The Mercenary Series.
Three Months Earlier.
Let's get one thing straight.
I am not a nice person.
I'm not the type of woman who greets her friends with a kiss and a hug-after all, doing so would require actually having friends. I don't cry at sad movies or books. I don't give a s.h.i.+t about flowers and cards on my birthday. On the outside, I fake it so people won't guess that, beneath the pretty eyes and tattoos, I'm hard as ice. I can smile and nod in all the right places if I have to, but I'd rather not.
Like I said, I'm not a nice person.
My name is Verity Guerra and I'm the daughter of the most ruthless mafia don in New York. I was seven years old when I saw my first body. I was sixteen when I first hurt someone badly enough to be hospitalized, and nineteen when I took my first life.
Turns out, it wasn't to be my last.
I'm standing with a gun in my hand and another at my head. Two women kneel before me-my mother and my sister, both with faces streaked with tears. My mom, still young at forty-two, my sister only seventeen. If I don't shoot one of them, we all die. Problem is, I'm the one who has to decide who receives the bullet.
How can I?
Or my sister?.
If I don't kill one of them, we're all dead. That's the deal, and I don't doubt for a second that the man holding the gun to my head will go through with it. I hate him with a pa.s.sion, and I consider swinging the weapon around and firing one single bullet in the hope it will kill him, but I know I cannot. He has other men surrounding us, men who are also armed and won't hesitate to kill us all. If I fire the shot, I've sentenced us all to death.
If I make a choice, two of us will live.
We're in an empty warehouse, harsh, fluorescent lights overhead, a concrete floor beneath my feet. Outside of the warehouse walls, I hear the low drone of the city, the constant background noise of traffic and sirens that is inescapable in New York. Above that are my sister's quiet sobs, as she kneels with her hands behind her back, her head down, her eyes squeezed shut.
"Please," my mother begs the man holding the gun to my head. "Don't do this. They don't deserve-"
He cuts her off. "Shut up, wh.o.r.e. This is all your fault." He turns his attention back to me. "Time's running out, Verity. Tick, tick, tick ..."
The muzzle of the weapon he holds jams hard against my temple, and he motions to his men to do the same to my mother and sister. All three of us are going to be shot if I don't do as he asks.
Choose. Choose between the only two people I actually give a s.h.i.+t about in this world.
My finger is rigid around the trigger, my heart lodged in a tight, painful ball in my throat. I can't do it, I can't do it ...
But I must.
"Now, Verity!" he roars at me, and my sister gives a cry of fear.
I've always prided myself that my heart is cold. But right now it's breaking. No
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