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Published by EVERNIGHT PUBLISHING ® at Smashwords


Copyright© 2017 Sam Crescent & Stacey Espino

ISBN: 978-1-77339-312-4

Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

Editor: Karyn White


WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.

This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


Killer of Kings, 2

Sam Crescent & Stacey Espino

Copyright © 2017

Chapter One

“Scarlett, are you being serious? No, I know you’re not being serious, because if you were, you’d be insane,” said Lisa.

I have no choice. You heard Carter. He’s going to cut twenty freelancers this year alone.” Scarlett hooked her oversized purse over her shoulder, and then reached for the stack of colored file folders. “I can’t lose this job.”

“Fine, I get it, but this is suicide.”

Scarlett rolled her eyes. “You’re being dramatic.”

She made her way to the office elevator, her friend tailing behind her. Her next interview might be unorthodox, and theoretically a bit dangerous, but desperate times called for desperate measures. She’d only been at this company for eight months, officially still on probation, so she’d be one of the first her boss would cut. Scarlett was damn good at what she did. One day she hoped to reach reporter level, but right now she had to give the stories she always found to someone else. The truth was, her boss took the stories she’d researched and gave them to other girls. Still, she was determined to show her worth, and how valuable she could be as a reporter.

It wasn’t easy getting a personal meeting with Alexei Semenov. He was a big-time crime ringleader, not the biggest, but it would still be headline news. Her boss, Wilson Carter, had to see her value after closing an interview with a name like Semenov. Scarlett was sick and tired of pinching pennies and fighting just to maintain the status quo. She wanted to make something of her career, not to mention she didn’t have enough money for next month’s rent.

“Are you taking a camera crew?” asked Lisa, holding the elevator door open with her hip.

“Yeah, like that’s going to happen. Look, I’ll be fine. Promise. Semenov wants to portray a favorable image to the media, so he’s going to be on his best behavior.”

Lisa sighed. “You’re impossible. See you tomorrow then? I’ll bring the coffee.”


The doors began to close, and Scarlett watched her friend disappear from view. She wouldn’t admit that her heart raced like a freight train, and her hands felt clammy. If she wasn’t in such a dire predicament, there was no way she’d be heading out to meet one of the most hated men in the city. The man was a Russian mobster, and she had no wingman, camera crew … nothing.

Forty minutes later, she stopped her Kia Rio in front of a set of massive iron gates. She double checked the address she’d scribbled on a piece of paper, but this was definitely the place. The gates began to open, swinging inwards, so she continued to drive along the long path. She admired the manicured grounds, water fountains, and old-world architecture of the mansion coming into view.

She took a deep breath as she parked the car. You can do this, Scarlett.

The sky started turning a mix of orange and pink, signaling the sunset was fast approaching. She didn’t like meeting at night, but she couldn’t get off work early and Mr. Semenov insisted they meet at eight o’clock sharp.

Scarlett lugged all her supplies out of the passenger side. She’d brought an older model video camera with tripod, voice recorders, paperwork, and her laptop. This was a huge deal, so she wore her best suit, reserved for only the most important occasions. The wine-colored skirt and jacket did a great job at concealing her explosive curves. Her extra weight was only another reason she had to make this work. Wilson Carter only kept the young, thin girls at the front of the house, and the same was true for the news and weather editions of his cable network.

As she walked up the custom stone staircase toward the entry doors of the house, she was flanked by Alexei Semenov’s security detail. She held her breath as they approached her.

I have an appointment at eight o’clock for an interview,” she said before being asked. Scarlett swallowed hard after speaking. The three men didn’t smile, their faces solemn as they glared at her with enough malice to make her question her decision to come. One of the men snatched her bags away from her and began rooting through them, while another patted her down like a common criminal.

Mr. Semenov will see you in the sitting room.” Then he opened the door and motioned for her to enter. The foyer was bigger than her entire apartment, with vaulting ceilings and shiny white marble floors. There was enough artwork and stone sculptures in view to fill a small museum. She walked forward, in complete awe. No reporter had been through these doors, so she was one of the privileged few to see the inside the Semenov mansion. It probably helped that she wasn’t a reporter, and there was no mention of her in any of the articles she had been part of, not even as a researcher. She was a nobody, fighting to be a somebody.

“Sit here,” said another man, pointing to one of the sofas. “He will be with you shortly.”

She nodded and sat down, resting her bags by her feet. Within minutes she was alone in the sitting room. The place was quieter than a mausoleum. Scarlett tapped her foot, her nervous energy not letting up. The doors to a study were partially open ahead of her, the glow from a desk lamp catching her attention. Should she take some pics? She didn’t want to do anything that might get her into trouble, so she didn’t risk it. Instead, she began to attach the tripod to the clunky old video camera in preparation for the interview. After today, maybe they’d trust her with the newer equipment.

At just a few minutes to eight, a couple men in suits rushed down the hallway, brandishing handguns. She gasped and froze. There was commotion just out of sight, and then a gunshot shattered a large clay vase, the shards raining down on the marble. Scarlett dropped to her knees and crawled to the end of the sofa to hide. Oh God, why didn’t I listen to Lisa?

The doors to the study flung open, and a huge man in a navy suit stood in the entryway with an automatic weapon in both hands. He looked like the damn Terminator. She heard different men yelling in Russian but couldn’t understand a word. The big man didn’t even take a step before he collapsed to the ground after another gunshot rang off, the sound echoing in the massive sitting room. Then she saw him, Alexei Semenov, coming around from the grand oak desk in the office. Scarlett recognized him immediately. His stern, wrinkled face was always plastered on the news.

What the hell is happening?

Alexei spoke in a cool but arrogant tone, in his own language. Who was he talking to? Then a different man dressed in all black strode toward the office. He came out of nowhere, like a ghost. She noticed the hand holding his gun was covered in ink. In fact, the tattoos even peeked out from the top of his collar, climbing up his neck. He looked like a force, death personified. The two men spoke briefly, a calm exchange, and then she watched as the tattooed man put a single bullet between Alexei’s eyes. It all seemed to happen in slow motion—the gunshot, the spray of blood, the lifeless body crashing to the floor.

Scarlett let out a scream but quickly covered her mouth with both hands. It was too late. The killer turned his head and looked directly at her crouched down at the end of the sofa.

He cursed, holstering his weapon, and came toward her. She screamed again, toppling back onto her ass.

Shut up,” he said, yanking her to her feet.

I’m innocent. Please don’t hurt me…”

He noticed the video camera equipment on the sofa, and it set him off. With a powerful thrust, he smashed it against the stone floor and stomped it out of existence.

“You one of his whores?”

She struggled to speak, completely tongue-tied, so she shook her head. He growled, glancing around the ceiling of the room before grabbing a handful of her suit jacket and tugging her along with him. They ended up in a small, windowless room with wall to wall surveillance equipment. Probably every room in the house was being filmed on the small televisions, including every angle of the property. He took something out of his jacket, slapping it down on the desk. He hunched over, but she couldn’t see past his massive frame. When he stood back up, she saw the explosive device with a timer rigged to it. Forty-five seconds and counting.

She stared with her mouth agape. Was she dreaming? No, this was definitely a nightmare, one she wished she could wake up from. Things like this didn’t happen to women like her. Scarlett could imagine the headlines now: Thirty-six-year-old spinster dies grisly death, leaving behind no one and nothing. God, how pathetic. She nearly began to cry thinking of all the life she’d wasted. At least someone at her office would get a headline story out of this mess, but it sure wouldn’t be her.

Before she could react, he pulled her through the hallway, shooting every man that came into view with the pistol in his free hand. When they were in the parking area, the bomb in the surveillance room went off, the ground quaking beneath her feet. She flailed, but he had an iron grip on her arm. When she saw her piece of shit car, she wondered if she could get free long enough to make a break for it. Then she remembered her keys were in her purse, still in the sitting room.

“Please let me—”

Don’t fucking speak,” he warned, his voice deep and authoritative. He popped open the trunk of a black BMW and shoved her in. She screamed and kicked, but he only slammed the trunk down over her, blanketing her in darkness.


Fuck! Fuck!

This was Bain’s first official contract working for Killer of Kings, and he’d wanted to prove himself a valuable asset. He knew the rules: no witnesses and a clean hit, nothing unusual from his other work. Bain wanted to send the woman in his trunk straight to hell, but she didn’t look like she belonged at Semenov’s place. Cops didn’t give a shit about dead criminals, but an innocent victim would lead to investigations and news reports. If it got back to Boss that his mission wasn’t clean, he’d look like a fucking amateur.

So his witness was going to disappear without a trace, and nothing would be linked back to him or to Semenov’s assassination. He still wasn’t sure what the fuck he was going to do with her, but he’d figure that out later. Killing was what he did best, and he’d handled worse complications. Bain drove a few miles up the road, then got out to remove the false magnetic plates. He opened the trunk to toss them inside, ignoring his human cargo. She gasped when she saw him, although with no street lights on this stretch of road, he’d be a dark shadow. Not that it mattered if she saw him clearly or not because he wasn’t letting her live.

I’ll do anything. Please let me go. I promise I won’t say anything.”

She definitely wasn’t one of Semenov’s girls. Bain had been scoping out his interactions and routines the past week, and the old bastard preferred his bitches stick thin and highly processed. His witness had thick curves and not a stitch of makeup—definitely not Semenov’s type. He wasn’t sure what she was doing there—maybe applying to scrub the toilets or some other domestic shit. Then he remembered the camera equipment.

Why were you at Alexei Semenov’s house?”

I was just on a job, I mean I was doing an interview … well I was going to do an interview,” she stammered. “I’m a reporter. Well, I’m a researcher trying to be a reporter. I swear I don’t know him or you or anything about what happened.”

Of all the damn luck. A reporter, researcher, whatever the hell that meant.

Who knows you were there?”


He didn’t believe a word she said. For all he knew there would be a media frenzy tomorrow. He’d have to keep her breathing until things settled down. Once he was sure her disappearance wasn’t an issue, he could finish her off and burn the remains at the dump a couple counties over.

You should have stayed home.” He locked her back in the trunk.

Bain had a house in the rural area outside the city. He didn’t like noise, people, or distractions. He valued his privacy.

After his contract with Bernard Sutherland went bad, Boss had shown up at Bain’s house uninvited. He wasn’t sure how the fuck he got his address. Bain had refused to work for Killer of Kings when Viper signed on years ago, not comfortable being under anyone’s control. But Boss wasn’t ready to give up, offering him the kind of cash he couldn’t refuse.

No one else popped by to pay a visit. Salesmen were greeted with a shotgun, and soon no one dared to set foot on his property. His house wasn’t luxurious. It was a shitty, century farm house that had been deserted and sold off in a power of sale. He liked that it was off the grid, open concept, and surrounded by acreage. There was no way he could live in a cramped condo or row housing. The confinement of city living didn’t suit him.

He unlocked the front door and disabled his security system. It cost more than the damn house. Bain dropped his duffel bag on the slab kitchen table and unzipped it. He’d only used his handguns today, so it wouldn’t take him long to clean them. All his weapons were well maintained, clean, oiled, and precision tested. This contract had been easier than he expected. Easy money was always a good thing. Then he remembered the woman in his trunk, and his mood soured.

Bain pounded his fist on the table, the weapons clanging together in the bag. Just thinking of her pissed him off. He hated complications.

He shrugged off his jacket, and then grabbed a black garbage bag from the cupboard and returned to the car. There were few stars in the sky, the darkness only cut when the light in the trunk clicked on. He stared down at the woman. Sweat matted her hair to her cheek, and even the minimal lighting made her squint. She held her forearms in front of her face in a defensive posture.

Bain shoved the bag over her head and heaved her out of the trunk. “Walk. If you try anything stupid, I’ll kill you.”

She kept quiet as he led her into his house. This was the first female in his place. When he fucked around, he did it anywhere else. Those occasions were few and far between. He was raised in hell itself, forced to seduce and fuck rich, older women so his captors could bribe them or get closer to their husbands’ money. Sex had become something he hated, a punishment. He preferred the brutal beatings over the nights in strange beds, knowing he often had to murder the women he’d been forced to deceive.

Once inside, he locked the door and led her to the basement. He never went down there, but he wasn’t going to keep this bitch under foot, so it was going to be her home until he decided otherwise. Bain thought about how much he hated women, but that wasn’t true—he hated everyone. The whole world was against him, and even God abandoned him long ago.

The wooden stairs leading into the basement were rickety, each step punctuated with a groan or creek. There was only one lightbulb swinging from the ceiling, barely lighting up the damp space. Once they were on the concrete floor, he tugged the garbage bag off her head and tossed it aside. She gasped for air, brushing her hair off her face. Her eyes were wild with panic, a look he’d seen too many times to count.

“Where are we?” she whispered.

It’s your final destination. No hard feelings, but damn, you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

She hugged herself. “What are you going to do to me?”

“Relax. I’m not raping you,” he said, insulted. Bain could get any pussy he wanted. He didn’t need to kidnap women just to get laid.

“Please let me leave.”

That’s not happening.” He pulled an old wooden chair from the darkness and set it against the wall. “Keep quiet down here. If you annoy me, you won’t eat.”


I don’t think you understand how this works. It’s very simple. You do as I say or things go bad for you. Behave yourself, and you’ll get food and bathroom privileges.”

He wanted to get the fuck upstairs, the dankness already creeping along his skin. There were a few facts he needed from the woman—her name, family history, basic description. It would help him keep tabs on the news reports and aid him in digging deeper if he needed to.

Bain took a section of hair that had escaped her loose bun and felt it between his fingers. Then he tilted her chin up and took a good look at her—brown hair and green eyes.

“What’s your name?”


“Scarlett what?”

“Scarlett Meyers.”

“You married? Kids?”

She shook her head.

“Your parents work for the government?”

Scarlett narrowed her eyes. “No, why does any of this matter? I’m nobody. I’m not a threat to you or anyone.”

He put a finger to his lips. “Who do they work for?”

“I don’t know.”

Bain grabbed her jacket and gave her a quick jerk. “Hey, I asked you a fucking question.”

Her eyes welled up with tears. “I don’t know! My dad left when I was six, and I haven’t talked to my mom in years.”

Good. The fewer people looking for her, the better. He pressed her shoulder down to get her to sit on the chair, then squatted down and patted her hips, feeling for pockets. “You have any weapons on you?”


His cell phone rang, so he stood back up and walked away from her.

“You get the job done?” asked Boss.

I always get the job done.”

“That’s what I like to hear. I have another contract for you. Interested?”

Killing was all he knew. From the planning stage, surveillance, to pulling the trigger, it was all a rush. Something dark resided in him, for as long as he could remember, and it seemed his job as a mercenary was the only thing that kept it sated.

Sure, why not?”

Excellent. Now that Viper’s retired, I’m short a good man. You can go far with Killer of Kings, Bain.”

Bain wasn’t worried about the next paycheck or maintaining a lavish lifestyle. His life was no frills. He also had so much fucking cash that he was already set for life. He did his job because he had to.

Help me!

He whirled around. The little bitch had some nerve. Bain glared at her, his jaw twitching with his rising anger.

Who was that?” asked Boss.

Don’t worry about her. You’re not the only one I work for,” he said, dismissively. “Text me the details. I’ll be busy for a while.” He put his phone in his pocket and crossed his arms over his chest. There were so many wicked things he could do to Scarlett to make her pay for her disobedience. He’d doled out every kind of torture in his day, most learned from personal experience. Right now, all he cared about was ensuring she kept quiet while he was away on his next hit. With his luck, someone would come to his front door and hear her screaming.

“You’ve been a bad girl, Scarlett.”

She stared at him, her big green eyes roaming over his body. He looked down at himself. Over the years he’d gotten so much fucking ink that there wasn’t much skin left untouched. It was a necessity, his way of covering up the past, an attempt to change himself into something new. It was never enough, the scars and memories continuing to haunt him.

“What do you think I should do to you for that little stunt?”

Her mouth opened, then closed. “I didn’t mean it.”

“Of course you did. You’re trying to save yourself, but what you don’t realize is there’s no escape. Nobody knows where you are, and by the sounds of it, nobody gives a shit.”

“You’re never letting me leave?”

There you go, now you’re catching on. But until I can trust you, I’m sure you understand why I have to use this.” He pulled out a black gag from his back pocket, waving it in front of her, and then motioned her to walk up the stairs. There was no way he could stand coming down into the shitty basement to check on her every few hours. The dank space was worse than he remembered, so he’d keep her within arm’s length for now.

When they got to the top of the stairs, she made a break for it.

Chapter Two

Scarlett tried to run, but he caught her around the arm and hauled her back against him. She fought hard. Fighting him was useless, but she couldn’t stop. She needed to get away from this monster, to survive. Her life was miserable, but she didn’t want to die. There was so much she hadn’t achieved yet, and so much to live for.

Even her dismal love life was worth fighting for, wasn’t it?

“Will you fucking stop!”

“Leave me alone.”

“I told you to stay fucking silent, and you wouldn’t listen, so now you’re going to be quiet.”

By the time the gag was over her mouth, her back was pressed against him, and during their little fight, he had somehow grabbed her breast, using it as something to hold onto. She didn’t know exactly what happened next as she just froze up.

He had paused behind her, and all she heard was the sound of their breathing.

Right,” he said. “That’s better. All silent right now, which is exactly how I like you.” He released her breast, and dumped her into a chair. Any chance of escaping was lost as he tied her to that, too, a rope firmly around her waist.

Once she was secured to the chair, he clapped his hands once, and she watched as he went to his fridge, and started to make himself some food.

“Killing makes me hungry. What about you?”

She stared at him, unable to answer.

Just so you know, my name is Bain,” he said, and she watched as he grabbed two slices of bread, slathering one slice with peanut butter and the other with some kind of cream cheese. What a disgusting combination.

Tears filled her eyes as he lifted up one gun, and did some weird back and forth game with it. He knew his guns, and soon he was going to kill her.

Slapping the two slices of bread together, he rounded the counter to stand in front of her. She didn’t mean to but ended up staring down at his crotch. Why was she staring at this man’s dick? This was completely insane, and she didn’t need this right now. The story she was going to tell had already gone up in smoke. Her life was ruined, and no one was going to hire her. She had reached her limit.

Bain cupped her chin and tilted her head back. “Why are you crying?”

She shook her head. She wasn’t about to fight the damn band across her mouth to tell this brute exactly what was wrong with her. Once he found out that she had lied, and someone knew exactly where she was, Lisa was going to die. Damn it. All she’d wanted to do was keep her job and to show she wasn’t just some researcher, but an actual reporter. She had lost count of the number of times her ideas had been taken by other women.

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