Title: Crime Lord Series, Book 5
Series: Crime Lord Series #5
Release Date: February 1, 2019

Note: This is a draft and some things may change. 

Carmen Marie Pyre stared at her reflection in the massive, well-lit mirror. Rivulets of water slipped from her ruby hair and slipped over pale skin covered in starbursts of indigo, black, and violet. She had smudges on her neck from an unsuccessful chokehold, her hands and fingers were ripped up and so swollen that they trembled from the pain. She turned slightly to see her back, which was covered in angry scrapes from her tumble across concrete. There was a massive bruise on her cheekbone that made her face feel as if it had its own heartbeat. She looked worse than she could have imagined. The swelling made her body look disproportionate and hideous. No part of her had been left untouched.

She shouldn’t be alive.

She’d been beaten, injected with a drug cocktail, and been in close proximity for an extended amount of time with the King of Hell and lived to tell the tale. If eyes really were the windows to the soul, hers told quite a story. Her baby blue eyes were several shades darker despite the bright light, as if the color had drained out of them as surely as they had bled out of her world three years ago.

Carmen turned from the mirror and limped out of the bathroom, oblivious to the wet footprints she tracked in her wake. When she reached the entrance of the closet, she paused and reached out for something to hold onto because her head was swimming. She could still feel the drugs moving through her system. She should have died in that cell in Hell. She’d accepted her fate, yet here she was—still breathing and in so much pain she should be hooked up to an IV of morphine. Physically, she felt like shit, but that was nothing compared to the mental and emotional damage. A part of her wanted to lie down, pull the covers over her head, and act like the past forty-eight hours had never happened. The other part of her, the survivor, told her she didn’t have time.

Carmen propelled herself forward and fumbled around until she found a bright pink duffel. She tossed it on the ground and began yanking clothes haphazardly off hangers. She didn’t care what it was, she just knew she needed it out of here. She knocked shoes off the customized shelves that had been installed just for her and attempted to dress herself. She put on the first pair of jeans her hands touched and slip into a soft cropped hoodie that barely covered her midriff. She was too sick to search for something else. Pride forced her to drag on some kick ass thigh high boots. A black floppy wool hat finished off her look and hid her grotesque face. She fumbled through a drawer of sunglasses and found the largest pair she owned. She was on her hands and knees, struggling with the duffel zipper when her eyes moved to the corner of the closet. The pewter urn that held her husband taunted her from the shadows.

Rage unfurled within her, momentarily pushing away the pain and jitters. She raised a shaking hand and jabbed it at him. “You left me.” Her voice was hoarse with fury. “All this time I’ve been trying to kill myself so we could be together again. For what? If you really loved me, you’d still be here. If you loved me more than you cared what Gavin thought, none of this would have happened and I wouldn’t be…” She wouldn’t be what? A mess? A crazy bitch?

“I wouldn’t be this,” she whispered as a tear left her bruised eye and slid down her throbbing cheek.

Marcus had never commented on the fact that she put her deceased husband’s urn in their closet. Then again, maybe nothing made an impression on him. He didn’t feel things deeply, he’d never been taught to. He always took everything in stride, just as he would the fact that she wouldn’t be here when he came back.

She was struggling to zip up her overflowing bag when someone said, “Carmen?”

She looked up and saw Angel Roman standing in the doorway. He was a sight for sore eyes. The new crime lord of Las Vegas wasn’t dressed to impress in scuffed boots, dark jeans, and shirt. He looked a little rough around the edges with a bruise partially concealed by his hairline and a split, swollen lip, which only made him more ruggedly handsome. How the fuck was that possible? His dark blue eyes were alert and assessing as they moved over her.


Also in this series: