Big Jack returned to The Golden Gloves two nights later with Bass Stone; a violent, ruthlessly ambitious brute of a man whom Anderson had taken under his wing some years earlier.
It was way past midnight when Bass jemmied open the back door and snuck into the lounge bar where Violet was vacuuming the carpet, oblivious to the sound of the door being forced or the intruders now inside who were committed to dangerous intent.
Alfie was in bed upstairs, the only other person in the pub.
By the time Violet saw the shadow of the man standing behind her it was too late and as she turned, Stone grabbed her and held a knife to her throat.
A minute later she was tied to a chair, looking directly at the powerfully built, half-caste man before her.
Bass was the illegitimate son of a Jamaican porter and a dockside whore. He had tightly cropped hair and a hard face with a jagged white scar above his right eye which shone white in contrast to his caramel skin.
At thirty-two, he was mean and murderous in nature with a growing impatience to find the one big score that would propel him into the big time. He had saddled his pony to Big Jack’s in his early twenties, hoping that someone with Anderson’s connections would lead him to the riches he so desperately sought. But they had been a long time coming.
Or at least they had, until now.
Anderson had left Bass to guard Violet, whilst he went through to the back room where Joe Cassidy’s office had once been many years earlier, to see what he could dig up.
Alone with Stone, Violet glared at him with a burning fury in her striking green eyes; her dark hair tumbling around her shoulders as she struggled to be free. But the ropes were tied securely around her wrists and ankles and a balled up rag had been shoved into her mouth to keep her silent.
Stone was wearing a light grey suit and a pale blue shirt. Both were covered in dried blood, as were his hands. He noticed her looking and smiled, the polished gold of his capped incisor gleaming in the lamplight.
“You’re looking at the blood?” He said. “Don’t worry, it’s not mine, darlin’. It’s your brother’s.”
Violet was suddenly aghast, utterly appalled. She started to pull against her restraints with renewed vigour but it was useless, the tears springing from her eyes as she thought about Richie. What the hell had Anderson and this monster done to him?
Bass Stone let his words hang for a moment as he watched Violet struggle. She was a stunner, no doubt about it, and always had been. At thirty years old it was a small wonder she had never married, yet she had devoted her life to running the pub and taking care of her father.
She had never been short of male attention, however, which was unsurprising as she was strikingly beautiful with a spectacular figure; full, firm breasts, a slender waist and long, shapely legs that any red-blooded male would kill to have wrapped around him.
Stone felt his loins stir as he admired her.
He had dragged his way up from nothing; his alcoholic father heading straight back to Jamaica the moment he was born and his pox ridden slut of a mother murdered by his own hand before he was twelve years old. He had killed her for the few coins in her purse and the meagre scraps of food she had sold herself for in an effort to feed them both, yet he did not regret it for an instant.
She was weak, he was strong and one person was easier to feed than two, it was simple mathematics.
After his mother’s death, Bass had fought for survival, using his guile and his fists and whatever else came to hand. And he had endured it all, from orphanage to school and from borstal to prison, Bass had earned the nickname ‘Bad To The Bone’ Stone and emerged with a reputation few would dare test.
Violet, on the other hand, was South London royalty; an entitled, spoilt princess, in Stone’s opinion, who knew nothing of the hardships he had lived through.
She was the youngest daughter of Alfie Noakes, one of the most respected and revered men in the whole of the London underworld. A villain of the old school, back when gangsters had a certain panache, in the days of Vinnie Reece and Joe Cassidy.
But Bass cared little for style or panache. To his mind, Noakes was a dinosaur, a fossil whose time had long since expired.
All Stone cared about was results and money and would stop at nothing to get both.
Bass had always lusted after Violet but felt that she considered herself too good for him, regarding him as if he was little more than shit on her shoes.
But not anymore. Stone could now do exactly what he wanted with her and she would be powerless to resist him.
A delicious thought.
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