Blood & Marriage

 — He was not Prince Charming. He was the dragon to consume me. —

As the daughter of a mafia boss, I knew that keeping my head down meant staying alive.

So when my father arranged my marriage to a Sicilian mafioso, I smiled and nodded, hoping for a kind man.

But then my future husband’s cousin, Santo Villani, appears to pick me up for the wedding, and my life turns upside down, shattered by a kiss that shouldn’t have happened.

Arrogant, cocky, and yet irresistibly charming, he’s exactly the kind of man I shouldn’t be reaching out for. A dangerous mafioso who isn’t afraid to taste forbidden fruit.

I am torn between duty and passion, but my wedding is set in stone, so no matter which one of them wins, I will fall on their battlefield.

Themes: mafia, organized crime, marriage, forbidden love, danger

Genre: Dark, twisted romance / crime thriller

Erotic content: Explicit scenes

Length: ~65,000 words (STANDALONE novel – spinoff from the Guns n’ Boys series by K.A. Merikan) and set during the events depicted between He is Poison and Homicidal Instinct.

WARNING: Adult content. Contains violence, distressing scenes, abuse, offensive language, and morally ambiguous protagonists.

I nervously played with the tiny charms on my favorite silver bracelet, battling the steady sound of shoes rubbing against gravel. My hand drifted to the table, picking up a half-filled glass of lemonade just in time for him to see how casual and unconcerned I was with the whole situation. I couldn’t have him think of me as some nervous filly, ready to jump back to the stable at the mere sight of him.

But, when he emerged from behind the house, so tall and walking so straight toward me, something inside me went soft, and the glass slipped through my fingers, breaking at my feet into a thousand pieces.

Oh, God, there was a spray of lemonade on my pale blue shoes.

I’d probably smell of lemons and sugar now.

He’d know right away how handsome I found him.

And he saw it. He definitely saw me dropping the glass, because his dark eyebrows rose slightly.

This was exactly why I’d requested to see a photo of him. So I could prepare myself. But could I ever be prepared that the man I was to marry was so young and breathtaking?

Dressed in black, he walked toward me slowly, as if I really was a doe, too skittish to handle a stranger’s approach. The closer he was, the faster my heart pounded and I took in every detail of his physique.

His longish hair was slicked back, accentuating the sharp cheekbones and strong jawline. An elegant beast in a suit jacket and a turtleneck, his eyes were focused on me only, and all at once, I couldn’t breathe anymore. The dress too tight, the shoes uncomfortable, the thin blazer unnecessary with the way my whole body was aflame.

He stood a step away from me, that inch into my personal space so I could smell his cologne. His complexion was olive-tinted. His dark eyelids made his bright green eyes seem cold in comparison to the warm hue of his skin.

“S-seth Villani I presume?” I forced a smile, patting myself on the back for only stumbling on his first name. I clasped my hands together, urging them not to tremble.

He glanced down all the way to my shoes and back in a way that made me want to take a cold shower.

Seth nodded with a hint of a smile. “Lucrezia Bruni.” His warm baritone thundered through my body. This was the voice I would be hearing every day for the rest of my life.

I stared at him, maybe a bit too long, and finally reached out my hand to shake his. “It is…nice to meet you. Would you like some lemonade?” I asked, already so hot on my face I knew I looked silly. How did movie heroines manage this whole flirting thing? How did they keep calm when faced with a man so handsome? It had to be my lack of experience. I’d only had one boyfriend, and that had been too innocent to compare with meeting my future husband.

“No. I’ve waited too long for this meeting to spend time drinking lemonade.”

His eyes were fixed on me in a way that had my palms sweating. I uttered a laugh so silly any normal man would have found an excuse to disappear, but not him.

Would he propose now? Did he have a ring in his pocket? What kind of ring would it be? A family heirloom—perhaps his grandmother’s—a simple, fashionable design, or maybe something flashy and expensive, yet ugly? I would not be Instagramming an ugly one.

He took my hand, gently tracing the inside of my palm with his thumb, and somehow that simple touch rushed throughout my whole body, awakening a tingling sensation that certainly shouldn’t be there in the presence of a man I didn’t even know. Then again, maybe I should be happy for it, if we were to be married soon? Everyone always said that ‘the spark’ was important.

“Then what…what would you like to do?” I asked, unable to pull anything wittier out of the chaos that was my brain. The sunlight playing in his eyes kept distracting me.

He leaned down to me, locking our gazes, and I couldn’t help but think that I was the luckiest girl in the world. I would become his wife, and by the way he touched me, I knew that he felt the same spark I had.

When his lips met mine, it was enough of an answer for me. No matter how forward it was for him to kiss me this way, or how intimidating his height  was compared to my petite frame, I didn’t back away, because there was nothing wrong with kissing your fiancé-to-be.

When he forced my mouth open, it was like being thrown into a bed of the softest down. For a moment it felt as if I was falling down, but his hand rested on the small of my back and kept me safe. I put my arms around his neck, shuddering when my nipples brushed against him, and I could sense the friction even through our clothes, completely immersed in the havoc the kiss was wreaking in my body.


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