Their Cartel Princess: The Complete Series: A Dark Reverse Harem Box Set, page 1
Their Cartel Princess
A Dark Reverse Harem Romance Box Set
Copyright © 2019 L. D. Fox
First Edition, License Notes
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise without written permission from the publisher. It is illegal to copy this book, post it to a website, or distribute it by any other means without permission, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author's imaginations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.
Their Cartel Princess Playlist
I. Her Merc
II. Her Don
III. Her Capo
IV. Her Wolf
V. Her King
Also by Logan Fox
About the Author
You are the sun and moon to me.
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Their Cartel Princess Playlist
True Colors — Richie Kohan
Stand By Me — Ki:Theory
Ashes — Claire Guerreso
Hailstorms — Hugo
The Reckoning — UNSECRET
Glory And Gore — Lorde
I Will Never Die — Delta Rae
Ugly Boy — Die Antwoord
100 Steps — Elektrik People
Closer — Nine Inch Nails
Depraved — Mammals
Werewolf — CocoRosie
Quantum Immortality — Crywolf
Never Stop — Hidden Citizens
Coming Undone — Korn
Need You Tonight — Welshly Arms
Poison — Safia Mafia
Come Together — Gary Clark Jr.
I Will Survive — J2
Check out my Their Cartel Princess Playlist!
“Love is giving someone the ability to destroy you, but trusting them not to.”
Trust No One
When Finn had answered the phone at Argos Protection Services, he’d had no idea that an hour later he’d be at the business end of his Five-seveN pistol, deciding whether someone else lived or died.
Honestly, he always hoped it was the case with a new gig; these brief flares of violence were the only dash of color in an otherwise drab, gray world. Spilling blood gave him a taste for life. A taste which slowly faded until the next sacrifice.
Something inside him — the darker part of him he called beast — paced frenetically at the thought of ending this man’s life.
But who was this guy who’d been up in the hayloft with that slip of a girl?
Too many questions, and with his client already several yards away, no immediate answers would be forthcoming. The information he had at hand was sparse and had been provided with the suspicion bred of someone who trusted no one.
This had started out as a glorified babysitting gig. Transporting Tony Swan’s daughter from Arizona to Texas — no stops. All his new client had been willing to say on the subject was that the person he’d employed as her bodyguard had been ‘let go.’
And now, here he was; Five-seveN aimed at a stranger’s head and the echo of that girl’s scream ringing in his ears.
Despite how much his beast loved snuffing out human lives, he liked to think they were deserving of their fate and that they’d done something other than just fucking someone’s daughter to qualify for a messy death in a stable reeking of horse shit.
He shouldn’t care, but sometimes he couldn’t stop himself.
“What’s your name?” Finn asked. Names weren’t necessary, but their intuitive answer helped people relax.
“Bailey,” the man said.
Why wasn’t he pleading for his life? The girl had seemed more hung up on this Bailey guy living than Bailey was. It didn’t make sense, not unless he felt guilty about something.
Maybe it was his time to die.
“Why’d Swan say you betrayed him?” Finn asked.
Bailey’s eyes glittered. In the failing light of day, the shadows falling over his face made it hard to know if the man was angry or despairing.
“You don’t understand,” Bailey said quietly. “She’s in danger.”
“Yeah, no shit.” Finn took aim with his pistol.
“Wait,” Bailey cried out.
And there it was. They always begged in the end. He’d been a fool to think this man wouldn’t.
“She’ll never be safe.”
Finn frowned at the man. He still didn’t have his hands up, and he didn’t seem determined to fight his way out of this. Resigned, but not despairing.
“What did you do?” Finn grated in his ruined voice.
Bailey’s face fell. “You can try and keep her safe. Please, try. But...” The man’s eyes darted to the stable’s ceiling before fixing on Finn again. “It’ll be like trying to keep plutonium safe. It’s dangerous, so fucking fragile...and everyone wants to get their hands on it. Just…whatever you do, don’t trust anyone. Especially her uncle.”
“Trust no one except you. Got it.” Finn cocked his head, adjusted his aim, and squeezed the trigger. “See you on the other side, Bailey,” he said, as the man’s body slammed into the stable’s floor.
An unexpected touch made Cora Swan glance over her shoulder. Her bodyguard stood behind her. Twilight’s gloom spun shadowy webs from the stable’s rafters where she’d just dismounted from Moonlight, her white mare. A groom came by, collecting the reins from her hand as she stared up at Bailey.
“You’re late,” he said evenly.
“Barely.” Her eyes flickered over his face. Was he seriously upset with her? It wasn’t her fault he refused to ride.
“I thought something had happened.”
Cora twisted her mouth into a smile. “You should come with me. Then you wouldn’t worry so much.”
Bailey shrugged his shoulders. It looked like he wanted to reach out and touch her, but he held back. He’d always held back. From the first time father had introduced her to her new bodyguard twelve years ago, Bailey had always been stiff and detached. But sometimes...sometimes when he came inside her room late at night — perhaps thinking she was asleep — he would stand at the threshold and stare across the room at her.
Like he had last night.
His steel-gray eyes narrowed for a moment before he gave his head a shake. “We should get back. Your father doesn’t like you being outside after dark.”
“We’ve still got a few minutes...” Cora took a tiny step closer to Bailey. As if in response to their proximity, her heart fluttered against her ribcage like a bird that had just realized it was trapped in a cage.
Caution flooded onto Bailey’s face, creasing the skin between his brows. He had deep lines there, even though he’d only celebrated his thirty-fifth birthday a few months ago. “Cora...”
“What?” she asked innocently.
Honestly, she knew she shouldn’t do this. But instead of clearing her head, the hour-long ri
“We should go,” he said again, but without making a move to the stable’s big barn door. His voice dropped. “Please. Your father is here.”
“You scared of him?”
Bailey laughed, but the sound had an uneasy edge to it. She knew he would never admit it, of course, but he was terrified of Tony Swan. Who wouldn’t be? The man had punched him when he’d found out Bailey had been giving his daughter Krav Maga lessons behind his back. Because ‘a lady’ didn’t do things like that. ‘A lady’ was never supposed to be in a position where she had to defend herself.
Sometimes, her father’s logic was too obtuse for her to follow. She was the daughter of a goddamn cartel capo who had a permanent bodyguard — why the hell shouldn’t she learn to defend herself? But her father lived in denial. He seemed to fully expect that, when he retired, he could just walk away from the El Calacas Vivo1 cartel and they could go on living regular lives. Hell, even she knew that wouldn’t be possible; why did he keep telling himself lies?
“We never got a chance to talk,” Cora said quietly, taking another step toward him. There was barely any distance between them now; she could feel heat coming off Bailey’s body in waves. “You left so sud—”
“Because I should never have been there in the first place,” Bailey cut in. He grabbed the top of her arms, leaning in to whisper, “I made a mistake.”
“A mistake?” She could hear the disbelief in her voice. “But you—”
He searched her face, but whether he found what he was looking for or not, she had no idea. “I can’t get involved with you. Do you understand?”
“No, listen—” He cut off and hurriedly released her, as if he only now realized he’d been holding her. “I don’t want to have to ask to be reassigned. But if that’s what I have to do...”
She hugged herself hard, rocking back on her heels as she stared up at him. He’d told her height was an advantage in Krav Maga — assailants always underestimated smaller victims. That was when she’d first started having feelings for him. Those training sessions had been so intimate, his attention so fixated on her body as he made her repeat the flow of movements she could use to disarm her enemy or break out of a hold. Her body began responding to him; just like it was doing now. Aching. Coursing with a need for him to touch her. She hated her father for that — instructing Bailey not to train her. Because that meant she couldn’t be close to him anymore. That he would no longer grip her body and twist it to his needs. She’d been a slow learner, back then. But he’d never seemed irritated with how long it took her to learn a move.
She’d thought it was because he enjoyed that contact, too.
Naturally, she’d been wrong.
A cold breeze blew in through the stable door, ruffling her black hair against her throat. She wore it long and usually tied up, but had loosened it as she’d trotted into the stable on Moonlight’s saddle. Because she’d known he would be here, waiting for her.
A blush warmed her cheeks. “I’m sorry,” she murmured, desperately willing her cheeks to stop burning.
When she tried walking past him, he held out an arm. “You will find someone one day. And he’ll be perfect for you, but—”
“But you’re not him,” she cut in, shooting him a scathing glare as she gripped herself tighter. “And who will I meet? Huh?” She swept out an arm to take in the now empty stable. “A groom, maybe? Or one of the waiters that serve me breakfast? Or one of Papá’s sicarios, when he’s off duty, and we happen to pass each other in the corridor?”
“Cora, I know you’re frustrated, but—”
“I’m not frustrated!” she yelled. “I’m lonely. I have no one to—” Her jaw clicked shut. Her face was on fire now, and tears of mortification pricked at her eyes. Had she just yelled out that she was lonely? What the hell was wrong with her?
Sympathy softened Bailey’s face. For a moment, they just stared at each other; her chest rising and falling as if she’d run all the way back from the other side of the manor, his body granite stiff. Then he reached out a hand and brushed the knuckle of his forefinger down the side of her face.
He’d done that last night, just before he’d kissed her.
Her body vibrated with anticipation as her arms slid out of their death grip on her chest. As if she was in a trance, she took a step forward, moving woodenly. Bailey slipped an arm around the small of her back and drew her against him, walking backward so they were hidden in the shadow beneath the hayloft. He pushed her against the hayloft’s ladder, swiped hair from her face with both his hands and crushed his mouth against hers.
Cora moaned, arching against him. She grabbed the back of his neck, standing on tiptoes so she could try and kiss him back. But he broke away a second later, leaving the taste of a cigarette and his mints in her mouth. God, she’d thought she’d imagined that taste last night. After smelling his brand of smokes, of having caught the scent of his mints...but it was there. His taste and the feel of his mouth lingered like a ghostly afterimage of their kiss.
“Fuck,” he muttered. He slapped a hand against the hayloft’s ladder, looking away from her and squeezing his eyes shut like he was trying to block out the sight of her.
But he wasn’t going to do this again. He couldn’t kiss her and then walk away like he had last night. She wouldn’t stand him doing it to her a second time.
Her body felt drawn as tight as a guitar string. And she wanted his fingers strumming a melody from her. One she’d only ever been able to play herself.
Cora grabbed his wrist. When she tugged at him, he came reluctantly closer, looking down at her like she was a succubus and he’d just resigned himself to eternal damnation. He opened his mouth, perhaps to protest again, but she pressed her fingertips against his lips. They twitched, soft and smooth, but didn’t open. She walked around the ladder, glanced up, and took the first step. She had to release him to climb higher, and when she’d clambered to the top and turned to look down, the expression on his face made her heart drop into her stomach.
He shook his head. “No. I can’t. This isn’t...”
His voice trailed away when she got to her knees and unzipped her hoody. The autumn nights were growing cooler in Phoenix, and she had to put on something when she went riding so late in the day. She wore only a black tank top beneath, the fabric snug against her body. She leaned over the side of the hayloft, and then pushed down one of the straps.
Bailey took the first step. Then another. Another. The closer he drew, the more her body ached for him.
When he reached the top and climbed onto the hayloft — on his hands and knees because there wasn’t enough room for him to stand, he tore the shirt over her head like she was taking too long with it. He grasped her breasts through her bra and forced her onto her back with his weight.
His mouth was on hers a second later, his breath mingling with hers. They panted into each other, hands urgent as their bodies twisted and ground together.
He’d yanked the top button of her jeans open and had his fingers on the zip when he stopped kissing her.
He drew back. His face was in shadow, but she could feel him looking at her. “Cora…you have to be sure about this.”
“I am,” she whispered. “Please. I want you. I need you.”
“Fuck,” he muttered as if in pain, and then ground his mouth against hers again. “Jesus fucking Christ,” he said through their kiss, his words vibrating against her lips.
Footsteps sounded out below them.
Bailey froze, both their breaths hitching simultaneously.
“Cora?” came a voice from below. “Cora!”
Her eyes flew open. Bailey had drawn his head back, and a slice of dim twilight caught in his gray eyes. His lips parted, and he stared down at her, his dark eyebrows drawing together. Wondering how the fuck they could get out of this?
“Cora!” Her father sounded panicked. And that made her alre
She squeezed her eyes shut, willing her father to leave and search someplace else for her. If she could just stay still long enough to—
Her leg began shaking. It was up, pressed against Bailey’s torso where she’d been clinging to him. But after the long ride, her thigh muscles were already tired from holding onto Moonlight. Bailey grabbed her thigh, pressing it against him, trying to keep her leg still.
The footsteps turned below and thumped back the way they came.
Her father was almost out of the stable when the heel of her riding boots slipped out from under her leg and crashed into a nearby bale of hay. The sound was soft, but she knew without a doubt that several pieces of straw had to have filtered out through the cracks in the hayloft’s floor. If her father turned and saw—
“Cora?” her father snapped. “Bailey,” he added in a dangerous growl she’d never heard him use before. “Get them down!”
She scrambled, hands flailing through the scattered straw for her tank top.
Below, boots clomped on the hayloft’s ladder.
Bailey got to his knees, crouching so he wouldn’t hit his head on the rafters, and turned to the ladder. A stranger appeared; a man with short, dark hair and blue eyes. Face impassive, he swept his gaze over them while she yanked her top over her head. Then the man reached out, grabbed the front of Bailey’s shirt, and tugged.
Cora let out a yell and scrambled forward, but she was too late. The man yanked Bailey so hard that he fell onto his stomach, and then drew him over the side of the hayloft. Bailey managed to grab the lip of the hayloft’s floor, but the blue-eyed man brought a fist down on his fingers, and Bailey dropped to the floor below with a muffled curse. She gaped at the man when he turned his attention back to her, wondering if he was going to pull her over the side as well. She doubted she’d do as well as Bailey — she’d probably break a leg if he tried.
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