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Cadillac Payback

AJ Elmore

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The author makes no claims to, but instead acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of any wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction including brands or products.

Copyright © 2015 AJ Elmore

Cadillac Payback

All rights reserved. Published in the United States of America by AJ Elmore.

Summary: When a rival drug ring kills Maria’s brother, she vows to exact revenge upon the enemy. With help from her brother’s crew, she seeks a blessing from her cartel connections, and begins a trail of vengeance through the streets of New Orleans.

1. Crime 2. Revenge 3. Romance

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

ISBN-13: 9798656385084

Edited by Eugenie Rayner, Magic Lamp Editing Services

Cover design by The Illustrated Author

Cover art copyright©: AJ Elmore

This one is for my partner in crime, Nazarea, for refusing to give up on my work, and for giving me so much of her time and effort. Without her, this book would still be collecting meta-dust in the vault of my computer.

Part One

Chapter 1 Cadillac Payback

Joshua

Her brown eyes catch glints of light from the headlights of oncoming traffic. The irises glow like honey in sunlight, embers of a smoldering yet deadly fire. Her gaze is full of anger, hatred, so hard I barely recognize her. I can almost see the tracks her tears have traveled on her cheeks, but those tears are long gone, dried into cold rage. Dried along with the blood on her jeans and hands.

We're barreling east at about ninety miles an hour. Her brother's .40 cal rests on the car seat, between her legs. Both hands grip the wheel of the ancient Cadillac. She doesn't speak. She only drives. If we get pulled over by a cop now, our lives would be over, but she doesn't seem to care about that. Then again, a significant part of our lives is already over.

The silence is heavy as it presses against us and the car interior. We are headed, undoubtedly, into Mississippi. Reaper country, judging by the way she's driving. I believe she has set our course straight into the hub of the Reaps' territory, straight toward the heart of hell. I didn't ask her where she was going when I followed her into this cage on wheels, I just got in the car. I couldn't let her leave alone with nothing but car keys and a gun. We never go anywhere alone. She never told me to stay, or to get out.

If I didn't know her better, I'd think she hasn't noticed me beside her, though we've been driving for . . . how long? Forever? She hasn't looked at me even once since she recklessly jerked the Caddy out of the driveway. She hasn't spoken since she left his lifeless shell on the floor, since she felt his blood on her hands.

Yeah, if I didn't know her, but I do.

I know she feels my eyes on her occasionally. She may not care that I haven't tried to stop her. I know she can't be stopped – it's not my place to try. At least I can provide some cover. There's a good chance we will both die tonight.

It's well known in our network that the Reaps – our biggest rivals in marijuana distribution in all of Louisiana and Mississippi – have set up shop in Biloxi. There they can get their hands on the more underlying secrets of the Casino life, while keeping most of their other business in New Orleans. They've hated us since before I came around. They call us the Mexicans because our shit comes from across the border. We've always been their biggest competition in NOLA.

They're scum, never afraid to pull some slick shit. That’s the only thing about them we can count on. Of course we hate them, too. They are behind every deal gone bad, ruining our trade by undercutting our price. Until now, our hate-hate existence has remained relatively non-violent. Apparently they've decided to make a brutal and major play against us, the reason for which I can't even speculate.

They've started a war.

The girl beside me is thin, hard, and quick with most weapons. She is the daughter of a Mexican father, legal, and a white mother, one of whom is dead and the other long gone from her life. She inherited most of her physical traits from the Hispanic blood, with dark hair, dark skin, and her honey eyes. She's twenty-three and a thousand years wiser than her age. She's generally peaceable, yet street-seasoned and gifted with a mind and upbringing for less legal, more profitable business ventures.

Our people never really instigated contact with the Reaps, but today they killed her brother. They have awakened a rage in her. Now she wants blood in return, and she's bringing the battle they've begun to their doorstep.

The southern air is unbearably thick outside the car. The smell of magnolia seeps inside. The humidity makes me feel like I'm packaged inside some unyielding, midnight-colored velvet. She hasn't moved to turn on the geriatric AC in the car, and neither do I. We sweat in the silence that threatens to crush the breath right out of my lungs.

I listen to the thumping of the unmanaged highway and feel sweat slide down the small of my back. The polished leather seat is starting to get uncomfortable. Surely this surface has never itched so much against my skin, or made me feel like I was melting against its heat.

There's no sense to be talked to this girl. I can

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