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EXCERPT REVEAL – The Marriage Pact by Winter Renshaw

I was sixteen when I vowed I would never marry him.We shook on it. Pinky swore. Even put it in writing and all but signed our names in blood.

It was the one and only thing we ever agreed on.

To the world, he’s Prince Ian, Duke of Montcroix, second in line to the Chamont throne. Panty-melting accent. Royal charm. Hypnotic presence. Blindingly gorgeous. Laundry list of women all over the world who would give their first born for the chance to marry him. Most eligible bachelor in the free world …But to me, he’s nothing more than the son of my father’s best friend—the pesky blue-eyed boy who made it his mission to annoy the ever-loving hell out of me summer after summer as our families vacationed together, our parents oblivious to our mutual disdain as they joked about our “betrothal.”

He was also my first kiss.

And my first taste of heartbreak so cataclysmic it almost broke me.

I meant it with every fiber of my soul when I swore I’d never marry him.

But on the eve of my 24th birthday, His Royal Highness has the audacity to show up at my door after years of silence and make a demand will forever change the trajectory of our lives: “We have to break our pact.”


Chapter 1

Emelie

“Em? There’s a guy here to see you …” My best friend Gillian stands in the doorway of my bathroom as I hover over the sink, scrubbing tonight’s makeup from my face.

My feet ache from hours spent dancing in the most beautiful crystal-encrusted heels known to man, and my head has finally stopped spinning from the too-many-to-count top shelf cocktails. My body is in the process of thanking me for changing out of a skintight bandage dress and into jersey pajama pants and a cotton tank sans bra. I’m two point five seconds from crawling under the cool covers in my dark room and succumbing to a long, hard sleep.

After the year I’ve had, I needed tonight, but I have a feeling I’m going to be paying for it all day tomorrow.

“He probably has the wrong address.” I press a dry washcloth against my skin before moving for my moisturizer.

“Look, I admire your dedication to your skincare routine after a night on the town, but I’m serious. There’s a guy at your door and he asked for you.” Gillian bites her lip before continuing. “And, um, he’s insanely, ridiculously hot.”

I roll my eyes. Earlier tonight, a few of my friends were trying to hook me up with a dark-eyed stranger sitting at the end of the bar. It was every bit as awkward and embarrassing as it sounds, and he was clearly not having his best night. He just wanted to be alone in a room full of strangers. I get it. I’ve been there.

“Did Stacia tell him where I live?” I ask. “The guy from the bar?”

Gillian laughs through her nose. “No, no, no. The guy at your door is definitely not the guy from the bar.”

I shoot her a look. I don’t know what she’s trying to pull, but I feel like I’m being set up.

“Did Hadley make a fake Tinder account in my name again?” I ask, one hand cocked on my hip.

Just because it’s the eve of my twenty-fourth birthday and I’ve been going through a rough patch and a dry spell doesn’t mean I’m in the mood to hook up with some random guy hand-selected by the most well-meaning yet least discerning friend in my group.

Gillian’s hands lift to the air and she shrugs. “I don’t know who this guy is, but he looks official.”

“Official?”

“He’s wearing a nice suit and he’s got a security-looking guy with him.”

“I’m so confused.”

“You and me both.” Gillian yanks me by the crook of my elbow and leads me down the hall and toward the front door. “So why don’t you just see who he is and what he wants?”

“You realize how sketchy this sounds,” I say.

“I do. That’s why I’ll have my phone out in case we need to call 9-1-1 …”

“Reassuring.” I sweep my hair off my neck and pile it onto the top of my head, securing it with a hair tie from my wrist, and then I take a deep breath before opening the door.

And then I hold that breath, deep in my lungs, until they burn.

“Hello, Emelie.” A familiar sparkling blue gaze and signature half-smirk greets me. I’m tempted to slam the door in his face until I remind myself that he’d probably enjoy that too much.

“Julian,” I say, hand gripping the edge of the door so hard my palm throbs. “What are you doing here?”

A man dressed in all black stands a couple of steps behind him, hands folded at his waist as he scans the area then returns his attention to his charge.

“I realize it’s late,” he says, an air of uncharacteristic remorse in his panty-melting voice. There are a million things I despise about this obnoxiously gorgeous specimen of a man, but his accent has never been one of them. Too casual to be the Queen’s English. Too posh to be middle-American.

“Extremely,” I say.

“But I’m afraid my matter is rather urgent.”

I maintain my poise and poker face, keeping my vision trained on him despite the fact that the myriad of cocktails I enjoyed tonight are still working their way through my system.

“Would you mind if I came in and we chatted for a few moments?” he asks. His politeness is jarring, as is the pressed and tailored suit that covers his filled-in physique.

I run a quick calculation and determine that it’s been almost eight years since I saw him last.

That’s right.

It was the summer after I turned sixteen—a summer I’d do anything to forget.

I glance behind me and shoot Gillian a “help me out here” sort of look. She shoots me a quizzical look in return. She doesn’t get it. And she wouldn’t. I’ve never told her about him before.

“I have someone over,” I begin to say. “Now’s not really a good—”

“Hi, I’m Gillian.” The door swings open wider, and Gillian takes the spot beside me, drinking in the handsome vision before us with zero shame. “We met a second ago when I answered the door.”

She’s drunker than I thought …

“Em, you going to introduce me to your friend?” Gillian asks. “I find it odd that we’ve been best friends since our freshman year at Tulane and not once did you ever mention knowing … this gentleman.”

I study Julian’s stunning physique from head to toe, noting the way he’s filled out over the years. His jawline is sharper than before, his sandy brown hair perfectly coiffed, thick and windswept yet formal enough that he could waltz into a meeting at the United States embassy or grace a billboard in Times Square and no one would think twice.

“This is Julian,” I say. “An old family friend.”

“Right. From long ago. It’s been ages, hasn’t it, Em?” he asks. “Though sometimes it feels like it was yesterday.”

“Yeah, it doesn’t feel that way for me,” I say. “Anyway, thanks for stopping by. We’ll have to catch up another time.”

“Emelie …” Gillian whispers under her breath.

I realize I’m being rude, but was it not rude for him to show up unannounced at one o’clock in the morning after eight years of silence?

“Please, Emelie.” Julian’s rich accent fills my ears and makes my knees buckle ever so slightly. “A few moments of your time is all I’m asking for, then I’ll be on my way.”

I fold my arms across my chest as the cool night air wraps around me, sending a chill across my bare flesh, and I remember now that I’m standing in a white tank top, no bra, and sheer pajama pants—but it’s the strangest thing: his eyes haven’t once left mine.

He’s being a perfect gentleman: charming, non-abrasive, and well-mannered.

But of course he is.

He wants something.

Giving into my piqued curiosity, I let him in.

“You have two minutes,” I say as he and his man-in-black step across the threshold and into the small entryway of my townhome.

Gillian lingers for a second, fingers twitching at her sides, and then she mutters something before disappearing down the hall.

“Rafa, if you could excuse us for a moment?” Julian says to his bodyguard. At least, I assume it’s his bodyguard. The man wears an intimidating straight face, not to mention he makes Julian look slight, and Julian is far from slight.

“There’s a patio through there,” I point to my left and Rafa heads to the sliding doors off my living room.

I’m afraid I don’t have anywhere else for him to go. My townhouse is the definition of cozy and all the rooms sort of blur into one another—the entry blurs into the living room which blurs into a small dining area that becomes part of the kitchen. When I bought the place, the realtor called it “open concept.” It sounded nice at the time, but after living here for a couple of years, I realize I forked over my entire life savings for a down payment on a glorified two-bedroom, one-bath shoebox. That farmhouse sink though …

I’m pretty sure my entire home could fit into one of Julian’s palatial bathrooms.

And his bathrooms are palatial … given the fact that he lives in a literal palace.

Not that I’ve ever visited.

Our fathers were best friends who met as young boys at a private New England boarding school. After graduation, they kept in touch, and when they both married and started families, a tradition was born. Every summer, Julian and his parents would spend twelve weeks with us at our country home in Briar Cove, North Carolina. One big happy family …

Despite the fact that Julian’s father was a reigning king of a developed nation, he never acted like it around us. His one and only request was that we “treat him like anyone else.” He didn’t want to feel special. He wanted to feel like a regular guy with his regular wife and regular son enjoying a regular summer and spending time with their regular friends.

The last time I saw King Leo and Queen Marguerite was at my dad’s funeral last year. The king was beside himself. The queen could barely utter more than a few condolences to my mother.

I busied myself with my younger sisters and wallowed in my own grief, though it didn’t stop me from glancing around the funeral parlor every so often, half expecting to see Julian waltz in the door, but he never showed.

I was relieved.

I also hated him for it.

“Emelie.” Julian narrows his gaze at me, my name melting off his tongue with finesse. “Why don’t we have a seat?”

Rubbing my lips together, I glance at my humble living room with my used sofa and unfluffed pillows, the messy stack of glossy magazines, the half-burnt peony candle, and this morning’s coffee mug, and I resist the urge to begin straightening up.

It’s not that I care what Julian thinks, but I’d hate for anyone to get the impression that this is how I live, that my life is in shambles.

Today was a busy day, that’s all. And when you live alone, sometimes you have better things to do than make sure your gossip magazines are stacked neatly and stowed away properly …

“Still reading this rubbish, I see.” He swipes an Us Weekly from the top of the stack.

“Still sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong, I see.” I take it from his supple, unworked hands and return it to the pile.

“Do they ever write about me here? In the States?” he asks. I don’t know why he’s playing coy. With an ego that size, I guarantee he knows exactly who writes about him and what they’re saying. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he keeps an entire library of archived gossip articles in the Knightborne Palace library.

“Rarely,” I lie. Two can play this game.

There’s one magazine, Starwood, that writes about him incessantly. I’m pretty sure their editor-in-chief has a personal obsession with Julian. Last year I counted his chiseled likeness on no less than twenty-six covers, and I swear the story was the same recycled garbage about his on-again, off-again love, Princess Dayanara of Spain.

As much as I try to flip past those stories and convince myself that I couldn’t care less what he’s up to these days, I never can resist. It’s like reading about an old high school nemesis, someone who bullied you, hoping they finally got their comeuppance.

Only as far as I can tell, he’s yet to have his date with karma.

In fact, from what I’ve read, his life is pretty magical.

Trips to the Maldives, parties in Ibiza, private planes, a fleet of royal yachts at his leisure, women lined up everywhere he goes, throwing themselves at him.

Screaming.

Crying.

Professing their love.

If they only knew the real Prince Julian.

“Anyway, what is it you needed to talk to me about?” I ask, checking my watch and ignoring a text from Gillian that flashes across the screen. She’s probably pacing my room, wondering what the hell is going on. And in all fairness, I never told any of my friends that I knew royalty.

That my first kiss was a prince.

That I gave my virginity to the future King of Chamont (more like he stole it).

After my sixteenth summer, it seemed irrelevant, and Julian wasn’t anyone I wanted to bring up ever again.

“Do you remember that pact we made?” he asks. “The marriage pact?”

My stomach heaves and my blood runs cold.

Of all the things I expected him to bring up tonight, that was the last.

“If you’re talking about the pact we made where we promised never to marry each other, then yes. I remember it. Clearly. In fact, it’s the one thing from that summer that stands out most.”

I’ve never told a single soul about our promise. I never wanted to have to explain it. I never wanted to explain him. Without the facts and details to accompany such a pact, it wouldn’t make sense anyway.

I’ve had friends who’ve made marriage pacts of the mainstream variety—if we’re not married by thirty, we’ll marry each other, that sort of thing—but ours was … unique.

And also necessary.

Our fathers were absolutely convinced that we were going to end up together one day, and our mothers used to throw around the word “betrothed” like candy at a parade with smiles on their faces as they were intoxicated off pricey white wine (and oblivious to our mutual disdain for one another that started long before either of us had so much as reached junior high).

After Prince Julian so callously and carelessly shattered my naive little teenage heart into a thousand-billion pieces, I had to make it clear in front of both of our families that a marriage between the two of us would never happen.

It was funny how quickly the word “betrothed” left our mothers’ vocabularies after that.

“Good,” Julian says. “I’m glad you remember it … because we have to break it.”

I start to reply but choke on my words, barely coughing out a simple, “What?!”

He can’t be serious.

Julian smiles a devilish smile for all of two seconds before regaining his composure. He always did love getting reactions out of me.

“No,” I say. “Absolutely not. Please tell me you didn’t fly all the way to North Carolina to ask me to marry you.”

“What if I did?”

“Then I’d say you’re ….”

“What? I’m what?”

“Delusional?” I half-chuckle. “Insane? Arrogant? Mistaken? I would never marry you.”

My hands fly through the air as I speak. I’m pretty sure I’m the one looking insane right now, but I’m too worked up to care.

Julian rakes his hand along his sharp jaw, exhaling. The tiniest bit of five o’clock shadow darkens his sun-kissed skin. I imagine he’s been traveling all day and he’s exhausted, but that isn’t my problem.

I’m not the idiot who thought he could walk back into someone’s life and expect her to say yes to his sorry excuse for a marriage proposal.

“I realize I’m asking the world of you, Emelie,” he says, and I wish he’d stop saying my name. It’s distracting coming from those full lips and soaked in that rich accent with his smooth cadence. “But I wouldn’t come all this way and ask this of you if I weren’t in dire straits.”

“You’re twenty-six.” And the world’s most eligible bachelor … but I don’t tell him that because he can’t know that I’ve kept up on him all these years. “Why would you want to get married now? And to me? I don’t even like you, Julian. What makes you think I’d even consider marrying you?”

My words are harsh, but the audacity of his request has me all kinds of stirred up and confused. I swear I’m feeling emotions I never knew existed before, and it’s making my mind run a million miles per hour with contradicting thoughts.

I don’t know what it is about first loves, but even the briefest ones leave their marks and the tiniest, most microscopic part of you can’t un-love them, even if you can’t stand them.

“You have every reason to feel the way you do, but please. Hear me out,” he says.

I realize now that we’ve yet to take a seat. We’re standing opposite each other, nothing but my cluttered coffee table separating us. I fold my arms over my chest, wishing I’d have thrown a cardigan over myself when I had the chance because how is he ever going to take me seriously when I’m standing here braless and indecent and barking at him like a crazy person who’s been tossing back Belvederes all night?

“The monarchy is currently in jeopardy,” he says. “In my father’s age … his beliefs are … shifting, if you will. He’s growing a bit extreme in his ways. Wanting to change things. The Chamontians, as you know, are a very outspoken people. They’re not having it and quite frankly, neither am I. It’s getting to the point where the media is making a mockery out of him and our country is becoming late-night talk show fodder.”

“What does any of that have to do with you?” I ask. I vaguely recall reading a few articles here or there claiming King Lionel of Chamont is going senile in his old age, but beyond that I never gave them that much thought, writing them off like I do most gossip articles—as fictionalized entertainment.

“Our Parliament wants to do away with the monarchy completely,” he says. “They feel it’s a relic. A costly relic. And with my father acting out … they feel the monarchy is a liability as well.”

“Why don’t you talk to him? Have him step aside?”

“Believe me, Emelie, I’ve tried that. It only makes things worse. He flies into these rages …” his voice tempers into nothing. “We can’t even have him examined by the royal physician. He’s uncooperative and hostile toward everyone who comes into his path, my mother included.”

A vision of King Leo at my dad’s funeral last year comes to mind. Normally a stoic man with a round belly and a boisterous boom in his voice you can hear halfway across town, he was thinner, frailer, and quieter. Less hair. Lackluster blue eyes that had almost turned grey. I thought it was the loss of his best friend that was doing a number on him. Now I wonder if it was something more …

“Our Parliament has the power to overthrow the monarchy and they’re on the cusp of doing so, however, I’ve spoken with our prime minister, and she is willing to make an exception,” he says. “She’s willing to remove my father from power and replace him with a successor. However, the royal order, which spans back hundreds of years and dozens of generations, states that the successor must be married.”

I roll my eyes. I can’t help it. “If Parliament can overthrow your father, I’m sure they can change an outdated rule.”

“I agree with you wholeheartedly,” he says. “Unfortunately, I’ve had that conversation with our prime minister as well. Chamontian culture is steeped in tradition. This was a non-negotiable for them.”

“Don’t you have a cousin or something? An uncle?” I ask. I can’t count how many times he confessed to me when we were younger that he had no interest in being king or running a country. He thought his father’s job was boring and said he’d “sooner gouge my eyes out with a sterling silver caviar spoon.”

“My father was an only child,” he says. “I’m the only successor. I’m all they have.”

“Your mother can’t take over?”

“It doesn’t work that way.”

“It should.”

“Right. It should. But it doesn’t. And she wouldn’t want to.” He exhales, nostrils flaring. “Anyway, getting back to business, you’re—”

“Wait.” I lift a flattened palm. “Let me make sure I understand this. You need a wife, and the first person you think to ask is me?”

“Yes, Emelie,” he says, jaw setting as he exhales through his perfect, straight nose. “I was just about to explain my rationale to you.”

I silence my commentary and give him my full attention, but only because I’m dying of curiosity.

“My country, as you might know, has a rather complicated relationship with yours.”

Fitting.

And also true.

“And I believe this could be a step in bridging that divide and changing … perspectives. Public and personal.” He pauses before locking eyes with me again. “To put it frankly, Emelie, Chamontians despise Americans, and from what I understand, the feeling is mutual.”

“I don’t think we should be generalizing, but I understand what you’re getting at,” I say. “That said, you’re wasting your time. I’m ninety-nine percent sure you could walk up to any random American girl on the street and propose to her and she’ll say yes. I mean, there’s this whole Meghan Markle phenomenon now and there are a lot of girls dreaming of having royal weddings of their own, so … lucky you.”

“I don’t want some random girl from the street, Emelie. I want you.”

His words suck the air from my lungs, but not for long. “Do you hear yourself right now? How crazy you sound? You’re not even making sense. I can’t stand you, Julian. I would never marry you. And that’s a promise I intend to keep.”

I check my watch again before heading to the patio slider to let Rafa back inside.

“Our conversation is over,” I say to them both before turning to Julian and escorting them to the door. “You came to ask a question. You got your answer. Good luck.”

They leave, quiet. Dumfounded, probably. And I lock the door behind them, refusing to let myself watch through the peephole.

The instant they’re gone, Gillian rushes down the hall, throwing questions at me faster than I can think to answer them, but I still have one of my own: why does he want me?

The man didn’t just shatter my heart that summer, he obliterated it. It took me years to piece it back together and even then, it was never fully right after that. Never quite whole.

I meant it with every fiber in my soul when I swore I would never marry him.

I meant it then.

And I mean it now.



Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi.And if you’d like to be the first to know when a new book is coming out, please sign up for her private mailing list here —> http://eepurl.com/bfQU2j

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RELEAS BLITZ – The Marriage Pact by Winter Renshaw

I was sixteen when I vowed I would never marry him.

We shook on it. Pinky swore. Even put it in writing and all but signed our names in blood.

It was the one and only thing we ever agreed on.

To the world, he’s Prince Ian, Duke of Montcroix, second in line to the Chamont throne. Panty-melting accent. Royal charm. Hypnotic presence. Blindingly gorgeous. Laundry list of women all over the world who would give their first born for the chance to marry him. Most eligible bachelor in the free world …

But to me, he’s nothing more than the son of my father’s best friend—the pesky blue-eyed boy who made it his mission to annoy the ever-loving hell out of me summer after summer as our families vacationed together, our parents oblivious to our mutual disdain as they joked about our “betrothal.”

He was also my first kiss.

And my first taste of heartbreak so cataclysmic it almost broke me.

I meant it with every fiber of my soul when I swore I’d never marry him.

But on the eve of my 24th birthday, His Royal Highness has the audacity to show up at my door after years of silence and make a demand will forever change the trajectory of our lives: “We have to break our pact.”



Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi.

And if you’d like to be the first to know when a new book is coming out, please sign up for her private mailing list here —> http://eepurl.com/bfQU2j

Author Links

CHAPTER REVEAL – Broken Princess by Loki Renard

One day she will rule, but first she must be broken.Locked away in her tower, Princess Aya spent years hiding from the truth as her people suffered terribly under her uncle’s tyrannical reign. Now she will pay the shameful price for her silence…

Awakened by the cries of the oppressed, Kazriel will not rest until things are made right. But putting Aya on the throne is only the beginning. Before he allows her to rule, the princess must be stripped bare and mastered so thoroughly she will never forget how it feels to be powerless.

Naked, bound, and at his mercy, she will scream and beg as her helpless, quivering body is put on display and tormented with pain and pleasure, then claimed so publicly she may never stop blushing. She is not just going to be humbled, punished, and ravaged. She is going to be broken.

Publisher’s Note: Broken Princess includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.


Prologue

GUILTY

The word tolled from a thousand throats like a bell. It resonated through Aya’s tender frame, her silky soft skin turning to a myriad of bumps of fear as the energy of those voices passed over and through her.

She wrapped her arms around herself, trembling fingers clasping at the fine silk of her gown. Those who denounced her wore scraps of cloth and threadbare cloaks of wool, but their voices were clear, and they rang with truth.

GUILTY

The word was intoned with a collective gravity which chilled the princess to her core. They did not shriek the words. They barely shouted them. She would rather have faced a screaming mob than this civilian intensity which sunk into her bones and made her wish she could curl up on herself and simply disappear.

“I didn’t know!” She tried to argue, her soft voice carried away by the wind. “I couldn’t have known…”

GUILTY

Three times the pronouncement rang out from the mouths of the people. Her fate was sealed. The word shot into her heart and made it pound with abject fear. She could not be guilty. A princess could never be guilty, not ever. A princess was above the law.

The gaze of the peasants was shameful enough, but it was the least of her concerns. She felt a much more powerful stare on her. Celestial green eyes swept over her and it was as if she was entirely naked though she remained clothed. The people were common, but he was not. He was more than royal. He was the one creature in all the world who could be said to rule over a princess. More than a king.

She looked into the eyes of Kazriel and met a gaze which was not meant to be incarnate. He did not merely see the surface of her. He saw everything. Every thought. Every hope. Every desire. Her mind rebelled at finding itself prematurely laid bare. Perhaps after death she might have found herself judged, but there had never been any indication that a wayward princess like pretty Aya might find herself called to answer before the guardian of justice.

“I didn’t know…”

Her voice was as soft as her excuse was weak.

“You knew.”

His voice was deep, and not unkind. He spoke with the voice of the world, with the grinding of stones and the growing of trees. His voice was not merely sound, it was a resonance which touched every part of her and made her tremble with the guilt she had long denied and now could not.

“I had no choice…”

Again she tried to argue her way out of what was to come. She could not have known what the guardian had in store for her, but she sensed that it would be enough to make amends – and there were so very many amends to be made. She cowered in fear of the consequences as much as at the great beast of a god who stood before her, taller, broader, stronger, perfectly masculine in the carved planes of his body, human ideal made flesh.

He reached out. She flinched away. His touch would not bring comfort. She knew what she deserved. She knew what he would do to her. She knew that the fine garments protecting her from the eyes surrounding her would not remain intact much longer. She knew shame awaited, a shame she might never recover from.

But this was not her fault. She had only been trying to do what everyone else was trying to do: survive.

Perhaps she had been doing it differently from those who now stood in collective judgement of her, but that was an accident of birth. She had no more chosen to be a princess than any of the commoners around her had decided to be peasants. Why didn’t this creature who held her prisoner understand that?

She had begged for this chance to plead her case to the people, so certain that they would pardon her. But there was no pardon on their lips, and there was no mercy in their gazes. She would take the punishment. All of it. And they would be witness to it, from the scribes who would write this into the history books, to the common men who would tell the story to their sons so it may be told to all sons thereafter.

Princess Aya swallowed the lump in her throat and faced her destiny.

“Very well,” she murmured, a touch more rebellion than was wise entering her tone. “Do your worst.”

A soft chuckle escaped Kazriel. “My worst? Princess, you would not survive a fraction of my worst.”

She clamped her lips together and did not reply, but her look said everything. She had survived more than he could imagine, and she could take more than the guardian could inflict. It was a curse even he could not lift.

It was beginning.

Harsh ropes wrapped around her wrists and drew them high above her head, making her body stretch before the crowds. They would see through the sheer of her robe. They would make out the curve of her body, the lines of her most intimate places.

She heard the sound of hundreds of people looking at her, an intense, focused silence which made her every hair prickle at attention.

He stepped closer, his shadow falling over her. He was so tall, powerful beyond compare. She reacted to him on a visceral level. He called to more than her flesh. He called to her soul.

“Guilty,” he said, his hand running up the inside of her thighs, his fingers moments away from making contact with the virginal core of her.

“Do you repent, princess?”

Aya turned her eyes on him. She was so small in comparison. So weak. Her brown gaze was of earth, unlike his eyes which were iridescent with power. She could have said so many things in that moment. She could have apologized. She could have begged for forgiveness. She could have declared herself reformed. Instead, she took refuge in the haughtiness of her station and stared down the deity she had been worshipping since she was forced into the world by birth.

“I repent nothing.”



It’s just as well Loki Renard became an author because other career paths proved disastrous. She was once thrown out of someone’s house for trying to sell them citrus based cleaning product, and her brief brush with corporate life ended when she wrote profiles for her fellow employees likening them to various feral animals then attempted to negotiate the idea of not coming into the office and getting paid anyway. Perhaps if she’d had the dedication to slug herself in the face a la Fight Club, things might have turned out differently.



RELEASE BLITZ – The BEARly Tamed Grizzly Bear Clan #3) by Jenika Snow


I didn’t know her, what she looked like, where she was, but I knew my mate was out there. And it was that truth that had me saving myself for her. Only her. If I couldn’t fully give myself over to my fated mate, what kind of worthy male was I?

But staying in town, hidden deep within the forest, wouldn’t bring my mate to me. I had to go and find her.
I had to make her mine.
India

As a former foster child, I never had real family, no roots. I’d always felt like something was missing, so I worked hard on helping others. My mobile medical van was where my passion lay. It’s how I made sure no one else felt helpless.

But when my van was broken into, and my safety compromised, it was a big bear shifting male who came to the rescue.
Oli said I was his. He claimed I was his mate. He seemed certain of it just by looking at me. It was insanity, but I couldn’t deny the pull I felt for him, the way my body craved his.

Pushing him away wasn’t an option, not when he was always there, watching me, making sure I was protected. And it was that need inside of me, the one that grew and consumed me, that finally had me giving in.
I soon realized being mated to a bear shifter meant he was grumpy, protective, possessive, and wanted only one thing.
Me.


We crashed through the front door of my apartment in a tangle of limbs, heavy panting, and sexual groans. I had no doubt the neighbors had heard us, maybe even peeked out a crack in their front doors to see what was going on. But I didn’t care if they saw. Let them look, let them see how much I was wanted, that I was with this gorgeous man and he was mine.
Oli slammed the door shut with his foot and stood there a moment, his head slightly downcast but his gaze locked right on me. He looked so primal in this moment, like the animal he truly was.
He was in front of me a second later, and instinctively I knew what to do, what he wanted.
I tilted my head back as far as it would go, and then latched his mouth onto my throat. The sound that left him was distorted, animal-like, and filled with as much desire as I felt.
The way he looked at me, the way his gaze tracked me when I moved the slightest inch, had my breath hitching.
“India,” he whispered. “My India. I could devour you until there wasn’t anything left, until you were crying out my name, writhing for me as I fuck you.”
I opened my mouth slightly, the air leaving me. He moved a step toward me and the air stalled in my lungs.
“I’d push your hair aside and bare your slender throat. My mouth is already watering, India. I’m so fucking hungry for you.” And then he had his hand on my nape, his fingers curled into my flesh.
He leaned in and I was frozen in place, the feel of his warm breath on my skin having me close my eyes, moaning softly. “The things I want to do to you…” He growled low against my throat, and I felt the vibrations all the way between my thighs.


BLP REVIEW – Tracy


Jenika Snow, a USA Today bestselling author, lives in the northeast with her husband and their children.

She prefers gloomy days, eats the topping off of her pizza first, and prefers to wear socks year round.

Author Links



RELEASE DAY BLITZ ~ His Wrath (The Underground) by Jenika Snow

 

 

 

Available via Kindle Unlimited

 

Brea Collins’s past kept resurfacing no matter how hard she tried to outrun it. When she finally settled in a small town, working at a club to save enough for what she hoped was her final escape, she never expected to meet Adrian Holden, a man who made her feel something other than fear.Adrian’s life had been far from a fairy tale. He fought in the Underground, an illegal cage fighting organization housed below an up and coming nightclub. It’s his anger and grief that fuel him, that make him the barbarian he was.

When he saw Brea, she calls out to every protective possessive instinct in him.

But their happiness can only last so long.

With two traumatic pasts and an uncertain future, there was bound to be something that drives them apart. But Adrian was determined to have Brea at all costs, and he would do everything in his power to ensure that, even if that meant raw knuckles and bodies at his feet.



Warning: Previously published under the title Adrian’s Wrath,
this story has been revised, re-edited, and new content has been added.




“Look at me. I want you to see how much I want you.” Their gazes stayed locked, and her breath caught at the intensity in his expression. “You’re beautiful, Brea. Inside and out.” He dipped his head to kiss her lightly. To her disappointment he didn’t deepen it, and instead ended it far too soon. “Whatever happened to you doesn’t shape who you are as a person. It might control you temporarily, but inside, under all that hurt and pain, is the real you just waiting to be awakened.”
The way he talked, so passionately, led Brea to believe that maybe he was referring to himself instead of her. She would like to believe what he’d said, but there was a part of her that knew she might be broken, that maybe she’d never be able to be whole again.
Not thinking, just needing to feel him, Brea closed the distance that separated them and kissed him with as much passion as she felt for him. His grunt of surprise spurred her on. Her clit throbbed, and her pussy ached to be filled.
She slid her hand back, along his muscular thigh, and when she reached the hard, thick length of his erection straining against the material, an involuntary moan left her. As if that sound broke him, Adrian gripped her shoulders and pulled her impossibly close.
Her hand curled around the iron-hard ridge, and a shudder went through his body. “I want you so fucking bad, Brea.” His hips jacked up as he ground his cock against her. One of his hands slid off her shoulder and made a slow trek down her side, resting on top of her thigh. The heat from his touch went straight through the thin material.
Surprisingly she didn’t feel anxiety over this. All she felt was intense pleasure and the need to go further.
Maybe I’m not broken after all.
“Is this okay?” he murmured against her mouth.
She found herself nodding, not able to actually form words as she started kissing him again.
In the next instant he gripped her waist and pulled her on top of him. She straddled his waist, their kiss never breaking, gasps of surprise leaving her. Pleasure, arousal, need … all that and more claimed her.
Both of his hands were now gripping her waist, and he pressed her down on him at the same time that he lifted his hips.
“Oh.” Her dress had ridden up, her thighs now fully exposed. She closed her eyes as her pussy, covered only in thin cotton, pressed aggressively against his jean-clad cock. The need to feel more of him, all of him, was so strong she had to break the kiss and gasp for air.
“I want so much more of you.” Adrian started kissing her neck, and Brea tilted her head to the side, relishing the feel of his lips and tongue sliding along the übersensitive spot right below her ear. She’d never felt anything so powerful before, never desired so strongly.
“Do you like that, baby?” He ran his tongue over the spot again, and she shivered.
“Yes,” she whispered.
“I want inside of you so bad, Brea.”
A gasp left her at his blunt statement, and a warm wave washed through her. Brea started grinding herself on him. Brain fuzzy from desire, she was vaguely aware of Adrian’s palms sliding over her ass and cupping the mounds.
God, she didn’t want this to end.

Jenika Snow, a USA Today bestselling author, lives in the northeast with her husband and their children.

She prefers gloomy days, eats the topping off of her pizza first, and prefers to wear socks year round.

 

Author Links


 

BLOG TOUR ~ The Wolf’s Capture by Jenika Snow

 

 

It should have just been a simple vacation, away from everyone and everything to clear my head. But I soon realized I wasn’t alone.He stalked me, hunted me. I should’ve run faster, tried harder. But the truth was I liked him chasing me.

Wolf was a ruthless man, his way of living barbaric. Now he had me in his off-the-grid cabin, what he deemed my new home. I was his new wife, would have his babies.

I was his irrevocably.

I shouldn’t have felt arousal. But I did.

He’s not going to let me escape … but then again, maybe I don’t want to.


Warning: This one has bite to it—even if it’s NOT paranormal! As per the usual … it’s short and fast, pretty unrealistic, but it gets right down to the juicy bits. It’s one of those stories that will have you wanting to find your own Wolf in the woods.


I felt like a fiend for him, like my body wasn’t my own, like I just needed to give every single part of myself over to him. It was insane, maybe even delusional, but I wanted it more than I’d ever wanted anything before.
He stood and kept his back toward me. I licked my lips, my pulse thundering so loud I wondered if he heard. Then I found myself moving closer to him until I could have reached out and touched his back. I saw the way he tensed and wondered if he knew how close I was to him.
“I can’t let you go,” he said in a gruff voice, his back still to me. He turned around then, the shadows dancing off his face, his body seeming even bigger than before. “I wanted you as mine since I first saw you. Now that you’re here the thought of you leaving isn’t something I’ll allow to happen.” He took a step forward. I found myself moving one back.
My heart was racing and I started breathing faster and harder. The air in the room became thick, almost suffocating. It was like honey covering my body, coating me. He moved another step toward me, his massive body dwarfing mine, his scent making me feel drunk.
“W-What?” My voice came out soft, that loan word a stutter. Oh, I understood exactly what he said but he spoke the words with such conviction, such determination that I felt them in every part of my body.
“You heard me.”
“I have a home, a job.” Although the very thought of those things in this moment, standing before Wolf, seemed distant and unimportant. Hell, they seemed that way even before I’d been in this situation.
His expression was fierce, almost stern. He stared into my eyes, the dark depths of his heating me like a fire burning deep within my belly.
“Materialistic things.” He said those two words in a gruff voice and took another step toward me. “Life isn’t about what we have, but about what we accomplish.” He lifted his hand and gently wrapped his fingers around my throat, his palm so much bigger than my neck. “Connections with that one person who owns every part of you, creating a family with them…” His voice had gone done an octave. “Those are what’s important. That is what life is about.”
I swallowed, feeling that light pressure of his hand, knowing my nipples were hard and my pussy had become wet. It was all because of that touch.
It was all because of him.
“Nothing else matters aside from you with me, Ruby. You are mine.” And then he leaned in close and placed his mouth on mine, devouring me as he slipped his tongue between my lips and fucked me there.




Jenika Snow, a USA Today bestselling author, lives in the northeast with her husband and their children.

She prefers gloomy days, eats the topping off of her pizza first, and prefers to wear socks year round.

 

Author Links


 

RELEASE DAY BLITZ ~ Alpha’s Mission by Renee Rose & Lee Savino

 

 


THE MONSTER WANTS HER. HE WON’T BE DENIED.

I’ve become a monster.

I hear blood moving in people’s veins. Scent their emotions.

I want to feed. To hunt. To mate…

I’m no longer a human–my life is over.

I’ve left everyone I love. I’ve gone rogue from the CIA.

My only hope is my handler.

Annabel Gray is tough enough to face my monster. If I lose control, she won’t hesitate to take me out.
But I’m not the only predator out there. Someone’s hunting Annabel.

She needs my protection.

But if I don’t get my animal under control,

I may be her biggest threat yet.


 


Renee Rose

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR RENEE ROSE is a naughty wordsmith who writes kinky BDSM novels. Named Eroticon USA’s Next Top Erotic Author in 2013, she has also won The Romance Reviews Best Historical Romance, and Spanking Romance Reviews’ Best Sci-fi, Paranormal, Historical, Erotic, Ageplay and favorite couple and author. She’s hit #1 on Amazon in multiple categories in the U.S. and U.K., is often found on the list of Amazon’s Top Author list. She also pens BDSM stories under the name Darling Adams.


Lee Savino

Lee Savino has grandiose goals but most days can’t find her wallet or her keys so she just stays at home and writes. While she was studying creative writing at Hollins University, her first manuscript won the Hollins Fiction Prize.

She lives in Richmond, Va with her awesome family. 
You can find her on Facebook in the Goddess Group (which you totally should join).



 

RELEASE DAY BLITZ ~ Touch Wood by Jenika Snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ash brothers—they know how to handle their wood.

A new smoking-hot Ash Brothers novella from USA TODAY bestselling author Jenika Snow

I’ve been celibate for years, by choice. No woman has held my interest long enough to be worth sacrificing
time spent 
at Ash Lumber, energy spent building the family business.

All that changed when a feisty redhead walked into our job-site trailer.

Andra.

Her skirts drive me crazy and her trying so hard to flat-out ignore me does the rest.
Her flushed cheeks when

we flirt are enough to send me to bed for a week.

Andra might be supervising this development deal, but there’s no way we’re going to be able to
keep things professional
around here. My celibate streak is over, and I owe it all to her.




I was a fiend for Andra, so far gone that stopping seemed like a distant thought. Even if I had the strength to walk away from this I wouldn’t have. I needed her in all ways, needed to claim her in the way that only I could. To make her mine. Andra would soon see I was the one in control, that I was the one who would give her pleasure, hear her calling out my name as she came.

I stood there staring at her, unable to take my gaze off her. She was perfection, beautiful…mine.

Her cheeks were flushed, dotted with red from her lust. I started kissing her again, taking in her flavor, her very essence. My desire was so fucking intense that I ground myself against her belly. Her mouth was hot and sweet, and my cock jerked behind my jeans, the fucker needing out and buried deep in her body.

I swept my tongue into the wet cavern of her mouth, stroking it along hers, bringing out a moan from her. I swallowed that sound, wanting more of it. Sliding my hands down her back, I gripped her full, round ass and brought her closer to me, which was almost an impossible act, given the fact we were pressed tightly together. My cock jerked at the feel of her softness, at the scent of her.

“I want you so fucking badly. I can feel it in my marrow, taste it on my tongue,” I said against her mouth, kissing her harder after the words left me.

The sound of her lightly moaning told me she was finding pleasure in this, that she craved me as much as I craved her. And the way she dug her nails into my arms let me know she needed more.

And I’ll give her so much more she can’t even fucking breathe.

Andra slid her hands up my chest and dug her nails into my skin. I hissed in pain…in pleasure. It felt good, so fucking good I could have probably gotten off on this alone.

I needed us naked, needed her bare skin pressed to mine. I wanted to feel her body shaking beneath my hands and mouth, losing control because she came, because I was the one who brought that out in her. I was purely working on instinct now, and there wasn’t anything on this fucking planet that could stop me from claiming her, from making her mine in every way I saw fit.

“You sure you want this, baby?”

“I want this. I want you,” she said instantly and looked into my eyes.

I kissed her harder and with more possession, needing her to see that she was, in fact, only mine. She moaned and pressed her breasts harder against my chest.

“I’m going to have you so sore tomorrow you won’t be able to sit comfortably, but you’ll want more. So much more.”


Jenika Snow, a USA Today bestselling author, lives in the northeast with her husband and their children.

She prefers gloomy days, eats the topping off of her pizza first, and prefers to wear socks year round.

 

Author Links


 

RELEASE BLITZ ~ For The King by Jenika Snow

 

 

 

 

Willow. Flower shop owner and commoner.

I was her king, a ruthless and brutal ruler who didn’t back down.
And from the moment I saw her I knew she was mine. I had to have her, not just in my bed but also by my side. As my queen.

So I had her taken from her home and made a deal with her. I’d make sure her ailing mother was taken care of and pay off her debts if she agreed to one thing.

Be my wife and carry my heir.

What I wanted I got, and the only thing that I wanted more than all the riches and jewels in the world was her. Willow

 

Warning: Get your fancy clothes on—or off depending on how you roll—and get ready to dive into one hell of a royal love story. It’s got everything that presses your book buttons: a safe read that’s swoony, filthy, and delivers a HEA. It’s true what they say about this king … he does always get what he wants.


I inhaled her panties again, that sweet scent of her pussy making my cock jerk in response. I was going to tear up her pretty virgin cunt, make it mine. She’d take all of my cock as I filled her womb with my seed, putting my heir deep inside of her, making sure she was linked to me forever.
Placing my hand between her thighs again—right over her now bared pussy—I added pressure. “Your cunt tells me you like what I’m doing, that even if you’re trying to be strong you know that I’m the only one who can give you what you need,” I growled out low. “You’re fucking soaked and it’s all because of me.”
I held up my hand, my fingers glistening from her wetness. “Open for me, Willow.” She widened her eyes but did as I said. I slipped my fingers into her mouth, made her taste herself.
“Lick them clean.”
She ran her tongue along the digits, sucking the cream off of them, and couldn’t help but make a small noise in the back of her throat.
“You like it, don’t you?” I said low, wanting to hear her say the words. I removed them from her mouth, took a half a step back, and dropped to my haunches in front of her, her pussy on display, my face right there, seeing it all.
“Fuck, I like that your cunt is mine now, that no one will ever fucking taste you, know how tight you are, how wet and pink you are when you’re turned on.”
I blew a warm breath on her pussy. I lifted my hands and framed her cunt, and pulled her lips apart with my thumbs. My groan was deep and filled with an arousal that no doubt matched hers.
“Spread your legs for me, Willow. I’m going to lick and suck at this little pussy until you come all over my face.”
She did as I ordered and I gripped the back of her knee and brought it over my shoulder, having her pussy spread obscenely wide. And then I had my mouth on her cleft, my tongue parting her folds as I ate her out almost violently.
I had one hand back on her ass, keeping her pressed to my mouth as I did exactly what I wanted with her. Squeezing the fleshy mound, I groaned against her soaked pussy at the same time I dipped my tongue into her body. Fucking her with my tongue and lips, I gently scraped my teeth along her flesh.
I lifted the hand that I had on the back of her knee and moved it between her thighs. As soon as my thumb touched her clit she came for me.
“That’s it,” I said against her swollen flesh as I continued to eat her out.
A low cry left her and she speared her hands in my hair and ground her pussy into my face.
“Fuck,” I groaned.
I gave her pussy one last long lick, like I was sucking on a lollipop, making sure I got all of her flavor, and then I stood. I grabbed her ass again and pulled her forward, letting her feel the hard length of my erection pressed into her belly.


Jenika Snow, a USA Today bestselling author, lives in the northeast with her husband and their children.She prefers gloomy days, eats the topping off of her pizza first, and prefers to wear socks year round.

 

Author Links



 

CHAPTER REVEAL ~ Sergio by Natasha Knight

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m the first-born son of the mafia king. The favorite. Destined to rule, I’m a dangerous man, a ruthless one. But in my world, you have to be.Then Natalie stumbles into my life. Wrong place. Wrong time.

Twice, fate put her in my path.
Twice, fate placed the innocent lamb at the mercy of the monster.

I gave her a chance to walk away. Told her it would be better for her if she did.
But she didn’t listen.
And now it’s too late.
Because I’m not good. I never wanted to be. And I won’t let her go anymore. See, I’m not the hero. When I touch her, it’s with dirty hands.

I know my reckoning is coming though. I know I’ll burn for the things I’ve done, the sins I’ve committed. And I don’t deny hell is where I belong, but I want my time first. I want my time with her.

She’s mine.
Forever.
No matter what.

Author’s Note: Sergio: a Dark Mafia Romance is an intensely emotional, steamy and dark standalone romance set in the Benedetti Brothers Mafia world. Be prepared: this is not a traditional romance.


Prologue
Natalie

“Wrong place, wrong time, sweetheart.”

The words echo in my head.
I’ve done this before. Twice in my life now, I’ve been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Isn’t there some sort of karmic balancing? Like isn’t it enough to witness this kind of violence just once in a lifetime?
Last time was six years ago. I was fourteen and standing in front of the freezer of the convenience store down the street from my house deciding which ice cream bar I wanted. I remember the humming of the air conditioner. Liking the cool inside on that too hot August day. It was one of the few times my parents let me go alone. We didn’t live in the best neighborhood.
The men came in so quickly, I barely registered the fact they were wearing ski masks before the first gunshot went off. I dove to the ground and shut my ears to the commands they shouted, but the man with the greasy shirt saw me. He came at me and I would have screamed if I could find my voice, but the others’ screams muted me, and when he gripped me by my hair and hauled me to my feet, I followed where he led me.
Another gunshot was followed by another scream and I swear I saw red splatter the walls.
Blood.
But when he threw me to the ground in the last aisle and I registered what he meant to do, it all became surreal.
Gunshots and fists and screams all seemed in the distance. Like they weren’t part of my reality anymore because my reality was about to change. My reality came down to him and me on the floor of this forgotten shop, with blood seeping from beneath the aisle divider. Fear in the voices of the others trapped here with me. Him with his pants undone. Him with his hands in my jeans. Me watching, mute. Trying to shove him away.
I remember the bell over the door going again.
Remember the sound of footsteps.
Someone cursing.
I remember the sound of a gun being cocked. Readied. How I knew what that little click meant I’m not sure, but it’s an unmistakable sound. I remember the look on the face of the one between my legs as he registered cold steel on the back of his head.
We looked up at the man in the dark suit at the same time. He wore black from head to toe, a dark angel. His pistol shone bright in the blinking fluorescent light. The angel called me to go to him. I did. I scrambled to my feet and went. He glanced down to where my jeans were undone before meeting my eyes. He pulled me to him, put one hand on the back of my head, burying my face in his belly.
He told me to keep my eyes closed. To cover my ears. Said he’d try not to get blood on me.
I didn’t think. I did as he said. Put my hands over my ears. And I swear I know what a bullet tearing through flesh sounds like now.
But all that I’ve managed to file away. Locked up in a box until now.
It’s his words that play back over and over again. The sound of his voice that I recognize as now, so many years after that terrible day, I crouch behind the decrepit machinery in this abandoned warehouse and hide.
“Wrong place, wrong time, sweetheart.”
Sweetheart.
I’ll never forget that voice. Never forget the casual way he called me sweetheart. And I recognize it now. The man in the suit, my dark angel. The man who killed without flinching. The man who saved my life once. It’s him. He’s here.
And when he shifts his gaze in my direction, I swear he hears the pounding of my heart against my chest. Swear it’ll give me away.
Except that this time, if he finds me, he won’t be saving me.************************************************************************

Chapter 1

Sergio

Fuck. I hate these fucking warehouses. Dusty and always frigid.
I’m flanked by two of my men. Four more soldiers trail us with a dozen more outside. It’s to make an impression. Joe and Lance Vitelli have overstepped.
Lance. Who the fuck names their kid Lance in this business? It’s no wonder he’s acting out. Trying to prove he’s not a pussy.
Our footsteps echo off the old machinery as I follow Roman, my uncle, through the main room and to the back where the brothers are being held. There’s no door to that room and the glow of the single light bulb is a contrast to the pitch black of the rest of the place.
The sound of a fist connecting with flesh is followed by a grunt. The grunt, I know, belongs to either Joe or Lance. I pick lint off my sleeve and adjust the cuff of my shirt as we near the entrance. Roman steps into the room, stands to the side, folding his hands together. He takes in what’s going on, then turns to me, gives a brief nod and waits.
I walk into the room, crack my neck. Slept bad last night.
The sight that greets me is not an unfamiliar one. The offenders are sitting in straight back chairs, but they’re not bound. There’s a splattering of blood on Joe’s white shirt. It’s fresh. I guess he’s the one who took the punch I heard.
“That’s disgusting. Get something on his nose,” I say to one of my men.
“It’s fucking broke,” Joe whines, taking the wad of nasty cloth someone just shoved at him.
I go right up to him. Lean down to get my face in his. “You’re lucky you’re not broke. Be grateful or that’ll change.”
He breathes in a sharp breath and I know he’s biting his lip not to reply.
“Sergio,” Lance starts. Lance is the older brother. The slightly smarter one. Or the one with a healthier fear of death.
Of me.
I straighten, turn to him.
“Mr. Benedetti,” he corrects.
I wait.
“My brother screwed up, but it’s fixed. The girls are back home. No harm, no foul, right?” He attempts to smile but it fails and his lips droop.
“In whose territory do you live?” I ask. It’s been a long fucking night already and it’s not close to over. I’m tired, so I’ll get to the point.
“Yours, sir,” he answers.
“In whose territory do your families live? Mothers, sisters, wives, daughters.”
Lance’s face, which was pale when I got here, goes gray. “Yours, Mr. Benedetti. Benedetti territory.”
I nod, shift my gaze to Joe. “To whom has your father pledged your family’s loyalty, Joe?” His eyes narrow and when he doesn’t answer right away, Lance clears his throat to, but I stop him. “I’m asking your fucking brother.”
“Benedetti,” Joe says through gritted teeth.
“DeMarco’s were once loyal to us too, until they weren’t,” I remind them. What happened to that family should be enough warning. What is happening and still will happen to Lucia DeMarco, most precious daughter, should be enough. My father’s right about fear. But there’s more to it. Ruthlessness. It’s what truly gets you respect in this business.
He is ruthless.
And I am my father’s son.
“You have a sister, don’t you?” I ask. “Anna, right? How old is she now?”
Lance just stares back at me, his eyes wide with fear.
I may not agree with how my father is handling the DeMarco girl, but I understand it. “Lucia DeMarco’s age, am I right?”
“She’s only sixteen, sir,” Lance says, his voice a little quieter.
“Yeah, Lucia DeMarco’s age when they lost the war they started with us.” I don’t need to say more.
“Sergio—” Lance starts. “Mr. Benedetti—”
I raise my hand to halt him. “Let’s just be clear. I’m going to give you a warning. One chance, because I know your father. He’s been a friend to my family. But if you overstep again, the consequences will be more…permanent.”
Lance swallows.
“Benedetti’s do not deal in flesh trade. Is that clear?”
“Yes, sir,” Lance says quickly.
I look at Joe. If looks could kill, I’d be dead right now.
I grab a handful of Joe’s hair and tug his head backward. “Is that fucking clear?”
One of my men cocks a gun and Lance whimpers like a fucking girl.
“You the tough one?” I ask Joe. “Sucks to always be in big brother’s shadow, doesn’t it?” He exhales, shifts his gaze away from mine, but not to his brother. I’m right. Like Dominic, my youngest brother, he knows he’ll never be boss and it fucking kills him. “Am I fucking clear, Joe? Or do I need to make an example?” I squeeze the handful of over-gelled hair and if I twist just once in the wrong direction, I’ll snap his neck. Quick and clean. No blood on my suit. And he knows it.
“Clear,” he says.
I release him, wipe my hand on my pants and decide I’m not done yet. “Now, show me your loyalty. Your gratitude for my family’s generosity in this unfortunate event.” I step backward, giving him space. He knows what I want and it’s going to kill him to do it.
But he’s going to do it.
I wait. I’m patient.
“Joe. Just fucking do it,” Lance orders his brother when a full minute passes and Joe hasn’t moved.
Joe’s face is a fiery red and his eyes are filled with rage. But soon, the leg of the chair scrapes across the concrete floor as he drops to his knees at my feet.
I look down at him. Give him more space. And my smile widens as he prostrates himself and his lips touch the toe of my shoe.
I want to kick the son-of-a-bitch, but I don’t. I’m a man of my word. I will give them one more chance.
A sound comes from the metal ramp that runs along the perimeter of the large office forming a second level. I look at it. It must have been an observation deck to oversee the plant.
I don’t know if anyone else heard it. A glance at Roman tells me he did, but the others haven’t noticed. I nod to him. He steps out of the room and two men follow.
When I return my gaze to the spectacle in front of me, I’m very aware of my periphery. I want to catch any movement because that sound was too loud for a mouse.
“Get them out of here,” I say to the two soldiers behind the brothers.
“Yes, sir.”
I watch as Joe and Lance are walked rudely out of the room. After a few moments, I turn to my men. “Let’s go,” I say loudly. They walk out. I hang back, switch out the light, listen to the footsteps echo as they vacate the building. I reach for the handgun in its holster beneath my jacket and walk silently toward the direction from where the sound had come.




USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance, Natasha Knight specializes in dark, tortured heroes. Happily-Ever-Afters are guaranteed, but she likes to put her characters through hell to get them there. She’s evil like that.

 



 

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Lady Heather's Reviews

Lover of books, music, and happily ever afters.

The Romance Bibliophile

Book Promotions | Reviews | Proofreading

Didi Oviatt

Author of suspense novels Justice For Belle, Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, and a medley of short stories.

Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

It's All about the Romance 💕💕💕

Chelle's Book Ramblings

Let's Talk Books

Madeline's Blog

"I'm on the hunt for who I've not yet become."

N.M. Catalano Writer/Author

Adult Content, 18+ Only

Lisa s Everyday Life

Welcome to my Life. As I turn Everyday into a Holiday -

Ines Johnson

A little magic in your love story...

Ophelia's

Speaking Out on the Unspeakable

BE MY BOOK BOYFRIEND

Fictional characters, non-fictional feelings

...Burns Through Her Bookshelf

Voracious reader, book lover, intermittant blogger, audiologist. These things are some of me, but not the sum of me.

Pink Ink

Ten authors, four countries, one blog.

After Dark Book Lovers

END YOUR DAY WITH A GOOD BOOK

Book Loving Pixies

We live to read ~ we love to read!!!!

Rumpled Sheets Blog

#Rumpled_Sheets

Storytime with John

Pull up and listen...I've got a funny one for ya...

jessielanebooks.wordpress.com/

Contemporary & Paranormal Romance Author

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