Empire of Pain (Torrio Empire #3) Read Online J.L. Beck

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Billionaire, Crime, Dark, Mafia Tags Authors: Series: Torrio Empire Series by J.L. Beck

Total pages in book: 145
Estimated words: 131455 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 657(@200wpm)___ 526(@250wpm)___ 438(@300wpm)

The cost of love has never been higher.
Will Bianca and Callum get their happily ever after?

*Full blurb to come*

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************


“What's in the crate?”

I can hardly hear Romero's voice over the thundering beat of my own heart. My fingers grip the edge of the box for dear life as I stare down at the contents.

Words refuse to come.

My brain short circuits. I can't comprehend what I'm seeing.

Images come to me in flashes, one piece at a time.

Green eyes that once flashed dangerously, that used to burn with contempt. Now they see nothing, their vacant stare looking right into the deep confines of my soul. A bullet hole is directly between them. I force myself to look away from Amanda's face, and down to the body in her arms. In her arms is my daughter—our daughter. Her head rests against her mother's bloody shoulder, appearing as if Amanda had rocked her to sleep.

It's a grotesque parody of motherhood that only a truly sick, heartless cretin could put together. Amanda is seated with her back against the inside of the crate, with her head tilted backwards and her eyes staring lifelessly at the ceiling. A trickle of blood trails from the hole in her forehead and down her nose before drying there.

I've seen many terrible things in my life. Images that have haunted me for days after, robbing me of sleep. The result of violence brought on by greed. The aftermath of explosions, gun battles, death. But this? This is unfathomable.

I can't accept it. Something inside me refuses to accept what I'm seeing as one precious second after another passes by. I can't move. I can't breathe. It's real, even if I don't want it to be. Amanda is dead. It's only when Romero jostles me and reaches into the crate that I snap back to reality. Every ounce of information comes rushing in, assaulting me from all sides.


They might have killed her too.

Romero's choked cry rings in my ears. “No!!” He reaches into the crate, taking Tatum's limp body into his arms. Her skin is pale, a drop of dried blood trails down her temple from a patch of blood-matted hair on the side of her head. The ugly bruises circling her arms portray someone bigger and stronger holding her tight. I have no doubt she would've fought.

“No, Tatum, wake up. Wake up.” I manage to rouse myself in time to take her legs and lift them over the edge of the crate before Romero lowers her to the floor.

I take a knee beside them and press an ear to her chest, listening for a heartbeat or any sign to let me know she is still alive. Everything moves in slow motion. Countless moments flash before my eyes, as fresh and clear as if it was only yesterday they took place.

Her first steps, toddling across the floor with her chubby arms extended outward, reaching for me. She knew I would catch her and hold her when she fell.

Her first dance recital, wearing a pair of angel wings with glitter in her hair, and the way she smiled at me that day was like I meant the world to her.

There was glitter stuck to her skin for days afterwards.

The one year for Halloween when she insisted on dressing as a pirate even though all the little girls her age wanted to be princesses.

My daughter wanted me to black out her teeth and draw stubble on her cheeks, and I did it. I did it even though I had a hundred other things to handle. I did it because even then, I was all she had and because she captured my heart the second we locked eyes for the first time, and as her daddy, it was my job. I would have done anything for her.

Her chest is barely moving, but I hear the soft intake of air in and out of her lungs. That's all I need to know to keep me motivated.

“She's breathing,” I announce, and the touch of my fingers to the inside of her wrist reveals a shuddering pulse. All the air leaves my lungs, the pressure in my head making me light-headed. Relief floods my veins. She has a pulse, but that doesn't mean anything. “We need to get her to the hospital now.”

I couldn't keep her safe, could I? The one thing she needed most, it was beyond me. I let her down. Failed her. What kind of father was I if I couldn't even protect my own daughter?

Romero's gaze collides with mine, eyes wild, his features frantic. Placing his trembling hands on both sides of her face, he peers down at her. There isn't so much as a fluttering of her eyelids to show she feels his touch. My thoughts are everywhere, my mind an endless fishbowl. There's something missing. Something that bangs like a gong, vibrating at the back of my skull.


“Where's Bianca?” I yell into the vast space. My head swings back and forth, my eyes searching in vain for her. The sick fucks who did this cleaned out the warehouse, taking everything besides the bloody crate and the bodies of a few of my men who are now being gathered, together, and dragged across the floor.