Read Power (Romantic Suspense) Online
Authors: kenya wright
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.
Power Copyright © 2016 by Kenya Wright
Cover Design and Illustrations by
All rights reserved.
This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Printed in the United States of America
First Printing, 2016
Dedicated to my K Killers,
You read POWER before everyone,
ripped the story apart,
murdered the bad scenes,
and filled the plot holes with the dead carcass of my ego.
You made me better,
and you elevated the novel to another level.
Thank You, K Killers!
Emily, Camilla, Sonia, Meca, Vickel, India, Simone, Christine, Heather, Jonette,
Jahsina, Melody, Hollye, Sonya, Rosie, Vinnyetta, Christi, Marie, Nakhia, and Brrina.
“. . .and this love that violently screams out of you is changing me.
It is changing the way I give myself to the world.”
(from the poem “Sweet Little Love” by
Robert M. Drake
Chapter heading jokes are from the oldest surviving joke book called Philogelos (The Laughter Lover). The collection was compiled in the fourth or fifth century AD.
A young man said to his libido-driven wife:
"What should we do, darling? Eat or have sex?"
And she replied:
"You can choose, but there's no food in the house."
–Philogelos (The Laughter Lover)
one of my friends will die tonight?
I rested my hand on the table and glared at them. “No one kills anyone without my permission.”
My cufflinks sparkled in the empty nightclub’s lighting. The blue diamonds were the only thing shining on me. My ex-fuck toy Butterfly had bought them. Said the cufflinks were ice cold and blue like my eyes. A cold bitch in her own right, she’d spent her lifetime trying to warm me. But even a beautifully-formed block of ice could never heat a glacier.
Which one of my friends takes their last breath? Domingo? Rasheed? Do I kill them both?
The rest of me stayed dark—black suit, shirt, and tie. All shades of midnight like my hair and the gun that lay on the table in front of me.
What else can I do? They have to die. They’ve killed kids. Fuck you, God.
For the murder of one of my friends, I’d closed down my club
for the night and invited Domingo and Rasheed over. Only a few silver lamps lit the empty tables around us, casting an eerie darkness over the place. This was the quietest the club had ever been. No singer performed on the big stage in front of us and no one manned the bar.
A haunting coldness chilled the air.
I love them both. This is the way of the streets, but. . .fuck you, God.
Rasheed shifted in his chair.
Beads of sweat formed on Domingo’s head. “Are you opening up Surrender tonight?”
Sitting between both of them, I said nothing.
Think, Noah. Which one can you lose?
Domingo wiped the sweat off of his forehead. “Noah, what do you want to talk about?”
“Usually, it’s packed in here.” Domingo let out a nervous laugh. “Where’s everyone? You closed down so you wouldn’t have witnesses, right?”
I kept the serious expression on my face.
“It’s Friday night.” Domingo’s voice came out shaky. “The place should be popping.”
My nightclub had been an indie theater once—performing edgy, contemporary plays, but never gaining a strong following. I’d bought the place and gave it a million-dollar facelift. I added a three-bedroom loft on the second floor and turned the ground level into an adult funhouse. Chandeliers hung from the ceilings and sparkled with crystals. Fine leather covered the booth seats and chairs. The bar had been voted the best on the East Coast, employed with the top mixologist in the country. I’d renovated the basement into a private strip club for my most loyal soldiers and made the whole million back after a year in business. None of it mattered. I didn’t need the club to make money. My paper flowed from the streets.
But tonight, silence and death moved through the club.
Why did they make me do this?
My heart ached as I traced my finger against the trigger, but didn’t pick up the gun. “A rule has been broken.”
Who should I choose? Who can I lose? Which death would give me less nightmares?
Domingo on my right. Rasheed on my left.
Usually, I didn’t bother with small beefs between them, but too much blood had been shed on my streets. The bribes no longer satisfied the police. The neighborhoods seared hot and ready to boil over. There seemed to be no solution in sight. No peace.
Now, I had to step in. “Twenty of my soldiers have died in total, coming from the North and South. And there’s been no safe place for any of my people. They’re even dying in the beds of brothels.”
Both men stirred in their seats.
“You two run those territories. The North and South.” I loosened my tie and hoped I wouldn’t get blood on my shirt. The stains never came out, not even with black fabric.
As a kid, I always fainted at the sight of blood. It was so bad, I passed out during the final scene in Carrie—the heroine drenched in that red liquid and taking out her revenge on everyone.
Doctors said I had an overactive vasovagal response. To this day, I still didn’t know what that meant, just that it dealt with fear. When I spotted blood, fear came, swift and hard like a tsunami, slowing down my heart rate, lowering my blood pressure, and causing blood to drain to my legs and leave the brain. I would get light headed and pass out.
But the more a person like me exposed themselves to blood, the less the phobia bothered them. Now I only passed out in odd occurrences, when the blood meant something to me. It was why I decided to kill Domingo or Rasheed away from everyone’s eyes. This moment could bring the fear back.
“You both are to blame,” I said. “You two are the reason why I had to stop my afternoon routine to come down and speak. Why does that make me unhappy, Domingo?”
Domingo muttered, “Because you are a man of few words.”
“Yes. A man of few words, but,” I raised one finger in the air, “I
a man of many bullets.”
Sweat trickled down Domingo’s face. Like most of the Puerto Ricans in Din City, he’d been raised as a devout Catholic. He’d even served as an altar boy. So devoted to prayer, he might’ve been a pope. But then, a father in the church touched Domingo too much and changed his course forever—from the altar to the streets. Domingo kept his faith, even with so much blood on his hands. Black crosses decorated his favorite gun, Jesus. Tonight, as with most nights, the skinny man wore a white color and a black shirt—similar to a priest.
I hope you’re praying right now, Domingo. Things won’t end well this evening.
I turned to Rasheed. His skin was the color of coal. He kept his hair blonde and cut into a Mohawk. On the right side of his face, it was smooth and perfect. On the left, scars lined his jaw and extended to his eye. He never told me what had happened, but I’d met his father and both of his older brothers. I’d witnessed the violence their hands could bring, so I’d left Rasheed’s secrets to himself.
I knew he’d been through a lot. Perhaps, Rasheed’s brain never got the chance to develop correctly, because he always spoke in the third person, even when we were kids. And although the speech was absurd, no one ever called him on it. At least, no one that wasn’t ready to die.
“You’ve been in my loft, right?” I asked Rasheed.
His dark voice filled the room. “Yes, Rasheed has been there.”
“Do you like my Buddha statue?”
“The fat man in gold?”
“Yes, the fat man in gold,” I said.