Hayley fled from Paris to New York to forget the people from her past and to keep the darkness within her hidden for good. The fiery British girl catches the attention of Luca Marcello, the owner of the club she works in and the boss of one of the biggest crime families in New York. Each has their own reasons for not wanting to give in to the passion they feel for each other. But eventually, each will be faced with a life-altering choice...
Age Rating: 18+ (Assault, Domestic Violence, Kidnapping, Rape, Sexual Assault/Abuse, Torture, Violence Against Women, Violent Death)
“You can’t escape me, Hayley,” Luca said, his voice the rumble of thunder.
A shiver went down Hayley’s spine. She’d spent the last few years on the run. Running from her past, running from herself, running from everything. But now Luca Marcello, the head of New York’s most powerful crime family, had her firmly in his grip. A man that could make or break her with a single word.
And she wasn’t sure if she wanted to escape.
“You can’t have me, Luca,” Hayley gasped, even as he pressed his lips against her neck. Shivers of pleasure rolled through her.
“I want you,” he said. Straightforward. Simple. “And I always take what I want.”
Book 1: Dark Side of the Moon
“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”
At the Venetian Lounge, an elite club in the underworld of New York City, drinks were expensive and feather girls were available for a price.
And it was the safest place for Hayley.
She wasn’t a feather girl, nor did she wish to be. But she couldn’t help but envy them sometimes. They were confident, gorgeous, and had men worshiping at their feet.
Hayley was a bar girl. She worked at one of the four round bars in the underground club alongside Ben, her friend and roommate.
In the center of the circular bar, pole dancing on a podium, was her other roommate, Ava. Ava was a feather girl and proud of it.
Hayley admired how her beautiful blonde friend could dance and flirt with any man in this place. She admired how confident and open she was about this world. A small part of her even wished she could be more like Ava.
But she couldn’t do what she did.
“Another vodka, please, pretty one.”
Dimitri was a quiet man and a regular prop at her bar. He was also a friend of Siobhan’s, the owner of the club.
When she first heard he was Russian, it made her nervous and wary. But she soon learned he was running just as much as she was. And the knowledge that they had this in common gave Hayley some comfort.
“Anything for you, Dimitri,” she replied in perfect Russian as she placed the vodka in front of him, then laughed at his shocked expression.
“You speak perfect Russian for a sweet English girl,” he said, handing her some money. “Keep the change.”
She placed the tip in the jar she and Ben would share later.
“Where did you learn Russian?” Dimitri asked.
She leaned across the bar, sure he was peering down at the cleavage spilling out of her deep-purple corset. “I went to a Catholic all-girls boarding school. I learned a lot of things there.”
Her lips curled into a smirk as she winked, making him chuckle.
“One day you will wear a feather, and I shall insist you wear a school uniform,” he teased.
She chuckled and leaned in closer, flashing him a wicked smile. “When that day happens, I’ll be sure to bring one in.”
They both laughed loudly and she moved on to serve the next guy, who couldn’t stop staring at her ass. Her shorts were more like underwear, and she had on thigh-high black stockings and suspenders.
“Are you flirting again, Hayley?” Ben asked as he stood waiting for the cash register, and she smiled at her light-blond friend.
“How else are we going to get the big tips?”
Tips were how they paid their rent and how they could afford their nights out. And since she knew she was in control and safe here, she smiled, laughed, and flirted as best she could.
The bar was busy tonight. There was a large group of men who had not been in the Venetian Lounge before, at least not since she’d started here a little over a month ago, and the girls seemed excited at their presence.
Hayley looked up at the VIP area, where most of the group was. They were all good-looking and wore expensive suits, and they appeared to be celebrating something.
Arianna sauntered up to Hayley’s bar. “Get a bottle of scotch to the VIP lounge, booth five,” she demanded, her tone as rude as ever.
Tall and model-like, with bleached blonde hair and big breasts, Arianna was born to be a feather girl—and Hayley had always disliked her. And why wouldn’t she? Arianna was a total bitch.
It seemed she didn’t like the idea that Hayley worked here without doing the things the other girls did.
But as much as Hayley didn’t like Arianna, she couldn’t refuse a VIP’s request, so she just rolled her eyes before grabbing the bottle and making her way to the second floor.
The VIP lounge overlooked the dance floor, which was buzzing with sweaty people moving to the music.
On her way to booth five, Hayley noticed that all Siobhan’s best girls were up here. And they all had a flirtatiously determined look in their eyes, ready to please the new arrivals.
She set the scotch on the table in front of Arianna, who was seated on the lap of a well-dressed gentleman who was smoking a cigar and stroking her side.
Hayley couldn’t take her eyes off him. The man’s perfectly tailored three-piece suit exuded wealth, and he was stunningly handsome.
When he caught her checking him out, his gaze locked on hers for a heartbeat.
The hardness in his dark eyes reminded her where she was, and she quickly turned and headed toward the staircase. But another dark-haired man grabbed her wrist.
This new guy was tall and strongly built, with warm hazel eyes and stubble along his jawline. He had a friendly demeanor, but Hayley trusted no one.
And she didn’t like how close he was to her.
“Well, hello, gorgeous,” he said, clearly excited. “Coming to join the party?”
Hayley firmly pushed Mr. Arrogant off her. “Nope,” she said simply, then turned to walk away.
But he didn’t let go. Instead, he grabbed her waist with his other hand.
She turned back to face him and yanked her wrist from his grip. “Look!” She pointed to her black and purple mask. “Do you notice something missing from my mask?”
He looked taken aback, clearly not used to women challenging him. Well, he better get used to it if he kept trying to bug her.
A guy standing next to them laughed and placed his hand on the loudmouth’s shoulder. “She’s not wearing a feather, Frankie.”
The man who just spoke had eyes like the man who had Arianna on his lap, but this guy’s were darker, nearly black, whereas the other man’s were more chocolate brown.
She clapped sarcastically, eliciting a frown, then returned her attention to Mr. Grabby Hands.
“You see, Frankie, your friend…” She paused and looked at the second guy expectantly.
“Nic,” he answered simply as he glanced from Hayley to his companion.
“Thanks.” She threw him a smile before addressing Frankie again. “Your friend Nic is smart. Be more like Nic.”
She smirked, then seductively walked closer to Frankie and began to play with his tie, glancing from her fingers to his hazel eyes and gently pulling the tie closer to her with a sweet smile.
“I may not be a feather girl, Frankie, but I know guys like you. You think you can fuck any girl who catches your eye.” Her smile disappeared as she gripped his tie tighter, and Nic smirked, clearly impressed by the balls on her.
“Well, you can’t. Now take the hint and don’t mess with women you clearly can’t handle.” She let him go, then walked down the staircase and back to her bar.
Another reason she couldn’t be a feather girl: she had a temper and didn’t play nice with arseholes. Something that had gotten her into so much trouble she had to leave Paris.
She decided she needed a quick break. Dealing with douchebags always drained her.
So after letting Ben know, she went to the hallway that led outside, then sat on a crate and took her phone out to read one of her favorite books on her reading app.
She could smell cigarette smoke. Some of the bar guys had gone out for a smoke and left the door open. It was freezing since it was October, but she didn’t care; it beat the heat from the club floor.
She was about to head back inside when a large shadow fell over her.
“Ah, there you are.”
She looked up to see a tall, muscular man looming above her. The light behind him threw his face into shadow so she couldn’t ID him—but she knew. They’d finally found her.
Adrenaline surged through her veins as she reached for the trusty switchblade she kept hidden on her at all times. Fear made her hands shake, but she wouldn’t be the victim. Not anymore.
She would never let them take her back.
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