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'Marry to devil's son'
The story had tempeted me in download this app and guess was? I never regret it
This app had really really be a good companion,
OMG.... "Marry to devil's son"is an excellent story, also "love and lust"(this was really educative)
In conclusion may God bless the programmer of this app "light's reader" I did recommended it to most of my college and they never have a regret, Thanks.
The story had tempeted me in download this app and guess was? I never regret it
This app had really really be a good companion,
OMG.... "Marry to devil's son"is an excellent story, also "love and lust"(this was really educative)
In conclusion may God bless the programmer of this app "light's reader" I did recommended it to most of my college and they never have a regret, Thanks.
26 December 2020 (17:51)
great book, id love to read more books like this :-)
11 May 2021 (16:35)
Lil B smart
This is one in a million app. Married to the devil's son ooooo. That was an interesting story
25 May 2021 (20:17)
Table of Contents Prologue Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24 Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28 Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33 Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36 Chapter 37 Chapter 38 Chapter 39 Chapter 40 Chapter 41 Chapter 42 Chapter 43 Chapter 44 Chapter 45 Chapter 46 Chapter 47 Chapter 48 Chapter 49 THE MAFIA AND HIS ANGEL PART 1 Tainted Hearts Series By Lylah James The Mafia And His Angel Copyright © 2017 by Lylah James. All rights reserved. First Print Edition: July 2017 Limitless Publishing, LLC Kailua, HI 96734 www.limitlesspublishing.com Formatting: Limitless Publishing ISBN-13: 978-1-64034-176-0 ISBN-10: 1-64034-176-5 No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental. Dedication To my parents for always believing in me. ***CONTENT WARNING*** Not intended for readers younger than 18. This book contains dark—and sometimes violent—depictions of the world of organized crime, sexual assault, and suicide, and some events might be triggers for some readers. Table of Contents Prologue Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Ch; apter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24 Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28 Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33 Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36 Chapter 37 Chapter 38 Chapter 39 Chapter 40 Chapter 41 Chapter 42 Chapter 43 Chapter 44 Chapter 45 Chapter 46 Chapter 47 Chapter 48 Chapter 49 Chapter 50 GET (5) FREE READS EVERY FRIDAY! Prologue Alessio “We’ve got a problem,” a harsh voice said through the phone. It was my second in command. “I’m coming,” I told him. I didn’t like his tone. I could tell it was something really bad. His nervousness made me nervous. Viktor was a crazy bastard, and if something had him this riled up, then it was something big. Something I really wouldn’t like. I walked out of my office and found a few of my men standing in the hallway, lined up and on guard. They bowed their heads in respect as I walked by. As I stepped into the dark hallway that led to the soundproof basement, my body tensed. The air around me was stale and my steps were hard against the silence as I prepared myself for the worst. When I opened the door, I saw Viktor leaning against the wall, his head cast down in defeat. My entrance didn’t even faze him, he was so lost in his own thoughts. I cleared my throat and he glanced up. His expression conveyed horror and disgust. “It’s bad,” Viktor said, pointing toward the room. I nodded, then walked farther inside, leading the way while Viktor fell into step behind me. Stomping forward, I found a bloodied man strapped to a chair. The basement room was empty except for the chair in the middle and a table at the back. Four of my men stood around him. They were my right-hand men. I didn’t recognize the captive, but when he looked up at me, his eyes were filled with terror. As I got closer, his already pale face twisted in pain. He pushed back against the chair when I stopped in front of him. “What the fuck is going on?” My voice boomed around the room. I didn’t take my eyes off the man, but when I saw him flinch, satisfaction coursed through my body. The fucker better be petrified. Viktor walked around me to stand behind the man. He grabbed the captive’s hair and pulled hard until his neck snapped back painfully. The man screamed and thrashed. I lifted my eyes from the battered captive to meet Viktor’s disgusted gaze. “The fucker betrayed us. I heard him talking. The fucking Italians. He’s working for them,” Viktor growled. I looked down at the man and his eyes were closed. He refused to look at me. The anger that took over my body was indescribable. He fucking betrayed me. Me. The. Fucking. King. The person who owned his life. Nobody betrayed me and got away with it. I trusted all my men. They were my family, but when one of my own betrayed me, they paid the ultimate price. Death. Very painful death. Taking a deep breath and schooling my features, I stepped away from the strapped man. “Bring me a chair,” I yelled. I saw one of my men scrambling back, doing as I commanded. “Here you go, Boss,” Phoenix said a minute later. He placed the chair behind me and slowly stepped away. I sat down and faced the motherfucker. He opened his eyes and stared directly at me. My temper flared. Leaning forward, I snarled into his face. “Why?” His body shook in fear but he refused to answer. I looked up and signaled Viktor. He let the man go and walked toward the table at the back of the room, only to come back with a cutter in his hand. I smiled almost maliciously and leaned back against the chair, crossing my arms over my chest. “Enjoy,” I said, nodding at Viktor. As he got to work, the man’s screams filled the room. Blood dripped all over the floor, but I kept my gaze fixed on him the whole time. When he started to lose consciousness, I raised my hand. Viktor instantly stopped his torturous ministrations. Leaning forward again, I asked, “Why and who?” I laughed when he glared at me. Viktor leaned forward and punched him. “Show respect.” “I will ask one last time. Why and who?” I said menacingly as I took his face in my hand. My fingers pressed hard into his cheek until blood oozed badly from his wounds. When he still wouldn’t answer, I let his face go and stood up, pushing my chair away. I wasn’t going to get my hands dirty this time. But the man strapped against the chair in front of me forced my hand. The rest of my men needed to see me kill. They needed to see the consequences of betraying me. They needed to see the worst of me. How brutal I could be. It appeared they had forgotten. I was feared by all and nobody fucking betrayed me. Walking toward the table, I picked up the pliers. As I turned, all the men took a step back. Viktor smiled sadistically and shook his head. “Fuck, yeah. Now you’re talking.” Viktor held the captive’s head against the chair. I stood in front of him and roughly grabbed his chin, not caring if I hurt him. I forced his mouth open and held the pliers to his teeth. The man tried to scream, but I never gave him a chance. It took me hours to be satisfied. And when I was done, he was no longer breathing. May this be a lesson learned. *** Ayla Run, keep running, I told myself. Escaping wasn’t easy. I had planned it for years but never found the courage to actually do it. But tonight I had to escape from the nightmare I’d been born into. My father never cared. It didn’t matter that I begged him to listen. He always turned a blind eye. My father only cared about his profits. After all, he was the Boss. The Italians, the Famiglia respected him. He was the feared leader. And I was just a pawn in the cruel game. I had no choice, no will. No respect. No love. I had nothing. My engagement to my father’s second in command hadn’t been my choice either. After all, what choice did I have at sixteen? At twenty-three, after all the years of torture I went through by Alberto’s hands, I decided to escape. For years, I wished my father would put a stop to the violence against me, but it never happened. Alberto did whatever he wanted with me. I was just a toy for pleasure and for pain. After he left me bloodied and beaten up from yet another torturous night, I crawled out of the bed and climbed out the window. No matter how much I thought of it and planned for my escape, it wasn’t easy. Nothing was ever easy. But I still ran for my life. Whatever was left of my sanity depended on it. “Stop!” I heard yelling behind me, snapping me out of my thoughts. “No. No. No,” I gasped, panting. I was almost off the property, my legs burning as I ran. Run, keep running. I just needed time, but the men were closing in on me. “Miss Ayla. Stop. Stop,” I heard one of them yelling behind me. Shuffling deeper into the forest, I forced myself to move quicker. I pushed hard, running until my body felt like it was breaking. I was already bleeding badly. Everything hurt, but I kept going. Only my escape mattered. I kept running into the darkness until the screams of the men faded away. When I couldn’t hear them anymore, I stopped and leaned against a tree. My safety wasn’t guaranteed yet, but I had to rest. My heart was pounding and my legs were shaking too hard for me to continue. But when I heard a noise to my left, my eyes widened and I pushed myself from the tree, taking a few steps away. The sounds got louder. Without sparing another glance in that direction, I turned away and started running again, praying that I would find someone who could help me. There must be a good person left in this cruel world. When dawn approached, I was too tired to keep going. I was no longer in the forest, but at the side of a deserted road. I knew my father’s estate was on the outskirts of New York City. He’d said something about one day ruling the whole city. But for now, it belonged to someone else. Someone more powerful than him. Limping along the side of road, I continued until I came across houses. A sigh of relief escaped my lips. I was safe. Someone would help me. I walked over to one of the houses and knocked softly at the door. An old woman opened the door and gasped at the sight of me. Before I could say anything, she slammed the door in my face. My eyes widened and I stared at the closed door in shock. What? My fist came up to knock again, but I saw something else from the corner of my eye. Alberto’s men. They were walking around, looking for me. With my heart in my throat, I quickly hid behind the house. As I tried to figure out my next plan, lights flared around the corner. I looked to my left and saw a black vehicle slowing to a stop. I stood still as a large man stepped out of the car. He was wearing a black suit, similar to what Alberto and my father wore. I couldn’t see him well, the darkness hiding his face. He went inside one of the houses. Looking back at the car, I made up my mind. After making sure that Alberto’s men were not looking, I quickly walked away from my hiding spot and ran toward the car. I pulled on the handle of the back door. The door opened. Tears of relief blinded my vision and I hiccupped back a sob. I looked on either side of me, making sure nobody saw me. My path was clear when I climbed into the car and closed the door behind me. My body folded into itself as I crouched down between the seats, trying to make myself as invisible as possible. My eyes closed as I tried to calm my breathing. After a few minutes, the door opened and the man sat down. I jumped slightly when he slammed the door shut. My stomach twisted in knots as my breathing slowed. My hands shook in fear. I heard some shuffling noises and then he started talking. “Viktor, I’m coming home. Get everything prepared.” My body was strung tight with tension but when the car suddenly lurched forward and the man began driving, I let out a sigh of relief. I was safe. For now. And that was all that mattered. Chapter 1 My body trembled with tension during the drive. The man was silent but the air surrounding him was intense and brooding. When the car finally came to a stop, I froze. My heart skipped a beat when he opened the door. I waited for a reaction from him. But he only stepped out of the car and the door closed behind him. Then, utter silence. I breathed out a sigh of relief, my body sagging against the back of the car seat. I was safe. After waiting for a few more minutes, I climbed to my knees and stared outside through the tinted window. I gasped, my eyes widening in shock. The beauty beyond the window took my breath away. There was a long circular driveway lined with pine trees and tall red glass garden stakes. Beautiful shrubs surrounded a gigantic fountain in the middle of the driveway. The central fountain was mesmerizing, made of glazed ceramic tiles and surrounded by flowers. I could see trees in the distance, which continued down the long driveway toward the main gate. This place was serene. When I felt sure I was alone, I quickly opened the door and stepped out. When I had left my father’s estate, it was still dark, dawn just slowly approaching, but now the sunlight was bright. I winced and had to blink to get used to the glare. Turning around, I was speechless. This estate seemed much bigger than my father’s. There were white marble pillars around the entrance to the mansion. The towers were topped in silver domes and intricate stonework decorated the walls. A large wooden double door probably cost more than I could imagine. My father was wealthy, but I had never seen anything like this. The mansion I lived in was much smaller compared to this one. Sudden realization came crashing down on me and it occurred to me that this man was much wealthier than my dad, and possibly just as dangerous—if not more so. I had learned my lesson. Rich people were blinded by their power and they stopped acting like human beings. They had no emotions. And I wasn’t going to take the risk with this stranger. Taking several steps back, I bumped into the car. I swallowed and then closed my eyes. I had to go. I had to find somewhere safer. I turned away but my eyes widened in shock when I saw two men striding toward me. They were looking at each other, away from me. Taking the chance, I quickly hid behind the car. My body was shaking with fear and I felt myself sweating. I had to leave. Now! But my safety was compromised. When the men entered the mansion, my body dropped forward in relief, but tension still coiled tight inside me. Fear lodged deep in my gut and my stomach cramped. As I turned back toward the main gate, I froze again. There was no escape. It was impossible. For the first time, I noticed four men standing at the main gate, guarding it. Nobody entered or left without them noticing. It was the same way at my father’s estate. There were always guards on the ground, making sure there weren’t any impending attacks. I swallowed and looked behind me. My heart stopped beating for a moment when I saw the doors open. Going through the main gates wasn’t an option anymore. And I wasn’t familiar with the grounds. Tears of frustration blinded my vision as I tried to think of a way out. I took a step toward the opened door, my heart beating hard and fast against my ribcage. I could go in. I could hide in there and most likely nobody would see me. I would be safe for some time, until I had a plan. Before I could take more steps toward the door, a shout came from behind me. “Hey!” I froze and turned around to see two of the guards running toward me at full force. “Stop right there!” one of the men shouted, his expression furious. I saw both of them taking their guns out and pointing them at me. My heart stuttered and my vision turned blurry with panic. Without a second thought, I turned around and ran toward the opened door. I felt them behind me. They were closing in and their steps sounded hard and angry. My pulse drummed in my throat. My breath came out in short pants and I smelled it—fear. Fear surrounded me. The doors were so close. I was almost inside the mansion. They came close, their heat at my back. Feeling a touch on my arm, I let out a small scream and increased my pace until I passed through the door. I ran blindly. Between sofas, chairs, a table, and then the stairs. I didn’t pay attention to where I was going. I just ran. When I reached the second floor, I tripped over my legs and almost went down in a heap. Saving myself in time with the help of the banister, I continued running. All I heard were furious shouts. Even when several men came from different directions, I didn’t stop running. The halls were big and filled with many doors. When I heard distant screams, I blindly moved toward one door and opened it. I ran inside and slammed it behind me. My body prickled with tension, like thousands of pointy knives piercing my body. My heart was beating as fast as the thrumming wings of a caged bird. It sounded like drums to my ears. It was the only thing I could hear. I closed my eyes and leaned heavily against the door. The mansion was too big. It would take them some time to find me. I slowly slid down until my butt met the floor. Pulling my knees toward me, I hugged them tight to my chest. I placed my head on them and tried to calm my breathing. When I could finally breathe normally, and my gasps no longer filled the room, I looked up. Noticing that I was in a bedroom, I stood on shaky legs and moved away from the door. The room was massive. There was a king size bed in the middle of the room and a nightstand on either side. A bench sat in front of the bed. I walked closer and pressed my hand into the soft cushions. Looking to my left, I noticed a chest against the wall. I turned around to see a sitting area. There were two couches and a coffee table in the middle, facing a fireplace. I looked to my right and saw that instead of walls, there were big paneled windows framed by intricate draperies. The room was welcoming, but dark. My breath picked up when I heard someone at the door. The knob moved and my eyes widened in panic. My heart pounded faster. No. No. No. I searched the room for a place to hide. The bed was the closest to me, so I crawled under it. I lied down on my side. Bringing my knees to my chest, I wrapped my arms around them and closed my eyes tightly, praying that whoever was at the door wouldn’t find me. Chapter 2 Alessio I opened the door to my bedroom and slammed it behind me. Viktor had been busy with the clubs’ problems, to make sure all our businesses were running smoothly, so house check-ups fell on me. That was Viktor’s job and I didn’t trust anyone else to take care of it. So I went myself. Shifting my weight on my feet, I jerked at my tie hard until it came undone and I pulled it off my neck. As I was taking off my suit jacket, my phone vibrated in my pocket. Taking it out, I saw Phoenix’s name flashing on the screen. “What is it?” I growled into the phone. “Boss,” he said, sounding panicked and out of breath. I almost rolled my eyes. “What is it?” “Boss…” I didn’t hear the rest of his sentence, instead tuning him out. My eyes widened when I noticed a white cloth extending from beneath my bed. I walked closer, the phone still at my ear. When I reached the cloth, I crouched down and touched it. As I lifted the covers around the bed and looked down, my mouth fell open at the sight, then anger coursed through me. I could feel my eyes narrowing into slits. A girl. A dirty-looking girl was hiding under my bed. “Boss, boss, are you there?” Phoenix yelled through the phone. “What?” I bellowed, as I kept my eyes on the little intruder. She jumped at my tone and started shaking, her chin trembling and tears forming at the corners of her eyes. I bared my teeth at her and she tried to scoot away from me, but I didn’t give her a chance. Grabbing onto her white, shredded, dirty dress, I held her still. She wasn’t going anywhere. I fisted the material in my hand and pulled until she was no longer under the bed. “Boss! Someone broke into the estate,” Phoenix screamed through the phone, sounding frustrated. I smiled. The girl kept her knees against her chest, then wrapped her arms around her head as if to protect herself from me. I laughed at the thought. Poor girl. She didn’t even know what she’d gotten herself into. Breaking into the house of the Bratva’s boss—the Pakhan—and then hiding under his bed. “Boss?” Phoenix said, sounding confused. “I got this,” I growled through the phone, glaring at the intruder. I ended the call before he could answer. Putting it back in my pocket, I grabbed her arm and pulled her upward. She whimpered painfully and her sniffles filled the room. She kept her head down, her hair falling like a curtain around her face, shielding her from me. When I tried to pull her close, she resisted and tried to twist away. I tightened my hold on her small wrist, and I knew I was hurting her. Her wincing told me so, but I didn’t let go. If I wanted to, with barely no effort, I could break her hands in half. I let her go and took a step back. She did exactly what I expected. She ran straight toward the door. I smirked, pulling my gun from the back of my pants. I pointed it at her and spoke calmly. “Another step and I’ll shoot you.” She stopped. Her body trembled badly and I knew it was from fear. What she didn’t know was that I fed on fear. I laughed and it sounded harsh to my own ears. She jumped but didn’t run for her life. “Turn around.” She didn’t turn around. Red hot anger coursed through my body. Nobody dared to ignore me. Yet, this girl…. “Turn around,” I shouted at her back. My little captive jumped again, but this time she swiveled around quickly. She kept her face down. I wanted to see her. I blinked at the sudden thought. What? Shaking my head, my brow furrowed as I watched her. What was she doing here? Why was she here? By the look of her, she didn’t belong in a place like this. Not in a Mafia house. Especially not in my house. “Look at me,” I said before I could stop myself. My fingers tightened around the gun as I waited for her to do as she was told. She took longer than I expected. If she was one of my men, I would have already shot her for disobedience. But I couldn’t bring myself to move. For some unknown reason, the way she covered her face with her long dark hair, looking so childlike, made my chest hurt. What the fuck? “Look at me,” I said again, this time my voice grating. She slowly brought her head up and I saw doe-like eyes peeping through her hair. I sucked in a breath and took a step toward her. As she continued to lift her head, I saw a tiny round nose and then pink full lips that had dried blood on them. Her cheeks were round, but obviously bruised. I couldn’t see her face properly, it was so covered with dirt and bruises. She was hugging her arms around herself, her body shaking with silent tremors. The little intruder was obviously frightened. She was a tiny girl and I felt my heart twisting at her fragile state. Taking a step forward, I saw green eyes peeping up at me under her long lashes. She blinked away tears as she saw me approaching, my gun still pointed at her. When I was close, I slowly brought the gun down and glared at her menacingly. When she flinched, I felt my resolve slipping. She took a step back and I growled, “Don’t move.” She flinched again. My heart was beating fast in my chest. What the fuck is wrong with me? I moved closer until our chests were almost touching. I felt her tremble against me, and she whimpered in fear. She hugged her body tighter and folded into herself, as if she was trying to hide from me, even in plain sight. I brought my empty hand up to her face. She winced but didn’t move. Silent tears streamed down her cheek and I touched a drop, thumbing it away. She froze and I felt her suck in a breath. I froze too. Something was wrong with me. Before I could stop myself, my hands went to the strands of hair hanging over her face. I slowly moved her hair to the side until her whole face was visible to me. Maybe my heart stuttered for a moment. I didn’t know. She slowly lifted her gaze until she was staring at me with glassy green eyes, the color of the rain forest. I swallowed hard, slowly moving my thumb over her soft cheek. When she winced in pain, I let her go, taking several steps back. A wave of emotion ran through me. First sadness, then tenderness, and finally anger. I decided to hang on to the anger and let it consume me. There was no place for tenderness in my life. Tenderness made you weak. Any emotion other than anger made you weak. And I couldn’t be weak. I had thousands of people behind me and I had thousands to lead. So, I grabbed on to the anger and let it course through me until my body was shaking. Red hot anger. I glared at her and pointed my gun at her again. Her eyes widened and she let out a cry, her hand coming up to her chest. She shook her head repeatedly, her mouth opening and closing silently as if she wanted to say something. “Who the fuck are you and why are you here?” I growled at her, my voice low, but my tone dangerous. It spoke volume and it was obvious the girl understood it. If she didn’t give me an answer that I was satisfied with, I would shoot her without a second thought. Chapter 3 Ayla I stared at the man standing in front of me, my body shaking with indescribable fear. When he pulled me from under the bed, I didn’t notice his face. I was too scared to look at him. But when he ordered me to look up, I was surprised. He took my breath away. For a minute, I stopped thinking that he was about to shoot me. I stopped thinking that I was supposed to run away. All I could do was stare into the bluish-steel eyes that reminded me of the midwinter sky. When he took a step toward me, my heart stuttered. His steps were powerful and hard. He moved confidently. I tried to take a step back, but he stopped me with his gun. His presence was one of a leader. A dangerous leader. The air around him felt frigid. As he came to a stop in front of me, our chests almost touching, my body trembled both in fear and in anticipation. I should have been screaming and running, but something about him caused me to remain immobile. His touch felt electric. My body hummed in response and I no longer felt cold. His warm hand caressed my cheek and I wanted to rub against his palm like a kitten craving attention. I realized how big he was. Compared to my small size, he was gigantic. My head only came to the middle of his wide, muscled chest. I felt fragile and small next to him. But for some unknown reason, my body was warming up in his presence. Even though fear coursed through my body, I didn’t mind him being near me. I hated when Alberto was near me. My skin was always crawling in disgust and fear, but with this strange man, I only felt comfort. Even with his gun pointing at me, I felt oddly safe. But that changed when his face turned hard and then angry. I jumped in surprise as he took a sudden step back. His whole body tightened and he pointed the gun back at me. My eyes widened and my heart beat faster. Was it all a game? Did he act like he was softening up to me, just to calm me down so he could shoot me? Tears fell down my dirty, bruised cheeks. His eyes were trained on my tears. His gaze followed the drops. When they reached my chin, I saw him smile. His mouth quirked up to the side, but his smile looked dangerously malicious. Oh God. This man was going to kill me. “Who the fuck are you and why are you here?” he growled deeply, his voice low but the tone dangerous and angry. I knew that tone. Alberto used it when he was about to kill someone. He used it on me too, whenever he took me against my will…every single night. I shivered in terror, my distress likely evident on my face and the way I was trembling. I felt my pulse beating in my ears, blocking out all other sounds except my gasping breath. I felt myself growing colder. His hard eyes were penetrating mine and I had to lock my knees together to stop myself from taking a step backward. I knew if I moved, he would shoot me. He took several steps backward, the gun still pointed at me as he waited for my answer. When he reached the couch, he sat down and crossed his right foot over his left knee. The gun was still pointed at my chest. “I…I am…my…” I stuttered, finding it hard to talk. Alberto and my father had many enemies. What if he was one of them? “I won’t repeat myself, so you better start talking. You have thirty seconds,” the man said. He was losing patience. It was evident in the way his face twisted angrily with each word. “Ayla. My name is Ayla,” I said in a rush, my voice raspy. “Ayla,” he whispered, my name rolling off his tongue as if the word itself had been laced with molasses. His voice was deep and it vibrated throughout my body. “Ayla,” he said again. I hated to admit it, but I liked how my name sounded when it came from him. I liked how he said it, almost gently. Get yourself together, Ayla. This man is about to shoot you. Stupid, Ayla. Stupid. Focus. “What is your last name, Ayla? And why are you here?” he asked, this time slowly as he continued to stare at me. I sucked in a deep breath, trying to figure out how much I should tell him. His gaze never left mine, and when I didn’t answer quickly enough, he sat forward angrily. “Now, Ayla. You are very lucky that I am being patient. But I won’t ask again.” I nodded, but he continued. “Let me introduce myself. I’m sure you’ve heard my name. Alessio Ivanshov,” the man stated, his tone low. My body froze. I stared at the man sitting in front of me, speechless, as my body started to go numb. No. It couldn’t be. My heart drummed in alarm as I stared into his unmoving, cold eyes. Oh God. Please, no. It couldn’t be him. “Does it ring a bell?” he asked. My stomach twisted painfully and my vision blurred. I felt myself stumbling forward. Quickly, I righted myself before my face met the floor. Oh, it definitely rang a bell. Dread and horror filled me. I thought I ran away from dangerous men, but this man sitting in front of me was more dangerous than any of them. He was feared by all. But most importantly, I was trapped because I was his biggest enemy. My family was his biggest enemy. The Italians. The Abandonato. The Russians and the Italians had been enemies for so many decades. But the Ivanshov and Abandonato, their enmity ran deep. And I was standing in front of the Boss, who would kill me mercilessly if he found out that I was an Abandonato. I stared into Alessio’s eyes. I ran from a deadly man, and now I was awaiting my fate in front of another. A deadlier and more dangerous one. I closed my eyes and tried to calm my breathing. Think, Ayla. You ran from one. You can do it again. Opening my eyes, I met his gaze. My body still shaking with silent tremors, I stood up straighter. “Ayla Blinov. My name is Ayla Blinov,” I said slowly. I wasn’t ready to die. I ran away because I wanted a better life so I could finally be myself. I wasn’t letting this man take away my newly found freedom. So I lied. I swallowed hard, and continued. “I have been living on the streets for a few months, and some men found me and wanted me to work at a brothel. I ran away and hid in your car. When your guards found me, I panicked, so I hid under your bed.” The lie rushed out from me effortlessly. My heart was beating hard against my ribcage. This was a big risk, and I hoped, prayed, that he would believe me. Alessio sat back and uncrossed his legs. “Hmmm,” he said, never shifting his gaze from me. Both of us stayed silent for a few minutes, my body tensing more with each passing second. My stomach cramped in fear. Alessio moved forward again, until his elbows were on his knees and his fingers were crossed together. That was when I noticed he didn’t have his gun with him anymore. My gaze moved to his sides, and I saw his gun sat next to his hip, on the couch. I looked back at his face, and he kept staring at me, his gaze more intense. Did he believe me? Alessio Ivanshov was a man with many secrets. Dark secrets. He was also very unpredictable. “I have a deal for you,” he said suddenly. I jumped at his voice, my body shuddering. “You have three options,” he continued, as I stood in front of him trembling. “One: You work for me,” he said. His voice was monotone, so I wasn’t sure what he might be planning. “Two: You go back to the streets, unsafe.” He paused as my body froze. “Three: Or I shoot you for trespassing,” he finished. My breath went out in a whoosh as he stopped talking. Alessio’s lips quirked up in a tiny smile as he waited for my response. My eyes widened as I tried to think. I brought a shaky hand to my throat and rubbed it gently, a gesture of nervousness and discomfort. Option three was obviously not an option. I was not even taking it in consideration. Option two meant being homeless, no money, unsafe on the streets, and very easy for Alberto’s men to find me. Option one meant that I would have money and probably a place to live. But there was only one problem. I would be dead if he ever found out who I was. With my eyes still locked on his face, I thought about my options. But most importantly, I thought about my survival. And only one option could help me. “One,” I whispered hoarsely, as I stared into Alessio’s eyes. He seemed surprised, but then his lips stretched into a full smile. And I just knew. With that answer, I had signed myself over to him. I was no longer my own. I belonged to him. Alessio stood up and walked slowly to me, his steps confident. When he was close, he reached out and touched a dirty strand of my hair. “Good choice, Ayla,” Alessio said. The sound of my name coming from him made me shiver again. God, why did his voice have to sound so…intimate? My eyes widened with the sudden thought. No. No, Ayla. Don’t lose yourself. “I’m glad that you decided to…work for me.” The way he said those words made my body freeze. He stared at me, his eyes intense. Alessio stepped closer so that our bodies were pressed together. He moved his finger down my bruised cheek. “I’ll make sure that you won’t regret this decision,” he whispered huskily. Wait, what? Did he mean…? No, he couldn’t. He wouldn’t. Oh, but he would. He was Alessio Ivanshov. Nothing had ever been denied to him. And I just said yes to his offer. My breathing and the beat of my heart was too loud. I was sure he could hear it. Alessio bent down until his eyes were to my level. “Don’t worry. I won’t hurt you.” I swallowed and licked my lips quickly. His gaze followed my movement as his blue eyes turned from cold to hot. He licked his own, and then he whispered, “Not unless you want me to.” I sucked in a shocked breath and it made my chest move against his. The friction made my body shiver. Was it apprehension? Or anticipation? “Umm…what…what did you…mean by…work?” I asked quietly, tripping over my own words. He took another step closer, forcing me to take a step back. Alessio crowded me, his presence so strong that it made me feel weak and small. “Exactly what it means…work,” he continued in a husky voice. Oh my God. Please no. Not that. Anything but that. “What…what work?” I asked again. Alessio stared into my eyes. Blue to green. We both stared at each other, unblinking. The tension vibrated around us. But I couldn’t understand what type of tension it was. No. I refused to understand it. I refused to acknowledge it. He suddenly took a step back. I breathed out at the movement, and my tensed muscles uncoiled with relief. Alessio stood to his full height, now looking down at me, his eyes hard again. “My maids need a little help. You’ll be helping with the cleaning and cooking,” he said briskly. Huh? He wanted me to clean and cook? I stared at him in confusion. Alessio must have been the most perplexing man I had ever met. Confusing, strange, and dangerous. “You want me to clean…and cook?” I asked in bewilderment. He cocked his head to the side, still looking at me. Then he smiled. The same malicious smile as before. “Yes,” he said as he took a step toward me, crowding my personal space again. “Did you think I meant something else?” he asked quietly, his tone suggestive as he traced a finger lightly up my right arm. Yes. Yes, I did think you meant something else. I thought you wanted me to be your wh— I halted the thought. Don’t go there, Ayla. I shook my head quickly, my hair covering my face with the brisk action. Alessio brought his hand up and moved my hair away, baring my face to him again. I swallowed nervously as I waited for his next move. His warm hand on my face was making the numbness of my body fade away. I hated that his touch could do that. I hated that he had such an effect on me. Already, it was clear he could make me tremble in fear one minute and make me feel warm the next. Inside and out. *** Alessio The woman standing in front me, with black hair and green eyes, her name was Ayla. I took my hand away from her face and moved several steps back, severing our connection. I stared at her and smiled. She thought she could fool me. Such an innocent little girl. It was obvious her name was not Blinov. She must have not known. I was the Pakhan. I knew when someone was lying. I could sense it. And her lies were written all over her face. She was a shitty liar and I couldn’t help but scoff at her nerves. Ayla. That was her name. I knew it because she didn’t stutter when she said it. She wasn’t lying about that, but the rest…all of it was a lie. I would find the truth, but that wasn’t the reason why I was keeping her. I stared at her, her arms wrapped around her waist. She looked so small. So innocent. Poor little girl. She didn’t know what she just brought upon herself. There was one thing everyone knew. What Alessio Ivanshov wanted, Alessio got. And the bruised and beaten up girl in front of me… I wanted her. Innocent kitten. I laughed at the thought. My kitten. She belonged to me now. I was going to play her just like a violin. And she would enjoy it. Chapter 4 Ayla When Alessio stepped back, I felt my body warming up under his piercing gaze. It was like my body wasn’t my own under his careful and intense attention. I licked my suddenly dried lips and saw his eyes following the movement. He slowly licked his own, keeping his eyes on mine. He made the action look so sensual that I had to avert my gaze. Why was he doing this to me? One minute he acted like he wanted to kill me, while the next it appeared like he wanted to kiss me senseless. Was it all a game to him? I scoffed. Of course, it was a game. That’s what he did. I had heard rumors about him. He would play you masterfully, like the notes of a piano. And when he was done, he would cast you out without a second thought. Or kill you. I was only a pawn to him. And because of that, I had to tread smartly. If he was playing a game, then I would play one too, because one way or another, I had to get out of here alive. “Nikolay,” Alessio yelled suddenly. His harsh voice snapped me out of my thoughts and I jumped when the door banged open behind me. I swiveled around quickly to see an enormous man crowding the doorway. The way his feet were planted apart and with his wide shoulder, the man almost took up the whole doorway. His hair was cut very short. A long deep scar ran from the right side of his forehead and down to his chin. It made him look even more vicious. He wore a three-piece black suit, similar to Alessio’s. Two guns were attached to his holster. I felt myself shiver when the man gave me a hateful glare. “Nikolay, show Ayla the room beside mine. It’s hers now,” Alessio said in a familiar hard tone. My father and Alberto used the same tone when they ordered their men to do something. It meant they wanted immediate actions, without any questions or hesitations. “When she’s settled, you are to bring her down to the maids. She’ll be working with them,” he continued. The whole time, Nikolay’s face was emotionless. There was not even a twitch. And I was sure he didn’t even blink. When Alessio finished, Nikolay gave a sharp nod and waited for me to move. I looked back at Alessio and saw that he was staring at me, waiting to see what I did. “Do I need any…umm…what do I need to do?” I stuttered nervously. With two big and powerful men in the room, it made me feel like prey. Maybe I was. Alessio stepped closer until we were only an inch apart. He leaned down and whispered in my ear. “Anything I tell you.” I stepped back quickly, my heart beating faster at his admission. “Excuse me?” I asked, my tone edgy. “For now, the maids will tell you what you need to do,” Alessio said as he moved a step closer. “But if I want you to do something else…” He left his sentence hanging, his gaze intensely on mine. “Then I’ll let you know.” His words did not soothe me in any way. In fact, they made me even more nervous. The way he finished his sentence, it was obvious that I had no say. Whatever he wanted me to do, I had to do it. Without any questions. “Nikolay, take her away. I’ve got business to do,” Alessio demanded, taking a step away. His gaze was fixed on mine as I felt Nikolay coming closer. Nikolay stepped so close that I felt his breath on my neck. I trembled and took a step forward, which brought me closer to Alessio. I was trapped either way. Between two vicious men, they made me want to scoot down and hide. “Come,” Nikolay said, his voice jarring to my ears. I stared at Alessio and saw him nod, as if giving me permission to go. Nikolay grabbed my arm roughly and started to pull me out of the bedroom. His hold was tight and I felt my arm going numb. With all the bruises covering my body, I hurt everywhere. Weakness began to take over my body and I felt suddenly dizzy. I tripped over my own feet but quickly straightened when Nikolay growled. I swallowed hard and tried my best to walk normally as he pulled me forcibly to the room next to Alessio’s. When he opened the door and pushed me inside, I gasped as indescribable pain took over my body. The room was dark, but all of a sudden, the light was on. And I gasped again, but for another reason. The bedroom was huge, at least three times the size of mine. But the best part of it was the magnificent view, which overlooked the beautiful back garden. As I walked closer to the window and peeked outside, a sense of peace overcame me. For a moment, I felt liberated. I wondered how it was possible for something to look so serene when the world around me was crashing down—a clear contradiction to my situation. “Clean up and then I’ll bring you down to the maids. Clothes will be brought to you.” Nikolay’s voice broke through my thoughts. I turned around to see him standing at the doorway. His arms were crossed over his chest, his muscles bulging. I swallowed hard against the lump growing in my throat. When I nodded, he stepped back and closed the door. I sighed in relief when his intense presence was no longer overwhelming the room. I looked around and saw the bed, which took up half the space in the room. A nightstand sat on either side of the bed, a matching wardrobe to my left. In front of the bed was a bench with two pillows on either end, much like in Alessio’s room. I walked over to the bed and sat on it, bouncing a little. The silky comforter was soft under my hands and all I wanted to do was sleep. My body felt feeble and tiredness clouded my vision. When I yawned, I slowly stretched out on the bed, then snuggled deeper into the soft mattress and comforter until my body went limp. Feeling warm and cozy, my eyes slowly drifted shut. Just for a few minutes, I thought. *** I woke up with a start when the door banged open. It slammed against the wall hard, and I jumped off the bed, shaking violently. Swaying to the side slightly, my body felt sluggish. My eyes were blurry with sleep, and I had to blink a few times to get myself accustomed to the lights. When I could finally see, I gulped hard. Nikolay was standing there, looking dangerously angry. “You were supposed to get clean,” he said through gritted teeth. Nikolay walked inside the room, his steps hard against the wood. “Listen, Boss gives orders and you follow them. Without any problems. Got it?” I nodded only because I couldn’t bring myself to form any words. Nikolay scared me. He looked like someone who didn’t take any nonsense from anyone. Most importantly, he was also a killer. If I wasn’t wrong, a brutal one at that. Everyone was a killer here. There was no innocence in this life. Without any other words, he pointed to the door at my left. I walked toward it nervously, my body hyperaware of his presence. I opened the white door, and at the sight of a bathtub, shower, shampoo, and soaps, I felt tears prickling my eyes. When I ran away from home, I thought that I would be living on the streets, trying to fend for myself, desperate for basic necessities. But I stood in front of a fabulous bathroom, I had a big bedroom with a cozy bed. I had a job and food. Even though it was not my ideal situation, gratefulness filled my body. As I closed the door behind me, I noticed there were no female accessories. I shrugged and whispered, “Cleaning is all that matters.” I glanced at the mirror and my eyes widened in shock. I was dirty. Grimy. My face was red with bruises and some parts were already green. My white dress was filthy and shredded. All I wanted to do was soak in the tub but I could only take a quick shower. I winced as I quickly removed my dress. I looked back at the mirror and noticed scratches on my arms. I looked horrible. Was I really standing in front of Alessio, looking like this? Why wasn’t he disgusted? Most importantly, why did he even keep me? I was frightened just by looking at my reflection in the mirror. Shaking my head, I stepped into the shower. The moment the warm water hit me, sliding down my bare body, warming the numbness, I felt my tense muscles loosening. At first my bruises itched and were aching under the warm water, but after a few minutes, all I felt was warmth. I sucked in a deep breath as my body went limp. Lifting my face up into the spray, I let the water cascade around me. A feeling of happiness consumed me as I reached up, squeezed out some shampoo in my palm and started to massage it through my dirty hair. I let the water sluice through my hair. Brown water, leaves, and small twigs swirled through the drain. When the water finally ran clear, I started to wash my body. After I was done, I stayed under the water for a few more minutes, letting the heat penetrate my body. I stepped out of the shower on wobbling legs, and when the cool air hit my body, I shivered. Grabbing a towel from a nearby rack, I started to dry my hair and then my body. I wrapped the towel around me and went to stand in front of the mirror. I looked much better. My bruises didn’t appear as horrible as they were before. My face was no longer pale. My cheeks were red from the warm water and my green eyes shone brightly. Giving my reflection a smile, I opened the door and peeked outside. When I saw that Nikolay was not there, I stepped out and walked over to the bed, where a black dress was waiting for me with a pair of underwear. The cotton dress was simple, and when I put it on, it came down to mid-thigh. It flowed from the hips and fit me perfectly, showing my curves. Putting on the black flats I found beside the bench, I walked back into the bathroom. I opened several drawers, looking for a hairbrush. When I finally found one, I combed my messy, tangled hair until it was smooth and shiny. After giving myself a pinch on each cheek and biting down my lips, reddening them further, I was ready. I walked toward the door, my steps confident and my shoulders straight. Opening it, I saw Nikolay waiting for me, leaning against the wall. When he looked at me, his eyes flared for a moment, his expression one of surprise. “C’mon,” he said after masking his emotions again. His face was hard and he glared at me. It’s probably the only thing he knows. Glaring, growling, and anger. Without waiting for my response, he started to walk toward the stairs. I followed him, my steps close behind his. I was ready for this. Whatever would be thrown at me, I was ready. Because this time, I was going to fight for my freedom. Chapter 5 Alessio I was leaning back on my sofa chair, head tilted toward the ceiling, my eyes closed when the door opened. I knew who it was without opening my eyes. Only one person would dare come into my room without permission. Opening my eyes, I caught sight of Viktor strolling in. He closed the door behind him, leaned against it, and crossed his arms in front of his chest. “Seriously?” he asked as he stared at me, his face expressionless. “I need a full background check on Ayla Blinov,” I fired back without answering his question. I knew what he was talking about, but I had no desire to discuss that matter. It was none of his business who I decided to keep or not. I stood up and walked over to the small bar. “I’m sure her last name is not Blinov, but I still want a check, in case you find something.” After I poured some whiskey in two glasses, Viktor took one from my hand and sipped slowly. We both stared at each other, the air tense around us. When his glass was empty, he placed it on the bar and turned back toward me. “What are you planning, Alessio?” he asked, giving me a strange look. I shrugged. “Why do you think I’m planning something?” Viktor scoffed and shook his head. “Because you never do anything without a plan. The girl trespassed and you are keeping her. Sounds like a plan to me.” He paused for a second and then asked slowly, “Is she a rat? Is that why you are keeping her? To know who she’s working with?” Shaking my head, I glared at him. If it was someone else questioning my decision, they would be on the ground writhing in pain. But Viktor was my second in command. We were born two weeks apart. His father was my father’s second in command. When I took over, it was never a question that he would be my second. He was my brother. “Do you really think I would keep her if she was a rat?” I asked through gritted teeth. He got on my nerves sometimes. “Anything is possible with you. Why are you keeping her, anyway?” “None of your business. Do as you’re told,” I responded harshly. Viktor nodded and stepped away from the bar. “I’ll let you know what I find.” I turned toward the large windows, dismissing him. I heard his feet shuffling and then the door closed. I looked down at the glass in my hand as I moved it around my fingers. “Let’s see what we get about you, kitten,” I whispered, bringing the glass to my lips. I was intrigued. My body was coursing with excitement. I would slowly uncover her, layer by layer until I knew everything. Every last detail. And when I was done, I would devour her until nothing was left. A few minutes later, I was still standing in front of the large windows that overlooked the majestic back garden. My phone rang in my pocket and I quickly took it out, answering the call without looking. “What?” I barked. “There’s nothing on her,” Viktor said. My hand tightened around the phone and I smirked. I knew it. “She doesn’t even exist in the database,” he continued, his voice smooth and calm as if he knew the information wouldn’t surprise me. I let out a small laugh. Shaking my head, I thought about the seemingly innocent girl I found cowering under my bed. The moment I saw her, I knew she was trouble, and instead of taking it out, I invited it. Why? Simple. She intrigued me. “I got this,” I said through the phone, and hung up without waiting for an answer. Well, this is going to be fun. I walked away from the window and out of the room. *** Ayla As I followed Nikolay down the stairs, I was finally able to look at the house. Mansion, I corrected myself. It had the tallest ceiling I had ever seen, decorated by the most gorgeous crown molding. As we walked down the spiral staircase, I noticed another one to my right. They both led up to the second floor and met in the middle in an imperial staircase style. I held onto the wooden banister and felt how smooth it was under my hand. The mansion was immaculate, with white sparkling marble. I looked up and noticed a big Venetian-style crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling, decorated with hundreds of teardrop crystals. It evoked a very vintage, elegant feel. I was still staring at it when I suddenly crashed into a wall of hard muscles. Stiffening, I stepped away. Nikolay turned around and glared at me aggressively. “Are you blind?” he barked. I shook my head. “Then fucking watch where you are going.” This time I nodded. He scared me beyond words. Nikolay gave me a final glare before turning around. We stepped off the stairs and he started walking toward the left corridor. As I began to relax again, I continued to inspect the mansion. I lived in a mansion too. My father was wealthy, but our estate was not as big and beautiful as this one. My house was plain, cold, and uninviting. Whoever decorated this place had good taste and it was obvious they did it with love. Details had been refined and blended. As I followed Nikolay, I was in awe of my surroundings. When he came to a stop, I quickly halted in my tracks, stopping an inch away from him. My eyes widened and I took a few steps back. I stuck my tongue out to his back and twisted my lips ruefully. I didn’t want to get snapped at again. He was a moody man. “Lena, I have another maid for you,” he said, his voice soft. I felt my mouth drop as I stared at his enormous back in shock. Did he just talk softly? Was my mouth on the floor? I hoped not. “Ohh, dear. How lovely. Where is she, sweetie?” I heard a voice ask. Sweetie? Had I just been transported to an alternate universe? Nikolay’s back was blocking my sight, so I stepped to the side and my eyes widened. A woman, probably in her early fifties, was standing in front of him, wearing a similar black dress, even though hers was below the knees. She smiled sweetly at Nikolay as she wiped her hands on her white apron. When she saw me, her smile widened. “Ah, there you are,” she said as she walked toward me. “Look at you. Such a beautiful young girl.” Before I could do anything, I was swept away from Nikolay. Taking me by the hands, Lena led me into the kitchen through a brown, modern-looking wooden door. The kitchen was very similar to ours at home, except larger. The big cabinets were beige and there was a big island in the middle. The shiny counter-tops were made with a mixture of different shades of brown. There were four high chairs placed in front of the bar and I saw two women standing there, wearing the same dress as mine. They were definitely younger than Lena but older than me. Both appeared to be in their mid-thirties. They looked up when they heard us coming in. As I got closer, they looked me up and down as if they were inspecting an object. I felt my palm started to sweat in Lena’s hand and I grasped the bottom of my dress with my other hand. “We have a new maid,” Lena announced excitedly. “We don’t need a new maid,” the blonde woman said. I saw Lena opening her mouth to answer but before she could say anything, a voice cut her off. “Actually, you do.” My back straightened at the sound of his voice and my body tensed. I swallowed hard when I saw the women’s eyes widened. They suddenly appeared skittish and quickly looked down. Lena let go of my hand and swiveled around, hands on her hips as she stared at the intruder. Not intruder. This was his house, anyway. Licking my lips, I slowly turned around and made contact with Alessio’s blue eyes. Blue and green, clashing together as we stared at each other silently. I felt my heartbeat accelerate as he kept his unflinching gaze on mine. My stomach twisted in knots as I squirmed restlessly on the spot. I felt weightless, and a weird feeling encompassed my body. My stomach twisted again when I saw him taking a step forward, his big body moving smoothly. I sucked in a surprised breath when I realized that it was butterflies I felt. His presence made me nervous. Scared. And giddy. “Ayla is going to work here with you. Lena, you can assign her work schedule,” Alessio stated evenly. I swallowed several times when I heard his voice again. His eyes moved away from mine but only because he was looking at my body. I saw his gaze travel down to my waist, hips, and then my legs. My body started to warm up under his scrutinizing stare. His eyes stayed there for a few seconds before he moved back to my face. The look that he gave me made me stagger back a step. At my reaction, his lips tilted upward slightly into a small smirk that was hard to see. But it was there. That devilish smirk. Sexy devilish smirk. I shook my head and closed my eyes quickly as I tried to get myself under control. It was impossible. Without even trying, Alessio Ivanshov had successful taken over my mind. Opening my eyes, I stared into his. He gave me the same look as before, clearly not trying to hide what he wanted. Pure unadulterated lust. His eyes were filled with desire and hunger. Chapter 6 Alessio As I saw Nikolay walk out of the kitchen, I knew where the little kitten was. He gave me a sharp nod as I walked past him. When I got to the kitchen, I was instantly transfixed by the sight in front of me. Ayla’s back was facing me and she stood beside Lena. The back of her dress was stretched perfectly over her round ass. What a view, I thought with a smirk. Shaking my head after a few seconds, I took in a deep breath. Get yourself together. Looking up, I saw the other two maids staring at Ayla with bored expressions, clearly not happy with another maid joining them. “We have a new maid,” Lena announced excitedly, bouncing lightly on her toes. I couldn’t help but smile at her cheerfulness. Lena had been working for the estate for about thirty years, since before I was even born. She had been one of the first maids my father hired. Lena had shown loyalty over the years and she quickly became our favorite maid—our mother. “We don’t need a new maid,” Moira said, her tone snarky. Walking into the light so they could see me, I said, “Actually, you do.” No, they didn’t. But that didn’t matter. If I said they needed one, then none of them would question me. Questioning me meant losing their job. I wouldn’t even think twice before kicking them out. I had zero tolerance for people demanding answers from me. My words were law. I walked forward, sending the two maids a glare. They instantly cowered and bowed their heads, avoiding my gaze. Now, that was better. Lena swiveled around, hand on her hips as she stared at me. But I wasn’t looking at her. I couldn’t because the little broken girl standing beside her had my full attention. Her body had tensed at my voice and she moved nervously on her feet. Ayla slowly turned around and we instantly made eye contact, her wide green eyes staring at me with surprise and shock. I noticed that her body trembled under my unflinching gaze. She was definitely affected by my presence. “Ayla is going to work here with you. Lena, you can assign her work schedule,” I continued as I kept my eyes on Ayla. She swallowed hard and squirmed nervously on the spot. My gaze slowly made its way down her body. Her dress fit her perfectly, showcasing her curves at the right places. And her legs. Damn, those legs. As I stared at her legs, all I could think about was having them wrapped around my waist as I pounded relentlessly into her. When I felt myself growing hard, I quickly snapped out of my thoughts, moving my eyes away. I looked back up and saw her suck in a deep breath. She stared at me, her eyes fearful as she took a step back. My desire for her was written all over my face. I didn’t hide it. I let her see what I wanted and then shut down my expression again. It was all part of the game. Let them see but not too much. Let them feel and then take it away. I gave them a sharp nod and then started to back out of the kitchen. I saw Lena giving me a suspicious look before turning toward Ayla. I walked out. I would give her a week to settle. A week to get herself together. And then I would pounce. *** Ayla When Alessio walked out of the room, I let out a sigh of relief. Lena noticed and gave me a strange look. “Is everything okay?” she asked. I didn’t know if I should laugh or fall down and cry. No. Of course everything was not okay. Instead, I said, “Yes,” my voice small. Lena looked at me suspiciously but didn’t push. Giving me a small smile, she turned toward the other two maids. “This is Moira,” she said, indicating the blonde, who gave me a blank stare. I nodded in greeting. “And this is Milena.” The short woman with caramel skin, her black hair tied in a tight bun, waved at me with a smile. I smiled back and felt myself relax. “Welcome,” Milena said softly. At least there were two people who didn’t look like they wanted to kill me. “Now that introductions have been made, Milena and Moira, get back to work,” Lena said in a stern voice. Both women said nothing before they walked out of the kitchen. Lena grabbed my arms and gently shoved me toward the stools. “Sit,” she said. I did as I was told. “Did you eat breakfast yet?” Lena asked as she went through the refrigerator. I shook my head but then realized that she couldn’t see me. “No. I haven’t,” I replied. “I thought so.” She closed the fridge, her arms full of ingredients. I reached out to help her, but she shook her head. Sitting back down, I waited for her next instruction. Lena made breakfast while talking animatedly the whole time. She was excited, as if she hadn’t had a chance to talk to someone for a long while. She talked about everything and nothing. Sometimes none of it made sense. She told me about her experience working as a maid. I also found out that I was the youngest maid here, which surprised her. “Hmm. Alessio never hires young maids. He says they are incompetent.” I didn’t tell her how Alessio came to hire me, and she never asked, so I kept quiet. As she continued talking, I felt myself relaxing. The tense muscles in my shoulders started to loosen and I sagged into my stool. Crossing my legs, I moved my elbows on the bar and placed my chin in my palms, watching Lena talk. Her voice soothed me and I smiled. She was sweet and adorable and I felt comfortable around her. I don’t know how long I sat there and listened to her talk, but she eventually brought a plate to me. Placing it front of me, Lena smiled and nodded toward the food. “Dig in, hon.” The plate was brimming with toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, fried diced potatoes, and a small bowl of mixed fruits. She watched me with a soft expression. My nose started to tingle and I felt hot tears at the back of my eyes. I sniffed and looked down at the plate of food. Nobody had ever made me food like that. Sure, I had maids back at my father’s estate and I always had food. But no one ever prepared it with love. Nobody cared if I ate or not. I simply didn’t exist. I lived as a shadow. My heart constricted and I held the fork with a shaky hand. As I took the first bite, a tear fell down my cheek. Quickly swiping it away with my other hand, I took a second bite. Then a third. With each bite, it felt like my heart would burst at any moment. When Lena gave me a gentle pat on the hand, I looked up with red-rimmed eyes. She gave me a sad smile and then nodded, as if telling me that everything would be okay. Lena didn’t ask any questions. She just accepted me. She turned around and went back to filling the other plates. I looked back at the food, then stared at the hand she had touched. Kindness wasn’t something I saw much of. In fact, I had never experienced true kindness in my life. My days were spent locked in my room and my nights were filled with terrors. I didn’t know what kindness was. But with that simple action from Lena, I saw kindness for the first time. I felt it for the first time. Chapter 7 Ayla As I cleaned the smooth surface, I heard Lena ask, “Honey, are you done?” Leaning away from the bar, I turned toward her. I smiled, waving the cleaning towel in the air. “Almost. I just need to finish wiping down the bar.” “Okay. Hurry up and finish, then you are done for today.” It’s been a week since I started working at the estate. I didn’t know anything about cooking or cleaning. At my father’s house, I had maids who did it all while I was trapped in my bedroom. But Lena helped me with the transition, and she was always gentle. When she assigned me to work, she made sure I was only doing the cleaning. And I was always with her, so the other maids wouldn’t judge me. Even though I knew the house was filled with people, I was surprised that I barely saw anyone other than a few maids here and there, as if everyone was in the shadows. Most of my time was spent in the kitchen, helping Lena make the food, and then I would clean when she was done. The first three days were horrible and I was sure Lena had a good laugh at all the messes I made. But I was finally getting the hang of it. A few minutes later, I was done. Swiping at my forehead tiredly, I sagged against the counter. Most of the time, I was done around seven or eight. But we had guests over, so the estate was really busy. Now it was close to midnight. After doing a quick check around the kitchen to make sure that I was finished, I turned off the lights and walked out. As I closed the door, I saw Lena coming toward me. “I’m done,” I announced with a quick smile. She came closer and enveloped me in a hug. “Good job,” she said as she pulled back. Lena was a very affectionate woman. In my short time here, she had become a mother to me. My mom died when I was only a year old. I never knew what it was like to have a mother caring for me, so I hung on to Lena’s affectionate side. I let my heart accept the fact that there was someone who cared for me, like the lonely child I was. Giving her a nod and after saying goodnight, I headed for my room. My legs felt heavy as I walked up the stairs, tiredness overtaking me. I stopped when I noticed the door of the sitting room open. The sitting room was between my room and Alessio’s. I looked around me. No one was there. With a nervous gulp, I slowly made my way toward the room. As I got closer, I saw that the lights were on. Leaning forward, I peeked inside. There was no one. I walked in and went straight to the piano next to the large windows. Two days before, I had been assigned to clean the sitting room, which was also a library. When I walked in, the first thing that got my attention was the large piano. Music had always been my solace. I used to play the piano every day at my father’s estate. It helped me forget. The only way that I could block the memories of what Alberto did to me every night was by losing myself in music. The rhythm. The soft and gentle sounds that came through the keys. As I got closer to the piano, my heart started to beat faster. I knew I shouldn’t have been there but I couldn’t stop myself. I stopped in front of the bench and leaned forward, placing my hand gently on the piano keys. My fingers were itching to play. Just one song. But I couldn’t. I was told not to come into this room, except for cleaning. Softly moving my fingers over the keys, I made sure I didn’t press down. With a heavy sigh, I stepped away, my hand falling from the piano. Giving it a final sad glance, I walked away, my body turning into itself with desolation. Closing my bedroom door behind me, I leaned against it with a sigh and then shut my eyes tiredly. The lights were off, except for the tiny lamp on my nightstand. While talking with Lena, I also found out that I was the only maid who didn’t live in the maids’ quarters. We were both surprised by it, but could I really question Alessio’s decision? I didn’t think so. I started to undress, slowly removing my dress, my body languid. Throwing the black dress on the nightstand, I reached blindly for my night shirt on the bed. Just when I was about to put it on, a deep rough voice came from behind me. “I have to say, you have a lovely body.” I shrieked loudly and swiveled around toward the voice. I tried to focus on the intruder, but he was effortlessly hidden in the darkness. I didn’t have to see him to know who it was. I knew that voice. My body knew that voice. Alessio. I took a step back in fear, my nightshirt pressed against my body, hiding my nakedness from his eyes. Shaking from head to toe, I swallowed hard and my stomach started to cramp in fear—maybe in anticipation too. Suddenly, the lights were on. I had to blink a few times to adjust my eyes. Alessio was sitting in my sofa chair, leaning back comfortably. His left ankle was crossed on top of his right knee and there was a small remote in his hand, which he probably used to turn on the lights. He wasn’t wearing a suit. But he did have his black slacks on and a black linen shirt, which was unbuttoned at the top, to reveal some of his chest. His hard, muscular chest. I forced away the thought. Keeping my eyes on him, I saw his gaze intensely focused on my body. There was no embarrassment. No awkwardness. Alessio was completely calm and confident as his eyes raked over my body. “Hmm,” he muttered, looking thoughtful as he watched me. He leaned back against the sofa. His muscles were clear beneath his shirt, making him look big. I forced myself not to fidget, but it was hard. I couldn’t show fear. Men like him fed on fear. They used it to their advantage. My fingers tightened around my shirt. My throat felt heavy and dry. When I started to feel lightheaded, I realized I’d been holding my breath for too long. I let it out in a loud whoosh and then sucked in a deep breath again, but it was pointless. His heated gaze traveled all the way down my body. I was speechless and frozen where I stood. When my body started to warm up under his focus, I closed my eyes tightly. But the tingling didn’t stop. When he stood and walked toward me, I shrunk away. His dark presence filled the room, and I suddenly felt hot. Sweat beaded on my neck and between my breasts as he moved closer. When he stopped before me, I shivered in fear and my body tensed in alarm. Alessio stepped closer until we were half an inch apart, so close that my nose started to tingle with the scent of his cologne and I could feel his breath next to my ear. My lips were suddenly dry. When I moistened them with my tongue, Alessio’s eyes followed the movement. If possible, his already lustful gaze became more heated. He licked his own lips too, making the action appear so deeply sensual that I had to squeeze my legs together, trying to stop the sudden tingling between them. What’s happening to me? Alessio leaned his head forward until his lips were hovering over mine. My body froze, my mind went blank for a moment. Was he going to kiss me? His hand came up and wrapped around my shirt. He gave it a tug, but I refused to let go of the fabric. He frowned and tugged harder. I swallowed in fear when his eyes changed and he leveled me with a glare. The shirt fell from my grasp. He took a step back and stared at me. Except for my black bra and panties, I was almost naked. Crossing my hand over my chest, I tried to hide my body from him. “Move your hands,” he ordered, his voice gruff. Shaking my head wildly, I took a step back but came in contact with the wall. There was nowhere to hide. I was trapped as he moved closer. Alessio crowded my space and he wrapped his fingers around my wrists, tugging downward until I was no longer covering my chest. He brought his hand right over my chest but he didn’t touch me. I shivered as my body warmed under his scrutinizing gaze. Even though he hadn’t touched me yet, my body was already on fire. When the tip of his finger made contact with my skin, I jumped and stared at him with wide eyes. He kept his eyes on mine as he slowly dragged his finger down my chest, stopping between my breasts. My chest heaved, and each time my breasts brushed against his shirt, the tingling sensation in my lower region increased. My body tightened, hyper aware of Alessio’s touch. He brought his other hand up and let it travel down my neck. I was sure he could feel my pulse throbbing in fear—and I hated to admit it, but in anticipation too. My body was reacting to his touch, eagerly awaiting his next movement. No matter how hard I tried to stop my reactions, my body wouldn’t listen. “You have lovely skin. Smooth as silk,” he muttered as he softly brushed his thumb over my throbbing vein. “So fucking beautiful.” Then he frowned, like he couldn’t believe I was attractive to him. Or maybe he was surprised he’d said it. His face became expressionless, but his heated gaze couldn’t be misunderstood. It showed everything he felt. He wanted me, and my body was reacting accordingly. As he continued to look into my eyes, the hand that was over my chest moved to my right breast. I was so captivated by his pale and vivid blue eyes, I didn’t notice when he moved the cup of my bra downward. When I felt the cold air on my skin, my eyes widened and I looked down to see my right breast bare. My nipple pebbled and I sucked in a shocked breath when Alessio softly moved his thumb over the tip. My head snapped back and he was still looking at me, his gaze intensely on mine as he watched my reaction. He rubbed his thumb over my nipple and I let out a gasp, my eyes slowly closing. When I heard a moan, my body tightened. My eyes snapped back open when I realized that it came from me. Alessio’s lips tilted upward in a smirk, and then he took my nipple in between his thumb and forefinger. He pinched my nipple hard. Gasping, I shrank away from his touch with a whimper. Oh God, what was happening to me? I felt myself growing wet between my legs. “Shhh. Don’t be scared, kitten. I’m not going to hurt you.” I let out another whimper when he rolled my nipple around his fingers, teasing the tip until I was shaking my head, my stomach clenching as I moaned again. Alessio leaned closer until his mouth was next to my ear. He blew on my skin and then bit down on my earlobe. “Not unless you want me to,” he whispered harshly in my ears, saying the same words that he had when we first met. “What…what…what are you doing?” I stumbled over my words, my voice hoarse. He let out a laugh and pulled back. “What do you think I’m doing? From your reaction, I think it’s pretty obvious.” I shook my head and stared at him mutely. No, it was not obvious. He was playing with me. But why? I tried to pull away, but Alessio wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me into his body. My breasts pressed hard against his chest. When my sensitive nipples brushed against the roughness of his shirt, I couldn’t keep from moaning. Oh, God. No. Save me from this. “Plea…please don’t hurt me.” His body shook with silent laughter. “Aww, baby. Pleasure and pain come hand in hand.” Alessio leaned forward, and slowly licked down my neck. “Don’t you know? The best pleasure comes from pain,” he whispered roughly against my skin. No. I knew pain. I was accustomed to pain and felt it every night when Alberto tortured me mercilessly. There was no pleasure from that. My body froze, and then I started to struggle against his hold. “Let me go. Please. Please let me go,” I begged as my eyes filled with unshed tears. I was wrong to think I was safe. He was a monster like Alberto. He would take what he wanted and then leave me bleeding and scarred. “Stop struggling,” he ordered harshly. “No. No. No. Please.” I shook my head and pushed hard against his chest but it was like pushing a wall. He didn’t even move a step. “Enough!” I whimpered and shrank away. He let go of me and I scrambled back to the wall, plastering myself against it. Alessio stared at me blankly. My harsh breathing filled the room and I was trembling. My legs were barely holding me up. He stepped forward, but when I let out cry, he stopped. “You are scared of me,” he said. I swallowed but didn’t say anything. What could I say? He already had me figured out. “But you also enjoy my touch,” he continued. My body went still, and this time I shook my head. His eyes became hard and he walked closer. “Don’t lie to me. If you didn’t know already, then let me enlighten you,” he said through gritted teeth. “I always know when someone lies. So, you’d be better off if you don’t.” I didn’t answer. I couldn’t. My throat was dry and my tongue felt heavy in my mouth. Alessio moved his hand to my hair and twisted it around his fist. Even though his hold was firm, he gently tilted my head up, making sure he didn’t hurt me. “Now answer me, kitten. Did you like it when I touched you?” I thought of lying again, but what would it bring me? It wouldn’t help my situation. I nodded. It was so small that it would have been easy for him to miss it. But he didn’t. Alessio Ivanshov never missed anything. At my nod, he smiled and it took my breath away. It was the first real smile that I saw from him. His lips stretched wide and I noticed a dimple on his right cheek. The smile changed his face completely. He didn’t look so scary anymore. He looked gentle. My eyes widened as my heart constricted. “Now, that’s out of the way. Let’s talk about why I’m here,” he said, losing the smile. I swallowed nervously and nodded again. I tried to move away but his fingers tightened in my hair. When he seemed sure I wouldn’t move, Alessio let go. He placed his hands on the wall behind me, one on either side of my face, caging me into his body. “I want you,” he said without any hesitation. Oh, I knew that was coming, but what I didn’t expect was how my body reacted to his words. My legs weakened and my panties were instantly wet. My lower region pulsed and I bit down on my lips hard to stop the moan that threatened to slip out. “What?” I asked, my voice shaking. Alessio leaned forward until his lips were hovering over mine. I saw his tongue slip out and he gently licked my lips. My body tightened in shock. “Exactly what I said. I want to fuck you.” I didn’t want to admit it, but I could see myself doing whatever he wanted me to do. He knew how to play with his words and how to play my body. The only fear I had was that he might hurt me. I suddenly felt sick. I was exactly what Alberto said. A whore. What kind of woman feels turn on by a strange man who whispers such vulgar words? I had been raped repeatedly by my fiancé. And now I felt turned on by a monster exactly like him. “What if I don’t want it?” I asked, trying to remain coherent as I felt my knees begin to buckle. Alessio smirked. “Oh, kitten. You want me. I’m turning you on right now, aren’t I? I can see it.” He was filled with so much confidence and arrogance. I hated it. He licked my neck again, then bit down. I moaned as he sucked on my tortured skin. “I can feel it,” he murmured against my skin. Shaking my head, I tried to move away but it was no use. “I can smell it.” He wouldn’t let me go. I was feeling dizzy and giddy. It was surreal. I wanted him, but at the same time, I wanted to sink down and cry. He stepped away slightly but not too much, still crowding my space. “I will never take a woman against her will,” he said as he stared into my eyes. At his words, my heart started to calm down. “But, kitten, you want me. I know it and you know it. I will not fuck you until you beg me.” His vulgar words went through my body and I trembled. Alessio leaned close again. I could feel his breath on my lips. “You owe me, kitten. And don’t forget. I own you. You do what I tell you. So, it’s simple. Do you want me?” I started to say no, but he brought his finger to my lips. “And don’t even think of lying. Lying will just get you in more trouble.” I swallowed hard and my heart was beating hard against my ribcage and my palms started to sweat. My breathing was irregular and I felt like was suffocating. Alessio’s blue eyes were fixed on mine. Blue and green. We stared at each other with a mixture of emotions. Desires. Lust. Excitement. Fear. Anticipation. Oh, dear God, what have I gotten myself into? Chapter 8 As I stood there, trapped in his arms, I was speechless. What could I say? Yes meant submitting to him. It would mean I was ready to be his whore. When I ran away from Alberto, I promised myself that I would never be at the mercy of another man again. Yet, here I was, cornered by Alessio and I couldn’t even say no. He stared at me for a few seconds, his gaze intense as he waited for my answer. But I defiantly stayed quiet, pursing my lips together, refusing to utter a response. Not replying was better than replying, right? That was what I thought. But I was wrong. Alessio gave me another of his devilish smirks and I swallowed hard against the lump in my throat. That smirk didn’t look nice. Definitely not good. He leaned in, his lips lightly brushing my ear. “You like testing me, don’t you?” My body was shaking. But even under the layers of fear and anger, my body was responding to him. His rough, hard voice sent a shiver through my body. I refused to acknowledge what I was feeling. It was wrong. I shouldn’t have been feeling that way. But as much as I wanted to act strong, I felt weak. Alberto’s voice echoed in my head as I stared at Alessio’s hard chest. Weak. So pathetic. Look at you. All broken. You are nothing but a low, dirty whore. Old memories came to a screeching halt when I felt a hand on my chin, tilting my head up. My eyes snapped open and I looked up at Alessio. His fingers were firm on my chin, holding my head still as he moved in closer until our bodies were plastered together. So close that it would have been impossible to even push a thin string in between us. His heat enveloped my body and I didn’t feel cold anymore. My heart was hammering in my chest, and I felt sure that he knew. The rough pad of his thumb rubbed over my full soft lips, and I gasped at the sensation. His touch traveled all the way down to my body and I pressed my legs together. Why? Why did I feel that way with him? I inhaled a desperate breath, moving my eyes away from his, looking everywhere but at him. My eyes moved desperately around the room, trying to find something that would keep me grounded. Think, Ayla. Think. I felt Alessio shift, his shirt moving against my sensitive skin, and I bit my lips, trying to hide another moan. He wrapped an arm around my waist, anchoring me to his body while he slowly brought his other hand down. “So, do we have an agreement?” he asked. Alessio pushed his knee between my legs, slightly pushing them apart. The thought of him taking me was so demeaning, but even through my disgust, as hard as it was for me to admit it, I also found that thought very appealing. Alessio overwhelmed me. He scared me, but at the same time, I couldn’t stop my body from responding to his words and seductiveness. What was wrong with me? Before I could say something, or even think about a proper answer, he bent down and latched onto my nipple. I hissed at his sudden action and then my head fell backward when a moan slipped from my mouth. He suckled my nipple, pulling at it hard, and then gently swirling his tongue over the tip. I felt the rasp of his slight stubble against my tender skin, and without thinking, I pushed my breast forward. Oh God, what’s happening to me? Releasing his hold on my hips, he brought his hand to my other breast and teased my pebbled nipple through the fabric of my bra. Slowly rubbing his thumb in circular motion, his tongue followed the same movement on my other nipple. I moaned and my head moved wildly from left to right, trying to get rid of the sensation that was happening in my lower region. I tried to squeeze my legs together but Alessio’s knee stopped me. “Oh…” I unconsciously lifted a shaking hand and cupped his cheek as he sucked me. Without even thinking, I gently moved my hand over his cheek, feeling his soft skin under the pads of my fingers. My hand wrapped around his neck as I held him to me. My body wasn’t my own. I didn’t know what was happening. It was all going too fast. My fingers tightened around his neck when I felt his hand move down toward my dripping core. My nails gently scratched at his skin. It was a chaste and slow caress, but erotic. In an instant, I felt him harden against my belly. He bit down on my nipple and I squirmed against him, but the movement only caused me to grind myself into his hardness. Alessio chuckled as I felt him push his knee forward, parting my legs more so that his hand had access to move freely between my thighs. He slowly moved aside my black panties and located my throbbing clit. “Uh,” I gasped as he flicked his thumb over it. Moaning loud, I thrashed against him. What’s happening? My body tightened hard and I felt my muscles start to cramp. The sensation was intoxicating. He filled my senses. I started to shake uncontrollably. The muscles in my legs spasmed as Alessio continued to rub his thumb over me. He pressed his thumb against my bundle of nerves and I jerked, letting out a sharp cry. “Alessio…” He glanced up and stared into my eyes for a few seconds. My skin prickled and it was sensitive. I was taut as a bowstring and my body was shaking with a mixture of pain and intense pleasure. I couldn’t describe it. I didn’t know what it was. It was something I had never felt before. My senses were overwhelmed and my vision blurred as Alessio continued his slow, torturous ministration on my body. “What’s happening to me?” I whispered, my voice bewildered. Alessio’s eyes widened and he sucked in a surprised breath. Then slowly, the corners of his lips lifted upward. He grinned at me wickedly before answering. “You are about to have your first orgasm, kitten,” he said in a husky voice. “Trust me. Just let go. Don’t fight it. It will be the most wonderful thing you have ever felt.” I shook my head and tried to move away but Alessio quickly wrapped his arm around my waist, refusing to let me go. Still keeping his eyes on me, he rubbed his thumb over my clit once before slowly pushing inside. I tensed around him and then moaned, my eyes slowly closing in pleasure. “Keep your eyes on me,” he ordered, his voice rough and harsh. My eyes quickly snapped open and I stared at him. I clamped down on his finger as he slid inside me. He eased in deeper, plunging through my tight walls. It was all too much. Every movement heightened the sensation and I twitched uncontrollably. My hips bucked upward when he moved his finger deep and hard inside of me. I let out another moan as my hand tightened around his neck, as if begging for more. My body was hyperaware of Alessio’s every touch. I felt desperate. Edgy. My skin felt tight and my body was on fire. “Oh God,” I panted, and Alessio chuckled low at my reaction. I started to feel dizzy and my head fell back against the wall. I couldn’t take it. It was too much. When Alessio pushed deeper inside of me, I came around his fingers. My screams resonated through the wall of the room as I came, my first orgasm hitting me so hard that my vision blurred and black dots appeared in front of my eyes. Alessio pulled away and my body swayed as I tried to focus on him. But I couldn’t. I was floating, my body so light. All sounds were muted around me and I was numb. He brought his hand to his lips and licked it clean. “I’ll take that as a yes,” he murmured in that husky voice that I was beginning to hate. And then I fainted. *** Alessio As I licked her come off my fingers, I saw her swaying unsteadily on her feet. Poor kitten didn’t even know. She was mine now. That orgasm she just had—well, it had marked her fate. MINE, my head screamed. And I couldn’t wait to take what was mine. I couldn’t wait until I was fucking her tight pussy. Until she was twitching and moaning underneath me. I couldn’t wait until I was making her scream with both pleasure and pain. My hard cock begged me to do it. Now. Take her. Use her. Fuck her. “I’ll take that as a yes,” I murmured. As soon as I said the words, her body tilted forward and her eyes rolled upward. “Fuck,” I hissed, quickly moving forward and catching her in my arms. Ayla laid limply in my arms. With her eyes closed, she looked so at peace. Serene. Happy. I felt my heart stutter as I stared at her. So beautiful, a fleeting thought passed through my mind. But I quickly shook my head, trying to get rid of my stupid thoughts. Wrapping an arm behind her knees and the other around her back, I pulled her up to my chest and walked to the bed. Gently placing her down, I fixed her bra and then pulled the covers over her body. I sat down on the bed and stared at her. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. For a week I tried to stay away. It was the hardest fucking thing I have ever done, when all I wanted to do was fuck her. But I kept myself away, giving her time to settle, watching her, waiting for the right opportunity. As soon as one week hit its mark, I was there, waiting for her. Ayla now knew what I wanted. She tried to refuse, but I saw her as clearly as day. She wanted me. There was no denying it. When I heard her first moan, I knew this was it. There was no going back. I always got what I wanted, and I wanted her. Nothing and no one was going to stop me from getting what I wanted. The first orgasm was mine. It belonged to me and I took it. Now, there was no turning back. Claim her, my mind screamed. Take her. I didn’t even have to put too much effort in it. One flick of my thumb, she’d been coming. That little orgasm, that was nothing. As I stared at her sleeping face, I felt myself smile. Oh, kitten, when you wake up, I’m going to show you the real thing. Chapter 9 Ayla My eyes slowly opened. My vision was still hazy from sleep and I closed my eyes again. Turning to my side, I burrowed deeper under the soft covers. “Hmm…” I groaned when my aching muscles protested. I needed a break from working. My bed moved, and knowing it was not from me, my eyes snapped open and I came face to face with Alessio. He was sitting on the bed, but leaning forward until his face was close to mine. “Good morning,” he said. My eyes widened and I let out a scream. As I tried to scramble off the bed, the covers twisted around me in my haste and I ended up on the floor in a heap. I stared up at him, my chest heaving. I was sure I looked frightened, while he seemed ready to pounce. My head spun as the memories of the night before came crashing into my mind like never ending wild waves. “Oh my God,” I whispered, trying to untangle myself from the covers. When I was finally free, I stood up and took several steps away, trying to keep a safe distance between us. “How could you?” I asked. Alessio stood up and made an act of fixing his suit. He took his time, as if he was doing it on purpose to get me riled up and extend the suspense. When he was done, he leveled me with a blank stare. “What do you mean?” “You…” I stuttered as I tried to find words. He gave you an orgasm, a voice said in my mind. Against my wishes, I screamed back, horrified by the thought. “I what?” His voice broke through my thoughts. I looked up to see him moving toward me, his steps purposeful. “You…” His body was so close to mine that his heat enveloped me. “What is it?” Alessio asked as he bent down slightly so we were eye level. I swallowed but didn’t answer. “Say it,” he urged. Shaking my head, I tried to take a step back but his arms shot out and were instantly wrapped around my waist, pulling me close. “I want you to say it. Tell me. What did I do last night?” he whispered, his lips dangerously close to mine. Placing both hands on his chest, I tried to shove him away from me but he didn’t even move an inch. “Mr. Ivanshov, please let me go,” I begged, struggling in his arms, desperate to free myself. His arms tightened around my waist. “Oh, kitten, I think we should leave the pleasantries behind now.” Leaning forward so that his lips were next to my ear, he continued, “After what I did to you last night, I think we should stick with Alessio.” He finished his sentence with a nip on my earlobe and I jumped at his sudden touch. “Okay. Alessio, please let go of me.” “I will when you tell me what I did to you last night. Say it,” he muttered in a husky tone. He was trying to embarrass me. How heartless could he be? He was a monster. Alessio leaned his face into my neck and when I felt his warm lips on my cold skin, I shivered and went limp against him. Only his arms were holding me upright. He placed wet kisses on my neck. Biting and then sucking at the tortured skin. His lips drew wet trails on the length on my neck. Shaking my head, I brought my hands to his hair and pulled hard until his face was not buried in my neck anymore. “Fuck,” Alessio swore loudly as I continued pulling. His head snapped up and he slowly stood to his full height until he was towering over me. He went rigid, his arms like a band of steel around my waist. I let out a small hiss and struggled with slight discomfort and pain. He brought one of his hands up and grasped my chin, his hold firm and hard as he tilted my head, forcing me to look into his hard, cold eyes. Anger flashed behind the blue irises and I cowered under his seething glare. “I really don’t like repeating myself, but I will one last time,” he said, his tone flat and grating. “Tell me what I did to you last night and I’ll let you go. It’s simple.” “You gave me an orgasm.” The words came out of my mouth before I could even think. The anger in his eyes immediately vanished, but the hard look remained. I played with the wild lion and now I had to pay the consequences. “And did you enjoy it?” “That was not part of the deal,” I whispered, my voice barely audible. Alessio pulled my face closer as his lips stretched in a small smirk. “Oh, kitten. I make the rules. I make the deals, and I can change them whenever I want. You don’t get to make a choice. Understood?” I nodded mutely and then tried to look down, wanting to escape his intense, cruel stare, but his unyielding hold on my chin stopped me from moving. “Answer me, kitten.” “Umm, I…” I started, but couldn’t finish my sentence. How could I answer such a thing? Did I enjoy it when he gave me an orgasm? No? Yes? Even I was confused. I didn’t want to like it. I shouldn’t have liked it, but I did. I closed my eyes tightly, unable to believe my own feelings. Something was seriously wrong with me, because this monster held me in his mansion against my will and then gave me an orgasm even though I didn’t want it—and I had liked it. “Ayla, answer me!” “Yes!” I shouted. When I was near him, my body wasn’t my own. My brain became a chaotic jumble and I couldn’t think straight. He masterfully played my body and my mind. He held the strings, and I became a puppet. *** Alessio She went limp in my arms, the fight running out of her body. Hearing her admit to her desires had been all I wanted, and it brought me satisfaction. For a little while. She was scared, and I would give her time. However, my patience was running out because I had given her enough time already, as far as I was concerned. Having her that close to my body made the beast inside me begin to rage. Her heat and her smell had taken over my senses. All I wanted to do was throw her on her back, spread those long creamy legs, and fuck her hard until she screamed with her orgasm milking my cock. Even though I wanted her scared of me, I didn’t want her to regret what happened. I had never taken a woman against her will and I wouldn’t start with her. Oh, she wanted me, but it was obvious she was terrified. Her confusion was clearly written all over her face. I would seduce Ayla until she begged me to take her. Releasing my hold on her chin, I gently moved her hair off her face. I let my fingers linger on her cheek for a few seconds and then slowly moved my thumb over her velvet skin. It warmed under my fingers and a small touch of pink tainted her pale flesh, showing the effect that I had on her. “See. That wasn’t so hard to admit, right?” I stared at her blushing cheek, mesmerized by the color and the softness of her skin. Ayla tried to step away and I let her go without resistance. Let’s give the little kitten a break. She took several steps away from me, then placed a shaky hand on her heaving chest. She was trembling, the fear evident. But why the fuck was she so scared? The fear wasn’t just because of me. There was something else, and I hadn’t quite figured it out yet. Ayla was a big mystery to me. She acted like she hated my touch, but she’d moaned in pleasure at the same time. She fascinated me, captured my attention, and I had no desire to fight it. She might have been the one to take the first action by hiding under my bed, but now I was in control. I wouldn’t let go until I had my fill. Staring at her, my gaze unyielding, I said, “Now, Ayla. Don’t be scared. You have nothing to be scared of. Have I hurt you?” She shook her head, watching my every movement and reaction. She truly did remind me of a kitten trying to find its way out of danger. Small, skittish, scared. And completely helpless. I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket, tugged it out, and saw Viktor’s number flashing on the screen. “Yeah?” I answered. “There’s something we gotta tell you. It’s fucked up,” he replied in a rush. He sounded panicked. Shit. “Now what?” “We should discuss this in person, Alessio.” Looking at Ayla, who was now plastered against the wall, I felt anger building inside of me. Viktor had really bad timing. “I’m busy right now,” I said harshly. “It’s important.” “Fine. Meet me in my office,” I ordered before hanging up. I moved toward Ayla, and in three long strides, I was standing in front of her. She folded into herself, her shoulders bunching forward in a protective manner. She whimpered, as if frightened I would hit her. “Calm down,” I said, my voice surprisingly gentle. I pulled her forward until she was flush against my body. My hold was light and I leaned down so that my lips were beside her ear. “I’ll be back, kitten. We are not done yet,” I whispered harshly, then wrapped my hand in her hair, twisting it around my fingers and pulled her head backward. Without warning, I crashed my lips to hers. The kiss was hard, fast, and bruising, meant to let her know that she belonged to me. Only me. Ayla let out a gasp when I licked the seams of her lips. I bit, sucked, kissed, until I was satisfied that she understood. Leaning away, I stared at her flushed face. She was red and out of breath. It made me want to laugh. I didn’t even kiss her properly and she was already reacting this way. Ayla brought a hand to her swollen lips and touched it gently. I saw her wince as she stared at me with innocent eyes. Ah, kitten. So innocent. Giving her a final heated glance, I turned around and walked out of the bedroom, leaving her alone to her thoughts. I closed the door behind me with a bang and walked straight to my office in the left wing. When I got there, the door was already open. Viktor, Nikolay, Phoenix, and Artur were already there. Frustration was evident in their expressions. Walking straight in, I growled, “What is it?” I sat down behind my desk, crossing my arms at my chest as I leaned back. Phoenix closed the door before facing me. “We found out that someone is spying,” Viktor started, his voice rough with anger. “What?” I yelled. Quickly getting up to my feet, I pushed the chair back. “Yeah. For the fucking Abandonato. The bastards knew where we were going to open the next club. They got there first and Alberto said that we should have better control on who we trust.” Phoenix’s voice came out in a hiss as he tried hard to control his own irritation. My body shook with fury and my hands tightened into fists until my knuckles hurt from the pressure. Grabbing my chair, I threw it across the room. Nikolay had to jump out of the way so it didn’t crash into him. “Who the fuck is it?” I roared. My hands were itching. I wanted to spill blood, and my eyes twitched as I tried to regain control. Whoever betrayed me would have a slow torturous death. I wouldn’t spare him any mercy. “Find out who he is!” None of them moved. I saw Viktor swallowing nervously and Nikolay staring at him. When he didn’t say anything, Nikolay sent him a glare and then turned toward me, quickly schooling his features again. “We think it’s Ayla,” he said. Chapter 10 Ayla Alessio left me standing in a state of shock and walked out of my room without sparing me another glance. What was that? My fingers were still touching my swollen, tingling lips. They felt raw. I had never been kissed like that. Oh, I had most definitely been kissed by Alberto, but with Alessio, it was different. Even though the kiss was possessive and hard, it felt gentle. He didn’t kiss me like he wanted to hurt me. Alessio kissed me like he wanted me to feel him, like he wanted me to enjoy it. It was sexy and it made me feel out of control. I was out of breath and I couldn’t understand why. Why didn’t I find it repulsive? I glanced around my room, breathless. I tried to find something, anything, that would ground me and help me understand what was going on. My mind felt rushed and my body tingled from his touch. The affect he had on me was