Silver Spoon Falls was supposed to be an easy mark.
Instead, I'm up to my ears in cartels and complications.
I waltzed into enemy territory to investigate...
And waltzed back out with a new mission in life.
Protecting Snow Buchanan from her stepmother and her cartel of henchmen.
Her seven furry friends doubt me.
Her stepmother wants to kill her.
And all I want is to lay siege to her heart.
This curvy little princess will be mine.
When my dad died, I knew it was only a matter of time before my stepmother found a way to get rid of me too.
She wants his money, not his daughter.
But I didn't expect her to send trained killers after me.
I certainly didn't expect Dimitri Arakas, the gorgeous bad boy who makes my heart race.
He swears he's going to protect me.
But I just have one question...
Who is supposed to protect my heart from him?
Snow White's prince happens to be a mafia underboss in this steamy age-gap romance. And her dwarves? Well, they have four legs and a penchant for causing chaos! If you enjoy sizzling romance, OTT possessive heroes, curvy heroines, and a cadre of furry companions, you'll love Dimitri and Snow!
For some reason, I think he means it. But I don't know why. What did she do to him to make him so angry that he'd risk his life to save mine?
His flashlight beam falls on me.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are," he whispers, stepping into my line of sight.
The bushes to the right rustle, momentarily distracting us both.
"No!" I cry, leaping up in horror as tiny little Quack races out of the trees like a streak of lightning, placing himself between me and Mr. Deep Voice.
Rosy, Shaman, Sloth, and even shy little Rabbit come pouring out of the woods too. They surround me, forcing Mr. Deep Voice back a step.
Only then do I get a good look at him. Holy wow. There's a reason why women in movies always fall for the bad guys. It's because the bad guys in movies always look like this man. He's gorgeous in a mercenary kind of way. Everything about him is dark, from his hair to his eyes to his aura. The wicked curve to his full lips and the tattoos all over his throat and arms screams trouble.
"Easy, killer," he mutters, holding up his hands as Shaman growls a vicious warning, his ears laid back and the scruff around his neck ruffled. His dark eyes come to me over Shaman's head. "How many dogs do you have?"
"Seven." I bite my lip. Maybe I shouldn't have told him that. Technically, they aren't mine. I think I'm more there's than anything. They found me out here and decided to make me part of their pack. "Please don't hurt them."
"Hurt them?" He quirks a dark brow, backing up another step. His slacks hug his muscular thighs as he moves. Good grief. He may not get along with nature, but he clearly gets along with the gym. "Uh, hate to break it to you, but they're the ones who currently seem intent on violence."
"You're the one chasing me through the woods with a gun."
"You ran from me."
"You have a gun," I say, enunciating each syllable.
He sighs. "I told you that I wasn't going to hurt you."
"Yes, and I'm quite sure that's precisely what every bad guy says right before he axe murders you."
His lips twitch. "I don't have an axe, Aneira."
"Stop calling me that." It's my name, but my stepmom is the only one who uses it. Everyone who knows me calls me Snow.
"What should I call you then, little one?"
"Snow," I whisper.
He laughs abruptly. "You're kidding me." When I merely stare up at him, his laughter fades. "You aren't kidding me. Okay then, Snow." His lips twitch, though I don't see why he finds the name so amusing. Aneira means snow. The third time I came home crying in kindergarten because no one could say my name, my dad suggested I have everyone call me Snow instead. It was a lot easier than trying to teach them to pronounce Aneira. I've been Snow ever since.
"Who are you?" I ask. It seems only fair considering he knows so much about me, and I know nothing about him.
I blink at the name. I've heard it before. Everyone in Silver Spoon Falls has. Heck, I'm pretty sure everyone in Texas knows of the Arakas family. They're the closest thing we have to the mafia. Or maybe they are mafia, I don't know. But they're bad guys. Only, they aren't entirely bad. At least not all of them are. I know his sister, Devin. We went to school together. She was always so nice.
"How do you know about my stepmother?" I ask.
"Met her tonight," he grunts, his expression souring. "No offense, but she's a heartless bitch."
A hysterical laugh bubbles from my lips. I clamp my hand over my mouth to stop the sound. "I'm sorry," I whisper. "You're just the first person that I've heard say it. Everyone else thinks she's a saint or something."
She's always had everyone fooled, even my dad. She never fooled me, though. From the minute they married five years ago, I knew she was heartless. She never loved him. She loved his money.
"Not unless they're canonizing them in hell now," he growls, his eyes flickering across my face. "We need to go, Magic. I don't know how long we have until the Carmonas are pouring into these woods to find you."
"My name isn't Magic."
"No, but that laugh is, baby."
Oh, well, then.
My cheeks heat, no doubt flaming with color. I've never been very good with compliments or men…or people in general, really. I prefer books and music and animals. I've always been painfully shy. My dad says my mom was the same way, though I barely remember her. She died when I was little.
I think Dimitri can tell I'm blushing because he grins at me.
"Let me get you out of here," he says, holding his hand out to me. "I promise you'll be safe with me."
I hesitate for a long moment, torn. I think I can trust him, though I don't know why considering he's a criminal. It's just a feeling deep in my chest. He's not just the lesser of two evils. He's also powerful enough to protect me. And, for some reason, he seems to want the job. Like really want the job.
But…. "I can't leave these guys," I whisper, reaching out to stroke Quack's tiny head. He's the smallest of the bunch, a Chihuahua who is barely over five pounds. He likes to sniff flowers, but flowers don't like him back. They make him sneeze, and he sounds like he's quacking. "They don't have anyone else."
If there are really men coming to kill me, I can't leave them behind to become causalities. It's my job to protect them. Sloth and Shaman, giant mutts, are both ancient. They can't fight off a group of grown men intent on harming them. Rabbit, a French bulldog, is afraid of everything. Dizzy, a hyperactive German Shepherd, doesn't understand danger. I don't know what kind of dog Bear is, but he's a tiny terror. If he thinks his pack is in danger, he'll go on the attack and get himself hurt. And sweet little Rosy, a beautiful beagle, loves everyone. She wouldn't understand being left behind.
They're my family now. They need me as much as I need them.
"Jesus Christ," Dimitri mutters, looking between me and the dogs still standing between us as if they fully intend to act like my shield all night long. "I guess they come too, then."