Corrupt Empire Book 1
by Sarah Bailey
Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance
It all started one dark night. The last night I saw my family. The night I met him. The only man to haunt my every moment.
I witnessed something I was never meant to see.
He took me.
He broke me.
He made me his.
And now he wants to use me to bring down my family.
I was never meant to have her.
The daughter of the scum who stole my life.
I took her.
I broke her.
I made her mine.
And now she'll do anything I say.
One tattooed anti-hero gets caught up in a whirlwind with an innocent heiress. It'll keep you on your toes with its web of lies and secrets.
“Don’t move an inch,” a deep voice I didn’t recognise said.
I looked up at Mum. Her face hardened. She mouthed to me ‘stay down’. My hands stilled.
“Walk around the counter slowly,” the voice said.
It sent a chill down my spine. Void of all emotion. Cold as steel.
Mum complied, sending me another warning look before she disappeared.
What is going on?
“You know why I’m here.”
“We can discuss this calmly like adults. Just put the gun down,” Dad said.
Gun. He has a gun. My heartbeat kicked up a notch. My palms began to sweat. Why did this stranger have a gun? And what did he want with my parents?
“Funny, Mitchell, you lost the right to negotiate the moment you took something that never belonged to you.”
Nothing made sense. I needed to see for myself. I carefully placed the pan on the floor and crawled towards the counter, edging along to the end. Peering around, I found both my parents with their hands up. The man holding the gun wore no mask. My breath caught in my throat.
I’d never described a man as beautiful before. There was no other word for him. His light brown hair, short at the sides and longer on top, was neatly styled. Grey eyes glinted under the soft kitchen lights. His dark suit clung to him in all the right places, tailored to absolute perfection. It left no doubt he was all hard muscle underneath. An avenging angel. Except this angel had a gun pointed at my dad’s head.
Self-preservation made me freeze. If I alerted him to my presence, it wouldn’t help anyone. I ignored the voice in my head telling me the real reason I couldn’t move had more to do with how awestruck I was by the gun-wielding stranger.
Thanks brain. Not!
“Look, can’t we put all of that behind us? It’s been over twenty years,” Dad said.
The angel’s expression didn’t change. Cold, almost calculating. It sent chills running down my spine. Terrifying and beautiful at the same time. A deadly combination.
There was no other warning. Two shots fired in quick succession. The sound rang in my ears. My parents collapsed one after the other. I put a hand over my mouth, stifling a scream. He’d shot them right between the eyes. There was no question in my mind. They were dead.
The word stuck in my head.
Blood poured out of the back of their heads, pooling on the wooden floor beneath them. Their chests were still, unmoving. Tears pricked at my eyes.
My parents were dead.
I looked at the angel again. He stared right at me. The surprise in his eyes faded after a second. I fell back onto my hands as I tried to scramble away.
“No, please,” I whispered.
He didn’t raise the gun to me. His lip twitched. I backed up right into the counter behind me, putting my hands up.
“Please don’t kill me.”
In five long strides, he stood before me. His very presence made my heart hammer erratically in my chest. I could hear it loud and clear in my ears. Up close, I got a real sense of just how tall and well-built he was, muscles rippled under his suit jacket as he moved.
“I’m not going to kill you,” he said, his voice quiet. “But you and I are going to have a little talk.”
I nodded slowly. I’d just seen him murder my parents. The likelihood of him letting me go was slim to none. I doubted he’d counted on having a witness.
He squatted down until we were eye level. Those grey eyes cold and yet so beautiful.
“You shouldn’t have seen this.”
“Why… why did you kill my parents?” I whispered, almost unable to get the words out.
“They weren’t good people, Avery.”
“How do you know my name?”
He cocked his head to the side.
“Everyone knows who you are.”
He wasn’t wrong. I’d been photographed countless times by the press and had my name plastered all over social media. Still, he didn’t seem like the type of person to browse tabloids.
Why did he know who I was?
Why did he do this?
His expression told me he felt no remorse for killing my parents. They’d known who he was.
I had too many questions. And I didn’t think I was going to get many answers out of this man.
“What are you going to do with me?”
He stared at me for the longest moment without answering. My skin prickled. I was struck again by just how beautiful he was.
Get a grip!
You don’t crush on the guy who just murdered your parents. Normal people don’t go around with guns. He wasn’t a good guy. Nothing about him was soft or welcoming. Nothing at all. My brain was playing tricks on me. I was just in shock. That had to be it.
He reached out, grabbing me by my neck and pulling me up to my feet with him.
“Who are you?” I whispered when he didn’t let go.
“Your worst nightmare.”
A sharp pain erupted from the back of my head and radiated outwards. The last thing I remember before passing out was those steel grey eyes and his expression. Regret.
Born and raised in Sussex, UK near the Ashdown Forest where she grew up climbing trees and building Lego towns with her younger brother. Sarah fell in love with novels when she was a teenager reading her aunt's historical regency romances. She has always loved the supernatural and exploring the darker side of romance and fantasy novels.
Sarah currently resides in the Scottish Highlands with her husband. Music is one of her biggest inspirations and she always has something on in the background whilst writing. She is an avid gamer and is often found hogging her husband's Xbox.
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