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‘I will never apologise for telling you the truth,’ John said, his teeth about to shatter they were clenched so tight. ‘You killed Stephanie. The woman you’ve been looking for for fifteen fuckin’ years! Because you were still in love with her! And you killed her, Dee. Why?
‘Don’t ever fucking talk about Stephanie again,’ Dornan said. ‘About any of it. Do you understand?’
John used the segue to get down low, to kick his leg out and sweep Dornan’s feet from underneath him. He went down hard, making a sound as the air knocked out of him again. The time for games was over.
John pulled his gun, cocking it as he stepped over Dornan. He planted one foot on either side of Dornan’s torso, aiming the gun right between his fucking eyes, and everything in him screamed at him to pull the fucking trigger and end this. Kill the motherfucker, save the girl, and everyone could live happily ever after. Only, it was never going to be that easy. John knew only too well how surrounded he was by people who were firmly in Dornan’s allegiance, people who were probably aiming their guns at him right now. Instead of unloading a round of bullets in Dornan like he wanted to, John changed his grip on the gun and brought the butt down straight into his forehead. Dornan’s eyes rolled back in his head momentarily, before they refocused on John, the fight completely gone.
‘I buried Stephanie!’ John roared, spittle landing on Dornan’s cheek. ‘I will talk about whoever, whenever, because I dug her grave with my bare hands and I fucking buried that poor bitch myself!’
The place was as quiet as the dirt grave John had lowered Stephanie into, back in Colorado. Nobody moved a muscle. Jaws were on the floor and somebody had turned the music off completely. Even the girls who were supposed to be dancing onstage were motionless, their eyes bugging out as they took in the scene unfolding.
Anarchy like this had never existed within the Gypsy Brothers before. The brotherhood was bleeding away in front of everyone, replaced by mistrust and greed. And in Dornan’s case, by a darkness so black he couldn’t even see his way back to the light.
Selfishly, John wanted to reach through and pull him back. To go back to a time when things were simpler. To know who was a friend and who was an enemy.
But it was too late. He’d seen too much. The blood. The death. It was all just too fucking much.
‘Let me tell you what happens if you stay on this road, brother.’ John’s eyes burned, his throat thick. Dornan had been his only true friend. What had gone so colossally wrong? When? Where? Before Mariana, before any of it, where had their paths diverged so violently?
And then, John understood. An epiphany that lay beneath him, beaten and still. Dornan had been born on this road. Naked, bloody, screaming, a pawn in a game much bigger than him. A chess piece that belonged to Emilio Ross, in blood and in name.
John could run Mariana could run. But Dornan would never be able to run from the thing he came from. The thing that created him. The darkness didn’t just exist within him.
He was the fucking darkness.
The breathtaking finale to the USA Today bestselling Cartel trilogy.
People aren't born monsters.
I'd been with Dornan Ross for the better part of a decade. Slept in his bed, sewn up his wounds, tasted his blood, seen inside his soul.
But even I wasn't prepared for what he did.
I should have known it would always come down to this, from the very moment I laid eyes on him in that motel.
I should have known his salvation was too good to be true.
Because it's all gone now, the impossible love I had for him bleeding away in the darkness that came afterward.
Now there's only hate.
Now I just want to escape.
Even if it means I have to kill him to be free.
ABOUT THE CARTEL TRILOGY
How much is a life worth?
Mariana Rodriguez is the eldest daughter of a Colombian drug lord. Growing up in Villanueva, Colombia, she has never wanted for anything. Private schools, a lavish lifestyle, and the safety of the Cartel that her father works for.
At nineteen, she's got her entire life mapped out, and what a good life it's going to be: graduate from college, move to America, and finally be free from the stifling grip of the Cartel.
Only, her father messes up. A shipment of cocaine - a very large, very valuable shipment - is seized by the authorities whilst under his care and he becomes liable for the debt. Half a million dollars' worth of cocaine.
Half a million dollars he does not have.
But he has a daughter, a very smart one, a daughter who would give up her very existence and offer herself as payment for her father's sins, to ensure her family survives.
But falling in love with the man who owns her isn't part of the plan...
Empire releases on December 19th
After the success of her self-published Gypsy Brothers series, she was approached by HarperCollins Publishers, who signed her CARTEL series in a three-book deal. Aside from writing, her other loves in life include her gorgeous husband and beautiful daughter, good coffee, Tarantino movies and spending hours on Instagram. She loves to read almost as much as she loves to write.
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