Cover Designed by: Alessandra Kelley
Series: Downside Ghosts #1.5
Release Date: TBD
It’s a thin line between right and wrong. It’s an even thinner one between wrong and dead…
Terrible has always been on the wrong side of the law, living up to the only name anyone ever gave him. As the chief enforcer for Downside’s most powerful criminal, it’s his job to collect debts and protection money by any means necessary. And he’s very good at his job.
But part of that job is also to keep Bump’s various employees safe. So when a street dealer is found dead and a prostitute is brutally attacked, Terrible immediately starts using his fists to hunt down the ones responsible.
He’s determined to find and destroy them. They’re determined to use his desire for the woman he secretly loves to break him.
His phone beeped. A text.
From Sela. “Home alone. Bored and lonely.”
He knew what that meant. She probably already had her clothes off; she usually did, when she sent texts like that. Specially when she’d been drinking some, which he guessed she had been with them shrieky dames she hung around.
“Something wrong?” Chess asked.
He glanced at her, glanced at the phone, and set it back down. He could tell Sela he was busy when he got it, be why he ain’t answered. “Naw, naw, just sayin no problems this night.”
“So what’s happening with that?”
He hesitated. He had to be careful what he told her, causen of what Bump might say, and causen he ain’t wanted to give her anything might upset her, when she already weren’t in a great mood.
She mistook his hesitation, and said real fast, “I mean, if you can talk about it. I know—”
“Naw, naw, ain’t that. Just ain’t got more to say on, dig. Almost done up. More worried on Slobag, him sneakin over here make trouble, dig.”
“He’s getting past the border streets? I thought you guys had people watching for that.”
A second’s calculation, before he made the decision. Ain’t like it mattered. Chess kept she mouth shut. And she weren’t gonna try going down there sheself; witches ain’t liked the downs. Ghosts were more powerful underground, she said. “Using them tunnels. Run all under everywhere.”
She hesitated with the water bottle right in front of her lips. The way she held it made her shirt gap at the neck; he ain’t could see the bite-mark anymore. Make-up, maybe, or maybe she did some spell or something to hide it. She could do shit like that. She could do anything. “I thought those were a myth.”
“Naw. Them real. Only no point starting fighting over em, aye? Just keepin eyes out. Figure one day we use em. Til then letting Slobag an they think them got one over, dig.”
She smiled. Aye, whatever she took were hitting her. “Are you ever not having to think about every little thing you do, and have strategies in place and shit like that?”
He cocked his eyebrow. “Like you ain’t do the same.”
“Yeah, but only when I’m working.” She looked at him, caught the raised brow, smiled bigger. “Or, well, okay, maybe not only then. But at least sometimes I’m not working. You always are.”
“Not here.” He glanced around, wished again his place were nicer. It suited him fine, and part of the reason he’d picked it was the lack of walls, the lack of places people could hide, but still. And it was cold, he thought; the back of his neck felt cold, and he reached up to cover it. “Only place I ain’t gotta do shit, aye? An ain’t gotta look over my shoulder, see who’s comin up behind, who’s giving me the try. Only place I’m relaxing, dig.”
“Yeah,” she said. Softly. All of the sudden they ain’t were teasing anymore. “I guess you have to be really careful, huh. The second you let your guard down… You never know what people are planning to do.”
He nodded. His turn to feel all awkward, he guessed. Never could decide if it made him feel good or embarrassed when she knew what he meant so fast on shit like that. When she understood what he meant. Like she knew him. She knew him better than anybody else, he figured, cepting Bump. Maybe even better than Bump.