Calloused. Sinister. Lethal.
Dark Knight, an all-new dark, enemies to lovers, bodyguard romance and the fourth book in the Torrio Empire Series from USA Today Bestselling author, J.L. Beck, is now available!
Shattered. Broken beyond repair.
I’m the shell of the woman I used to be.
The deeper I fall from reality, the worse things get.
Only there’s one person who refuses to let me derail.
Calloused. Sinister. Lethal.
He’s my father’s second in command, and so goddamn handsome it’s disgusting.
Assigned the duty of being my babysitter, aka personal bodyguard, he thinks he can protect me, but I don’t want his protection.
What I want is security, safety, freedom.
Everything changes when I choose to leave and find myself in the very town where my father grew up. Trying to heal is hard enough but it’s nearly impossible with icy Romero watching my every move.
Overtime he starts to make me feel things I thought I’d never feel again, reminding me I’m not broken, but in my journey to heal I also realize I’m helping him heal as well. It doesn’t take long to discover Romero has deep, ugly secrets he’s trying to keep, but nothing can remain a secret forever.
When the truth’s revealed will the man I consider my enemy become the only man who can save me?
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Keep reading for a look inside Dark Knight
I’m at the bottom of the stairs when I hear that second voice. It’s deep. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it before. Whoever it belongs to is going to have keys to the house? A new guard? The idea makes me roll my eyes. There’s enough of them wandering around this place.
Confused, I’m still standing on the bottom step when Dad walks out of the unused east wing. His eyes widen with surprise when they land on me. “Good morning,”he says before looking over his shoulder at the man behind him.
“Good morning, Daddy. I wanted to catch you before you went into your office. Can you come swimming with me and Bianca today?” He steps aside, and I get my first look at the man he had been talking to. I really wish Dad would let me wear a two-piece suit. I also wish I was wearing something nicer than cutoffs right at this moment. I peer up at the man, who must be the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen. Even cuter than Johnny Townsend. The mysterious guy is around Dad’s height, six-two or three, with thick, black hair and dark blue eyes that scream leave me alone. They look like they could burn a hole through anything he stares at, and all I can think at that moment is how captivated I am by his presence.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t stare back at me. Rather, he looks at the floor, walls, and ceiling like he’s pissed at them. His full lips are pulled up into a sneer. I’ve never met anybody who looked at objects so angrily just because they exist. My gaze lingers down his body, stopping on his hands. They’re huge, and I watch as he runs one through his dark hair—which could use a cut, not to mention a wash—before he jams it into the pocket of his black jeans.
He was a dark knight if I ever saw one in real life. That’s who this man is. Rugged, dark, and mysterious. Butterflies take flight in my belly, and heat creeps up my neck and into my cheeks. I stare intently at the stranger, trying to figure out who he is and what makes him tick, but all I can seem to observe is anger.
Dad clears his throat, dragging my attention back to him. “Romero, this is my daughter, Tatum. Tatum, this is Romero. He’s going to be staying with us for a while.”
“What? Not in there, I hope?” I nod toward the open doorway they just walked through. “You said I would get to move my stuff into that wing once I start high school in the fall.”
“I said maybe,” he sighs, narrowing his eyes. I know that look. It means whatever patience he had has suddenly vanished. “I know you wanted to move your stuff in there but that’s hardly the most important thing right now. Romero needs a place to stay, and rather than give him a room near yours, I think he would do better to have his own separate wing. Eventually, I might move him out to one of the cottages on the property.”
My chest aches, my heart tightening in my chest. Forget the mysterious knight, the jerk just ruined everything!
Yes I know it’s just a room, and I shouldn’t feel this let down over something so small but I was really looking forward to it. Another step in the direction of maturity and responsibility.
My father is a businessman in every aspect of his life and once he’s made a decision, that’s it. Since I don’t want to look like a spoiled baby in front of a cute boy, even if I’m disappointed, I grit my teeth and choose to swallow it down. Does it really matter that I was looking forward to having all that extra space, plus the added privacy? I guess not. I’ll eventually get over it, just like I get over everything.
“Okay,”I mutter, digging my nails into my palm instead of lashing out like I want to.
“I see you’re dressed for swimming,” Dad points out like he didn’t hear me inviting him to join in the fun.
“Yeah, Bianca’s coming over, remember? That’s why I asked if you wanted to go swimming with us.”
“Oh. That’s nice sweetie, maybe next time. I have a bunch of work to get done.” His attention drifts and he turns back to Romero.
Suddenly it’s like I was never here to begin with. “In this house what is mine is yours. Anything you want, you only have to ask. We have a cook who comes six days a week. She takes off Saturday nights and all day Sunday, but always makes sure the kitchen is stocked.”
They pass me on their way out to the kitchen and all I can do is stand there and stare at them. It’s not like I expect to have a say in anything, because I never do. Not really, but I can’t deny the anger that blooms inside my chest at his clear dismissal.
Obviously, whatever Romero’s story is, Dad wants to help him and that’s cool, but at the expense of brushing me off like I’m nothing.
I reach the kitchen in time to hear Dad introduce Romero to Sheryl, our cook, and she’s as kind to him as she’s always been to me. “Can I fix you something for breakfast?”
“No, thanks,”he mumbles his gaze on the floor, his voice thick and raspy. “I’m not really hungry.”
“That’s fine, but you be sure to stop back whenever you want.” She notices me hanging around and gives me one of her bright, kind smiles. “Good morning, Miss Middle School Graduate. I fixed your favorite: French toast and bacon, plus fresh orange juice.”
“Oh. Thank you.”And now Romero knows I just graduated middle school, which means he knows how old I am. Cue the embarrassment. I have to open the refrigerator door to abate the way my cheeks heat up.
Behind me, Dad speaks up. “You should really eat something.”
I’m almost jealous of the concerned tone he gives him. Yes my father loves and cares about me, but he never seems concerned, not like this. It’s more like he’s especially interested in Romero, like he cares if he eats. Why? Who is he? And what about him would make my father care so much?
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