A Billion Vendettas

By: Jessa York

He still hadn’t bound my hands together since I’d begged him not to.

It was dark, and I couldn’t see much. But, the driver spoke Spanish to Maxim.

The air was hot and humid. I felt like I was sweltering even though I was dressed like a dancer in a bad eighties, music video.

After driving for a while, we went through not one, but two sets of tall, iron gates. They closed intimidatingly after our car drove through.

I wondered if they were meant to keep people in—or keep people out.

Palm trees lined the long, endless driveway—giving me another hint as to where we likely were.


I remembered from Nick’s files that Maxim had several known properties dispersed throughout the country.

And likely some they didn’t know.

The only question was—would Nick’s men find me?

Our driver pulled up to a brightly lit, yellow, stucco sided house.

Or, more like a mansion.

Way bigger than Nick’s.

“Out,” Maxim said, poking me roughly in the back.

I found the door handle and pulled it open. The heat from the brick driveway radiated into my stocking feet.

Maxim had literally knocked me out of my gorgeous heels when he’d struck me back at the church.

So, I’d had no choice but to walk around without.

“Inside,” he said, pushing again—and ticking me off even more.

“Would you stop?” I snapped at him, and twisted my head toward him. “I’m walking as fast as I can without shoes on.”

He lowered his gaze as though he’d forgotten I was shoeless. When he looked up at my face, his eyes lingered on me.

But, not in an appreciative way.

His eyes narrowed as a look of disgust covered his face.

He didn’t say anything.

All he did was look down at his watch, then sneer. “You’ll do what I say, and walk faster.” Then, he shoved me forward.

I let out a loud huff and hurried.

He guided me around the house—which was impeccably decorated and kept up. Bright blues, oranges, greens, and reds covered the interior.

Or what I could see of it.

A long, wooden table caught my eye. It was surrounded by at least a dozen, wrought iron chairs. The cushions were made of beautiful material with an Aztec design.

“Go!” Maxim said again, rushing me down a long hallway. Large, luxurious arches framed every doorway.

If I wasn’t being held against my will, I’d probably appreciate the workmanship of my surroundings.

“I’m going, I’m going,” I muttered while I shuffled across the terracotta tiles. The edges were sharp and kept catching on my stockings.

When we came to the end of the hall, he grabbed my shoulders and turned me to the right.

A large, wooden door with big, iron stripes stood in front of me. Maxim reached around and lifted up the heavy slab of wood that was latched from one side to the other.

He set it down and used two hands to unlock the handle.

With a loud, creaking sound, he threw open the door.

I wasn’t given a chance to decide if I wanted to go inside or not. Maxim quickly launched me forward.

I lunged deeply, barely managing to offset a fall.

“What is your problem? There’s no reason to be so pushy,” I said as I turned swiftly around to face him.

“Shut up, and do as you’re told.” His eyes stared at my face. And again, he had a revolted look on his face.

I could feel my face throbbing.

I knew he’d done a number on my nose by the way I could barely breathe through it. There were no mirrors on the plane that I could see. Not even in the bathroom.

He’d made me use the small one, up by the front.

Not the one I saw him go to at the back of the plane. When I’d peered around, I could see it looked a lot bigger.

Obviously, Maxim didn’t think he could trust me in his fancy bathroom.

Which was just as well.

I probably looked horrible.

“Clean yourself up,” he said in a disgusted tone before he immediately turned, and walked out.

The door shut behind him, and I heard the lock turn, and the wooden bar being dropped back into place.

I felt equal parts relief—and terror.

Relief for finally being left alone, out of Maxim’s constant watch.

Terror—for the unknown.

I spun around and took in the room.

There was a large bed, with a gold, iron headboard. The bedspread had a loud, sunflower print on it, dispersed with multi-colored pink, and orange flowers.

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