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Carter bought his way out of the mafia to protect Emma, but when an old ghost returns to the Mauricio Family, a chain of events starts that can harm everyone. While Carter must decide to return to the Mauricio Family or not, a face that is oddly familiar to Emma comes into her life. She’s given the chance to discover more about her family while tensions between the rivaling Mauricio and Bertal Family comes to a head in an explosive way. The truce is officially off, and when the two worlds collide, Carter’s decision is made.
He didn’t start this war, but he will end it.
He will do anything to protect Emma.
I had killed two men.
My voice had been soft when I called to him. He’d been raping my roommate, and he was going to kill her. I had no choice. When he turned around and saw the gun in my hand, I shot him. The bullet hit the center of his forehead.
I swallowed now, remembering Mallory as she had watched me, pinned to the wall by his hands. Her eyes had been so lifeless. They were the opposite of Ben’s. He’d been pleading for his life, but minutes earlier he’d been planning to kill Amanda, then me. My stomach churned, remembering that he was going to take me to Franco. He wanted to barter, trade me in for more money, more drugs.
He was the one who killed Mallory, but the Bartel family set all of it in motion.
I drew in a ragged breath, cradling the gun in my hands like a precious baby. This little piece of metal had caused so much havoc in my life, and it was Carter’s weapon of choice. He’d killed plenty with it when he worked for the Mauricio family.
Somehow, I knew this weapon would have a place in our lives again. I didn’t want it to, but I knew it would. And with that last thought, my hand closed over it, and I raised my arms, aiming with my feet apart, my shoulders rolled back. I shot, one after another, until my clip was done.
All except one hit the bullseye. The other one, the outlier, was just outside the inner circle on the target.
I’d have to get better.
A tingle started in the base of my stomach, and it rose up, spreading through my body, warming me as it went, until I was almost salivating for him. When I saw him, I needed to touch him. It had been like this for a year, and I never wanted it to end. I always wanted to thirst for him.
He murmured against my skin, “Why is it that your presence can calm me? Your touch can make me alive, and one little sigh from you makes me want to sleep for days in your embrace?”
I smiled, moving to press a kiss to his ear. “Because you love me.”
Pulling me back into his arms, he nudged my legs farther apart, moving closer, and pressed his lips to the underside of my jaw. He whispered, “Never.” Another kiss to the corner of my lips. “Ever.” A third kiss, his lips resting atop mine and he murmured, “I promise. Nothing will ever happen to you.”
“Because you need to understand. It’s time you know more. You’re mine, Emma. My first allegiance is to you. Things are going to happen now, and I can’t control them. The Mauricio family has always followed me."
Suddenly I realized—he was going back in. A tear formed in my eye, and I ignored it. This was what he was telling me. I swallowed over a lump. “What happens now?”
He didn’t answer at first. Then he let out a soft breath of air and turned, his eyes pained. He said one word: “War.”
I closed my eyes and just felt her. She trailed a hand down my face, tracing my lips. That small touch, so gentle, so loving. That was Emma.
No other woman made me feel like this. It was her, only her. Opening my eyes, I found her watching me and smiling as her chest heaved for air.
"I love you," she murmured.
Goddamn. I kissed her and whispered against her lips, "I love you too."
I closed my eyes and held the man I loved. Resting my forehead to his, I placed my arms on his shoulders as he held my hips. His thumbs rubbed back and forth. This. Right here. He was the most powerful man I knew, and he was all mine.
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