Chapter 2: Finding Carter: Seven days after Carter was
It wasn’t his fault. He’d come to that conclusion days
ago. He didn’t want to be this person, and he knew his mother was surely
looking down on him from heaven with disappointment. But Nathan couldn’t
control himself. He was acting out and he knew it, he didn’t need to be told.
But there was no way he would stop. The Steele Family brought this upon there
selves. If Anastacia and his father hadn’t have kept him out of the loop on the
whole Silas Steele bullshit in the first place, they would
have gotten further in their search a long time ago. Both Angelo and Anastacia
had bigger armies than Nathan, much more experience and knowledge
about the past, and Nathan knew that. When it came to all of that, he
wasn’t ashamed to admit that he needed their help. But what he had, that they
didn’t have, was what made this search for his wife move a lot quicker.
Connections . . .
Nathan had some very powerful friends
that had even more powerful friends. Nathan’s
friendships and connections were what made him excel so quickly in the criminal
world. Had he gone around wearing his last name like a badge of honor, he would
have had the same enemies his dad had. But that was not what he did.
Nathan slipped smoothly into the advantage that was given to him by the criminal
Yes, he knew it may have sounded stupid to do so, but
being a Mafia Don’s son had both advantages and disadvantages. Nathan had never
wanted any disadvantages, so he wore the title “The Russian” like
a badge of honor. Nathan Salerno had responsibilities to
others. He had businesses to run, a father to please, and he was being groomed
to be the Don of a powerful mafia family.
The Russian had none of that.
The Russian was already a boss. He was a leader, a man
both feared and respected. He’d already proven himself. Both men and women
alike in the criminal underworld knew not to fuck with him or his men. He’d
earned the power and influence he had in the most brutal and unimaginable ways,
and he was proud of the accomplishment. He and his men started one of the
biggest Mafia wars in the history of the criminal world and won. He had no one
to please, and his responsibilities were only to himself and the ones he loved.
Many wondered why a man as young as Nathan was already
so powerful, so fearless. The answer was simple. Every step Nathan had taken
thus far was well thought out, well calculated, and based off of a lesson
he’d learned in the past. While most children tuned their mothers and fathers
out when they’d try to teach them something, Nathan had listen. He remembered
every detail of his father’s rise to power, the steps he’d took, the mistakes
he’d made, and people he’d had to eliminate in order to gain power and respect.
Nathan mapped out his own rise to power even after his mother had died.
He took the good advice from all that would give it, and weeded out the bad. He
learned from the mistakes of others instead of making his own. There was no
room for mistakes if he wanted to be someone everyone remembered.
That was a lesson his mother taught him.
Nathan didn’t even think his father knew of the
knowledge his mother had when she was alive. How she got that knowledge, Nathan
hadn’t know, nor had he wanted to know. His mother lectured him just as
much as his father did, and Nathan listened to every word. She had always told
him that she didn’t want him to be just like his father; she wanted him to be
better. She’d always say that Angelo was too closed off, too mean, and he
lacked the charm of a great businessman. “Every good leader needs powerful
allies, and you can’t have allies if every person of power is an enemy. There
is more to being a leader than being feared and respected. It is important to
be loved too, even liked as a person. You have to prove yourself to be someone
worth protecting. Money isn’t enough to convince a man to protect you, to be
loyal to you. They need to love you. Don’t just be their boss, be their friend,
their brother. Make sure they know when you are being a boss and when you are
being a friend. Don’t just take from them, give something in return. It needs
to be fifty, fifty. You show just as much mercy as you show brutality. This way
you will not be too predictable. Then you will be better than your father, yes.”
“Yes, mama” Nathan said aloud in Russian as he rolled
up his sleeves. “No room for mistakes.”
Nathan walked forward slowly toward the wounded man
sitting in the chair in front of him. His name was Vladek Steele. Yes, he was
very much a Steele. Nathan had finally done it, and it had only taken him days.
They had found one of the Steele family homes. The place was like a little
city, in Germany of all places, but it was packed with Silas’s misfit family.
He never returned to the States after he’d found out
his wife was taken, he went straight to the person he knew could help him.
Boris Arseny Fredrick Bashmakov. But in the criminal underworld, he was known
as the one and only Freddy Russia.
“These Steele men and women have quite the tight lip,
Russian” Freddy said, walking up from behind Nathan and standing next to him.
“I wonder if he’d sing as beautifully as his Aziz did, when I made him my
Nathan chuckled, but didn’t respond to Freddy. He
looked Vladek Steele in the eyes and was impressed by the man’s lack of fear.
Nathan was sure that Vladek knew he was at a disadvantage. He was also sure the
man knew that the Steeles were losing the war that they’d started, but he
showed no weakness. Nathan respected him for that, but he also resented him for
As long as Vladek kept his mouth shut, he was of no
use to Nathan. Nathan knew Vladek had the information he needed. He just didn’t
know how he was going to get that information out of him. The man was…well, he
“Vladek?” Nathan said his name and the man turned his
cold, blank green gaze to him. “I’m going to try and reason with you…”
“Reason with me?” he asked a German accent thickening
Nathan nodded and sat down in a seat positioned in
front of Vladek.
“Vladek, I want you to put yourself in my position.”
“I am in your position!” Vladek snapped. “You killed
men I love, my brothers!”
“And you did some killing as well if I’m remembering
correctly. You think I do not love my men, my friends, my family?”
It had been a full-on war between two armies when
they’d first arrived to the Steele’s estate. There was no mercy shown and many
men and woman- from both sides- lost their lives. Vladek and one other were the
only Steele’s taken from the massacre before the police arrived on the scene.
“You came to our home” Vladek growled. “You expected
us to let you come into our territory and make demands. You expect us to obey
you, and not put up a fight?”
Nathan sat back in his seat and frowned. “Of course
not” he said truthfully. “Just as I am sure you do not expect me not to fight
for my family. Silas sent people into my territory. Not only did they attack my
family, they took my wife.”
“The only person Silas sent to retrieve his daughter
was Adrien Stone. Silas did not order that attack on your family. Silas was
going to kill you and then take his daughter and bring her home. After Adrien
didn’t return he found out you were her lover. He had no knowledge that you
were her husband. He didn’t even take the time to learn that you were Angelo’s
Nathan took a deep calming breath. Vladek was now
giving him information, but it wasn’t the information he needed, nor did he
want it. Normally Nathan was stickler for educating himself on a situation
before proceeding, but this particular issue was different. Nathan had no
patients, nor did he have any more time to waste. It had been seven days since
Carter was taken from New York and with every passing second he didn’t have her
with him, Nathan was slowly losing his mind, as well as losing himself.
Nathan shut his eyes tight and pinched the bridge of
He tried to calm himself before it happened again. It
was something that had been happening every day since Carter was taken by
the same man that took away his mother. It always started with the light tap of
his foot on the floor, and then the tense feeling would move to his hands. His
fists clenched and unclenched at his sides and the veins in his neck pulsed
angrily as every muscle in his body felt as if it would burst free from his
He pulled himself together as much as he could. “Do
you know where my wife is?” His voice was tight as he tried his absolute best
not to snap. If he killed this man, than there was a chance that he’d never
find his wife.
Vladek looked at him, appearing disgusted by him.
“Look at you” he shook his head as if he were disappointed. “The great Russian,
pining over some woman. You’re pathetic!” he spat. “Weak! Look at yourself!” he
shouted. “You reek of desperation. Consider the silence I will give you before
you kill me a gift. This woman makes you weak. If you are to be a leader, you
need nothing holding you back. You do not start a war over a woman, boy.”
By the time the last word left Vladek’s mouth, Nathan
was hollow. So much was said to him while he sat silently in his seat for a
full ten minutes staring at an also silent Vladek Steele. After ten minutes had
passed Nathan quietly stood to his feet and left the room. He barely heard Kyle
and Freddy behind him, asking him what he was doing. He kept his mind blank and
didn’t answer their questions. It didn’t matter anyway. They’d find out what he
was doing soon enough.