Ruined Kingdom (Ruined Kingdom Duet #1) Read Online Natasha Knight

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Contemporary, Dark, Erotic, Mafia Tags Authors: Series: Ruined Kingdom Duet Series by Natasha Knight
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Total pages in book: 82
Estimated words: 78811 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 394(@200wpm)___ 315(@250wpm)___ 263(@300wpm)
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I never imagined my first trip to Italy would be to bury my father. But there I was in the beautiful cathedral, alone, with my father’s casket and a handful of soldiers to keep me safe.

It didn’t occur to me that anyone would disrupt the sanctity of the church. Would march in, weapons in hand and turn my world upside down.

But the Caballero brothers have no regard for the church and even less for my family.

They destroyed the peace of that sad occasion.
They desecrated my father’s body.
And they took me for themselves.

I’m a princess in a tower in a breathtaking villa.
My bedroom overlooks the turquoise sea but the door is locked.

And I have to contend with not one but two dragons.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************

Prologue

Amadeo

15 Years Ago

* * *

Hundred-dollar bills float to the peeling linoleum floor. Five. Ten. Fifteen. Fifteen-hundred dollars. It’s what a life is worth to them.

My mother can’t stop sobbing. She’s going to choke on her tears. My father stands defiant, his hands fisted at his sides.

Fifteen-hundred dollars lie on the old green-and-yellow floor. Does he expect us to drop and rush to collect them? Thank him for his generosity? He’s going to be disappointed if that’s the case.

Lucien Russo moves to his father’s side, inadvertently stepping on one of the bills with his polished, expensive shoes. Or maybe it’s not so inadvertent. I ignore him, though. He doesn’t matter. Not now. He is not the one in control.

He whispers something to his father while I take in the cut of the older man’s suit. The scent of their combined cologne permeates the air in the small room as if syphoning out the oxygen. As my father instructed me to, I keep my gaze low and memorize the ring on Geno Russo’s finger. The insignia. Lucien has one too. It looks out of place on his hand, though. Like a boy wearing a man’s ring. He’s new to his family’s business with hands like that. His father’s hands are dangerous. Violent. Although I know the damage Lucien can do. Today is evidence of it.

“No hard feelings, Roland,” the older Russo says.

My father clenches and unclenches his hands. I shift my gaze up, just for a moment. I want to know if Russo has seen that fisting and flexing. That barely pent-up rage.

He has.

“You won’t make trouble, Roland,” Russo says, and I realize he hasn’t missed my glance either because his eyes meet mine.

I step forward, flanking my father’s right.

“Amadeo.” My father says my name like a warning. He’s still looking at the older man, who smiles a cunning, terrifying smile as he lays a heavy hand on my head.

“Amadeo,” Russo repeats. “Your son is brave,” he says to my father, then shifts his gaze to Bastian, who peers out from behind my father’s back. “Tell me, are you as brave?” he asks my younger brother.

My mother swallows back a sob.

“They are children,” my father responds, and it sounds like they’re having a different, parallel conversation alongside the spoken words. The undercurrent of danger is undeniable.

“Two boys. Boys who will grow into men.”

No one says a word for a long minute as the unspoken threat hangs between us. My mother’s crying is the only sound in the room.

“We had a sister, too,” Bastian says, his voice high. He’s not yet a man.

They all turn their attention to my brother, and I know this is a fatal mistake. This moment.

Just then, the door opens, and we all turn to it, surprised when a little girl comes hopping into our small, ugly kitchen. She’s softly singing a Disney tune and seems oblivious to the tension as her eyes quickly scan the room and land on Geno Russo. She smiles a huge smile.

“Daddy,” she says. “Look what I picked. Daffodils.” They’re actually dandelions. She holds her bouquet up to her father.

Her father.

A man comes running in after her, expression hurried, frazzled. “I was… She…”

Russo gives him a deadly look that lasts an instant before he bends to scoop up his little girl. “So pretty. Go pick more for me, will you?”

She nods, but she’s sensed something is off. I see it in her expression. And as he carries her toward the door, she catches my eyes on her before my mother’s cry steals her attention. She tilts her head in confusion. “Daddy?” she starts, a dandelion dropping from her hand. But a moment later, she’s gone, and the door closed.

My father pushes me backward with a heavy hand when Russo returns his full attention to us. Dad steps between the older man and me. And I know everything has changed. We’re down to the real business of his visit now. I wonder if Bastian hadn’t spoken, if I hadn’t defiantly met the older man’s gaze, what happened next would have gone differently. Would they simply have left? Hadn’t they done enough damage?


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