Well, it’s six weeks out from release day, so it’s time for the reveal of my next book–Accidental Evils, Book III of the Pagano Brothers series. This is Tony’s story.
Tony was just a background character in Simple Faith, Book I of the series, but he snagged Lola’s interest a bit there, when it turned out that he and Trey didn’t get along. And then, in Hidden Worthiness, Book II, where he was still mainly in the background, he had a moment where something he did, a mistake he made, had pivotal consequences for the Pagano Brothers, and thus for the series. I knew then that his story would have to be told, and that he should get the next book.
He was a fascinating character to write, and a challenge. Like Billy, his One True, I came to love him as I found a way under his shell and got to know him.
I won’t say Accidental Evils is an enemies-to-lovers romance, because their attraction is intense enough that they get over their hostilities pretty quickly. But there is definitely tension between them at the start. In fact, their first interaction is him threatening her, in his role as enforcer. Tony has wholeheartedly and, for the most part, unapologetically embraced his badness, and Billy is suspicious of him–and of her attraction to him.
But there’s a lot more to Tony than his toughness. And Billy is up to the challenge of uncovering it.
Oh, and things are about to get pretty chaotic in Quiet Cove.
Here’s the description:
As an enforcer for the Pagano Brothers, Tony Cioccolanti’s life is steeped in violence. For the most part, he feels no burden on his soul for the blood he spills or the pain he inflicts. He is a soldier, and blood and pain are the wages of war.
Yet one terrible mistake haunts him, in his dreams and in his waking hours.
Billy Jones has moved to Quiet Cove, the place of her happiest memories, to start a business and fulfill a dream. Having summered in the Cove through most of her childhood, she understands about the Pagano Brothers and their control of the town. Their interest in her nightclub doesn’t surprise her—nor does the “protection” payment they demand. The glowering goombah who visits her club regularly, however—he surprises her plenty.
She was not prepared for the attraction between them.
As Tony and Billy draw closer, Tony’s violent life, and the Pagano Brothers’ brutal world, explodes on the streets of the Cove.
War has come, and its wages are due.
Release date: Saturday, 6 July.
Preorder begins: Saturday, 15 June.
You can add it to your Goodreads TBR here.
It was hard to find a good preview chapter that didn’t give too much story away, so I’m offering this scene from Chapter 8 as a preview–their first kiss:
A few minutes before nine-thirty, the band ended their second set, and Billy got on stage to announce that the Quiet Cove fireworks display would start soon. Then she followed most of the crowd outside.
The Quiet Cove boardwalk didn’t follow the beachline exactly; it started at the beach, ran alongside for a few hundred yards, then curved in toward town. Here at the far end, where West Egg was located, there wasn’t much view of the water.
Billy liked it that way. From her second-floor windows, she had a decent view, and the distance between the beach and the club served as a boundary that reminded people they couldn’t wander into her nice establishment in bare feet and board shorts, like they did elsewhere on the boardwalk. They went home, dressed up, and came back.
For the purposes of fireworks-watching, the distance helped, too. Less of a crowd, but the same view of the sky.
That had been her reasoning when she’d decided to put a temporary deck out here for this weekend, and she’d been right. The little bar out here was doing heavy business, though they were serving only wine, bottled beer, and water.
Billy stood at a corner of the deck, leaning against the railing, and felt, for the first time since opening weekend, when the big first crowd had her convinced they’d be in the black in no time, that West Egg would succeed. She was doing it right. People enjoyed the club—the music, the menu, everything. The reputation was building. Word of mouth was spreading. She would climb out of her hole and keep climbing.
She felt the presence of someone encroaching on her personal space—even in this crowd, the intent felt obviously different from someone simply wandering close—and knew without looking who’d come up on her.
And she was right. Tony was right there, leaning in.
“You look pleased with yourself,” he said, smirking.
Infused with a sense of coming success, the fresh confidence that she had steered her life onto a steady course, Billy decided right then to grapple with whatever weird fascination this guy pinged in her. Also, she wanted to hold on to this feeling of control and self-direction, and if she stood here with him too long, he was certain to grab her or something, show his physical dominance.
She could walk away, but he’d follow.
So Billy did something else.
She turned to him, shoved at his chest, pushing him against the deck railing. The move surprised him, and a bolt of electric pleasure surged through her at the thought that she’d finally knocked him off his hill.
That surge gave her the courage to follow through on this insane urge to make him taste his own medicine. He was stronger than she, obviously. But he was caught off guard. And in her five-inch Jimmy Choo sandals, she was only an inch or two shorter than he.
Billy grabbed his head and kissed him.
She meant it to be fierce and a little violent. To dig her nails into his head, pull his hair, mash her mouth on his, show him she wasn’t afraid of him and that he wasn’t invulnerable. And for a few seconds, several seconds, the kiss was exactly that. Painful and ugly, but entirely in her control. Billy’s heart was a drumbeat in her ears, she could feel her arms shaking, but she was in control.
Then the first burst of fireworks exploded above them, and Tony shoved her off.
His hands clamped over her shoulders in a bruising clench, he stared at her, his brow drawn in, the colored lights in the sky flickering in his furious, shocked eyes.
Shit. He was going to hurt her now. Punch her, or something. Billy wanted to back away, get away from this very bad mistake, but she couldn’t move—and it had nothing to do with his grip on her. Her body wouldn’t move.
She stared back, her heart pounding, and waited for him to make her pay.
His hands came off her shoulders—she could run now, he was going to hit her, she should run right now—but she didn’t move. He cupped his hands around her head, with none of the violence she’d used, and kissed her.
Demanding, but not violent. His lips were soft on hers, his tongue tasting, pushing, wanting in.
Billy let him in.
©2019 Susan Fanetti