Dark Knight (Torrio Empire #4) Read Online J.L. Beck

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Angst, Dark, Mafia Tags Authors: Series: Torrio Empire Series by J.L. Beck

Total pages in book: 164
Estimated words: 152853 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 764(@200wpm)___ 611(@250wpm)___ 510(@300wpm)

Shattered. Broken beyond repair.

I’m the shell of the woman I used to be.
The deeper I fall from reality, the worse things get.
Only there’s one person who refuses to let me derail.

Romero Pierce.

Calloused. Sinister. Lethal.

He’s my father's second in command, and so goddamn handsome it’s disgusting.

Assigned the duty of being my babysitter, aka personal bodyguard, he thinks he can protect me, but I don’t want his protection.

What I want is security, safety, freedom. Everything changes when I choose to leave and find myself in the very town where my father grew up. Trying to heal is hard enough but it's nearly impossible with icy Romero watching my every move. Overtime he starts to make me feel things I thought I'd never feel again, reminding me I'm not broken, but in my journey to heal I also realize I'm helping him heal as well. It doesn't take long to discover Romero has deep, ugly secrets he's trying to keep, but nothing can remain a secret forever. When the truth's revealed will the man I consider my enemy become the only man who can save me? This is a dark bodyguard romance with enemies to lovers' vibes. It's a standalone and contains triggering content that might be difficult to read.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************



Ten Years Ago

I blink my eyes open, a smile splitting my face because today is the first day of: summer vacation.

After nine months of school, it's finally summer break. Excitement would be an understatement to describe how I’m feeling. Knowing I won’t have to do a single sheet of homework, that I won’t have to go to bed early, and that I can wake up whenever I want, at least for the next three months.

Freedom, it's so pungent I can almost taste it. I already can't wait to spend the whole summer out by the pool soaking up every last bit of sun. I’m hoping to be a lovely tan shade come the fall once school starts up again, and not this ghostly pale white that I am now.

The reminder that Bianca, my best friend, will be here in a bit sends me over the edge. Her dad doesn't usually let her do sleepovers unless it's a birthday party or something else special. Bianca says he’s strict and likes to know what she’s doing and who she’s hanging out with. I’m sure it must suck having an overbearing dad. My dad always wants to know those things, too, but he still lets me visit with my friends and go shopping. Not alone, of course.

When I go out, I always have to take one of my father’s men with me, since he’s usually too busy to take me to activities or drive me to the movies. Maybe that's why Mr. Cole doesn't like letting Bianca come over...I mean, my Dad is here, but he's usually working in his office, so we have the whole house to ourselves. The only people to keep an eye on us are the guys my dad pays for security, and honestly, there’s not much they can do—so long as I'm not, like choking to death or drowning or something. Most of the time, they look the other way.

With Mr. Cole being a detective and all, he knows how messed up life can be. That's what Bianca tells me, anyway. The excitement of Bianca’s impending arrival is what gets me out of bed and into the shower, even though I could have slept another hour or two.

I didn't know kids had chores, not until I got to know Bianca better. I'm not stupid. Not everyone has staff hanging around the house to cook and clean for them. I figured parents took care of that stuff, but for Bianca, it’s different. She’s constantly cleaning the house, doing her own laundry, and even doing some of the cooking since it’s just her and her dad. Like me, she doesn’t have a mom in her life. Although, in her case, she can visit her mom in the cemetery.

I don’t know where my mom is most of the time.

Seeing how Bianca’s good and pure, she’s really rubbed off on me. It made me realize that I could at least make my bed and clean my bathroom. So after I'm done in the shower, I tidy up my bedroom. Once I move my things to the unused wing of the house, like Dad promised I could once I start high school, I’ll have more responsibility.

It’s one of his rules: If you want more from me, you have to show me you’re responsible enough to have it.

I might as well get in the habit of showing him I’m serious about wanting to take care of myself. I want to prove to him that I’m not a little girl anymore. I’m getting older, and I want him to see that.

Once I’m finished, I have the rest of my day to look forward to. It's already almost eight-thirty, and Mr. Cole needs to be at work by nine, so Bianca will be here any minute. I grab a green one-piece suit that matches my eyes—Dad won't let me wear a two-piece yet, no matter how many times I beg him.

“I'm paying for it, so you're going to wear what I think is appropriate.” It's during those times I wish I had a mom willing to step in and take my side, yet I can't even get her to answer the phone when I call, much less defend me against Dad. I'm pretty much on my own most of the time.

I can feel the sticky misery and sadness that clings to me when thinking about my mom, so I squeeze my eyes shut and push the thoughts away.

I pull on the suit and add a pair of cutoffs before pulling my blonde curls into a bun on my head. Perfection. I give myself a once-over in the mirror. I’m tall, and thankfully, my body is finally filling out more. I was worried for a little while that my arms would always be longer than my body. But luckily, I grew into them. My skin is pale and sickly looking, and since Dad hardly ever lets me wear makeup – which will change this year – I always look this way. A Casper The Friendly Ghost look-alike.