Home > Dirty Promises (Dirty Angels #3)(4)

Dirty Promises (Dirty Angels #3)(4)
Author: Karina Halle

My heart clenched at the thought of going inside, crawling into bed, and trying to survive another night of a marriage that was crumbling at the seams. But I knew, eventually, when the stars came out and the mosquitos became too much, I would go inside, as I always did.

“You deserve better, you know,” Esteban said so quietly it was almost a whisper, before turning around and heading to the house, his tall form disappearing from sight. It was as if he read my mind, or maybe he was just good at reading me. Maybe I was an open book for the world to see. Everyone except my husband.



I was already awake when Luisa woke up gasping for breath. I kept my eyes closed as I felt her sit up, knowing she was panicking because of some nightmare, or maybe because of her cruel reality. I feigned sleep, sleep that never came for me anymore. I had always excelled at deception, at pretending, so this fit me like an old glove.

I kept my breath even and hoped she’d go right back to sleep. That she wouldn’t want anything from me. How sick is that? The thought of her touching me filled me with revulsion. Not because I didn’t desire her, because I did, now more than ever. I needed her. And not because I didn’t love her, because I loved her to the best of my ability. Whether that equaled what she deserved or not, I didn’t know.

Her touch, however, would spur me on. It would undo me more than I’d already been undone. I was a black, rolling pit of rage and exquisitely honed violence. The last thing I wanted was to unleash that on her. Maybe it was the most selfless thing I’d ever done, giving up sex with my wife out of fear of hurting her.

Or maybe I was just deceiving myself this time. Because it was more than just sex. It was everything.

I wondered how long this could go on before she’d had enough. When she found out about the other women. Could she possibly understand that it was better them than her? Could she forgive me for sparing her the brutality, the depravity?

I had my doubts.

I didn’t want to be forgiven.

Her fingers trailed along my arm and I did everything I could to lie still, to not swallow the knot in my throat. It was easier to play dead.

“Javier?” she whispered, voice soft and disembodied in the dark behind my eyes. Just her voice had the power to shake me loose, even after a year of marriage, but I remained in control. As always.

She said my name again, her fingers clenching my arm. I was a light sleeper and she knew this. If I didn’t wake up for her, she’d know I was faking it. What was the difference? Either way she’d be hurt.

I swallowed hard. “What?” I asked, voice hoarse. I still didn’t open my eyes. I could see her in my head, the mussed up hair, the want in her dark eyes, an open, full mouth just begging to be put to use.

God, don’t fucking tempt me.

I heard her lick her lips, those incredible lips. “I can’t sleep,” she said.

I can never sleep, I wanted to tell her. You don’t see me trying to wake you up.

“I know, you know,” she said quietly.

I sucked in my breath. “Know what?” I asked flatly.

She paused before she said, “About your plans for Angel Hernandez.”

Esteban. That asshole. He was like a little fucking girl, always having to tell someone the latest gossip.

“Let me guess, Este told you.” I finally opened my eyes and tilted my head to look at her. As I thought, she looked absolutely ravishing in the dim, grainy light, that beautiful combination of aching vulnerability and seething contempt. Her long dark hair flowed over her shoulders in waves, her silky black camisole hugging her curves. It amazed me that after everything, she still went to bed looking like a goddess for me.

I was a lucky son of a bitch in this respect. But currently, that luck wasn’t enough. Luck is only valuable when it’s across the board. One piece of luck is enough to trick a fool into thinking everything’s going to be okay.

I wasn’t sure if everything could be okay again. How could it, with Alana gone? How could it, when I was punished for loving someone? Family first. What was next? My wife? Best to cut those ties before it all went to hell.

Luisa was watching me, inspecting me. I didn’t know what she saw. I hoped she saw nothing at all, just a blank space where I used to be.

“Yes, he told me,” she eventually said, brows drawn together, entirely dissatisfied with what she saw.

“I was going to tell you,” I said, not really caring to make excuses. “When it was all said and done. No need to involve you.”

She went rigid as I knew she would. “No need to tell me? Javier, I’m your fucking wife. Your partner. I’m in this as much as you are.” She let out a heavy breath. “At least I used to be. Am I not still your queen?”

I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t.

Her fingers dug into my arm. “Javi … please. I know things have been hard. I know you’re sad, angry. I know you’re suffering, I—”

“I am not suffering!” I roared, my vision flashing as rage forced me up. I pinned Luisa to the bed. She didn’t fight beneath me, but I held her wrists nearly tight enough to break them. “Do you understand?” I seethed, glaring down at her as the adrenaline flooded through me. I shook her once. “Do you?”

She stared back at me, and I recognized the mask she slipped onto her face. We both wore them. “I understand,” she said, her voice dull.

I didn’t want to let go of her, but I knew I had to or this would turn into something else.

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