Ruthless Betrayal excerpt

Releasing September 14th


“Shut that fucking brat up,” Sergei growls, his fist smashing into my face. I’m so used to the force of the brutality that I sway on my feet but don’t go down. “I’m not going to tell you again. Make it stop.”

I scurry away, needing to get to Alya. My daughter is every bit of me. She’s perfect, beautiful, and very innocent. I hate that she was born into a life in which she’ll be nothing but someone the men abuse and use.

I reach into the crib and lift her into my arms. She’s eight months old, and I want to protect her from the world. Do something that my parents could never do. But it’s too late. She’s already been marked by the Bratva. Sergei has claimed her as his daughter.

A year ago, everything changed. Everything that I believed was broken and shattered. I thought I was in pain before, but nothing, absolutely nothing could compete with what I feel now. Artyom and Aleksei got into an altercation. No one has been able to uncover why. All we know is that they both went to the bar and something went wrong. None of them made it out alive.

That was the day Sergei stopped pretending that he had an ounce of humanity in him.

I woke up the next morning being jostled. I remember the pain my body was going through. I couldn’t see out of my eye and my nose was bloodied. Thankfully, I wasn’t blind, just my eye socket was broken and my eye was closed over.

I was moved out of Aleksei’s home and into one for myself. It was weird. I’ve never lived alone before. I have a guard on me at all times. Kirill. He’s not as mean as the others, but he does nothing to help when Sergei gets into his moods.

“Hey, sweet girl,” I whisper as I rock her in my arms.

Never did I think I’d ever find someone so pure and good in my life. But that’s exactly what Alya is. She’s a piece of my soul that I thought I didn’t have. Whenever I’m with her, the men leave me alone. They don’t look for me, nor do they touch me. Sergei spends two nights a week here with me and the other time he’s at his own house with God knows who. I’m not stupid. I know I’m not the only woman he has. It’s awful that I pray that he’ll prefer whoever else he has. I know what he’s like, what he’s capable of. I just pray with every inch of me that one day, I’ll be able to get me and my daughter out of here.

I clean Alya’s diaper, feed her, and then play with her. It’s the only fun that I ever have. It’s the best part of my day. My daughter is my shining light and I love her with every piece of me. But I still believe that she’s better off without me, that this life isn’t for her. I don’t want her subjected to what I’ve been through. These men, they’re the epitome of evil and I don’t want Alya to ever know that evil exists.

“Kirill,” I whisper. It’s dark. Sergei is long gone and Alya is fast asleep. She’s down for the night and it’s only Kirill here with me.

“Inessa,” he replies softly. “What’s wrong?”

“How do I keep her safe?” I ask, wondering if he knows a way to keep her safe, keep her away from this life?

He shakes his head. “I do not know, Inessa. Women should be revered, protected, loved. And yet that doesn’t happen in this world.”

Pain laces through my heart. “I hate that she’s destined to become like me. There’s no escape from the pain, no way for me to run. If I do, I’ll be found and brought back. Sergei is determined that I be his wife and I do not know why.”

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