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East End

East End

Author:Nana Malone


New Adult

There is no rest for the wicked.And I have to confess, I have indeed been wicked.I have one job. Protect the team by keeping Interpol Agent, Nyla Kincaid, off our backs and out of our hair by any means necessary. In the chess game of revenge, the queen reigns supreme. And unfortunately for me, she's ready to topple the king.She know what we did. What we stole. Who we burned. And she won’t stop until she unearths all of our secrets.I might be a member of the Elite, but I’m done being a gentleman. If Nyla won’t stop, she’ll force me to play my hand.I’m just as ruthless as she is, but unlike her, I don’t believe in rules.My name is East Hale, and these are my confessions.


She was faster than she looked. What the fuck?

The woman darted out of the private room and into the bar. I followed as quickly as I could, but I had to avoid tripping over Livy. I practically jumped over a chair, and narrowly avoided the hostess, so she had a lead of several feet on me.

I was out of the backroom in the VIP area like a shot. And the woman in front of me turned back, her eyes slightly widening when she saw that I was approaching.

She grabbed one of the busboys by the collar and shoved him toward me, then she sprinted.

No way was she going to be fast enough.

I spun around him, avoided a table with a couple on a date, then scooted around the pair of blondes who eyed me appreciatively.

Note to self: Come back for them later.

Then I bolted out the door.

I saw her running to the right, long legs eating pavement. Oh, she was a runner. Awesome. I was too. London Marathon, five years running. Former track athlete. This was going to be a Sunday job.

She quickly darted across the street, and I followed suit, ignoring the cars blaring their horns at us.

As she crossed the park, she started to lose some of her steam, which was when I picked up speed.

Up the hill, her legs stopped working for her and started working against her.

She slowed, and that gave me just enough advantage to put on a burst of speed and catch up to her. I grabbed her by the back of her shirt, yanking her back. "Nah, uh—uh—uh—uh. You don't get to take pictures of me and my friends and not at least tell us your name." I was irritated that I was huffing and puffing.

Jesus Christ, she was fast.

"I know all about you and your friends, the kind of men you are."

As I spoke to her, I felt along her arm. Then I spread my hands across her waist, lifted her top, and pulled the wire. She reached for it, but I kept it just out of reach. "Uh—huh, this is the camera, isn't it?"

What I didn't account for was her quick thinking, and her knee came straight for my balls. I turned my leg just in time to catch her knee on the side of my thigh. It still hurt like a son of a bitch. "What the fuck? Who are you?" I didn't let her go, and she continued to struggle. As I held on to her, and I grabbed and tried to pull the camera free one handed, but it wouldn't come off.

"Let me go."

"No, not until you tell me who you are and who you work for. I'm not going to hurt you, but I can't let you run loose. So who are you?"

"Someone who's going to see all of you burn."

"Bold words for a captive woman."

"Oh, you think I'm your captive, do you?"

She elbowed me, and I doubled over. "Jesus fucking Christ."

She tried to twist free, and when my hands slipped, I hooked into her belt instead, and she fell on the ground with me. I rolled on top of her. "Stop moving. I don't want to hurt you."

I still tried to yank the camera from her body. "I just want the camera. You can't take pictures. I don't know who you are or what you want, or what story you think you saw, but it's not happening. Not today."

"I will end you."

"I'm sorry sweetheart, but aren't I the one on top of you?"

Then a jolt hit me. Right in the center of my chest, and I felt like I had been punched by Thor's fucking hammer. I jerked back, convulsing. She rolled me off easily then. "I told you, you can't hurt me. People like you aren't going to hurt me again."

She stood over me, and I could see that the messy brown hair she had tied at the nape of her neck was a wig. It was askew at the front. Her hair was darker. Chestnut maybe? It was hard to tell in the dark.

Fuck. Why couldn't I move? My teeth started to chatter, and I jumped. Fuck.

Then she reached down to my hand. I tried desperately to hold on to the camera, and we fought for it. What was a valiant fight in my head, to her was my laughingly feeble attempt to hang on, because she plucked it easily out of my hand.

"You, East Hale, are going down. I won't stop until I crumble the house of cards. Do you understand me?" She leaned close, and the scent of honeysuckle filled my senses. Then along with not being able to fucking move, I couldn't breathe either, but in a good way. It was like her scent wrapped around me, enticing me, and then when it was too late, choking me.

I wasn't sure how long I laid there seizing. God, had she used a Taser on me?

That was how Bridge found me, on my back. He was panting from the run. "Christ, both of you are fucking fleet footed. I saw her hit you when I was across the street. Are you okay?"

I blinked up at him and groaned. "Fuck me."

With a cheeky smile he said, "East, we've talked about this. You're not my type. I like you as a mate."

"Fuck you."

He grinned. "I see you're getting back to fighting form. You'll be all right. What did she hit you with?"

That buzzing in my head and my teeth had to mean she'd hit me with a fucking Taser. She came prepared with a Taser. Why?

Bridge pulled me to a sitting position, and I dragged in slow, steady breaths. "Fuck, that hurts."

"Is it actually pain or tingles?"

I groaned. "I guess more tingles. My teeth, God, they feel awful."

"Yeah, that's a lot of voltage. I think you should get checked out by the doc."

I shook my head. "I'll have the staff doctor come to the penthouse. I'm sure it's fine, but fuck me, who was that woman?"

"Well, you're the one who went after her. And you caught her. She didn't tell you anything?"

I studied my friend in the darkness, the moonlight making his jet—black hair appear slightly bluish. I opened my palm, displaying the SD card I'd stolen out of the camera. "I am still Elite, remember? I have some tricks up my sleeve."

Bridge squatted down next to me and took the SD card out of my hand, studying it. "So you fooled one little girl. How long will it take before she finds out her SD card is missing?"

"I'm not sure, but it could be a day. But I'm sure that I'll have everything off of that thing tonight."

"Of course, you will."

I glanced around, staring into the darkness, wondering if she had turned back to watch her theoretical kill.

"I don't know who you are princess, but I will find out, and then you and I are going to have a very long chat about why you don't tase strangers."



My legs ached. My lungs burned. But still, I forced my arms to keep pumping.

If your arms moved quickly, then your legs moved quickly. And I could not afford to slow down.

I'd miscalculated. I'd thought it would be easy. I'd should have probably predicted this outcome. I just didn't want it to be a failure.

You almost got caught.

Run. Run. Run. Run.

I darted down the alleyway despite the lack of illumination; I could only hope nothing unseen waited to trip me. The safe passage was on the other side. Amelia had a car waiting, and all I had to do was make it to her.

I didn't hear footsteps behind me. I didn't hear anyone chasing after me. I didn't know if they were giving chase, or if they were coming, but that one guy. Hale. East Hale. He had followed me out of the restaurant.

The real question was if he'd recognized me or not. No one should have. The disguise I'd worn was a good one. I kept going but slowed my steps as I stripped off the black hoodie I'd been wearing, pulling the arms through and reversing it so the red inner lining became the outer layer. I thrust my arms into the sleeves again and snapped it on. As I sped up again, I spat out the filaments used to plump out my cheeks. Then I peeled off the latex I'd used to fashion a nose for myself and tossed it at the nearest bin.

I yanked the wig off my head and shoved it in my pocket because I didn't want to leave it where it might be found.

Listen, no one is following you.

I wasn't dumb enough to believe that. I'd been trained too well. I knew someone could be following whether I them him or not. I knew it wasn't safe to stop and check my clothing. I might have been tagged with a listening device even as I ran.

The dark alleyway narrowed, between the Marks and Sparks and the Cock and Crow pub, late night revelers and bustling traffic noise shielded by the buildings. Christ I wanted to take a breather.

No! Don't stop. Rest later.

This was my I shat the bed egress route and I needed to stick to the plan.

I ran and ignored the pounding of my heart, the screaming of my lungs, the weight in my legs. Ignore it, just run. Safety first. Worry later.

I raced to the end of the alley. Not even looking around me to see what might be waiting for me. Everything posed potential danger. Getting my body safe was the first thing I needed to do. My kidney ached from where I'd taken the hit. My shoulder throbbed from where I'd fallen. But I'd catalogue the injuries later. I would worry about those consequences later.

My partner Amelia Jennings jerked her head up as I stumbled into the car. "Jesus fucking Christ, Nyla, what the hell is wrong with you?"

"Drive," I managed to grind out.

In a flash the MINI Cooper's tires spun, and then she shifted like a Formula One Pro, swerving into traffic. Fighting the burn in my lungs and panting as I spoke, I gasped, "I think I was followed."

Amelia Jansen's eyes went wide. "You're serious?"

I groaned. "Unfortunately." Then I put my finger to my lips, indicating she should be quiet as I peeled off my jacket and then flung it out the window as we passed a bin.

My tank top went next as I tugged it over my head and pitched it with the jacket then contorted and shimmied out of the black stretch bottoms I'd worn. Amelia rapidly blinked over at me, but she kept swerving like she was auditioning for The Italian Job.

I kept expecting to hear the shrill chirp of sirens. But there was nothing other than the bustle and honk of taxis, revelers and tourists.

Were we even being followed?

You can't take that risk.

Amelia slowed as we approached an alley and in the dimness between two streetlamps, the clothes went out the window.

She lifted a brow as if asking, 'Are you clear?'

I nodded. "I— I think so. Let me check the camera."

Delicately, I ran my fingers over all the edges of the camera that I'd been using to take pictures. I looked for anything out of order, out of place. "I think we're good. But let me just grab the SD card."

She groaned. "Thank God that camera is intact. The requisition paperwork was going to be a nightmare."

"I wish I could say Of course it's in one piece, but it was touchy for a minute there. Bastard almost smashed it." After a careful search, I hadn't found any listening devices. With a sigh of relief, I flipped open the SD card holder and muttered a curse under my breath.

"What's wrong?" Amelia asked.


"What? Talk to me, Ny. What's happened?"

"He took it." I held up the camera and showed her the empty SD card slot.

She frowned. "Shit."

Plowing my hands through my hair, I tried to fight off the impending panic.

If you panic, you are out of the game. Breathe.

I forced myself to drag in a long deep breath, hold it, and then release it slowly by counts. "I went into the restaurant as planned. While I was serving, I was in there twice before they even noticed anything. But this fucking camera, one of them saw it. And then he chased me. I ran. God, I didn't think anyone would follow, or that he'd be that quick, quite frankly."

"You didn't take evasive maneuvers?"

I choked out a laugh. "Are you fucking kidding me? I ran for my life. Yeah, I took evasive maneuvers. He was just faster than I expected."

Amelia took up my hand. "Relax, take another deep breath."

My brain offered up helpful images of me fighting that arsehole. He was supposed to be a lazy billionaire. But oh no. The twat had fight skills. Actual martial arts fight skills. He had fucking surprised me.

I had done my research on the London Lords, as they called themselves. I was looking for proof of secret society. There had been whispers, rumors. Filthy rich men who were the real London power brokers and I knew in my gut the London Lords were part of it.

I had studied their movements, where they went, who they talked to, who their friends were. I'd just needed evidence of and all my evidence was fucking gone.

"Okay, I went in there. I took my pictures. I was trying to identify all the players, and fuck, there were some people I didn't recognize in the room. And then he saw me, and he chased me, and we had a fucking fight in the park. He was good. Amelia, Jesus Christ, like you read about, he was good."

"So what, are you hurt?"

Even as I shook my head no, I rubbed my shoulder where I took the brunt of my fall, but still it was my kidney that hurt the worst. "Not in a real way. I don't think he was trying to hurt me. Lucky couple of punches." Bullshit. He had you dead to rights.

"You were so lucky Ny. If he'd managed to subdue you. If you'd been caught. It would have been both of our asses. That wasn't a sanctioned operation."

Did she have so little faith in me? "I never would have given your name."

She rolled her eyes. "Process of elimination. I'm your best mate and we're almost always attached at the hip." She had a point there. With a frustrated sigh, she took the exit toward Camberwell and my townhouse. "How did he get the drop on you. That disguise should have worked.

I shifted in my seat with a wince. "He was, at the very least, as good as I am. And he didn't get the drop, he was lucky."

Amelia slid a glance at me. "What are we going to do?"

I looked at the camera. "I'm not sure yet, but I'm not giving up until we manage to pin something on the London Lords. "

"If anyone can do it. It'll be you."

I fucking prayed she was right because I'd lost this opportunity tonight. Cocked it right up. I only knew the London Lords as Bennett James Covington, East Hale, and Bridge Edgerton. They had another friend, Drew Wilcox. I didn't know much about him. Wife, family, that was it. Covington had a fiancée, I guessed, now. Edgerton also had a fiancée. They'd been engaged for two years; still had made no move to get married. That was all I had.

No sufficient proof and now no surveillance photos either.

"We know their involved in something larger. They are tied to the Van Linsted case. We'll just need to prove it."

She was right. "When I'd met Ben Covington earlier in the year, my instincts told me something was up with him. The more I pulled that thread. the more questions I had.

Then my case mysteriously been tied up. With an additional high—profile case tossed in. I'd gotten credit for both busts. But I knew what they were. A pay off of sorts. Ben Covington didn't want me looking into him and his friends…and I needed to know why.