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My Little Secret
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She’s a good girl. He’s a very bad boy. Sparks will fly when fate brings them together in this fiery romance by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author L.A. Casey.
Ashley Dunne is a bad boy, a notorious member of Dublin’s most ruthless gang. But when privileged daddy’s girl Ryan Mahony finds herself living on an urban estate they control, she can’t help feeling he’s not that bad at all…
Ryan and Ash were never meant to cross paths: she’s always been sheltered by her successful barrister father. But when he’s unexpectedly sent to prison, she’s forced to move in with estranged relatives in the city, where a chance encounter with Ash sends sparks flying. He’s the one man she’s been warned to avoid, but fate seems determined to bring them together…
While her head warns of danger, her heart tells her to be reckless for the first time in her life. She knows there’s more to Ash than his gangland reputation. But when he starts to rethink his future and attracts the wrong kind of attention, Ryan has to ask herself: is her life going off the rails—or has she finally found the right track?
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“Ye’ look like you’re about to cry, princess.”
That gruff voice destroyed the only inkling of peace I had managed to feel in the year since my entire life was turned upside down. But then why should I feel any semblance of peace, when my beloved father had none? Prison made inmates feel a lot of things, but I doubted that peace was one of them . . . especially when you were innocent.
“Ay, princess, I’m talkin’ to ye’.”
I opened my eyes, and focused my vision on the blurred trees that passed by at a rapid pace, and listened to the steady rumble of the engine instead of the godawful music that poured from the car radio. Taylor Swift wanted people to look at what they’d made her do, and I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to do anything.
“I don’t wanna talk,” I replied to my cousin Eddi. “I just wanna sit ’ere and think, okay?”
I glanced at her hand as she shifted up a gear. I hadn’t had much interaction with her in eight years. Before my da went to prison, I only saw her at Christmastime, and maybe Easter if we showed up randomly at her house for a drop-in visit. Since my da wasn’t around anymore, my auntie and Eddi were more active in my life, but just because they were the only family I had. I figured my auntie felt responsible for me, since she was the only adult I had left to turn to.
My only cousin, Eddi Stone, was nineteen years old, and from what I’d heard from my da she was a lovely girl, but from her sullen expression when she picked me up an hour ago, I knew she hadn’t willingly offered to drive the two hours into the Kildare countryside to collect me and haul me all the way to Dublin. My auntie Andrea, Eddi’s mother and my mother’s sister, would have volunteered her, and unfortunately I was the recipient of the mood swing it created.
Just what I need, another headache.
“Look, princess,” Eddi grunted, “we can play the quiet game as soon as we get home, and never speak a word to each other for all I care, but for now I want to talk. If ye’ don’t, I can pull over and ye’ can walk your arse the rest of the way to Dublin. How’s that for an ultimatum?”
I wanted to correct her on two things. Her home was not my home, and would never be my home for an abundance of reasons; and two, my name was not fucking “princess”.
“Fine,” I relented, and my fingers flexed. “Talk.”
Eddi didn’t waste a millisecond.
“Did ye’ know what your da had done before he got arrested?”
The muscles in my jaw rolled side to side as tension filled my body. If there was one topic on the face of the Earth that I didn’t want to discuss, it was this one.
“No,” I answered through gritted teeth. “I didn’t know, because nothin’ he’s been charged with is the truth. He’s innocent, Eddi, we’ve already talked about this durin’ his court appearance last year, and after he got sentenced. Ye’ asked me the same question then, and I told ye’ the same answer. I had no fuckin’ clue about anythin’. I still don’t know how it all went down.”
“Bullshit,” Eddi countered. “He openly admitted to concealin’ evidence in a homicide case. They literally have his confession on tape. The news people said so.”
I balled my hands into fists.
“He said what he did for reasons I don’t understand yet, but what I do understand is me da, and he would never hurt another person, much less help someone who did. He seeks justice and sends the monsters who do those appallin’ acts to prison; he doesn’t help them get free.”
Silence stretched out in the beat-up Ford Focus we rode in, but only for a couple of seconds.
“I think you’re in denial, princess,” my cousin said with a complete lack of compassion. “Your da was sentenced to seven years behind bars, and from what Ciara said to me ma durin’ his trial, he’ll most likely get between one or two years suspended for good behaviour, if he keeps his head down, but that’s still a long time. He’s already been locked up a year, and nothin’ has changed about his case. He’s servin’ his time because he committed a crime.”
My lip curled upwards into a snarl, and I managed to contain the outburst that was dying to be released, though barely. My hands trembled, and clasping them together only helped a little.
“Don’t give me lessons on the law, cousin,” I said, my tone clipped. “The law has been a constant factor in me life, or have ye’ already forgotten what me da’s profession is?”
In a mumble she said, “A lot of good bein’ a barrister has done for ’im.”