A Dangerous Union - Book cover

A Dangerous Union

Belle Dowson

Chapter 2


Father only summoned me when it was important. He must have had another batch of women for me, and that only meant money for all of us in the Village.

I pulled up outside the halfway house beside Lyra’s car. I did my best not to hit her car as I opened my door. She would be furious if I hit her precious car.

I adjusted my suit jacket as I walked up the stone steps toward the keypad. I unlocked the door and let myself in.

“You called, Dad?” I asked as soon as the door slammed behind me, and I saw my dad waiting for me on the staircase.

“I did, two reasons. We have our next batch of women, but I’ve also found your woman,” Dad announced.

“What?” I hadn’t asked for a woman. In fact, we had discussed that I was too busy to start my own family household.

“I have found you, Xavier, and Thomas your woman.”

I stood taken aback by what my father had just said. If I were to have my own woman, I would share my home with my two best friends, Thomas and Xavier, just like all Village households.

Our culture agreed women were to be protected and sheltered, and only our leader—my father—could choose the women who entered the Village.

To the Village, the women were valuable either in one way or another, and I normally dealt with the women who brought in half of our revenue. Never did I expect to have my own household.

Our Village was dominated by men, so my father created family households. It was his way of making sure we didn’t get overpopulated. If we overpopulated, people would find us and break us.

“Her name is Olivia, and she’s perfect for you.” My father smiled—he seemed proud to have found the woman he wanted to make his grandchildren.

“And Thomas and Xavier?” I asked. I knew we were all different, and our woman would have to be good for all of us.

“I think she can handle all of you. She has baggage, but who doesn’t?”

I nodded. I wanted to argue that I was too busy to cope with household life, but it was obvious my leader had already decided on her fate and my own.

I knew Thomas and Xavier would be as shocked as I was to get this news.

“I thought you had plans for us. Work plans.”

Dad shook his head, and all I could do was watch and listen.

“Yes, yes, and I do have plans for ~all~ of us. But son, you and my two best men need to create your household. I have learned that men fight harder when a woman is involved.”

I was confused. Me, Thomas, and Xavier were loyal to the family my father had created—and the Village too. We had never needed the motivation to do as asked.

“You see, you are loyal by blood. I know you will be forever on my team. The same with Thomas, to a degree. He was raised here, so he understands…”

“This is more about Xavier,” I interrupted.

My father just sighed, taking hold of my shoulder with firm authority.

“Yes and no. Of course Xavier is excellent at his job, but he came here as an outsider, and he does have a habit of going off alone too much.

“Thomas and you also need to settle down eventually and while you are all still young, but also while you’re old enough to appreciate a household. I think you should make a start.”

I knew I would be the next one to lead after my father, and I was desperate to prove my worth. I always did as asked with no questions.

I wasn’t sure I wanted a household of my own just yet, but my dad had decided, and I had to obey.

“I am nominating you as the household leader. It is obvious that out of the three, you would inherit that role. I believe if anyone can keep the household under control, it’s you. Both Xavier and Thomas listen to you.”

“What about the woman?” I quizzed. Did she even know she would be bound to three men, three strangers, in a matter of days?

“Olivia,” my father said her name again, “is with Lyra now. You best go and meet her and take her home.”

“Home?” I was confused. Although me, Thomas, and Xavier lived together, our home was a hovel, nothing like the homes of other Village households.

“Yes, my boy, you and your household will live in one of the houses. I think newly built house seventeen would be charming for your first home.”

I had seen the houses being built. Number seventeen was new—in fact, nobody had lived there yet, but my father knew that, like all homes in the Village, it was well put together and furnished.

“Olivia may be headstrong at first, so you may need to use force to get her home, but I’m sure between you and the guys, you can get her to see our world is a hell of a lot safer than the real one.”

I nodded; it was true. I worked in the outside world, and I knew what darkness lurked out there—a darkness that the men in the Village and I possessed.

I left my dad and walked up to the right side of the staircase. It was unusual for me to come this way. My job always involved things that happened in the left hallway.

I stood outside the door of the room. I knew Olivia was behind the door—I could hear Lyra telling her how nice she looked. I adjusted my jacket and wiped away a stray piece of fluff before knocking and entering the room.

My eyes fell on her instantly. Her pale skin was striking against her copper hair. She had bright, red lips and dazzling emerald-colored eyes.

My eyes went to my father’s wife, Lyra, who was shocked as I entered. But then she gave an all-knowing smile. She must have known I was to be part of Olivia’s Village life.

“Olivia,” Lyra said with a smile to the girl, “this is Matt. He’s Noel’s son, and him being here means you are accepted into our Village. Matt will explain everything and take you to your home.”

I watched as she took in everything that Lyra had said. I just stood silently.

“Home? As in…?” Her voice was soft and elegant.

“As in, a house, a place for you to live.” Lyra beamed as she took the girl’s hands in her own. “You will never have to be alone. You will have food in your stomach, a roof over your head, and people who will look after you.”

Lyra let her go and quietly slipped out of one of the doors to the side. It was just Olivia and me.

“Wait, what the hell is going on?”

Suddenly the soft voice she’d had was gone, and I could see the fire that was clearly inside of her.

“No one has explained anything to you?” I pressed, keeping my distance from her.


I watched her as her face pondered what little she had probably been told.

“Lyra has told me I’m going to live somewhere called the Village, and that is about all she’s told me.”

I cursed Lyra and my dad. It shouldn’t have been down to me to tell this woman she was going to the Village to be part of a household. I didn’t have the time for this.

“Well, that is all true. What she failed to tell you is that you are going to be living with me.” I tried to say my words as calmly and as matter-of-factly as I could. Still, her face seemed shocked.

“What? No, absolutely not. I am not going with some stranger!” She stepped away from me.

I sighed violently. I would need to knock her out to get her to the house.

“Yet”—I shrugged, putting my hand inside my jacket and making sure her eyes caught sight of the shoulder gun holster—“you so carelessly went with Lyra, a stranger.”

I pulled out the plastic box while looking at Olivia’s horrified face. She had clearly seen my gun and was now invested in the box in my hand. I smirked a little as I unclasped the lid.

“Yeah, but…,” she croaked.

“Let me guess—it’s different because Lyra is a woman? Well, baby, anyone can murder, and I find women are particularly cunning when it comes to murder.”

I walked a little closer to her, not revealing the sedative injection in the box.

“Stay the fuck away from me!” she demanded.

But I didn’t listen. As I passed the table, I placed the box on it and pulled out the fresh needle, popping the cap.

I sighed as Olivia ran toward the door Lyra had gone out. I never ran. I just stood and called for Lyra, who appeared in a heartbeat, and, after apologizing to Olivia, Lyra grabbed her and held her for me.

“No, stop, please!” Olivia struggled against Lyra. I had to hand it to her—she was holding Olivia perfectly despite the thrashing.

“I promise this will only hurt for a second,” I explained, looking at Olivia’s bright, green eyes.


But she never finished her sentence. I plunged the needle into her neck.

“You fucking basta… I su…f…” Her words slurred. She was obviously becoming a deadweight for Lyra.

Calmly I stepped forward and took her into my arms, allowing Lyra to take the used needle from me.

“Noel chose you?” Lyra sighed as she stroked the copper hair of the unconscious girl in my arms.

“It appears so.” I sighed as I felt Olivia breathing lightly. Secretly, I felt thankful she hadn’t reacted to the sedative.

“I take it Xavier too?”

I looked at Lyra, who didn’t return my gaze, but I knew what she meant, what she was asking.

“Yes, Xavier, me, and Thomas are going to be her household. My dad asked me to be the leader.” I watched as Lyra nodded.

“Well”—Lyra’s eyes looked up at me—“you need to take care of her, Matt, and I mean it. She has suffered and will need support. Xavier he—”

“He will behave from now on—mark my words, Lyra.”

I knew Xavier’s lifestyle was something I would have to adjust to, particularly when it came to Olivia.

“Xavier won’t behave, Matt, but maybe she might calm him.”

I could see the forced smile from Lyra. I didn’t question it as I scooped Olivia up in my arms. I would get to her new home and get Thomas and Xavier home as soon as possible.

I knew as I carried Olivia through the halfway house that all our lives were about to change.

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