#Read An #Excerpt From Bottle Banished By C. L. Riley
Reid Romans POV
“Where is it, Dane? Shit! Do you know what they’ll do to us if we don’t deliver the entire order?” Reid shoved his best friend since grade school, wanting to punish him for his stupidity.
Dane lost his balance but pushed back. “Just give him the money. It’s not like you don’t have an abundance of it. This was your fucking idea, anyway.”
Reid stepped back and ran his hand through his hair. Dane was right. It had been his idea to sell enough cocaine to invest in their own business without asking his dad for startup cash. He was sick of having strings attached to everything his father gave him. Now it wasn’t just strings attached; he could have lived with that. It was more like chains—chains that couldn’t be broken.
He wished he’d gone to his father for a loan. It was too late, and they were in way too deep.
When they’d met Carlos at a party, the idea of quick money, quick big money, had seemed too easy. Turn the coke over for a hefty profit by selling to the rich yuppies they’d grown up with and college students looking for a thrill. Pay what they owed to Carlos, and move on.
Only problem, they hadn’t moved on.
It was nine months later, and they’d graduated from college and were stilling selling dope to Portland’s privileged. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way, but Carlos had disappeared one day and their new supplier, Don, wasn’t as understanding as his predecessor. He said people who stopped selling were snitches, and snitches got put in the ground, if they were lucky; decapitated and dismembered first, if they weren’t.
So here they were, in a warehouse parking lot, with a missing ounce of cocaine from the ten they were supposed to deliver to one of Don’s contacts. Reid knew it wasn’t the money that mattered. It was the principle. You didn’t take what wasn’t yours from the cartel.
He’d figured out from Carlos that they were dealing with one of the largest and most deadly cartels operating in the US. Marco “The Smasher” Santiago was expanding his network into the Pacific Northwest, moving north from California into Oregon and Washington. Portland was his first stop.
“They’re going to kill us. You know that, right?” Dane said, sounding bleak. He was pacing by their van. His gun tucked in his waistband.
Reid pulled his own pistol, gripping it by his side. Don would be meeting them to ensure things went smoothly. The customer was a first time buyer that Don had high hopes for. “Not if we kill them first.” Reid couldn’t believe he was seriously thinking about shooting someone.
How the fuck did he get to this point?
He stared at Dane, a horrible accusation forming in his head. “How could you lose an ounce of blow?”
Dane shrugged, looking like a kid caught with his hand in a cookie jar.
“You’ve been smoking the shit again, haven’t you?” Reid had bailed him out of a similar situation in the past. That time Dane had come to him, giving them time to replace the missing cocaine.
Dane dropped his head, his guilt confirmed.
“Oh. My. Fucking. God. You’re the reason we’re short!” Reid raged. “Fuck this! You explain it to Don. See if he’ll take your money. I’m not dying because you’re a damn crack head.” He stalked off toward a nearby building, looking for a place to disappear until the deal was done.
Truth was: Don liked Dane best. There was a chance he’d overlook Dane’s mishap. They brought in a crap load of money for the cartel and had connections Don would never be able to keep without their help.
Maybe they would be okay.
Reid heard the cars before spotting them. Two black sedans, their headlights off, pulled into the lot, parking next to the van. Don got out and held up a hand, signaling the customers to wait. Leaving the driver’s door open, he stalked over to Dane with his trademark cocky swagger. Dane was already talking fast and gesturing dramatically. Reid could tell he was on the verge of crying. He’d known his friend long enough to know the signs.
Don nodded and patted Dane on the shoulder.
Reid let out a sigh of relief. It appeared Dane was getting a pass this time. His friend turned to open the van doors, and Don stepped closer, pulling his gun.
Everything switched to slow motion.
“N-o-o-o-o-o!” Reid yelled, dashing from his spot behind a stack of crates. Firing at Don, he charged the van. Don bellowed, grabbing his thigh. Before Reid could reach him, Don shoved his weapon’s muzzle into Dane’s chest.
The blast was so loud Reid stumbled back. Dane slumped to the ground. The other car spun around, screeching out of the parking lot.
Raising his gun again, Reid aimed for Don’s head. He hesitated, giving him enough time to dive into his car. Reid fired again, hitting the door, but it was too late. Don gunned the engine and peeled out after his colleagues.
Dropping to his knees, his body convulsed. Reid vomited through his sobs. After a few minutes, he felt empty. He had to do something.
Sirens in the distance propelled him into action. He hoisted Dane into the van, refusing to look at the gaping cavern in his chest, and steered with care down the access ramp to the water’s edge, guiding the van in as far as he could. With the gearshift set on neutral, he got out and pushed, well aware there was an immediate drop-off from the ramp. With a glance, he confirmed what he’d hoped for. The van was sinking in the deep water, his best friend’s body and the blow along with it.
He didn’t have time to wait around. The sirens were closer. Someone must have heard the gunshots.
Afraid to look back, he used adrenaline’s waning surge to escape up an old service road he’d noticed on their last delivery. He didn’t stop running until he’d reached his penthouse condo, three miles from the docks.
Collapsing on the couch, he glanced at his hands, relieved to see the leather gloves he always wore for their drops still in place. They were covered in his friend’s blood, but at least he hadn’t left any prints. The van was registered to a dead man, and he and Dane had made sure to keep it free from anything that might identify them.
“Dane…” his voice cracked. He’d let him die.
He slammed his fist down, cracking the glass table. His cell tumbled from his pocket, its light blinking.
Realizing he had a new text, he scanned the message.
“What happened to your partner, just happened to your girlfriend. What was her name? Oh, Misty. That’s right. Don’t worry. Your turn is coming.”
Reid bolted up in his bed. He gasped, filling his lungs.
Why wasn’t he on a park bench?
Memories of their earlier passion flooded his mind, chasing away the dream’s lingering influence, the brutal images fading. His breathing returned to normal. He hadn’t had the dream in months. The alcohol kept it at bay.
No wonder it was back. He was sober. A night without booze was all it took for his memories to surface.
“Reid?” Genie stepped from the bathroom wearing nothing. “Are you okay?”
“I am now.” He let his gaze travel over her curves, stopping at the juncture between her thighs. “Did I wake you?” He was ashamed by how just the sight of Genie naked exiled his miserable memories. He’d been beating himself mentally every day since that night. But with her standing there, it was impossible not to want her.
Genie paused, looking confused by the question. “No. I was…”
“Never mind. Just come back to bed.” He needed inside her.
He needed to forget.
A knowing smile spread across her face. “If you insist.”
Damn, she was adorable. “I do insist. In fact, I command you to get your gorgeous ass over here right now.”
“And if I don’t?” she teased, already moving closer.
“I’ll have to punish you.”
She let out a little gasp.
“Punishment isn’t all bad,” he soothed, his arousal skyrocketing just thinking about the ways he could punish and please her.
“Show me, Master.” Her eyes locked on his. “I am yours to command.”
Genie thought learning how to “do” The Hustle was the worst thing about 1977, right along with strobe lights and disco balls, but she discovers something far worse the day she is bottle banished by an unsanctioned hunter obsessed with her destruction.
Thirty-seven years later, she is awakened from her spellbound slumber by a homeless alcoholic who wants whiskey not a wish. Overwhelmed with shame and keeping secrets from even himself, Reid Romans is the worst master ever.
He stinks. He’s dirty. He’s rude, but even more maddening; he’s sinfully sexy under all the filth and attitude.
When his green-eyed gaze captures Genie for the first time, she’s hooked, and being hooked on a human is not acceptable or allowed according to the genie rule book.
While Reid’s unsavory past bites hard at his heels, and he’s accused of a murder he didn’t commit, a powerful jinn is stalking Genie, intent on adding her to his harem. She has rejected him too many times to count, but he won’t stop until he claims her—body and soul.
Genie and Reid have way more than one love-sick jinn to deal with. A ruthless FBI agent; a cold-blooded cartel; and a hateful hunter, who wants genie back in her bottle, banished forever; keep them fighting for freedom and against the desire flaring between them.
Dark secrets, forbidden love, and simmering suspense take Genie and Reid on an unforgettable journey where the past and future collide and wishes run out.
Please be advised: Bottle Banished is a multiple POV (Point of View) dark fantasy that portrays graphic drug use, violence, language, and sexual situations some may find offensive, including dubious consent, light BDSM, and a Ménage à Trios. There is a Happily Ever After (HEA) for now, but several doors remain open for future installments.
Readers will uncover numerous references to current and past pop culture sprinkled throughout the story. Watch author’s website for contests connected to these references!
Available at Amazon
About The Author:
C. L. Riley is addicted to books, coffee, and playing around on the Internet where she cyber stalks things she enjoys. She has a passion for reading dark fantasy, biker romance, paranormal romance, erotic thrillers, and everything “genie.” She has four books to her credit under a different name, thus the missing author photo. For now, she is keeping her other identity top secret.
A native of Portland, Oregon, C.L. Riley has a son in college and a teenage daughter that keeps her on her toes at home. Her house is filled with books; something her kids, to her dismay, call clutter. She is working on book two in the Bottle Banished series and the Scorched Souls serial, a four-part, biker romance serial series.
Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9874055.C_L_Riley