Read the 1st Chapter of LOVE SLAVE TO THE SICILIAN BILLIONAIRE here

LOVE SLAVE TO THE SICILIAN BILLIONAIRE

Guilty Pleasures 4

JAN BOWLES
Copyright © 2011





Chapter One

Maximiliano D’Alesandro politely declined the offer of a glass of sherry from the pretty, dark-haired waitress. Instead, he glanced at his watch, wondering when a suitable moment would arise so he could leave without bringing too much attention to himself. From his position by the magnificent Louis XIV fireplace, he surveyed the elegant drawing room of the hotel, and adjusted his stance. The classy room was crammed full of people wearing black. He disliked funerals intensely, much preferring the living to the dead, but this was one funeral he couldn’t avoid.

His best friend, Kirk Williams, had tragically died some five days earlier. It had been totally unexpected. He felt like a rug had been pulled from under him. Stunned, his world had shattered, tilting on its axis to undermine everything he believed in. The constant was no longer a certainty. People died. Best friends perished in the blink of an eye.

Both aged thirty-four, they’d grown up together. They’d played football together. They’d shared a lifetime together, but sadly, no more. His heart ached for the loss of his best friend, but he was filled with anger, too.

At that moment he let his gaze drift to Kirk’s wife, Ella, and the cause of all his anguish. There she sat on the plush brocade sofa, looking every inch the grieving widow.

In the ten years he’d known her, he’d always believed her to be sweet natured and totally loyal to his best friend. He felt his mouth firming into a thin line of disapproval as he moodily studied her. Yes, she might have lost a few pounds. Maybe guilt had made her shed them? The black sleeveless dress only served to accentuate her slim arms and pale complexion. Her hands clasped nervously around the handkerchief resting on her lap. Every so often he saw her squeeze the linen square tightly in her grasp.

Normally, Ella wore her hair in a ponytail, but today she’d let it down, and it trailed around her shoulders in a glossy black mane. He thought her flamboyant hairstyle seemed wholly inappropriate for a funeral. Her shiny locks almost hid from view the black velvet choker adorning her elegant, slender neck. It reminded him of a slave collar he’d use on a number of his subs. That one thought alone kept his interest squarely on her. Up until a few months ago he’d thought Ella Williams would make the perfect slave. Her fiery, opinionated temperament was ideally suited to being trained to submit. It wouldn’t be an easy task. He knew she’d be rebellious, but those kinds of slaves gave him the greatest pleasure when they finally submitted to his will. Of course, he would never have entered into such a relationship with her, even if she were so inclined. As the wife of his best friend, Ella had always been strictly off-limits.

Anger flared once more through his body, and he eased his shoulders, releasing the tension.
Everything had changed.


Even from this distance he could see the tears brimming in her bright blue eyes. One trickled down her cheek and ran to the corner of her mouth. He watched her wipe it away, and sighed to himself. Ella deserved an Oscar. She really was good at faking this grieving shit. He wondered how long she could keep it up. Almost forever, he figured, until the last guest had left. No doubt her lover was just waiting for the moment when he could slip into her bed unnoticed. A sudden thought struck him, and he looked around the room. Perhaps the fucker was already here. No one immediately came to mind as he scanned the dozen or so men standing close by.

Kirk had been really agitated after returning from duty in Afghanistan. Max had known something was amiss in the Williams household. By chance he’d seen Ella driving in a particularly seedy part of town. With his curiosity piqued, he’d followed her in his car, to a cheap motel, where she’d met a guy. They’d both disappeared into one of the run-down rooms, only for her to emerge alone several hours later, with a guilty look on her face. He guessed Kirk had known she was having an affair, too. After serving unselfishly in Afghanistan, and winning a Purple Heart for bravery, he’d come home to this shit.

Max knew it was time to leave. His body felt stiff, and he flexed his hands. Better to go now, before he said something he might later regret.

There was no doubt in his mind that Ella Williams had caused his best friend to commit suicide.

* * * *

Ella Williams nodded, acknowledging the words of sympathy expressed by yet another mourner. How long could she keep this up for? Everyone knew and respected her husband. They had come from all over the country to the small town of Andover, Kansas, as a mark of respect. Her husband had many real friends who’d happily given up the time to come to his funeral. For the last four hours she’d listened to their heartfelt and polite condolences. She knew they had no understanding of how she felt, totally bereft.

Didn’t they know her world had fallen apart five days ago? It had fractured beyond repair. Her life lay shattered all around her. Just what was she going to do now? How could she cope? Every fiber of her being wanted to scream out, It’s not true. He’s not dead. He’s going to come walking through that door any minute now. You’ll see. Ella breathed in, taking the air deep into her lungs. She had to hold it together. What would the good people of Andover say if she screamed with sorrow at the top of her voice? Would the doctors feed her full of drugs until she forgot every terrifying minute of that awful day? The idea that she could erase those memories seemed very tempting.

What had Kirk been thinking of? She knew he hadn’t been well. That was why she’d stayed with him these past few months, trying to help him come to terms with life outside the armed forces. Their marriage had been over long before he’d even gone to Afghanistan on his last tour of duty. He’d known it at the time, and they’d discussed it in a civilized manner. Yet, when he returned, he’d altered. He’d become paranoid and agitated, aggressive even. He frightened her.

Without thinking, Ella lifted a hand to her neck, and smoothed her fingertips over the velvet choker. Even through the thick material she could still feel the painful bruising beneath. What on earth had possessed Kirk? Thank God she’d been able to hide the unsightly blackened marks from view. The choker hid most of the bruising, and wearing her hair long hid the rest. It was not the lasting memory she wished for her husband. Whatever he’d done, he hadn’t been himself.

A man cleared his throat, and she looked up to see Max standing in front of her. “Ella, my deepest sympathies, but I’ve gotta go.”

Max cut an imposing figure whatever he was wearing, but today, sporting an expensive, hand-tailored suit, he looked especially impressive. Standing about six-three, and weighing over two hundred pounds, he was an imposing sight. Her husband had always joked that Max was just one step away from the Mafia, and often implied that you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him. His parents, both Sicilian immigrants, meant he certainly had the connections, and the looks. Thick, dark hair fell about his face in unruly waves. A typical Roman nose gave way to surprisingly sensual lips. But it was his eyes that stood out most from his olive complexion. A striking silver-gray, they commanded respect and attention. He’d never hidden his BDSM lifestyle from herself and Kirk, and she could only imagine how his slaves felt as he dominated them into submission.

She made her excuses to the guests sitting beside her, and walked him to the door. All the time aware that something had altered between them. He seemed distant, and reluctant to meet her gaze. This wasn’t the Max she’d come to rely on when her husband was on tour with the Marines. Max had always looked out for her. Made sure she was okay while Kirk was away. Now he could barely utter two words to her without her feeling his anger? Why? She guessed he was grieving over the death of Kirk, just like herself. She had to make allowances. He needed time to come to terms with the death of his lifelong friend, too.

“Max, we need to talk.” There were things she had to tell him.

“There’s nothing to talk about, Ella.”

“Please. For Kirk’s sake.” Max was a good ten inches taller than her, and she stared up into his eyes, feeling small and vulnerable in his presence.

“What do you want to talk about?” he eventually said.

“I can’t say here,” she whispered, her voice croaking and hoarse, “not with everyone around.”

He studied her, anger flaring in his eyes. “I’ll call you when I get the time.”

“Please, Max.” For whatever reason, she felt he wouldn’t. She squeezed his hand. “I don’t know what’s happening anymore. You seem…” She shrugged, trying to contain her grief. “So angry, and I don’t know why.”

He stared at her for what seemed a long time. Then so no one could hear, he leaned in and whispered in her ear, “Of course I’m fucking angry. My best friend shot himself. I need answers, Ella. Why would he do that?”

“There are things you don’t know, Max. That’s why we need to talk.”

His silver-gray eyes seemed to control her, calming her. “Like I just said, I’ll call you when I get the time.” He then pushed open the double doors before walking through the reception area and continuing outside.

She watched him stride across to his car, his demeanor stiff as he opened the door. The moment he removed his jacket and tossed it angrily onto the back seat, she knew he had no intention of calling her. Well, there was no way she’d let this drop. Max needed to know everything. Then maybe he’d understand.

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