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Illicit Heir (Paperback)

Illicit Heir (Paperback)

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Synopsis

One work meeting created an obsession neither of us could shake.

My boss's brother was a friend...until the day he turned his dark-brooding eyes on me.

For years, I studied Tristano at the club.

I'd mimic his commands, dominating the most powerful, dangerous men.

Now, he wants me to submit to him—the opposite role I usually play.

So we make a deal.

But the urges we think we'll overcome, we can't.

When we finally come to terms with our secret, his enemy tries to destroy us.

Then I wake up, not remembering anything.

And the man who claims I'm his makes my skin crawl.

If only I could understand the flashbacks of the dark-haired, chiseled-faced man.

Crazed-Prologue

Katiya Nikitin

Each second that passes is a gift. I'm on borrowed time and fully aware there are multiple bullets ready to end my life. Normally, I don't worry about the decisions I've made. At this moment, I'm regretting everything, but it's not due to the extra danger surrounding me.

If only I'd chosen a different path.

I tried.

Really, I did.

Not until it was too late though.

I didn't know he would tear my heart to pieces.

Once I realized I was in too deep, I attempted to get out. Yet nothing I said could persuade the powerful men in charge to give me another assignment.

Staying in my role was like diving off a boat and never coming up for air. For the first time in my life, I had something—someone—beautiful, loving, and real. It gave me hope for the future. But I was naive. And once I realized how stuck I was, it was as if the cold depths of the ocean swallowed me whole.

Now, I don't know how I'm ever going to do what they're demanding of me.

Four sets of beady eyes glare at me, assessing every word and movement I make. They all attempt to determine if I'm lying or telling the truth. The voice in my head screams they aren't buying a word I say, but I force myself to play it cool and not ramble.

Every breath I take becomes more difficult. The pain in my chest I can't seem to get rid of intensifies. Blood boils hotter in my veins, on the verge of making me break out into a full-out sweat. I struggle not to shift on my feet while maintaining my composure.

Leo Abruzzo steps closer. He's the youngest brother of Jacopo, who runs the Abruzzo dynasty. It's the first time in months I've seen Leo. I can't say I missed him.

After my father died, Ludis Petrov, heir to the Russian mafia, claimed me as his own. Ludis said my father worked for him. I had no knowledge of it. All I saw was how hard my father worked in his woodworking business. Yet, Ludis declared there was an unpaid debt. I had no money, so he informed me that he now owned me. I was fifteen at the time and had no way to fight when his men arrived to take me. And the first night in Ludis's house, he showed no mercy, taking my virginity.

I didn't want to be with him. When he ordered me to sleep in his bed, my stomach flipped. The maid told me not to fight him, claiming it would be easier to get through it if I didn't resist. Then she showed me the knife scars on her stomach and legs. It was from when she tried to fight him off.

Her disfigured body etched itself in my mind. So I took her advice when Ludis came back into the room, not making a sound while silent tears fell down my cheeks.

For years, I was his. Then he lost a bet. Before I knew it, I was sold to the Abruzzos to pay off his gambling debt. And they weren't any better than the Petrovs. I quickly learned they dealt with things in a similar fashion.

I no longer live with the Abruzzos, but they still own me. As I stare at the guns pointed at me and the muscular men who would snap me in two without warning, Leo's stale breath from last night's alcohol flares in my nostrils. He pins his bloodshot gaze on me, seething in Italian, "You bring us nothing. Should I remind you what we do to those who betray us?" Even though my native tongue is Russian, I speak Italian fluently, and therefore have no problem understanding him.

My stomach churns. The memory of Leo's heavy body on mine makes me nauseous. Half of what I say is a lie. The other part is the truth. In a confident voice, I assert, "I haven't betrayed you. I never would. And he doesn't know. But I can only push so much before he knows who I am. He already suspects—"

"If he suspects, then you convince him otherwise!" Leo barks, slamming his hand on the table.

I refrain from jumping or showing any emotion. Most people see me as a cold, Russian woman. It's something I learned as a child from my father. He always said, "Katiya, your emotions will kill you someday. You must learn to control them."

It's something I've only gotten better at since Ludis first touched me. There's no room in life for weakness, which is another thing my father taught me.

I raise my chin and state to Leo, "I need more time."

"More time?" Leo spits, and some hits my cheek.

I don't react, freezing in my spot, resisting the urge to wipe his saliva off my face. I once did that and quickly learned my lesson when Leo kept me chained to a bench in a sauna for a week. He'd come in from time to time, taunting me with water, giving me only enough to stay alive.

Silence fills the brownstone. I struggle to push the lingering memories out of my mind. A beam of sunlight gets hotter, shining through the window, tormenting me further. My body feels overheated, as if I'm back in the sauna.

Leo nods to his thug. The sound of a magazine slamming into a Glock fills my ears right as one of the goons tugs on my hair and then holds the gun to my head.

My heart races. I tear my eyes off the ceiling, locking my gaze on Leo, staying as nonreactive as possible. In a firm tone, I say, "If he kills me, you're starting all over. Is that what you want?"

More tension fills the quiet room. The overpowering scent of men's sweat, alcohol, and smoke mix with musk. It closes in around me until I feel so suffocated, I think I might faint.

Leo steps closer, grabs my chin, and squeezes. His fingers dig so deep, I wonder if he cut the skin and is touching my jawbone.

"Ow!" I cry out, unable to not react.

A bead of sweat drips down his forehead. His hot breath gets more pungent. His eyes dart around my face then down to my breasts. He drills his orbs into me, pausing for what seems like forever. He finally threatens, "This is your last chance. If you don't find out who the Marino suppliers are by next week—"

"His brother's getting married in a few months. Give me until a month after the event. I'll gain the family's trust. The women. The men. The kids. Everyone. Then I'll have the information you need," I blurt out.

"A few months. That's convenient," one of the thugs mutters.

"Shut up," Leo growls, then his head snaps back toward me. A few more minutes pass as he silently studies me.

My pulse pounds in my neck while his fingers remain grasped tightly on my chin. I break the silence, claiming, "It'll be worth the wait. I'll find out a lot more. I promise."

"More? Such as...?" Leo questions.

Panic hits me. This is why I shouldn't blurt things out without thinking. My father would have lectured me for weeks about this mistake.

When I don't respond, Leo says, "You don't know—"

"Everything. Not just names, but how to contact them, their location, everything," I interject, once again not thinking about how impossible it's going to be but needing to get Leo out of the brownstone.

Leo studies me further before holding his face over mine.

My insides quiver harder. I push the memories of all the sadistic things he did to me to the back of my mind. I try to stay present in the moment so I don't lose all control of my emotions.

"Two weeks after the wedding. If you don't provide every detail we've discussed, I won't just kill you. I'll keep you locked up, ready for anyone who wants to defile you. You'll be begging for me to end your life. Do you understand?" he warns.

My stomach flips, and bile rises in my throat. I swallow it and nod. "Yes."

He squeezes harder then releases my chin, stepping back. Another moment passes as he attempts to intimidate me further. He sniffs and motions toward the door, saying nothing to his goons. They each scowl at me before leaving.

When the four men step outside, I run to the door and lock it. Not that it would matter, but it gives me a sliver of relief. I lean against the wood, trying to regulate my breathing, and finally let a tear escape.

As soon as it hits my chin, I brush it away. There's no time for emotions. Weakness will only get me killed.

Only a few months.

I'm never getting that information.

Why the heck did I ever say I would get everything?

I gently bang my head against the door, wishing my entire life wasn't a nightmare. All I want to do is escape the Abruzzo-Petrov nightmare I'm in.

But I can't.

Massimo is never going to tell me any of that information.

How could I even betray him at this point?

I close my eyes, and more tears fall. There's only one man, other than my father, who's ever loved me. When I met him, the world seemed to stop. I was at work at the library where the Abruzzos assigned me. We flirted, but I didn't think twice about it. When he asked me out, I declined. My life didn't have room for anyone else in it. I was damaged and owned by Leo. Plus, Massimo was a Marino, the Abruzzo's main enemy.

If only Massimo hadn't kept coming back.

The Abruzzos eventually caught wind about his interest in me. When they told me my assignment, I cringed. Yet there was nothing I could do unless I defied them. My fate would be nothing short of vile.

I'm unsure when I fell in love with Massimo. It might have been the first moment I laid eyes on him. But I guess it doesn't really matter. After I fulfill Leo's wishes, he's going to hate me.

Scratch that. I'm going to be dead. Either Leo is going to kill me, or Massimo will. Once I do what's required, there's no way Massimo will show me mercy. And I'm going to deserve every moment of pain.

I go into the bathroom and toss cold water on my face. As I stare in the mirror, everything is clear.

There will never be a happily ever after for me. The last few months, I've been fooling myself. No matter how much I want a life with Massimo, it isn't possible. I'm a former Petrov and now an Abruzzo, and there's no escaping them.

Even Massimo can't save me.

  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Narrated by: Wen Ross & Kai Kennicott

She crosses her arms over her chest, still angry. I sit back in my seat and move my hand from her thigh. I point around. "Ten grand might come in handy. Seems more than a fair exchange. An hour of your time versus ten grand of my money."

"I'm not sleeping with ya," she claims.

Sure, you're not, I say in my mind. But I reply, "Then don't lose."

She scoffs. "It has nothing to do with sleeping with me, my arse. Ya just admitted it."

I put my hands in the air. "It's a joke. Come on. Really, relax a little bit." I push her pint closer.

She stares at it.

"Have a sip. Think about it."

She doesn't.

I pick up the pint and hold it toward her lips. "Take a drink and let go of your anger."

"You're annoying."

"Aye. Now have a yummy mouthful of stout."

She gives me another fiery glare but grabs the pint out of my hand. She takes several sips, then puts it on the table.

I continue, "One hour of your time alone with ya if you lose. But if I lose, I will give ya ten grand. Ya can fix this place and put some extra money in a rainy day fund. From where I'm sitting, it's a win-win. Lasses, what do you think?" I stare at her cousins.

Emily's mouth is practically on the table.

Jessica's eyes beam brighter.

Alison has her hand over her mouth, stifling her giggle.

I goad, "Lasses, help me out here."

"Ya should do it," Jessica encourages.

"Of course you'd say that," Lauren mutters.

"I'm with Jessica. I think it's a great idea. Ya always win at cards anyway," Alison states.

"I'm not sleeping with him," Lauren declares again adamantly.

"All ya have to do is win, and we get ten grand. He confirmed you don't have to sleep with him," Alison argues.

"Exactly. I just said an hour of your time," I reiterate, even though as soon as I get her alone, I'm putting the moves on her so swiftly she won't know what hit her. And she won't be able to resist.

Lauren turns toward Emily.

Her face falls. She admits, "Ya know that we don't have a lot of options right now. Just do it. Win the money. You'll be fine and then we can fix the pub without the extra stress. Think of how much it'll help your mum."

I taunt, "Am I that bad that ya don't want to spend an hour of your time with me if ya lose?"

Lauren tilts her head and studies me with distrust in her eyes.

I add, "It's just an hour. All we have to do is sit up there and talk. That's it."

She cautiously asks, "Talk only?"

I nod. "Aye. Talk. Or whatever ya want to do. But if ya just want to talk, we'll just talk."

Her mistrust never leaves her face.

I pick up the cards and shuffle them. "Are ya really that scared you'll lose?"

"I'm not scared," she insists.

I grin at her. "Great. Then what game are we playing, and are you dealing or am I?"

Find out what happens next in Illicit Heir

Read Illicit Heir if you love:

  • Dark Mafia Romance
  • Accidental Pregnancy
  • Enemies to Lovers
  • One Night Stand

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ " This book was so addictive the plot was blazing Maggie’s words are pure-magic I really couldn’t get enough of this story it’s a must read."-Reviewer

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "I think Maggie puts something in her books, because I literally read this one day! I was addicted! I couldn’t put it down and I am so ready for the next one! I absolutely love her books and her men!"-Reviewer

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