Fate made them brothers. Protecting the Castle, each other, and the women they love will make them Kings.
When their mentor and founder of The Castle ends up on the business end of an assassination attempt, Grant, Alejandro, Shaz, Mariano, Vikkas, Jai, Daron, Kaleb, and Dwayne are snatched from their daily lives and successful businesses in order to right old wrongs and track down the men responsible for the attempt on his life.
However, The Castle, which was built on humanitarian purposes and has amassed a substantial amount of wealth, is now overrun with dirty politicians, the Russian mafia, American crime lords, and businessmen with their own sordid agendas. They have every intention of keeping the current state of things intact. Even if they have to increase Chicago’s body count to do so.
Calling in his former students and two outsiders is the beginning of a series of dangerous challenges that will alter the path of their lives forever. Not to mention, it will also draw the ire and deadly intent of current Castle members who wield major influence across the globe. Powerful men unexpectedly brought together by their pasts and current circumstances will become a force to be reckoned with.
This world was brought to you by:
Janice M. Allen
London St. Charles
If you like romance, suspense, or contemporary fiction, it's past time for you to visit The Castle.
About the Author
USA TODAY Bestselling author, Naleighna Kai and New York Times bestselling author, S. L. Jennings, with National Bestselling authors: Martha Kennerson, J. L. Campbell, Lisa Watson, Karen D. Bradley, Janice M. Allen, London St. Charles, and MarZe Scott, have penned a novel that is sure to please readers of romance, suspense, and contemporary fiction alike. The spin-offs entitled: King of Devon, King of Hyde Park, King of Evanston, King of Chatham, King of Morgan Park, King of South Shore, King of Lincoln Park, and King of Lawndale, are all stand-alone books in the series.
Read an Excerpt
"What do you mean she's pregnant?" Jai roared. "She's been in a coma ever since she arrived."
He paced the length of his office and held his tongue. Several emotions fought for dominance and his assistant, Kelly, who had brought such horrific news, didn't deserve his vocalized rage. The one emotion that overpowered all others was anger. A young woman who had been brought into the Chetan Health Center after a horrific highway accident a year ago, was now nearly eight months pregnant. No one — not staff, nor the doctors, nor any of the people he had hired — were aware of the pregnancy. The center was wired with a state-of-the-art surveillance system. How had someone managed to violate a woman this way?
Jai took a long slow breath, exhaled, then whispered, "So, I'm supposed to believe that one of our male employees impregnated a comatose patient in our care?"
Kelly averted her gaze, taking a pointed interest in the abstract artwork on the walls of his modestly furnished office. "We don't have any idea who it was."
"You know this has to be reported immediately," he said. A sinking feeling lodged in the pit of his belly. "Call in the police, our lawyers, and put all of the male employees in the conference room. I need to give them a heads up."
Jai agonized over the undeniable violation. A comatose woman? How vile. But the obvious sign that something had happened was there. She was carrying a child.
Kelly placed the call, keyed something into her cell, then blinked, frowning as her green eyes scanned the screen. "Do you know a Khalil Germaine?"
Khalil Germaine, his mentor and teacher from the time Jai had attended Macro University Prep. A man who had made a positive impact on his life and was the main reason he had chosen a career in holistic medicine. "He was like a father to me, but what does that have to do with what's happening right now?"
"I just received a text from the front desk," she replied, turning her screen to face Jai. "His son called and asked for you to come right away. He's been shot and they have him in ICU."
Jai stood frozen in the center of his office and a new set of emotions filtered through him — guilt, pain, sadness. Khalil had made several attempts at getting Jai to accept something he called becoming a King of The Castle.
The Castle had been a sprawling estate with Moroccan style stone buildings, reminiscent of old World England with an African flair. It had been a place where wealthy people indulged any and everything their hearts desired. Only a small percent of that had a sexual slant. Accepting Khalil's invitation to join an organization called The Castle would have taken more bandwidth than Jai had to give. Now he wondered if he had been wrong to dismiss the requests so quickly.
Jai finally found his bearings, but Kelly, who had kept her focus on him for those several moments, chimed in. "If it's who I think it is, then that's considered family business. I can handle things here." She moved her hands in a shooing motion. "Go."
He grabbed his briefcase from one of the leather chairs, saying, "Call me the minute —"
"Got it. Go!"
He stopped at the door and glanced at her over his shoulder. "First, I think I need to address the men who work here. They're about to be hit with all kinds of madness and I want them to be prepared."
"Sounds fair," she whispered, then gestured toward the hallway.
Jai was out the door in a flash.CHAPTER 2
The words my daughter is missing broke through Daron's sleep haze.
He bolted from the bed, glanced at the clock, his heart racing at what Katara Johnson — one of his few remaining clients — had just spoken over the phone. He whispered, "Is her tracker working?"
"It showed movement until forty-five minutes ago." Katara's soft voice was choppy with a crackling noise that overlaid every other word.
The emergency tracking device, a pair of diamond studs, was one of the items he had developed as a personal security gadget for single ladies. Most people would never think a woman's earrings could be so functional. Daron designed it so all a woman had to do was press the earring to alert her listed contacts and activate the tracking system. If someone had her tied up, she could easily use a shoulder to press her ear to activate it.
Katara continued, "I gave the police the last location. They didn't arrive in time, but they located her cell."
"We'll find her." He flipped back the satin sheet, noting the rise and fall of Cameron's chest as he slid out the bed, wondering if he should alert her to the situation. When an earlier text notification about unexpected gunfire at The Castle required that he send several men from his former operation to contain the situation, he definitely hadn't tipped her off to that incident. He slipped on his discarded boxer briefs, grabbed a pair of jogging pants off the chaise, and threw them over his shoulder.
With his hand, he used the edge of the mattress to guide him closer to the door so that he wouldn't disturb his sleeping beauty. The glow from his phone helped him find the knob and he entered the hall. The light came on immediately as he moved across the wood planks and turned off as he cleared the area.
"I can drive to the last location we had before losing the signal," Katara offered.
"You don't need to." He trotted down the stairs to the basement. The polished cement was cool underneath his bare feet as he slid behind the bar. "Give me a minute to log in to the system."
"I can't lose her," she sobbed.
"Let's focus on finding her and quickly." He entered the multi-level storage area behind the bar, moving cases of beer so that he could access his workspace. The steel door swung open.
"My phone was in my locker and my mom's phone died. I didn't realize until ..." She began crying uncontrollably.
Daron focused, keyed in the information, trying not to let her panic affect him. He placed two fingers on the touch screen monitor on the wall, pressing the areas near the flashing dot before spreading them apart to zoom in. "Katara. Katara," he said, then waited until she quieted enough to hear him. "My people should be receiving a new location. I'll send you an update if the location changes."
Katara sniffled. "I got it."
"Call me back when you have her." Daron disconnected the call, hoping that they'd make it to the girl in time and also praying she was alive and hadn't been physically or sexually assaulted. So much was happening in Chicago right now.
He slipped on a pair of jogging pants, wishing he'd snatched up a shirt. Tracy had been out of contact for twelve hours. He wanted to get out and be more hands-on with the search but he was probably of better use where he was stationed.
When he promised Cameron that he would open a legitimate firm that provided security systems, he meant every word. For the last few years Daron, under the street moniker, The Warden, had been the brains behind an illegal organization. The sole purpose was to take down Chase Prescott's family business from the inside. The repercussions of helping a task force put an international crime ring behind bars still lingered, and had become the main source of contention in his budding relationship with Cameron. He had made a promise that no more of the "cloak and dagger" lifestyle would shadow them. That was fast becoming a promise he couldn't keep.
* * *
Daron felt like he'd spent hours staring at the green blinking dot and glancing at his phone but it had only been forty-five minutes. The dot was on the move. He didn't know if that was a good thing or not. He tried not to imagine all the scenarios that could be happening, but had to wait until the dot remained in one area before he could give anyone an update on the location.
When he developed the tracking system, Daron wanted to help combat sex trafficking and protect women who tended to be alone a great deal of the time. He hadn't given any thought to the problems that could arise for him when the actions that needed to be taken brought him close to anything that resembled his old life.
His thoughts shifted to Cameron, the woman asleep upstairs, who felt like family even though they had only been dating a few months. With the exception of the few nights she was with him, she was, despite her personal safety measures, going home alone all times of night depending on her hectic schedule. While she was skilled in martial arts and her weapons collection was ridiculous, it didn't stop Daron from worrying that someone would catch her off guard, or use someone close to her to set a trap and take her from him. She still had a lot of enemies thanks to her former criminal mastermind boss, Bishop, where she had been a weapon of choice for most jobs from stealing multi-million-dollar art and sculptures to assignments that put fear into his competition.
While she had taken steps to distance herself from everything on the wrong side of the law, Daron had created a program for young men and wanted to do something to help bring missing girls home. Now, as the minutes ticked by, he didn't know if the tracking device was the right solution. Secrecy was the key. Unfortunately, the more he sold the device meant more chances of the word getting out. The traffickers would make sure the earrings were off before moving their victims.
The idea of not being able to bring Tracy home to Katara pained him. So many Black and Brown girls were going missing without a trace in this age of technology and high-performance cameras. The few that were found weren't always alive.
Two hours later, he expanded the screen. The dot's speed had changed. It now seemed to be lingering in one small space.
Daron locked in the location, sent the coordinates to his team who had been circling near the areas whenever the dot made any moves. Twenty minutes later, his cell chimed. Glancing down, the words 'The Castle' flashed back. He reached for it just as a call came through.
"We have Tracy," Katara said, and the happiness in her voice warmed his heart.
His head dipped forward in relief. "How is she?"
"In shock. A little bruised and drugged up but she and the other girls are safe now."
Katara paused, giving someone else a directive before coming back on the line. "Thank you so much. I gotta go. Bye."
Who is texting me this early in the morning about The Castle?
Two high-alert events in one night could not be a coincidence. He'd fully investigate that later because trouble was written all over that message.CHAPTER 3
Victor Alejandro "Dro" Reyes
"Don't disgrace your family, hijo."
"Shouldn't you be telling that to Uncle Santiago, Mamá?"
Dro sat on the bench of his grand piano. The dimly lit conservatory echoed his dark mood. His fingers moved skillfully across the keys. Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, commonly known as Sonata Pathétique, resounded through the far reaches of the room. The composition was one of his mother's favorites, and after the disagreement he'd had with her hours before he needed a distraction. Music always served a vital purpose.
"Not now, Travers," Dro called over his shoulder.
"But, you have an important phone call," Nicholas Travers replied.
"Take a message, please." He returned to his playing while Travers disappeared as quickly as he'd come.
Dro's day had been a long and stressful one. Right now, he wanted a few moments of reprieve. The heated conversation he'd had with the first love of his life, Valentina Aragón Reyes, was a doozy. He'd tried to avoid it, but his mother wouldn't let up. Uncle Santiago had contacted him repeatedly over the last few days. Too busy with his current assignment, Dro had put off returning his calls. He knew what his uncle wanted. A favor here, a word of introduction there, his uncle took family favors to another level, almost as far as his mother took her guilt trips.
His father, Victor, had overlooked this flaw in his baby brother. But considering that he, too, was the baby of the family, Dro had little patience for his uncle's weaknesses. The irony was that Victor Reyes had always hammered into his children the importance of being successful, of using the brains God gave them, and of always putting family first. Santiago had received the same wisdom from his father as a child, but somehow, it hadn't stuck. His business acumen, or lack thereof, was legendary in their family. By squandering nearly every opportunity that came his way, Santiago had become their grandfather's biggest disappointment and his father's burden. And now he was Dro's burden.
"I'm sorry to disturb you again," Travers said.
"But?" Dro sighed. His fingers froze, hovering in mid-air over the ivory piano keys.
"It's your office line again. Ellen Kiley is insistent, sir."
Dro stood, abandoning all hope of letting that sonata carry him into a peaceful mood. As he walked past, he patted Travers on the shoulder. "Thanks so much."
He walked down the hall from the conservatory to his office. His quick stride beat out a steady cadence on the hardwood floors. The light was already on at his desk, and the hold button was blinking steadily on the telephone. Picking up the receiver, Dro dropped into a chair near the window that provided a view of his lush gardens, and retrieved the call.
"What's up, Nat?"
"Sorry to call you at this hour, Mr. Reyes," his assistant of seven years replied.
"Dro," he instantly corrected. A friend of his mother's, she had insisted on being more formal in the office. When she didn't reply, his chest rumbled with laughter. "It's no problem, Natalie. Travers said you needed me?"
"You received a call a few minutes ago — on your private line."
The teasing stopped. After hours, Dro's private line rolled to Natalie, and if she didn't answer, then it went to his cell. He knew if someone was calling on that line, it was an issue that was a high priority.
"Let's have it."
"Alderman Cherry needs you to call him. Immediately."
His gaze flicked to his watch. Almost midnight, but if the alderman had called this late, this wasn't a social call.
"Thanks, Natalie. Goodnight."
Switching to his cell, he dialed the alderman's number and waited. The man picked up on the first ring.
"Hi Sam," Dro said casually. "How can I be of service?"
"I forgot you always get to the point. I need a favor."
All business, Dro grabbed a pen and notepad from the far end of the cherry wood desk and asked, "What do you need?"
Sam was silent for a few moments before he said, "It's Nina. She's ... she's in trouble," he replied gruffly. "She left hours ago to go to her friend's house. Supposedly to a party, but that was a lie."
Dro jotted down notes.
"She and one of her schoolmates went to some hotel. They weren't alone," he stressed. "Another friend received a few text messages from my baby, along with some pictures. She wisely told her mother about it, and the mother called my wife."
Dro could hear the man struggling to hold it together. His voice cracked when he said, "Nina needs help, but I don't know where she is. Just that she's in a hotel and was given something. If they harm a hair on her —"
"I need you to focus, Sam," Dro replied. "If I'm to help, I need all the facts right now."
Sam repeated all the information his wife, June, had relayed. He gave Dro the cell number of his daughter and her friend.
"I know, Sam. This situation has to stay under the radar. I'll handle it."
Sam let out a sigh of relief.
The moment he ended the call, Dro called Natalie back and brought her up to speed.
"Get Mike on this. I need to know where she is, what's been posted on social media —"
"From her cell, and her girlfriend's phone in the last few hours," Natalie added.
He rattled off a few more orders before ending the call. Sam was an advocate for members of The Castle. So without question, Aldermen Cherry would get whatever he needed.
After his father's illness and sudden retirement, Dro was in line to inherit his seat as one of Chicago's Kings of the Castle. He was reluctant to step into the role, but his brothers, Raul and Esteban said they would flat out refuse if asked. Not wanting to hurt their father, and because it was his nature, Dro decided he would accept if offered. The position was a full-time engagement, and the only way out is to step down due to health issues that prohibited anyone from doing the job, or by death. Dro was well aware of the perks, prestige, danger, and commitment of being a King. They had limitless connections across the globe, most of whom were loyal to the Kings of the Castle, but from what he had learned recently, they also had major enemies. He'd gone over everything in his head from the day his father made the request. He was a Reyes. He would accept his father's seat. Dro had no regrets.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Kings of the Castle"
Copyright © 2019 Naleighna Kai, S. L. Jennings, Martha Kennerson, J. L. Campbell, Lisa Watson, Karen D. Bradley, Janice M. Allen, London St. Charles, and MarZe Scott.
Excerpted by permission of Macro Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
So this book is a real page turner. I really didn't want to put it down, but I had to take a break because my heart could not take some of the this going on. If you looking for a read that is trying to uplift, be positive and about something this is it. I laughed, blushed, and cried with the characters. These men are very real and you feel their joy and pain.
KINGS OF THE CASTLE is the first instalment in the multi-authored / multi-cultural KINGS OF THE CASTLE romantic suspense series focusing on nine ‘brothers’ (Vikkas, Reno, Shaz, Jai, Daron, Kaleb, Grant, Dro and Dwayne) mentored and taught by the mysterious Khalil Germaine at the exclusive Macro International Magnet School in Chicago. Told from several third person perspectives KINGS OF THE CASTLE follows in the aftermath of an attempted assassination of Khalil Germaine, founder of The Castle, a restrictive and exclusionary institution, an institution currently on a downward spiral of crime, immoral and unethical practices in the absence of its leader and owner. The attempt on his father’s life finds Vikkas Germaine contacting his father’s former students as he and his father endeavor to persuade the nine to take over, and remake The Castle into what is was always meant to be…but each new member of The Castle is facing an uphill battle in both their personal and professional lives, a battle that began on the cusp of their mentor’s assassination. KINGS OF THE CASTLE introduces the players and Kings of the Castle, once boys, plucked from the streets of Chicago who have developed into strong and learned young men: Head master and mentor Khalil Germaine: Reno (King of Chatham) is responsible for rescuing the trafficking victims filtered through The Castle: Grant (King of Lincoln Park) is responsible for untangling The Castle’s properties from illegal deals; Jai (King of Devon) is responsible for the health and well being of The Castle and its Kings: Daron (King of Morgan Park) responsible for vetting members, contractors and the security of The Castle; Dro (King of Hyde Park) responsible for special assignments; Shaz (King of Evanston) responsible for all legal documents and systems for The Castle;Vikkas (King of Wilmette) responsible for the international holding of The Castle;Kaleb (King of South Shore) responsible for development projects in the underprivileged neighborhoods in Chicago; Dwayne (King of Lawndale) whose purpose has yet to be determined. Each member of the nine has a story to tell; a woman to love; and the responsibility to remain strong in the face of threats by a number of The Castle members who struggle with the emergence of a new family of leaders. The premise is complex with a large amount of exposition and information that reveals just enough clues to keep the reader in suspense; the characters are numerous, energetic, strong and capable.
AMAZING !! EVERY WORD KEP ME CAPTIVATED DOWN TO THE LAST WORD.
This is a book that really holds your attention from the very beginning until the end. I loved how well the characters were developed and you learn what brings them all together in this storyline. The man Khalil Germaine who has been a mentor to each of the 9 men since they were young men. So much has happened since the young men went their separate ways to start an entrepreneurship of their own. Now that an attempt has been made on Khalil’s life, he wants his son Vikkas Germaine the King Of Wilmette to contact the others to join together and help run The King Of Castle compound. As the story unfolds you learn about the backstory of each of the men and what is going on in their business and personal life. This prepares you for the continuation of their storylines in books 2-9. There are a lot of plot twist and turns as you read about each King’s life, love, families and enemies.. I commend all of the authors who have collaborated on The Kings of the Castle, the storyline flows together and you don’t even realize there is more than author writing this storylines. I highly recommend this book to read first and then read books 2-9 that are standalone and can be read in any order. Cassandra H. Thank you Netgalley for the ARC of this book and my review is of my own and honest opinion.
I give a standing ovation to theses nine queens who jelled together as one to create a spellbinding, mesmerizing, suspenseful and intriguing story, adding the perfect amount of romance to get us going. In this book we are introduced these fine men and what brings them together. With that, we are thrown into the mix of mysteries and secrets their lives hold. All strong alpha-males, they take no prisoners in the plight for justice and what is right. This is an action-packed, page turning, enjoyable read with each author’s character shining through and is pure magic. Congratulations on an outstanding collaboration. I look forward to reading the stand-alone installments. I implore any and everyone reading this review to get on board. This is history in the making.
Kings of the Castle by Naleighna Kai is a multicultural literary feast. This is book one of a nine book series. It’s the introduction to the series premise and it’s characters. Books two through nine are standalones with no cliffhangers and can be read in any order. Naleighna Kai, S.L. Jennings, Martha Kennerson, J.L. Campbell, Lisa Watson, Karen D. Bradley, Janice M. Allen, London St. Charles and MarZe Scott have created a new world. There are nine stories and nine bestselling, award-winning authors. Enter the world of The Castle and it’s Kings. Khalil Germaine, a teacher of philosophy and science, founded both the Macro International Magnet School and The Castle. Both were humanitarian endeavors. The school was a way to positively influence the development of young men. The Castle was founded to provide assistance to worthy humanitarian programs and to create them where there was a need not being met. Khalil focuses extra attention on his son and eight other young men he felt had the potential to become leaders. Vikkas Germaine, Jaidev “Jai” Maharaj, Daron Kincaid, Victor Alejandro “Dro” Reyes, Shastra “Shaz” Bostwick, Grant Khambrel, Mariano “Reno” DeLuca, Kaleb Valentine and Dwayne Harper proved Khalil Germaine correct. They all became successful. When Khalil is shot, he calls these young men to his ICU bedside to pass the torch. It’s now up to Khalil’s protégés to bring The Castle back to it’s humanitarian roots. They decide for themselves that they will seek revenge on those who attacked their mentor. The new Kings vow to root out and eliminate the evil that had infiltrated The Castle and protect it and each other from future attacks. Naleighna Kai is the primary author of book one and has done an admirable job of introducing all the characters and the premise of the series. I’m sure this was somewhat a team effort but there is no obvious difference in writing style. Chicago is a complex city and it has been utilized within these pages in it’s full multi-faceted nature. There are a lot of characters in this novel, but I didn’t feel shortchanged on any of them. The primary characters all have complete backstories and there was enough detail of secondary characters to prevent them from being flat. There are so many character details that it seems almost impossible that even a team of writers was able to create such rich characters. The plot kept me enraptured from start to finish and the ending is a perfect lead-in to any of the other books in the series. Kings of the Castle is a more than suitable beginning for a series that promises to be a standout. I am compelled to rate it an easy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to anyone who enjoys multicultural romantic suspense, or anyone who enjoys good fiction. There is some sexual content that may be offensive to some readers. My thanks to INscribe Digital and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.
Khalil Germaine mentored nine young men each of those men has gone out into the world and started his own businesses and all are succesful in their own way When there is an assassination attempt on the life of Khalil then Grant, Alejandro, Shaz, Mariano, Vikkas, Jai, Daron, Kaleb, and Dwayne will return to work with their mentor to protect The Castle and all it stands for With big business and crime syndicates all having their fingers in the pie then the streets will get bloody as they try to return the castle back to it's true aim and its humanitarian principles. Get ready for a roller coaster ride there are a lot of characters to keep sorted but the ride is well worth it