I never wanted to rule an empire. I was a housekeeper. A hooker. A wrecked woman with a past full of scars and secrets. A chance encounter with an Astor swept me into the hurricane of their glamorous, organized crime world. Then, I met the other Astor brother and nothing will ever be normal again.
One brother saved me, but under false pretenses.
One brother is madly in love with me, but it’s complicated.
I’ve fallen for both men for different reasons, but there’s only one way this can end—in messy, tragic destruction.
Everyone tells you playing with fire is dangerous, but they never said it would be this intoxicating.
“What are the rules? I don’t know who I’m supposed to be! Your girlfriend? Your house cleaner and part time waitress? You buy me clothes and vow to protect me, and I still don’t know why.” I push the plate away, appetite all but forgotten. “Riley shares things with me. He’s not setting me up for failure. He reserves a place for me and reminds me it’s there if I want to take it.”
Jesse raises one brow. “It’s like that is it? Here’s the first rule. Riley is who he is and I’m who I am. Do not compare us.” Brush and easel in hand he walks up to where I’m standing, to loom over me. His darkness sweeping me like a chilling hug. “Got it?” Threat looms large in the last two words. “You were a house cleaner and a waitress because I wasn’t sure what you were capable of or wanted to do. You are my girlfriend, and tonight you’re only mine.”
Jesse tilts his head to one side. “Don’t speak his name. I’m sure he’s already left his mark on your body, I don’t want his name on your lips, too.”
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Beginning a new career as a linguist at Harbour Point SEAL base is a fresh start. It’s a way to bury my loss.
The façade my shot-gun marriage has become.
It is the only bright spot in an otherwise dim existence.
I don’t expect to rekindle a friendship with a wildly cocky, always humorous, and sometimes demanding Navy SEAL. I’m supposed to teach him foreign languages. The job is supposed to give me purpose.
Quickly my friend ensnares me with more than just his wit and bad pronunciation.
He traps me with salvation.
Lust has a pulse—a memory. It strips inhibitions and dilutes the world around us. Love? That comes and goes. Lust is the only language capable of healing. It’s his language. I will speak it to save him.
To save myself.
It’s the only choice.