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Vicious Looks (Vicious City #1)
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Kitty’s crossed the wrong people, and now her life is is in danger.
She’ll pay her dues.
If she’s a good Kitty, she’ll be well compensated.
This city rewards the strong, punishes the weak, and destroys the innocent.
Vicious Lies is the first book in the episodic Vicious City dark romance series.
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“He’s hot.” My best friend in the world is drooling over a mugshot, shoving her phone under my nose so I can appreciate the chiseled jaw, cheekbones to die for, piercing green eyes, and of course, the height indicator showing he’s all of six foot three. The man she’s showing me is famous in our circles. No, famous is the wrong word. Infamous. Legendary. But not my cup of tea.
“He’s a criminal. And a murderer,” I point out.
“Lots of men are,” Blaze shrugs. “At least he looks sexy doing it.”
I roll my eyes. “You have got to develop better taste in men, or we’re going to find bits of you in a dumpster one of these days.”
“Not a dumpster, Kitty,” she says. “The rich ones never use dumpsters.”
“What do they do?”
“Roll you up in a Persian rug,” she smirks. “Pure wool, so it’s okay.”
“It’s okay to be dead in a rug as long as it’s a nice rug?”
“Sure,” she shrugs. “Gotta go sometime, right?”
Nobody looking at us would guess this is our topic of conversation. We’re two average looking girls in our early twenties. Blaze has one side of her short, dark hair shaved in an undercut. She looks rebellious and stylish. She’s both. In contrast, my hair is blonde and long. I worked it with a flat iron for half an hour this morning, got rid of all the wave and curl. Now it’s shiny and glossy and probably being ruined by my efforts to make myself look as basic as possible. I wear contacts so nobody remembers the girl with the glasses. My makeup is generic. Winged eyeliner is in right now, so I have little wings. My lips are glossy. I’m wearing leggings as pants, even though they’re definitely not pants, and a long shirt over the top. My feet are clad in fuzzy boots. I look like every sorority girl ever, even though I’ve never been to college. My attire is wishful thinking on my part, I guess. Blaze is dressed similarly, though she’s gone for a short skirt with tights instead of leggings.
We’re sitting outside a cafe with a couple of iced latte monstrosities, having conversations that most young women don’t have. Like this one. How we want to die, and who we want to kill us. It’s almost inevitable that someone will take us out one day unless we get out of this line of work.
Blaze is my best friend in the world. I don’t know her real name and she doesn’t know mine. It doesn’t pay to know names in our line of work. When we get caught, we have a bunch of identities to choose from. Right now, I have a driver’s license which says my name is Caroline Carter. Blaze is Dorothy Rose. Tomorrow we’ll both be somebody else. Only one thing stays the same: the work. We’re delivery specialists. Black Market Couriers.
“Seriously, I worry about you.”
“Don’t worry about me,” she laughs. “Worry about yourself.”
“What do I have to worry about?”
“You have the worst case of DVS I’ve ever seen.”
“And what’s that supposed to be?”
“Dried Vagi…” she trails off and makes a gesture toward her nethers, “syndrome, because you never get laid. You’re like a virgin…”
“Okay, I have a delivery to make,” I say, ending that line of conversation abruptly. I love Blaze, but I cannot deal with another ‘just sleep with someone already’ lecture. “I’ll see you later.”
“See ya.” She waves me off and resumes scrolling through her creep shots of bad guys. That girl uses the FBI most wanted list like Tinder.
I said I had a delivery, but it’s a lie. Today is actually my day off. I’ve had a lot of them lately. I’m losing my taste for this business. I don’t have Blaze’s temperament or capacity for chaos. At heart, I like to play it safe. That’s made me exceptional when it comes to being discreet and successful, but it also means it’s taking its toll on me.
I’ve made enough money this month to pay my rent for years. I’m seriously thinking about retiring and going to college. Getting a degree. Going legit. Real legit, like, into law. This latest conversation with Blaze has only increased that urge. Unlike her, I don’t want to end up dead before my thirtieth birthday.
I’m walking without really thinking. I usually change my routes every other day. Never go the same way twice. You never know who is watching. I have a habit of not keeping habits. Sometimes I make mistakes. I just made one.
I didn’t pay nearly enough attention to the contents of the alley to my left. I don’t notice the van sitting with the door open. I do notice the men, but by the time their hands are on me, it’s too late.
It happens so quickly, I almost don’t know it has happened until it is all over. I am hauled into the back of the blacked out van. My hands are pulled behind my back and cuffed with a plastic zip tie. My mouth is gagged with a cloth. Professionals are doing this to me. I can tell instantly by the way they handle me. Smooth, quiet, calm. There’s no shouting. It happens almost silently. I don’t have a chance to scream or to resist.