8| Problems and Promises

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It was the look on her face that had me—the way she was begging me to help her even after I had mercilessly murdered two men in front of her. The way I had killed them hadn't been humane either. The brute force of a hammer viciously beating at you until you were dead was nothing like a sympathetic bullet to the head, a bullet was quick and clean which was nothing like the savage scene in front of me.

And yet, after all she had seen she still looked towards me for my help.

My hands were bloody, the violence of my labour splattered across my shirt and staining it red. My body was still trying to figure out what to do with all the energy I had built up, but now all I could think about was the way she had looked to me to keep her safe.

She would have had better luck trying to convince one of my brothers to help her, and any sane person would have tried for anything else other than the notorious gangster standing armed and loaded. Then again if her sanity was intact I probably wouldn't have found her crouched behind the bar in the first place.

I was back behind the bar once I had locked her in one of the spare rooms upstairs, she had riled me up so much that I could barely think straight, let alone look at her. She had heard the stories of how dangerous this life was and still she had ignored my warning. She had seen me exactly how I was, hands covered in blood and—


I was fucked.

I cared more about what she thought of me than the target that had been painted on her back, and even though I didn't know the reason why she had been hiding in the first place—I knew that this was all my fault.

I glared at the place I had found her in barely a week ago. She had been drenched in beer and frightened out of her fucking mind—and yet with every selfish bone in my body I had goaded her until she broke, and in doing so she had showed me she was exactly what I desired.

If I was a monster just like my father I wouldn't have left her all alone in that room, instead I would have stayed and taught her a lesson for all the trouble she had caused me. I would have given her another ultimatum, stripping her of all choice and showing her the side of me that everyone thought they knew so well.

She had managed to burrow under my skin, my days spent wondering what she was doing and thinking and my nights spent wishing she was beside me. But what use were my desires now that I had been ordered to kill her? If I went against my father, he would find another way to punish me—and from experience, I knew that it would be ten times worse.

My brothers were moving around the room tidying up the mess I had made and getting rid of the evidence. Liam shook his head at me in acknowledgement, but he wasn't the one I needed to worry about.

I took a seat in front of the bar when Robbie took his seat beside me, pouring me a drink. I downed it in barely a breath, the liquid burning down my throat as I let out a sigh. I took the bottle from him this time, drinking straight from the source. If I was going to do what I needed to do then I would need the help of this whiskey bottle.

"How much time do I have before he comes back?" I asked my brother as he sipped more leisurely at his choice of refreshment.

"He's gone to Liverpool to deal with the next shipment, you have a couple of days at the very least," Robbie said easily—he always paid much more attention to the things our father did, and his interest in the family business only meant he was favoured more.

He didn't understand my rebellion or the reason behind it, and I hoped that he never would.

When I didn't say anything he pulled out a pack of cigarettes and offered me one. I accepted his offering as he lit the end of it for me. I watched him take his own drag of poison before I took my own. I breathed in the addiction, feeling it fill my lungs before I blew it out and watching the smoke disappear into the air.

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