Ruin and Revenge, Book 1
A dangerous proposal
Las Vegas Mafia boss, Nico Toscani, is used to getting what he wants, whether it is having the City of Sin under his rule or a beautiful woman in his bed. But when he meets his match in the gorgeous, headstrong Mia Cordano, the daughter of a rival crime lord, all bets are off…
Sexy computer hacker, Mia, struggles to break free of her ruthless father’s Mafia ties…but she can’t resist the powerful and seductive Nico, who will stop at nothing to possess her. With their families locked in a brutal war for control of the city, Mia and Nico enter into a forbidden game. Will they surrender to the passion that burns between them—and risk tearing apart their families? Or will Nico be forced to betray the only woman who sets his blood on fire?
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St. Martin's Paperbacks
December 6, 2016
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“You think I won’t hurt you because you’re a woman?” Nico tugged his weapon from its holster and held it under Mia’s chin, tilting her head back, forcing her to meet his gaze. “I don’t give a damn about tradition, bella. All I care about is making sure justice is done.”
“Holy shit. Oh god. Mia!” Jules sucked in a deep breath and Mia cut her off before she screamed.
“I’ll be fine, Jules. He’s not going to shoot me in a public place with family all around. But you go. Let Dante know we’re here.” She didn’t drop her gaze from Nico’s, didn’t want him to have the satisfaction of seeing her scared because, dammit, she hadn’t done anything wrong. And she wasn’t going to be intimidated by anyone ever again.
“You underestimate me,” he said softly as Jules’ footsteps faded away.
“And you misjudge me.” She palmed her knife and slowly moved her hand to his groin. “I suggest you lower that gun or you won’t be passing on the tradition of shoving your gun in the face of a woman to any Toscani sons.” She jerked her hand upward, just enough so he could feel the blade.
For the briefest of seconds, surprise flickered across his face, but it was so fast she wondered if she’d seen it. His jaw tightened, and he growled. “Drop the knife.”
“Drop the gun.”
He held her gaze for another heartbeat and lowered the weapon. “You are your father’s daughter.”
“If I didn’t hate him so much, I’d take that as a compliment.” Mia hiked up her skirt to tuck the knife away and Nico hissed in a breath.
She looked up, her body heating at the raw desire in his eyes. “You like women with knives?” She slid the knife into its sheath and looked down as she straightened her dress to hide the flush in her cheeks.
“There’s nothing as sexy as a woman with a weapon.” He gave her a slow, sensual smile.
Mia snorted a laugh. “I think sex was the last thing on your mind when I had my knife between your legs.”
The deep rumble of Nico’s voice vibrated through her body. “Sex was all I was thinking about.”
Electricity crackled between them, sparking the connection she’d felt the first time they met. “Are you trying to hit on me at a funeral after pulling a gun on me?”
Nico slid a hand around her waist and pulled her against him, his body hot and hard against hers. “I don’t try. I do. And when there’s something I want, I take it.”
For some curious reason, the intensity of his desire scared her more than his gun. Nico Toscani had clawed his way to the top, eliminating every obstacle in his way through a combination of brute force, fierce intelligence and ruthless determination. He missed nothing, and from the way the corners of his mouth lifted in a half smile, it was clear he hadn’t missed the way her body heated at his touch.
“Too bad for you I’m not available,” she said.
With his free hand he fisted her hair, tugging her head back, holding her firm as he studied her face. He had beautiful eyes, dark and deep with a hint of gold. His heated scrutiny made her blood simmer and pool low in her stomach.
“You got a man?”
“A man” in mafia speak meant a made man, someone who had jumped through the hoops to be inducted into a crime family. If she were attached to a made man—either as a wife, mistress or girlfriend— then he couldn’t touch her without causing the equivalent of a civil war between crime families. It would be considered the ultimate in disrespect.
Mia suspected Nico wasn’t the kind of man who would care if he started a war to get something he wanted. And right now, with the evidence of his desire pressed tight against her belly, she was pretty damn sure he wanted her.
“I don’t have a man. I’m my own boss, and unless you want me to pull out my knife again, you’ll let go of my hair.”
“Hmmm.” He nuzzled her neck, his erection thickening between them. “I’d like to fuck you, bella, with that dress off and only your little knife strapped to your thigh.”
Goddamn it. If he’d been any other devastatingly gorgeous man coming on to her so strong, she would have invited him home for a few hours of hot sex. Hell, she would have considered dragging him into the nearest alley and getting down and dirty with him before the reception. But Nico was the enemy, a powerful and dangerous man, and she couldn’t risk starting a war between their families.
Falling back on the self-defense techniques she’d learned from Bennett, she smashed her hand down on his, trapping it against his head. In one quick move she stepped back and bent over, tucking her chin down and forcing his trapped wrist backward. With a grunt, Nico released her and Mia backed away.
Far from being angry, or showing even a hint of pain, he seemed amused by her escape, and no small bit aroused. He licked his lips, his gaze locking on hers, his body tense as if he were about to pounce.
“You shouldn’t have done that, bella.” His smooth, sensual voice was dark with warning. “Now, I will never let you go.”