An eye for an eye, a heart for a heart
When Xander St. John’s brother Jayce orders a hit on Arabella Wilson, the daughter of their greatest rival, Xander has no choice but to obey … except Xander and Arabella have a long history filled with passion and regret. Arabella might have broken his heart, but he can’t bring himself to kill the woman he once asked to marry him. When Xander hesitates to do Jayce’s bidding, his brother issues a deadly ultimatum: get the job done or be next on his hit lit. Now Xander has a choice to make, one that has the potential destroy him. Someone has to die, it’s just a question of who. Will it be his brother or his lover, his darkness or his light?
THE TIES THAT BIND EXCERPT #2
“Something tells me there’s more to this than you’re letting on,” my friend Ben observed. “Look man, I’m not about to get all up in your personal shit, but I want you answer me honestly when I ask this next question.”
Ah shit. Here it comes.
“This isn’t just about needing to keep Jayce in check, is it?”
I waited a beat before answering, which was really all the answer he needed. “He threatened me, Ben. I can’t let that stand. Anyone else and I’d be fine with it. But not this.”
“But he threatened Arabella too.”
Damn him. He’d always been too good at seeing right through me. “That too,” I agreed quietly, glancing away.
“Shit Xander,” he muttered. “You’ve seen her, haven’t you?”
I turned back to my best friend. The man who was more a brother to me than my actual flesh and blood. “What do you want me to say?”
“I want you to say you know what the fuck you’re doing,” he whispered, leaning in close. “And that you’ve lost your goddamn mind. Maybe it’s genetic. Maybe both you St. Johns need to have your heads examined, because if I’m not mistaken, you’re about to start a civil war, all for some pussy.”
I fixed my glare on him. Through clenched teeth, I warned, “Don’t you dare speak of her in that way. You know better than anyone she’s more to me than that.”
Holding up his palms, he said, “Alright, alright. You know I meant no disrespect. But man, all I’m saying is you haven’t seen this woman for years and suddenly you’re putting her welfare above everyone else’s.”
He scratched his chin thoughtfully for a few seconds.
“Jayce needs to be stopped, and you know it.” I paused, weighing my next statement. Then, I told him the truth. “But you know she’s everything to me, Ben.”
“No, hear me out. I know we’re no good for each other, but think about it for a minute. Since we broke up the first time, there’s been no one else for me. Arabella is everything. And despite my intellect telling me I should stay away, my heart has other ideas. Fuck man,” I groaned and speared my hands through my hair and tugged. “This whole thing is dangerous. If I fail, she’s as good as dead. If I fuck up and Jayce doesn’t kill me and anything happens to her—if I ever hurt her in any way—I couldn’t live with myself.”
He rested his hand on my shoulder. “Ah shit. You love her, don’t you?”
“Do I love her?” I asked incredulously. “Fuck, how can you even ask me that? Of course I love her. Haven’t you been listening to a word I said. She’s the other half of me, all I’ve ever wanted. I’d die for her … I’d kill for her.”
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