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Preppy was being reckless.

And he was doing it for us. So he could take all the blame and all the punishment.

I couldn’t allow him to take all the blame, and I couldn’t’ allow this motherfucker to shit all over us like he ran the world. I wasn’t a fucking drug lord, but I wasn’t someone you could point a gun at and not pay for it with your life. I held Doe’s hand and gave it a squeeze, trying my best to reassure her that I would protect her.

I very well intended to.

“But once I knew about it, I didn’t stop it,” I chimed in. “The Money was good, man. But we’re ready to go big time. Need your help to take us there.” I tried appealing to Isaac’s sense of business. But there was a reason Isaac was successful. He cut down everyone who’d ever stood in his way like an angry lumberjack.

Even his family.

Isaac bent over and cackled like a possessed witch. The girls on the sofa scooted to the far edge in an effort to escape. “Stay right the fuck there, ladies!” Isaac warned. His laughter vanished instantly. Deep lines etched themselves into his forehead. His lips pursed. “This won’t take very long.”

“This ain’t on them,” Bear said, nodding to the girls and then to Doe. “Let all three of the bitches leave, and we’ll handle this in any way it needs to be handled. Don’t forget this is my house, my people. I don’t know what you think is gonna go down, but it ain’t going down without a fight. I got a few dozen of my brothers out there that don’t sit idle when they hear gun shots.”

Isaac strutted toward us. I instinctively shoved Doe behind me. Bad idea, because with that move, I showed Isaac she was more important to me than myself. It was instinct to protect her, but in that situation, instinct wasn’t doing me any favors.

He smiled as he approached.

“King of the Causeway,” Isaac said, quoting the air with his fingers around the label that had been given to me when I’d started to make a name for myself in Logan’s Beach. “You ain’t King of shit! The only King around here is me, and if you fuck with what’s mine, the only way I see it is that I need to fuck with what’s yours.” He turned toward Doe. “Or fuck what’s yours.”

“You’re not going to fucking touch her!” I roared, stopping just short of taking Isaac down when I felt the barrel of a gun at my back and Issac’s knife at my throat. My gun was still lodged behind my belt buckle in the waistband of my jeans.

There was no way of getting to it without getting us all killed.

Isaac waved to his one of his men. “Bring her to the back room.”

The man stepped up and grabbed Doe, pushing her forward. She stumbled in her heels and fell onto her knees. The shoes fell off her feet and clattered against the floor.

With just a little fall, all my baser instincts screamed at me to go help her, protect her. But I was surrounded, and I couldn’t do shit.

I’d never felt so weak in my entire life.

Isaac’s man yanked Doe up by her arm and threw her forward. She landed with a smack, her cheek against the door. I growled. He opened the door and pushed her inside. Isaac followed her in and turned back to where I stood surrounded by guns aimed at my fucking head.

“Fuck,” Preppy swore. We were utterly helpless.

“Like I said, KING. You fuck me. I fuck you. And since I’m not into cock, your girl here is going to have to do.”

He shut the door.

*     *     *

Doe

A man came up behind me and grabbed me by the arm, shoving me forward into a dark room, slamming the door shut behind me.

A small cot sat in the middle of high walls lined with empty shelving. I peered around Isaac, who entered the room after me and spotted King who mouthed IM SORRY as the door slammed shut.

Then, we were alone.

Dark and alone was my worst fear.

This was worse.

My only family in the world stood in the other room with guns pointed at them.

How fucking ironic was that? Because on the way to the party both Preppy and King were so concerned with my safety, they made me recite their rules to them several times over.

#1 Don’t go off on my own.

#2 Make sure one of them was with me at all times.

#3 Don’t take drinks from anyone but them.

We hadn’t even been there an hour, and what they thought was the worst thing that could happen to me was in no way as bad as what was really happening.

They were worried about me being drugged and date raped.

What happened was so much worse.

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