Home > Victory at Prescott High (The Havoc Boys #5)

Victory at Prescott High (The Havoc Boys #5)
Author: C.M. Stunich

Victory at Prescott High is the final book in the Havoc Boys series. For better or worse, you’ll get to see them have the ending they were always meant to have. The Havoc Boys might be dicks, but they have most definitely found a permanent place in my heart. And Bernadette? Well shit, she will always be one of my favorite leading ladies.

These characters found me while I was in the shower, so compelling that I had to hop out and grab my phone, just so I could write it down and keep it close. After that point, there was no escaping. This story needed to be told, and I’ll be forever proud that I was allowed to share it with you.

If you haven’t tried any of my other high school romance series—Rich Boys of Burberry Prep, Devils’ Day Party, or Adamson All-Boys Academy—then I highly recommend checking them out. Next up, I’ll be writing the final two books in my Death by Daybreak Motorcycle Club series. The first book is I Was Born Ruined, and the story is very similar to Havoc in tone, grittiness, and characterization.

Thank you again for joining me on Bernadette’s journey.

Now.

This no mare’s nest, okay? This is a good thing.

Cry some motherfucking ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war!

Blood in, blood out.

Callum Park

Five minutes earlier …

The man with the garrote wrapped around my neck is a clever animal.

He got the jump on me; that isn’t easy to do. Kudos to him. I would laugh, if I were able to breathe with the sharp metal sting of piano wire digging into my throat. My attacker turns to the right and twists the wires against my neck, cutting off my air supply and spilling ruby red down the front of me.

This guy, he’s an expert.

But me? I’m a dark god.

If I were anyone else—even Oscar or Victor—I might be dead. What this man doesn’t know is that I’ve been garroted before. The day I lost my dreams forever, a boy from Fuller High—the boyfriend of my dance partner—used a chain to garotte me from behind. I didn’t know then what I know now. Instead, all I can remember is the feel of the cool metal against my neck, and then the horrid sensation of a baseball bat connecting with my left knee.

The feel of someone touching my throat now triggers all of the darkness I keep so carefully coiled inside of me. Why I have so much of it, I’m not sure. Oscar has a past steeped in pain and desperation, memories of a dead mother’s arms and a shallow grave. What do I have to compete? A grandmother who raised me well, despite the fact that she’s a killer herself? A beautiful dream stolen by jealous and violent hands?

But, regardless, my hoodie might as well be death’s cloak. On the inside, I’m nothing more than a broken doll with an obsession. You’re keeping me from finding my Bernadette, the monster hisses as the man behind me—likely some sort of enforcer for the Grand Murder Party—attempts to throw me over his back. If that happens, I won’t be getting out of this. Bernadette will find out that I’ve died at the school, bleeding from a second smile on my throat.

If my being alive is what makes her happy, being alive is how I’ll remain.

Luckily, I’ve been blessed from birth with lightning quick reflexes and easy strength. I’m not sure how or why, but there’s just something about the shape of me that once helped create a brilliant dancer. In the same vein, it makes me a beautiful killer.

Anticipating my opponent’s movements, I twist my body in unison with his, as if we’re performing some sort of dark tango on the hood of a Prescott employee’s car. My left fist connects with my attacker’s groin; he grunts but the pressure on my neck does not lessen. I count to eight inside my head, like I’m in the middle of an encore performance. Hot lights, an eager but faceless audience, a final curtain.

The wire is still around my neck, biting in, making me bleed. Without having to think about it, my body acts on its own, anticipating the dance-like movements of a proper fight.

It really can be beautiful, can’t it? Watching two people move together like they’re one? In some cases, they’re dancing. In some cases, they’re fighting for their lives. Either way, it’s art in the human form, an art of movement and, occasionally, blood.

My right palm slams into the man’s ear, and then I kick out as hard as I can, making contact with his groin yet again. He falls off the side of the car, and the garrote comes loose. I scramble to pull it off, crimson drenching my hands. I’m bleeding heavily, but my carotid is intact. For now. I’d hate to end my life like Danny Ensbrook, drowned in a pool of violent red.

The man on the ground is dressed all in black, but inconspicuously so. Just a pair of black jeans, a plain black t-shirt. Unremarkable. His hair is brown, his eyes the same color. I wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a crowd.

Russ Bauer, one of the enforcers for the GMP.

That’s who this is.

I’m an erudite killer, after all. I’ve memorized every bit of intel our crew’s managed to dredge up. This man’s skills with the garrote are what give him away. That, and his almost exceptionally banal expression.

A smile crests my lips as I lift my pistol up in both hands to take a shot. I’ll admit: I’m flattered. If Maxwell Barrasso is sending this man after me, he must think I’m dangerous.

Good for him.

Because I very much am.

Russ slides beneath the car, moving so quickly that I don’t bother pulling the trigger. I’m only taking shots I think I can make right now; ammunition is sorely limited. Instead, I hop down and spin, aiming beneath the car and firing at the briefest flicker of shadow and light.

That’s when my second attacker appears, a much less careful monster that stumbles around the corner with his gun drawn. Exhale, Cal. I’m getting frustrated here: my only goal—and I mean only goal—is to protect Havoc. Bernadette, in particular. These men are wasting my time.

I squander one of my beautiful bullets putting a shot through the head of the newcomer; he drops to the pavement like a boneless doll. By the time I’ve turned back toward Russ, I can see him removing a handgun of his own as he balances on the hood of the car once more.

Too late.

My finger’s pulling the trigger before he can even line up a shot. Blood blooms on his hand, knocking the pistol to the pavement beside the vehicle’s front tire. He stumbles, but he’s smart enough to use the movement to leap down and throw himself into me.

His hand grasps for my gun, but I chuck it as far as I can, freeing my wrist from his grip and clocking him in the face so hard that I feel bone crunch.

“What the fuck?!” Russ snarls, clearly unused to engaging with anyone on his level.

That’s what makes Havoc so dangerous. Nobody expects us. Nobody sees us coming.

That’s how we’re going to win this war, a quiet but unrelenting assault in the dark. After all, a venomous spider can kill a grown man with a single bite while he sleeps. What makes us any different than that?

When I was jumped by those boys, when they broke my knees and took turns pissing on me, I couldn’t defend myself the way I wanted to. All those months of lying in bed, racked with pain or numbed with painkillers, I kept my phone in my hand and I watched videos. I read books. And then I got out of bed, and I started to imitate all the things I’d learned.

You’d be surprised what a little personal growth can do for you.

Like I said, educated monster. Knowledge is truly motherfucking power.

This guy, Russ, though, he’s an enforcer. His job is to keep gang members in line, deal with rivals, and dispose of informants. He knows what he’s doing, too. So, he crosses his ankles together beneath my knees to hold me in place, and then backhands me with an easy, fluid movement that has me tasting blood.

I’m so dizzy there for a minute that I can feel it, her name perched on the edge of my lips. Bernadette. I would quite literally murder the world for her. Acting on instinct, I bend my leg at the knee and use my heavy boot to kick down at Russ’ crossed ankles. He grunts, but he’s wearing leather boots as well, so I don’t quite get to break his ankle the way I planned on.

Another kick and I’ve at least got his legs uncrossed. My back arches like I’m possessed, and in the back of my head, I can hear the taunting murmur of children playing London Bridge. The London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down …

I flip Russ over with the movement, but he’s still got his legs wrapped around me. Using both fists, I smash them down into his face. Bone shifts, blood runs. He slips a knife from his belt and thrusts it hard and quick toward my midsection.

Tatted fingers wrap his wrist, the letters of HAVOC inked into my knuckles. With my other hand, I snatch the knife and spin it until it’s pointing down at his neck.

“Will!” Russ shouts, and that’s the only warning I get before I feel a breeze at my back. There’s another one. Somebody sent the cavalry after us, didn’t they? I can’t, for the life of me, imagine why. But politicking isn’t my forte. I’d much rather make people bleed.

My body falls to the side just as Will—another name I recognize from crew intel—hops down from the roof. He doesn’t shoot at me because he’d just as likely kill Russ. Interesting. A bit of loyalty.

I swipe my hand across my bloodied lips and smile.

“I’m impressed,” I say as I retrieve my pistol with my right hand and stand up. “I wasn’t certain there was any loyalty left among thieves.” Except for Havoc, of course. Blood in, blood out. Always.

“This kid is fucking nuts,” Russ says, choking on blood and snorting as it pours from his nose in two crimson rivulets. “Blow his fucking brains out.”

Will—a man just as ordinary as his buddy—removes an assault rifle from over his shoulder.

Too bad he doesn’t know all the things I do.

A gunshot takes him between the eyes as Oscar fires a round from the roof. I tilt my head back so I can stare at him upside down. He adjusts his aim and shoots at Russ, but when I drop my chin to look, I find the man halfway down the alley already.

“Victor’s got Bernadette, and the fucking VGTF is here.”

   
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