Home > Born a Queen (The Queens #3)

Born a Queen (The Queens #3)
Author: Nikita Slater

Prologue

 

 

Mateo lit a cigar and leaned forward in his chair, placing his elbows on his knees and allowing fatigue to settle over him like a cloak. He was tired, but it was a good kind of tired. It’d been a long two years. Mateo acted as second-in-command, enforcer, and diplomat to the Butcher, Isaac Sotza; flying around the world, using the might of the Venezuelan cartel to convince both friends and competitors that they needed to work with the Butcher instead of against him.

Mateo had also taken on a special project, one that was personal to Sotza. Something that he only entrusted Mateo to complete. Hunting the Mexican cartel boss, Nicolás Garza. Mateo looked down at the bloody heap that used to be Nico Garza. After several long seconds, the mess of bones and gore that used to be his chest lifted and dropped. Garza was still alive.

Good. Mateo wasn’t quite done with him yet. He had strict orders from Sotza to prolong the suffering. This man had shot the Butcher’s wife. Though it was only her arm, and she’d recovered in a matter of days, it didn’t matter. In this world, the underworld, such insults couldn’t be allowed to pass unchallenged.

Mateo was impressed with Garza. Impressed with his ability to run and hide. It had taken twenty-three months for Mateo to finally hunt him to ground. And disappointingly, Garza’s second-in-command and lover, Desiree, wasn’t with him. Maybe Garza knew Mateo was closing in and hid her somewhere, drawing Mateo’s focus onto himself to protect her. It was a noble attempt, but ultimately useless. Mateo would find her too and finish the woman who helped try to bring down the Venezuelan cartel. Despite his dislike of killing women, Mateo would do his job.

Nico let out a moan. Or maybe it was more of a gurgle since he didn’t have any teeth or a tongue.

“Are you waking up?” Mateo asked in surprise.

Garza had more stamina than Mateo had given him credit for. Not that Mateo minded, he liked playing before the kill. It was something he had in common with his boss. It helped ease the ever-lurking darkness staining his soul. Death and suffering grounded him in a way nothing else could.

Nothing else except a pair of sharp blue eyes attached to the only woman that he’d ever looked at twice. She consumed his thoughts. She was his perfection, though she was far from perfect. Her quick wit, her barbed tongue, her fiery temper. It all belonged to him. Raina would be his prize for completing this mission. Sotza had promised and the Butcher didn’t break his promises. He agreed to give Mateo two things if Mateo took out Sotza’s enemy; his stepdaughter and the American east coast.

Now, Mateo was ready to collect.

He bent over and pressed his lit cigar into Garza’s now empty eye socket, putting it out. God forbid he start a fire and be forced to leave before his job was completely done. He pulled out his phone and tapped the screen into camera mode. He pointed it at the dying man, “Smile, Garza.” He took several shots and sent them to his boss. He’d get rid of the phone with the evidence once he was finished.

He stood, stretched his back and cracked his knuckles before reaching into his pocket for the gloves he wore when he worked. He stared down, not a flicker of emotion over what he was doing except for a sense of satisfaction over a job well done. He’d managed to keep Garza alive for five days of torture. If he was at home, at the compound, in the ‘shed’ as they called the building where they detained prisoners, he’d be able to keep Garza alive for weeks.

As it was, Mateo would have to finish up soon. He was hearing some concerning gossip coming out of Italy, Raina’s current country of residence. He needed to get to her, extract her from whatever the hell she’d managed to get herself into and then take her home. Not to Venezuela, but to Miami. Their new home.

“Okay, Garza,” Mateo announced. “Let’s finish this.”

Since Garza was close to the end, Mateo decided it was time for his signature. He picked up a pair of garden shears he’d set aside on the table and bent to his prey. Gently he picked up Garza’s mangled hand and worked the shears between his fingers. He snipped Garza’s trigger finger off and tossed it onto the table. The other man didn’t say anything, but his gurgled screams spoke eloquently.

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

It was Raina’s twenty-first birthday. She wanted to go out and party, dance all night, make friends, flirt, maybe take a guy home if she really felt like it. She’d never done that. Never taken a guy home before. In fact, she’d never even had sex. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to. She really, really did. But life had thrown a major curveball at her two years ago and she’d been running ever since. This time, it appeared she was running into a dead end.

Raina didn’t think she was going to get to party for her birthday. No, she was pretty sure she was going to die. She peered out into the dark night from the window of her rented room. She was on the fourth floor of a very old building. One that was sinking. But then, all the buildings in Venice were sinking.

Italy was her ninth country in two years. When she left Venezuela, leaving the mother she just met behind, she went on the run. She had to assume there were people after her, or at least watching. Sometimes she would come home from an evening out and she would have that eerie feeling that someone had been in her apartment. She suspected dear old stepdad, Isaac Sotza, the Venezuelan mob boss, had people keeping an eye on her. He probably knew where to find her from the moment she left his estate.

But did his second-in-command? Her mind flashed back to her time in Venezuela. The brief month before her mother ushered her out of the country in a daring escape. Mateo Gutierrez. Cartel to the marrow of his bones. Sotza’s right hand man and her constant shadow while she was in Sotza’s care.

Mateo was everything she hated in a man, arrogant, dangerous, rude. But he was also indecently attractive. And for some reason he’d wanted her. She wondered if the two years since she last saw him had dimmed his regard. Somehow, she doubted it. Even in her brief time observing the mafia, she noticed the guys didn’t let things go. They held onto their grudges, their obsessions. She suspected those qualities were what made the men so hard and so successful.

Raina flitted around her apartment, shoving her possessions into a small suitcase. She didn’t have much. She travelled light because she never knew when she’d have to pick up and run. She had done it before, but never in this much of a hurry. That was because she’d done something stupid. She crossed the wrong people and it was only a matter of time before they found out and came after her. She suspected sooner rather than later.

And she was right. Seconds after that thought entered her head, as she was reaching for her purse, preparing to leave her tiny apartment for good, the door crashed open. The only thing that saved her from being shot in the heart as she stood gaping at the man who kicked the door in was the fact that he kicked it so hard it rebounded off the wall and slammed shut again. The bullet meant for her thudded into the heavy wooden door.

Raina dropped her purse and ran for the only place in her apartment with a door that would close and lock. Her bathroom. As she ran, reaching for the frame, her front door was flung open again and the room sprayed in bullets. She felt a tearing, hot pain hit her in the back. The force of the bullet flung her into the bathroom. She landed hard on her knees. She didn’t have time to assess herself. She rolled onto her back and kicked the door shut, reaching up to lock it. Thank god these old Italian buildings had thick doors. Bullets thunked into the wood as she crawled toward the bathtub and dragged herself inside.

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» The Play (Briar U Book 3)
» Archangel's War
» Sweet Temptation
» ENEMIES
» Angry God (All Saints High #3)
» Fake It 'Til You Break It
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Devious Lies (Cruel Crown #1)
» Credence
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» Bringing Down the Duke
» Twisted Kingdom (Royal Elite #3)
» Golden in Death (In Death #50)