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Lord of Retribution: A Dark Mafia Romance by Piper Stone – Sample

Prologue

Daniel—Eighteen years old

“Tick, tock, fucker. Today you will enter hell where you will remain for the rest of your existence.”

“You’ll pay… for this,” the bastard said as blood dripped from his mouth. He coughed, spewing spittle. “La vendetta non ha tempistiche.”

I laughed, the old Italian saying something I’d heard my own father use. Revenge has no timeframe. He was right about that.

The goddamn Italian mafia prince thought he was going to shadow in his daddy’s footsteps, daring to take my sister as a prize. He had another think coming. Maybe I’d send his ring finger to his bastard of a father, the brutal man acting as if Powers Thorn was nothing important when he owned all of Kansas City. Yeah, I would do that.

I brought the knife down two more times before standing to my full height, grinning like some fucking Cheshire cat. My breathing labored from excitement, I wiped blood and sweat from my face as I stared down at him, the need to slice and dice him overpowering.

Wait. Take your time. Make him suffer.

They were words I’d repeated to myself several times, cackling afterwards. I took a step away, regrouping as a memory from a few years before slithered into my evil mind.

Quiet psychopath.

The term had been used more than once by professionals supposedly in a learned position. My parents had been warned I was a fuse, a bomb waiting to explode. That had been after a single violent incident, a moment when I’d snapped after being bullied for so long. I’d broken Bart Martin’s wrist, breaking the chubby kid’s bones as if they’d been nothing but twigs. The rush had been more incredible than anything I’d ever experienced in my life.

I’d never felt such tremendous, delicious power, the glory of watching the faces of the other boys as they stared in disbelief almost as good.

Poor Bart. From what I’d heard, he’d never fully regained use of his fingers. Not that it bothered me in the least. Meanwhile, I’d been labeled a sociopath, the designation left on my school record for all eternity. My mother had driven me from one psychiatrist to another, determined to heal her son. I’d even seen a look of fear in her eyes when she’d heard me repeating the same tale of joyful reckoning to the various doctors. My own mother had been afraid of me.

After every doctor had told my parents I would end up in prison or worse, my father had patted me on the back, telling me he was proud of me. But my mother had begged me to turn my life around, days spent crying her eyes out as if in doing so, my behavior would change.

Strangely enough, the phase had passed, the good boy I’d once been returning. All was right with the world, at least according to my mother.

I’d been eleven when I’d destroyed a portion of Bart’s childhood. Now, seven years later, I was reminded my father had recently called me the weak link of the family, spitting on me because I’d grown soft.

Well, not any longer.

The psychopath had returned and he wasn’t going anywhere.

If only Bart could see me in all my glory now.

Experts said monsters weren’t born, they were bred from experiences and society, but I knew better. The need to kill flowed through my veins. As my pulse continued to race, the rush of red-hot adrenaline tearing through my system, it wasn’t enough. I wanted the full exhilaration my father had told me occurred every time he’d ended someone’s life. Now it was my turn to bask in the glory of revenge.

Crimson strings of blood splattered the walls of the room, the wooden floor stained a dull red while a brighter color adorned his skin for now. Nothing could hide the man’s suffering or the look of panic in his eyes, orbs I’d considered gouging out early on. I’d left them alone, wanting the worthless piece of flesh to see everything I was about to do to him.

He’d dared make the mistake of touching my sister, stripping her of a feeling of protection as well as her innocence. I’d walked in just in time to see the bastard driving his fingers deep into her cunt, ignoring her pleas while he’d laughed. His dick had been out, hard as a rock as he prepared to rape her. His two bodyguards had stood in the shadows, the thugs unprepared for the level of violence I unleashed the moment I burst into the room.

Now they lay dead, their vacant eyes and gaping mouths highlighting the shock of my attack. Did I feel a single bit of remorse or guilt for cutting them to ribbons? Not a tiny bit. My only regret was that I should have made them suffer like I was doing to their illustrious leader.

I didn’t remember much after hearing her cries and coming to her rescue except I’d barked at her to run home. My belt remained around the leader’s throat, his purple skin and bulging eyes a beautiful work of art in my mind. He continued to struggle, as if there was any possibility he could escape the big, bad wolf.

Now that the fucker had barely minutes to live, I yanked the mask off, allowing him to see who his judge and jury had been, the same person now becoming his executioner.

“You,” he managed, although the sound was barely recognizable.

“Only the good die young,” I hissed in return.

A rapist.

My sister hadn’t been the only woman he’d attacked, but she would be the last.

Maybe there would be a statue erected in my honor for saving countless others from enduring his worthless attempt at proving he was a man. My sister deserved justice, but there wasn’t as much satisfaction as I’d hoped.

Besides, I was tired and cold, hungry, and longing for my father’s approval.

So I did what I had to do, dropping to my knees and locking eyes with his.

“You fucked with the wrong person, asshole. Ordinarily, I’d enjoy taking my time carving every inch of your body with my sister’s name, but it’s time to hunt down some dinner. I hope you enjoy your private room in hell.”

“You will learn you fucked with… the wrong person.”

“Yeah? Well, I guess you won’t be around to see if that comes true.” Laughing, I brought the knife down.

Again and again.

If only I could find joy in what I was doing.

Chapter One

“Love is beautiful, a beautiful deception. One falls into it to deceive the other.”

—Amit Abraham

Present day

Maria

I’d heard it said that monsters were made, not born, but I no longer believed that. What I did know by instinct was that beasts of the night were real.

Mine in particular was also very hungry.

What are you doing here?

The question wasn’t an easy one to answer. Maybe there were no adequate answers.

However, deep in the darkest corners of my heart and mind I knew why. Because there’d been no other choice to make.

I should have ignored the invitation.

But I hadn’t.

I should have denied the attraction.

But I’d failed.

Now this had become an obligation that I couldn’t avoid or change, but I wished more than anything I could erase the memories of the last few weeks as well as the ugly heartache I’d felt the entire time.

It felt as if I had a noose around my neck, thick rope attached to cinderblocks ready to spiral me into the deepest abyss of blackness.

“I would hate to destroy something so beautiful, so entirely precious, but I will if necessary. You are mine. Get ready, sweet princess, because I will take what I want. And make no mistake, you’re all mine. If any man ever dares to touch you again, they will die.”

The bastard’s horrible words reverberated in the back of my mind. They’d been said during our first and only other meeting, which had caused me to form an utter hatred for him. If only I had the nerve to drive a knife through him, I would. But I had no doubt after doing so, my family would die a horrible death. I couldn’t allow that to happen.

As my heels rapped on the polished marble floor as I was being pulled toward the massive set of wooden double doors, the sound of my excessive inhales and exhales echoed in my ears. I tried to control my ragged breathing, concerned it would give away my extreme fear but it was almost entirely impossible.

Tick tock.

Tick tock.

The huge pendulum swings of emotions rolled through me like a tidal wave.

When the man holding my arm like a tight vise patted me on the hand, I quickly glanced into his pitch-black eyes. They reminded me of pure evil.

“You’ll do fine.” His words were as stilted as my mind felt, emotionless where I was ready to lose myself to the ache of sadness.

You can do this.

Just breathe.

You’re in control.

But that wasn’t the truth. After this moment, I would no longer be in control of anything including my own destiny.

As we finally landed just inside the doorway, the familiar sound of ‘Here Comes the Bride’ began to play. I’d never realized how much I hated it until this moment.

Everyone inside the church stood, their anticipation easy to read on their polite faces. After taking several steps, the fog lifted, which not only allowed me to realize just how many people had turned out for the vile event but also allowed me to catch sight of the man I was supposed to marry.

Daniel Thorn shouldn’t be so handsome, distinguished in a way that managed to steal away my breath. I’d always thought of Mafiosi as repulsive creatures with greasy black hair and round bellies from overindulgences, most with bad teeth and crooked smiles. After all, monsters were supposed to live in the bowels of darkness where they were chained to their hungry deity, the devil himself. But the man standing in front of the altar was something else entirely.

Maybe he was the devil reincarnated, a creature of such beauty that once he captured you with his piercing icy blue eyes, there was no chance of escaping his dark and dangerous lair.

As I was escorted down the roll of thick red velvet carpet, I couldn’t help but envision I was floating in a sea of blood. It was impossible to take my eyes off my brutal yet alluring fiancé as he waited with a casual, seductive smile on his face. Everything about him was beautiful, the dim lighting of the hundreds of flickering candles and subtle track lighting illuminating his bold, chiseled features a perfect visage for a girl who’d grown up believing in fairytales.

Wasn’t it true that most girls dreamt of their perfect weddings to their charismatic Prince Charming, a man who would forever protect her against the evils of this world?

At least now that I was an adult, I’d given up on little girls’ dreams, a woman’s reality something else entirely.

Perhaps there was something to be said for arranged marriages, especially between two powerful families, but I wanted nothing to do with being a puppet for a man who’d use then throw me away when he deemed it appropriate. Yet here I was, fulfilling a promise made, prepared to enter into the most unholy union.

It had been a long time since I’d been inside a church, my beliefs torn away by the ugliness of my past. While ornately decorated with thousands of roses, the scent was as disgusting as the realization of what I’d agreed to.

As my father and I neared the altar, Daniel’s eyes studied me intently, his heated gaze that of a predator in the wild, a big, bad wolf or famished lion ready to feast on its prey. He was tall, with broad shoulders and muscles that I sensed he’d use when crushing the life out of one of his enemies, and I had no doubt he had several. His entire ruthless family did. I’d read enough articles to ascertain I was dealing with a clan of brutal savages intent on taking what they wanted without falling under the guise of right versus wrong.

There was no such thing in their world.

Even though Daniel was rugged, his muscular physique and large hands weapons in themselves, he had an air of grace and composure to him accentuated by his meticulously fitted suits. Today was no exception, his aura shining like a beacon of sin, his penchant for violence harnessed for the wedding of the century.

There were at least a thousand guests, members of the rich and famous, all no doubt required to partake in the festive event. I was stiff and uneasy, taking the steps I’d practiced long and hard for three weeks. This was D-day, the beginning of a new life. By some women’s standards, I should be grateful, joyous that I’d spend the next chapter in luxury, but instead I was horrified at what our vows would require.

And what I’d become.

Even worse than the anxiety that was close to becoming crippling was the anger with myself for finding him so attractive. When I was finally next to him, I realized just how large his gorgeous frame was in comparison. While I stood five foot seven, taller in heels, he dwarfed me, adding to the moment of utter suffocation.

Sei stupendo, una visione di arte e bellezza e mi togli il fiato.” His deep baritone sent an array of shivers down my spine, standing as sleek and powerful as a panther.

He was American through and through, his blue blood considered royalty, yet he spoke Italian fluently as if it was his native language. I’d read he was multilingual. I was lucky my mother had required me to learn Italian as a child, her Italian heritage something I’d tried to forget. Thanks to her insistence I not be allowed to forget my ancestry, I could understand his words. I felt heat rising from the base of my neck, almost paralyzing in its extreme rush of adrenaline.

You are stunning, a vision of art and beauty, and you take my breath away.

I looked up at Daniel to find a seductive grin on his too red lips, their fullness drawing me into filthy thoughts of kissing him for hours. I forced myself to pull away from his soul-sucking eyes, determined to get through the blasphemy with courage and grace.

This was the purest form of deception, a quiet drift into the shadows of evil.

“I hate you and I always will,” I whispered, knowing no one could hear my blasphemous words.

“So be it, my soon to be wife.”

We were building a kingdom together, a house made of glass and steel, built on the bloodshed of others. My heart raced with a toxic combination of terror and excitement. That in itself was dangerous.

As the ceremony began, I continued to remain lost in a haze of anger and self-imposed loathing for lusting after him.

However, loving him wasn’t allowed.

I’d been taught right from wrong, good men from bad. I’d always followed the rules, never receiving as much as a parking ticket. Yet around Daniel, I felt the edges blurring, everything I’d known before this moment smudged as if a painting in blood, our vows just the beginning of becoming one.

Even worse, I knew in my heart that it would be far too easy to fall into the beautiful yet dark abyss of the merciless killer.

And that would most certainly be the death of me.

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