Brutal Billionaire. Vengeful Kingpin. Fierce Protector.
The mafia made me what I am.
I take. I destroy. But it"s time to go legit.
I"m the one in charge now.
Men bow down to me.
Women submit to me.
Harper was supposed to be collateral.
Now she"s my property.
A strawberry blonde virgin with curves that could kill.
If my enemies aren"t careful, I"ll do just that.
They want to sell her, but I already own her.
They said they"re coming for me.
Well, let them come.
I can lose my life.
But I won’t lose her.
When I"m through with them, they"ll wish they were dead.
Who will still be standing when the bullets fall"Books by Author:R.R. Banks Books
The car pulls to a stop and Miguel Nunez, my driver and one of the two bodyguards I’d brought along with me, lets me out of the back of the SUV. I step onto the curb and look around at the dirty, dingy neighborhood. Large apartment buildings looked more derelict than inhabitable, with all the broken windows, broken security bars, graffiti, and holes in the walls.
In my well-tailored designer suit, I stand out in this place like a sore thumb. I see people on their porches staring at me " some curiously, some with open hostility. I do my best to ignore them and shut them out. They don’t interest me and aren’t why I’m here.
There are small houses mixed in with the apartment buildings " but they look just as shabby. Lawns, if they have them at all, are overgrown with what’s now, dry, dead grass. There are rusted out cars on blocks in every other driveway it seems, and large appliances, like refrigerators, sit on the sidewalks.
The area bills itself as a working-class neighborhood but given the amount of poverty I see around me, I doubt there’s a lot of work being done in the area. At least, legal work. I have no doubt that if I want drugs of any flavor, I can find them in this neighborhood.
The darkness of night might be able to mask some of the warts and scars of this neighborhood, but standing here in broad daylight seems to amplify them.
"You okay, boss"" Miguel asks.
I nod. "Yeah, fine," I reply. "I was just thinking that this neighborhood could use a remodel."
"That’s a nice way to put it," Miguel says. "I grew up around here and can tell you the whole area needs to be burned to the ground. The trash and the thugs need to be driven out and this place needs a complete do-over."
"I didn’t know you were a local boy," I say.
He nods. "Not somethin’ I’m proud of."
I step up and look Miguel in the eye. He’s one of the first people I hired when I came to LA, and at twenty-eight years old, he’s seen and done a lot. Grew up rough and then did a stint in the military that included combat overseas. He’s my right hand. My most trusted lieutenant. He’s tough and rugged, knows how to handle himself in a fight, speaks plainly, and never fails to give it to me straight. It’s something I appreciate about him.
Miguel is a good man and I rely on him for a lot. He never lets me down.
"Nothing you need to be ashamed of either," I say.
He looks at me and even though he tries to hide it, I can see that look in his eye. Yeah, that’s easy for me to say, he’s undoubtedly thinking. I grew up filthy rich. A child of privilege who wanted for nothing. I didn’t grow up in a neighborhood that literally stinks of poverty, filth, and desperation.
No, I can’t relate. But I can at least try to empathize with him. I see something in his face though and can tell that being in the area bothers him. It’s like me seeing where he came from is a source of embarrassment for him or something.
Maybe it’s best to do what we came here to do and get out of here. I clap him on the shoulder and give him a nod.
"Let’s get this done," I say.
My other guard, Don, holds the door of the building open and I follow Miguel through it. Don’s close behind as we walk down a hallway that’s got cracks in the walls, light fixtures that are busted, graffiti and trash everywhere. Not that I expected any less, but it’s as run down and trashy on the inside as it is on the outside.
Which brings a very relevant question to my mind.
"How in the hell did this clown get fifty grand in debt to me"" I ask.
"Likes to gamble," Miguel says. "Unfortunately for him, he’s not very good at it."
This is one of the aspects of the job I hate the most " debt collection. It’s a holdover from when my father ran the family business and unfortunately, a necessary evil at the moment. Once I have my casinos built, this will cease to be a problem. Until then though, I have to rely on my army of bookies and my betting websites to generate revenue.
Though I’d prefer going online only and utilize just the betting websites, not everybody is that tech savvy. There are a lot of folks out there with those old-school sensibilities and bookies bring in a lot of money. And if I want to build the Rossi family empire that I envision, I’m going to need to keep the fountains of cash flowing.
"This is it," Miguel says, stopping at a door.