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Stone – Her Ruthless Enforcer
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My ruthless enforcer is broken, dangerous, and determined to claim me…
The first time I meet Stone Ferraro, it’s hate at first sight, and then he kidnaps me. On his mafia boss’s orders, but still…not a great first impression.
The second time I meet him, he calls me a derogatory name, and I knee him in the balls. Not exactly the sweet social worker look I was going for, but hey, it had to be done.
The third time we meet, it’s over my ex-boyfriend’s—his identical twin brother’s—grave, and he shocks me with a mind-melting kiss.
The fourth time we meet, he takes one look at my belly filled with his dead brother’s baby and declares me his.
His to marry, his to take, his in every way.
The Ferraro crime family’s most ruthless enforcer is broken, dangerous, and here to stay.
And our story only gets crazier–and hotter–from there.
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I freeze, inside the empty rectangle of my doorless kitchen, a spike of fear replacing my early morning yawn.
There is a man sitting at my kitchen table. A total stranger I’ve never seen before. And, even scarier than that….
A gun rested on the otherwise empty kitchen table in front of him. Lethal and almost as menacing as the stranger’s non-smiling mouth. How did he know my name?
Fear pumps through my body. And to think just a few moments ago, I’d been wondering if even a large cup of coffee would be enough to get me alert and out the door this morning.
I’m wide awake now, no coffee needed.
“Sit down, Naima,” the stranger says. He has a thick Jersey accent, but his voice lacks any emotion whatsoever. There was no emotion in his cold black eyes either. The single kitchen light I always leave on reflected off his completely shaven head. But other than that, he’s all shadow.
And though he hasn’t touched the gun on the table, it feels like he’s pointing it straight at me.
I stand there, my body stuck in a rictus of previously unknown terror. What does he want? Why is he here?
The midnight black suit he wears looks like it was specifically tailored to fit over his huge, hulking body. It probably cost more than the entire monthly rent on this townhouse, which I used to share with my blind parents before they moved to the Dominican Republic to retire way more cheaply than they would have been able to here in New York. He’s dressed for business, but I’m a social worker, living paycheck to paycheck. I can barely afford rent now that I’m handling it alone, much less a suit anywhere close to the quality of the one he’s wearing. If he came here to rob me, he’s incredibly stupid.
But this stranger doesn’t strike me as stupid.
“Sit down,” he says again. “We can do this the easy way or the dead way.”
Both my body and mind scream in protest as I fight my primal flight instinct to obey his ruthless command. Like I said, this stranger doesn’t strike me as stupid, or flippant either. He said he’d kill me if I don’t sit down, and I believe him.
Eyeing him warily, I take a seat in the chair furthest away from him at the table.
The stranger is technically handsome with tanned skin I’m almost sure isn’t due to the summer sun but genetics. He has ebony eyes, and what I’m guessing would be black hair to match, if he hadn’t shaven his head bald. His coloring and Jersey accent put me in mind of my best friend Amber’s ex-husband, Luca.
The ex-husband who now heads the Ferraro Crime Family.
My heart ices over with a new layer of fear. Is this stranger related to my best friend’s crime boss ex-husband? He pronounced my name perfectly, which is unusual for a first meet.
Usually people call me Nay-ma, Nay-ima, Nah-ima, Nancy—pretty much anything but the Nigh-eema, my parents intended when they named me after the social worker who helped them when they decided to start a family after losing their eyesight due to early onset macular degeneration.
The fact that this guy knows how to say my name further convinces me that though Luca Ferraro isn’t currently in the room, he’s somehow behind this visit.
“What do you want?” I was going for a demanding tone, but the words come out shaky. I’m not nearly as brave as Amber would have been if this happened to her. Unlike me, she doesn’t take ish from anybody—or use substitute words for shit. She even fought off a gun man last year when he tried to come after one of her clients.
But I can barely talk to the scary dude on the other side of the table, and I’m not at all confident I won’t pee my pants if he actually picks up that gun. For the first time, I wish I had actually finished those self-defense classes Amber encouraged me to take. At least then, I wouldn’t feel so weak right now, so totally at this man’s mercy.
“What do I want?” he repeats with a cold smile. “Just a little bit of conversation.”
His words might have reassured me if his smile got anywhere near his eyes. Or if he didn’t raise one large, beefy hand and place it on the gun, before adding, “About your bestie, Amber.”
“No. No, no way!” I answer immediately. She is my best friend and I will do whatever it takes to protect her. “You might as well kill me, because I’m not telling you anything!”
“Alright then,” he answers, just as immediately. “Have it your way.”
He raises the gun.
“No, don’t…” I cry out, suddenly not feeling so brave.
But he squeezes the trigger anyway and the gun goes off with a loud BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!