Mo you look…”
“Sorry. “I blushed tucking my hair behind my ears. “New swimsuit for the summer. You like?” I pressed my hands against my hips then did a little twirl. I’d always wanted a white bikini but my dad had forbidden it—until now. He was dead and I could wear whatever the hell I wanted. Within reason, which is exactly what Nixon had said when he saw me ordering things off the Victoria’s Secret website.
“Like? Freaking love. “Tex shut the door behind him and walked slowly towards me, his eyes focusing in on my hips, then my stomach, and finally settling on my breasts. When he reached out, it wasn’t to gently touch my skin, or caress me lovingly. No, that wasn’t Tex. He didn’t do gentle; he did hard, demanding, possessive—all Alpha, no apologies.
So when he grabbed my body and pulled me against him, I expected his fingers to move to the strings holding my top up, instead he cupped my face and whispered across my lips. “I’ve never seen anything so beautiful in my entire life.”
Heat invaded my cheeks. “It’s just a suit.”
His eyes hardened. “Mo, listen to what I’m about to say. Nothing is just a suit on you. You don’t just wear jeans, you don’t just wear a damn t-shirt. Everything you put on your body is so mother effing beautiful that I don’t know whether I should hide you somewhere so no one else can enjoy the pleasure of looking at you, or just take you so you know exactly who you belong to.”
I shivered in his arms.
“And just in case there was ever a question.” His hands moved from my face down to the strings holding my bottoms together. With a slight tug, they fell to the ground. “You. Are. Mine.” I blinked in surprise as his fingers gently worked the strings of the top until it joined the bottoms on the floor. “Now look at yourself, and tell me you don’t see perfection. Tell me you don’t see…” He walked me to the mirror and moved my hair, kissing my neck and moving to my shoulder. “…how freaking beautiful you are.”
Insecure, I averted my eyes.
Tex reached around my body and gripped my chin, forcing me to look at myself. “Fine, if you can’t see it for yourself, look into my eyes. Look at my face. This is the face of a man totally undone. You don’t just do this to me. “He slid his body against mine so I could feel the evidence of his desire. “You make me want to never leave this room. Ever. You’re beauty is something to be cherished. Never deny it, not to me, not after seeing you like this.” Slowly, he turned my body so that I was facing him. Every hard plane of his body screamed as it pressed against mine, waiting for release. Instead of doing what I imagined Tex would do, he kissed me softly on the mouth and stepped back, even though I knew it was painful for him to do so. “Now, put on some clothes we’re going to be late for dinner.”
I was naked, I wanted him, and he was leaving? “But—”
“Our time will come, Mo.” He winked. “You’re still a freshman this year and Nixon would freaking murder me if he even knew I was in here with you, let alone with you naked and giving me those demanding eyes. Believe me, I’m so aroused I can’t see straight, but right now, you’re under Nixon’s protection. I want you—but only if he doesn’t shoot me before I get to have you.” With another wink he walked out of the room softly shutting the door behind him. And so began the first of many times where Tex chose not to sleep with me. Instead, he seduced me with his words, his looks, his touches—I was damned before I even had a choice.
Tex motioned for the bathroom, the movement jolting me out of the sensual memory. “Can you manage on your own or… ?” He scratched his head and crossed his chest with his arms.
I laughed. “I’m only four weeks, Tex. I think I can walk to the bathroom without face planting.”
“Sure.” His eyes narrowed. “If you’re sure.”
“Tex,” I snapped. “Look, I appreciate the help but just… stop.” Stop making me feel guilty. Stop looking at me like I’m damaged! Just stop! Look at me like you used to. Like you promised you always would! I suddenly wanted to shatter every mirror in the room. I was stuck at the lowest of the low, and I couldn’t even tell him the truth.
A muscle twitched in his jaw as he took two large steps towards me. “No. I won’t just stop because you say you’re fine. I’ve never done this before. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing okay? I may be an ass but I’m worried about you, so excuse me for asking you every damn second of the day if you can handle things. I’m having problems handling things, and it’s not my body going through this, alright? So if I ask you every half second how you’re doing, don’t be a bitch, Mo. Alright? Besides…” He stepped back and exhaled another curse. “Right now I’m your best bet, after all the kid isn’t even mine and I’m taking credit for it.”
Tears stung behind my eyes, and emotion thickened in the back of my throat as I tried to find my voice. “Tex, I’m sorry. I just—”
“Whatever. Yell if you need me. I’ll go start the coffee.” He slammed the door behind him, leaving me in silence.
Maybe that was the reason for my nightmares. In all my life, the Tex I knew would never slam a door in my face. He wouldn’t raise his voice, he would never—and I do mean never—approach me with as much as a raised octave to his tone.
But now? It seemed my entire existence infuriated him. He wasn’t the same man I’d known my whole life—which begged the question, was he ever who I thought he was? Or just who I wanted him to be? Who we as a family needed him to be?
War has a way of changing people… but with Tex, the thought lingered, what if he’s been just waiting to strike?
We invited the enemy in our very own home.
Only to be infiltrated from the inside out.
Things had been brought to my attention over the last three weeks, disturbing things… if they were true. I chewed my lower lip in deep thought.
“Mo!” Tex yelled from the other side of the door. “Thirty minutes, get moving, you want to look your best.”
I saluted the door with my middle finger and made my way into the bathroom. My reflection killed me. It really did. Because on the outside I looked the same. Dark silky hair that fell to my mid-back, bright blue eyes, a sharp feminine jaw, high cheekbones, and olive skin that I’m pretty sure every girl would kill for—just hopefully not kill me for. Sad, that the thought actually entered my head. Then again I’d had a lot of threats to my life within the past few weeks, just more secrets to hide from everyone.
I lifted my shirt and patted my flat stomach. What would it be like to bring a child into a family of war instead of peace? What child of mine, or even Tex’s for that matter, would ha
I shook my head and tried to snap out of it. Nixon would be expecting his sister, the typical smart-ass, sarcastic, slightly narcissistic pain in his ass. And right now I was acting like Eeyore. “Snap out of it, Mo.” I took a few soothing breaths and turned on the shower.
Time to put on a show.
Time to fool them all.
Blood is always telling. It holds the key to our existence. It holds your life and eventually your death.
I GRIPPED THE COFFEE CUP so hard my hand hurt. The scalding burn of the liquid through the porcelain was the only thing that made me feel better. Great, I was officially turning into a masochist. Hell, maybe I’d always been one. I’d have to be to keep going back to Mo and praying that things would be different.
But every damn time it was the same.
She offered me a piece.
When I wanted it all.
And then she’d gone and cheated, not that I was really able to stand on a soap box about that one, considering I’d cheated first. But still, I had cheated one time to acquire some information, not because I actually enjoyed getting smothered by someone who smelled like cheap perfume and wore red lipstick on the outside of her lips. I shuddered and took another sip of coffee. The second time I’d cheated I’d done it purposely, to piss Mo off. Better than break her heart. At least if she was pissed, she could shoot me and get it over with, but that had been a gargantuan error, you know because I was still freaking obsessed with her and all. Right, good move Tex, just make her hate you enough to go and sleep with some effing bastard stupid enough to get her pregnant. Shit. Had she even checked for STDs? How did I even broach that conversation with her? Shuddering, I took another long sip of coffee. Thankfully, I’d made it strong. Hell, I probably should have added whiskey to it—Nixon would need it.
We would all need it after shit went down.