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Cheska Harlow-Wright was born into a life of luxury and privilege. She has never wanted for anything. A comfortable future as a married London socialite awaits her. But since the age of thirteen, Cheska has harboured a secret—an unshakeable fixation on a boy who could never offer her anything close to comfort. A boy steeped in sin and draped in depravity. A boy born into the possessive embrace of darkness.
When Cheska’s seemingly perfect world is ripped apart by an unknown but deadly enemy, there’s only one person she can run to. One person in the world who has the power to keep her safe. The one person her weak and shattered heart craves.
Arthur Adley. The new head of the most feared crime family in London.
Forced too young to take the helm of the Adley firm, Arthur has become even more ruthless, formidable, and cold than ever before. His enemies are circling, and he must fight—and kill—to maintain his family’s place at the top of the London crime underworld. There is no room for weakness, emotion, or loss of control.
But then Cheska smashes back into his life with the force of a wrecking ball. She has no place in this dark, vicious, and bloodthirsty world. And worse, she is the solitary chink in his impenetrable armour. He’s already pushed her away once, but this time she desperately needs him. She’s broken, lost, and in danger, and he is the only one who can help.
Arthur must protect her. He must destroy those who dare to threaten her, hunt down those who would take what is his. He would raze all of London to the ground to keep her safe… but can he also protect himself?
The infamous Dark Lord of London Town faces his most brutal battle yet—the crippling weight of the past, the unrelenting enemies lurking in the shadows… and the havoc that Cheska’s presence is wreaking on the granite fortress that was once his heart.
Dark contemporary Romance. Contains sexual situations, violence and sensitive subjects that some may find triggering.
“If you stare at that bloody yacht any more, you’ll burn a hole in its side.” I looked from Arthur’s yacht to Arabella. She was lying on her lounger on the sun deck, head tilted back, her SPF-drenched dark skin shimmering under the blistering Marbella sun.
I took a sip of my mojito, letting the mint and lime cool me down. I saw a few of Arthur’s friends on the deck. But he wasn’t there. I hadn’t seen him since the night in the club. Not long after Ollie Lawson and his friends came, Arthur and his boys had disappeared. I had no idea where to. But they hadn’t come back.
My cheeks blazed when I thought back to him looking at me right in the eyes as he fingered the girl on his lap. As her eyes rolled back and she moaned out loud as her orgasm barrelled through her.
A hand waved in front of my face, pulling me back from the other night. From Arthur … his dark hair, blue eyes and black-rimmed glasses that just did something to me. I couldn’t read him. He was as impenetrable as Fort Knox. Even when his gaze had been locked on mine, I couldn’t get a bloody read on him. He gave nothing away. It was as if he was soulless. As if he lacked any basic emotion.
The hand before my face moved faster. When I shook my head, withdrawing myself from thoughts of Arthur and those eyes that were as unbreakable as a bank safe, it was to see Freya. She smiled, but I could see a tinge of worry in her dark eyes.
She studied me, then put her palm on my forehead as if checking my temperature. I moved her hand away. “Frey,” I said, sighing. “I’m fine.”
“Just checking you haven’t got a fever or anything. Or heat exhaustion.” She took a sip of her Chardonnay. Her purple bikini somehow made her Irish features look more pronounced, and made her curves look like something out of a Renaissance painting.
“I’m completely well.”
Arabella sat up and moved her Gucci sunglasses from her espresso eyes. Her curls framed her beautiful face. “You do know that yacht belongs to Alfie Adley, don’t you?” Her lips were pursed with worry. “That guy you keep staring at is Arthur Adley. The Arthur Adley, heir to the Adley firm and their empire of death and destruction.”
“I know who he is. I have done since we met at thirteen, remember?”
“Yeah, we remember,” Freya said. “But do you? Alfie Adley was there to cash in on a debt your father owed. He wasn’t there for a night of drinks and billiards.”
“I know that,” I snapped. Freya and Arabella glanced at each other as though I’d lost my bloody mind. Maybe I had. All I knew was that, over the years, Arthur had become an obsession of mine. And now he was here. In the flesh. Docked next to us. Looking my way with that steely gaze that seemed to make my knees weak and my mind lose all of its senses.
“Daddy made a mistake. He explained it all to me. He made a bad investment.” I shrugged. “He sorted it and hasn’t had dealings with the Adleys again since.”
“Yet, here you are, wanting to fuck Arthur every which way to Sunday.” Arabella raised an eyebrow at me, waiting for my response.
The sound of raucous laughter came from the Adley yacht, and I glanced over. Just then, Arthur walked out onto the deck, a large gin glass in his hand. He seemed more often than not to be drinking gin, I’d noticed. It must have been his drink of choice—straight, with ice, no mixer. He was shirtless, wearing navy-blue shorts, his black-rimmed glasses firmly in place.
Christ, he was perfection. His skin was slightly kissed by the sun, and his dark hair looked like onyx under the midday sun’s rays.
As if feeling my stare, he looked over, his eyes landing straight on mine. His cousin, Charlie, followed his gaze, his eyes narrowing on me as if I were a problem he wanted to solve. My breathing came faster as Arthur didn’t look away from me. Not even when Freddie Williams stood beside him and started talking in his ear.
“Seriously, Cheska,” Freya said, and I reluctantly looked at my best friend. “Go fuck your boyfriend or something. Get any thought of Arthur Adley from your head.”
Arabella laughed. “Can you imagine taking him home to your daddy? He’d have a damn heart attack.”
“Maybe Arthur isn’t as bad as you think,” I said.
“They’re East End gangsters,” Freya said. “They’re murderers! We’ve all heard the rumours.”
About the Author
Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.
After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.
Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.
Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.
When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.