Date: May 31, 2016
ELUDE prior to Empire
Death knocks on my door, I want to answer, but every time I
reach for the handle -- the promise I made her brings me back.
And I allow the anger to boil beneath the surface of a
perfectly indifferent facade. I am broken, I don't want to be fixed.
But the Empire is crumbling and it's my job to fix it.
My job to mend the pieces that were scattered over thirty
A trip to New York, only one chance to redeem a lost part of
our mafia family.
The only issue is, the only way to fix it, is to do
something I swore I'd never do again.
Or so help me God, I will kill her myself.
My name is Sergio Abandonoto, you think you know my pain, my
suffering, my anger, my hate?
Sergio is in mourning,Val is in ignorance. She's naive of the dark world around her.She has no idea her family is the Mafia. Her world crumble when all she thought was real turns out to be a facade.On top of that she must married a total strange who rather be doing anything than the marrying a naive little girl oblivious of how to act as a mafia wife. But she better learn quick because she's just been thrown in to a war.Danger is chasing them as they struggle with their own emotional turmoil.And things in both their lives are not what they think.Secrets come to light that will either destroy them or cement their relationship.
I totally loved EMPIRE! ELUDE nearly killed me,it ripped at my heart with such sorrow and anguish I was left begging for comfort for Sergio(or being the one comforting him would have worked for me too ;) )Before ELUDE I wasn't very fond of Sergio after the whole I want my cousin situation with Mo. But Andi brought out a different side of him that I fell in love with.Now I really love him,so I guess you can say I love all the mafia boys(but Nixon will always be my favorite).And to all of ya'll who keep begging for a family tree(including) can you wrap your head around the relations of Val and Dante to Trace.I tried I really did but it had my head spinning! Each book to this series becomes more epic with every book! This woman can write! There's never a dull moment and I promise you won't want to put it down once you start reading it.
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall
Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary
romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks
and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband,
adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!
Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text
MAFIA to 66866!
You can connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/rachelvandyken or join her fan group Rachel's New Rockin Readers. Her
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Get the beginning of Sergio's story in Elude on
hours before we were to be married--I offered to shoot her.
hours before our wedding--I made a mockery of her dying wish.
hours before we were going to say our vows--I promised I'd never love her.
hour before I said I do--I vowed I'd never shed a tear over her death.
the minute we were pronounced man and wife--I knew.
only use my gun to protect her.
give my life for hers.
I would, most definitely, lose my heart, to a dying girl---a girl who by all
accounts should have never been mine in the first place.
always believed the mafia would be my end game--where I'd lose my heart, while
it claimed my soul. I could have never imagined. It would be my redemption.
the beginning of something beautiful.
held up my hand. “It’s too cold to walk.”
of us who have hearts,” I said under my breath.
and then burst out laughing. “Holy shit, was that a dig at me?”
as the taxi pulled up.
you’re not even apologizing.”
“It was more
of a passing comment under my breath…” I got into the taxi and slid across the
cold, worn vinyl seat. “But true.”
slammed the door after him. “And here I thought I was making a good
to kill me if I kissed you.”
driver frowned into the rearview mirror.
kidding,” Sergio reassured him.
I refused to
let him get off that easy. “You also look at me like you want to throw up.”
Driver’s nostrils flared.
laughed uncomfortably. “I just have a lot on my mind.”
eyes looked like they were going to bug out of his head. Yeah, this was
probably the best entertainment he’d had all day.
talk about it,” Sergio said in a drop-the-subject voice.
enough money to afford a therapist, thank you,” he said through clenched teeth.
doesn’t buy happiness,” I fired back.
released a string of pithy curses. “Did someone spike your milk this morning
during show and tell?”
Kool-Aid.” His eyes narrowed. “It’s like you’re trying to piss me off.”
smiled. “Funny, that’s what Dante says to me all the time. Just think of all
the things you get to look forward to. Isn’t that what you said you wanted?”
looked ready to strangle me. “No. I don’t believe I asked for an annoying
little sister, but if that’s what you’re offering, please don’t let me stop
you. Just know, I won’t hesitate to put you over my knee if you get out of
the words left his mouth. I froze.
The taxi driver
stared little laser-like holes into the rearview mirror.
leaned toward me.
as tension swirled around us.
me by the chin and turned my head to the side, his lips brushing my ear. “It’s
like you have a death wish.”
back as both of his eyebrows shot up, and then he looked down, like something
had caught his eye.
the direction of his gaze and let out a little gasp as a gun dug into my
directed at you for the last four minutes,” Sergio said through a practiced
smile. “I meant what I said. Listen well. I keep my word. Kiss me, and blood
will be spilled.”
crazy person!” I hissed, shoving at his chest. “And I wasn’t going to kiss
weren’t.” He put the gun away. “Good talk though, right? Oh look, the movie
To say that
I scrambled out of the car like a kid running away from her kidnapper would be
a gross understatement, but the minute my feet hit the pavement, I paused.
The guy had
pulled a gun.
even watch violent movies, I’d just panicked and said the first thing that
popped into my head!
And I was
about to go to the theater with a guy who probably showered in blood on a daily
basis and by the looks of it — got off on it.
forced myself to take a deep breath and wrapped my jacket tighter around my
That was the
thing about men like Sergio, or maybe just loyalty in general. He’d promised he
would keep me safe, but I wondered if that promise was only extended until I
was more trouble than I was worth.
I was safe,
not because of what I was to him.
of who my dad had been to him.
And yet, a
part of me still yearned to be… something.
mind?” Sergio’s smooth voice interrupted my thoughts. He was the type of man
you felt even when he wasn’t speaking. His presence was impossible to ignore,
kind of like his ridiculous good looks.
mafia guys supposed to be old?
smokers who bought Cuban cigars and sat behind large desks while counting money
and ordering hits on people who pissed them off?
finally found my voice. “I was just thinking….”
hand touched my back, ushering me forward, but not pushing, almost as if he was
giving me the option of still saying no.
my pace so that I couldn’t feel the warmth of his fingertips. “Popcorn.” I
turned and winked, hoping it would hide the fact that my body was shaking.
Maybe I was
the crazy one.
And he had
no qualms about pointing his weapon at me whenever I got too close.
have a happy marriage.
I guess we’d
never argue, since I liked living.
suck not to make my twenty-first birthday because I didn’t fold the towels just
Was he that
neurotic? Or was it just the closeness?
“On a scale
of one to ten…” I was proud of the way I kept the shaking out of my voice. Why
was I so scared? Oh right, because he’d pointed a gun, no, shoved a freaking
gun into my stomach and done it with a smile on his face. “How OCD are you?”
laugh escaped him as he glanced around the movie theater lobby and then back at
me. “What makes you think I’m OCD?”
gulped then forced a smile that I didn’t feel. How was I supposed to go through
an entire movie knowing he was one uncomfortable conversation away from losing
“What can I
get you?” A teen boy looked at Sergio then smiled wider when his eyes fell to
Sergio wrapped a protective arm around me, basically forcing my body to curve
into his warmth. “My wife and I will have two buckets of popcorn, two packs of
Sour Patch Kids, and a bottled water.”
correct him about the water.
Sergio held up his hand. “Sorry, Dr. Pepper mixed with Coke.”
scrunched up his face then rung us up. His eyes fell to me again then back at
the register, like he was trying not to look but couldn’t help it, which was
comical, since I didn’t really think I was anything to look at.
handed Sergio back his change I could have sworn I heard a growl from my
As it was,
he jerked the candy so hard out of the kid’s hands that I was surprised he
didn’t do a front flip over the counter.
boy,” I whispered under my breath. “No need to shoot him too.”
glanced down at me, muttered a curse. “He was staring.”
about one science project away from solving world hunger via his mom’s
basement… hardly the type of guy that I’d date.”
Sergio said it so loudly the people in front of us waiting to show the
attendant their tickets jumped and then turned around. “What the hell do you
messed up again.
went sweaty while my face felt numb with fear. Regardless of how pretty he was
to look at — I was finally fully aware of how dangerous he was to me.
trickled down my lower back as I gulped down more soda and shrugged. “I just
mean, he’s not my type.”
“No shit he
isn’t, because you don’t get a type anymore.”
licked my lower lip, pretending not to be scared, pretending to be the brave
person I wasn’t was wearing on me.
By the time
we made it into the theater I was dizzy.
It was too
much all at once.
Sergio’s voice was in my ear. I jumped a foot. He frowned as if he couldn’t
figure out why I’d be so jumpy. “Dante sits behind you, right?”
exhaled in relief. I forgot. It wasn’t a date. It was a challenge. He’d called
me his sister, so therefore he was my brother, right? Hah. I relaxed a bit as I
pointed to a seat a few rows back and quickly stole the goodies out of his
hands then made my way to my own seat before he could object.
And I found
myself ducking in the chair.
The hair on
the back of my neck stood on end.
As if I was
being watched — because I was.
into the movie, I was so stressed out, I almost burst into tears. My back was
a big no-no? My back was to the dude with the gun.
he was supposed to protect me with the gun, all bets were off now.
in the palms of my hands.
rose as one of the actresses ran down the stairs screaming.
And then, a
body sat down next to me.
me a suspicious look then put a seat between us.
At least I
knew where he was.
the gun was, he was right handed, so there was that.
allowed myself to relax enough to watch the movie when I saw Sergio’s right
hand duck into his jacket.
the plastic arm rests, my fingers digging into the cheap sticky plastic
material as he slowly pulled something out.
flinched so hard that there was no mistaking what I thought he was doing.
he had grabbed a black cell phone.
body shook as a big fat tear escaped, I tried to wipe it away but I wasn’t fast
shoved past him and ran.
But my body
was too scared.
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