Vengeance: Damien’s Promise by Vic Tyler

| June 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

 

Welcome to our corner of the underworld
where everything you love
can and will be used
to destroy you.

*****

Once upon a time, an angel crashed the demons’ party.
Bruised, battered, and broken – she begged us to shed blood on her behalf.

For justice.
Retribution.
Vengeance.

Sweet, pure Adriana is the angel who was prepared to die for her revenge.

And I’m the demon who was raised to live for mine.

When I look at her, I see everything I didn’t have to lose.

I see my last chance at redemption.

She doesn’t belong in my world, and I’ll free her if it’s the last thing I do.

Even if it means destroying everything she loves.


EXCERPT

A grim exposé detailing a witness account of crime syndicate, Venti

By Anonymous

 

Due to the recent popularization of their activity in the vast corners of the internet, the underworld organization Venti is toted as a romanticized mafia story. It’s become a treasure trove for conspiracy theorists and fodder for Hollywood movies.

When it comes to translating fiction to reality, obsessive fans and divulgent sources of the tinfoil-hat variety have varying and conflicting details on the crime syndicate. The myths stand larger than life to the point they become ridiculous — a joke to laugh at and a tease to threaten.

Many dismiss Venti as a gang of hooligans, and others scoff at the idea that Venti is real in any capacity.

I wish I could tell you that you are right. That what I am about to tell you is a figment of someone’s imagination. That this is a marketing ploy for the most anticipated movie of the year. That this is just a dystopian story.

But instead, I am here to confirm to you that ignorance is indeed bliss.

Operating outside the boundaries of the law and hidden in the very breath of society with its members walking past you on the streets, smiling at you from across the room, and deceiving all of you to your very faces, Venti exists.

The criminal organization is best described as a body of mercenary criminal consultants. They operate solely amongst the upper echelon of the crooked and corrupt. Their clients consist of anyone whose morality is as equally deficient as their wallets are bountiful or their power unparalleled.

If the world was scandalized by the Panama papers, it is not ready to learn the extensive clientele in Venti’s ledgers.

Nothing significant happens without Venti’s knowledge.

Every miracle, every tragedy, every cover-up, every boring, uneventful moment of peace in history is an entry in Venti’s books.

Whether we have a direct hand in it or not depends on how much you’re willing to empty your bank account or how many souls you’re willing to condemn.

At the base level, the very core of the organization is built on child soldiers.

Children who have no ties to the surface world — who have nothing and won’t be missed if they disappear — are collected and disciplined in an education of carnage and survival.

Each of the four factions in Venti utilizes different methodologies in this unforgiving curriculum we call the Blood Trials. But the sole commonality they share is in the dehumanization of children into unfeeling soldiers.

Although most of Venti’s members, called ‘deviants,’ are not victims of the Blood Trials, the leadership almost exclusively is.

The higher up in the organization you go, the more cruel and depraved the deviants will be. Because all of the positions are earned by merit of blood.

Our bylaws state that ending another deviant’s life allows you to inherit their position, if higher than your own, and that is only allowed once an Assassination has been invoked.

An Assassination is an official duel, usually to the death. Akin to gladiatorial fights, these fights are celebrated. It’s the only time that an upset of the order is allowed.

Killing another deviant is not only frowned upon but also, more often than not, a death warrant.

There’s no order to the chaos if we turn on each other.

We are comrades. We fight together. We protect each other.

We encourage death but only on our terms.

Upon joining the organization, each deviant is stripped of any lasting identity. It is only as a member of the Twelve, the highest-ranking position, that any of them get ‘adopted’ and inherit the names of their factions:

Boreas for the northern faction, Eurus for the eastern, Notus for the southern, and Zephyrus for the western faction.

And at the head of these demented, murderous ‘families,’ ruling with diamond-encrusted graphene fists, are the four Cardinals.

The leaders, the godfathers, the dictators.

Northridge of the northern faction.

Eastwood of the eastern faction.

Southwick of the southern faction.

Westlake of the western faction.

Little is known about any of the Cardinals because their individualities are forfeited. Their names, like the others’ in Venti, are inherited from their overthrown predecessors.

Although the average life expectancy of a deviant is not high, the Cardinals usually retain strenuous longevity of their terms. And thus, the details of their past disappear with the lost lives of their peers until they themselves become living myths.

It is the closest that a man, in the bare sense of the word, can achieve immortality.

But even immortality is fragile. Eternity is not guaranteed. Even gods have weaknesses, and demons are no different.

In an attempt to subdue those errant flaws, the deviants of Venti whisper an unofficial motto.

Weakness is fatal.

Emotions. Attachments. Anything that tethers a life to something beyond simple existence. Some might call it a ‘soul.’ In this organization, we call it ‘weakness.’

Those words are more than a warning.

They are a threat.

They are law.

It is not simply a warning that enemies will exploit these deficiencies — it is a promise of your disposal.

You’ve become the wolf with the broken leg. The threat to the pride. The runt of the pack.

We do not leave to nature what we can accomplish with our own hands.

The world is a cruel place, so we must be crueler.

We do not abide by the ‘survival of the fittest.’

We believe in the ‘survival of the merciless.’

 

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Prologue

 

I hold my hand out in front of me, expecting the jagged rooftops of the scenery to puncture my skin, but I feel nothing.

When my fist clenches down on the sight, there’s only air under my palms. And even that, I can’t hold onto.

From my seat on the roof wall of the Windrose, I see everything.

To one side, multi-million-dollar villas mounted onto green Californian hills, staking their claim to their self-made altars. To the other, grimy ghettos littering the dirty corners, spread like an urban infection. And in the vast space between, rows of houses and buildings lining this concrete rat maze of a city.

The aerial view reminds me that I’m trapped.

North.

East.

South.

West.

Filth in every direction, as far as the eye can see.

And in the distance, what lies in that innocuous ivory mansion on its own mountainous hill, is the worst filth to stain this city.

Westlake Manor ominously watches over everything from its pedestal.

It’s a scar upon the landscape. Cancer posing as a keloid. An endeavor to slice cleanly off this diseased plane of existence. And yet, it still stands because that’s what it is.

Cancer.

Its master always comes back, renewed and replaced in a neverending cycle.

“Careful,” a sultry voice purrs. “You’re leaking murderous intentions.”

Closing off any expression on my face, I don’t look to my intruder.

“The view is so nice up here.” Out of the corner of my eye, I see Kitty toss her head back over the edge of the roof as she stretches dangerously over the ledge. The wind carries her voice and sweeps her long, blonde hair into billowing wisps. “Perfect spot to watch the mansion blow up.”

Irritation flashes through me, and I just barely contain the twitch in my facial muscles.

Speaking carelessly as always.

For as long as I’ve been in the organization, no one hesitates to tell me I’ve got no sense of humor. I doubt telling them I don’t find the funny in senseless violence would get the point across. Especially when I can never be sure if they’re serious or not.

Particularly when it comes to the demented ‘humor’ of the others in the Twelve, who take their opportunity — or is it duty? — to Assassinate West as a God-decreed commandment.

Whether that’s a commandment from a prophet or a schizophrenic crackhead depends on their mood for any given day.

When I don’t respond, explosive noises blast out of Kitty’s mouth as she detonates her dainty little hands in bursts over the sight of West’s mansion.

My jaw clenches down.

Fucking lunatic.

But her imagination is contagious, tugging mine to drift along with hers, except I’m not seeing Michael-Bay-produced explosions.

No. It’s the image of a French Colonial house consumed by flames burned into my retinas. The place I once called ‘home’ burning to cinders with my parents’ corpses unwittingly being cremated inside is the last vivid memory I have of my past.

At least, of everything that happened before Elena’s trickling life was squeezed out of her in that dark, damp, and moldy cell.

A trained photographic memory honed to near-perfection, and yet, the past eludes me in the same way my hands can’t clutch onto the wind.

I shove these thoughts back into the locked room that the boy I used to be — the boy who died five years ago with my sister — haunts.

Not because I deserve peace — no, I still sit with Elena’s ghost staring unblinkingly at me, wordlessly asking how I dare breathe these stolen breaths — but because these fucking vultures will eat me alive if they detect any whiff of my self-inflicted torture.

Weakness is fatal.

And I don’t plan on dying tonight when it’s a real possibility.

I can’t die when I’ve just gotten one step closer to exacting my revenge.

“Do you think West’s office is bomb-proofed?” Kitty ponders aloud, breaking me out of my reverie. “Probably. But that won’t matter if we leave the bomb inside.”

My face twists into a scowl because she’s an idiot, and I can’t help the little twinge of concern at her recklessness. “Stop it, Kitty.”

If I weren’t already accustomed to her oddities, the sudden high-pitched shriek erupting from her would’ve alarmed me.

The scream slips into delirious laughter — a manic chiming giggle that’s just as insane as it is pleasing to hear.

How Kitty manages to make that work is a goddamn gift from the devil.

Which is also probably why she’s a batshit-crazy bitch.

Her laughter cuts off abruptly as she flashes her emerald gaze over to me. A mischievous grin tugs at her ruby-red lips as she dangles perilously over the roof wall. “Don’t tell me you’d feel bad if the complex blew up.”

“Hardly.” The idea doesn’t elicit any emotional or physiological response from me. Westlake Manor is headquarters. A living space. Shelter. It’s not like it’s a home. “Your rambling is annoying.”

“How sweet,” she purrs, her gaze lasers onto me like a cat watching its prey. “You’re worried.” Even though I’m not looking at her, she knows I’m watching through my periphery, and her hands travel up to squeeze her breasts. “I’m touched.”

Ignoring her, I swing off my perch on the ledge and brush the dust from my pants. “Who’s looking for me?”

Her silvery blonde hair looks like a halo of sunlight as she flips upright. Kitty slides up to me, her hands sensuously gliding up my chest and shoulders to wrap around the back of my neck.

“Why can’t I come see you because I want to?” Her voice gets low and husky as she barely brushes her lips against mine.

I arch an eyebrow and repeat, “Who?”

Her tongue flicks against my bottom lip as she husks, “West.”

Gripping her arms, I yank her off of me, scowling as I stalk towards the door. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

Giggling, she bounces along next to me, her steps light and nimble. “He just wants to congratulate you.”

Kitty twirls and leaps ahead of me, dancing her way to the door. She looks like a mischievous little fairy who lost her way, deserving of bright, bold colors instead of all the dull, grey concrete around us.

No matter how immune I am to her regular charm, it’s hard to keep my eyes off her. The way she mesmerizes the human eye is her gift.

And her weapon.

“Everyone else is looking for you too.” She spins around, sidling back up to me. I slow my steps but don’t stop. “Mach said you deserve a proper hazing.” Her fingers walk down my chest, inching farther and farther down. “But I have better ideas for a celebration.”

Her clear eyes gaze up through hooded lids, deceptively amorous.

A part of me wants to believe there’s something deeper about her feelings for me in those green orbs. Another part of me fortifies my wall with heavy caution.

And the rest of me doesn’t really care either way.

She gasps when I fist her hair and yank it back so her face meets mine.

Watching her pupils dilate, I skim my lips over hers.

The tiniest hint of the cool autumn air disappears between us as her breath hitches, indicating how much I affect her.

“Is that so?” I murmur.

She pushes her hips against mine, wiggling against the swelling evidence of how much she affects me.

“I’ll congratulate you after the ceremony,” she purrs, palming my semi-hard cock over my pants. “Tonight. My room.”

Her tongue flicks out to my lips, and I catch it between my teeth, nipping enough to give her a sting.

She quickly retaliates by biting down ferociously on my bottom lip, and a growl rips from my throat. The taste of iron lingers on my tongue.

Mercilessly tightening my grip on her hair, I forcefully push her down to her knees, and she clenches her teeth at the pain before grinning maniacally, her pupils rapidly devouring those glittering green irises.

She wraps her lips against the outline of my cock, and it takes all I have to keep from whipping it out of my pants and driving it deep into her throat.

But there’ll be time for that later.

With some reluctance, I pinch her chin between my fingers as I lock my gaze onto hers. “Make sure you’re ready to take me wherever I want to fuck you.”

The still air of our surroundings — humming with the white noise of wind whistling past, cars and civilians on the ground, and whatever insignificant lifeforms chirp and bark around us — is broken by the insanity cackling out of the heart-stopping beauty at my feet.

Shrieking giggles and depraved excitement that’d give anything with a pulse unforgiving chills down their warm spines. In another life, she would’ve inspired myths of banshees and sirens.

As much as I want to believe I’m the sane one in the Twelve, I know I’m just as crazy as the rest of them with how fucking turned on I am.

My cock is already rock-solid when I think about fucking her until her throat is raw, lips swollen, and flesh bruised.

She’s never begged me to stop, and it’s a challenge I’ll take on tonight to hear those pleas before I fuck all her holes again just for good measure.

What does that say about me?

I’m not really sure.

And honestly, I don’t fucking care.

I smirk with the unspoken promise between us, and she’s gazing up at me now with wild eyes and as close to a loving look that a deranged sociopath can make.

I’m fucking excited.

For many reasons, tonight will be a night to remember. And for the first time in a long time, I’m looking forward to the future.

Anticipation is the drug flooding my veins right now, heightened by this consuming lust Kitty and I feed on.

Sure, fucking Kitty will be particularly intense, but it’s only appropriate for a rebirthing to involve brutal, mind-consuming sex.

And that’s what tonight is.

Rebirth. Revival. Resurrection.

I was born Damien Costa.

I was blood-christened as one of many nameless deviants.

And now, I am Damien Zephyrus of the western faction’s Twelve.

But don’t get comfortable with it.

It’s a placeholder for the name I will soon bear, a simple byproduct for when I Assassinate the man who stole my life.

All you need to know is that I will be Damien, the man who killed Cardinal Westlake.

This marks the day I am one step closer to achieving my revenge.

This marks the beginning of my story.

 


 

All participants in the sexual scenes described in this book are consenting and of legal age.

 

None of these potential triggers are explicitly shown in the book.

They are mentioned, discussed, and/or happen “off-screen.”

  • Physical abuse of minors
  • Sexual abuse of minors
  • Death of parents
  • Death of children
  • Sexual assault
  • Violent depictions of death (for men and women)

 

These potential triggers are explicitly described in the book.

  • Underage drinking
  • Suicide attempt
  • Graphic violence and gore
  • Violent depictions of death (for men and women)
  • Verbal threats of all kinds of violence and assault (e.g. physical, sexual)
  • Rough/violent consensual sex

Category: Contemporary Fiction, Cover Reveal, Romance, Thriller/ Mystery / Suspense

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