END OF THE INNOCENCE (Innocence #3)
One year. I have one year to find out more about this man I am marrying. More about his family. More about our sex, and all of the dirty, delicious places it will take me.
I thought I’d spend this year making a decision. I never thought the decision would be taken from me, snatched right from my naive little hands.
“I assume you know the business of this family?” It was a dry question, stated without malice or concern, directed at me.
I nodded, meeting his sharp eyes. “Yes.”
“And you find … issue, with this business?” He watched me closely, sitting back in his chair and studying me.
I stared back, my face expressionless. “Issue would be the wrong word. I disagree with your business practices. Issue indicates that I am confrontational in my disapproval.”
A slow smile spread over his face, a transformation that brought a hint of the good looks he must have once possessed. “That’s an interesting choice of words, Ms. Campbell.”
I said nothing, and he glanced briefly at Brad. “What exactly are your intentions with my son?”
“I intend to marry him.”
“Yes, I gathered that from my son. The issue is, Ms. Campbell, that marrying Bradley is not quite as simple as happily ever after. Do you love my son?”
I hesitated at the change in his tone, the question rolling harsh off his lips. “Yes.”
He leaned forward, fixating me with cold eyes. “Imagine your love for my son, if love is what it truly is. Whatever that love is, it won’t possibly compare what you will feel for your own children—what I feel for Bradley, as well as my other sons. Your children, whether they are number one or five, will be more precious to you than your own soul. And you, choosing him to marry, to father your children, are putting those future babies in danger. You will never be able to sleep soundly, knowing the evil that waits for them. You will never be able to vacation, or play with them in the park, without worrying about cars driving by, or men who look at you a moment too long. You are not marrying Brad. You are marrying this family, and endangering yourself and your children with that act. You may be scared of me now, child, but I am one family. There are four others, in this city alone, that have us dead center in their targets. You are not, and will not, be safe in this family. You are marrying into a lifetime of fear, and you need to understand that now, before it is too late.”
I listened to his words, understanding the reasoning behind them, my thoughts wandering down paths I had not even considered. I had been so worried about being against the Magianos that I had not considered what being part of them would entail.
“I am not marrying Brad for safety. I am marrying him because I am in love.”
He leaned back and smiled slightly, a cruel expression on his face. “Let me tell you a story about Bradley. We had a dog, an old mutt that used to sit behind one of our butchers. He would eat the scraps that we threw out each day. And one day we opened the shop to find him inside, his mouth bloody, meat still inside his mouth. I started to kill him, grabbed a meat beater from the counter and went to smash his skull in. But Brad stepped in front of me.”
He laughed, looking over at Brad. “The boy was eleven years old, and he stepped in front of me, his father, to save a dog.” He stood, leaning heavily on the cane, the movement slow and pained. “You don’t know the Italian way, but disobedience is not acceptable. I told Brad to leave or kill the dog himself. He refused, and stood his ground.” He shot Brad a look of disgust. “He defied me over a dog, a mutt, an animal not worth mopping the floor with.”
He looked into my eyes, stepping forward, speaking slowly. “I used the beater on Brad’s skull instead, knocking him unconscious with two blows. He spent four days in the hospital before he woke up. And his first question when he did?” He closed his eyes briefly. “The dog, he wanted to know about the damn dog!” He finished the statement with a snarl, his finger stabbing the air in Brad’s direction to punctuate the sentence.
“We had killed that dog before we even took Bradley to the hospital. Bradley risked himself for a dog—a trash animal he had played with in the alley one day. So yes, he is marrying you, but what does that mean to me?” He straightened and turned, walking carefully, his words tossed over his shoulder to me. “You are worse than a dog, Ms. Campbell. That dog was hungry, eating for his survival. You are eating to get fat, and ruining my son’s life with your greedy acceptance of his sacrificial offer. I am not surprised that he is marrying you. I am only surprised that you are stupid and selfish enough to accept.” He waved dismissively in my direction and closed the space to the window, leaning heavily on the sill and looking out toward the backyard. “Leave, I am tired.”
*This is the third installment in the Innocence series and since this is a continuous story, you really need to read this series from the beginning*
End of the Innocence picks up right after Masked Innocence ends and takes us through the next year of Brad and Julia's life. It was nice getting to read about these characters for a longer span of time and getting to watch each of them grow into their relationship roles made for a very satisfying read.
Alessandra Torre added an interesting suspense element in Masked Innocence and that thread does continue throughout End of the Innocence too. Did I enjoy how this suspenseful side to the story ended? No, not really. The ending came up really fast and then it all just ended (I would have been happy to see that story line go away earlier on, but I am greedy for more Kindle melting scenes with Brad). However, I really enjoyed seeing how Brad and Julia were coming together as an engaged couple and living together, so all in all I enjoyed this last installment since we get to see these beloved characters grow and come together.
Getting to know Brad and Julia and watching them go from two people who have crazy hot sex, to two people that have an intense need for one another, to watching their love settle them was pretty awesome. I really like how Brad, stayed Brad, even though he is very committed to Julia. Julia did a lot of growing and became more confident and secure in her relationship so it was a joy to read this installment knowing that Brad and Julia were secure and solid.
Alessandra Torre knows how to write a series that will leave you guessing all the way up to the ending and then satisfied when the last page is sadly over. The Innocence series was a great ride and I am completely satisfied with how it all turned out (especially the extra bit that Alessandra links you to at the end of this book), everything that you wanted to happen in this finale happens.
With a mix of hot sex, suspense and discovering you can still be yourself and in love, End of Innocence is a must read for fans of this series! If you are new to the Innocence series, I hope I didn't spoil to much of previous books for you and I highly recommend loading your Kindle up with all the books in this series and have yourself a weekend filled with Brad De Luca.
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MEET THE AUTHOR:
Alessandra Torre is a new author who focuses on contemporary erotica. Her first book, Blindfolded Innocence, was published in July 2012, and was an Erotica #1 Bestseller for two weeks. The sequel to Blindfolded, Masked Innocence, will be released in February 2014.
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Goodreads book link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18618994-end-of-the-innocence
Goodreads author: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6452845.Alessandra_Torre