Blood Ties—Chapter 1

Blood Ties (Dinero de Sangre Book 2)

Blurb:

In this twisted dark cartel romance, revenge and hate collide with the past…

As Ada adjusts to the hellish predicament she finds herself in, one thing becomes painfully clear—Domino isn’t the only monster with her life in his hands.
And by no means is he the most dangerous.
Jaguar brings with him a wealth of mystery—and violence—that threatens to rock what little ground with Domino she’s managed to gain.
In the end, Ada will have to make a choice with both her life and her body on the line.
Only one man can offer her mercy should he choose to.
The other…
Doom. 
If only she knew which fate would hurt less—losing her freedom, or losing her heart?

Chapter 1

Disclaimer: The following copyrighted material is unedited and subject to change.

Mr. Jaguar is here.

Those four words have the effect of a seismic shift—though the destruction seems limited to Domino’s once calm mood. Abruptly, he shrugs me off, lunging to his feet, and, within the blink of an eye, he’s my cold captor once more.

“Where is he?” he demands of Ines.

She gestures helplessly toward the hall, just as the sound of distant footsteps advances in our direction—several sets to be exact. My breath catches as the first pair echoes off the walls, heavy and solid. Male? The second is softer, trailing behind.

Neither visitor, however, seems to have been invited here with Domino’s permission.

Nervous energy flutters between him and Ines—but I don’t know if I should be alarmed or relieved. Finally, I’ll come face to face with this Boogey Man I’ve been supposedly sold to. A part of me should take some sick glee in seeing Domino so visibly rattled, at least.

But I don’t.

“Ada-Maria.” Domino cuts his eyes to me, but they’re unreadable in the semi-darkness. Only his voice conveys a hint of emotion. “Cover yourself,” he growls.

I grapple for a handful of the sheets, but I’ve barely shrouded my breasts when the footsteps grow louder. Each thud resonates like a morbid drumroll as a man finally appears in the doorway.

Fear pinches my spine, and I sit straighter. He’s huge. I have to crane my neck to take him in fully and, if he is Jaguar, I’m disappointed. I expected someone who suits the callous, violent description I’ve gotten of him so far—someone physically ugly to match their brutal reputation.

Instead, he’s as much of a twisted contradiction as my current captor is—beauty and brawn in one intimidating package.

In fact, he and Domino share so many similarities, I assume the latter lied to me when he denied they’re brothers. They must be. Both sport dark hair, though this man has his cut short. Instead of a haunting green, his piercing eyes are a deep shade of brown that feeds on the shadows in the room.

Animal comparisons pop into my head. Domino is a tiger, quiet and reclusive, preferring to rely on stealth, but fully capable of making his stand with a fearsome roar when he has to.

This newcomer is a lion—or, perhaps more literally, a jaguar. Bold, his smile alone is dazzling, his gaze piercing, lingering over my chest. “Morning, little brother,” he says. His booming voice betrays the hint of an accent. Mexican?

I can’t decipher it by the time Domino replies. “Jaguar. You’re five days early.”

“What are you saying?” Jaguar raises an eyebrow. “Family can’t just drop by to say hello?”

“You’re here unannounced,” Domino replies, lacking the same enthusiasm. “I’m sure you brought backup. Ines, why don’t you go make sure they’re comfortable while we have a chat?”

The woman scurries off, and Jaguar watches her go, his gaze indecipherable.

“You know,” he says, returning his attention to Domino. “I thought I’d announce my little visit, but then I had a better idea. Why not come see what little Dom-Dom is hiding with my own two eyes? And now that I’ve gotten an eyeful of her myself, I’m impressed—” He winks, unconcerned by the way Domino moves to stand in front of me, further obscuring his view. “No wonder you didn’t want to share her.”

“I was to have a week,” Domino snaps. I hate him, and yet his unease drives my own dread, sending my pulse racing as I grip the sheets tighter to myself.

Perhaps he hasn’t been exaggerating about what he’s hinted of Jaguar?

That he’s no savior.

As the thought crosses my mind, the man enters the room fully. If I doubted his identity, he wears a short-sleeved black shirt that exposes his muscular arms—along with the full sleeve tattoo of a familiar feline predator crouching beneath carefully shaded leaves on his left bicep.

The rest of his outfit is simple. His plain dark wash jeans are marred with various spots of grease and grime that remind me of the mechanics my father hired to service the luxury vehicles he kept on his estate. His hands bolster the image, gnarled with scarred knuckles and fingernails sporting hints of dirt beneath them.

I carefully inspect every inch of him that I can, but the longer I put off one glaring realization, the more obvious it becomes. I hate myself for noticing, though why should I? I have no loyalty to the man beside me.

And if I were vain enough to care, Jaguar is just as handsome. His face is remarkably expressive, displaying every observation to cross his mind. Irritation. Amusement. Lust.

His eyes keep coming back to me, drinking in longer glances with each pass.

Until my captor steps forward, putting himself directly in front of me. “What do you want?” he demands.

Seconds pass before Jaguar replies. “Don’t be so cranky, Dom-Dom. You can still have your week,” he says, and I realize that his extended silence was for deliberate effect. He wanted Domino to watch him watch me.

And not say a damn thing.

Unlike those hours when he’d stand emotionlessly by my father’s side, Domino is an array of twitching muscle now, practically lurching on the balls of his feet as if he’s physically restraining himself from lunging.

But,” Jaguar continues, “I don’t want you to get too comfy here, skirting your duties, ignoring your role in the Guarida.”

Guarida. I file away that term, sure I’ve heard it uttered before.

“Is that a threat?” Domino asks softly.

Jaguar chuckles. “No. It’s a… Let’s call it a suggestion. I’ve decided you need a reminder as to what you’re missing.” Inclining his head toward the door, he raises his voice, “Baby, get in here.”

“Coming!”

It’s my turn to lurch forward, barely concealing my disgust at the sound of that low, feminine purr. No…

But yes—I smell her before she even saunters into the room, her hair perfectly coifed and styled in a blowout, her outfit pretty much nonexistent. Wrapped in a sheet, I’m dressed more conservatively.

Some things never change, not even after ten damn years. Alexi Rojas is just as beautiful, her perky breasts jiggling as she comes to stand beside Jaguar. Her heavily lined blue eyes sparkle, her glossy lips pursed in a forced grin. It’s an act, of course. She’s no better at hiding her real emotions than I am. Like a snake, her gaze slithers over Jaguar before darting in my direction.

That single glance conveys all the anger one might suspect from a woman who’s made it her mission to fuck every man I interact with.

Even my captors.

The bitch. She’s still smiling, seemingly unsurprised by the sight of me, battered and bruised. Considering that she’s running her hand down Jaguar’s chest, she’s been in on their plan from the start.

The shock I feel is too dull to really make an impact, though. Unlike Domino, I never put betrayal past Alexi. I’m just surprised her smile isn’t half as wide as I’d assume it would be.

“Hello, Domino,” she says huskily. Her eyes lower to his hips, and considering I’m faced with his bare ass, she seems to be enjoying the view from her angle.

“You see?” Laughing, Jaguar pats her head before looping his arm around her tiny waist. He’s so strong, that simple gesture nearly takes her off her feet. “Everyone’s happy. We’re all in for a good, fun time, eh, Dom? Little Lexi-Lex will stay here and party for a few days. You have my permission to wear her the fuck out. Give Ada here a rest, eh?” He winks, but Domino doesn’t seem thankful.

“You think I need a babysitter, Jagger?” he asks, his tone dangerously soft.

“No.” Jaguar’s smile falls, and he shrugs Alexi aside. “I think you need a fucking reminder as to the price you agreed to pay, Domino. You roped me into this mess, and I gladly agreed to help you because that’s what brothers do, si? But let’s not pretend like I couldn’t take her right now if I wanted to.”

“Is that why you’re here?” I can’t see Domino’s expression from here, but I sense the subtle challenge in his tone.

Jaguar laughs. “I haven’t touched her, have I? Have your week if it’s that important to you. Play your little games and fuck to your heart’s content. Just don’t forget our bargain, the one you initiated. You want out? You buy your ‘freedom’ with blood. Adios.”

With a wave of his hand, he turns on his heel, storming from the room. “Have fun, Lexi-Lex. When you get dressed, Dom-Dom, come find me for a little chat. Don’t take long.”

I nearly collapse with the force of the sigh that leaves my chest. I must have been holding my breath all that time. Then I remember the woman watching from the doorway and stiffen, meeting her hateful stare.

The last time I saw her as anything other than an enemy was nearly a decade ago, in the aftermath of Pia’s disappearance.

“She’s missing, Ada! What the hell is wrong with you? Don’t you even care?”

Aged ten years, she holds my gaze now for a split second before turning away. “Let’s have fun, Domino,” she murmurs, sauntering over to him with a familiarity that has me clenching my jaw so hard it aches. Her manicured fingers run down his arm in a gentle caress. “I’m yours until Tuesday—”

“Not now.” He bats off the hand she tries to place on his chest. “Get out.”

She blinks at his stern tone, but scampers obediently into the hall. I can’t help but wonder if she also has had a taste of his temper. His collars. His whip. His cock.

“Don’t forget what I told you,” Domino warns, turning to face me. He must have snatched the pair of slacks in his hand from the closet. As he tugs them on, his eyes rake over my body, devoid of the hunger he displayed last night. He looks conquering instead. A general, surveying land he’s already claimed as his. The way my father would look out at the city of Terra Rodea as he gave his political speeches.

“Nothing he said factors into my arrangement with you,” he adds, his voice low and tight. “Don’t assume that you leaving here negates what you owe me, Ada-Maria. You are mine until the moment I choose to release you.”

For a second, I’m not sure if that was a promise. Or a request.

Then I see how his eyes blaze, and I know for sure—it was a threat.

“Why sell me, then?” I croak. “If you still think you own me?”

It’s dangerous to play word games and semantics with him. A part of me can’t resist anyway. I’m as genuinely curious of the answer as I am terrified by the implications of what he means.

I own you.

“Money and blood are two very different currencies, Ada-Maria.” He steps forward, brushing his hand along my cheek. There’s no warmth in the motion. It’s as chillingly possessive as the way he held me last night, cock buried deep. “I recommend you not forget that. Now get dressed.”

He turns for the hall, and I sigh, still clinging to the bedsheet. My stomach lurches at the thought of trying to make it to my room with just this thin slip of material to cover myself with.

Only as he crosses the threshold does Domino call back, “Pick your clothing from my closet. Not yours.”

I remain rigid on the edge of the bed. From his closet. Does he mean for me to wear his clothing?

Warily, I stand, creeping toward the portion of the room in question. As I open the door, I realize the request wasn’t intended to limit my options.

Hanging neatly beside his modest selection of masculine apparel is an array of dresses and other clothing items sized for a woman.

The strangest part is that I can’t tell if they all were taken from my closet or newly purchased with my body specifically in mind. The general color scheme is familiar—white, black, and cream—but with a new, bold hue that catches the eye, the same color he made me wear after he whipped me.

Red.

He must have had these brought here recently. Perhaps Ines snuck them in during those twisted moments when he had me on the balcony, naked in the jacuzzi. I wouldn’t be surprised if, while buried inside of me, he lorded over the knowledge that he’d soon deploy another method of control, just as damning as his collar.

Fuck him.

Anger seems irrational to feel in lieu of everything else—like terror—but I embrace it fully as I tear through the nearest selection of hangers. Deliberately, I overlook anything remotely feminine and focus only on what I know to be his—the shirts and pants and boxers folded neatly in a built-in chest of drawers.

At random, I pick a gray button-down and a pair of black boxers I have no chance in hell of fitting into properly. It’s the principle of the matter.

Unwelcomed visitors aside, my original plan hasn’t changed when it comes to Domino Valenciaga. My only means of defeating him lies in trying to seduce him. Unnerve him.

Then stab him.

Stab him.

Stab him—repeatedly with his own knife, all while gazing into his eyes so that he knows I was the one who twisted the blade. Me.

Ada-Maria Lucia Pavalos.

I will have the last laugh. God, I swear I will. Until then, he can lord over my body as he pleases. I won’t break.

“You will use this bathroom.”

I flinch as his voice drifts from the direction of the bedroom. I find him there, casually lifting our torn, damp clothing from the floor. A grunt of appreciation dies in my throat, and I hate myself for the way my gaze finds the firm curve of his ass.

With his back to me, it’s easy to forget the sheer depths of evil this man is capable of. His body is sin, beauty, and strength melded into one glorious form. Flexing muscle dances beneath his skin in a mouth-watering display.

I almost forget I’m meant to despise him.

Then he turns to face me. “Over there.” He inclines his head toward the direction of the balcony. “Follow the balcony around to the left.”

I bite my lip before obeying, exiting into the warm morning air to find the full extent of the estate unfolding before me. In the dark, what looked like a sheer, endless drop turns out to be a small hill where the terrace gardens meet swaths of rolling, lush fields.

Standing here feels so surreal—bringing home just how isolated we are in this tiny sliver of the world. A man could easily hold a woman captive on a property like this one.

Forever.

Luckily, my stint at Domino’s villa already has an end date—Tuesday. By the beginning of next week, I’ll belong to Jaguar and be subsequently dragged off to only God knows where.

“I said to the left.”

I flinch as the reminder is voiced directly against my ear, I didn’t even notice him coming up behind me, gripping the railing on either side of my body, trapping me here.

“Don’t let the arrival of prying eyes lull you into a false sense of security, Ada-Maria. They won’t stop me from punishing your insolence in any way I see fit,” he warns, his voice a fraction deeper. “Trust me, I’ll very much enjoy having an audience to perform for, their gasps drowning out your screams…”

I shiver, sufficiently cowed. Still, I can’t resist a parting jab of my own. “Shouldn’t you be busy fucking her now?”

Alexi.

Her presence bends the rules of this hellscape prison, and I latch onto the distraction. It’s petty to be jealous at a time like this, but fear is the only alternative. It was easier to suffer as a lone captive under a madman’s purview. But as a third wheel, forced to inhabit the same dwelling as two of my enemies fuck like rabbits in the other room?

Or plot against me…?

“She can join us, if you’d like,” Domino says in a tone so neutral I can’t tell if he’s joking. “I, however, am not fond of sharing my toys.”

I cringe, noting yet another subtle warning. About Jaguar? He’s sold me to him, and yet he seems irritated by the reality of what that means.

It’s a dangerous theory to test. His possession isn’t out of concern for me, of course—mere jealousy. But how strong?

Hopefully strong enough to buy me more time.

“I could ask her what positions my new owner might like.” What I intend to sound mocking comes out far too hoarse. I’m horrified. Still, I can’t stop. “If he likes anal or oral—”

“Enough.” His grated rasp startles me silent as he grabs my arm, manually steering me toward the direction he first indicated. To the left. Just beyond the bedroom doorway is a narrow path leading to a sliding glass door, and inside is a space that might be classified as a bathroom.

Or a torture chamber.

Still, behind me, Domino cups the back of my throat. “This is where you will bathe from now on,” he declares against my ear. “And where you will bathe me. You can start now. I think we both could use a shower, no?”

He’s right. His seed is still drying between my thighs, his taste in my mouth, his sweat on my skin.

And yet, Alexi’s presence is too glaring to ignore.

For whatever reason, amid the possibility of being sold and the arrival of Jaguar, she stands out as the most alarming factor in this twisted equation.

Why the hell is she here?

“Aren’t you going to invite your guest?” I croak, still unable to pull off a playful tone.

He turns, stepping into me so that he’s facing me directly, his jawline grazing mine. “Jealousy isn’t becoming on you, Ada,” he scolds, his tone low with warning. “Don’t misunderstand me—you will never mean more to me than as a tool. A body. A hole. Whatever I desire in the given moment—” He cups my cheek, roughly smoothing a stray curl behind my ear as he pulls back to hold my gaze. “If I want another woman, or another man, or several to fuck you—or whatever the hell I want them to do, I will say so. Do you understand?”

My eyes brim with tears as I force a nod.

But I won’t let him hurt me without a parting shot in return. Prying my dry lips apart, I croak, “I’ll be ready for every last one of them. Jaguar seems like he might be promising in that aspect at least.”

His eyes narrow, but he turns away before I can decipher what the reaction might mean. Instead, I shift my focus to examining the room in full, becoming more awed—and terrified—with every observation I make.

It’s massive, everything gleaming with a shiny new aura that makes me suspect it’s an addition that he had built specifically for this purpose.

To “bathe” together in torturous harmony.

At the back of my mind, that suspicion doesn’t mesh with the fact that he plans on selling me by the beginning of next week. Why go through such trouble?

But this man is a mystery I don’t have the energy to solve. I’m too damn tired to.

So rather than think, I stare and make a note of every alarming detail of this space. There is an enclosed walk-in shower large enough to constitute an adjacent room, lined with black marble and complete with large, built-in benches on either side. A computerized screen affixed near the entrance presumably controls the spray.

Across from it is an oval-shaped pristine tub, large enough to fit two people—and more. The sleek silver fixtures give it a more clinical design than the other bathroom. A look that implies it could be used for soaking, as well as the perfect vessel for a madman to boil his kidnapped lover alive just for the hell of it.

The thought makes my breath catch in my chest, though I’m not sure which detail unnerves me more. The fact of him actually doing that to me, or that I referred to myself as his lover.

I’m not.

The appraising look he sends my way next makes that more than crystal clear—I am his trophy. A toy. A minor inconvenience.

“Get in.” He nods to the shower stall and reaches for his slacks, intending to remove them. I look away, my cheeks flaming.

Not that I have the right to any shred of modesty. I’ve already seen and experienced nearly every inch of him. What little I haven’t lingers in my mind, and I can’t resist sneaking another glance at it as he marches past me and fiddles with the shower’s electronic screen, his ass bare.

That mark on his chest undermines everything I’ve come to believe about Domino Valenciaga—before the kidnapping, at least. More than anything he’s said or done, the sight of that scarlet, surgical scar proves that the man I knew was a well-crafted lie.

The real man is a stranger. Domino isn’t even his name.

He is Navid Inglecias, brother of Pia, the girl who was once my best friend—until she went missing—a disappearance Domino insists was because of my father. That’s why he’s done all of this, after all, betrayed us and killed my parents.

He thinks Roy Pavalos murdered his sister.

And that I know why.

In this twisted dark cartel romance, revenge and hate collide with the past…

Ten years after a devastating betrayal, revenge has come back to bite Ada Pavalos.

Literally.

Once her family’s trusted bodyguard, Domino Valenciaga is out for blood.

Or her heart.

Whichever goal takes more violence to achieve…

In this twisted dark cartel romance, revenge and hate collide with the past…
As Ada adjusts to the hellish predicament she finds herself in, one thing becomes painfully clear—Domino isn’t the only monster with her life in his hands.
And by no means is he the most dangerous.
Jaguar brings with him a wealth of mystery—and violence—that threatens to rock what little ground with Domino she’s managed to gain.
In the end, Ada will have to make a choice with both her life and her body on the line.
Only one man can offer her mercy should he choose to.
The other…
Doom. 
If only she knew which fate would hurt less—losing her freedom, or losing her heart?

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