Page 48 of Running

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Luca gives me a soft shake of the head. A smile teasing the corner of his lips. He knows I am making a plan in my head to end this. Ramirez is one of two final names on my list. The other is his second. Both assholes are here.

I can’t waste this opportunity. Together, and as quietly as we can, we crawl across the floor. Our move is blocked by the long table. Making it to the end, I turn to glimpse around the edge. I need to know the positioning of our enemies in order to know the most effective way to attack.

Ramirez’s body is blocked by a wall of his men. “Coward.” I scoff.

If I can get off three to four quick shot, I could take out the men in front of him and maybe land a bullet on him. If I’m not the only one shooting I can almost guarantee I’ll hit him center mass.

I turn to whisper to Luca who hasn’t gotten a look at the enemy’s location. He knows they are near the door. “Four guards in front. Need them down so I can take shot at Ramirez.”

Luca nods to Massimo and Val. They crawl a bit closer. I repeat the number of guards to them and specify their location in regards to the door and Ramirez. Val is going to take the two on the right. Massimo will take the left. I’ve got Ramirez and Luca will take off after Ramirez’s second, Julio, once the five men are down. The coward is keeping himself back and in position to run if things go wrong.

It’s smart. But cowardly. I hate fucking cowards. The asshole dies tonight.

Without further words, I know we are all on the same page. Now we just need to make sure that no one is still shooting when Luca goes after Julio.

“I’ve got it.” Says Milan as she crawls away from us. She moves first to Bosco and mom to relay to them. She then makes her way as close as she can to the next table. It takes only a minute for word to quietly spread around the room.

Ramirez and my dad are still locked in a debate when I lock eyes with Luca. "Love you!" He whispers to me then pecks me on the lips. I smile in return. I wanted to deepen the kiss but we have work to do. Luca moves into position. He chances a glance at the door and nods to confirm the enemy hasn’t changed position.

I hold up three fingers. I lower one at a time, counting down. The moment my last finger drops. Massimo, Val, and I jump up from our position. Our guns firing rapidly as we each take down our target. The four guards fall each with two to the chest. Ramirez falls after my second shot. He’s not dead. He doesn’t deserve a quick death.

The Cartel is responsible for the kidnapping and sale of young girls onto the black market. It’s a dark business our Mafia does not partake in. I had intended to kill him on the spot. I’m glad I didn’t. The asshole would be brought to our warehouse where Luca and I could oversee the extraction of knowledge.

Only one of the guards had gotten a shot off. The bullet hit Councilmen Armano. It was only a flesh wound. He would live.

I glance around for Luca. He took off running to Julio as soon as we started firing. I wanted to go after him. Massimo and Val beat me to it. Probably for the best. They were faster than me anyway.

Instead, I made my way over to Ramirez. “You bitch!” He spits at me as he presses his good hand to his shoulder to slow the bleeding. I bet it hurts. I had shot the gun from his hand first. My bullet ripped his right hand apart. I would need a closer look but I think he is missing two fingers. My second bullet hit bone in his clavicle. It might even be shattered.

Good. The asshole deserves pain. This won’t be the last either. His injuries aren’t life threatening. Not yet at least.

Caruso men move around me. No doubt cleaning up the mess and disposing of the Cartel trash. A second round of men surround me. Protecting me. I don’t need it. Ramirez is no longer a threat. I appreciate the sentiment anyway.

I give a nod to two of the soldiers. They are quick to pull out zip ties and rope for the scum in front of me. “Not a bitch.” I pause for dramatic effect. A Queen.”

I stand up and take two steps back. He is gagged, hog tied and removed. The men will see to it that he is set up in the warehouse. His wounds will be tended to, but only enough so he doesn’t bleed out before we get to question him.

Luca strolls in through the front door. A massive smile on his face. Also a newly forming bruise along his jaw. From his quarrel with Julio no doubt. His return tells me Julio is dead.

He makes quick work of coming to my side. Massimo and Val aren’t far behind. “My Queen.” Luca says as he gives a bit of a bow. Then he grabs my hand and kisses the back of it. He turns it over and places something cold and hard in my hand. It’s a necklace. A gold cross coated in blood. Julio’s. It had been visible in my surveillance photos each time he met with Santo.

I throw the chain to the ground and launch myself at Luca. He catches me. His hands groping my ass. It’s inappropriate for our current company but I can’t get myself to care.

“Thank you!” I say as I snuggle into his chest.

“Is that it? Is your list complete?” He asks with a laugh.

I love that we can laugh about my blood thirstiness. “Yes. It’s done.”

“Good. Because as much fun as doling out an ass kicking is. I’ve never been a fan of red weddings.” I laugh so hard I snort.

“No red wedding. No blood. I promise.”

Luca carries me to a nearby table that is surprisingly still standing upright. He eases us down into a chair. “You sure this is the life you want? You completed your mission. You could leave now.”

I put my arms around his neck and pull him close. Our foreheads rest against each other. “Can’t get rid of me that easy. You'll have to marry me first.” He barks out a laugh. I knew he would get my reference to my parents. It was only two weeks after they married that my mother left.

“Oh, I’ll be marrying you. Then fucking you into next week.” He plants kisses along my jaw as he talks. “If you run, I will chase you. And then I will fuck you again and again until you never want to leave me.”

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