Behind the Mask Captive Hearts Book 1 by Abbi Cook Genre: Dark Mafia Romance
I’m a bad man. I never said I was anything else.
I shouldn’t want the beautiful brunette who lives in that suburban cul-de-sac, but one glance and I can’t think of anything else but taking her. The innocence in her dark eyes tells me she has no idea what life in my world is like.
But she’s going to find out.
I control everything around me, and that includes Kaia now. At first, she’ll beg for her freedom, but it won’t take long before she’s begging for something else.
Her world has changed. She’s mine now.
LOOK FOR BENEATH THE SURFACE AND BEYOND THE LIES, THE NEXT STANDALONE BOOKS IN THE CAPTIVE HEARTS SERIES, AVAILABLE NOW!
Publisher's Note: Behind The Mask contains themes which may be disturbing to some readers.
She caught me off guard when she tried to run past me like that. I hadn’t planned on hurting her. For what purpose? That style of rough doesn’t do much for me. Now if she was riding my cock, choking her might be fun, and not just for me, but just to punish her?
It’s far too blunt for my usual tastes.
Then again, keeping a woman prisoner in my fucking basement isn’t my usual taste either.
I catch her sneaking glances at me as she eats. She thinks she’s being sly, but I see her do it each time. How easy it is to change a person’s mind with just the simplest nice deed. Yesterday, I dangled her from my hand as I choked her into unconsciousness, and now today with a cup of yogurt that cost less than a dollar, she’s back to wondering about who I am and why I wear this mask. I bet if I fed her regularly for a few days I could get her to do practically anything I wanted.
She scrapes the spoon off the bottom of the plastic cup in an effort to gather every last bit of food. It makes her look desperate while I stand over her in a two thousand dollar suit and leather shoes. The noise instantly irritates me, so I grab the cup and spoon from her hold.
A hurt look is what I get in return. Those dark eyes of hers that seem to always look so glassy stare up at me and silently beg for more.
“See what happens when you behave, angel?” I ask with a smile she can’t see, genuinely happy she hasn’t tried anything stupid today.
“Why are you doing this to me? I don’t think I could have hurt you in any way.”
“I told you. Your husband gave you to me.”
Even I have to silently admit how strange that sounds. Someone gave me a person. A flesh and blood human being.
“Do you have a lot of women like me?” she asks quietly, catching me off guard. I’d expected another protest about how she doesn’t deserve what’s happened to her.
Shaking my head, I answer her truthfully. “No. You’re the only one.”
Her dark eyes grow wide at hearing that. “Are you going to kill me then?”
“Do you know what a non sequitur is?” I ask with a chuckle.
“Yes. Are you going to kill me?”
“I told you before, no. I have no plans to.”
“Why do you keep me in this room?”
“Why do you ask so many questions?”
Her mouth turns down into a deep frown, and she hangs her head. “Because I have no other contact than with you. I think it’s only natural to want to talk to someone once in a while.”
“Even someone who nearly killed you yesterday?”
Without looking up at me, she says with a sob, “Yes.”
Who knew breaking a suburban housewife could be so easy?
I have no answer I want to give her for why I keep her here. The truth is I don’t know what else to do with her. I have a business to run and having her around getting in the way and seeing what she shouldn’t see isn’t what I need.
Looking up at me, she asks, “What is your name?”
For a second I don’t know what to say. “You ask too many questions, angel.”
“Can’t I even know the name of the person who keeps me a prisoner? I have nothing else. You’ve taken everything else away. What harm does it do to give me a name to call you?”
I know what she’s doing. She’s not as clever as she thinks. She is smart, though. I have to give her that.
“If you behave yourself, I’ll tell you tomorrow.”
But that doesn’t satisfy her, and she asks yet another question. “Do you wear that mask so I can’t see your face to identify you?”
I have to fight the urge to shake my head, so I stare down at her, narrowing my eyes to slits to show her the time for her questions has ended.
She takes the hint but keeps talking. “I’m hoping that’s the reason because…” For a few seconds, she falls silent, but then she finishes her sentence. “That means you plan to let me go at some point.”
Now would be the time I’d expect her to swear up and down that she would never tell anyone about what’s happened here and she promises to say nothing and never go to the police. Instead, she stares up at me and waits for me to respond to her.
I have no idea if I plan to let her go at some point. Well, that’s not true. Of course, I can’t keep her forever. I can barely figure out what to do with her for half a week’s time. I’ve watched her for hours and convinced myself she’s never going to be a girl Jasper can put to work. I can only imagine what he’d do with all her fucking questions.
“Maybe I’ll give you to a friend of mine who keeps a stable of girls. That could work out.”
I don’t know why I say that because I’ve already decided I don’t want to do that. The confusion written all over her face tells me she has no idea what I mean by a stable of girls. Fuck, she’s either stupidly naïve or innocent. Either way, I can’t imagine handing her over to him.
“A stable? I don’t understand,” she says, shaking her head.
“Whores. He’s a pimp, and the stable of girls work for him. I could give you to him.”
Panic flashes in her eyes. “Please don’t. I can’t…I couldn’t…”
I have no good reason to continue this conversation about something I already know I’m not going to do, but I keep taunting her. Stepping back, I look her up and down as she sits on that dirty twin mattress in only her bra and panties and shrug.
“You’ve got a decent body. Why couldn’t you do that?”
“Did my husband know you might do this when he supposedly gave me to you?” she asks in a voice tinged with hurt.
Nodding, I tell her what she likely already knows somewhere deep inside. “Yes. I told him I might do that.”
She winces in pain and looks away. “I wish I was like you. Someone like you would never care enough to be hurt by anyone,” she says softly and then falls silent.
I walk out with the empty yogurt cup in one hand and the spoon she licked clean in the other as she quietly sobs behind me. She’s wrong. I know about being hurt. It’s what made me the man I am today.
Beneath the Surface Captive Hearts Book 2
I was born and bred to be a killer. It's all I'm supposed to be.
I take no prisoners. Until Lily. For her, I make an exception. But only for a week.
When I walk in, time starts ticking down to zero. Her father has seven days
to save her.
Until then, she's mine. Mine to have. Mine to take.
Mine to keep.
LOOK FOR BEHIND THE MASK AND BEYOND THE LIES, TWO MORE STANDALONE BOOKS IN THE CAPTIVE HEARTS SERIES, AVAILABLE NOW!
Publisher's Note: Beneath The Surface contains themes which may be disturbing to some readers.
He looks down at my T-shirt, and then his hand touches my hip, sending need dancing through me. “I’m not one of those boys you tease to get your own way, Lily. This is your one last chance to go back to your room and pretend this never happened because if I let you come in, the word no doesn’t exist in here.”
Every word drips with a threat of something he thinks I can’t handle, but I don’t care. Whatever he is inside that room, at least I’ll be alive there at the week’s end.
I don’t know what else to say. Unlike in the movies where women always seem to say something snappy, I can’t think of a single clever thing at this moment. All that fills my brain is a mixture of fear, desire, and curiosity regarding the man in front of me.
Cason doesn’t answer and steps back to open the door and let me in. I walk across the threshold with the sense that something has changed the moment the door shuts behind me. The blue-green walls and matching rug look the same as before when I stood in that room and filled my eyes with the vision of him wearing only a towel, but unlike then, I don’t feel like I have the same ability to leave now. He hasn’t said I can’t, but there’s a sense all around me that he controls what happens in this place, and I will play my part in whatever that is, willing or unwillingly.
“So what do you want, little girl?” he says as he stops behind me.
Staring straight ahead, I fix my gaze on the slightly wrinkled bedspread that shows all he was doing was sitting around before I knocked on his door. “I want you to stop calling me little girl,” I answer softly before turning my head to look back at him.
His eyes meet mine, but he doesn’t say anything. Instead, his strong hands slide around my waist and then drift down to my hips. When he pulls me back against his body, I nearly stumble at the feel of his hard cock pressing against me.
“Feel that? I can’t deny you have an effect on me. But I like things rougher than those boys you’re used to. You should have thought twice about coming in here.”
A shiver races down my spine at the first touch of his lips to the back of my neck. His mouth is soft and teases my skin with things to come, but his words rattle around in my head as his hands tighten their grip on my hips with each second that passes.
My head flops forward when his tongue touches me, the tip of it flicking against my skin. I close my eyes and don’t even try to conceal the moan that escapes from my throat. There’s no use. Whatever this is in this room, whatever we are to one another here, I have to see all of it through to the end.
My life depends on it.
I feel Cason’s hand slide up over my left breast and then clamp around my throat, making my head snap up instantly. He chuckles behind me, moving his mouth away from me to speak.
“You had fair warning, Lily. I told you I wouldn’t be like those boys you’re used to.”
Beyond the Lies Captive Hearts Book 3
I'm not who I appear to be. Who I am is a lie.
I have a job to do, but in one night that all changes when a beautiful girl
turns my world upside down.
Sophie has no idea how much danger she's in, but it's too late now.
Because once we start on this path, there's no turning back.
Everything I am is a lie.
Except when it comes to her.
LOOK FOR BEHIND THE MASK AND BENEATH THE SURFACE, TWO MORE STANDALONE
BOOKS IN THE CAPTIVE HEARTS SERIES, AVAILABLE NOW!
Publisher's Note: Beyond The Lies contains themes which may be disturbing to some readers.
I let my gaze travel from his tattooed, broad shoulders down over his muscular chest and chiseled abs partially covered by the bedsheet. Never before have I seen such a perfect physical specimen of a man.
My mind drifts to what’s hidden beneath that sheet. The vision of those piercings is fixed in my brain, and question after question bounces around my head. Why did he do that to himself? Did it hurt? Was it part of some initiation into his boss’s group? Do all of the men around King also have cock piercings?
I don’t think I’ve ever been so fixated on a man’s cock before in my life. Jesus, most of the men I’ve slept with I haven’t thought about their cock as much as I’ve thought about King’s in the past few days.
Turning away, I shake my head, trying to push out the last of the images of those piercings still in my brain. This must be some reaction to being a hostage. What do they call that? Some kind of syndrome. It has something to do with Vikings, doesn’t it? Denmark? Is that it? Denmark syndrome?
No, that doesn’t sound right. Copenhagen syndrome? No. That’s not it either.
Stockholm syndrome! That’s it! Stockholm. But doesn’t that usually take a little while before the hostage begins to care for the captor?
I quickly correct myself on that ridiculous idea. I do not care for King. Not in the least. He may be better than Tap or his disgusting boss, but I don’t care for him.
Why I’m borderline obsessed with those piercings I have no idea.
My cheeks heat at that admission, even though it was silent and only I know the truth. I’ve never been the type of woman who spends her time ogling men’s crotches. I went to a male revue show with my friends last year, and even there, where every inch of men seemed to be available for all to see, I didn’t think once about a single man’s cock.
God, now all I can think about is that word! Cock. Christ, maybe I’m going crazy.
Romance you love with the darkness you crave.
Abbi Cook grew up wondering if she was different because she always wanted to know more about the villain than the hero in the stories she read. When she got older, she found there were others in the world like her and devoured their writing, loving every dark word. She's written her own tales for years, but in 2019 she decided it was time to take the next step and publish them. She's never looked back since that day.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My name is Abbi Cook, and I write dark romance. My first series, Captive Hearts, is a dark mafia romance. I became an author a few years ago when I began writing down the stories that were keeping me up at night, but I didn’t decide to publish until last year. I haven’t looked back since.
What inspired you to write this book?
The character of Ryker came to me a couple years ago. I fell in love with him instantly. He’s a bad man, as he freely admits, but I loved that about him. He’s also tortured about what happens with Kaia, and I loved that too. When I finally felt like I could write the story they deserved, I sat down and began writing.
What can we expect from you in the future?
More dark and twisty romance. I have a duet coming in the fall, and a four book series is planned for after that. Now that I’m writing the stories I’ve been thinking about, more come to me all the time.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
Ryker, the main character, wears a skull mask all the time, so the natural title was Behind The Mask. In Beneath The Surface, Cason is more than what he seems, so that’s where his book’s title came from. And in Beyond The Lies, King is living a double life, so that title worked perfectly for his book.
Who designed your book covers?
Michele Catalano Creative did all three Captive Hearts covers, and I love them! She has such a great eye for design.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I research everything I don’t have experience with firsthand, so that meant spending time talking to people who are knowledgeable about guns in particular since the books are mafia romance. I found that research to be incredibly interesting.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I know probably every single author is saying this these days, but the actor who plays the lead in 365 dni, Michele Morrone, would be a perfect Ryker.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing my entire life, but as for dark romance, I’ve been writing that for a couple years.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I read all the time! I’m a huge fan of my genre, dark romance, but I also love thrillers and horror. Anything that makes me a little uncomfortable is what I look for in my books.
A day in the life of the author?
Here’s a typical day in this author’s life. I sit down at my laptop by nine in the morning and check a few social media sites before getting to my work. I write for as long as the words are coming to me. Sometimes that’s all day. Sometimes it’s just a few hours. I try to remember to eat lunch, but if I’m really into a chapter or scene, I blow right through that. Usually I’m losing steam by about three in the afternoon.
What makes a good story?
A good story has characters that are relatable. Even if they’re doing things a reader has never experienced themselves, the characters have to react in a way that makes sense. If they do, then a reader will want to know how things turn out for them. A good story also has conflict. No conflict equals no story.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes, writer’s block is a very real thing. I couldn’t write a lot during the past few months because I just couldn’t focus. For me, that’s what the block is. When there’s a lot going on in my personal life or in the world at large, focus becomes very difficult to find and that’s when writer’s block comes around.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I love to sit out on the deck and have a drink at night if it’s warm out. That’s my favorite way to unwind. That and reading a good book I can get lost in. I also love watching true crime shows. I guess they shouldn’t be very relaxing, but I love learning about criminal behavior.
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