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Embracing the Devil

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Artemy Loskutov... Known for his icy demeanor, merciless nature, and lethal skills, I command respect and instill fear in everyone who crosses my path. Love and affection have no place in my existence; my sole purpose is to exact vengeance upon the detestable Cavalieri mafia, responsible for my mother's untimely demise. When I stumble upon a young woman, battered and hiding beneath my bed, I spare her not out of kindness, but view her as a mere possession, a toy to be manipulated. Rebecca Cavalieri... I had grown accustomed to men who sought to exploit, harm, and discard me. Trust is an elusive concept, and my heart remains hidden beneath layers of anguish. Artemy, however, managed to unearth and rekindle the flickering flame within me. He awakened my dormant emotions. But if he uncovers the true extent of the danger I pose to him, I risk losing not only his affection but also my very life.

Prologue

Artemy

"There's a problem," my second in command spoke harshly over the phone. I immediately sensed the severity in his voice. It made me uneasy, knowing that if Brayden, an unpredictable individual, was this disturbed, it meant something significant. Something I wouldn't want to deal with.

Without wasting any time, I informed him, "I'm on my way." As I left my office, I noticed a few of my men standing in the hallway, maintaining their positions and showing their respect as I passed by.

Walking down the dimly lit corridor that led to the soundproof basement, I could feel the tension building within me. The air felt stagnant, and each step I took echoed in the silence, preparing myself for the worst.

Upon opening the door, I found Brayden leaning against the wall, completely lost in his own thoughts. He barely registered my arrival. Clearing my throat, I caught his attention, and he looked up, his expression reflecting horror and disgust.

"It's bad," Brayden uttered, gesturing towards the room. I nodded, taking the lead as I proceeded further inside, with Brayden following closely behind.

Advancing with purpose, I discovered a man, beaten and bloodied, bound to a chair. The basement room was empty, except for the chair in the center and a table at the back. Four of my most trusted men stood around the captive.

Although I didn't recognize the prisoner, his eyes conveyed sheer terror when he locked gazes with me. As I approached, his already pale face contorted in pain, and he instinctively pushed back against the restraints.

"What the hell is happening here?" I thundered, my voice reverberating throughout the room. I never diverted my gaze from the man, relishing the satisfaction that surged through me as I observed his flinch. The b*st*rd better be trembling in fear.

Brayden circled around me, positioning himself behind the man. With a firm grip on the captive's hair, he yanked it forcefully, causing his neck to snap back in pain. The man screamed and struggled desperately.

I raised my gaze from the battered captive and locked eyes with Brayden, who wore a look of disgust. "That b*st*rd betrayed us," Brayden growled, his voice seething with anger. "I overheard him talking. He's working for those d*mn Italians."

Glancing back at the man, I noticed his closed eyes, his refusal to meet my gaze. The surge of anger that coursed through me was beyond words. He had betrayed me, the very person who held his life in my hands. No one betrayed me and got away with it. My men were like family, and I trusted them implicitly. But when one of my own betrayed me, the consequences were severe—death, a painful and agonizing death.

Taking a deep breath, I composed myself and moved away from the restrained man. "Bring me a chair!" I shouted, and one of my men hurriedly complied, placing the chair behind me before retreating cautiously.

As I sat down, facing the treacherous scum, I locked eyes with him as he opened his own. The rage within me intensified. Leaning forward, I snarled into his face, "Why?"

His trembling body displayed fear, yet he remained stubbornly silent. I glanced up and signaled Brayden. He released his hold on the man, walking towards a table at the back of the room, only to return with a cutter in his hand.

A malicious smile crossed my face as I reclined against the chair, crossing my arms over my chest. "Enjoy," I uttered, nodding at Brayden.

The room filled with the man's agonized screams as Brayden began his work. Blood dripped onto the floor, but my gaze remained fixated on the betrayer. When he began to lose consciousness, I raised my hand, instantly halting Brayden’s torturous actions.

Leaning forward once again, I growled menacingly, "Why and who?"

A glare was the only response I received, prompting Brayden to lean in and deliver a punch. "Show respect."

With his defiant silence persisting, I relinquished my grip on his face, standing up and pushing the chair away. I had no intention of soiling my hands this time. However, the man bound to the chair before me left me no choice. The rest of my men needed to witness my lethal capabilities, to understand the dire consequences of betraying me.

They needed to witness the darkest depths of my brutality, as it seemed they had forgotten. All feared me, and nobody dared to betray me.

Advancing towards the table, I retrieved a pair of pliers. As I turned, my men instinctively took a step back. Brayden grinned sadistically, shaking his head. "F*ck yeah. Now you're talking."

Brayden pressed the captive's head onto the chair while I positioned myself in front of him, gripping his chin forcefully without concern for his pain. I compelled his mouth to open and placed the pliers against his teeth. Despite his attempts to scream, I denied him the opportunity. It took me several hours to reach a point of satisfaction.

By the time I finished, he had ceased to breathe. May this serve as a valuable lesson.

Rebecca

I repeated to myself, "Run, don't stop running." Escaping proved to be a formidable challenge. I had meticulously planned my escape for years, yet I could never muster the courage to execute it until tonight. It was imperative for me to break free from the living nightmare I was born into.

My father, devoid of any concern, turned a blind eye to my pleas. His sole focus was on his own profits. As the Boss, he commanded respect from the Italians, the Famiglia. He held the position of a feared leader, while I, unfortunately, was nothing more than a pawn in his cruel game. I possessed no choices, no willpower, and received neither respect nor love. I had nothing.

My engagement to my father's second in command was never a decision of my own. How could it be at the tender age of sixteen? Enduring years of torment inflicted by Raffaele, I finally made up my mind to escape at the age of twenty-three. I yearned for my father to intervene and halt the violence perpetrated against me, but he never did. Raffaele did as he pleased, using me as a plaything for his pleasure and pain.

Once he left me bruised and battered after another night of torture, I summoned the last remnants of strength to crawl out of bed and make my way to the window. Despite all the thoughts and plans I had put into my escape, it was anything but easy. Nothing ever came easily to me. Nevertheless, I sprinted away, desperate to save my life. My remaining sanity depended on it.

"Stop!" I heard voices yelling from behind, jolting me out of my thoughts. Gasping for air, I realized I was almost off the property, my legs ablaze with exertion. I continued to repeat my mantra, urging myself to keep running. I knew I needed time, but the men chasing me were closing in.

"Miss Becca, please stop. Stop!" one of them shouted from behind me.

Pressing deeper into the dense forest, I compelled myself to increase my pace. I exerted all my strength, running until my body felt on the verge of collapse. My injuries were severe, and blood flowed freely.

Every part of me throbbed with pain, but I persisted. The only thing that mattered was escaping.

I continued sprinting into the darkness, not stopping until the cries of the men pursuing me faded into silence. When their echoes could no longer be heard, I halted and sought support from a nearby tree.

Although my safety remained uncertain, I desperately needed to rest. My heart pounded in my chest, and my legs trembled too violently to carry on.

However, as a noise reached my ears from the left, my eyes widened, and I pushed myself away from the tree, taking a few steps in the opposite direction. The sounds grew louder. Without sparing a second glance, I averted my gaze and resumed my frantic sprint, praying to stumble upon someone who could offer assistance. Surely, there must be a compassionate soul left in this harsh world.

As dawn approached, exhaustion overwhelmed me, rendering it impossible to continue. I had exited the forest, finding myself alongside an abandoned road. I recalled that my father's estate lay on the outskirts of New York City, his aspirations of one day ruling the entire metropolis lingering in my thoughts. Nevertheless, it now belonged to another, someone more influential than he.

Limping along the roadside, I pressed onward until I came upon a cluster of houses. Relief flooded my being, for I believed safety was within reach. Someone would come to my aid.

Approaching one of the houses, I softly rapped on the door. An elderly woman opened it and gasped at the sight of me. Before I could utter a word, she abruptly slammed the door shut, leaving me stunned. What?

My fist instinctively rose to knock again, but a movement caught my peripheral vision. Raffaele’s men roamed the area, actively searching for my presence.

With my heart lodged in my throat, I swiftly sought refuge behind the nearest house. As I contemplated my next course of action, headlights illuminated the corner, drawing my attention. I turned left and spotted a black vehicle gradually coming to a halt.

Frozen in place, I watched as a burly man emerged from the car. He donned a black suit, akin to those worn by Raffaele and my father, obscuring his face in the darkness. He entered one of the nearby houses.

Gazing back at the vehicle, I made my decision. Ensuring that Raffaele’s men were not observing, I stealthily abandoned my hiding spot and hastened toward the car. Gripping the handle of the rear door, I pulled.

The door swung open, and tears of relief clouded my vision, causing me to stifle a sob. Cautiously scanning my surroundings, I confirmed that no prying eyes were upon me. Seizing the opportunity, I climbed into the car, shutting the door behind me.

Crouching between the seats, I curled up, striving to render myself invisible. I closed my eyes and concentrated on regulating my breathing, seeking solace in the darkness.

A few minutes later, the door swung open and the man took a seat, causing me to startle. The door slammed shut with a force that made my stomach churn and my breathing gradually calmed down. Fear gripped me, evident in the trembling of my hands.

Then, I heard some shuffling sounds, and he began speaking. "Brayden, get everything ready. I'll be heading home."

My body was tense, like a tightly wound string, but as the car suddenly jolted forward and the man started driving, I couldn't help but let out a sigh of relief.

At least for now, I was out of harm's way. And that was all that mattered.

Chapter 1

RebeccaAs I drove, my body quivered with tension. The man beside me remained silent, yet the atmosphere around him exuded an intense and brooding energy. When the car finally came to a halt, I found myself frozen in place.My heart skipped a beat when he opened the door, and I anxiously awaited his reaction. However, he simply stepped out of the car, leaving the door to close behind him. A profound silence settled in.Relief flooded over me, causing my body to slump against the back of the car seat. I let out a sigh, knowing I was safe. After a few more minutes of waiting, I mustered the courage to climb to my knees and peered outside through the tinted window.To my astonishment, I gasped, my eyes widening in sheer shock. The view beyond the window stole my breath away. A sight of unparalleled beauty unfolded before me.A long, circular driveway stretched ahead, flanked by majestic pine trees and adorned with tall red g

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