From USA Today bestselling author W Winters comes a heart-wrenching, edge-of-your-seat gripping, romantic suspense.
I should"ve known she would ruin me the moment I saw her.
Women like her are made to destroy men like me.
I couldn"t resist her though.
Given to me to start a war; I was too eager to accept.
But I didn"t know what she"d do to me. That she would change everything.
She sees through me in a way no one else ever has.
Her innocence and vulnerability make me weak for her and I hate it.
I know better than to give in to temptation.
A ruthless man doesn"t let a soul close to him.
A cold-hearted man doesn"t risk anything for anyone.
A powerful man with a beautiful woman at his mercy" he doesn"t fall for her.Books in Series:Merciless Series by Willow WintersBooks by Author:Willow Winters Books
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War is coming.
It"s something I"ve known for over two years.
A tic in my jaw clenches in time with the rhythm of the clock, while the skin over my knuckles turns white as my fist squeezes tighter. Tension rises in my stiff shoulders and I have to remind myself to breathe in deeply and let the strain of it all go away.
Tick-tock. It"s the only sound echoing off the walls of my office and with each pass of the pendulum, the anger grows.
It"s always like this before I go to a meet. This one, in particular, sends a thrill through my blood, the adrenaline pumping harder with each passing minute.
My gaze drifts from the grandfather clock in my office to the shelves next to it, then beneath them to the box made of mahogany and steel. It"s only three feet deep and three feet tall by six feet long. It blends into the wall of my office, surrounded by old books.
I paid more than I should have simply to put on a display. All any of this is merely a fa"ade. People"s perceptions are their reality. And so I paint the picture they need to see so I can use them as I see fit. The expensive books and artworks, polished furniture carved from rare wood" All of it is bullshit.
Except for the box. The story that came with it will stay with me forever. In all the years, it"s one of the few memories I can pinpoint as a defining moment. The box never leaves me.
The words from the man who gave it to me are still so fresh, as is the image of his pale green eyes, glossed over as he told me his story.
About how it kept him safe when he was a child. He told me how his mother had shoved him in it to protect him.
I swallow thickly, feeling my throat tighten and the cords in my neck strain at the recollection. He set the scene so well.
He told me how he clung to his mother, seeing how panicked she was. But he did as he was told. He stayed quiet in the safe box and could only listen while the men murdered his mother.
He offered to barter for his life with the box. And the story he gave me reminded me of my own mother telling me goodbye before she passed.
Yes, his story was touching, but I put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger regardless.
He tried to steal from me and then pay me with a box as if the money he embezzled was a debt or a loan. William was good at thieving, at telling stories, but the fucker was a dumb prick.
I didn"t get to where I am by playing nicely and being weak. On that day, I took the box that saved him as a reminder of who I was. Who I needed to be.
I made sure that box has been within my sight for every meeting I"ve had in this office. It"s a powerful reminder I can stare at as I make deal after deal with criminal after criminal and collect wealth and power in this godforsaken room.
It cost me a fortune to get this office exactly how I wanted it. But if it were to burn down, I could easily afford to replace everything.
Everything except for that box.
"You really think they"re going through with it"" I hear my brother, Daniel, before I see him. The remembrance fades in an instant.
It takes a second for me to be conscious of my facial expression, to relax my jaw and let go of the anger before I can raise my gaze to his.
"With the war and the deal" You think he"ll go through with it and take her tonight"" he clarifies.
A small huff leaves me, accompanied by a smirk as I answer, "He wants this more than anything else. He said they set her up and it"s already happening. Only hours until they"re done."
Daniel stalks into the room slowly, the heavy door to my office closing with a soft kick of his heel before he comes to stand across from me.
"And you"re sure you want to be right in the middle of it""
I lick my lower lip and stand, stretching as I do and turning my gaze to the window in my office. I can hear Daniel walking around the desk as I lean against it and cross my arms.
I tell him, "We won"t be in the middle of it. It"ll be the two of them, and our territory is close, but we can stay back."
"Bullshit. He wants you to fight with him. He"s going to start this war tonight and you know it."
I nod slowly, the memory of the smell of Romano"s cigars filling my lungs at the thought of him.