Blood Bound — Chapter 2

Blood Bound (Dinero de Sangre Book 3)

Blurb:

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

Hunted by a dangerous enemy, Ada Pavalos is forced to place her faith—and her life—in the hands of the man who has been holding her captive in his own twisted bid for revenge.

But the truce they’ve forged between them is fragile, impeded by Ada’s struggle to trust where Domino’s loyalties lie—because what if the deadliest threat isn’t Jaguar after all?

What if it’s Domino who will destroy her in the end?

Chapter 2

Disclaimer: The following material is copyrighted.

He wanted you dead…

No. I shake my head, refusing to process the rest of his claim—it’s too insane. This is just another sick mind game at my expense.

“You’re lying.”

“Am I?” A muscle in his jaw twitches as he releases me, settling back into his seat. “He didn’t think I’d question him,” he adds. The lack of fire in his voice makes my blood run cold. Though he’s lying. He must be…

“It wasn’t the worst act he’s ordered me to commit, by far,” he continues, his expression contorting into the calculating frown I know so well. “Hell, I couldn’t tell you everything he’s done in the name of your family. But I never thought he could order the death of his own daughter over a cigar and a whiskey.”

“You’re lying—”

“You don’t believe that.” He doesn’t even put effort into his voice. “You know it sounds like him.”

He’s right. I can easily picture my father as he claimed, standing on the balcony, glaring out over his estate. Cigar in hand, he’d blow out smoke rings while contemplating his next move.

He was always plotting and planning.

Ironically, Domino seems to share my doubt—even Roy Pavalos isn’t capable of this.

“You said he was working with Tristan,” I point out. “First he wanted me kidnapped, and now—”

“Ada…” His heavy sigh leaves me paralyzed, and it takes everything I have not to slap my hands over my ears and scream just to drown him out.

“You were an obstacle in his way,” he explains. “At that moment, you ceased to be his daughter—”

“No!” I reach for the door handle, fumbling with the lock. “You’re lying.”

“I asked him why,” he adds, and I watch my hand fall, landing helplessly on my lap. “Why you. Do you want to know what he said?”

So cruel, he lets the silence hang until I finally glance over my shoulder to find him staring back. “He said, ‘You’ve never questioned me before, Domino. I suggest you don’t start now.’”

Despite everything, a laugh rips from me. And a sob. That definitely sounds like the father I knew—a tiny sliver of my soul can admit that.

But…

“He wouldn’t.”

Domino rests his head against the top of his seat. For a long, long while, he observes the unmoving road, and I can’t deny how twistedly beautiful he can seem like this. As unreachable as some mythical God, detached from emotional beings. To him, the only forces that matter are power and fear.

“I don’t falter,” he says finally.

I flinch. His tone resembles the stern baritone that was a hallmark of his dutiful soldier façade. The voice that would make me tremble every time I imagined him at night.

The same voice that will haunt the nightmares I’ll undoubtedly have from here on out.

“I don’t hesitate. If I want something, I take it. If I need something, I take it. And in the name of revenge, I will become the errand boy of a man I hate for a decade if I have to. No one will ever stand in my way, do you understand that?”

He soldiers ahead without waiting for a response.

“If your father orders me to put a bullet in the brain of his only daughter, then I’d do so without question. After all, who would mourn Ada-Maria Pavalos? Your mother, perhaps, but we both knew it was only a matter of time before she joined you in the afterlife. Beyond her, you were merely a symbol, and your death would make you a martyr. An albatross your father could wear around his neck for the rest of his political career. It doesn’t matter that you’ve spent your entire life degrading yourself for him, pining for even a scrap of appreciation. Or that you sold your body and soul in the name of his ambition. Your life didn’t matter as long as you stood in his way. More than anyone, I’m sure you understand that.”

My vision blurs with unshed tears, but he remains unmoving—briefly. Upon closer inspection, even I can see how his hands shake over the steering wheel.

“So why didn’t you?” I ask thickly. “You wanted your revenge first? To hurt me?”

“I’ll ask again. Who would miss Ada Pavalos?” He inspects the endless blue sky expanding before us as though it holds the answer. Apparently not. He has to voice one of his own, “Who watched her, day in and day out? Who watched her play with countless men like toys? Who knew every hue of gray her eyes could touch on when she was frustrated? Or sad? The way she pursed her lips when angry… Who could see through that fake fucking smile to the pain lurking beneath? Who would crave the sight of that bouncing, perky little ass of hers—” he laughs, but it resonates more like a heavy sigh, devoid of inflection. “It would have been far, far easier, Ada-Maria, for both of us, if I took my gun like I planned to and blew out your fucking skull.”

He says it so callously that I know he’s not lying—and that’s what is so terrifying. The way he described me, the raw craving in his voice… Those tiny little realizations serve to tip me over the edge.

I can actually feel something inside me rip apart. I can hear it as faint as tearing tissue paper, so fragile when all is said and done.

Who knew that a few careful words would utterly break my soul? And yet, the only sound I can make is a ragged intake of air. “Please stop lying to me—”

“No. You ruined my carefully plotted timeline, Ada,” Domino soldiers on, unwilling to show me mercy, even now. “You ruined every fucking thing, and I knew then and there that your father was merely testing me. Of course, he saw the way I looked at you—how could he not? Don Roy realized I’d been working against him from the start. What better way to flush me out than by using the best tool at his disposal?”

He’s thinking out loud, revealing a hint of the convoluted mindset I would have given my soul to understand just a few weeks ago.

“Still, I decided to play along,” he continues. “I’d arrange a test of my own. I had to scramble to get everything in place months, years before I’d planned to. I needed Jaguar, and the bastard loved having me crawl to him on my hands and knees. He thinks he has me by the balls, but I knew that I could use this moment to my advantage and punish you, Roy, and Jagger in one fell swoop. Neither would ever see it coming—and as a bonus, I would have you. Even if you were a scheming little snake in on your father’s grand plan, I’d fucking have you.”

“You… You sound insane,” I manage to rasp.

He doesn’t even hesitate. “I am.”

“Why?” It seems surreal for one man to crave having that kind of hold over another.

It’s demented.

A cruel obsession.

And yet…he smiles, and it’s the most wickedly beautiful expression I’ve ever seen.

“From that very first day when I saw you in Don Roy’s office, Ada-Maria, I haven’t been able to get those gray fucking eyes out of my head. That smile. Your voice. I wish for your sake that I could have been one of those poor bastards you’re used to playing your games with. Someone who could fuck you once and forget you. If I only wanted your body… It would have been better for you in the end.”

His earnest tone makes my heart feel liable to lurch right out of my chest. I sense that he’s trying to tell me something. Something important.

And horrifying.

I try to ask, “W-What are you—”

“It should have been easy to overlook you. But you were never stupid,” he continues, tapping his knuckles against the steering wheel for emphasis. “Never. You were always watching, always alert. Behind those empty fucking smiles was a little viper staring back, missing nothing. You didn’t follow your father’s orders because he hurt you, or because you were too much of a silly fool to question. No. You obeyed him because you love him.”

Love. He makes it sound so different from the dreamy way Pia and I would reflect on that term as schoolgirls. In his grated inflection, that term becomes something lethal. A weapon.

“You loved him enough to stand by him no matter what he asked of you. You trusted that every time you went into hell for him, you were earning his love in return. A fool isn’t capable of that sacrifice. Idiots have no honor, no integrity. A real fool would have turned on her father the second she got the chance, but not you. You valued your loyalty to him, even if the bastard never truly deserved it. Men like Jaguar pride themselves on trusting no one. They believe there is strength in that, but it’s bullshit. If it’s every man out for himself, then what’s the point in fighting so damn hard?”

As if seeking out the answer, he eyes his hands, pulling them from the wheel.

“I saw it firsthand. The way you’d lie for him. Cheat for him. Sell your soul to the highest bidder. You’d die for him; he knew that too—don’t think for one fucking second that he didn’t. He thought that it was because he had you cowed enough. Because he whipped you hard enough. Because you were terrified enough to do whatever he said with no complaint. But that wasn’t it. Fear doesn’t make you loyal; it makes you seethe. It makes you desperate to escape the leash you can feel around your throat. You’d lie, cheat, and steal. You’d become the monster if you have to, anything to break those bonds. So no, you didn’t serve your father out of fear. You did it out of love, and in so many ways, Ada-Maria, that’s far, far worse. Your love blinded you, and it made you suspectable to hope, and that hope? It will kill you faster and more painfully than I ever could.”

“I don’t have any hope when it comes to you,” I finally spit out—but I have to strain just to hear my own voice over the harsh sound of his breathing. “Not anymore. Over and over, you hurt me—”

“You play the part of a dumb woman well, Ada, but you are far from that, aren’t you? Your father is one of the most calculating men I’ve ever met. Together, you two have taken down mayors, and journalists, and anyone who might even dream of threatening the Pavalos family legacy. If your father suspected me even once during my time working for your family, he would have told you. He would have used you to get close to me, and you tried. I managed to resist your every attempt.”

Shock cuts through me like a knife as it hits me—this is his attempt at honesty. This is why he tortured me so cruelly.

I see myself in what feels like another lifetime, preening for him, smiling, desperate to cajole him into grinning back. Something. Anything. I wanted a fraction of attention from him, and who knows what I would have done if he’d given it to me.

But all he saw was manipulation. A lying little bitch he had to resist.

“You think this changes anything?” I ask, practically wailing at the insanity of it all. “That you hurt me out of doubt? Bullshit! So much for wanting my loyalty—”

“I’ll earn more than just your loyalty.” His confidence rattles me into silence, my mouth still open.

What truly unsettles me is the look in his eye. It’s determined. “By the time this is over, you’ll be willing to put a knife in Roy Pavalos yourself,” he says. “I can promise you that.”

I almost laugh again. At least now I have confirmation that whatever he feels for me, is far beyond compassion.

“Oh really?” I choke out. “I’m not as stupid as you think.”

It’s mind-blowing how conflicting his opinion of me seems to be. A dumb, senseless whore one minute. A thoughtful, loyal woman the next, someone worthy of his admiration—as twisted as the term is where he is concerned.

“I never thought you were stupid, at least in that context,” he admits. “You’re so damn stubborn. You’d deny yourself pleasure just to get a rise out of someone you hated. You’d starve yourself just to make me watch you die. Don’t pretend like you wouldn’t.”

I look down at the energy bar crumbs on my lap. “Why tell me this now?” I ask, unsure which of his confessions I can even risk trying to believe. “So I can be your lovesick puppy again and lead you to Pia’s body? Then you’ll kill me, won’t you? Or sell me, anyway—”

Abruptly, Domino grips the wheel, and we accelerate so quickly a cloud of rust-colored dirt billows up around us.

“I’m telling you this so that you can understand the choice you made,” he says darkly. “Put your trust in me, and you’ll have nothing to fear. Doubt me, and Jaguar will be the least of your worries. But don’t take my word for it. You want it driven home just how little your father cares about you? Fine. I’ll let someone else explain it better than I ever could. In their own words, you’ll learn the truth.”

I lick my lips, thrown off yet again. Someone else. “Who? Alexi?”

“I’ll take you to them,” he says evasively. “Right now. It’s not like you have a better option.”

“What about Jaguar,” I whisper, shivering at the sound of his name. “You sold me to that monster. How can I even begin to trust you? What if he were always the ‘better option’?”

He laughs, and I’m so startled by the rich cadence that I just gape.

“If you were paying attention, Ada-Maria, you would have known from the start that I never had any fucking intention of giving you to anyone. You were always mine. Always. Mine to take, and mine to destroy. I suggest you don’t forget that.”

The grit in his voice guts me. As tired as I am, I don’t have a chance in hell of playing his mind game—not now. Everything he said was all lies, and I’m better off not believing a word of it.

I can’t risk going off on my own now, either. Not yet.

Instead, I close my eyes again, letting the hum of the engine lull me into a flimsy excuse for sleep.

He doesn’t speak again, and I savor every second of silence. Something tells me it will be the only reprieve from Domino Valenciaga I’ll receive.

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?

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

Hunted by a dangerous enemy, Ada Pavalos is forced to place her faith—and her life—in the hands of the man who has been holding her captive in his own twisted bid for revenge.

But the truce they’ve forged between them is fragile, impeded by Ada’s struggle to trust where Domino’s loyalties lie—because what if the deadliest threat isn’t Jaguar after all?

What if it’s Domino who will destroy her in the end?

Leave a Reply