"I think you enjoyed at least part of your punishment last night, sweetheart." "No," I whispered, my voice barely audible, my eyes still on his hand, on his fingers as they drew small circles that made my toes curl on my exposed, sensitive skin. He moved closer to me, making a small gasp push past my lips as I looked up, our gazes colliding. "Relax. Do you know what the fun part is, Lana? It doesn't always have to be a punishment. It could be something... exciting too. Something you'll most definitely like." — To save her entire family from the Stravkos Mafia - which was the most powerful Mafia family in Tuscany, Italy - Twenty-two-year old Solana Williams agrees to take her sister's place and becomes a sacrificial lamb - becoming Abel Stravkos' wife. Theirs is just a mere marriage of convenience, but Solana is embittered, vowing revenge for all they did to her family. Abel Stravkos has no need of a wife, but with his cold-hearted father handling the helm of affairs, he's helpless to object. His heart isn't tied to this strange, beautiful, vengeful woman who's been forced down his throat. But the line between love and hate is thin, and Solana's staunch disobedience to his orders, fuels his need to control her in every way possible. Driven by revenge, and an undeniable passion sizzling just beneath the surface, it's only a matter of time before their attraction for each other becomes apparent, much to the dismay of his father and mistress who become forces, trying to pull them apart. Will they ever rise above obstacles lodged in their paths and get their happily-ever-after?View More
AbelWe didn't speak for the rest of the drive. There were so many things to say, so many demons to confront, and they hovered right above up, making the air thick with a dense foreboding. Once we reached the mansion, I climbed out of the car, and straightened my shirt, clutching the envelope containing the new contract. It was not necessary getting Father to sign it — his signature mattered less — but for closure to be properly achieved, I had to do it this way.“Ready, sweetheart?”Before I could nod and respond, Lana wound her arm through mine. Since I got shot, we'd gotten much closer to each other. We enjoyed each other's company, craved each other's opinions and bodies, and when she did stuff like this, touching me like this, it made me feel lucky, special. It made my heartbeat quicken, my heart filling with a joy I'd never thought possible.I pulled her back. “You don't have to go in with me. I won't waste any time. Once he signs it, I'm getting right out of there.” I watched h
AbelFulfilling my promise to Lana had got to be the most liberating thing I'd ever done.It took away the guilt I'd felt on that day I saw her for the first time; star-strucked by those bright-eyes that dimmed when her father announced the purpose of our visit with tears in his eyes. It took away the feeling of possessiveness — the need to control her. It took away a lot of things I wasn't proud about, and left me with a warm glow in my chest. What it didn't take away, however, was my ever-increasing love for her.Andre came over to the house the following morning, and handed me the initial contract she and I had signed. I couldn't look at it — I set it aside, and had him draw up a new one. This one wrote off any debt the Williams family owed any Stravkos, real or perceived, and the two families were no longer bound in any way. In any form. I also directed him, to make that part possible to be overturned in the future at any time.I signed it immediately and had a copy sent to Helen
SolanaAbel moved into the guest room downstairs while he recovered. The doctor was against him stressing himself, and climbing stairs would be fatal to his health since he was still very much fragile. I moved into the room with him and slept beside him, taking extreme care not to touch the still tender spot the bullet had ripped into. I knew he still felt pain, but insisted on less and less medication, saying he could wing it. After a day of being home, he could walk to the bathroom and house entrance on his own, although it wore him out.“This is sickening,” he complained a week later after one of his visits to the bathroom. I looked up at him from where I was sitting on the bed. “I hate being weak. That's not the Stravkos way.”He lay back down and I helped him tuck the blanket up to his waist. “Stop whining. You're getting stronger everyday. I can feel it.”“Well I can't feel anything but my weak bones and side. I'm not healing fast enough.”“You are, but you won't notice because
AbelLana walked them out then returned to me shortly. “Frank is mischievous.”“Yes, he is. He's Andrew's son through and through. Which is why I'm staying away from that pea soup. I don't trust that kid.”The room returned to it's revered solitude as our smiles faded. Her eyes glazed over, and I could have felt like I imagined the tears if she hadn't subtly raised a finger to dab them off.“I thought I had lost you too. I couldn't feel your pulse. I couldn't feel you breathe, and you were so still. So calm. The blood was all over...oh God...” she trailed off, her voice breaking, eyes filled with tears.I was so close to crying too. Reaching up to touch her face, although my arm felt sore even with that small, gentle movement, I whispered with a nervous chuckle. “Takes more than one gunshot to kill me off. A Stravkos never dies that easily.”She sniffled, a hint of a smile on her lips. “You have no idea how grateful I am to death for not taking you. You've become my whole world, Abel.
AbelI was dreaming.It was one of those dreams where nothing basically happens. One of those dreams you feel your legs can't touch the ground. You feel as though you're drifting in space, not recalling anything. Not seeing, nor feeling anything but fire in your side.And then you hear voices. They sound so far away, bold, spoken words that sound like the faintest whispers. And then you're falling from space. And then you catch glimpses of the incidents that led to you having that terrible burn in your side.And then you make out one of the voices talking to belong to the only woman you had ever loved.The monitors bleeped like an endless, buzzing swarm of bees. I heard the doctor asking Lana to go home and get some rest, but she was adamant. I heard her refer to me as stubborn, and it made me smile all the time. Whenever I managed to drift back to consciousness, she was there, sitting by my side and holding my hand. Sometimes she cried, and I knew it wasn't tears of sadness. At first
SolanaWhen we arrived at the hospital, he was taken straight to the emergency unit. Andre screamed orders that they should commence surgery immediately. It was the same ward Wyatt had been into.Life truly does come full circle, doesn't it?Only this time, the doctors wouldn't even look at us. Hospital policy instructed that they only provided information about a patient to his immediate family. Helen and I weren't.“Fucking distasteful! I just want to know if he's going to live! Don't you understand?”“Ma'am,” the doctor said, exhaling calmly. “Please calm down. This is not my doing. It's just how things work over here.”“Lana,” a deep voice called behind us. I turned to see Andre striding into the waiting room, his face cleaned of blood, although his shirt was still coated in deep crimson. He placed a hand on my shoulder and squeezed gently. I relaxed.“They've begun operating. There's no news if he'll make it or not for the moment.” He turned to the doctor. “Please add Lana Willia
Solana“Abel, no!”I surged forward, almost knocking Helen to the floor and sank down on my knees beside his limp body. Tears welled up as I held his face with one hand and pressed my other hand to his side that was gushing out so much blood, I felt it'd never stop. Without thinking, I slammed my lips against him. I kissed him madly. Uncontrollably, again and again. When I tried to push his hair back from his forehead, I left blood in it's place. His blood. There was so much of it, more than I'd ever seen in my entire life. Too much.“Please don't die. Stay with me, please. Please, Abel.”It was then I realized I didn't make him promise to live. I thought he was invincible. That he could never die. That he'd always be alive, and would always be by my side. He'd made me three promises — selfish promises — and he'd never promised me that he wouldn't die.I'd never asked him to promise that. God, all these while... I didn't think he could ever be defeated. I thought Death held no candle
Abel“Andrew, give me the gun,” I said, shadowing him as he moved around the table, advancing to where Father stood, but it was like I was talking to a rock. He couldn't hear or see me. Couldn't hear or see anything but Father.“You're such a tyrant. Everything always has to go your way, and now that I'm older, I realize how stupid I've been, letting you dictate my life. I was too much of a wimp to let you know that we loved each other and she was carrying my baby. Mine, you dirty old man.”“Andrew,” I said, more firmly this time. “Hand me the damn gun. Now. Don't do something you'll regret later.”Father was unperturbed by the pistol, dragging his eyes from him to Helen for a few minutes. I couldn't practically imagine the wheels in his mind turning into place as he finally understood. But Andrew wasn't through with his ranting.“You've never loved me. Never cared. It's always about Abel. Always about Andre!”“That's not true, and you know it,” Father exhaled, too calm for a man who
Abel“Last chance to tell me everything, little bro. It's for your own good.”“It's going to be a peaceful meeting, right? You have nothing to worry about. Go get everyone under control, now. I'll see you when it's time for the meeting.”“Suit yourself.”I strode out of the room, taking no detours to see how my Father and Andre were doing, and heading straight for Lana's room.She and Helen sat side by side on the bed conversing in low tones when I walked in. Feeling guilty, Lana shot me a nervous smile, getting up at once.I looked past her at Helen. “The meeting is downstairs, not here,” I said, then turned to Lana. “You disobeyed me.”“I had to talk to her first, Abel. She's my sister.”“Why do you always miss the point every fucking time? It's driving me to my limits,” I said.“I know this might come as a shock to you, sis, but for once I'd say listen to him. He's right. This whole thing concerns me and me alone. We've already lost so much people. I don't want you getting involved
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