Home > Last Mile (Vicious Cycle #3)(3)

Last Mile (Vicious Cycle #3)(3)
Katie Ashley

Immediately, she knew he needed help. Someone had to come and put her father back together. With trembling fingers, she fumbled with the handle on the door. Once she got it open, her feet dropped onto the gravel, but her wobbly legs barely supported her as she went around the back of the car. After opening the passenger-side door, she slid inside.

She pried the radio from her father’s hands. Her shaking fingers pressed down on the button he had taught her to use. Of course, they had just been playing around then. “H-hello?”

After she released the button, it seemed like an eternity before anyone responded. “Kid, this is a police frequency you’re on. Get off it before you get yourself in trouble.”

As if from instinct, her anger overrode her fear. “My name is Samantha Vargas. My father is Agent Antonio Vargas. He’s been . . .” Glancing over at her father’s lifeless body, she pinched her eyes shut. “My father has been shot.”

“Jesus Christ!” came the reply. There was a flurry of activity on the other end. She dropped the radio, ignoring anything further that the dispatch might have to say. Taking her father’s blood-slick hand, she cradled it in her own. She was still staring down at it when the police and paramedics arrived in a flood of flashing lights and wailing sirens.

Someone jerked open the passenger-side door. “Holy fucking shit,” a voice muttered.

When a pair of arms reached out for her, Sam didn’t fight them. Instead, she dropped a kiss onto her father’s hand and then let herself be pulled into the person’s arms. A kind female voice began talking soothingly to her. She didn’t bother making out the words. After all, there was nothing anyone could say that would make her feel better.

Her father was dead.

ONE

BISHOP

The clang of the opening bell echoed through my ears, sending a jolt of electric energy surging through me. Adrenaline pumped through my bloodstream while muscles and ligaments tightened in anticipation when I came charging out of the corner of the ring. My gloved fists were positioned at chest level to either inflict harm or block a hit.

When you were facing down an opponent, timing was everything. Dodging in just a split second meant the difference between a right cross narrowly missing your jaw and one potentially knocking you senseless. Coming back from a block at just the right moment could also mean the difference in incapacitating your enemy and winning the fight.

I’d faced a lot of adversaries in my day. Most of the time, I was in crowded, noisy bars or in dimly lit back alleys. While I might use my fists defensively to protect my club brothers, I usually relied on other forms of weaponry. Tonight, however, found me under the bright lights of the boxing ring, facing down a fighter I’d never seen before. The one place I was most confident was in the ring. Between the ropes, I didn’t need to count on guns or knives to save my ass—my hands and my body were the only weapons I needed. They could inflict great pain and suffering while making me a champion.

At twenty-five, I’d been fighting most of my life. My old man had gotten me started when I was just a kid as a way to release steam. Considering that he was a former felon turned holy-rolling preacher turned MC president, he had experience defusing hot tempers with intense physical activity. What he hadn’t anticipated the day he brought me into his MC-owned gym was the natural talent I had when it came to boxing.

Tonight as I bobbed and weaved around the ring, throwing rights and jabs, I found my opponent ultimately to be such a pussy that I wondered if he hadn’t been paid to take a dive, aka lose the fight. But then in the fifth round, he found his second wind and started pummeling my face. I felt the stinging burn of skin slicing open along my forehead and eyebrows. Blood trickled into my eyes, clouding my vision. Instead of becoming a handicap, it merely fueled my rage.

As the rounds continued, I began to wear my opponent down. Finally, after the ninth bell, I clocked him one to the jaw and then to the nose. He staggered back, collapsing to his knees and then falling forward onto his face.

The referee smacked the mat to confirm that my opponent was out. When he jumped to his feet, he grabbed me by the arm and jerked it over my head. The crowd clambered to their feet in a loud rush of noise. A cocky grin slunk across my face as I did a triumphant turn, raising both my arms over my head, which caused the crowd to roar their approval. After giving them a fist pump, I started to the corner of the ring, where Boone, the Raiders’ official treasurer and my unofficial trainer, awaited me.

He thrust a bottle of water at me, which I gladly started gulping down. “Breakneck is AWOL tonight, so I texted Rev during that nasty fifth round to bring Annabel by to clean you up.”

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