BloodWar (Smoky Mountain Series Book 5)

BloodWar (Smoky Mountain Series Book 5)

by Lee Wardlow


Publisher Lee Wardlow

Published in Romance/Romantic Suspense, Mystery & Thrillers/Mystery, Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Romance, Mystery & Thrillers, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description


Some Kings live in glass castles and rule large corporations instead of kingdoms. They have power and money but they crave more. Some Kings live in the woods in log cabins where no one bothers them and that is the way they like it. Legend and Creed are identical twins who have chosen different paths in life. Then their father betrays Legend bringing them together to fight the Blood War that Jericho has started.

Sample Chapter

Some Kings live in glass castles and rule large corporations instead of kingdoms. They have power and money but they crave more. Some Kings live in the woods in log cabins where no one bothers them and that is the way they like it.

Most twins have a link to each other. One knows what the other is thinking or feeling at any given moment. If one is hurt, the other feels the pain. If one is on the other’s mind, they feel that connection.

Creed King and his identical twin brother Legend are also like this but they also live separate lives and have separate ideals and moral codes that they live by. One chose a righteous path when he graduated from high school. He joined the military and became a Marine. He wanted to separate himself from the King family business as much as possible, not the same path that his twin brother chose.

Legend King went to the University of North Carolina and graduated with a degree in International Finance. He got his MBA immediately following his bachelor’s degree. A year later, he took over the family business from his father, Jericho who wanted only to care for Dannie, the twins’ mother who was dying from cancer.

He was twenty-five and sitting as the head of the second largest crime family in North Carolina after Rab Guryev of the Guryev Bratva, the Russian mob. Legend wanted to be number one.

Legend King wanted no one to stand in his way when he took over King Enterprises. He had his own ideas about how things should be done and he had proven that he could be successful in the five years since Jericho had stepped down. Their distillery was a legitimate business and was more successful under his leadership than it had ever been under Jericho but his father was more prosperous as the crime leader.

Like any organized crime family, he had his finger in both legal and illegal activities that had earned his family their money. Their whiskey distribution was a billion-dollar empire since he had taken over. Under his guidance King Bourbon and Whiskies was distributing in countries besides the U.S.

His office in downtown Asheville, North Carolina, overlooked the mountains above the city. The ten-story building in the heart of Asheville gave Legend a gorgeous view of the city through thick glass that was impenetrable. It had to be because many men wanted the life of the head of the King family empire.

Their family rivaled those of the largest crime families in Asheville and Legend thrived on it. He wanted their family to dominate Asheville. Like Jericho, he wanted the Russians out of North Carolina. What Irish didn’t want that? More than anything, Legend King wanted to be on top something Jericho hadn’t accomplished during his reign.

He was ruthless, a trait his father also possessed as did Arley and Anson King. Will before them. Creed seemed to be the only King lacking the stomach to get in the family business.

Nikolai Guryev had been pursuing many legitimate businesses himself increasing the wealth and the power of the Guryev family while his cousin, Rab ran the crime family now. Legend King was formulating a plan to topple the Guryev’s as the most powerful family in North Carolina. He had steadily moving towards that goal for two years.

While Legend craved power, Creed wanted nothing but the solitude of his mountain cabin high above Asheville. Discharged from the military after an injury that left him blind in one eye with a leg that often gave him pain.

Creed hid and lived in the mountains as many of his ancestors had before him. He loved the mountains and had as a small child while Legend was more interested in workings of the businesses.

The isolated cabin had belonged to his grandfather built in 1920 as a place to escape when his great-great grandfather, Will and his wife, Sadie were arguing which according to their son was frequently. It was the only thing that kept them from killing each other, according to Anson King who at one hundred years old was the oldest member of the King, crime family alive today.

William or Will King as he was known was twenty-one when he built this cabin with his own hands, on King land where Creed King hunted every day since he was a child. When he was younger it was most often with his dad or grandfather, one of his uncles or cousins but now it was always alone. None of the Kings came to the mountains but him.

Legend had never liked getting his hands dirty. That made him perfect to take over as head of the family when their father wanted to step down. Legend gave the orders and someone else carried out his dirty work, Creed assumed. He didn’t really know and he didn’t really care.

Both brothers were responsible for men dying just on different continents and in different capacities in the name of their jobs. One struggled with it, one did not.

Their family history was passed down from generation to generation to ensure it was never forgotten. Will had married, Sadie at the tender age of eighteen when she became pregnant with their first children. His great-grandfather, Anson and his twin sister, Adeline were born six months later. They had seven children before Sadie and Will were done. All their names beginning with the letter A for some odd reason that Creed nor Legend were ever told. Neither of them cared to ask either.

Their father, Jericho remembered Will well. Will’s temper most of all but he had heard the stories of the passionate nature of Will and Sadie. It was what kept them together and sent them apart for days. They couldn’t live with each other but they couldn’t live without each other either.

Sadie was Cherokee, the daughter of the local tribe’s chief, Black Hawk and his wife, Little Foot. She wasn’t supposed to marry at age fourteen, the son of an Irishman off the boats from Dublin in 1907. She was supposed to marry one of her own.

Will King had only been in America for ten years so the thick, Irish brogue of his native Ireland had intrigued the young, Indian girl when he met her in Cherokee passing through to his town of Hell’s Korner just outside of Asheville.

Sadie had fallen in love with it and him and he fell in love with her tawny skin and nearly black hair. Her beautiful golden eyes, the story went. They produced beautiful children with her coloring and his pale, blue eyes that had carried down through the generations.

Sadie died at the age of fifty-three of sepsis from a boil that had grown to the size of a lemon, the poison seeped into her blood. No one even knew she had it one her until she was dead.

Everyone kept telling Will he was young at only fifty-seven that he should find another wife. His grandchildren and his youngest daughter, Aurora who was only twenty-three when his wife died kept him company. She reminded him of Sadie but with a sweeter disposition.

The townsfolk considered Will and Aurora’s relationship strange. She never married, preferring to stay with her father and care for him.

At age thirty-five, Aurora gave birth to a child who became fodder for the town gossips. They liked to guess who the father of that baby was but small towns are like that and the Kings learned to ignore their baseless chatter.

People were mean. They liked to spread rumors, no matter how hurtful it was to Aurora and her son, Jeremiah. Will outlived his daughter dying at age one hundred. His grandson Jeremiah continued to care for him after Aurora passed away.

The family tree didn’t fork with many branches but who’s did in this area? Creed’s great grandfather, Anson married Laurel Lightfoot, the daughter of Sadie’s sister, Ama and her husband, Red. They were first cousins.

Creed didn’t worry about the fact that his grandfather, the man he knew and loved was married to his first cousin, Laurel. What was the sense in it? Many family trees didn’t have forks in them in these parts of North Carolina. Probably like that in many parts of the country considering the time. Only Legend worried about appearances.

His brother wore expensive, tailored suits and paid a fortune for his haircuts. He shoes cost more than Creed’s entire wardrobe. He didn’t know what a barber chair was anymore. He shaved his own head when his dark locks were too long then let them grow again until he couldn’t stand it anymore then he would shave them again.

His clothes were simple and worn. He didn’t care about labels even though he could afford them. Creed had his own money. Old money, they called it in Asheville. Money made during the prohibition era by Will King through illegal bootlegging activities.

In the 1920’s, their family had earned millions which continued when booze became legal again. Gangsters of the prohibition era, they called the Kings. The illicit liquor trade was the most profitable business of the time.

Will King was the most feared man in the South. His name was well-known in many states and he had senators and governors in his pocket. To see him, you would not have suspected that he was a wealthy man.

In pictures that Creed had seen of him, his hair was as long and white as his beard. He usually had on overalls with plaid shirts in winter and plain white t-shirts in summer. He wore boots all year round because tromping through the mountains of North Carolina he never knew when he might come across a diamondback or a copperhead. He wasn’t interested in dying young.

Will’s stills were deep in the woods that he used to make moonshine high in the mountains above Asheville. He was smart. He knew how to evade the police and run his alcohol across state lines without getting caught.

Few law enforcement wanted to traipse high into the mountains where they might encounter a bear, a cougar or a wild boar to catch Will King at his illegal moonshine activities. He just wasn’t worth it.

It only took a few boar attacks or a wild bear to chase or kill a federal agent looking for Will’s stills before they gave up and went after the easier targets, lower in the mountains.

Will was a mean son-of-a-bitch who passed his wealth and his knowledge to his son Anson. Anson took over the family business as was expected of him when Will was seventy and ready for some peace and quiet.

He lived in the cabin part of the time and in the house on the outskirts of Ashville in Hell’s Korner a small town, where the Kings eventually created the gated compound where they now lived.

Anson married Laurel and had four sons. Most worked in the family business in some compacity or another. Legend and Creed had heard the stories. They both knew that Grant, the oldest was killed in a drive-by shooting by a rival gang.

No one knew if it was the Russian or Italian mafia that went after Grant. They hoped to bring down the Kings who at that time were the most powerful family in the area. Arley, the twins grandfather took over the family as was expected of the second son.

The women of the King family held true to form. Laurel met with an untimely demise. Natural causes were listed on her death certificate. She was only sixty-eight years old.

Creed knew the town considered them cursed for their unnatural ways. Will’s wife Sadie was only fourteen when she became pregnant with the twins. Then Will and Aurora’s unusually close relationship. Anson and Laurel being first cousins. No one dared question the King’s to their faces, fearing their demise.

If Creed had listened to the gossip he might have given a shit but he never paid them no mind. Anson never remarried after Laurel’s death and lived with his father Will, Aurora and Jeremiah at the compound.

Then there was his grandfather Arley King who married an outsider. That was as big a sin as marrying ones’ first cousin. Celia Hart King, had captured Arley’s heart when he met her at a diner in Asheville. She gave him six sons, one of which was the twin’s father Jericho. She also died at the young, age of sixty-four of a heart attack.

The town gossips, the old biddies whose ancestry could be traced back to pre-civil war times whispered that it was the curse. No woman could outlive a King man.

Sean King the oldest of Arley and Celia’s sons should have been head of the family when Arley decided to step down. Fate seemed to have plans for Legend and Creed King.

Sean was shot dead on the steps of Saint Mary’s church after Sunday services with his wife by his side. They were expecting their first baby. She was lucky she wasn’t killed as well by the spray of bullets. She gave birth a few months later with Dannie, their mother by her side for support.

When Arley stepped down, Jericho King knew he would take his father’s place sealing the fate of Legend or Creed. They were royalty in Asheville. Doors were opened for them because of who they were. The heir and the spare to the King, empire.

You weren’t given a choice of whether you would become the head of the family. You were raised with the knowledge that one day it was possible you would become part of the King organized crime family.

As it turned out, Legend was more than happy to become head of the King crime family. Creed didn’t give a damn. He deferred to his younger brother by minutes and joined the Marines as soon as he turned eighteen.

As the other King women died before their time, their own mother was no exception. Dannie King died at age forty of breast cancer. His father shouted at anyone who brought up the King Curse. “No God damned curse gave Dannie breast cancer.”

As soon as Legend graduated college and worked for Jericho for a year, he was appointed head of the family as the youngest mafia crime boss in the history of the King family. He was only twenty-five then.

Chapter Two

The King men were hard on their women or so it seemed to the outsiders of Hell’s Korner, North Carolina where the mountains reached the sky at the top of the tallest peak before the Smokies’ familiar haze covered their glorious beauty.

They were a small community outside of Asheville where the Kings conducted their business. The legal distillery the bulk of their monies. The illegal activities, money laundering, gambling, weapons were a pittance but necessary evil to stay in the game.

Creed loved the mountains. The solitude he chose for himself. He too had lost the love of his life. Hell, he hadn’t even made it the alter. They were eighteen years old, wanting nothing more than loving each other and growing old together.

He was young then and naïve. That was when Creed King believed that happily ever after really existed and he could be different than the Kings who fought the other crime families of Asheville. Fighting for what, he wondered? He never had understood the power struggle over the city of Asheville.

Now, he lived on a hillside surrounded by woods. To say his cabin was isolated was not even an exaggeration but he liked it that way. Why he lived like this was no one else’s business but his own.

The sun rose in the sky casting light between the limbs that were no longer covered by leaves. Shadows played across the ground and around the objects on the terrain at his feet.

He was tracking a deer and had been for weeks. It would provide food for him during the long winter months that were coming faster than he cared for.

To the side of his single-story cabin, he had grown a small vegetable garden that was now harvested and canned.

After Lily’s death in a car crash he left for boot camp like he had planned. Nothing was holding him in Hell’s Korner after her death. He wanted away from everything that reminded him he was a King.

Out in the woods, alone and tracking the deer he felt more alive than anywhere. His military training provided him with the skills that he needed to be invisible yet he hadn’t been able to get the deer after weeks of hunting. Something always seemed to scare it away; a snap of a twig by another animal most often.

His jaw was covered in dark, thick whiskers because he hadn’t shaved in weeks. It didn’t matter to anyone if he shaved or bathed. The deer sure as hell didn’t care if he stank although he had showered this morning. No one else saw him up here. No one knew about this cabin but his grandfather, Anson who owned it now.

When he passed away, it’s ownership would transfer to him and his brother Legend. His father and grandfather didn’t care. They were more interested in the business that Legend ran than the land. The dollars that were filling their bank accounts were more important to them.

Slipping behind the tree to his right, his icy-blue gaze piercing and intent. The buck, a twelve-pointer stood in the distance. Its magnificence almost making Creed second guess himself about pulling that trigger. He needed the meat or he would be making a trip down the mountain to buy food, something he didn’t want to do.

His breathe was obvious in puffs of freezing air in front of his face. His cheeks felt raw from the cold that blistered his skin. It was damn frigid for late November. The temperature in the single digits when the cold spell came in yesterday. He didn’t let it bother him. He shut it out like he did everything else.

Creed lifted the rifle to his shoulder. Slowly, he moved around the tree. He had the deer caught in the crosshairs. His finger itched on the trigger. He was less than one hundred yards; the closest he had ever been to him.

An easy shot for Creed but he took his time. He didn’t want to miss the kill shot and have the buck run into the woods wounded. No one wanted to see any wild animal run off into the woods and die, a senseless kill. Creed killed for food, not for pleasure.

A chilling scream pierced the air. He whirled around with the rifle still resting on his shoulder, his finger twitching on the trigger of the gun. Adrenaline coursed through him. His heart slammed against his ribcage while he looked through the trees with his good eye searching for the source of that sound.

He calmed his breathing so that he could hear the slightest movement. The only noise was the terrified buck as it crashed through the woods.

Creed lowered his weapon to his side. He strained to hear anything as his booted feet moved silently, in the direction where he had heard that scream come from.

No one came up here. Hell, not even his grandfather anymore who loved this mountain and these woods. Anson wasn’t able, confined to a wheelchair now and Arley and Jericho weren’t as thrilled with hunting as they once were.

Although the boots were heavy on his feet, they made no noise as he moved from tree to tree. His eyes focused on his surroundings. At least, his one good eye was. The other was covered by a filmy haze injured and useless.

Various animals poked their heads out of their hiding spots, Creed didn’t miss them. He left not a trace of himself as he moved about searching for the woman who had screamed.

The frantic beat of his heart, rang hard in his ears with every thump against the wall of his chest. His hands were covered in gloves with the just the tips of his fingers exposed to the elements. His body covered in camouflage concealed him in what was left of the brush and bushes that had not died as fall became winter soon.

He glanced down at his feet making sure of the path where he walked. Creed didn’t want to give away his location by tripping or snapping a twig. Then he scanned the area and tucked the rifle to his side, pointing it down at the frozen ground.

He saw her coming. Terrified of something or someone chasing her. She looked ready to collapse. Her face was dirty and she wasn’t wearing enough for this kind of weather.

Her t-shirt, torn at the shoulder exposed creamy skin that was marred by bruises. Her shorts were dirty and her knees were scraped and bloody from falling most likely.

He grabbed her when she ran by his hiding place then he covered her mouth to prevent the scream that would have inevitably come sooner or later.

“You’re all right,” he reassured her. “My name is Creed.” She still fought against him. “Stop fighting me. Whatever or whoever is chasing you will find us,” he declared.

She immediately stilled in Creed’s embrace. She tucked herself into him and he realized that she was more afraid of what was out there than of him now. “I won’t hurt you,” he promised her.

She nodded her head rapidly letting him know she understood. He uncovered her mouth and she tilted her head up gazing at him, taking him in.

Her eyes were blue like his, nearly colorless. Her hair appeared to be blonde but was so dirty he couldn’t be positive. She was terrified. He could see it in her gaze that was focused on his face. “Come on,” Creed told her. “I’ll take you to my cabin. You can clean up and call someone.”


Excerpted from "BloodWar (Smoky Mountain Series Book 5)" by Lee Wardlow. Copyright © 2017 by Lee Wardlow. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Lee Wardlow

Lee Wardlow

Lee Wardlow is a small town girl who has lived in New Jersey and Michigan. She loved living in New Jersey and traveling into Manhattan. She has written ten books in the Pointe Royal series loosely based on her experience growing up in the small town of Mt. Orab, Ohio

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