Mask of the Serpent [Kindle Compatible (MOBI)]
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by S.W. Vaughn
Description: No matter who loses, the bad guy wins Drug lord and self-professed saint Diego Mendez is a man of his word. He's watched two of his lieutenants die, thanks to Angel and House Phoenix. Unfortunately, he's promised a certain crooked cop that he won't seek revenge unless Phoenix hits him first. When Angel makes a run on his turf, Mendez decides it's enough of a loophole to act. He kidnaps Angel's lieutenant, Jenner, intent on breaking him--and killing him. But Jenner is just as nasty and mean as Mendez, and breaking him is no easy task. His secret past has conditioned him for survival at any price. And Mendez has a secret of his own--his son is dying, and he's been reduced to watching helplessly while it happens. One of them will triumph, one will fall. But in this game, no matter what happens...the bad guy wins. Contains violence, nasty language, and torture.
eBook Publisher: Lyrical Press, Inc., 2010 2010
Fictionwise Kindle eBookstore Release Date: August 2010
Available eBook Formats [Kindle Compatible (MOBI) - What's this?]: Kindle Compatible (MOBI) [369 KB]
Reading time: 240-336 min.
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
Diego Mendez waved off the kid pawning coke vials, in no mood for a buzz tonight. When the grunt refused to take a hint, he shot to his feet and palmed a switchblade in one motion. "Beat it, fly-boy. 'Less you want to end up with a couple ounces of China Red."
The kid's eyes popped. Stammering an apology, he backed up and stumbled into a passing girl, almost dropping the miniature glass tubes in his haste. Diego watched him go, then resumed his seat and yanked out his phone. He dialed rapidly and waited. It rang four, five, six times before he punched it off with a snort. Where the hell was Raimundo? Christ, new people gave him a headache.
Speaking of new people, he had to start thinking about promoting a lieutenant--all thanks to Angel and company. More than just a thorn in his side, the organization's newest House leader and his freakish enforcer were officially full-blown enemies. Who needed to be crushed. He couldn't believe the rest of them were letting Angel get away with murder just because Nails didn't die in the ring. His lieutenant was still dead, damn it.
Since he'd given his word not to fuck with House Phoenix, he'd just have to find a loophole. And if Wolff didn't like it--well, he'd like to see the dirty cop try and do something about it.
Frowning, he scanned the dark and shabby pool hall on the off chance the new guy had managed to blunder in without him noticing. The bar and the tables were sprinkled with hookers, all his, and a few of his dealers floated around keeping shit under control. This place brought in a few bucks--but nothing compared to the fights. His fighters--his brothers, compadres--enjoyed far more perks than the rest of the employees. These drones were cogs in the wheel, and right now, there was a noticeable lack of cogs named Raimundo.
He didn't like it when the wheel stopped turning.
Just as he decided to send one of the other dealers after his latest hire, a cry of pain sounded over the noise of the hall from the direction of the front door, followed closely by the thud of a body hitting the floor. Muttering to himself, he stood and started toward the entrance. He arrived to discover Captain Wolff himself standing over Raimundo, who was curled in a fetal position clutching his face in both hands. The sharp distinct odor of urine rose from the squirming figure at his feet.
Things weren't going to work out with Raimundo. He didn't employ cowards.
Sighing, he stepped around the Big R and nodded to Wolff. "Evening, capitan," he said. "What brings you to my fine establishment tonight? Some sort of domestic dispute?" His eyes flicked to the man on the floor, and he regarded Wolff with cool displeasure. This little visit wasn't in the game plan.
Wolff grunted and reached into his jacket for a smoke. "Something like that. Your watchdog here started to get friendly with my leg. When I found out he wasn't housebroken, I had to rub his nose in the mess." The cop grinned down at Raimundo, who'd pulled trembling hands away from his face to reveal a cigarette-sized burn where his teardrop tattoo had been.
Shaking his head, he moved back toward the main room. "I don't wanna know," he said. "C'mon, Wolfie, come in and state your business. I ain't got all night."
A haze of smoke combined with the raucous blare of tejano music from the corner jukebox covered the two men's entrance to the bar. However, the loose groups of gamblers and junkies soon noticed his guest, a familiar sight to most of the regulars, and quietly filed out into the night. The girls looked at the cop impassively; the worst he could do was bust them and let them spend the night resting on their backs without some sweaty lout on top of them. They could take care of themselves.
"I'll rack, you break," he called as he made his way to the table closest to the music.
Wolff followed after plucking a cue from the rack. Pausing at the scratch-and-dent jukebox, the cop fished in his pocket and fed a few quarters into the machine as the song ended. The frenetic twelve-string guitar and horns dwindled, to be replaced by the steady, slow twang of a steel guitar and Hank Williams's smoky warble.