Teaser of The Arrangement - Coming Soon From @Crimson_Romance
 

The Arrangement releases on March 17th. I can't adequately describe how much I love writing this series or creating the characters. There's something about the danger, darkness, and secretiveness of the mafia that gets me every time.  I haven't shared a lot from this series, just a few snippets here and there.

Today, I thought it'd be nice if I shared something a little longer.

Enjoy!


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“Jesus, Vine ...”

“Oh, I’m not your Viviana anymore?”

Surprised at her question, Anton froze. “What?”

“Never mind,” she mumbled.

No, he had heard her fine, so there was no forgetting it.

“That was a decade ago,” Anton said quietly. “Back when I had some sense of privacy to my personal life and the girl I wanted to share it with. Over the last few years, I’ve become accustomed to calling you Vine in the presence of others. Maybe it helped to differentiate between the girl I wanted others to know and the one I knew. I’ve become fond of it, really. That’s what they know you as, and they don’t know the girl I do. They don’t know you, Viviana. Not like I do.”

“Maybe you don’t know Vine.”

“Maybe not. I’d like to, though.”

She seemed to ignore that. “You’re still going to punish him, aren’t you?”

He frowned, rubbing a hand over his face in exasperation. “You can’t do that again.”

“Do what?”

“That!” He waved at the door and then pointed at her. “Come in here like that without even thinking about what you were doing. Do you know how ridiculous that makes me look to them? I’m nearly twenty-seven, a good fifteen or twenty years younger than most of the men I handle. I can’t have a woman affecting how my men view me. It’s about the respect, Vine, you know that!”

She cringed away. “You were going to—”

“I was going to break his fingers for touching you, and then shatter his jaw for hurting yours. Instead, Ivan gets to take that pleasure now.”

Shoot and break were kind of the same thing, Anton thought wirily.

“Do you expect me to apologize?”

The aggravation he felt showed when he huffed out a breath of air. “No, what I want is for you to tell me that you won’t do it again.” She stared back, still silent. His anger overflowed as he slammed an opened palm down to the table where glasses sat. Viviana jumped, surprise and shock flitting through her wide eyes. “Say it!”

Color drained from her face and she looked as if she were going to be physically sick. Instantly, he regretted raising his voice. Quickly, Anton crossed the room and kneeled down before Viviana, his hands instinctively finding their way up under the jacket still covering her legs. The heat of her thighs had him aching in a whole new way. The pads of his thumbs rubbed soothing little circles on her bare flesh.

Her eyes swam with unknown emotions; Anton felt his own battle warring.

“Something is wrong with me,” she mumbled.

“The sedative was mixed with an anti-anxiety drug. You were out the night before, yeah? The alcohol would have reacted badly with the tranquilizer. Boris should have considered that.”

“How did you know that I was drinking?”

Anton looked away. “The Cosa Nostra have their eyes, and I have mine, Viviana.”

“You’ve been watching me? Why?”

“I can’t tell you that,” he admitted softly. “There’s a lot of things I can’t tell you, but I had good reason to keep watch.”

“Why can’t you just be honest and tell me?”

Swallowing thickly, he muttered, “You’re not my wife; it wouldn’t be safe for me to do so.”

“You have to let me go, Anton.”

His gaze snapped back to hers at the statement. “This was already arranged years ago. We agreed when we were old enough to want it, too.” A pained look crossed her beautiful face. He grabbed Viviana’s thighs once more and said, “You know what Sonny did to the rest of your family just for organizing our betrothal. You know you’re not safe. You have to know these things, Viviana. Your family will not protect you, but I will.”

“He handed over my inheritance; let me go to Toronto when I wanted. You’re lying.”

“I am not. I may omit things for your safety, but I have no reason to lie to you.”

The sneer she sported stabbed him with a bitter force. “You’re a criminal.”

“So was your father.”

“Yes, but he was mine.”

Anton’s fingers dug into her thighs harshly. She responded to the roughness by biting her lip and tightening her legs. “And you’re mine, Vine.”

“Stop touching me,” she demanded weakly. “I don’t want to marry you. I just want to go home.”

“Where is home?” He scoffed under his breath, face growing dark as his eyes narrowed. “With your uncle who is just days away from putting a cheap mark on your head? Perhaps it’s the villa in Italy that your parents owned and left for you in their will? Or maybe it’s Toronto, with a bull who can’t do his job properly.” With those words, Anton tilted Viviana’s neck up to expose the bright, splotchy hickey. “Look at this, and with your guard. You know better than that!”

“You have no right to tell me what I can or can’t do.” Her hands slapped his away before she bit out, “And who the hell are you to judge me, Anton? How many women do you have climbing into your bed at night? Who I share mine with is not your business to pick apart and chide me about.”

Raking his hands through wet hair, he shook his head. God, he wished he had been given a few more minutes to relax before Viktor and the other men showed up. After cleaning Viviana and getting her settled, he’d jumped in the shower. Those bruises on her body just pissed him off something terrible, and it explained the reason why his other brigadier had tried to avoid showing his face when Boris delivered Viviana. He barely had time to get the dried blood off himself before Viktor arrived.

“Vine, listen to me, please—”

“No, you listen to me. I want to go.”

Anton stood abruptly. “It was agreed. By twenty-five, you were to be married to me. You wanted that. I wanted that. If you back out of this arrangement, the consequences will not be pleasing to you, or your family. The Bratva in New York have wanted to merge with your family for years, and our match would have done it properly. We will not look kindly on this breach—much like how your father handled a traitor, we are the same.”

He was lying. She wouldn’t know it, but he did. It tasted like poison on his tongue. Every word harder to speak than the last. Even so, Anton couldn’t tell her the entire truth. Not yet.

“Don’t threaten me.”

There was a weakness in her voice. Anton tempered his own.

“It’s not a threat, Viviana. Marry me.”
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