Greed (A Sinful Empire Trilogy #1) by Eva Charles
ABOUT THE BOOK
Some girls grow up in castles with fortresses to protect them from monsters. Other girls grow up in castles with fortresses to protect the monsters. I am both these girls.
Antonio Huntsman comes to call soon after my father dies. Unannounced, unapologetic, and unmistakably in charge. With a dangerous gaze and bespoke suit, he looks every bit the man who haunts my dreams. I’m sure he wants the priceless vineyards. They’ll be the crowning jewel of his empire.
But I’m wrong. He wants me.
Greed is the first book in the Sinful Empire Trilogy and my first Eva Charles novel.
Daniela D’Sousa is a young wine Princesa in Portugal who has lost her beloved father. Fearing for her safety from her family’s enemies, the Huntsmans, she flees to the U.S. with her maid and her maid’s daughter to hide out and make a new life for herself. Antonio Huntsman keeps tabs on her over a number of years as she struggles to get by until he decides it’s time to honor his blood oath to Daniela’s father to marry her and keep her safe. Luring her back home under false pretenses, Antonio kidnaps her and gives her no choice but to honor the agreement between him and her late father. But Daniela has a secret and plans of her own to protect and sacrifice her life for those she loves. She cannot trust anyone including her future husband with what she knows because it’s a matter of life and death.
Antonio Huntsman is a ruthless and unyielding businessman who owes Manuel D’Sousa for saving his life so when Manuel asked Antonio to marry and keep his daughter safe, Antonio reluctantly agrees. The last thing he wants is a wife, but Daniela is a beautiful and courageous Princesa who surprises him with her resilience and grit. He’s resigned to the fact that she will be his bride. He only has to convince her of that.
The chemistry between Daniela and Antonio is undeniable as they are forced together under unfortunate circumstances. Antonio’s relentless pursuit to keep Daniela safe despite her unwavering need to protect her loved ones so far away is frustrating at best. Daniela doesn’t make it easy, but I figured out her motivation to get away. I think once her secret is revealed, he is going to come unglued. Antonio is a powerful and cruel man at times and it took me a while to warm up to him, but he slowly begins to show his compassionate and human side the more he’s around Daniela. It’s hard to know who to trust when it comes to the many supporting characters in the story and the author throws in some great twists and turns to stump the reader. A warning that this is book 1 of a trilogy so expect a vexing cliffhanger.
I highly recommend this sexy and compelling new series filled with secrets, danger, and passion.
Thank you to Ms. Charles for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.
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Like something out of a movie, Antonio appears from a dark aisle, flanked with wooden barrels.
He positions a metal chair a few feet from me and straddles it. His expression is unreadable—at least to me.
The ancient cave is eerily quiet, as though the spirits have melted into the stone walls, to await news of my fate.
Antonio observes me intently but doesn’t say a word for several moments, and I don’t dare say anything either.
“What do you have to say for yourself?” he finally asks.
While his voice is neither warm nor forgiving, the hatred seems to have lessened. Or perhaps a bit of sleep, as little and disturbed as it was, has given me a renewed sense of strength.
I can’t just give up. I have to appeal to his sense of humanity—for Isabel and Valentina. And for me.
Be humble, Daniela. Above all, be humble and contrite.
“I’m done,” I croak. “You won. I’ll marry you, and we’ll live in Porto.”
“You’ll marry me? This must be my lucky day.” He’s sarcastic, but not caustic. “I always win, Daniela. Always. I thought you would have learned that by now.”
“I’m sorry I ran.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“I made a mistake.”
“I wanted to be with Isabel and Valentina. They’ll have a hard time surviving without me until Valentina is old enough to work.”
“You wanted to be with them? I don’t believe it’s a thing of the past. You’re never going back to the US.”
I feel a lump forming in my throat. “I wanted to be with my family—what’s left of it. That’s a normal thing. I won’t run again. But you’re right. I’ll never stop missing them.”
“Your maid and her daughter are not your family.”
I need to make him understand that they are family—it’s true.
“They are my family, Antonio. In the same way Cristiano and Lucas are yours. If either of them were in trouble, you would risk everything to help them.”
“I would never take the kind of risk you took today.”
“I don’t believe you,” I say softly, and respectfully. “They’re like your brothers. Not all family is blood.”
Antonio’s phone buzzes, and he gets up and disappears down the aisle he came up before. The door opens and closes seconds later. One set of footsteps approaches.
I hope it’s him returning. My best chance for survival is with him. No one else can make that decision.
When he comes back, he’s holding a small plate with a mug and some tea biscuits. He places it on his chair and unchains my wrists, briskly rubbing his palms over my arms and shoulders. I soak in the warmth of his hands—the humanity I so desperately need right now.
Before he sits down, he hands me the cup of tea and the biscuits.
I’m overwhelmed by the small kindness. Maybe he’s not going to kill me. I start to cry. I’m leaking from my eyes and my nose, and no amount of sniffing can stop it from dripping off my face and onto my shirt.
He gets up and comes back, holding a wet facecloth and a clean T-shirt. He hands me the warm cloth. The heat feels so good against my face.
“Take off your shirt, and put this dry one on.”
I don’t bother to ask if there are people watching, because it almost doesn’t matter. Despite my tears, I’m numb inside.
“The cameras are off,” he murmurs.
He remembered my fear of being watched. I almost start to cry again.
“You’ve had a hellish twenty-four hours, and I’m sure there are people who would feel you’ve been punished enough. I’m not one of those people.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eva Charles is the best-selling author of sexy romantic suspense, and contemporary romance. She spent a career working as a social worker and an attorney, specializing in domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and civil rights. Aspects of this work often sneak their way into her books.
When she’s not writing steamy stories, trying to squeeze information out of her tight-lipped sons, or playing with the two naughtiest dogs you’ve ever met, Eva’s creating chapters in her own love story.