*ARC REVIEW* ~ Tattered Souls (Bad Blood, book 3): A Dark Romance, by Marissa Farrar

#darkromance #romanticsuspense #eroticromance #revenge

 

Book Blurb

Torn between love and hate…

The man who was my kidnapper has also become my lover, and now the lines are so blurred I don’t even know where they start or end. Hayden Vale might be handsome and rich, but he’s also single-minded in the revenge he intends on taking.
Revenge that includes killing my father.
Now a murderer is roaming the streets, and we are the ones responsible for setting him free. I want to see my father back behind bars, though Hayden has other plans—plans I will put a stop to, if I can.
I’m not trying to save my father’s life, I’m trying to save Hayden Vale from himself.
But in the end, I might be the one who needs saving.

My Review

Thrilling Finale  – 5 stars

I found Tattered Souls to be a nail-biting read – it’s certainly a fitting conclusion to this heartfelt and sizzling dark romance series. The  tension between Jolie and Hayden ratchets up as Hayden attempts to enact his plan to kill Jolie’s serial killer father, a man who has now escaped prison and is on the loose. However, Jolie is hell bent on stopping Hayden – not through any love for her father but because she does not want Hayden to throw his life away languishing in prison for the crime. She also has her own future to think of, with or without Hayden – that is if she survives…

Indeed, the introduction of Jolie’s father, the man whose heinous crimes have shaped the characters of both Jolie and Hayden, lends even more layers of suspense to the plot. He is a loose cannon who plays by his own rules and refuses to fall neatly into Hayden’s carefully orchestrated plans… How will Jolie react upon seeing him for the first time since he was sent to prison? Will her father jump at the chance to save his own flesh and blood? I was on tenterhooks throughout.

The plot contains scenes of extreme violence and potential triggers as it eventually plays out to its shocking conclusion. There are also plenty of passionate and bittersweet scenes between the couple as they contemplate the implications of the monster their actions have unleashed into the community and how events will play out. Hayden in particular was conflicted with his desire for revenge and his need to protect Jolie who has every reason to despise him.

As with the other two books I was glued to the read and heavily invested in the relationship between Jolie and Hayden, which although it was so twisted seemed so right. I really felt for them both as now that Jolie’s father is out of prison the dye has been well and truly cast and they have no choice but to deal with the consequences whatever they will be… The author does an excellent job of enthralling the reader with his game of cat and mouse as the reader is left wondering just who will be left standing.

Highly recommended for lovers of dark erotic romances.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by Booksprout, for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK Amazon US

Connect with the Author

Goodreads
Blog
Facebook

 

*REVIEW* ~ Shattered Hearts (Bad Blood, book 1) and Broken Minds: A Dark Romance (Bad Blood Book 2), by Marissa Farrar

#darkromance #romanticsuspense #eroticromance #revenge

Book Blurb

She’s the daughter of the man I hate most in the world…

For almost ten years, I’ve been waiting to exact my revenge.

Ten years to allow her to blossom from a child to a woman.

Ten years in which I’ve grown a million-dollar business and built a powerful body to match.

And now my wait is over.

I’ve kidnapped her. Taken her. Made her mine, just as her father did to others before her.

With her sexy body, fierce mind, and sharp mouth…

The one thing I did not expect was to fall for her.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42377087-shattered-hearts


Book Blurb

My father is a serial killer.

I didn’t think it possible to hate a man more than I hated him.
That was until the night a different man kidnapped me.
Now I know hate on a whole different level…
Hayden Vale might be rich and devastatingly handsome, but he’s also cruel and dangerous, and he has me handcuffed in the basement of his home on his private island.
He claims to hate me, but I’ve had a taste of him now and I know how he looks at me – with dark desire in his eyes.
He has a plan to use me to get revenge on my father, but what if I manage to use him first…

Get the second book in this brand new dark romance series!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42380644-broken-minds

My Review

Compulsive and heart-rending dark romance ~ 5 stars

I loved the premise of this series. After downloading and virtually inhaling the first book, I quickly purchased and read the subsequent instalment. I’m a huge fan of dark romances as I adore the conflict and tension between the protagonists and the journey they embark on as an individual and subsequently as part of a couple. This series certainly has conflict and tension in spades as Hayden, the hero (or rather the anti-hero) abducts Jolie, the heroine in a twisted tale of revenge.

I found the abduction scene and what happened to Jolie chilling and very well done. The reader is kept on their toes with the events that ensue. Hayden is a dark and damaged man. He has no misgivings about using  Jolie to encourage her serial killer father to break out of prison so that he can enact his revenge upon him for the murder of his mother. Indeed, he holds Jolie partly responsible and despises her with a passion.  For Jolie’s part, although she is revolted by what her father has done, she is naturally terrified as to what will happen to her at the hands of this desperate individual who is using her as a pawn to lure her father.

Jolie is certainly in a desperate position – escape from Hayden, who has spent a decade planning his plan for revenge, seems impossible. There are plenty of page-turning and harrowing scenes and I also enjoyed how Hayden and Jolie reflect upon their respective roles as captor and captive and also finding out how the actions of Jolie’s father, a serial killer, cruelly impacted on their lives…

Jolie resolves to use the sexual attraction that exists between them  to help her escape – she has no other option. Jolie is a strong woman and I admired her strength, bravery when faced with the situations Hayden puts her in. Hayden is torn between attraction and hate for his captive and I loved how little by little he comes to see her as a person whom he starts to develop feelings for.

Will Hayden go ahead with his twisted plan of revenge and avoid going to prison himself for his actions? Will he seek to persuade Jolie to have a future with him or does he sees her as purely collateral damage in his quest for revenge? Could Jolie even contemplate a future after all he has subjected her to and plans to do?

Both books end on a cliff hanger and I was impatient to find out what happened next! A great read for fans of dark romance who love damaged heroes and heroines.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Purchase Links

Amazon UK Amazon US

Amazon UK Amazon US

Connect with the Author

Goodreads
Blog
Facebook

 

 

*ARC REVIEW* ~ Branches for Cover (Legends of Kake), by Kate Kelley

#darkfantasy #paranormal #eroticromance #shifters

Adult/18+ read


Book Blurb

Kinna is trapped in hiding in a remote village in the Mouth of Daylight, aka Kake, Alaska. She catches fish for money in the daylight and hunts for food by moonlight, all the while praying the Alpha of her ex-pack doesn’t find her. Because if he does, she won’t survive the encounter. That is, if the mysterious creatures in her own backyard don’t get to her first.

Ren is a lone bear, separated from his pack by choice–he isn’t interested in being a part of a feral, non-shifting society that lives only for seeking blood instead of a way to prevent the worst of their curse. Ren seeks a cure, a cure that can only be found in a particular coven of witches–a coven that just happens to be long-dead.
Or so he thinks.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42904104-branches-for-cover?from_search=true

My Review – Engaging dark erotic paranormal read ~5 stars

Branches for Cover is a thoroughly engaging read with a memorable hero and heroine, plus it has the most gorgeous cover, which perfectly sums up the character of the heroine! It is the first book that I have read by the author Kate Kelley and I would most definitely read more of her work. The plot ticks so many of the boxes I love – a smexy and dark erotic paranormal read; an enemies to lovers romance, a mystery and creatures of myths and legends.

Indeed, I adored the relationship between the two central characters, Kinna and Ren. Both Ren, a bear shifter, and Kinna, a wolf-witch, are alphas and the sizzling attraction they have for each other is clear from the off. However, it is complicated in that it is based on mutual loathing and mistrust and they both fight their feelings: Ren hates Kinna as he believes her kind is responsible for a great ill that has befallen his pack and Kinna despises Ren as, although she is innocent, Ren is hard on her as he is not so easily convinced. The read contains scenes of violence, sexual situations and possible triggers and is intended for mature readers.

The sexual tension between them ratchets up as the story progresses and there are a number of sizzling scenes … Ren is one sexy and dominant bear shifter who has met his match in Kinna and Kinna, despite her unwillingness to commit to another, especially another alpha, finds him increasingly hard to resist.

There are a number of complications which hinder the development of their relationship, not solely the mystery behind what has afflicted Ren’s pack. A lot is at stake and their are some startling revelations. Trust does not come easily to Kinna nor Ren – they are both very stubborn individuals and  I found their relationship extremely entertaining as they fight their feelings for each other all the way.

The author does an excellent job of drawing on folklore to create the world Ren and Kinna inhabit: a world of creatures from myth and legends who live undetected amongst humans. The book ends on a cliffhanger and I am itching to find out what happens next.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author, via Booksprout, for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Stalk the Author

Facebook

Website

 

*´¨✫) ¸.•´¸.•*´¨)✯ ¸.•*¨) ✮ (¸.•´✶ (¸.•` 📚 Release Blitz: A Sea of Smoke by Karen Lynn May 10th 📚

@obsessiveppromo @authorklynn # SeaofSmoke #goodreads

NEW RELEASE
Book 2: A Sea of Smoke
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39891290-a-sea-of-smoke

RAGE-RESIST-REVENGE!
THIS EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER RIDE IS ON A COLLSION COURSE TO DISASTER

BLURB: A SEA OF SMOKE – BOOK 2

Kristen wears a smile for survival.
Her nights are spent dreaming of Jake, the lover she left behind.
Her days are spent living a nightmare with Logan, who is still unsatisfied in victory.

Jake does not have the comfort of pleasant dreams.
Shallow gratifications fail to quiet his raging mind.
Haunted by his lover’s disappearance and his best friend’s murder, he grows obsessed.

With so much on the line, Kristen plays the game and bends to Logan’s will despite the pain it brings her.

With nothing left to lose, Jake lives on the edge. Consumed by emptiness, he will never rest until he finds the woman he loves. And hurts the man who shattered his world.

The tables have turned, the stakes at an all-time high. Now, it is just a matter of time before the fine line between love and hate is crossed.

An unforgettable and gripping dark romantic suspense tale that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

But this twisted, emotional roller coaster ride is not over yet!

Purchase Link: https://getbook.at/aseaofsmoke

BOOK 1 – A WAR OF HEARTS: FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME STARTNG 5/10/18

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39308551-a-war-of-hearts

What happens when passion erupts into dark obsession?
They’re about to find out the hard way.

Logan is poison and Kristen knows it.
She’s developed a hatred for the increasingly risqué lifestyle he is addicted to. His lust for deviant sex, women, and drugs threatens to destroy her world. Yet every time she tells herself it’s over, his seductive powers draw her back.

That is until she meets Jake.
Together their worlds are rattled by a love so powerful it promises to change their lives forever.

Unless the manipulative, self-destructive Logan has his way.
As he struggles to preserve his crumbling sanity, his determination to keep Kristen at all costs spirals out of control.

While Jake will die for Kristen.
Logan is ready to kill for her.

Lose yourself in this dark, passionate and deeply emotional tale of toxic love, obsession, revenge and murder.

Purchase Link: https://getbook.at/awarofhearts

Watch for Book 3 – Turn to Dust!

http://mybook.to/AWOHseries

Author

Karen Lynn, a native New Yorker has always loved writing poetry and short stories with intense characters struggling to find love and survive in a troubled world. After years of working in the legal field, Karen moved with her son to Oregon. Inspired by the rain and Portland’s creative culture, Karen has been able to follow her dream of writing novels.
A War of Hearts is her debut novel in this dark romantic suspense series of the same name

https://www.twitter.com/authorklynn
https://www.instagram.com/authorkarenl
https://www.facebook.com/klawriter
awarofhearts.com
https://www.awarofhearts.com/

Hosted by Obsessive Pimpettes Promotions

http://obsessivepimpettespromotions.blogspot.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/ObsessivePimpettesPromotions
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ObsessivePimpettes/

~*Sergio: A Dark Romance, by Natasha Knight – Chapter Reveal*~

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon Universal
iBooks
Kobo
Nook
Goodreads

Synopsis

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.

CHAPTER 1

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.

 

About the Author

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.

Twitter Facebook Web Goodreads
Amazon Instagram Pinterest Newsletter

*BLOG TOUR* ~ Sergio: A Dark Mafia Romance, by Natasha Knight

Buy the Book

Amazon US 
Amazon Universal 
iBooks 
Kobo 
Nook 

Goodreads 

Book Synopsis

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.

Excerpt: Natalie’s POV

I unlock the door and step inside. The first thing I do is slip off my shoes, leaving them on the mat as I walk to the kitchen table to set down the portfolio. I realize it’s strange Pepper didn’t greet me tonight. I’m later than usual and she’s probably hungry.

“Pepper, I’m home. Sorry I’m late. You wouldn’t believe my day.” I walk around the table to open the cabinet under the sink and get her food. “Come on, honey. Dinner.”

Nothing. Not even when she must hear the sound of food filling her bowl.

I stop. “Pepper?” My heart races. Shit. She’s so old. What if…

I straighten, thinking the worst, and turn to head into the living room. I switch on the light and let out a scream because I’m not alone.
Sergio’s here. Sitting in the middle of the couch, arms spread wide, eyes hard.

And right now, he looks like a fucking Godfather.

Pepper’s on the floor, her head on his shoe, sleeping.

“I fed her.” He’s pissed, I can hear it in his voice, feel it coming off him. There’s a half empty bottle of whiskey on the coffee table.
“What are you doing here? How did you get in?”

“She was hungry.”

“How did you get inside?” I repeat. I can match his anger.

“I told you I had a key.”

Fuck. That’s what he’d meant last night. “You can’t have a key. I never gave you one.”

“You switched off your phone.”

I walk over to Pepper, squat down to pet her. I don’t look at him when I answer. “Because I didn’t want to talk to you.”

“When I call you, you answer.”

“Doesn’t work that way.” I say, standing, spinning on my heel. I’m about to walk away when he captures my wrist, his grip firm, more firm than he’s ever been with me. I make a sound, try to pull free, but he tugs on my arm, kicks my feet out from under me so I fall face down onto his lap. “What are you—”

He slaps my ass hard ten times in succession.

I’m gasping, instinctively reaching back to cover the spot. He captures my wrist, so he has both now, and holds them in one of his hands. I crane my neck to look up at him. He keeps his eyes locked on mine and rubs one hand over my ass, then spanks it again, ten more times on the other cheek.

“Stop!” It fucking hurts.

“When I call you, you answer, Natalie.”

I tug at my arms, but his grip is vice-like.

“Do you understand?” he asks.

“Let me go.”

“Do you fucking understand?”

“Yes!”

He gives me one more hard smack before releasing me, and I stumble to my feet. I feel hot, embarrassed, and I’m clutching my ass.

“I just want you safe.” He gets to his feet.

I step backward.

He’s wearing a suit, the jacket of which is hanging over the back of a chair. He gently moves Pepper’s head off his foot before he walks toward me.

I’m mute as he approaches. There’s a darkness to Sergio Benedetti. It clings to him, like a shadow. It’s the one thing that scares me about him because I trust that he won’t hurt me. And I believe that he wants me safe. I may not understand it, but I believe it.
But this shadow, it’s not one he casts. The opposite. It seems to cast itself over him. To have a claim on him. Some strange, powerful hold over him.

About the Author

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.