Dangerous Beauty Series
Genre: M/F, Romantic Suspense
Dangerous Beauty (Part One: Destiny)
One day in a beautiful garden a young half Italian, half Russian boy met the daughter of his father’s African American business associate for the first time. Nineteen years later destiny brought them together for a second time.
After the tragic death of his mother, Nathan Salerno decided to live a life devoid of love. His only goal in life was to live up to the expectations of his highly feared Mafia Boss father and make him proud to have him as an heir. As the anniversary of his mother’s passing drew near Nathan prepared to do what he did every year— disappear. When his childhood friends convinced him to join them on a vacation instead, Nathan’s life was changed forever.
Carter Steele couldn’t remember her mother and thought she would never heal from witnessing her father’s murder. After that tragic night she moved to Hope Beach under a new identity. Her new life was far different from her previous one and hiding her true identity was harder and lonelier than she’d ever expected. That was until she spotted the handsome blond in the BMW.
Will Nathan and Carter’s love survive the obstacles they face?
Chapter 4: Beautiful Stranger
The plane ride to Hope Beach was the most fun Nathan had experienced in a long time. He’d forgotten how much fun it was to hang out with Mickey, and even though he didn’t say it out loud, he was kind of looking forward to the trip with his brothers.
When they got off the plane Nathan was greeted by the warm winds and sunny sky. He was glad they made it to Hope Beach before dark so he could look around the “little piece of heaven,” as Kyle called it. And he was right. Hope Beach was beautiful. The sunny sky, warm breeze, the beautiful luxury homes, manicured lawns, and the gorgeous Hope Garden, all took Nathan’s breath away. He couldn’t take his eyes off of the beautiful assorted flowers that gave the garden a rainbow effect. It made him remember his mother. She loved gardens and she’d spent most of her time tending to her own. Gardening was a skill she had taught Nathan when he was very young. His father would always tell her that it wasn’t a skill that a man needed to possess, but his mother continued to teach him anyway. Nathan didn’t mind it at all, as a matter of fact, it brought him peace. Together-with the help of professionals- he and his mother built a beautiful garden that Nathan hadn’t visited since her death.
Nathan was still admiring the beauty as he waited for the stop light to change. When he looked up he saw the light was still red, so he turned his attention back to the garden. He noticed a large rose garden full of beautiful roses of various colors and his eyes settled on the yellow patch, those were his mother’s favorite. He remembered how she used them as decoration in their home and on his favorite big white gazebo, and the memory brought a smile to his face. It was memories like these that made him miss her even more.
He was enjoying the good memories of his mother when he noticed a pair of gorgeous brown legs appear in front of the yellow roses directly in his line of sight. His eyes began to journey upward to see the owner of those beautiful legs only to find a woman with her back toward him. She bent forward and picked up a rose that wasn’t rooted in the ground, giving Nathan a mouthwatering view of her incredible ass in the pair of khaki shorts she wore. Damn, he thought biting down on his bottom lip. She had the perfect ass, round, plump, and it looked soft as hell. Nathan was sure it would fit so perfectly in his hand.
When she stood up, she flipped her beautiful long hair over her shoulder. Nathan didn’t know if he had ever seen hair that beautiful before; it was like a thick black cloud that made its way down, ending in the middle of her back. It looked so soft; Nathan yearned to feel it against his skin. His eyes traveled to her beautiful legs again and he admired her gorgeous skin tone. God, her skin looked as smooth as silk, and so sweet like a rich Hershey’s chocolate bar. He really wished she would turn around so he could see her face.
And he got his wish.
When she turned around, for the second time in minutes, something in Hope Beach had taken Nathan’s breath away.
He was stuck, gazing at the stunning woman standing in the rose garden. She looked to be far away in thought as a small smile appeared on her beautiful face. She brought the rose up to the most beautiful full lips Nathan had ever seen, and placed a soft kiss on it. Nathan’s breath caught as a rush of memories flashed through his mind of him and his mother in their garden. His mother would pick up one of her roses and kiss it then recite something she made up that Nathan just couldn’t remember at the moment.
Shaking his head of the memory, his attention went back to the beauty in the garden. Her hair blew in the wind, and the sun kissed her smooth milk chocolate skin perfectly. She looked like an angel. Nathan was fighting to stay in the car, but it was like an invisible force was pushing him to jump out of the car, take her in his arms, and kiss her senseless. He wanted to know her name. No, he needed to know her name. He needed to know the memory that put that beautiful smile on her face. He needed to know w-
“Nathan! Hello, earth to Nathan!”
Nathan blinked rapidly and shook his head. What the fuck was wrong with him? Was he actually considering jumping from his car to run across the street and confess his love to a complete stranger? Holy shit…
He looked at Mickey, who was giving him a striking What-the-Fuck look. Nathan frowned. “What?”
Mickey pointed to the traffic light. “It’s green. It’s been green. Where the hell were you man?”
He could hear the horns blare from the drivers behind him but he wanted to steal one more peek at the beautiful stranger. When he looked her way once more, his breath caught in his chest. She was looking at him! She had a confused expression on her face, most likely wondering why the idiot in the black BMW was holding up traffic. Their eyes met, and damn it, Nathan was stuck again!
Her eyes were the most beautiful hazel with a hint of green and they held him captive, he was powerless against them. A slow smile appeared on her beautiful face and Nathan couldn’t help but mirror her smile. She raised her hand and waved at him which made him smile wider. She let out a shy giggle and shook her head, and Nathan could have sworn he swooned like a little bitch.
Nathan was completely captivated by her. Her smile was warm and her eyes were expressive, it was like they were having a conversation without even speaking to one another. He was going to run to her, he needed to run to her. God, why the hell did he want to run to her? What the fuck was wrong with him?
(Part Two: A Mafia Princess)
Carterina Anastacia Stone wakes up from the most terrifying experience of her life to find that her life has been totally flipped upside down. Nathan Salerno is her gorgeous fiancé she can’t remember even meeting, and the mother she thought abandoned her, is demanding to be a part of her life.
Lies. Secrets. The truth. Each of them has a deadly consequence that seem to guarantee that Nathan and Carter will have to spend their entire lives looking over their shoulders. Carter feels like a walking target and Nathan’s determined to make her feel safe again. While revelations threaten to pull them apart, Carter and Nathan fight hard to keep their love strong.
This and more in Part two of the edge of your seat trilogy Dangerous Beauty Part Two – A Mafia Princess.
Chapter 1: I Love you…
Nineteen years later . . .
No one ever warns you about what happens when you fall in love. But why would they? There’s no point. When it happens, there’s nothing you can do to prevent it.
When you fall in love, you don’t just give your heart, you give your entire self. You put your heart in the hands of another, and that person becomes a lifeline. Your heart beats for them. They are the air you breathe. They are your smile, your laugh, your joy, and your sadness. That single person has the power to build you up until you feel a hundred feet tall—or shatter you, leaving you broken and scrambling to pick up the pieces of who you once were. Of who you were with them.
Love does this—
What happens if that person dies? What happens when the person who holds your beating heart in their hands no longer lives? Do you die with them? Well, that would certainly be easier than trying to continue life without your heart, your smile, your laughter, your joy—and even your sadness.
How can you continue living in a world without the one person that made your life so much more than it was before?
One day at a time?
How can you make it to the next day if there is no tomorrow? If there is no year from now?
If you lose the person that makes you more than you were before you met, life becomes one long drawn-out day. The misery never ends, and there is no moving on.
“The One”. You hear people say it all the time. How they want to find “The One”. Well, what if you found “The One” and they were taken from you. How do you continue to live, sanely, in a world without “The One” person that fit you perfectly?
Quick Answer. You Don’t . . .
That was the conclusion Nathan came to when he slipped into hysterics, Carter lying unconscious in his arms.
“Carter! Carter, wake up, baby!” He gently touched her face. “Wake up, Carter. Please! Let me see your eyes, honey.” Her eyes remained closed. “Carter, I’m begging you! Baby, open your eyes. Carter, please! Carter! Honey, open your eyes! Carter, wake up!”
When Carter’s eyes remained shut, Nathan held her close and did something he hadn’t done since he was a child. He cried. He held her tightly in his arms, begging and praying to God and anyone else who was listening to bring her back to him. He would give everything he possessed just to hear her voice, to see her smile at him, to hear her musical laugh, to have her grow old with him. He begged and pleaded while burying his face in Carter’s neck.
Nathan lifted his head quickly at the sound of Carter’s voice. Her eyelids fluttered open, and she looked up at him through glassy eyes.
Nathan sighed with relief, “Carter, baby, thank God. Look at me, honey, and try to stay awake for me.”
“Nathan, it hurts,” she cried softly.
The doors of the elevator opened, and Nathan rushed in, carrying Carter, while Anastasia quickly pressed the button for the first floor.
“I know, honey. I know. I’ll get you to the hospital as quickly as I can,” Nathan said frantically. He held her close as the elevator began its descent.
Nathan couldn’t think straight while she was in his arms, barely conscious. He would never be able to forgive himself for not keeping her safe from this. He didn’t understand how Mitchell had managed to pull this off, but he’d find out. He knew that Mitchell, Kent, and Patrick couldn’t have pulled this off without allies on the inside helping them get past security and gain control of the elevators. Nathan silently vowed at that moment that he would find every man involved and make him pay—severely.
He focused on Carter. He could see she was struggling to stay awake. When her eyes began to close again, Nathan gave her a light shake. “Carterina, baby, keep your eyes open.” She looked up at him, her eyes glistening with tears. She slowly brought her hand to his face and wiped away his own. “I need you, Carter,” he confessed as more tears fell. “I need you, I can’t live without you, baby. I need you to fight for me. Please,” he pleaded with her desperately.
A sob escaped Carter’s lips, “I’m so sorry, Nathan.” She winced when pain shot through her head, but she didn’t stop talking, “I made a mistake. I’m so sorry,” she cried.
Nathan pressed his face against hers, “No, no, baby. Don’t apologize. This isn’t your fault, its mine. But I’ll make it up to you. I promise.”
“No, Nathan. It is my fault. You don’t understand. I made a mistake.” She took a deep shaky breath as the sobs continued to fall from her lips. “I made a mistake. He warned me not to mess up, but I did,” she cried.
“Carter, I don’t understand. Who warned you?”
“My father,” she sobbed. “I turned away from them. I could have killed them, but I turned away. I’m so sorry.” She cried and cried as Nathan held her close, trying his best to calm her.
“Shh . . . Don’t cry. Please . . . I can’t take it,” he said as he placed soft kisses atop her tears.
“I don’t . . . I don’t know how much longer I can stay awake, Nathan . . . I can’t—”
“Yes, you can, Carter!”
“No, I can’t,” she cried. “I pr-promise I’ll come back to you, Nathan, but I . . . I . . .”
Carter felt herself drifting again. She could faintly hear Nathan yelling her name as her eyes rolled to the back of her head and darkness once again overtook her.
(Part Three: This War)
To what lengths would a man go to get back the love of his life? Well if you’re Nathan Salerno, you’ll shake up the entire criminal underworld…
The love of his life has been taken, and imprisoned by none other than the man that killed his beloved mother, and after days of searching for his wife with no results, Nathan Salerno has finally reached his breaking point. Strategy, and patience have been abandoned and Nathan has chosen to embraced insanity. No one is safe from the hell that he has bestowed upon the underworld, and he has no plans of stopping until Carterina is returned to him safely.
Chapter 2: Finding Carter: Seven days after Carter was taken…
It wasn’t his fault. He’d come to that conclusion days ago. He didn’t want to be this person, and he knew his mother was surely looking down on him from heaven with disappointment. But Nathan couldn’t control himself. He was acting out and he knew it, he didn’t need to be told. But there was no way he would stop. The Steele Family brought this upon there selves. If Anastacia and his father hadn’t have kept him out of the loop on the whole Silas Steele bullshit in the first place, they would have gotten further in their search a long time ago. Both Angelo and Anastacia had bigger armies than Nathan, much more experience and knowledge about the past, and Nathan knew that. When it came to all of that, he wasn’t ashamed to admit that he needed their help. But what he had, that they didn’t have, was what made this search for his wife move a lot quicker.
Connections . . .
Nathan had some very powerful friends that had even more powerful friends. Nathan’s friendships and connections were what made him excel so quickly in the criminal world. Had he gone around wearing his last name like a badge of honor, he would have had the same enemies his dad had. But that was not what he did. Nathan slipped smoothly into the advantage that was given to him by the criminal underworld.
Yes, he knew it may have sounded stupid to do so, but being a Mafia Don’s son had both advantages and disadvantages. Nathan had never wanted any disadvantages, so he wore the title “The Russian” like a badge of honor. Nathan Salerno had responsibilities to others. He had businesses to run, a father to please, and he was being groomed to be the Don of a powerful mafia family.
The Russian had none of that.
The Russian was already a boss. He was a leader, a man both feared and respected. He’d already proven himself. Both men and women alike in the criminal underworld knew not to fuck with him or his men. He’d earned the power and influence he had in the most brutal and unimaginable ways, and he was proud of the accomplishment. He and his men started one of the biggest Mafia wars in the history of the criminal world and won. He had no one to please, and his responsibilities were only to himself and the ones he loved.
Many wondered why a man as young as Nathan was already so powerful, so fearless. The answer was simple. Every step Nathan had taken thus far was well thought out, well calculated, and based off of a lesson he’d learned in the past. While most children tuned their mothers and fathers out when they’d try to teach them something, Nathan had listen. He remembered every detail of his father’s rise to power, the steps he’d took, the mistakes he’d made, and people he’d had to eliminate in order to gain power and respect. Nathan mapped out his own rise to power even after his mother had died. He took the good advice from all that would give it, and weeded out the bad. He learned from the mistakes of others instead of making his own. There was no room for mistakes if he wanted to be someone everyone remembered.
That was a lesson his mother taught him.
Nathan didn’t even think his father knew of the knowledge his mother had when she was alive. How she got that knowledge, Nathan hadn’t know, nor had he wanted to know. His mother lectured him just as much as his father did, and Nathan listened to every word. She had always told him that she didn’t want him to be just like his father; she wanted him to be better. She’d always say that Angelo was too closed off, too mean, and he lacked the charm of a great businessman. “Every good leader needs powerful allies, and you can’t have allies if every person of power is an enemy. There is more to being a leader than being feared and respected. It is important to be loved too, even liked as a person. You have to prove yourself to be someone worth protecting. Money isn’t enough to convince a man to protect you, to be loyal to you. They need to love you. Don’t just be their boss, be their friend, their brother. Make sure they know when you are being a boss and when you are being a friend. Don’t just take from them, give something in return. It needs to be fifty, fifty. You show just as much mercy as you show brutality. This way you will not be too predictable. Then you will be better than your father, yes.”
“Yes, mama” Nathan said aloud in Russian as he rolled up his sleeves. “No room for mistakes.”
Nathan walked forward slowly toward the wounded man sitting in the chair in front of him. His name was Vladek Steele. Yes, he was very much a Steele. Nathan had finally done it, and it had only taken him days. They had found one of the Steele family homes. The place was like a little city, in Germany of all places, but it was packed with Silas’s misfit family.
He never returned to the States after he’d found out his wife was taken, he went straight to the person he knew could help him. Boris Arseny Fredrick Bashmakov. But in the criminal underworld, he was known as the one and only Freddy Russia.
“These Steele men and women have quite the tight lip, Russian” Freddy said, walking up from behind Nathan and standing next to him. “I wonder if he’d sing as beautifully as his Aziz did, when I made him my personal campfire.”
Nathan chuckled, but didn’t respond to Freddy. He looked Vladek Steele in the eyes and was impressed by the man’s lack of fear. Nathan was sure that Vladek knew he was at a disadvantage. He was also sure the man knew that the Steeles were losing the war that they’d started, but he showed no weakness. Nathan respected him for that, but he also resented him for it.
As long as Vladek kept his mouth shut, he was of no use to Nathan. Nathan knew Vladek had the information he needed. He just didn’t know how he was going to get that information out of him. The man was…well, he was steel.
“Vladek?” Nathan said his name and the man turned his cold, blank green gaze to him. “I’m going to try and reason with you…”
“Reason with me?” he asked a German accent thickening his words.
Nathan nodded and sat down in a seat positioned in front of Vladek.
“Vladek, I want you to put yourself in my position.”
“I am in your position!” Vladek snapped. “You killed men I love, my brothers!”
“And you did some killing as well if I’m remembering correctly. You think I do not love my men, my friends, my family?”
It had been a full-on war between two armies when they’d first arrived to the Steele’s estate. There was no mercy shown and many men and woman- from both sides- lost their lives. Vladek and one other were the only Steele’s taken from the massacre before the police arrived on the scene.
“You came to our home” Vladek growled. “You expected us to let you come into our territory and make demands. You expect us to obey you, and not put up a fight?”
Nathan sat back in his seat and frowned. “Of course not” he said truthfully. “Just as I am sure you do not expect me not to fight for my family. Silas sent people into my territory. Not only did they attack my family, they took my wife.”
“The only person Silas sent to retrieve his daughter was Adrien Stone. Silas did not order that attack on your family. Silas was going to kill you and then take his daughter and bring her home. After Adrien didn’t return he found out you were her lover. He had no knowledge that you were her husband. He didn’t even take the time to learn that you were Angelo’s son.”
Nathan took a deep calming breath. Vladek was now giving him information, but it wasn’t the information he needed, nor did he want it. Normally Nathan was stickler for educating himself on a situation before proceeding, but this particular issue was different. Nathan had no patients, nor did he have any more time to waste. It had been seven days since Carter was taken from New York and with every passing second he didn’t have her with him, Nathan was slowly losing his mind, as well as losing himself.
Nathan shut his eyes tight and pinched the bridge of his nose.
He tried to calm himself before it happened again. It was something that had been happening every day since Carter was taken by the same man that took away his mother. It always started with the light tap of his foot on the floor, and then the tense feeling would move to his hands. His fists clenched and unclenched at his sides and the veins in his neck pulsed angrily as every muscle in his body felt as if it would burst free from his skin.
He pulled himself together as much as he could. “Do you know where my wife is?” His voice was tight as he tried his absolute best not to snap. If he killed this man, than there was a chance that he’d never find his wife.
Vladek looked at him, appearing disgusted by him. “Look at you” he shook his head as if he were disappointed. “The great Russian, pining over some woman. You’re pathetic!” he spat. “Weak! Look at yourself!” he shouted. “You reek of desperation. Consider the silence I will give you before you kill me a gift. This woman makes you weak. If you are to be a leader, you need nothing holding you back. You do not start a war over a woman, boy.”
By the time the last word left Vladek’s mouth, Nathan was hollow. So much was said to him while he sat silently in his seat for a full ten minutes staring at an also silent Vladek Steele. After ten minutes had passed Nathan quietly stood to his feet and left the room. He barely heard Kyle and Freddy behind him, asking him what he was doing. He kept his mind blank and didn’t answer their questions. It didn’t matter anyway. They’d find out what he was doing soon enough.
Michelle Hardin is a dreamer from a town called Warrensburg in the Heart of the United States, Missouri. She is a graduate of Columbia College with a Bachelors in Psychology that she hugs close to her heart every night before bed. Michelle Hardin is a thinker. She’s a super cool person, with a super cool personality, that writes super cool books, for super cool people to read. Her love and addiction to the romance genre began when she read 50 Shades of Grey on a dare. After she read that sexy little masterpiece, she immersed herself in everything Romance and became an avid reader.
For the longest month Michelle wondered if she could write a novel, if she could tell a captivating story. And one day-after her sister told her to just do it already-she decided to try it out. The story started off as “the son of a Mafia boss meets girl”, then it became the son of a Mafia boss meets the Daughter of a hit-man.
And thus her passion for writing began.
Michelle spends her days writing novels and planning for the future. She enjoys creating stories that entertain, shock, and pull heart strings. The Dangerous Beauty Series was the first chance she took at writing and she hopes with all her little heart that people enjoy reading her books as much as she enjoys writing them.