Wednesday, November 5, 2014


There’s two
sides to every story...

And ours?
Isn't pretty...
Then again,
what's pretty about the mafia?
Trace Rooks,
that’s what.
But she only
wants one of us, and I'll kill him before I let him have her.
The only
And she may
just be our long lost enemy.
Whoever said
college was hard, clearly didn't attend Eagle Elite University.
Welcome to
hell also known as the Mafia where blood is thicker than life, and to keep
yours? Well, keep your friends close, and your enemies?



Nixons POV
Chapter One
            I watched
as the parade of cars made their way through the black iron gates, as if
somehow those gates would protect them if the country went to war. Funny, they
had no clue that the war—Lucifer himself, was already parading around inside,
safe from the police- the feds- anyone who would be a threat.
            Safe from
everyone but me.
            My eyes
flickered to Phoenix on my right, he grinned as a new girl walked up to him and
gave him a flirty wave.
            I elbowed
him hard in the ribs.
            His grin
turned sour as he glared at the girl and flipped her off.
your place.
            I’d said
it once, twice, a million times to the guys, and they were still struggling
with the idea that they weren’t here to go to school, they weren’t here to make
friends. We weren’t at peace. We were in a freaking war zone.
Phoenix’s family was our only key to redemption.
seems to be the last of them.” Chase’s cool gaze surveyed the main road that
led into campus. It was easier on security to have one road in and one road
out. Too bad life wasn’t that convenient.
            If someone
didn’t belong—it would take us minutes, scratch that, seconds to eliminate
them, their family, all while making it look like a very unfortunate accident.
Tex squinted towards the iron gates, “I think there’s one more car.”
            “The hell
there is.” I muttered, “I counted the cars, I’ve looked at the lists, we aren’t
missing anyone.”
yanked the list out of my hand and started reading through the names of all the
freshman enrollees. His grin made me about lose my shit as he lifted his head
and handed back the paper.
            “I hear
Wyoming’s beautiful this time of year.”
            “What?” I
jerked the list away and started greedily reading through the names.
            One stood
Rooks, Female, 18, Casper, Wyoming.
            “Great.” I
dropped the list onto the ground and smirked, “A girl who probably smells like
cow shit. What’s her background?”
            I said it
louder, this time grinding my teeth together.
            Tex was
the first to answer, “We couldn’t really find any.”
Really. Find. Any.” I repeated. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
Tex shook his head, “We have Sergio on it, but the girl doesn’t really have a
lot of information about her. Parents dead, Grandma dead, Grandpa her only
living relative and somehow her social as well as her birth certificate were
both lost.”
            “Lost.” I
licked my lips. I told my head not to go there, told my heart to stay in my
damn chest and stop hoping as images flooded my mind. Dark hair, dark eyes,
“Nixon, I’ll save you.”
            “Dude, you
okay?” Chase elbowed me.
            “Let’s go
welcome her to Eagle Elite.”
            “I said,”
I started marching towards the girls dorms, “Let’s go welcome her.”
            “Why do I
have a feeling this is a really bad idea?” Tex said under his breath.
            “For once,
Tex, keep your mouth shut and stay in the background, paste a shit eating grin on
your face and let me and Chase deal with this. Do you think you can do that?
            “Take a
Xanax.” Phoenix grumbled.
            I sent a
seething glare in his direction.
            He mumbled
a curse and walked off with Tex to wait by the tree while we continued the next
few feet to the girls dorms.
            The car
was a rental.
grandpa was ancient.
            The girl
            And she
had shit as belongings. Her suitcase was covered with stickers, her grandpa
handed her a small box, and I could have sworn I saw a tear escape her eye and
roll down her smooth cheek.
            “Hell no.”
I grumbled, “She’ll be destroyed here.”
last five minutes.” Chase agreed.
            “Tears.” I
wiped my face with my hands, “Tell me I’m not seeing tears.”
don’t cry here.”
don’t.” I agreed.
            “She isn’t
like them.”
            “We need
            I laughed
at that, “We need a miracle.” With a curse, I quickly dialed the number for
orientation and made arrangements for the New Girl to be moved to the United
States room. Mo was supposed to be on that same floor. I figured she needed all
the help she could get. No way would little Wyoming survive the year with
anyone else, not that I was happy about it. I mean in hindsight that was
probably my first mistake.
officially invited her into my life—by way of my sister.
            “New girls
here.” I said loud enough for Tracey to turn around and gape. So squeaky clean
and innocent. Like a little lamb, right, Chase?” I tilted my head and offered
her a smirk.
            The old
man reached in his jacket. It was a move I knew well. Another clue. He wasn’t
what he said he was. He wasn’t who he said he was. As if noticing my
calculating glare, he removed his hand and offered a forced smile, “A welcoming
committee? This place sure is nice.”
            I had to
respect his control. The way he protectively stood in front of Tracey as if he
was the only thing standing in the way of my devouring her.
            “Is there
a problem?” He scratched his head, causing his shirt sleeve to fall, revealing
a small tattoo. One I’d seen as a child but couldn’t place.
            “Do I know you?” I blurted.
laughed, “Know any farmers out in Wyoming?”
            It was his
tone that convinced me, the way his shook his head slightly, waiting for my
challenge. It was the same look my Uncle gave me when he wanted me to stop
            It was the
look that my dad taught me when I was ten and witnessed my first torture.
            The girl
was still staring at us. Easy target. I’d leave the old man alone, he reminded
me too much of mine. And I didn’t need that reminder, not now.
            I lifted
my arms and stretched lazily.
            The girls
eyes went wide as she stared at my body.
            Chase hit
me in the stomach.
sauntered forward and tilted her chin towards me, closing her mouth in the
process. “Much better,” I licked my lips and fought the urge to kiss her. Yeah,
I was losing my shit. “We’d hate for our charity case to choke on an insect on
her first day.” Her lips trembled as she looked from me to her Grandpa. I released
her before she could do anything, and walked past, with Chase in tow.
            I needed
to talk to the girl at registration anyways. We disappeared behind the
building, but I’d be back. I just needed the Grandpa to leave.
seconds the rental car was driving away. And the girl as all mine. My heart
thudded against my chest, and for a second, I regretted what I was about to do.
            But every
possible outcome ended with either her death, or her in danger. And for some
reason, I didn’t want someone like her at Eagle Elite. She didn’t belong in my
deserved a picket fence.
            A good
college experience without classmates who’d rather see her commit suicide then
survive the next four years.
            They would
destroy her.
            And she
would make it so damn easy to do so.
            The only
way—was to beat them to it. To be the first, marking her as our target, our
messed with what was mine.
            And in the
end, nobody would mess with her. They’d allow me to entertain them with her
innocence. I’d dangle her in front of them like a carrot, and at the end of the
day, she’d be untouchable.
            I sighed as she looked up at the
building gaping like someone who’d been homeschooled and never seen a sky
scraper before.
            She was
too skinny.
            I made a
mental note to get her one of my access cards—she didn’t need to know how much
they cost—or that every single student at EE would kill to have one. Mo would
take care of the rest.
            She’d eat
with us.
            She’d want
for nothing.
            It was the
least I could do after what I was about to make her endure.
            Licking my
lips I approached her again, this time, damning myself to hell with each step I
took. “Are you lost?”
She grinned, damn it made her prettier. “Apparently I live in the United
States.” With a shrug she tried and failed to lift her heavy suitcase and
nearly toppled over onto her cute ass.
            I muffled
a laugh, knowing that Chase was doing the exact same thing. Being mean to her
would be like kicking a puppy. But the world was ugly. I just hated that I would
be her tutor in the ways of reality—her prince of darkness.
            Damn, I
would have done anything to be the hero.
Nixon.” I stood directly in front of her, shifting my eyes from her poorly
fitting clothes to her ugly shoes.
            “Tracey, but everyone calls me Trace.”
She held out her hand.
            I itched
to touch it.
            To touch
her skin.
            Instead, I
scowled, shook her hand, then wiped that same hand on my jeans as if she was
She took a step back.
moved past me, “He’s right. As cute as you are, Farm Girl, someone needs to
tell you the rules.”
            Her gaze
narrowed, “Can it be fast?”
again, I almost lost my mind. Chase was probably ready to shit his pants. The
last person that talked back to him was Phoenix and that ended with a few
broken bones and a trip to the dentist.
            “You hear
that Chase?” I said amused, “She likes it fast.”
Chase took a step closer, nearly touching her with his body, “I’d like to give
it to her slow.” His eyes raked her in, as if she was the first girl he’d ever
seen in his entire existence. Jealousy surged through me. What he hell? She
wasn’t’ his. Not that she was mine, but still. He was standing too close, too
rules.” He stepped back. My heart beat returned to normal, “No speaking to the
Elect, unless you’ve been asked to speak to them.” He circled around her
staring a little long at her ass before he continued.
            “Who are
You’ve already broken a rule. I’m speaking New Girl.” Chase smirked. “Geez,
Nixon, this one’s going to be hard to break in.”
always are.” I said without taking my eyes from her, “But I think I’ll enjoy
this one.” The first true thing I’d said. I would enjoy it too much. I’d enjoy
her too much, because she reminded me of someone I used to know. Someone who
offered to save me, when I was already past saving, someone who wiped my tears,
and cried as if they were her own.
continued with the rules. Making me sicker as her face continued to fall.
she asked, “Is that all?”
            “No.” Raw desire pulsed through me as I
approached her, needing to touch her, needing to make sure she was real even
though I knew I was acting like a complete and utter lunatic. Chase and I would
have words later. He knew me better than I knew myself sometimes. I was going
too far, pushing myself, pushing him.
            My hand
caressed her face, then moved down her smooth neck to her shoulder. I wanted to
claim her, to possess her, to make her scream—but not with fear, with utter
ecstasy. I had no idea who she was, but she made me want. And that was the
            For the
first time in years. I wanted.
            I wasn’t
allowed to want.
            I had to
die to myself.
            Because in
the grand scheme of things? It wasn’t about me. It was about blood, family,
protection. Blood in, blood out.
            Her eyes
dilated. Furious that she’d reacted so easily, upset with myself for making my
own body suffer, I snapped.
            “You feel
this? Memorize it now, because as of this moment, you can’t touch us. We are
untouchable. If you as much as sneeze in our direction, if you as much breathe
the same air in my atmosphere. I will make your life hell. This touch, what you
feel against your skin, will be the only time you feel another human being as
powerful as me near you. So like I said, feel it, remember it, and maybe one
day, your brain will do you the supreme favor of forgetting what it felt like
to have someone like me touching you. Then, and only then, will you be able to
be happy with some mediocre boyfriend and pathetic life.” Away from me. Away
from it all. Safe.
            A few more
tears escaped down her cheek.
            And I knew
in that moment. It was the beginning of the end.
            My end.
            My downfall.

            My demise.





Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street
Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances.
When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and
plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir
Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing
journey at