Book 2: Moonlight Retribution

A First Look at Book 2 of the International Mafia Series

Disclaimer: Unedited excerpt; subject to change.

Mounds of dirt rose from the soft earth. Underneath lay trenches that had been made by small hands—nine oblongs, some deeper than the others with caved and crumbling edges and corners. However, though the earth was soft, it had still taken those small hands three days to bury all eight bodies. Three days of digging, of walking back and forth to the cabin, of sights and smells Pavel’s memory would hold fast to as a guide for the day of his retribution. 


Sleep and rest, sleep and rest

Father will come to thee soon. 

Rest, rest on mother’s breast

Father will come to thee soon.


For hours, it was all he’d done, sang and cupped his hands and scooped. 

Over and over.

One by one. 

His mama, his papa, his Uncle Jacob, and his Aunt Lydia. 

His cousins, all girls and all older than him–the first time since he was five that all the cousins had been together.

Even Anna, who was tiny and pale and had to play inside while the rest of them screamed, bronzed, and chased butterflies. Anna, whose lungs never worked quite right—he’d heard his mama and Aunt Lydia say it was because she’d been born with them stuck together—and who couldn’t go out during the day because the sun would sink its teeth into her skin. 

The men who’d murdered his family had taken most of the food, but he’d never been much of an eater—which his mama had said would change as he got older. So, he’d picked at canned sausages, the four remaining loaves of bread, the cookies his papa had hidden in the very back of the tall cupboard, and he’d washed them all down with bitter wine.


Rest, rest on mother’s breast

Father will come to thee soon.



Pavel blinked and was no longer in the woods. 

Around him, telephones rang, boots shuffled, and rods of metal hummed as they knocked together. On his shoulders sat a heavy coat, drooping them slightly, and the hard plastic back of a chair froze the skin beneath his thin cotton shirt. A woman, hand over her mouth and her face twisting as she cried, approached and knelt in front of him. She examined his face with gentle fingers, her bright brown eyes jeweled with tears. 

“Oh, Junior. It is you.”

She hugged him.

Over her shoulder, a man in a faded brown suit stood watching them with a look on his face that told a story of some unknown major triumph. That look was mirrored on faces all around the room, many of them in tears, hugging and holding. And it was then that Pavel decided he would never tell them he wasn’t the little boy they’d lost. 

Just a lost little boy.

It would be twenty years before he returned to the spot, the mounds long gone and the earth once again flat, covered in leaves and the icy feathers of beginning snow. No one would ever remember the family buried there nor those nine mounds—eight for the ones he’d loved and the little sister he’d never meet, and the empty one for the boy who’d both lived and died, that day, right along with them.


Rest, rest on mother’s breast

A reckoning will come for thee soon.

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