“You see, Josslyn, murder is brash. It’s derived out of careless impulses, leading to a trail of mistakes and ultimately capture. It’s elementary and messy. But revenge … Revenge is entirely different, my dear. It’s methodical and gratifying. Revenge stews and festers as your mind has nothing to do except ingest the hate—to transform and become the hate. Revenge only seeks one outcome. It wants them to pay and pay dearly.”~Nikolai Petrov
To Nikolai Petrov, being a criminal was not a choice. It was a necessity. In and out of Russia’s deadliest prisons, he learned how to survive and ultimately flourish amongst the worst criminals the broken society has ever seen. He rose through the ranks, soon becoming a valued member of one of Russia’s most feared organizations—Vory V Zakone, Thieves in Law.
For Josslyn Stowe, growing up in a typical American household was not in her fate. She experienced her own tragedy after the murder of her father. Soon after, her life was set on a one track course, right down to her chosen profession as a third generation police officer. It did not take long for Josslyn to form a prestigious career. She owed her success to the unrelenting drive to do whatever it takes to capture the worst criminals.
It was the tragic murder of an unknown family that sent these two powerhouse individuals on a collision course toward their opposing fate. Their story soon becomes a cat and mouse thriller that will have you wondering if there is good versus evil, right versus wrong, and retribution versus justice. Or are we all merely a lesser version of those who stand next to us?
Goodreads link - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25882978-pay-dearly
Choice One: Josslyn POV
I can feel the terror rise from my stomach and threaten to expel from my body, but I swallow it down. I will not lose my composure. That’s what this asshole is looking for, and I will die before I give it to him.
He leans forward, pulling a bottle of water off the small table where the lantern sits and takes a long drink, almost consuming it all. Only then does he speak.
“I know you’re awake, Josslyn. I can tell by the way you breathe.”
My body goes cold when my name comes from his mouth. It’s spoken in that familiar accent I tried for so many years to forget, an accent I have recently learned is Russian. Chills consume me. I am dead. The end of my life will be nothing but pain and torture as he does what he will to my body.
Choice Two: Nikolai POV
His fascinating, dead eyes look upward, and they are almost black. They are blank and lifeless, similar to a doll’s eyes.
I put the end of the stapler on his skull and look over to Boris as I push the trigger, stapling his lid to his brow.
“I’m not doing this to simply mutilate his body, Boris. You do understand this is a preview for what is going to happen to you if you don’t start talking. The only difference is, you’ll be able to feel every minute of it.” I pull the other eyelid up and staple it.
When Boris looks up at the ceiling, I regain his attention by putting the tip of the knife in the unknown man’s eye socket. The blood pours from the wound as I extract his eyeball and pop it out.
I hold it over his face by the fleshy meat that holds it inside your body and dangle it in his sights. Then I staple it with the star shaped flesh. I repeat the process with the other eye and hang it up. My white gloves are now red, covered in his friend’s blood, as I smile down at Boris.
“He’s watching over you now.”
Choice Three: Nikolai POV
I turn to Boris and say, “You know what happens next, old man.” I lean down and get his eye lid in-between my fingers.
“You’re a sick fuck!”
I make sure I look only in his eyes when I release the trigger and fasten his eyelid to his brow.
“Ahhhhhhh!” he screams more than I’ve ever heard a man scream before.
He will be talking soon. I can tell by the sound of his suffering. It won’t be long now.
I pull the scalpel out of the case and decide I will work on his eyeball before I staple the other lid.
Once I slowly lean over and put the blade very close to his eye, Boris freezes. He stops screaming and lies motionless, knowing if he bucks his head, the tip of the knife will go straight into his eye. He is panting as he tries to control his rapid breathing.
“Okay, okay,” he finally relents. “Stravinsky wants you dead because you’re a fucking traitor, Nikolai!”
I cock my head to the side and look incredulously at him. “A traitor? That’s his motive for trying to kill me? Really? If I am anything to Stravinsky and the organization, it’s loyal. Loyal!” I bend down and scream in his face. I hold the knife over his head, moments away from slitting his throat. “I have never once disobeyed Stravinsky or deterred from the direction of our organization. I only assisted us. He told me to kill, and I did it. He told me to go to fucking prison and kill, and I did it! I devoted twenty years of my life to that man. I held him higher than any person in my life, and he is calling me a traitor? He’s the fucking traitor!”
Choice Four: Josslyn POV
He stalks his way over to me, moving with the stealth of a panther—predatory and captivating. Just by his simple movements, I can tell he is skilled in combat, agile and deadly. He could destroy me with a single, accelerated move.
Then he makes his way to where I have my knees tucked up to my chest as much as possible. When he leans down and grabs my shoulders, the smell of his sweat and cologne invades my nostrils. I am attracted to the scent, and the single thought is disturbing.
He pulls me up into a seated position and rests my back against the wall. His face is so very close to mine, within inches, and I want to scream. I want to run away and hide. I want break free from his grasp and unload my terror on his dangerously beautiful face. However, all I can do is remain captive by his gaze.
He flashes me a wicked, chilling smile then winks with his left eye. Still, I sit here and do nothing. I don’t move, and I don’t blink. I just stare at him. I’m in awe of him, but why?
I didn’t even realize he stood up to get the water bottle until he holds it to my lips. The cool liquid feels refreshing as it soothes my dry throat. He lifts the bottle again, and I swallow it down. It’s only two small drinks, but I am grateful for them. I was in need of them. I don’t know what his ploy is or when he will get to the point of killing me, but my gut is telling me that is not in the near future. Why would he bother giving me a drink of water if he’s going to kill me soon? Why bother with any of it? He’s a sick individual. I’m sure this is all a game to him.
About the author
M.S. Brannon was born and raised in the Midwest. She still resides there today with her wonderful husband and son. When she is not writing or reading, M.S. Brannon spends time with her family, watching movies, and discovering new music. She writes romance because she believes love and heartache is the rawest emotion one can experience.
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Authors Other Books
Sulfur Heights Series
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