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King of Greed by Ana Huang



King of Greed

by Ana Huang

Published by Bloom Books

Book 3 in the Kings of Sin Series


He had her, he lost her…and he’ll do anything to win her back.


Powerful, brilliant, and ambitious, Dominic Davenport clawed his way up from nothing to become the King of Wall Street.

He has everything—a beautiful home, a beautiful wife, and more money than he could spend in a lifetime. But no matter how much he accumulates, he’s never satisfied.

In his endless quest for more, he drives away the only person who saw him as enough.

It isn’t until she’s gone that he realizes there may be more to life than riches and glory…but by then, it may be too late.


***


Kind, intelligent, and thoughtful, Alessandra Davenport has played the role of trophy wife for years.

She stood by her husband while he built an empire, but now that they’ve reached the top, she realizes he’s no longer the man she fell for.

When it becomes clear that she’ll always come second to his work, she finally takes charge of her life and puts herself first—even if it means leaving the only man she’s ever loved.

But what she didn’t count on was his refusal to let her go…or for him to fight for their marriage, no matter what it takes.



Genre


Triggers

Violence, Contract Kill/Killer, Trauma from foster care


 

Ohhhhh, when I learned that King of Greed was going to be about Dominic and Alessandra, I was SO. FRIGGING. EXCITED.

I don't read a whole lot of second chance romances that have a couple that were/are actually married, so when I come across one, I gobble it up.

Not sure why. Perhaps because the stakes are a little higher when it comes to marriage?

Maybe it's because I'm married, and while I don't have the problems these characters have, it's just a little more relatable?

Maybe.

It's doesn't really matter. All the matters, is that I loved this book.

Loved.

It.

While most of us can't relate to the lifestyles of the rich, we can most definitely relate to the problems that Dominic and Alessandra suffer from in their marriage.

The main one being communication.

Not the often used, exhausting communication trope that is in every romance in the history of ever.

Actual communication. Speaking AND listening.

I've been married almost fourteen years. I've been with my husband for nineteen.

Woah, that number just hit me, haha.

While I've never been under the illusion that marriage - or long term relationships, - is easy, it's a whole other ballgame living it.

Those rough patches affect everything in your life.

While I don't have the perfect marriage, I do understand that when things get rough, the root of the cause is communication.

Twisted Greed is heavily centered around this, but Ana writes it in such a beautiful, raw way, that you can't help but empathize with both of these characters, understand them, and root for both of them.

While this story could have been written and kept simple, Ana would have did it a disservice. In her way, she wrote a beautiful story of two people who love each other deeply, but got lost. They forgot to communicate. When they try to communicate it wasn't clear.

Putting the money aside, this book was so brutally real.

Dominic let his childhood trauma control his work-life balance, to the detriment of his marriage.

Alessandra stands by him, supports him, and eventually loses herself in the process. Yet she couldn't communicate her needs clearly enough for him.

While Dominic is the most guilty party in the relationship, it's easy to see the disconnect, and where Alessandra could have tried harder as well.

While it's sad that it got to the point where is did between them, it needed to be done.

While I got frustrated with Alessandra sometimes - she kept rejected his efforts to get back together, but would sleep with him at times, which of course encouraged him to continue to fix things - the tension in this book was divine. Even with those moments of Alessandra slipping, and hooking up with Dominic, it didn't take away from the tension.

Because while the sex was hot, it wasn't what we were waiting for.

We were waiting for these two people who clearly love one another to get back together and for it to be real.

Because Ana made it impossible for you not to fall in love with this couple.


Twisted Greed is probably my favorite so far. It's angsty, full of tension, and just steamy enough to make it fun. I can't wait to read the next book!



 



 

Dominic: “I don’t have the money to buy you all the flowers you deserve yet,”

he said, sounding so solemn and formal I couldn’t help but smile at the contrast between his tone and the jar of colorful paper flowers in his hands.

Dominic: “So I made them instead.”


Dominic: "Look at us. We have everything we’ve ever dreamed of, but the only way to keep it is to do my job. The penthouse, the clothes, the jewelry. All of it goes away if—”

Alessandra: “What good is any of that if I never see you?”

My frustration bubbled over to its tipping point.

Alessandra: “I don’t care about the fancy penthouse or clothes or jet. I would rather have a husband. A real one, not one just in name.”


She gave me a sad smile.

Alessandra: “Do you know what I asked myself every night when you were staying late at the office again? I wondered, if there was an emergency at work and at home at the same time, who you would choose. Me or your investors?”

The buzzing intensified.

Dominic: “You know I would choose you.”

Alessandra: “That’s the thing. I don’t.”

A tear slipped down her cheek.

Alessandra: “Because you haven’t chosen me. Not in a very, very long time.”


Dominic: “You honestly think we’ll be happier if we divorce? That I’ll be happier without you? This is us.”

The word ripped from my throat, raw and loaded with emotion.

Dominic:Você e eu. Para sempre.” You and me. Forever.


The thought of living without her was incomprehensible, like asking a heart to stop beating or the stars to give up the night.

Dominic: “I promise.”

We had to. Maybe I haven’t expressed it as much as I should have, but Alessandra was an indelible part of me. She had been since the moment I laid eyes on her eleven years ago, though I hadn’t known it at the time.

Without her, there was no me.


Thayer was filled with beautiful girls, but there was beautiful, and there was her.


Alessandra: “I thought we’d discuss expectations and get to know each other a bit during today’s session. Even though this is a formal tutoring partnership, it helps if we like each other.”

One of those types. I should’ve figured.

Dominic: “As long as you don’t ask me to braid your hair. Neither of us would be happy.”


Sloane: “I have to run to a meeting, but make yourself at home. Just remember the house rules. No smoking, no shoes on the carpet, and no feeding The Fish outside of the prescribed hours and amounts, which are taped to the table next to his bowl. Any questions?”


I was tired of living in a hotel, and she hadn’t hesitated when I’d asked if I could stay with her while I went apartment hunting. And she’d greeted my arrival with a mug of coffee, a stiff hug, and a Karambit knife wrapped with a bow—for basic defense or offense, depending on how pissed I was at Dominic, she explained.


Martha: “Mr. Davenport!”

Martha jumped up from her chair.

Martha: “Your call ended early. I was just telling Mrs. Davenport that you—”

Dominic: “Repeat that.”

Dominic stepped into the main office. The shadows peeled away from his form, revealing chiseled cheekbones, stormy eyes, and a frown that could deter Satan himself. He wasn’t looking at me. Instead, he pinned his attention on Martha, who shrank beneath his ire.

Martha: “I said I was telling Mrs. Davenport that—”

Dominic: “Mrs. Davenport.”

The words were lethal in their quietness.

Dominic: “As in my wife. If she wants to see me, she sees me. Don’t ever prevent her from doing so again or the only part of a New York office you’ll see is the outside when I throw you out. Understand?”


Learning foreign languages didn’t come easily for him, but the fact that he’d done it anyway because he wanted to make a good impression on my family… The ache deepened. God, I adored this man.

Dominic: “Maybe, but I wanted to.”

Dominic’s face softened.

Dominic: Faria qualquer coisa por você.” I'd do anything for you.


Dante: “Keep it up and you’ll scare away your investors. Your face was ugly enough without adding the dark circles and scowl to the mix.”

I snorted.

Dominic: “Look who’s talking.”

He’d gotten in so many fights, his nose was permanently fucked up, though that hadn’t stopped women from throwing themselves at him before he got married.

Dante: “Vivian likes my face just fine.”

Dominic: “She’s your wife. She’s obligated to pretend.”


Dominic: “Ask me again on another day, and my answer might be different. I would stalk you if it meant you’d talk to me again.”

Alessandra: “How romantic.”

Dominic: “I’m past romantic, Alessandra. I’m desperate.”


A smile ghosted his mouth when I sighed, and I caught the tiniest glimpse of the man he used to be—the one who carried me uphill in the pouring rain because my heel broke, who kissed me good night every night no matter how late he came home, and who attempted to bake one of the elaborate cakes I’d saved on Pinterest for my birthday. His cake had come out decidedly un-Pinterest-like, but I’d loved it anyway. It was the thought that counted.


Dominic: “Marisa Monte.”

Her smile was so soft and warm I felt it deep in my bones.

Alessandra: “It’s called ‘Amor I Love You.’


Dominic: “What happened last night—”

Alessandra: “Was a mistake.”

Her fingers shook as she smoothed the front of her dress.

Alessandra: “And so was what happened at the bar.”

Dominic: “It didn’t sound like a mistake when you were screaming my name and begging me to let you come.”


Alessandra: “Loving you was never the problem!”

She finally met my eyes, her expression equal parts infuriated and anguished.

Alessandra: “I’ve loved you for eleven years, Dom. I loved you so much I lost myself. Everything I did, everything I gave up and endured was for you. The late nights, the missed dates, the canceled trips. I believed in you and wanted you to succeed, not because I cared about the money, but because you did. I thought one day, it would be enough, and you would be happy with what we had. But you’ll never be happy, and I’ll never be enough.”


Alessandra: “Do you know that there were times when I wished you had a mistress? At least then, I would have something concrete to fight. But I can’t fight what I can’t see, so I went to sleep every night in an empty bed, and I woke up every morning to an empty house. I faked my smiles for so long I couldn’t remember what a real one felt like, and I hate myself because despite all that, I couldn’t let go of what we once had.”

Alessandra’s voice broke.

Alessandra: “You’re right. I do still love you. A part of me always will. But you’re not the person I fell in love with anymore, and all this time that I’ve spent trying to pretend you are? It’s killing me.”


Dominic: “You’re the only person I’ve ever loved.”

I didn’t recognize my voice. It was too raw, too laced with emotions I’d sworn I would never feel.

Dominic: “Even if I didn’t show it. It’s always been you.”

A fresh tear slid down her cheek.

Alessandra: “I know.”

But it’s not enough.

I knew her well enough to hear the unspoken words, and if it was possible to die multiple deaths, I would’ve visited hell a thousandfold in that one moment.


Dominic: “You can go on as many dates as you want, amor. But no one will love you like I do. Você e eu. Não tem comparação.You and me. There's no comparison.


Dante: “Are you playing tennis or trying to send me to the hospital? That’s the third time you’ve almost broken my nose. I’m starting to take it personally.”

Dominic: “Quit if you can’t handle it.”

I delivered another shot, my breaths even despite the sweat pouring down my back.

Dominic: “I won’t hold it against you.”


Something wrenched at my chest as the ball sailed toward me. This time, I hit it with so much force the impact reverberated through my entire body. It went wide and smashed into the water pitcher on the sidelines. Glass shattered, followed by the clatter of Dante’s racket on the ground.

Dante: “That’s it. We’re done for the day.”

Dominic: “Glad you can finally admit you’re a quitter, Russo.”


Alessandra: “Hey, I’m rediscovering myself, okay? It’s like Eat Pray Love, but without the pray or the love.”

That earned me a loud snort.


A shrug.

Dominic: “I love Brazil.”

His simple reply didn’t conceal the intimacy of his meaning.

I love Brazil. I love you.


Dominic nodded and disappeared into the kitchen again. The instant he was out of eyeshot, I glared at Marcelo, who backed away with his hands in the air. Alessandra: “What were you thinking?”

I whisper-shouted.

Alessandra: “Borrowing sugar? Seriously? You fell for that?”

Marcelo: “I panicked, okay? What was I supposed to do? Turn the poor guy away?”

Alessandra: “Yes.”

I flapped a hand in the general direction of the kitchen.

Alessandra: “You invited my ex-husband to dinner! We divorced two months ago, and he followed me to Brazil!”

Marcelo: “You know I don’t deal well with interpersonal pressure! He smelled the feijoada and…fuck, he’s coming.”


Marcelo: “How?”

Marcelo finally found his words.

Marcelo: “What about work?”

Dominic flicked a glance at me. I looked down and pretended my meal was the most fascinating thing I’d ever seen while my breath stilled in anticipation of his answer.

Dominic: “Work will always be there. Other things won’t.”


Alessandra: “You shouldn’t be here.”

A strange mix of fatigue and adrenaline coursed through my veins.

Alessandra: “This isn’t healthy for either of us. We just got divorced. We can’t move on if you insist on following me everywhere.”

Dominic’s eyes flickered beneath the lights.

Dominic: “That’s the thing. There is no moving on. Not for me.”


Dominic: “By not pushing me away.”

His throat flexed.

Dominic: “That’s all I ask. A chance for us to talk and get to know each other as we are now. I want to know what makes you laugh, what makes you cry, what your dreams look like when you sleep and what keeps you up when you can’t. I’ll spend however many lifetimes I need to rediscover those parts of you, because you’re it for me. In every iteration of every life. Things may have changed since we got married, but you and me? We were always meant for forever.”


I didn’t know what I’d done in my past life to deserve her. I wish I did so I could repeat it on a loop and ensure we found our way to each other in every lifetime.


Alessandra: “I actually have something for you.”

She reached into her pocket and retrieved a small silver object. She pressed it into my free hand, her eyes so tender it wrenched at my heart.

Alessandra: “A reminder. No matter how dark it gets, you can always find a light.”

The sun had set, cloaking the town in shadows. Alessandra and Marcelo’s house was dark and quiet; they’d gone out for dinner after all. The click of my lighter was the only sound interrupting the stillness. I stared at the flame as it danced against the night and illuminated the words engraved in silver.

To Dom Love always, Ále


Alessandra: “You know what I mean. And stop calling me amor.”

My heart threatened to pound out of my chest.

Alessandra: “It’s not…I’m not…”

Dominic: “You’re not what?”

Dominic’s voice dipped a decibel.

Alessandra: “I’m not your wife anymore.”

I shouldn’t have drunk so much. My head swam, and my palms were clammy with sweat.

Dominic: “No.”

He didn’t take his eyes off mine.

Dominic: “But you’re still my love. That hasn’t changed.”


The familiar cadence of the words broke the padlock. Memories escaped again, flooding my brain with echoes of my own vows to Dominic.

“I promise to support you, inspire you, and, above all, love you always—for better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer. You are my one and only, today, tomorrow, and forever.”

I’d never broken my last vow. Not when I’d moved out, not when I’d served the divorce papers, and not when I’d pushed him away. I’d promised to love Dominic always and I did, even when I shouldn’t.


It wasn’t our wedding, but seeing her up there, looking so damn beautiful I couldn’t believe she was real…it was an excruciating reminder of what I’d had. And what I’d lost.

“I promise to be your best friend, your confidante, and your partner in all things big and small. You will never face the world alone because I’ll be there for you, always and forever.”

I’d meant my vows when I’d said them. I still did. But intentions couldn’t replace actions, and somewhere along the way, I’d mistaken the former for the latter. Loving someone wasn’t enough if I didn’t show it. Appreciating them wasn’t enough if I didn’t express it.


My throat constricted. The drum of my heartbeat intensified behind my ribcage.

Dominic: “Go on a date with me.”

She sighed.

Alessandra: “Dom…”

Dominic: “We’ve never had a real date in Brazil. Every time we’ve visited, we’ve spent it with your family.”

Alessandra: “That’s not a good enough reason.”

Dominic: “I don’t need a reason to be with you, amor. But I’ll give you ten thousand if it means you’ll say yes.”

A visible swallow slid down her throat.

Alessandra: “You always know what to say.”

Dominic: “Not always.”

I wish I did. I wish I’d said a thousand things and asked a thousand questions instead of glossing over them.


This was the Dominic I missed. The one who opened up and talked to me instead of hiding behind his masks and money. He was afraid people would leave if they saw behind the curtain, but the parts hidden there were what made him human. Some wanted the myth and legend of Dominic Davenport; I wanted the man.


Dominic had his faults, but I wasn’t blameless either. I should’ve stood up for myself and what I wanted far earlier than I had. Younger me had thought love was enough to solve any problem, but growing up meant recognizing the importance of loving yourself as much as you did someone else.


Dominic: “If you need time, take it. If you want to date other people, do it. I won’t interfere. I didn’t appreciate you when I had you, and that’s my cross to bear. But you’ll always be the love of my life, and I’ll always be here, whether it’s a month, a year, or a lifetime from now.”

The sound of her sob dampened my cheek with something hot and wet.

Dominic: “There are probably hundreds of men who’d line up for the chance to be with you. I only ask that you let me be one of them.”


The cheerful white mug had a gold handle and a red apple stamped with the words “World’s Best Teacher” in bold black. Emotion crested in my throat. No tutee had ever bought me anything beyond a Starbucks gift card. It was so unlike Dominic, both in sentiment and in product, that it rendered me speechless. He must’ve mistaken my silence for displeasure because his color deepened.

Dominic: “I know it’s cheesy, and you’re a tutor, not a teacher,”

Dominic said stiffly.

Dominic: “But you said your favorite mug broke a few weeks ago and…fuck. Never mind.”

He reached for it.

Dominic: “I’ll return it. You don’t—”

Alessandra: “No!”

I clutched the mug protectively to my chest.

Alessandra: “I love it. Don’t you dare try to take it back, Dominic Davenport, because I’m keeping it forever.”

That turned out to be untrue. The original mug broke during our move to New York. I’d been devastated, but the one in my hands was an exact replica of the one he’d gifted me on our first date, down to the apple and “World’s Best Teacher” font. Our first date. December 21, aka today. It was the first anniversary of ours that I’d forgotten. I’d been too distracted by the mess at the store and the complications of our current relationship. I picked up the handwritten note tucked beneath the mug with a trembling hand.

I’ll always think of you on this day.


Dante: “No murder before Christmas,”

Dante warned me.

Dante: “Vivian says it’s bad luck.”

Dominic: “I’m not murdering anyone.”

I didn’t want to get blood on my suit. But maiming? That was a strong possibility—if I hadn’t promised Alessandra I wouldn’t interfere with her dates.


Dominic: “What you’re going to do, is walk back to the ballroom, apologize to your date for wasting her time, and never touch or contact her again. Then you’ll go home and dismantle that camera of yours before the FBI gets an anonymous tip about your secret activities. If I find out you violated any of those rules, I’ll hunt you down, chop off your tiny, pathetic dick, and make you choke on it. Understand?”


Dominic: “I said I’ll stand back and watch you date whoever you want, and I will. It’s not my place to tell you what you can and can’t do. But I will not stand back and watch you be disrespected.”

Emotion roughened the syllables.

Dominic: “I’ll do anything for you, amor, but I can’t do the impossible.”


Isabella: “Shit.”

Our heads jerked up toward the third floor, where Kai and Isabella had emerged from…was that a secret room behind the bookshelves? We stared at each other, all four of us rumpled and tousled in a way that could only indicate one type of activity.

Kai: “Well,”

Kai said, his posh British accent sounding a tad too dignified for the situation.

Kai: “This is awkward.”


Isabella: “It wasn’t my place to tell,”

Isabella said defensively.

Isabella: “It’s a Young family secret, and you guys can’t tell anyone else.”

Sloane let out a delicate snort.

Sloane: “Why would I tell anyone about your and Kai’s sex lair? I’d have to disinfect it before I ever stepped foot inside.”


Alessandra: “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.”

Dominic: “I didn’t think you cared.”

My movements stilled. Silence floated between us before I dropped my arm.

Alessandra: “Well, I hope you’re icing it regularly,”

I said, skirting his reply.

Alessandra: “Purple-black doesn’t look good with your suits.”

The corner of his mouth tugged up.

Dominic: “Noted.”


It was the perfect place for drowning one’s sorrows, which was why an assembly line of miserable-looking men crowded the bar on a Friday night.

Roman: “Jesus Christ.”

Roman’s lip curled as he surveyed the room.

Roman: “I feel like I just walked into a Heartbroken Saps Anonymous meeting.”


Dominic: “I could tell you didn’t believe me because I’ve spent the better part of the decade living out of my office, but I wasn’t there all the time because I loved it. I was there because I was terrified that if I left, it would all crumble down.”

The admission scraped past the thundering of my pulse. It was a truth I’d avoided facing for too long. I thought money and power could erase my insecurities, but while they’d solved my old problems, they also gave rise to new ones.

Dominic: “Everything I’d worked for, everything I’d achieved. I looked out the window at the city people say I conquered, and I only saw a million more ways I could fail. I thought that if I accumulated enough, I would finally be safe. But here’s the thing.”

I swallowed the emotion scalding my throat.

Dominic: “I left my office for weeks when I went to Brazil and I hardly missed it. But when I came home and found you gone…that night, and every night since, has felt like an eternity. Saudades de você.I miss you. In the deepest, truest sense.

Alessandra dropped her gaze as I continued.

Dominic: “Maybe I overstepped by waiting for you after your date, but I was drunk and miserable and…”

The teeth of agony ate at me.

Dominic: “I needed to see you.”


Pain ravaged his face, but his response was quiet and steady.

Dominic: “The difference is, back then, I thought I had nothing to lose. Now, I realize I have everything to lose.”

Sadness reflected in his smile.

Dominic: “You.”


Dominic followed my gaze.

Dominic: “Cute kid,”

Alessandra: “Yeah.”

I swallowed past a sharp ache. He hadn’t pushed me to take things further or faster than I was comfortable with. We were exclusive now, but I suspected he wasn’t sure if I wanted to get married again one day.

Alessandra: “Ours will be cuter.”

His gaze snapped to mine. I could see the moment the implication behind my words sank in because his mouth blossomed with the tenderest, most beautiful smile I’d ever seen.

Dominic: “Yes, amor. They will.”


Dominic: “Alessandra, you are the most important thing to me. Being your husband will always be my greatest honor and accomplishment. No victory will ever taste as sweet as the press of your lips against mine. I lost you, and I don’t deserve you.”

I swallowed hard against the memories of what we’d overcome.

Dominic: “But I vow to always hear you over the sound of my ambition. I will always be curious about you. You’ve shown me the value of always learning, growing, and caring, and I’ve never loved you more than in this moment. Watching you choose yourself when I didn’t will always prove as a reminder to me of your incredible strength and what a privilege it is to call you mine. I want to spend the rest of my nights with you. I want to spend the next decade working to be the man you always deserved. I want my greed to be for your love, your laughter, and our life together. I can’t bear to be parted from you. Please, Ále, will you be my wife?”


Dominic: “Tell me why we invited so many people again,”

he said when we finally caught a moment alone.

Dominic: “I don’t even know who half of them are.”

Alessandra: “Dom, you vetted the entire list.”

Dominic: “I must’ve blacked out during that part because”

—he narrowed his eyes at a distinguished silver-haired gentleman by the bar—

Dominic: “who the hell is that?”

I camouflaged an irrepressible laugh.

Alessandra: “He’s the vice president of Sunfolk Bank.”

Dominic stared. Hard.

Dominic: “Christ. I need a drink.”


 

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