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Published by: eXtasy Books

Author : VR Tennent

ISBN :978-1-4874-3738-1

Page :238

Word Count :76739

Publication Date :2023-01-27

Series : Guilty Secrets#1

Heat Level :

Available Formats : Locked (epub) , Locked (mobi) , Locked (pdf) , Locked (prc)

Category : Contemporary Romance , Romantic Suspense and Mystery , Romance

  • Product Code: 978-1-4874-3738-1

Some choices you make in life, some are made for you. Sometimes life is locked.

As the heavy steel doors slid back, I walked out to freedom for the first time in ten years. I’d gone into prison as a teenager and was leaving an adult who didn’t know how to live anywhere else. What was more terrifying than being free was moving back in with my mother. She hated me, and I couldn’t understand why.

Weeks later I was lost and confused with no direction in life. It was then I met him. My fairytale ending.

My hope.

My saviour.

He was everything I didn’t deserve. A successful businessman and conscientious lover. Our love was instant and our relationship rapid. And he loved me with all his heart.

After years of working hard on myself, being devoted to learning my craft in his family business, life was looking up. I had promise. Then it all went wrong. Destructive realities came to light and the consequences were life threatening.

Will I ever recover from the secrets?

Trigger warning--contains adult themes including physical violence, miscarriage and alcoholism.

Author Note: This book is a steamy contemporary mafia romance and is recommended for readers aged eighteen years and over. It contains themes including violence, miscarriage, and alcoholism. There are open door other women scenes when the main characters are separated.


March 2019

It was a gloomy day in Glasgow and the grey skies above mirrored my mood. I don’t suppose many people are delighted the day their divorce is finalised. I left the courthouse around midday and headed straight to the nearest pub―I needed to find oblivion.

Trudging down the slick steps to the basement bar was treacherous. Green slime covered the old grey stone where the sunshine never reached. Precariously, I descended the stairs, taking each one at a snail’s pace to ensure I didn’t fall.

Inside, the décor looked like it hadn’t been updated in thirty years, but there was something calming about the place. The dark wood walls and red velvet chairs gave it an intimate feel. As I climbed up on a high stool beside the bar and crossed my legs, I waited, but no one was to be seen.

Ten minutes passed and the bartender was still absent. To hell with this, I thought, sliding down from my perch. Wandering behind the bar whilst scanning the room for cameras, I helped myself. The click of the optic and splash of liquor in the glass was calming to my anxious brain.

It started with one drink and ended with sixteen. The place was deserted on a Wednesday afternoon in March, while normal people were at work. The bartender appeared from the back room and he found me helping myself to his stock.

The baseball bat had connected with my back without me even seeing it.

“Bloody thief!” he roared. “I’m calling the police. Stay there!” He had put one foot on my chest to stop me from running, not that I could have. Between the concussion in my skull from hitting the floor and the volume of alcohol in my blood, my body was limp.

The two police officers manhandled me into a sitting position before pulling me to my feet.

“Can you stand?” the female officer asked. Her voice was firm with an undertone of disgust. Unable to form the words in my head, I stayed mute and looked at her blankly. Revulsion showed on her face as she screwed up her nose at the aroma of alcohol wafting in her direction.

“Another drunk in the middle of the day,” she muttered to her colleague. “I don’t know about you, Clive, but I’m sick of dealing with these losers. What will we do with her? Cells are already full and it’s only Wednesday.”

Clive didn’t answer, looking me over as if I was a piece of shit he had found on the bottom of his shoe. Impassive, he shrugged his shoulders at his colleague and then gestured to the bar owner with his eyes.

 “Do you want to press charges for theft?” the female officer asked.

The man shook his head. “One bottle of vodka isn’t going to ruin me. Just get her out of my pub. The after-work punters will be arriving soon, and I don’t want her cluttering up the place.” The policewoman nodded. Clive still didn’t speak. They each put an arm under mine and lifted me to my feet. I rocked between them as stars swirled in my brain. My seven years of sobriety ended in a single afternoon. This was my rock bottom.

“Where are you taking me?” I asked, aware that my words were all slurring together. As they piled me into the waiting police car, the doorframe connected with my forehead.

“Duck!” the female officer growled. “Are you that bladdered you can’t see the hunk of metal in front of you?”

I ignored her.

“The station,” Clive replied deadpan to my original question.

“Why?” I squealed. “The owner said he didn’t want to press charges. I can’t go back to prison!”

He raised his eyebrows at me, processing the information.

“Ma’am, you were found drunk, stealing vodka from a bar in the city centre on a Wednesday afternoon. I think it would be best if you come to the station, sober up, and we can contact a family member to collect you.”

My heart sank at his words. A family member. I didn’t have any of those left.

The police station was quiet, thank goodness. Having not been in one since that day all those years ago, my anxiety was at rocket levels. The last time I was covered in someone else’s blood, trying to explain away what happened.

A tall, lanky man stood behind the white melamine desk, checking in detainees as they were brought into the reception area. His narrow eyes regarded me with suspicion as he spoke.

“Name?” he requested.

“Nicky,” I stammered, “Nicola Smith.” My hands were beginning to shake from nerves and withdrawal from my afternoon bender. Using my maiden name was a kick to the gut.

“Address and occupation?”

“Um, I’m staying with my friend, Sophie Warren, at 16 Thorn St. I’m unemployed at the moment.” My face flushed red at the admission. My mother had warned me relying on him for everything was a mistake.

“Do you have someone we can call to come and collect you?” He continued with his questions, ignoring my discomfort.

“No, I’ll get the bus,” I lied.

“I’m sorry, Ms Smith but I wouldn’t be comfortable letting you leave on your own. Who’s your next of kin? Tell me your date of birth and I’ll find their details from your medical records.”

Sighing in defeat, I gave him my date of birth. I sat on the sticky plastic chair waiting for my mother to arrive. She was going to be furious, again. We hadn’t spoken in a long time. As I sat twiddling my thumbs, I imagined how she would react my heart sank further toward my toes. How could you embarrass the family again, Nicky? Do you never learn, Nicky?

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Tags: Romance, Contemporary, Suspense