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 Falling In Love With The Devil 

Episode 21

The sprawling seaside palace looked like a classic Italian-style home with a courtyard. Men smoked cigars and sipped from snifters as we passed them, headed toward the house. Before we reached the front doors, a man I recognized strolled through them.

“Luca.” He extended his hand. “Glad you could join us for the main event.”

I met his cold, hard stare and shook his hand. “I wouldn’t miss it.”

At that moment, it all made sense. This was his island, his auction, and he was the one who brought us here.


A man with short, dark hair and scruff along his jaw pushed Rhiannon into the dressing room with his hand on her back. He sat her at the vanity beside me, and we exchanged a quick look. Surrounded by other girls for sale at the auction, no one spoke a word as women fixed our hair and makeup. They had forced us into the showers, shoved our bodies into skin-tight dresses, and then slapped makeup on our bruised bodies.

Rhiannon glanced at me occasionally. But the woman fixing her hair kept yanking on her hair to pull her attention back to her. Even the staff were assholes at the estate. It was clear the women were following orders but were they here of their own free will? Or were they bought by the owner of the island?

After my hair and makeup were complete, I shot up from the chair to make room for the next girl. I wandered away from the group, headed toward the loud voices I heard in the hallway. The man who was guarding the door had his back to me, talking to another man halfway down the corridor. They were busy, so I snuck out the door and moved toward the voices that grew louder with each step.

I leaned back against the wall and hid behind a thick velvet curtain. Holding my breath, I clutched my chest and closed my eyes, waiting for men rushing down the hall to pass me. This was someone’s home, not a brothel, so it did not surprise me to peek out from behind the curtain and find dozens of men in a sitting room. They crowded around a long oak bar and sat on lavish couches as if they were here for a party.

My eyes widened at the sight of Luca and my Knights standing beside the bar. Luca tipped a glass to his mouth and scanned the room. I wanted to jump out from behind the curtain and scream his name. But we would never make it off the island. Showing myself would only get all of us killed. They had brought the Knights to the island to kill them. For now, they were all breathing and drinking, acting as if they wanted to be here while glancing around the space for an exit strategy.

I could tell by the look on Luca’s face he knew this wasn’t about his beef with the Kurtis. Maybe the initial threats started with them, but the showdown was with someone else, a man more powerful than an Albanian crime family.

As I attempted to slip out from behind the curtain and head back to the dressing room, someone grabbed my elbow and pulled me into their arms. I tried to scream, and a hand covered my mouth. With my back pressed against a muscular chest, I caught a hint of the sea and clean linen and relaxed in his arms.


My heart pounded in my chest as relief washed over me. He held me for a moment, his strong arms wrapped around me like a comfort blanket. I clutched his wrist with my fingers, and then he moved his hand from my mouth.

“You found me,” I choked out.

“I will always find you, princess.” He smiled against my ear. “But getting you out of here without a fight is going to be tricky.”

“They brought all of you here to kill you.”

“We know. Luca and the Knights are working their way through the room, collecting allies. We didn’t come here alone.”

Marcello led me down the hall by the hand, then pushed open a door. He shoved me inside the room and shut the door behind us.

Fear of the dark crawled up my throat, threatening to choke me. “Can you turn on a light?”

Marcello hugged me from behind, and I instantly felt safe. “I know you’re scared, Alex.” He pressed his lips to the side of my head. “I won’t let anything happen to you. I have the situation under control. Do you trust me?”

“With my life,” I said without hesitation.

“I can’t turn on the lights.” He hugged me harder as if he needed this more than me. “Stay quiet, okay? Don’t leave this room for any reason.”

Before his arms slipped from my body, I knew he was preparing to leave me behind.

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