We’re destined to destroy each other, but we’re going to finish this game, no matter how long or what it takes.
Tears Like Acid, a steamy, arranged marriage, enemies to lovers, and the third book in the dark mafia romance Corsican Crime Lord Series from USA Today bestselling author Charmaine Pauls, is available now!
I hate and want her in equal measure, an agonizing situation of my own making. We’re heading down a path of destruction, but there’s no turning back. At the first chance she gets, she’ll stab me in the back again. She’s a dangerous risk and a threat to my family. If I were wise, I’d eliminate that risk and leave her funeral to the sharks. I must be an idiot, because I’m going to finish what I started, no matter the cost.
Note: Tears Like Acid is the 3rd book in the Corsican Crime Lord series. Love Like Poison (Book 1) and Hate Like Honey (Book 2) must be read first. Sabella and Angelo's story concludes in Kisses Like Rain (Book 4). ). The story contains scenes not recommended for sensitive readers. Reader discretion is advised.
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*Please note that Tears Like Acid will be available wide for ONE WEEK ONLY after the release date before going into Kindle Unlimited.
Start the series now with Love Like Poison Book 1, Available in KU →
Hate Like Honey Book 2 (Available in KU) →
Pre-order Kisses Like Rain Book 4, releasing December 5th →
Keep reading for a look inside Tears Like Acid!
We tied the knot not a day ago.
And my husband already banished me.
He hates me so much that he dragged me into the cellar and took a whip from the wall after he found me trespassing in his late sister’s room.
I suppose it’s something that he didn’t bring that whip down on my back. My feet are cut, my knees are bleeding, and in the late hour of the winter night, wearing nothing but his shirt, I’m freezing. Yet it could’ve been worse. As well as I came to know him, it could’ve been a lot worse.
We’re speeding in his car over a gravel road in the middle of nowhere. After his violent explosion of anger, we’re quiet, each of us digesting our thoughts. I’m huddled in my corner, trying to get my fear under control.
We’ve been driving for at least twenty minutes. Nothing except darkness and a deserted landscape stretch out around us. The road is in bad shape. I’m jostled in my seat, my hip bumping against the door.
My anxiety flares when he slows the car down. Up ahead in the distance, a house rises in the light of the moon. The dwelling is smaller than the castle in which Angelo lives. At a glance, it looks to be built from the same yellow stone. As we near, the headlights of the car illuminate a handsome, modern structure with big windows.
I hold my breath as he cuts the engine but leaves the lights on. Not giving him time to come around and pull me from the car, I jump out when he opens his door. In the stark lights that cut two broad paths across the yard, I spot destruction. Broken flowerpots litter the path. Pieces of debris are planted in the soil.
Locking his fingers around my bicep, he drags me across the muddy yard to the house. On the veranda, he pauses to take a key from underneath a broken terracotta pot. He unlocks the door and shoves me inside. I stumble, catching myself before I go down.
A light flicks on. The spacious room is unfurnished. The floor is swept, but it’s dirty. Smells of rot and mold hang in the air. A large window reflects the overhead light. The view beyond is obscured. Instead, the glass mirrors the inside, projecting an image of Angelo and me standing apart on the wooden floor with me in his shirt and him dressed in nothing but pajama bottoms. The cold doesn’t seem to bother him, but the disks of his nipples are contracted into flat, hard circles. The muscles in his chest bunch as he flexes his fingers.
“This is your new home,” he says to my back, addressing my reflection in the glass. “This is where you’ll stay from now on. You’ll present yourself to me if I grace you with my presence, naked and on your knees. Do you have a problem with that? Or must I remind you the only reason your family eat and has a roof over their heads is because I allow it?”
“No,” I bite out, hugging myself. “I don’t need reminding.”
He smiles. So cold. So detached. So inhumane. “Good.”
He turns and slams the door behind him.
I stand frozen to the spot, not only unable to move but also uncertain about what to do. The lights sweep over the room as he turns the car around, and then I’m buried beneath a dark night. The crunch of the tires on the gravel fades with the hum of the engine until silence cloaks me too.
I’m somewhere unknown, miles away from the main house in a foreign country. But I’m alive. My knees buckle under the weight of the relief. It’s not until now that I realize how certain I was of dying tonight. It only hits me when the crash after the adrenaline high leaves me weak and covered in a cold sweat.
I take a moment to gather myself before walking on shaky legs to the windows to find my bearings. In the far distance, lights flicker at the bottom of a valley. It must be a small village no more than ten kilometers away. Automatically, I categorize the information. However, my priority is getting warm. I’m shivering uncontrollably.
The house looks empty. I walk from the spacious room through the adjoining door into a kitchen, leaving bloody footprints in the film of sticky dirt covering the floor. I open a few cupboards. Save for plastic utensils, the shelves are empty. So are the drawers. I turn on the tap and am relieved when the water runs warm.
Switching on lights as I go, I make my way upstairs in search of a bathroom. There are five bedrooms upstairs, each with an en-suite bathroom. Like the rest of the house, the rooms are devoid of furniture, except for a king-size mattress that lies on the floor of the biggest room.
Choosing that bathroom, I turn on the shower and let the warm water cascade over me. Blood and mud run in rivulets over the mosaic floor, disappearing with a swirl down the drain. When the water runs clear, I turn off the tap.
Angelo’s shirt serves as a towel, but that leaves the garment wet and me completely naked in the icy coldness of the house. Now that I can more or less function again, I search for the central heating control and find a panel against the wall. When I turn on the thermostat, the red light comes on. Thank goodness. At least the heating works.
With nothing else to do, I sit on the mattress and inspect my feet. The soles are cut but not too deeply. My knee is bleeding again. I press the wet shirt on the wound and eventually settle for tying the shirt around my knee like a bandage. Then I curl into a ball on the mattress and close my eyes, imagining that I’m somewhere else, somewhere warm and happy, anywhere but here.
For more information about Charmaine Pauls and her books, visit her website: https://charmainepauls.com