Dark Love by Skye Warren
Release Date: July 18th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance
Pretty When You Cry:
A new dark romance novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Wanderlust and Prisoner…
I came from a place of dirt floors and holy scriptures. They told me the world outside was full of sin, and the first night I escape, I find out it’s true. Ivan saves me, but he does more than that. He takes me. He makes me his own girl.
My conditioning runs too deep. Ivan sees what I am.
That’s the thing about showing a mouse to a cat. He wants to play. And it’s terrifying, even for me. Because the only thing darker than my past is his.
Caught for Christmas
I’ll be home for Christmas…
The plan is simple. Break into the club and steal the money I need to save my father. The ex-military bouncer isn’t going to stop me, even if he is hot as hell.
If only in my dreams…
Except he has a curious knack for knowing my next step.
And there’s something dark underneath his desire, something dangerous. If he catches me, he might not let me go.
CAUGHT FOR CHRISTMAS
You know that feeling of unadulterated bliss when you take your bra off at the end of a long day? Yeah, multiply that by a thousand when you factor in four-inch heels and a glitter thong. It’s scratching the shit out of me underneath the trench coat I’m wearing, and it’s my own damn fault.
I could have changed in the dressing room like the other girls, but I feel weird about it. I’m not really comfortable with other women. It’s still too foreign. My childhood wasn’t really tree houses and friendship bracelets. More like hideouts and cuffs if you were stupid enough to get caught.
Shaking my ass for random strangers? I can do that.
Changing clothes in the dressing room, filled with girls who will judge me and hate me? No, thanks. I’ve been to high school already. Almost twenty of them, actually, considering how much we moved around.
So I’m taking a walk in the cool, damp night instead. The wind gusts into places that are usually dry. Tanglewood is far enough south that we don’t usually see snow, but tonight is especially cold. I’m looking forward to peeling this costume off my tired body and stepping into a hot shower.
“How much for the night?” a bum shouts from a darkened doorway.
“More than you got,” I call back without slowing my stride.
“Amen,” comes his fading response.
The streets are still pretty busy for the small morning hours, but I don’t fool myself that I’m safe.
I spot a group of businessmen leaving a restaurant, hands clapped on shoulders, drunken hails for a flurry of cabs. The sushi restaurant is decked out in garland and lights. These guys would have no problem at all springing for a goddamn burger. They probably blew eight hundred dollars on tiny cups of sake already.
My body needs something other than breathing room. I can hear the rumble of my stomach over the engines and city sounds from the street.
I shove my hands into my coat pockets. Don’t ask for trouble, Bee. You’re in enough trouble already.
There are two packs of ramen noodles on my counter and an endless supply of water from the tap, but I would really love something hot and cheesy and full of carbs. It’s the kind of meal I wouldn’t hesitate to buy myself when I started dancing, knowing I’d work off more calories than I can eat. That’s still true, but these days even a fifteen-dollar diner check is stretching the bounds of my wallet. My paycheck is generous. It’s more than enough—if I didn’t have to pay an old debt. Someone else’s debt.
I’m two feet away from the men when my hands come out of my pockets. I feel them moving with a kind of muscle memory, bile rising in my throat at what I’m about to do. They’re just a bunch of rich bastards. They don’t give a fuck about anyone but themselves. You’ll be doing them a favor, stealing from them, bringing them down a notch. That’s what Maisie would tell me, but what does she know? She’s the reason I’m in this mess.
There’s only the slightest jostle, the faintest tug of fabric. Then the wallet’s in my pocket, not his.
He won’t even think I took it. He’ll head back into the restaurant to check the table first.
Poor rich bastard. I’m the one who doesn’t care about anyone but myself.
I walk for five blocks, past where I would normally turn off. When the coast looks clear, I duck into a dark alley and check my haul. I’m not going to bother with the credit cards or ID. All I want is cash, and I find two crisp hundred-dollar bills and a few random twenties and tens.
I fold them into my bustier through the lapels of my coat and toss the wallet into the dumpster. This means dinner tonight and a few more hot, melty meals besides. They won’t scratch the surface of the larger debt, but my goals are small now. Something buttery with a hint of garlic.
A hand lands on my shoulder.
My heart knocks against my ribs, and I whirl to face my attacker. There are a lot of people who might have followed me in here. The guy whose wallet I stole. Or just some random asshole who wants to take what I won’t give him. I’m prepared for a fight.
I’m not prepared for West.
His dark skin blends into the shadows, highlighting his eyes and the white of his teeth when he speaks. “What the fuck, Bianca?”
His shock mirrors mine. How did he follow me without me noticing? He must have kept pace from the club. I’m losing my touch, and at the worst possible time. “Can I help you?” I say coolly, stalling for time.
He rolls his eyes and reaches for me. I have a second’s panic as his hand comes closer—is he going to hurt me? Is he going to touch me? Then his long fingers pluck the thin wad of cash from my bustier. He holds it up to the faint light. Somehow he managed to do that almost without touching my skin.
That can’t be disappointment I feel, can it?
“Stealing,” he says flatly.
I hate the judgment in his tone, the censure. “What’s it to you?”