Love Like Poison (Corsican Crime Lord #1) Read Online Charmaine Pauls

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Dark, Mafia, Suspense, Virgin Tags Authors: Series: Corsican Crime Lord Series by Charmaine Pauls

Total pages in book: 95
Estimated words: 90260 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 451(@200wpm)___ 361(@250wpm)___ 301(@300wpm)

Every year on my birthday, my tormentor returns to claim one of my firsts.

On my sixteenth birthday, a stranger from Corsica shows up at my party. Angelo Russo looks like an angel, but more the kind who decapitates dragons than the kind with soft white wings. He’s dark like the ocean and breathless like water. He says he wants all my firsts as if he already owns them, but my father orders me to stay away from this man.

No matter how hard I try, I can’t escape him. No one can keep me safe. Every year on my birthday, he brings me a gift, each one having a detrimental effect on my life with unimaginable consequences. With every gift he offers, he claims another one of my firsts. Before I know it, he’s taken control of my existence, turning me into a nervous wreck, because when I turn eighteen, I know what first he’ll come for next.

Note: Love Like Poison is the first book in the Corsican Crime Lord series and ends on a cliffhanger. Sabella and Angelo's story continues in Hate Like Honey, Book Two.

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Most people don’t know they’re going to get married the first time they meet. Relationships develop over time. Some men and women weigh up the pros and cons to decide if they can live with someone until death do them part. Others follow their heart.

Not me.

In my family, tradition dictates differently. The decision was made for me a long time ago. That’s how the business works. Money is power, and power is everything. Power means survival. It’s the most fundamental rule of the world.

Only the strongest survive.

That’s why I’m here, why we’re driving up the road that zigzags to the top of the hill and ends in a cul-de-sac. A mansion peeks from behind high walls. Beyond, the ocean glimmers in the golden dusk. Below, to the right, the lagoon is a flawless mirror surrounding the stilt cabins on the island. The town of Great Brak River lies a kilometer inland on the bank of the river, consisting of a supermarket, a post office, an old as well as a new church, a small police station, an art gallery, a gas station, and a handful of shops and restaurants.

Anticipation tightens my gut. The reaction is involuntary. Far from being pure or innocent, it’s born from instinct, from the darker, animalistic side of me that needs to claim and procreate.


That’s why we came all the way from Corsica to this secluded town in South Africa that’s no bigger than the point of a needle on the map.

To meet my bride.

I’ve known for ten years, but twenty or thirty couldn’t be long enough to prepare me for the moment. Whereas most human beings take the freedom of dating whoever they like for granted, I see it for what it is. A chore.

Dating is nothing but a tedious process of selection via elimination. There’s a certain calm in knowing one woman is destined to be mine. Our union will serve in fulfilling my duty. There’s logic in that. It gives stability to life in a world where little and few can be trusted. It gives meaning to existence. No soul searching or introspection are necessary.

It’s been decided.

The outcome has been predetermined.

The timing, however, could’ve been better. We left my mother and sister alone for New Year, but I understand only too well why my father is eager to see this contract to fruition. The reason for his haste eats at me too.

Instead of flying to the nearest airport, we rented a car in Cape Town and drove the four hundred and twenty-eight kilometers to George. My father wanted to see the Garden Route and stop on the way to buy wine. We took the scenic road along the coast, passing cliffs that broke off into the stormy sea and bays studded with smooth rocks and penguins. Sea bamboo drifting on the dark waters of small coves marked the whale coast. The rugged shores eventually gave way to dunes covered with Aloe Vera, their red flowers like flaming torches in the clear blue sky, and long stretches of white sand where the air smelled of salt and succulent groundcovers.

After booking into a hotel on the golf estate in the neighboring town of George, my father needed a day to rest and recover his strength. The following day, we did a reconnaissance of the area and paid our business partner—my future father-in-law—an unscheduled visit at his office. My father believes in catching his associates off guard. That way, they don’t have time to hide any unorthodox dealings they prefer to keep in the dark. “If you want to know the true nature of a man,” my father always says, “catch him with his pants down.”