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Her Vengeful Embrace
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Amarante took on the moniker Death fifteen years ago and in that time, she’s more than earned the title as part of her long quest for justice. Now, with her plan finally reaching its culmination, she’s putting everything on the line. And she won’t let anyone stand in her way—especially the one man she lost her heart to, once upon a time.
Tristan Merrick gave up being a hero along with his other childhood dreams. He knows how the world works now. Power is the only currency that truly matters, even if he has to compromise every bit of himself to gain it. His only regret is betraying the one woman who made him question it all.
Fate and revenge have put Amarante on a mission she doesn’t expect to survive…and Tristan stands directly in her path. The chemistry that bound them together before sparks even hotter now, with both of them helpless to resist. But with the stakes higher than ever, will Tristan repeat the sins of the past…
Or will he do whatever it takes to save Amarante from herself?
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The Warren was nothing like Amarante expected.
She stepped out of the car she’d rented upon arriving in Switzerland and looked at the massive building sprawled into the nooks and crannies of the mountainside. Intelligence said half the floor plan was actually carved into the mountain itself, but she’d still expected something… subtler. It looked like a lodge or resort or something designed to draw people in, which was the last thing the Warren aimed to do. Or, rather, it had no interest in the kind of tourist activity the other resorts in this area catered to.
With two checkpoints and forbidding-looking, well-trained guards, there was little danger of said tourists wandering in at an inopportune time. Rich people liked what they liked, even the criminals. Especially the criminals. It stood to reason that nothing but the best, most blatantly expensive, would do.
A bellman appeared to unload her luggage, but Amarante’s focus fell onto the white man striding out the main doors in her direction. Even knowing what little there was to know about Nicholai Krylov, it still surprised her to see how young he looked in person. He was a few years younger than her thirty-two, and while he hardly had a baby face, his large green eyes seemed almost innocent. Or maybe it was his full mouth. She didn’t know, but she didn’t trust it. Not when she knew in gory detail exactly what happened to those who crossed this man.
Certainly not when Amarante would number among them before the week was out.
Strange to shake the hand of the man who would soon attempt to kill her, but these were strange times. She didn’t bother to smile or weaken her grip, and neither did he. It made her like him a little.
Nicholai nodded at her luggage. “My man will see to it.”
No doubt after ensuring she wasn’t hauling in weapons. The Warren was a designated neutral space and Nicholai and his people enforced that to the point of death. Very few dared break the rules, because he made an example of anyone who crossed that line.
She couldn’t think too closely about that now. Amarante was here for one reason and one reason only. To close the circle of suffering her father began when he sent his only children to Camp Bueller at the tender ages of five and seven. He hadn’t expected them to survive. Surely he hadn’t expected them to flourish as they had, or for them to hunt him down.
She fell into step next to Nicholai easily. He didn’t bother to check his longer stride for her, which only added to her reluctant liking of him. Nicholai wasn’t a man who would pull his punches, and she respected that, even if they were destined to be at odds.
He led them through the entrance of the Warren. It looked much like any other high-end resort, including the one Amarante owned with her three siblings, though the decorations all reflected the Swiss location. Strong lines. Exposed dark wood beams and gleaming floors. It was a little cold and impersonal, but she liked it.
Nicholai didn’t speak until they’d left the main room behind and headed through the wide halls deeper into the building. “The summit with Zhao Fai begins at eight tomorrow. The schedule will be in your room.”
That set her back. “Schedule.”
“Yes, schedule.” He turned left at a T in the hall. “There are several meals beyond the meetings themselves where he would like your attendance.”
She had to fight not to clench her jaw, to allow the news to roll over her and away. Forcing her to adhere to a schedule was a power play, and she would have organized something similar if she’d put this together. Her father wanted her dancing to his tune.
She’d dance to his tune. Right up until the moment when she slipped in close and gutted him.
“Ms. Death.” Nicholai’s tone didn’t change when he used the name she went by to everyone but her family, but the small hairs on the back of her neck rose in response all the same. He stopped and looked at her. Had she thought his green eyes made him look young? Hardly. They were eerie, the kind of eyes one expected to see peering out at them from the shadows, the only warning before a predator appeared and ripped their throat out.
She kept her expression cool and unaffected. “Nicholai.”
“I don’t care whether you make polite with him or not. That’s not my problem. The only thing I do care about is preserving the sanctity of the Warren. You will not move against him or his people while you’re under this roof, nor while you’re traveling back to your home. Beyond that, carry on with your protracted vengeance to your heart’s delight, but if you violate the rules, I will string you up for everyone to see.” He slid his hands into his pockets, as relaxed as when he’d welcomed her ten minutes ago. “You have a reputation. I respect that. But while you’re on this property, I am the god everyone pays fealty to. Even you.”