CROW (Boston Underworld Book 1)

By: A. Zavarelli

I’m going to miss the hell out of her.

She’s the closest thing to family I’ve got left. I never had any real siblings, and my mother died before I was even out of diapers. Cancer.

But my father though?

He was a fucking legend.

Jack ‘the hammerfist’ Wilder. The reigning champion in Boston’s seedy underworld of boxing. Until he wasn’t. When the Russians couldn’t beat him with their fists, they beat him with a blunt knife in a dark alley.

I think my dad always knew he wasn’t long for this world. He only sped up the process by getting involved with the mob. I guess he felt by passing on the Wilder ways he’d give me a fighting chance. I was still in diapers when he started teaching me how to throw a punch. He didn’t know anything else. The man ate, breathed, and lived for boxing. He always said he couldn’t help me with math or teach me how to cook, but he could show me how to defend myself.

To me it was priceless. I learned to be scrappy, and never to apologize for shit. He showed me that I didn’t have to be the biggest or the toughest, I just needed to know how to hit where it hurts. And the Russians hit me where it hurts when they took him from me.

There was nothing I could do about it at the tender age of thirteen. But there’s plenty I can do about Talia. Pricks like the Russians and these Irish gangsters who run Slainte think they can do whatever the hell they want without consequence. That might be true in most cases, but they haven’t met the likes of me.

I’m the daughter of Jack Wilder. A third generation Irish-American with champion’s blood running through my veins. I was raised on the streets of Southie, and I’m not afraid of anyone. I’ll take on every single one of those motherfuckers and I’ll do it with a smile on my face. And when it’s all over, they will rue the day they ever met or fucked with Talia Parker.

More than likely sensing my train of thought, Scarlett shoots me a knowing glance.

“Do you want to take my lucky knife, just in case?”

“Naw.” I grin at her. “You need that for your clients. My body is a deadly weapon.”

My sense of humor doesn’t even faze Scarlett in the slightest. “It isn’t as easy as you think, Mack. I’ll tell you that much. Don’t forget what it’s like when you’re outnumbered.”

I hop up off my mat and windmill my arms.

I know she’s right, but I’m not going to let her see it. Scarlett’s been selling her body for years. Her soul jumped ship a long time ago. She would know better than anyone what it’s like to be outnumbered. The horror is still written in her eyes. And yet she continues to put herself at risk every day. I made peace with her decisions a long time ago. You can’t change a leopard’s spots. Broken people can only fix themselves.

As for me, I’m painfully aware that I can’t rewrite history. Whatever happened to Talia is done. I can’t change that either. But I will get my answers. I’m going to get Agent Cameron her proof, and I’ll march back in there and slap it on her sad desk with a smile on my face and brighten her whole fucking year.

Scarlett watches me stretch with feigned indifference. She has the same dull look on her face every day I do my three-hour practice. But even she can’t hide the small glint of pride in her eyes at how far I’ve come.

The last six months have been entirely dedicated to this. A combination of martial arts, yoga and pilates helps me stay strong and focused without building too much muscle tone. Scarlett says I can use this to my advantage because at five-foot-two I’m about as intimidating as a kitten. People underestimate me, and I plan to use and abuse that in every way possible.

“You’re going to kick ass,” she says.

 “I always do.” I blow her a kiss and head to the fridge to grab a bottle of water.

“Just… be careful, okay?”

I pause when I hear the slight tremor in her voice. It makes a little ball of emotion form in my throat. I promptly choke it back down.

“How much longer do you have?” I ask her.

“An hour,” she says. “Enough time to quiz you on all the different ways to bring a man to his knees. Theoretically, of course.”

She says it like I’m going to fail, so I rub my hands together and shoot her an evil grin.

“Bring it on, Scarlett. Bring it on.”

Chapter Three


Boston is a cultural melting pot. One steeped in a rich history of corruption, oppression, and bloodshed. This city was built off the back of immigrants. Immigrants like my great grandfather.

When he and his brothers left Ireland to escape British rule, they dreamt of a better life. Unbeknownst to them they were coming to a society that deemed them scum the moment they stepped off the boat.

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