Kraven (VLG Series Book 2)

By: Laurann Dohner

VLG – Book Two

Chapter One

Guilt and regret were two things Batina had experienced most of her adult life. She’d talked her baby sister into this trip to visit their dying grandfather. She’d believed it would be for the best if they made peace with their only remaining relative.

Bat’s greedy need to also persuade him to leave them money in his will was about to get them killed.

The tight squeeze on her hand drew Bat from her self-loathing. She turned her head to meet a nearly identical gaze to the one she faced in the mirror every morning. Dusti’s blue eyes were wide open, terrified, and she’d paled with alarm.

The small charter plane’s pilot had informed them they were going to crash. Vibrations shook their seats, the overhead compartments rattled loudly, and no amount of regret would save them.

“Fire in engine two,” a panicked pilot shouted. “Shit! The system is offline. It’s not responding. We’re only twenty miles out but we’re not going to make it to the airfield.”

“Dump the fuel,” the second pilot demanded harshly.

“Got it.” The pilot cursed. “Do you see anything? Do you?”

“It’s just trees. We’re going down hard. Why the hell aren’t they answering? I know it’s a tiny airport but Jesus. Where are they? Maybe we lost communications and they aren’t getting our mayday.”

“Damn cheap bastards for not giving us a backup system,” the other man hissed. “Fuck. We’re going down. Seventeen hundred feet and falling.” He paused. “Sixteen hundred.” He paused again for several long seconds. “Fifteen hundred. Shit!”

“It’s been good knowing you, Mike.”

“You too, Tim. Drop the landing gear but I don’t know why we should bother. When we hit those trees we’re going to come apart.” There was a pause. “Shit. Cut the mic!”

The attorney inside Bat grimaced. If anyone survived, they’d probably attempt to sue the small airline for that screwup alone, never mind the crash. The pilots had obviously lost their professionalism but she could hardly blame them. They were going to crash, and one glance out the window beyond Dusti confirmed there wouldn’t be a safe place to land. In law school, she’d studied suits filed by families of the deceased enough times to know the end result of plane versus wooded area.

Bodies—dead ones.

Her grasp tightened on Dusti. They were born two years apart but had been as close as two people could possibly be growing up. It had fallen upon Bat at the tender age of eighteen to raise her younger sister, still in high school when their parents had died tragically. She’d had to make tough choices…selling the family home they both loved, moving them into a cheap apartment. She’d entered law school to make a better life for them both.

What did it get me?

Her frantic mind paused on that thought. She’d just earned a huge promotion by nearly killing herself, putting in massive amounts of overtime. She’d accepted nightmare cases no one else in her firm would touch with a ten-foot pole. No amount of soap would ever clean away the filth she called clients. Most had been guilty of crimes she’d secretly hoped would send them to prison, but losing on purpose hadn’t been an option.

I hate my life, hate what I’ve become, and now I’m going to take my sister out with me because I thought our grandfather would leave us his damn money.

Movement from the right tore her from her thoughts. Two burly thugs were making their way toward the cockpit along the narrow, downward-sloping aisle. They had to grip seats to avoid being pitched forward when the entire fuselage quaked.

Terrific, she thought. They’re probably going to storm the cockpit, thinking they can do better than the pilots. Who gives a shit at this point? We’re going down either way.

The guy in the lead suddenly paused next to her seat. His jean-clad thigh rubbed her arm before nearly crushing it against the armrest. She jerked it away—and then gasped when he lifted a leg to step over hers. He wedged his big body between Dusti and the seat in front of her.

Something brushed her leg, again from the aisle, and her mouth dropped open completely when the second thug put a boot between her high heels. He nearly stepped on her foot. Both men faced Bat and her sister.

Astonishment muted her when he planted the second boot between her feet and shoved her legs apart until her knee breached the aisle. She gaped at the front of his tight, faded jeans directly in front of her face. He had a skull on his belt buckle, and her gaze lifted to take in a flat stomach covered in a black tank top, a leather biker jacket, all the way up to his tanned face and spiked black hair.

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