Viviana “Vine” Carducci’s and Anton Avdonin’s marriage was decided more than two decades ago. The deal between leading mafia families has more on the line than anyone knew, even if the Bratva and Cosa Nostra shouldn’t mix. When Vine’s family is murdered and she’s left with nothing more than her grief to survive the mob world alone, she believes the arrangement won’t see the light of day.
Anton can’t allow the one woman he was supposed to love get away. At the possibility of her death, he steps in to save her with guns blazing, knowing exactly what it might cost him: everything. But it’s been nearly a decade since their last meeting, and he can’t help but wonder if the woman he took back is the same girl he fell for all those years before.
Protected and loved, Vine is unable to forget their shared moments a lifetime ago, or the future she knows they’re owed. When an old flame of Anton’s shows up to rip the veil off the carefully constructed secrets he’d been hiding, she learns that nothing about her life is as it seems. But, that’s nothing compared to the bomb about to blow. Can Vine see beyond the pain and blood to take what she always wanted? And just how far will the mob prince go to keep her safe?
In a world where violence, deceit, and greed reign, your life is not your own, and sometimes, love has to be arranged.
Sensuality Level: Spicy
Bethany-Kris is a twenty-four-year-old Canadian author, mother, and lover of much. Between barking dogs, playing children, and a full-time job, she’s nearly always writing something, when she can find the time. Find Bethany-Kris at www.bethanykris.blogspot.ca, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
An excerpt from The Arrangement:
Anton sat behind an oak desk, fingers drumming an anxious beat on the wood.
Ivan caught his eye with a sympathetic frown. Their conversation had stalled into nothing at all. Neither knew what to say anymore. All the words they could dream up to yell at one another had been used in both English and Russian. They never argued, and if they did, it was rare. Closer than brothers, and they didn’t even share blood. Very seldom did Anton find an urge to yell at his Sovietnik the way he had tonight.
“Soon,” Ivan spoke up, tilting his head to the side. “You can give the order soon.”
“Soon could be too fucking late.”
“You have to take that chance.”
“Fifty thousand dollars to his cousin said she wouldn’t last the month,” Anton argued, words practically spitting through clenched teeth. “The price he’s going to offer out on her head isn’t worth the blood in her body. She’s a mafia princess, the daughter of a boss.”
“Not to Sonny, because in all honesty, he knows the truth.”
Anton ignored Ivan and continued on like the other man hadn’t even spoken. “Still a boss’s child, no matter which boss it is. You don’t pay five grand to off a woman like Viviana.”
“Goddamn it, you don’t know what that’d do to me.”
“Her dead, or the price?”
Viviana dead would absolutely destroy Anton. All those years he spent waiting and watching, keeping that safe distance but planning to make his move would be wasted. He’d been so careful and meticulous about his words and feelings for her when it came to his men and the rest of the Bratva organization, but there were some things he simply couldn’t hide.
Love for one.
He loved her so fucking hard it hurt and had for almost a decade.
“You’ve paid less,” Ivan pointed out.
Anton felt anger blaze through his veins like an inferno. “Are you comparing me to Sonny Carducci?”
“No, I’m just saying—”
“I’ve paid less for those who are worth less. You know I wouldn’t give an order to off a woman unless it was absolutely necessary. And never would I hurt Viviana. My whole life has been nothing but for her. Nicoli made sure of that.”
Before he could second-guess his choice, Anton hit the speaker button on the conference phone on the desk, dialing in the number and allowing it to ring. A familiar voice picked up on the second ring.
“Boris,” Anton greeted. “How are my things coming along?”
“As they have been. Another busy night.”
“Anton, I’m telling you that this isn’t the right time,” Ivan whispered warningly.
The younger man held up a middle finger as his silent fuck you. He didn’t take orders, he gave them.