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Cordova Empire Book 3
BY ANN MAYBURN
From the moment of my birth I’ve been rejected by those who should have loved me, labeled as a freak because of my birthmark, bullied and tormented because I look different. When you’re told every day that you’re ugly and worthless you start to believe it. I managed to escape my malicious family and build a life for myself, but they’d broken something inside of me. I’m afraid to go outside, afraid to be around large groups of people, afraid of any type of confrontation and my panic attacks have left me pretty much house bound. If it wasn’t for my online friends I probably would have given up on life long ago. But there is one special friend, a man by the name of Mark, who keeps me going. He’s brave, smart, strong, and kind…and has no idea that I’m secretly in love with him.
Once I was a good man with a perfect life. I had a job I loved training dogs for the police with my wife, had a great family who filled our lives with laughter, and I woke up every day with a smile on my face. I was completely content in my blissful ignorance. I had no idea about the criminal world that thrived all around me, no idea that I’d made some powerful enemies who do anything to destroy me. Including killing my wife. I swore my revenge, and got it, but in the process I lost my soul. It was during these dark times, after my vengeance was fulfilled and I was drifting in anguish, that a beautiful soul rescued me from my own personal hell. I tried to keep my distance, tried to shield her from the villains of the world, myself included, but the evil that surrounds me wouldn’t be denied. Despite my best attempts to keep her safe, someone is out to destroy Layla, and I’m the only one who can protect her.
But who’s going to save her from me?
*Each installment in the Cordova Empire series is a standalone story.
About the Book
by Ann Mayburn
Cordova Empire #3
Honey Mountain Publishing
September 30, 2019
Editorial Note: Edited for language.
Three years ago
A slight vibration shook the smoky, mirrored walls surrounding me while I stared at the closed elevator doors. My gaze darted up as the lights embedded in the shiny gold ceiling flickered. After another brief dimming, they held steady when we stopped at one of the floors on our way down. People got on, people got off, but I couldn’t care less. Normally, I’d study every person that breeched my personal space.
Looking for my enemies everywhere I went.
Today, I stared at the display above the door, watching as the pale blue digital numbers counted down from thirty-eight. My mind was dazed, and my thoughts floated like poisonous bubbles inside the razor-sharp confines of my skull.
One of those bubbles burst, releasing toxic memories when the elevator stopped at floor twenty-four.
Gracie was twenty-four when she was murdered.
Sweat prickled on my palms as I struggled to suppress memories of a life that no longer existed.
Of a man I no longer was.
A happy guy back then, someone who greeted every day with a smile. Why wouldn’t I? Married to my beautiful high school sweetheart and owner of our own successful police dog training business—our lives had been complete. I’d been so f***ing happy, so secure in the knowledge that I’d have kids and grow old with the love of my life. We’d even talked about starting a family, and she’d thrown away her birth control pills the month before she’d been killed.
One of the thoughts that tortured me was wondering if she’d been pregnant when she died. What if a tiny, perfectly innocent soul had been stamped out that terrible day?
Usually, I was good at not thinking about my personal history.
Usually, I could live in the now, with no regard for the past or fears about the future.
But today, on the anniversary of her death, my sweet Gracie haunted me.
The events of the past week—the senseless murder of a child I’d loved—shattered my normally strong mental walls. Jason, the treasured and only grandchild of the heads of the infamous Cordova Cartel, had been adored every day of his all-too-short life. Such a good kid, he always smiled and laughed. He made even the most hardened of men fall in love. You couldn’t help it; the kid was love. Jason would hug you and for a moment, with his little arms wrapped around your neck, all would be right in the world.
He’d been a beautiful, caring little boy—his only crime was being born to a greedy c**t of a mother.
Flashes of sorrow laden images from Jason’s memorial service a few days ago hit me, mixed with heart-wrenching memories of burying Gracie’s charred remains in a closed casket funeral.
While Gracie’s funeral had been soaked with rain, Jason’s burial took place on a bright sunny day.
Regardless of weather, the pain and grief had been the same.
Jason’s father Fernando had screamed in mortal agony as the first shovel of dirt hit the coffin, the terrible sound enough to drive most people to their knees.
I could sympathize with the horrified misery that comes from putting someone you love in the ground.
When the hauntingly familiar plink of earth falling onto hollow wood reached my ears, I’d nearly thrown up.
My twisted mind focused on what it must be like to be them.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of SECRET OBSESSION by Ann Mayburn, we’re giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Ann Mayburn. Giveaway ends 10/13/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Ann Mayburn…
With over forty published books, ANN MAYBURN is Queen of the Castle to her husband and three sons in the mountains of West Virginia. In her past lives she’s been an Import Broker, a Communications Specialist, a US Navy Civilian Contractor, a Bartender/Waitress, and an actor at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. She also spent a summer touring with the Grateful Dead-though she will deny to her children that it ever happened.
From a young Ann has had a love affair with books would read everything she could get her hands on. As Ann grew older, and her hormones kicked in, she discovered bodice ripping Fabio-esque romance novels. They were great at first, but she soon grew tired of the endless stories with a big wonderful emotional buildup to really short and crappy sex. Never a big fan of purple prose, throbbing spears of fleshy pleasure and wet honey pots make her giggle, she sought out books that gave the sex scenes in the story just as muchd etail and plot as everything else-without using cringe worthy euphemisms. This led her to the wonderful world of Erotic Romance, and she’s never looked back.
Now Ann spends her days trying to tune out cartoons playing in the background to get into her ‘sexy space’ and has accepted that her Muse has a severe case of ADD.
Ann loves to talk with her fans, as long as they realize she’s weird, and that sarcasm doesn’t translate well via text.