It just takes one mistake, one stroke of bad luck, and nothing will be the same ever again. Drugs, theft, fraud, kidnapping, and murder—everyone has their vices, but sometimes it’s the innocent ones who pay.
Consequence is fast-paced crime thriller that follows three interconnected storylines from their humble beginnings to their destructive ends. This brutal, violent thriller exposes the cold, callous underbelly of the criminal world, as well as all the innocent lives it drags into its clutches.
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|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)|
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Darren Morris sat still in the parked silver Ford Mondeo, his body comforted by the plush leather interior, his eyes fixed firmly through the windshield. The winter afternoon had chilled the skies an eerie gray; the clouds swamped the fading sun and spread a silvery glow over the gray cobbled pier.
His hardened eyes, sliced with a web of deep wrinkles, wandered from the empty area ahead of him and glanced over the metal railings, into the silky black sea.
"What a fucking mess." His voice growled out the words with a deep layer of disgust.
James Roach sat behind the steering wheel, a firm look of determination on his face and an unfaltering straightness in his spine. He gave an apathetic glance out the passenger window before regarding his partner unsurely. "The pier? I think it looks okay," he replied.
"The sea, you fucking idiot," Morris snapped.
"Yes ..." Roach agreed, turning back to concentrate on the world beyond the steering wheel, his indifference intact. "Beats living in the city though, I wouldn't mind moving out to a place like this someday."
Morris shrugged and fixed his eyes on the concrete pier, waves splashed the gray ground, spilling frothy flecks onto the surface.
The sound of a car engine rumbled through the salty air. A blue Porsche rolled into view several yards ahead of them. The driver, unseen through tinted windows, pulled the car to a stop about twenty yards from the edge of the pier.
The men in the Mondeo glared at the vehicle.
"Fucking bastard," Morris said through clenched teeth.
They watched as a man in his mid-twenties clambered out of the car. His face was drawn and pale, his attitude confident. He rested against the hood of the sports car and stared at the distant waves.
He wore an expensive leather jacket which had been unzipped to expose a wealth of silver medallions and chains around his neck. His baggy jeans, hanging loosely from his pencil-thin frame, had been scribbled with threads of graffiti. The slack denim material was covered with hip-hop lyrics and declarations, including a stitched picture of three rappers.
Silently the two men exited their vehicle — parked out of sight under the shade of a dilapidated warehouse — and carefully closed the doors. They both embraced the cold sea air, digging their hands into their pockets as they strode toward the Porsche.
The youngster didn't see them as they approached.
"Nice view isn't it, Dean?" Morris asked.
The comment startled him and he slipped off the hood, immediately shooting a glance at the two men.
"You scared the fucking shit out of me," he muttered through heavy breaths.
"How's tricks?" Roach asked.
The younger man smirked and directed their attention towards his car. "It's all good," he declared smugly.
A frown pulled at Morris's lips as he surveyed the car and the youngster's expression. "OK. That's enough small talk for one day," he said. "You got the cash?"
The younger man nodded. He walked to the passenger side of the car and removed a briefcase. Walking back around the front of the vehicle he paused in front of Morris.
"It's all here," he tapped the case and then looked concerned, noticing that the two men carried nothing. "You got the gear?"
Morris grabbed the case, gently nudged the youngster out of the way and rested it on top of the car. He opened it to reveal a mass of used notes, carefully tied together in elastic bands. He picked up one of the piles and flicked through.
"It's all there, twenty grand, you got the dope?" Dean repeated.
"Nice down here is it, Harris?" Morris asked.
"Yeah ... plenty of fucking junkies, keeps me in whores and champagne," he laughed. The gesture wasn't returned.
"Been through our neck of the woods recently?" Morris inquired.
Dean Harris hesitated for a moment, his eyes moved from Morris to Roach.
"No. The last time I went up there was to meet up with Sanderson ... w — w — why d'you ask?"
Morris slammed the lid of the case and glared at Dean, "Word is you're peddling your shit on Sanderson's turf."
"What? No, I wouldn't."
"You deal your shit here and only here," Morris began.
"I am —" he pleaded, but his words were cut short.
"The boss gives you a good deal. He set you up, he gave you all of this." He gestured to Dean's expensive chains and luxurious car. "He started you in this game."
"I know ... I'm grateful —"
"He picked you off the streets, gave you the dope and only took a cut from your earnings. You've made a lot of money, Dean."
"Yes, and I've —"
Morris continued, "Freebase, straight from the factories, you can cut it as much as you want and sell it for whatever you fucking want, as long as you keep out of the city. He gives you a good deal. You make a tidy sum. You have it easy, if there's any trouble you come to us and we deal with it. How long you been working this area, Dean?"
"Two, maybe two and a half years." Dean's voice cracked as he spoke.
"Pure, uncut cocaine and heroin," Morris continued, his mind already set on a speech, "and the entire fucking southeast coast to peddle it to, yet you insisted on coming to London, and selling Sanderson's shit to Sanderson's clients right under his nose."
"I swear ... I didn't," Dean's voice was becoming increasingly anxious.
Morris shot out an arm and grabbed him by the lapels of his jacket. He threw him over the car as Roach, unmoving and silent until that point, looked around to see if anyone was watching.
"He's losing customers; business is slipping, want to hazard a guess why that is?"
"I don't know, please —"
"He's losing customers because you're selling them your fucking shit, which also just so happens to be his."
"Look, I'm sorry, I just —" Dean gagged.
"You know the score, you cut and sell and you stay away from the city, but you got greedy didn't you?"
"I didn't think it would do any harm."
"You see, Dean ... we have a dilemma. The boss was willing to let you go, maybe with a few more broken bones than usual."
A moan escaped Dean Harris's lips.
"But it seems that not only are you selling his gear on his turf, but you also turned in one of his boys."
"I swear I didn't know he worked for Sanders." Dean said.
"Every fucking dealer in the city works for Sanders, you idiot!"
Morris looked calmly across at the briefcase. "Get up," he released his grip on Dean's jacket and allowed him to stand.
Dean brushed his jacket down and, with tears of fear welling in his eyes, began to spit out an apology, "Look ..."
"Save it," Morris said. "Come with us, Sanders wants a word."
Roach had already stalked around the back of the car, making sure to grab the briefcase as he did so. He shoved the youngster forward. Harris stumbled in shock, his quivering legs struggling to hold firm. He looked back at the two men and then continued walking.
"Our car is parked near the warehouse," Roach assured, as Dean kept glancing over his shoulder.
As he walked into the shadows behind the warehouse and spotted the Mondeo, a wave of relief washed over his panicked face. He turned to speak to the two men with a relaxed smile.
He barely had time to blink before Morris's fist crashed into his face, breaking his nose and dribbling a fountain of red from the appendage.
He stumbled backwards, but his move was matched by James Roach. The older man grabbed him by the arm and yanked the limb with deadly accuracy, pulling it free of its socket.
Harris opened his mouth to yelp as the pain soared with burning white heat through his body. Morris threw another punch, catching him just as he opened his mouth. The impact caused his head to jolt so hard his neck nearly snapped. Two of his teeth shattered and spilling blood into his mouth. One chipped, sending the enamel shrapnel into his upper lip.
He gurgled blood, his screams stifled by the crimson fluid curdling in his throat. Roach, still with a firm grip on the wounded arm, pulled him over to the railings. Dean's eyes widened as he stared down at the water below.
He tried to struggle out of Roach's firm grip, but to no avail. The older man grabbed his head and, in one strong and deadly movement, slammed it down onto the iron railing.
Both men recognized the sickening sound as Harris's skull cracked against the fatal force. His lifeless body slumped against the railings, a mass of blood spilling from a split in his head.
Roach watched indifferently as the blood seeped from the body in his hands.
"I'll drive back," Morris said, walking to the driver's side of the Mondeo while he examined a small cut on his right knuckle.
Roach nodded. Then, grabbing hold of Dean Harris's legs he propelled him over the railings and let go. He watched, his face devoid of emotion, as the broken body of the dealer crashed into the rocky waves and disappeared.CHAPTER 2
Michael Richards rapped his bony hand against the solid double-glazed glass. The impact reverberated through his knuckles. He recoiled, grasping his hand tightly to his chest.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?" Johnny Phillips looked across at his friend with little sympathy, his hard-edged brow arched with distaste.
"I bruised my knuckles," Michael Richards replied, his high-pitched voice chirping the sounds of a Cockney accent.
Phillips rolled his eyes and turned away from his friend. He peered through the smeared glass in the solid wooden door. He could see only smudges and distorted outlines of various furniture: a carpeted floor, heavy shaded walls, and what looked to be a staircase further down a long hallway.
"How'd you manage to do that?" he asked, his eyes still scanning the door.
"Boxing," came the hesitant reply from his friend.
Phillips turned; his eyebrows raised, "Boxing?"
"Yeah, what's so surprising about that?" Richards spat as he examined his hand.
"You're built like a fucking anorexic jockey," Phillips said, glancing at his friend's frail appearance despite his large protruding gut. "You couldn't punch your way out of a wet paper bag."
"I'm learning, okay?"
"If you say so."
Phillips turned his attention back to the door. He raised his hand and knocked three times, his knuckles slamming hard on the wood below the glass.
"So when did you start?" he added when the thuds of his fists had faded.
"About a week ago."
"A week? And you've cracked your fucking knuckles already? How the hell did you manage that?"
"They ain't fucking cracked okay? They're just a bit tender."
Phillips rolled his eyes. Through the glass he could see a large silhouette approaching, when it got to the door, he heard the metallic sound of a key clicking against a lock.
"Look sharp, Cinderella," he mumbled.
The door swung open and both men were greeted by a middle-aged woman dressed in a loose-fitting robe. Her short blonde hair had been ruffled; locks of dirty gold sprayed over her face. Her eyes were sunken and her lips were dry and cracked.
She looked at the two young men with hazy, sleepy eyes, concentrating on Johnny Phillips — the heavier built and more intimidating of the two.
"Can I help you?" she asked, allowing a yawn to escape her lips.
Phillips smiled directly into her eyes. Then, brushing particles of dust from his long suede jacket, he spoke in a formal tone.
"Mrs. J. Robinson?" he asked.
"Yes," she said, curiously.
He pulled a leather wallet from his inside pocket and held it in front of her. The wallet unfolded to reveal a silver badge next to an ID card.
"Detective Inspector Grainger," he quoted with practiced professionalism. "This is my partner," he paused as Richards half-heartedly flashed his badge to the woman, with a glare toward to his friend.
"We are here about a stolen car," he added.
The woman's face brightened up, "Stolen? What are you talking about? I ... I didn't steal any car ... I've —" Her hesitant remarks were cut short by Michael Richards.
"We know you didn't steal anything Mrs. Robinson," he assured her, his professional tone overlapping his accent. "Unfortunately, we believe one may have been stolen from you."
"What? What do you mean?" she asked, her voice breaking.
Phillips pulled a notebook from his pocket and began leafing through. He stopped on an empty page and pretended to read.
"Do you own a red Jaguar E-Type, License number JO5 SON?" his eyes peered up from the notebook into her worried hazel gaze.
"Yes. Yes. Why? What is it? What's wrong?" she demanded to know.
"I'm afraid your car was used in a smash and grab at four this morning."
"What!" she blurted, shocked by the news.
She stuck her head through the door and glanced past the two men, her eyes scanning an empty graveled driveway where her car was supposed to be.
"Oh my god, how did this happen?"
"It would be a lot easier if we could talk about this inside Mrs. Robinson," Richards interjected.
"Sure." She opened the door further, gesturing with a distant and disconsolate stare for them to enter.
The men needed no second invitations, they passed her and then waited for her to close the door and point them to the living room.
"Nice place you've got here," Phillips said, his eyes appreciating the vast amount of crystal ornaments and porcelain dolls that decorated a marbled fireplace.
"Thanks," she replied with little enthusiasm.
He reached into his pocket and felt a small device touch his fingertips. He kept his eyes on the woman as he worked his fingers around the solid object, waiting for the right moment.
He sat himself down on a black leather sofa, watching as his companion walked to his side. A glance passed between the pair, unseen by the homeowner. She stared at her own twiddling thumbs, nearly jumping out of her skin when a chirping ringtone cut through the silence.
Michael Richards smiled as the sound of the tubular bells lifted from inside his jacket. He pushed his hand inside the cotton material and pulled out a cell phone, alight with a blue screen and alive with a melodic tune.
"Sorry," he said to the woman. "I have to take this. You don't mind, do you?" he asked pleasantly, gesturing to the door.
She shook her head with as much politeness as she could muster and Richards walked out of the room, moving the phone to his ear as he disappeared.
Phillips smiled reassuringly at the older woman and lifted his hand out of his pocket. "As I was saying," he began, "your car was involved in a smash and grab at a jewelry store —"
"I didn't ..."
"It's okay. We know you have nothing to do with the robbery. The thieves were caught by the security cameras; they both have extensive criminal backgrounds and are well known to us." He paused to admire a large landscape painting of the Cumbrian countryside, hanging next to a fifty-inch 3D television.
"That's a very nice painting. I've always admired the Lake District, have you been there recently Mrs. Robinson?"
A look of bewilderment crossed the woman's face; she followed his gaze and shook her head. "No, no it was a gift. Look, can we please get back to the car?"
"Of course," Phillips paused glance admiringly at the painting once more. "We have yet to track down the two criminals involved. I'm afraid there is a high risk that they have dumped, burned, or resprayed your car by now."
"Oh God," she uttered in disgust.
"Yep, life's just one big kick in the balls ain't it," Phillips mumbled, glancing passed her and admiring a large collection of vintage LPs — perfectly manicured in plastic wrap and dotted along a large oak bookcase.
"Nothing Mrs. Robinson. Now, I'm afraid I will need details of your whereabouts from last night to, well ... now really."
"But why? You know it wasn't anything to do with me, don't you?"
"Of course, but we still need to run checks, routine business that's all. I'm sure you understand."
"Yes, yes. Of course."
Phillips pulled out his notebook again and flipped to one of the many blank pages. "Right Mrs. Robinson. First off, where were you at 8 o'clock last night?"
He listened as she spoke, nodding every now and then when he felt appropriate. His hand constantly scribbled on the notepad, drawing unrecognizable pictures and patterns.
* * *
"Thanks for all your help Mrs. Robinson; we will get in touch when we have more information."
Johnny Phillips and Michael Richards walked briskly down the graveled driveway, the soft pebbles crunched noisily beneath their feet. Only when they heard the front door slam shut behind them did they speak.
"So, did you get it?" Phillips asked.
"Yes, I got it," Richards said smugly, tapping his heaving gut.
Phillips smiled broadly.
"Why do I always have to be your partner?" Richards queried.
Excerpted from "Consequence"
Copyright © 2017 Eli Yance.
Excerpted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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