Touch of Hate Read Online J.L. Beck, Cassandra Hallman

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Contemporary, Dark, Forbidden, Mafia, Romance Tags Authors: ,

Total pages in book: 132
Estimated words: 125465 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 627(@200wpm)___ 502(@250wpm)___ 418(@300wpm)

Betrayal cuts the deepest.
I would know better than anyone.
They never suspected me to be the villain.
That didn’t matter anymore, though, because I didn’t just want revenge, I needed it.
Leaving my old life behind, I knew I could never return, but there was something… no, someone I had left behind.
Kind. Innocent. Fragile.
She was a light in the darkness of my life.
Back then, she was always meant to be mine, even if having her meant breaking every single rule.
Now enemies or not, she would still be mine.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************



“What the fuck were you thinking?” I yell at the computer screen while pacing the living room. “Attacking Aspen was not a part of the plan.”

River doesn’t care that I’m upset and want to wring his neck.

He never does.

Which is half the problem. He’s always doing something dangerous or violent, and he never sticks to the fucking plan.

“I don’t know why you are getting your panties in a bunch. You shouldn’t care about her or the rest of the Rossi family, for that matter. They’re not your family; Luna and I are. No one else matters.”

“Just because they’re not my family doesn’t mean we need to kill them.”

“It also doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. They’re weighing you down, distracting you from what really matters.” River shrugs before leaning back in his chair. Lifting his arms, he leisurely folds them behind his head. “Come on, Ren, you knew this was coming. I’ve been telling you for years.”

“You have been telling me for years that we have to get away from them and get revenge on Safe Haven; you said nothing about casualties.”

I stop pacing and flop down on the couch across from my laptop. River’s black hair is longer on the top, and some strands cover half of his forehead and one eye. He’s tall and skinny, but his shoulders are wide, and his hands appear rough, the knuckles beaten and bruised like he’s spent hours fighting someone.

“Casualties are unavoidable in a war. Plus, we need to keep everyone busy, so no one looks into what you are doing with your little girlfriend.” The snideness in his voice makes my insides clench.

All my defenses go up. I don’t like anyone knowing how I feel about Scarlet, not even River.

Least of all River.

“I’m not doing anything.”

“No?” He smirks, but his smile is villainous. “So you’re not sneaking around at night while your precious Scarlet’s visiting Corium with her family, watching her every minute you can? Those stolen glances, when your gaze lingers too long. I’m sure I don’t even have to mention the way you look at her when Quinton is in the room? Do you think he’s blind?”

When I don’t reply right away, he continues. “You should really be thanking me for taking the heat off your ass.”

“Nobody is on my ass.”

His grin widens. “Thanks to me.”

“Whatever you say.” I suppress an eye roll and get up from my seat. “I’m heading out.”

“In the middle of the night? Gee, I wonder where you’re going,” he mocks. I ignore his dig and shut the laptop down without a goodbye.

Ever since Quinton moved in with Aspen, I’ve had the apartment to myself. It was also around that time when River started to visit Corium more frequently. I still haven’t figured out how he gets in and out, but then again, sneaking around has always been one of his many talents.

I shut the door behind me, letting the dark silence of the hallway swallow me. Keeping my steps light, I walk down the hall and toward the elevators. The corridor is quiet, but that’s expected, given the time.

Once inside, I press the S button and head to the surface. Everything here at Corium is state of the art, but even this brand-new, stainless-steel elevator takes twenty-five seconds to get me from deep inside the Alaskan ground to the surface.

As it turns out, twenty-five seconds can stretch into an eternity when you’re chastising yourself. No one has to tell me what I’m doing is wrong.

I know it. Obviously, I’ve had every opportunity to stop this in its tracks. This being the connection I have with Scarlet.

I imagine drug addicts going through this cycle that’s plagued me for months. Telling myself it’s wrong and I need to quit cold turkey. No more clandestine meetings. No more secret glances and hidden smiles. One of us has to be strong. She has no intention of walking away, so it has to be me.

That attitude lasts a few days, maybe even a few weeks. I can push her out of my mind. I might even laugh at myself for ever thinking it’s possible to be free of the pull she has on me.

Then? Something always happens to bring her rushing to the forefront once again. I’ll walk in on a video call she’s having with Q and hear her voice, her soft laughter. It will stir the familiar craving deep in my soul.

I’ll remember the way she whispers my name. The dark thrill of her pleading for my touch. I’ll savor those memories in a frantic attempt at staving off the hunger that begins to grow, to consume me, replaying them in my head while I jerk off. Doing anything I can to keep myself away from her.

Soon, memories aren’t enough, and I need the real thing. She’ll haunt my every waking thought until I’m sure I’ll either die or go insane if I don’t get a taste of her, her scent, her touch—anything, so long as the craving ceases.