Home > Enrage (Eagle Elite #8)

Enrage (Eagle Elite #8)
Author: Rachel Van Dyken

PROLOGUE

Dante

THE FAMILIAR SMELL of blood invaded my nostrils as it ran down my wrists, its hot wetness fueling the anger inside.

“Again,” Nixon screamed, his eyes flashed with fury, and blood caked his face. “Do it again.”

So I did.

And again.

And again.

And again.

“Finish him,” a cold voice commanded.

“Give me one good reason why I should.” I didn’t recognize my own voice; it might as well have been a stranger talking for me.

“I’ll give you the only reason.” A gun was held in front of my face — pointed directly at her. “Now finish him.”

CHAPTER ONE

Dante

“GET THE HELL away from me.” I could barely control the rage as it made my body shake. Blood dripped from my lip as I held an ice pack to my face. Everything hurt. I’d only been in Chicago a few months and in that time, I’d learned one thing.

Nixon Abandonato was trying to kill me.

He told me so every day.

And every night when I went to sleep — I had images of all of the men who’d made similar threats — men I’d silenced with my fists.

Nixon wasn’t one of those men. He was too damn fast, calculating in every jab. Hell, even my liver hurt.

The bastard had me boxing blindfolded.

And when he still wasn’t satisfied, he asked the capo to rough me up… he even said please. The rest of the bosses watched while my hands were literally tied behind my back and the guy sank his fist into my stomach.

“No.” The voice was small, pretty. I would have thought she was pretty if I didn’t know who she was or what she was about. When she’d first come to us, we’d all assumed she was older, the way her ex dressed her and covered her with makeup you’d think she was at least twenty-four, not so near my age. It was easier then, to ignore her, thinking she was this used, pitiful woman.

A year younger than me, and already she was hard. It was the way she looked at a man — like I was the cause of all of her pain.

She took a step forward. “You’re injured, I think I have some arnica that I gave the boys when they were—”

I burst out laughing — it was an ugly sound — and more blood spewed from my mouth. “Fucking arnica is going to fix this shit?” I lifted up my shirt, there wasn’t an inch of skin that wasn’t marred with blue, black, or my personal favorite, green, I don’t know how the hell the guys accomplished it, but they had officially turned my body into something I didn’t recognize.

My mind was all I had left.

Which was why they kept beating me.

It was my fault.

I’d begged Sergio, my twin’s scary as hell husband, and an assassin, for proper training.

What I didn’t get when I’d asked was that training actually meant that they would bring me as close to death as possible and then give me just enough food, water, and rest to heal, only to do it again.

I spent an entire week in a dungeon-like room, damn near starving to death. And one of the guys, it was usually Chase, would walk by and drop one Cheetos through the bars, smile, and walk off.

I wasn’t sure whom I hated most.

Sergio for trying to break my spirit.

Nixon for trying to break my body with his fists.

Phoenix for trying to slit my throat with a knife.

Chase for torturing me until I wanted to die.

Mil for shooting me at point blank range and then asking me to stop my own bleeding.

Tex for tying me up and pulling me behind his car.

Or Frank, for breaking two of my fingers and then laughing.

If that was how the mafia trained someone they actually liked, then I hated to think about what they would do to their enemy.

I fought for sleep that didn’t come, and prayed that since the next day was Saturday they’d give me time to sleep rather than pulling me out of my REM cycle only to torture me again.

Five minutes.

Six.

I relaxed.

When minute seven came…

The door opened.

“Wake up, buttercup.” Chase’s voice sounded so pleased that I almost grabbed my gun and pointed it at his face. “It’s time to train!”

“No.”

Minute eight, the lights flicked on

Minute nine, and I was on my ass on the ground getting a knee pressed against my chest while Chase’s hands wrapped around my throat. “I’ll give you one chance to change your answer.”

“The hell is wrong with you!” I croaked trying to shove his heavy body away.

He shrugged; an easy smile hit his lips. “Haven’t had sex in two days, lucky you.”

“Why, you gonna screw me?” I taunted.

His fist flew across my right cheek as he heaved me to a sitting position. No fighting back.

That was one of the rules.

Unless they asked me to.

Which meant I got the shit beat out of me ninety-nine percent of the time.

“You’re not funny.” His blue eyes flashed. “Meet me in the basement, you have two minutes. If you’re late, I play Russian roulette with my favorite pistol.”

“Last time you missed.”

“Last time you were early.” He grunted and stomped off.

CHAPTER TWO

El

I PRETENDED TO be asleep.

I always pretended to be asleep.

It was what I did.

I told myself that if my eyes were closed, I was safe, hidden, away from everything in the world that told me otherwise.

My breath hitched in my throat as another wave of crushing anxiety washed over me.

Bad enough that I was under the protection of the Sicilian Mafia after being taken from the Russians.

What was worse?

I honestly think that the Sicilians liked all the violence, the house nearly buzzed with unleashed excitement over the last few weeks — when they were training Him.

I didn’t say his name.

Never looked in his direction.

Because the one time I looked into his icy cold gaze — I felt something shift in me, something that told me that maybe I wasn’t as dead inside as I thought I was.

And I needed to stay dead.

Numb.

I squeezed my eyes harder as the sound of running water filled the room and finally sneaked a peek when light from the Jack and Jill bathroom slithered across my floor, kissing the white duvet with its brightness, making me plaster my body back against the mattress even more.

Why? Why hadn’t they let me stay in New York? I’d helped take care of my ex’s kids, protected them from his fists — they got to stay with a new family while I was basically cast out. Like I was just as bad as he’d been. Like I was this shameful secret.

Another loud noise as my body froze.

“Shit.” Dante cursed and then something shattered beneath him, I wasn’t sure if it was because he tripped or because he actually liked watching himself bleed all over the white porcelain.

I sucked a few tears in.

I hated the loud noises.

The rustling around that told me he was getting ready to go back into the training rooms with one or all of the guys.

To them, he was being groomed for Italian royalty.

To me?

They were feeding the monster.

Making it bigger.

Without even realizing that he was big enough.

Strong enough.

Scary enough.

I flinched when the light shut off. A door opened and closed, footsteps neared my door.

This was it.

I knew it was only a matter of time before he saw what every other man did when he looked at me.

An opportunity.

I prayed and bit down onto my fist to keep from screaming when the door cracked open.

Please, God no more. No more.

My bruises had healed on the outside — but on the inside, I might as well be bruised, beaten, bloody beyond all recognition.

My emotional bleeding wouldn’t stop until my heart stopped beating, and some days, I wished it would.

Just.

Stop.

The door clicked shut again.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

Safe.

But for how long?

How long until I had to somehow earn my keep? Like I did with Xavier Petrov? How long before they started beating me like he did? How long before they saw my pretty face and body and decided that I needed to show my own loyalty to the same family I ran away from?

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