Dangerous Beauty Read Online Melissa Koslin

Categories Genre: Romance, Suspense, Thriller Tags Authors:
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Total pages in book: 106
Estimated words: 103618 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 518(@200wpm)___ 414(@250wpm)___ 345(@300wpm)
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Liliana Vela hates the term victim. She’s not a victim, she’s a fighter. Stubborn and strong with a quiet elegance, she’s determined to take back her life after escaping the clutches of human traffickers in her poor Mexican village. But she can’t stay safely over the border in America–unless the man who aided in her rescue is serious about his unconventional proposal to marry her.
Meric Toledan was just stopping at a service station for a bottle of water. Assessing the situation, he steps in to rescue Liliana from traffickers. If he can keep his secrets at bay, his wealth and position afford him many resources to help her. But the mysterious buyer who funded her capture will not sit idly by while his prize is stolen from him.

Melissa Koslin throws you right into the middle of the action in this high-stakes thriller that poses the question: What is the price of freedom?

FULL BOOK START HERE:

Chapter

ONE

She ran.

She’d finally orchestrated an opportunity, and she’d run.

Twigs snapped under her bare feet. She hardly felt the pain. It was the sound that rattled through her. They’ll hear. They’ll find me.

She ran faster.

Branches reached out and scraped her skin.

She slipped on some wet leaves but managed to stay on her feet.

She couldn’t breathe, but she kept going.

To her left, she could hear cars. It didn’t sound like a freeway, but maybe a rural highway. Should I try to hitchhike? But the thought of getting into a car with another stranger was too much. She needed to get as far away as quickly as she could, but she wasn’t getting into a car with anyone. Logically, she knew the likelihood of finding someone as bad as those she was running from was remote, but logic wasn’t forefront for her. Right now was flight mode. Survival.

Darkness started to close around her like a cage.

Go deeper into the woods and stay there tonight? She thought about rest, that she needed to stop and sleep at some point, but she couldn’t get her legs to stop running. She’d run miles already. She’d probably collapse before finding enough control to get herself to stop.

Lights in the distance.

Flight mode subsided slightly. Her survival instincts screamed at her to stay away from people, but she knew she couldn’t stay out here in the woods the rest of her life, however long that ended up being. If she were back home, she’d have a fighting chance, but she didn’t know this area, what kinds of animals were native, which plants were edible. As she slowed her pace, she realized how cold it was.

She approached the edge of the woods and peered around a tree to the source of the lights—a truck stop. There were so many gas pumps she couldn’t count them. There were big semitrucks with their rumbling engines that made her nerves feel like lit matches. They sounded just like the truck she’d been thrown into back home, the one that had taken her over the border to this country. That was actually better than what she’d been living through the last several days. On the truck, there had been many women. They’d had one another for warmth, for comfort.

She hid behind the tree. Since when had that nightmare on the truck morphed into a positive memory? They’d lost a few of the women—a couple of them just didn’t wake up, and one had suffered a heart attack, she was fairly certain. But she was almost thankful they’d been taken early. It was a better fate.

The chill seeped into her bones, and she wrapped her arms around herself.

She looked over at the truck stop—warmth, a restroom where she could wash. She dearly wished she had some money. She hadn’t eaten in two days. And she couldn’t steal; her parents had raised her to be honorable, even when it was difficult, especially when it was difficult. But maybe she could find some food in a garbage can.

Carefully, she analyzed the area, identified all entrances and exits, watched the people. They looked so different here. But they didn’t appear to be particularly threatening.

She stood straight, took a breath, and pulled her fingers through her long, black hair. Hopefully her appearance didn’t draw too much attention. As she walked across the grass, she tried to wipe the dirt off her feet. All while watching every person, every vehicle.

She moved quickly across the asphalt and into the store. It was huge. There were cases and cases of cold drinks, shelves of food, even two different fast-food restaurants. She made herself ignore the bottles of water so close and headed straight for the ladies’ restroom. Mercifully, it was empty. She turned on a faucet, washed her hands, and drank. She filled her cupped hands over and over. Then she washed her face, her hands, her arms. She glanced at the door and decided to risk washing her lower half as well. She lifted her dress and rapidly washed. Maybe she could blend in, disappear, if she was clean enough. She was drying off her feet with rough paper towels when the door opened. She watched the middle-aged woman peripherally but didn’t make eye contact.


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