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★★★★HE WAS DESTRUCTION, BUT HE BECAME MY SALVATION ★★★★
- Romantic Suspense
- Step Sibling Romance
- Mafia Romance
WHAT THE READERS ARE SAYING
Rian and Willow have a step sib relationship that undertakes the trials and tribulations of a forbidden relationship. It's a dark read packed with twists, turns, and hidden secrets. I've read this book a couple of times now, and I love it more each time! - ★★★★★ - Goodreads Reviewer
Loved this story!
Drama- violence- hot scenes- not so perfect characters!
Could not put it down! ★★★★★ - Amazon Reviewer
I loved the dark mafia series, but Pitch Black was amazing! Wow!!! - ★★★★★ - Goodreads Reviewer
Rian and Willow are the light in each others darkness, Willow just needs to open her heart and mind to Rian to keep her dark from swallowing her whole... great story with nice twists and excellent characters with deliciously dark chemistry!- ★★★★★
★★★★HE WAS DESTRUCTION, BUT HE BECAME MY SALVATION ★★★★
When my mother married into a life of crime, I was ready to play my part.
The devoted Catholic daughter, perfect and full of light.
What I wasn't prepared for was my stepbrother.
He stalks me like prey.
Always watching me.
Clawing at my walls, trying to unearth my secrets.
But he has no idea the lengths I will go to, to keep my secrets buried.
Pain is an emotion I relish.
It's deep-rooted and all-consuming.
I deliver pain and feed on the fear it breeds.
Fear ensures control.
In my line of work, control must be maintained.
But when my stepsister enters my life, she unleashes a need that could destroy us both.
She carries a darkness that calls to me.
A darkness I ache to taste.
It's delicious and divine, and the pain of loving Willow is excruciating.
I had no way of knowing that the truth I uncovered could bury us both.
THIS BOOK CAN BE READ AS A STANDALONE AND HAS A HEA.
Intro into Chapter One
Intro into Chapter One
Two doors face me. They are wooden, polished, and I know they are heavy in my hands as I have drawn them back many times before. They are pretty harmless. They are, after all, just doors made from wood. I fidget with the pleated skirt that skims my knees.
If they are so harmless, why are you hesitating, Willow?
I’m unsteady as I draw the doors back and step into the room that is my stepbrother’s domain. The green wallpaper, with its golden diamond-shaped pattern, gives the room an almost pleasant feel. That is, until you take in the large paintings that are placed around the room. To me, the images look like someone took buckets of paint and splashed them across a canvas. People declare these a masterpiece; I don’t.
My gaze darts to Rian as he steps out from behind a dark wooden partition that covers half the room. Blood drips from his fingers and splashes onto the oak flooring. I hold my head up high, and my arms cross tightly behind my back. I hope the beat of my heart isn’t penetrating through my blouse and cardigan.
His moss-green eyes smile at me. Shivers skitter down my spine. Rian reaches behind the partition and brings out a white towel that he uses to wipe off the blood from his fingers. It should bother me, the amount of blood, but my brain refuses to acknowledge what’s right in front of it. I think it’s my brain’s way of protecting me.
“Willow.” My name from his lips always sends fear pulsing through me along with something else, which I immediately push away.
“Your father asked me to find you.” I can’t look away as he takes controlled steps towards me. He continues to rub his hands on the cloth. His gray shirt sleeves are rolled up to his elbows. The closer he gets, the more blood I spot — flecks of blood coat his tattooed neck. My heart continues to hammer in my chest. It’s right there on the tip of my tongue: the question I want to ask, but I don’t—whose blood is coating your arms?
This is my world now. I might not like it, but I can’t question it.
Rian steps up to me with only a foot separating us. He’s taller, making me feel smaller than my actual five-foot seven-inch frame.
“Why couldn’t he come himself?” Rian’s words are distracted as he picks up one of my blonde curls in his bloodied fingers and rubs it softly. “Or maybe you wanted to see me.”
His moss-green eyes flicker to mine, and that mocking smile he seems to reserve for me spreads across his face. More shivers assault my body as I step away from his touch. He releases my hair, but not before I see his bloody fingerprints on the strands.
“It’s my mother’s birthday; he wants to make sure you’re present.”
Rian flashes me another smile and steps towards me again. His fingers are covered in rings, gold rings that are coated in someone’s blood. My gaze flickers to the partition, and my pulse spikes. Is the person dead? Are they lying in a pool of their blood? What had they done to deserve such a fate?
Warm, strong fingers grip my chin, drawing me back.
The heat from his fingers burns through my skin, and heat races through me all the way to the tip of my ears. My body feels like it’s going to catch on fire from how he is looking at me. I’m ready to ask him to let me go; I’m even willing to ask him nicely when he leans in and sniffs me.
“I’d like to fuck you.”
His words are designed to have my mind scattering, and it has the desired effect. I want to run away from him. He’s vulgar and a maniac. Yet, I’m still standing here, with blood in my hair and his hands on my face.
“I’ll pray for you,” I tell him and step out of his touch again. My nostrils flare as I grapple for air. I hate the effect he has on me. It doesn’t matter how little or often I’m around him; I can never seem to keep it together. And he knows the effect he has on me.
He grins. It’s quick. Rian returns to drying the blood from his hands.
“I can picture you, Willow, on your knees…”
I cut him off as my face blazes. It shouldn’t. I should be used to Rian’s foul mouth at this stage, but he always has a way of penetrating all my armor, no matter how heavily I put it on.
“Seven o’clock. Don’t be late.”
I turn, and each step takes a lot of force to keep me upright. No one speaks to Rian like that, but for some reason, he lets me. He knows my fear of him, yet he lets me, just like he taunts me with his foul mouth and dark promises.
My body has cooled down long after I’ve returned to my bedroom. I move past the large four-poster bed that’s been neatly made. The red bed covers are the only color in my whiteout room. My mother hates color, and each time she enters my room, her gaze always zooms to the bed, and her lips curl in distaste.
I enter my bathroom that’s also decorated in all white. Here I didn’t get to add color. The water turns pink as I wash the blood from my hair. I can’t meet my eyes in the mirror. I don’t want to see what reflects in them. My fingers tighten around the cold porcelain sink as I close my eyes and take calming breaths.
My heart skips a beat as I look up and meet my eyes in the mirror, and I watch as my control fades. Pushing away from the sink, the feeling of sand slipping through my fingers has me wiping my hands repeatedly on my skirt. I want to bite the flesh of my palms to make the deeply-rooted itch leave.
“Willow.” My mother’s soft voice is a whip that has me standing straight and stepping into my bedroom. Her gaze skims across my structure before she steps up to me. Her fingers reach out and fix the silver cross that dangles from around my neck.
“You look perfect.” She flashes me a wide smile and steps back. Pride shines in her brown eyes, the same color as mine. My mother’s blonde hair sits perfectly on her slim shoulders. People say I’m a carbon copy of her. On the outside, I’m sure I am. Inside, I feel like I’m rotten to the core. Black as ink that reflects more darkness. A darkness that I can never let anyone see. She knows I have it in me. She knows what happens when it’s let out. So I let her control the darkness in me. If that means being a good Catholic girl, then that’s what I will be.
It’s not easy living in a place so coated in sin that it’s dripping all over everything. But for my mother, I have to try. Rian tests my restraints, but what we lost and how far we’ve come is a stark reminder to stay on this path.
“Thank you, mother.” I smile sweetly, and her smile widens.
“I’m the luckiest woman alive.” My mother leaves my room, and I follow. “I have the best daughter.” My mother stops and touches my face; I hold still as she caresses it. “And the best husband.”
I don’t blink until she releases my face, and we make our way down the left staircase. Tonight is a private party for my mother—just the four of us. Tomorrow night, this house will be alive with the elite of our neighborhood.
We enter the foyer. The space is buzzing with life. Florists arrive with large bouquets of flowers and huge plants that graze the top of the front double door frame.
Mark, our party planner, directs every one. Caterers arrive with so much food that it looks like it could feed an army.
“How many people are coming?” I ask as my mother walks through the chaos.
“One hundred and fifty guests. A small gathering. You know I don’t like anyone making a fuss over me.” My mother pauses and stops a lady from entering the kitchen.
“Don’t bring that plant through my kitchen. It smells funny. Bring it out the back.”
The lady is ready to leave, but my mother stops her again.
“Actually, take it away. I don’t want it.”
There is a moment when the florist's gaze ping pongs between my mother and me. I have no idea why she is looking at me. She finally nods and leaves with the offending plant.
“Mark.” My mother signals Mark with two fingers, beckoning him forward.
I glance down at the large white tile I’m standing on. It’s large enough that both my shoes fit into the square. The black polished shoes reflect my face. Feet move around me as my mother makes it clear to Mark that no plants with any type of odor may enter through the kitchen.
I want to exhale loudly or jump up and down, just do something that allows my stiff body to move. The familiar click of his shoes has my head snapping up. But I don’t look in Rian’s direction. My mother’s stance shifts slightly. She’s aware of him, too, yet she keeps speaking to Mark.
“Catherine.” Rian’s voice has that sing-song tone to it that’s dipped in annoyance like he’s about to hand out his final warning.
I don’t direct my attention to Rian. He’s to my left. I’m aware of the space he fills. I’m aware of his smell.
Too aware! My brain screams.
“Yes, Rian.” My mothers’ dislike for him is evident in her tone. When I glance at my mother, she wears a perfectly practiced smile. Mark leaves and orders anyone with plants to go outside for an odor test.
“The noise level, Catherine, is distracting me from my work.”
Work!? He means hurting people.
“I’ll tell them to keep it down.” My mother raises a brow in question. “Anything else?”
I want to look at Rian. I want to see the expression on his face, but I glance around at all the moving bodies. A man carries a crate of wine. I don’t drink alcohol. I’ve often thought about stealing a bottle and letting go, but letting go is dangerous for a person like me.
“No, Catherine.” Rian shifts, and some part of me breathes at the expectation of his departure.
He doesn’t leave, and when I give in to the urge to look at him, he’s staring at me. The gray shirt he wore has been replaced with a dark purple one. Moss-green eyes bore into me, and I’m frozen while being dragged into the vortex of Rian.
He never says anything inappropriate in front of our parents. I honestly don’t think it’s because he cares what they would say. I think he does it for me. My cheeks blaze at my stupid analysis.
“Willow.” I tighten my hands into fists and give him one of my own perfectly practiced smiles. It sits in my inventory for moments, just like this—moments where my mother is watching my reaction.
“Rian,” I speak his name clearly.
His lip tugs up before he turns on his heel. Everyone parts like a wave to let him walk through. He doesn’t have to pause in his footing or ask anyone to move. It’s like everything is repelled by him.
“Willow.” My mother is waiting for me, expectantly.
I’ve been watching Rian for far too long. I give her a softer smile, and she says no more as I follow her to the ballroom where the party will be held tomorrow night.
I sit on a lone chair to the left of the large room as my mother instructs everyone on what she wants to be done. My two feet are firmly on the oak floor, my hands in my lap, and my back straight. This is what keeps everything in me at bay. This is the discipline that will help me keep control. These are my mother’s words.
I will sit here for hours and try to blink as little as possible. Every once in a while, my mother will glance at me and give me a nod of approval. I want her approval because each time I get that nod, it’s like it restarts my clock, and I’m ready for another hour. I’m aware of how the staff steals glances at me, and like a battery-operated toy, I smile at them on cue.