I have lost everything.
Death knocks on my door, I want to answer, but every time I reach for the handle — the promise I made her brings me back.
So I breathe.
And I allow the anger to oil beneath the surface of a perfectly indifferent facade. I am broken, I don’t want to be fixed.
But the Empire is crumbling and it’s my job to fix it.
My job to mend the pieces that were scattered over thirty years ago.
A trip to New York, only one chance to redeem a lost part of our mafia family.
The only issue is, the only way to fix it, is to do something I swore I’d never do again.
An arranged marriage.
Only this time.
I won’t fall.
Or so help me God, I will kill her myself.
My name is Sergio Abandonoto, you think you know my pain, my suffering, my anger, my hate?
You have no idea.
I am the mafia.
I am the darkness.
Sergio looked ready to strangle me. “No. I don’t believe I asked for an annoying little sister, but if that’s what you’re offering, please don’t let me stop you. Just know, I won’t hesitate to put you over my knee if you get out of hand.”
The minute the words left his mouth. I froze.
The taxi driver stared little laser like holes into the rearview mirror.
And Sergio leaned toward me.
I swallowed as tension swirled around us.
He gripped me by the chin and turned my head to the side, his lips brushing my ear. “It’s like you have a death wish.”
“You wouldn’t do it.”
He pulled back as both of his eyebrows shot up, and then he looked down, like he had spotted something.
I followed the direction of his gaze and let out a little gasp as a gun dug into my stomach.
“It’s been directed at you for the last four minutes,” Sergio said through a practiced smile. “I meant what I said. Listen well. I keep my word. Kiss me, and blood will be spilled.”
“Y-you’re a crazy person!” I hissed, shoving at his chest. “And I wasn’t going to kiss you!”
“Sure you weren’t.” He put the gun away. “Good talk though, right? Oh look, the movie theater.”
To say that I scrambled out of the car like a kid running away from her kidnapper would be a gross understatement, but the minute my feet hit the pavement, I paused.
My body told me to run.
The guy had pulled a gun.
I didn’t even watch violent movies.
Get the beginning of Sergio’s story in Elude
Twenty-Four hours before were were to be married–I offered to shoot her.
Ten hours before our wedding–I made a mockery of her dying wish.
Five hours before we were going to say our vows–I promised I’d never love her.
One hour before I said I do–I vowed I’d never shed a tear over her death.
But the minute we were pronounced man and wife–I knew.
I’d only use my gun to protect her.
I’d give my life for hers.
And I would, most definitely, lose my heart, to a dying girl–a girl who by all accounts should have never been mine in the first place.
I always believed the mafia would be my end game–where I’d lose my heart, while it claimed my soul. I could have never imagined. It would be my redemption.
Or the beginning of something beautiful.
The beginning of her.
The end of us.
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!