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Lawless Anthology

Lawless Anthology

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Meet the hardcore heroes of LAWLESS! They’re fearless, dangerous, big on revenge, and defiantly walk on the wrong side of the law. Although their morals may be compromised, their loyalty to that one woman is never in question.

Our twelve hand-picked novellas are dark, dirty, and will make you see bad boys in a whole new light. From bikers to hitmen, these dangerous men won’t be satisfied until they have everything they came for—until they have her.

Trust

Allegra Mariano is trapped in a marriage that she thought would be her salvation. Instead it had become her prison. What’s worse? Her powerful husband decides he doesn’t want her any longer. When she’s kidnapped by the man she thought was her bodyguard does she give into the heat between them? Can she trust him?


Extract

Allegra Mariano smiled into the mirror and tried to exude happiness. Despite her best attempts, she could only look a little less dismayed. Why? She had everything her heart desired thanks to her husband. A beautiful home, clothes, and jewelry, and a wide circle of influential friends.

All because she had found love and married the most handsome and successful man at the party.

Enrico had been her key to this magical world.

So why couldn’t she muster a tiny smile?

It had been almost two years since they’d met at a party much like the one they were at now. Only she had been waitressing.

Four leg-aching hours into the party, he’d smiled at her over a tray of canapes and that had been it. Love at first sight he’d called it. Whatever it was, Allegra had never experienced anything comparable before.

He swept her off her feet, and two months later they had been married in a fairy tale ceremony and here they were eighteen months later. The picture of marital bliss. Travelling the world and living her fantasy life.

So why did it feel so hollow?

He’d introduced her to the most incredible things and amazing places. She’d experienced enough to fill five lifetimes. Allegra couldn’t help but think that now was time to settle down and start the next phase of their life. Enrico had never mentioned any interest in starting a family. Maybe that would bring them together?

She touched her fingers to her stomach. She’d been dropping the mention of babies into conversation here and there to get a feel for his reaction. So far, he hadn’t been shocked or disgusted. The thought of children made her stomach flutter with anticipation. Or was that apprehension? Somehow it was becoming harder and harder to differentiate between the two.

“Are you okay, Mrs. Mariano?” The gruff voice came from next to her the moment she stepped out of the washroom, giving her a little frisson of surprise.

Viktor, her new bodyguard, had the amazing ability to see everything and be everywhere. She supposed it was a good quality for a guard to be so perceptive, but it didn’t always feel that way. Her awareness of his presence unnerved her while his attentiveness to her bordered on obsession. He’d only been with them for about three months and had stuck to her side as if he’d been glued to her.

Enrico said he was there for her own good. That someone of her stature needed protection from the evils of the world. What evils she couldn’t imagine, but Enrico’s insistence made her feel a little bit cherished.

Even if the act of having someone watch over every second of her life was a bit controlling. Allegra nodded at him as she smoothed her dress, “I’m fine, Viktor.” She caught his concerned gaze and fought the little zap of awareness that she always got when their eyes collided. Sure, he was a handsome man — beautiful, in fact — but she was a married woman and the man she’d bound herself to was a decent one who’d given her everything.

Allegra wouldn’t betray Enrico.

She straightened her back and did her best to ignore Viktor while she walked back into the group of friends who were waiting for her along with her husband.

“Darling.” He stepped away from a young blonde who shot her a dagger-filled glare before leaving the group. What was her name? Helena? She’d been seeing her quite a bit at parties lately. They’d had a few conversations, but she’d gotten the distinct feeling that the woman didn’t like her. It was par for the course. Allegra was used to the jealousy some hurled her way. Many wanted what she had. What they had.

Allegra didn’t get the chance to ponder over it before Enrico fussed with her hair a moment. She allowed it. He liked perfection. It was only a moment before he slid an arm around her waist and held her close, arranging her carefully in front of him. “We were just talking about where everyone was going this winter.”

“How wonderful.” Allegra wondered where the conversation would go. A surprise holiday to somewhere wonderful later in the year, perhaps?

They made chitchat for a little while longer before Enrico led them away.

“Ready to get back home?”

Allegra nodded. “It’s been a wonderful trip, but an exhausting one as well.”

“I thought you might feel that way.” Enrico kissed her forehead before helping her get into the waiting limo. “Which is why I’ve arranged for you to fly home tonight.”

She slid forward, sticking her head out the door. They traveled separately often so this didn’t come as too much of a surprise, though she had expected them to leave together that evening. “You’re not coming with me?”

“Not just yet. I’ve got another meeting in the morning then I’ll be heading back to you.” He leaned in and kissed her gently. “I want you to take care of yourself. When I get back we have some important things to discuss.”

Allegra’s heart softened. He took such good care of her. “Really?”

His smile widened. “Of course. I think it might be time to talk about the future.”

The fact that he appeared to be happy about the prospect loosened the grip doubt had on her insides. She relaxed. “I look forward to it.”

He slowly winked a dark eye. “I can’t wait to show you exactly how I feel.” Enrico took her hand and gave it a kiss. “Have a good trip.”

Settling back in her seat she nodded. “See you soon.”

Enrico only smiled and closed the door.

Allegra blew him a kiss as he turned to walk away. She had started to make herself comfortable and was already daydreaming about cute babies with her husband’s smile when the door on the other side opened and Viktor stepped in.

He shrugged. She decided it was in apology for taking so long.

Allegra nodded. “Nice of you to join me.”

All she received in reply from the man was a grunt. He slumped into the seat across from hers and punched the roof. Moments later they were on their way.

“Mr. Mariano sent a team ahead to collect your things so you don’t have to worry about them. We’re headed straight to the airport.” When she nodded, he continued. “He wanted me to make sure you stay hydrated and fed.”

Allegra watched him as he rummaged through the fridge and retrieved a bottle of water and an apple to hand to her. “Please, eat this. I noticed that you didn’t eat much at the party.”

Rolling her eyes, but because she was hungry, she took them from him. Their fingers grazed, shooting a flare of awareness up her arm. Viktor, however, seemed unmoved. Allegra cleared her throat and quickly drew her arm back. “I will this time, but don’t think that I’ll let you boss me around again.”

There was no reaction from him as he watched her bite into the apple. In truth, she was starving and it tasted better than anything at the party. She quickly finished it off and washed it down with half the bottle of water.

Replacing the cap, she placed it and the apple core next to her.

Viktor still watched her closely with those amazing eyes of his. Dark and glittering, they seemed to pierce into her soul and give him the ability to read her mind. He looked away after a moment, giving her time to scrutinize him. He almost always wore a dark suit, a snow-white shirt, and dark tie and hadn’t deviated this evening. It all went well with his black hair and tanned skin.

So handsome. Allegra knew that if she had been single, she would have definitely acted on her attraction to him.

As she studied Viktor, his face blurred and Allegra had to blink several times to clear her vision. That only succeeded for a few seconds before they lost focus again. She clawed the leather seat with her nails in an attempt to stay upright as the car began to swim around her.

She looked to Viktor for help, but he only watched her with a grim face.

Why was he pulling out his phone? And turning it on and pointing it at her as if he was filming the whole thing? Did he think this was funny? Was he going to put it online or something? She reached for it, but only managed to fall out of her seat and onto the floor of the vehicle.

“Vik…” As she struggled to make her lungs respond, Viktor only watched impassively with the damned phone still aimed at her.

Darkness crept into the edges of the blurs of color that was left of her vision. She fought it with everything she had, but it only ate up more and more of her consciousness.

The last thing she remembered was the feel of Viktor’s cool hand on her cheek and something that sounded like a murmured apology.


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