ABOUT THE BOOK
From New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren comes a sexy new standalone in the Stripped Series.
Once upon a time the daughter of a mafia king fell in love with a foot soldier.
This fairy tale didn’t have a happy ending.
My sister and I barely managed to escape alive, and we’ve lived in relative hiding ever since. I’m safe now, but I can never forget the boy who gave his life to save mine.
Except there are whispers that he’s still alive. And he’s fighting a war.
Even knowing the risks, I have to find him. I have to find some way to protect him, the way he protected me. But he isn’t the boy I left behind. He’s a violent man. A criminal. And he’s been waiting for me– the final pawn in a dark game of survival and love.
I can’t tell you how happy I am to finally have the conclusion to Giovanni and Clara’s story. When I started this series with Tough Love, I INSTANTLY fell in love with these two. They were young and their love was so innocent, yet true. With Clara being a mafia princess and Gio being a foot soldier, they were in two different leagues, but they managed to spark a love that was just so adorably sweet. They were so devoted to each other and Gio didn’t give it a second thought when it came sacrificing himself to help Clara escape that life.
Years later, Clara is in college with a budding art career that’s already getting the attention that most artists hope for. So when she realizes that she’s being dragged back into the life she escaped from and never wanted to be a part of, she’s fearful and confused to find out the man she longed for was behind it all.
I was still in awe of how much they loved each other. The longing they each felt was palpable to me. Clara grew into such a strong young woman and that was largely due to the way she was raised. It ended up working to her advantage. Giovanni was a tortured soul, but he couldn’t continue his life without Clara. Even as a hot and brooding sexy mafioso, he was the same Gio I fell in love with in their novella. Even with the time and distance between them, he only had eyes for Clara and she owned his heart. Awww, I just wanted to melt into a puddle when his soft side showed. Gah! I love him. And the fact that their devotion spanned years, it’s just so heart warming that they managed to keep their love so true…even in a world like theirs.
Giovanni and Clara are my favorite characters and their story is my favorite of this series. I can’t put into words how happy I am to finally see them get their moment. *happy dance*
Something moves me gently, constant and rhythmic like waves. I’m warm. There’s something soft curling around my arms, wrapped inside my fists. Padding beneath my cheek that smells like home.
An unnatural darkness weighs down on me, keeping me from waking up—a demon’s whisper in my ear. You’re warm, you’re safe. Sleep.
But something is wrong.
I remember falling asleep, so suddenly, remember drinking water that I hadn’t filled. And I remember the phone call from Amy telling me that Giovanni’s alive. Impossible.
Awareness pricks my skin like a cold breeze. Wherever I am, I’m not alone.
I blink rapidly, forcing my eyes open. They adjust to the darkness quickly, taking in the tinted windows on either side and the wide leather bench curving beneath me. I’m in a car. A limo, to be exact. And it’s moving.
On the opposite side of the long space, a large body reclines. I can see the wide stance of his legs, the pale white of his shirt. A suit jacket tossed beside his hip. His face is hidden in the shadows of the vehicle.
I was raised by the head of the Las Vegas mafia, the capo. I grew up around guns and violence, so I know when a man is armed. It’s the way he holds himself, the warning shimmering around him like a dark halo.
This man is armed and extremely dangerous.
Every muscle in my body tenses. My mind still swims in thick water, because I must have been drugged. He drugged me, this faceless man. Why did he take me? It won’t be anything good, that’s for sure.
Even worse, I suspect this has something to do with my past, with my family. It’s messed up that I’d rather be taken by some random psycho. But at least then I’d have a chance of getting away.
“Who are you?” I demand, my voice hoarse from whatever drugs they gave me.
There’s a long pause, the weight of his regard as heavy as a finger trailing down my neck.
“Have I really changed that much, bella, that you don’t recognize me?”
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