Publication Date: April 3, 2017
Genres: Adult, Erotic, Romantic Suspense, Organized Crime
As the son of an Irish mobster, Connor O’Neil spent his boyhood hiding from the horrors of his own home. His one reprieve was a girl he knew only as Evelyn, but even she was taken away. As a man, Connor is determined to stay away from his father’s business. With Sean, participation is not a request, but a demand. The truth is, Connor might be more like the evil he’s trying to hide away from than he would like to admit.
And he’s already spent years trying to cover the scars left over from the pain.
A chance encounter puts the lost girl from his past back on his path, and he no longer has a choice but to face the darkness he’s been ignoring for years.
Evelyn. Sasha. Slave.
She doesn’t really know who she is anymore.
Or maybe she does, and she doesn’t want to tell.
She isn’t the same as she once was—now a thing to be kept and maintained, shuffled from owner to owner until it was her time to go. She only became Connor’s because he took her when he knew she wasn’t his to take.
Except she isn’t Connor’s at all …
And he can’t keep her hidden forever.
~Inflict is a Standalone Romance with graphic depictions of violence, sexual scenes, dark elements and a HEA. It is not recommended for those under the age of 18.
“It’s art, the same thing you have all over the house, except on canvas.”
“Where it belongs,” Connor said exasperated. “Children draw on the walls, Evelyn.”
What bit of anger was in her expression melted away, leaving a deep hurt in its place. A part of Connor regretted what he’d said almost instantly, but the other part of him knew it was true.
He understood that it was the same way for Evelyn, too. A large part of her was all woman—adult, grown, and a wee bit insane. But there was still a part of her that was a wee child, stuck in a time before all the terrible things had happened to her.
“That was uncalled for,” she said.
Connor scowled. “Drawing on the walls is uncalled for.”
“You’re just parroting things back to me.”
“Because I’m the one making sense, lass!”
Evelyn’s green eyes rolled upwards. “Whatever, I’m finishing the feather, and it’s staying. It’s not like it’s fucking ugly or something.”
Connor eyed the feather, silently agreeing. It was a beautiful image, even if the majority of it was only the barebones of the drawing. Mostly blacklines forming what would be before all the color was added in. She had added some color toward the top, gentle strokes of metallic color that melted with other colors, and shimmered under the kitchen pot lights. He was sure once the light came in from the morning through the windows, the color would sparkle even more.
It was amazing.
He wouldn’t deny that.
But on his kitchen wall?
Surely, they had better things to be doing and talking about other than drawing on walls?
“You can keep the feather,” Connor said heavily.
It pained him to do so.
“You didn’t have a choice.”
“But,” he added, “no more on the walls.”
Her head turned, showing off her beautiful profile as her lips pursed. “The ceilings are okay, then. I get it.”
Connor had the strangest urge to smack himself in the face. “No.”
“You’re no fun,” she said rather grumpily, tossing her package of markers on the nearby table. Shooting him with another one of her glares, she headed towards the sink, grabbing a glass from the cabinet as she passed. “I thought you would like it.”
Connor didn’t know how to respond to that. “I do.”
“Then why be an ass about it?”
He chose to stay silent and think about his words as she poured a glass of water, and drank it down in her own silence. He walked forward, stopping at the kitchen island just as she set her now empty glass into the sink.
“I will buy you whatever size canvas you want,” Connor said.
“And then you’ll hang them on the walls that I could have just drawn on anyway,” she deadpanned. “Don’t you see how that’s a little ridiculous?”
“No, what’s ridiculous is you drawing on the walls.”
“It’s pretty,” she whined, waving at it.
“It is—it’s great. You should let me copy it over and tattoo it up your hip and side. It’d look grand, love. It’ll even match the wings on your back. But not on the walls.”
Evelyn frowned. “I thought you would like it.”
“I said I do.”
Now this was getting rather dumb.
Connor was all for indulging Evelyn at times, even some of her more … eccentric moods, when they came on. Which he was learning could be at any point, as she’d spent so much time being forced to do the bidding of a man. This was too far.
“Don’t go acting like a right wagon about all of this,” Connor said, turning to walk out of the kitchen and go find something else to do. “I’m not asking for something feckin’ crazy here, just that you don’t draw on my goddamn walls, Evelyn.”
“What does that even mean?”
Connor, more exasperated than he was willing to admit, didn’t bother to turn around as he asked, “What?”
“Wagon. What does that even mean?”
If there was a God above, He was laughing at Connor. Laughing at his foolish arse.
The Irish had a terrible way of taking the English language and mutilating it for their own benefit, however they saw fit. Sometimes shite didn’t make sense, not that it had to, outside of the person using it or the person being insulted, but none of that mattered in the grand scheme of things. It was not as simple as saying the phrase meant one thing, when in fact, it could mean a lot of things.
This happened to be one of those times, but he figured it was self-explanatory.
But even as he had used the insult, he knew he would have done better to explain it in a different way to Evelyn at first. All of the Irish couples he had seen growing up had used those very same mannerisms as a form of affection, the same way they might outright tell their significant other that they loved them. Evelyn didn’t catch on to Connor’s nuances as easily or as quickly, and this had gone right over her head.
At the same time, Connor figured he might do both himself and Evelyn a major favor by letting her work this one out on her own. Especially after he explained exactly what the word meant, and saw how it made her feel. She was doing better at times—speaking up, demanding what she wanted, rather than keeping quiet, and even doing for herself instead of waiting. Sometimes, though, Connor still had to push her toward it.
He saw the growth.
It could be more.
This could be one of those moments, he decided.
Evelyn had enough Irish in her to look the part, with her green eyes, pale skin, reddish-blonde curls, and freckles every which way he looked. The sad thing was, life had practically stripped her of the nuances and culture, which was a feckin’ shame.
“Means you’re being trite, grumpy, or bitchy—take your pick. Whichever one fits, Evelyn.”
Connor only heard the clang of metal in just enough time to turn around and watch something fly at his feckin’ head. Sweet Jesus, she had one hell of an aim on her. He ducked, and the frying pan practically skimmed the top of his hair before it crashed into the floor just outside of the kitchen.
It took him all of three seconds to stare at Evelyn, check behind him where the frying pan was now laying, and then back at the crazy woman standing behind the island to realize what had even just happened. As shocked as he was, he was also pissed, and amused.
All five feet, four inches of Evelyn stared him down from across the kitchen like she was daring him to say something or move an inch. He swore he saw her hand twitch, too, like she was considering reaching for another one of the hanging pans to whip at him.
No, the wee thing didn’t sound Irish at all. She didn’t understand him sometimes, and he got a chuckle out of it more often than not. She was a wee bit insane—he sort of liked that, too. But standing there like she was, pink-cheeked, huffing, and ready to whip his arse even if she had to use a frying pan to do it, she was every inch an Irish lass.
Every feckin’ inch.
It turned him on like nothing ever had.
He wasn’t even sure how to deal with that.
A smart man—a frightened man—would have turned tail, and run from the angry woman in his kitchen, knowing he’d pushed her too far and he wasn’t going to get anything good from her tonight. Connor was apparently neither of those things, and he was going to blame that on his damn heritage, too.
A stubborn bastard, of course.
“Did you just throw a pan at me?” Connor asked.
Evelyn spluttered in her anger before spitting out, “You called me a child and bitchy.”
“I said ‘pick one.’”
“And I picked one. A pan, I mean.”
“You could have killed me.”
“Probably not. I think your skull is too thick for that.”
“Now you’re just trying to piss me off,” Connor said, his jaw clenching.
“Is it working?”
“Throw another pan at me, lass, and I’ll paddle your arse until it’s good and red, and you’re begging to be allowed to apologize.”
That was his one warning.
He’d given it.
She could make of it what she wanted.
Evelyn’s gaze narrowed. “Is that a promise?”
“Don’t do it again, Evelyn.”
And now his feckin’ cock was hard, so feck this whole goddamn day right to hell. Figuring his warning was enough, Connor headed out of the kitchen without a look back. A cold shower was in his very near future to get his lust under control.
He hadn’t even gotten out of the entryway before she threw the second pan.
God save me, he thought.
Connor turned back around.
Evelyn’s eyes widened, her mouth falling open with an audible pop as Connor stalked toward her. “Wait—wait, what are you doing?”
“Oh, you know damn well what I am going to do, lass.”
Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to three young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.
To keep up-to-date with new releases from Bethany-Kris, sign up to her New Release Newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bf9lzD
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