I know, I know. It’s supposed to be Sneak Peek Saturday. But better late than never, right?
While RUTHLESS is killing it in the Amazon rankings, I’m already ramping up for the release of FEARLESS, book two in the Mob Boss trilogy. The cover is currently being redesigned for the September 7th release of the book. In the meantime, maybe this sneak peek will tide you over.
The car was more animal than machine, its undulating curves sensual even rendered in steel and fiberglass. She shouldn’t have been surprised. Nico was all man — not exactly the type to drive a low-key sedan — and this car wasn’t about subtlety.
“Shouldn’t we be laying low?” she asked.
“We are laying low,” he said. “I had someone change the plates.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Someone? I thought the point of meeting Luca here was to stay under the radar.”
“Trust me. I’ve covered our bases. And when in Rome…” He took her elbow and guided her to the car.
“We’re not in Rome,” she said drily.
“No, we’re in Miami. Now get in the car.”
She slid into the seat with a sigh, sinking into the plush leather interior. He reached across her and buckled her seatbelt, just like he had the night they’d fled New York for Maine. His touch was no less electric now, and she breathed in the scent of him as his fingers brushed her skin, imagining the way he laid his big hands across her naked belly just before he spread her legs to enter her.
He clicked the buckle into place and retreated from the car. A moment later her door slid shut with a quiet hum, and he got behind the wheel. The powerful engine came to life somewhere between a roar and purr.
He put his hands on the wheel slowly, like he was savoring the feel of it under his hands. He shifted into gear, and then they were flying through the parking garage, Nico taking the turns sharp and smooth until they exited into the Florida sunshine.
They got on the highway and headed south. It was like being in a different world, the bright colors and fast cars standing in sharp contrast to the wild Maine coast, the historical solemnity of Boston. Nico rolled down the windows and looked over at her with a grin, then accelerated through traffic. The wind whipped back her hair, and she was surprised to hear laughter bubble up from her throat.
She wasn’t a car person, couldn’t have cared less about what she drove at home, but the speed and agility of the machine connected with something deeply erotic inside her. She looked over at Nico — his muscled thighs moving as he shifted gears, dark hair ruffled by the wind, eyes hidden behind sunglasses — and grew wet with desire for him. She felt her old life falling away with a startling lack of fear.
A half hour later, Nico pulled into the Coral Gables address Angel had given him. The house was one of many owned by her father — now owned by her and David — and occupied only sporadically. It wasn’t one of her favorites — she’d always thought it was a little garish — but now she could appreciate the gated entry, the long driveway that led to a brick courtyard at the front of the house. It wasn’t a fortress — as far as she knew it had been built for privacy, not impenetrability — but at least they would have a warning before someone made it through the gate and up the driveway. She didn’t expect anyone to know she and Nico were hiding out here, but they couldn’t afford to take anything for granted.
Nico pulled the car to a stop in the courtyard. He leaned forward, his arms on the wheel, and gazed up at the Spanish-style mansion. It didn’t look huge from the front, but Angel knew it was an illusion. The house was enormous, with eight bedrooms, a wine cellar, and a gym, among other things. The exterior was faced with ivory stucco, the windows framed with blue shutters, and palm trees offered just enough shade to the interior without blocking the sunlight.
“Nice,” he said approvingly.
“Thanks,” Angel said. She heard the note of sarcasm in her voice and felt like she should explain. “I still don’t know how I feel about all of this stuff.”
He turned to loo at her. “What stuff?”
“All the stuff bought with my father’s blood money.”
He nodded. “How do you know the house wasn’t built with legitimate income from Rossi Development?”
She thought about it. Everything was all tangled up together. The good and bad, moral and immoral, love and hate.
“I guess I don’t.”
“Maybe that’s a blessing,” he said, taking her hand.
They went inside, and Angel opened the windows and the doors leading to the balconies and terraces. The house was just like she remembered it, with soaring ceilings, expansive rooms, and an elaborate iron banister that wound upward with the curved staircase to the second floor.
When she was done airing out the house, she returned to the ground floor to find Nico standing on the terrace, looking out over the infinity pool and lagoon, and beyond that, to the open ocean in the distance.
“Will this work?” she asked him.
“It will,” he said. “Thank you.”
She reached up to smooth the crease in his forehead. “What’s wrong?”
“I wish you’d go back to New York.”
She dropped her arm, stung by his words. “You don’t want me here?”
“That’s not it.” He pulled her into his arms. “Sometimes I think I can breathe without you.”
“Then why?” she asked.
He looked down at her. “I won’t be able to live with myself if something happens to you. You know that, right?”
She nodded, then stretched to kiss him. “Which is why nothing is going to happen to me. We’re going to meet Luca, get a handle on what’s going on, and decide what to do next. No one even knows we’re here, and it’s not like anyone would suspect I’m hanging out with my former kidnapper.”
A brief flash of misery crossed his features in the moment before he was able to hide it, and she wrapped her arms around his neck. “Don’t.”
“Don’t what?” his voice was gruff.
“Don’t torture yourself over the past,” she said. “Trust me, it doesn’t change anything. And I don’t think I’d want to change it anyway.”
He shook his head. “You can’t mean that, Angel. If I hadn’t had Luca and Dante kidnap you, your life would be just as it was before.”
It was what she’d once wanted. Her old life back. Her old naivety. But that meant not knowing Nico. It meant never feeling the mysterious and powerful connection to the man now who felt like part of her. Would she wish him away? Wish away what they had? The answer was obvious; she wished her father hadn’t died in the flat in London, wished she and David had a chance to talk to him about all the lies he’d told. She wished finding out the truth hadn’t been so painful. But that was where her wishing ended. To wish anything else would be to undo what had happened between her and Nico, and whatever the future held, she was surprised to realize she didn’t want to undo what had happened between them.
“What I had before was a lie. I’ll take the truth.” She pressed her body to his. “I’ll take this.”