CROW (Boston Underworld Book 1)

By: A. Zavarelli

Didn’t bother me much, really. My grand-da was from a different generation. One that believed in keeping the lineage strong and true. I was only too happy to follow in his footsteps. At the age of sixteen, I was inducted into the MacKenna Syndicate. Proudest day of my life to swear that blood oath. He never said so, but Carrick was proud too.

He started out the old ways. Armored trucks and bank jobs. Drugs and gambling. Those things, he knew. The only ways he knew. He brought me into the fold, but it was the man who sits beside me now who made me what I am. He’s been my mentor over the last decade. Took on the role Carrick couldn’t. Together, we’ve moved the outfit into modern times. Every step of the way, Carrick fought it. The syndicate as it stands today, this is not my grand-da’s mafia. Niall believed cleaning up our act was the only way to thrive. Eventually, Carrick came around.

Doesn’t matter now. He’s gone. The Saint Anthony medallion burns against my palm. My bloodline is dead. We’re closer than ever to an alliance with the Russians, but one of our own is lost. It doesn’t seem a fair sacrifice.

Things will change now. Already it lingers between Niall and I. This weight of responsibility. The burden of proving my loyalty to the man beside me and affirming my dedication to the syndicate. Carrick’s shoes won’t be easy to fill, but you won’t find one more eager than me to pay his dues. Niall won’t give it easily. Sean will challenge me for the role. By birth, he has more rights to be Niall’s successor than I ever will. But I want it. The taste lingers on my lips with how badly I want it.

“Do ye believe ye’re ready for what comes next?” Niall asks.


Blood will be shed. Heads will roll. And there will be wedding bells in the future.

That’s the only part I struggle to get onboard with. But I will if Niall chooses me. There isn’t a thing I won’t do for the syndicate. To seal this alliance and do right by Carrick. I will take my Russian bride, along with my rightful place as Niall’s second in command.

Nothing and no one will stand in the way of that.

 “I’d like to run point on this,” I tell Niall.

Dark eyes find mine, glinting with respect. From his hair to his features, everything about Niall is dark. Men cower and exult in his presence. He is hard. But fair, too. This is how I know he will agree to my request.

“I’d expect nothing less.”

Silence falls between us as he gives some thought to the matter.

“Ye can go tomorrow.”

“Tonight,” I insist.

His eyes appraise me, weighing my motivations.

“The funeral is today,” I point out. “We won’t be expected. Already, they’ve made arrangements to change the location of a shipment on Saturday. They’re preparing for the obvious.”

Niall drums his fingers against the flask and then nods. “Let the Russians have it for their troubles. A token of our appreciation.”

My fist crushes the medal in my palm with the force of adrenaline pumping through my veins. Bloodlust. Revenge.

I’ve a taste for it tonight.

Niall glances at his watch and then stands up. “Well if ye’re going this evening, you best get on with it then.”

Together, we walk out the front doors. Before we part ways, he slaps me on the shoulder and squeezes.

“Ye’ve lost your grand-da,” he says. “But know that you’ll always be considered me son.”


“So this is the place, hey?” Rory stares up at the weathered house from our position on the footpath. “Figures the cunts would live here.”

Not a one of us feels remorse for what comes next. This Armenian gang is only growing in number with each passing day, intent on staking their claim. They’ve stepped on toes. Our toes, to be precise, and the Russians as well. But it isn’t just us. I hear the Italians have been taking issue with them too.

Stepping on toes is one thing. Shooting up the deli where my grand-da was meeting with the Russians? Entirely another. There’s only one price to be paid for such an act.

Ronan takes his rightful spot at my side, and the rest of the lads follow suit.

“How’d ye like to do this, then?” asks Ronan.

“Yeah, boss,” mimics Sean. “How’d you want to do this?”

We walk up onto the porch. I haven’t any instructions for them except one.

“Kill them all.”

Chapter Two


Leaning forward for balance, I curl my knees in to rest on the back of my arms.

Crow pose.

It’s a simple posture. A two-step process, broken into the most basic of arm balances. And yet it took me forever to master. If I were the type to mentally dissect and examine the reasons behind this- which I’m not- it wouldn’t be too hard to figure out.

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