The Valentino brothers rule the city of Chicago with closed fists and iron wills. But even kings fall. And the curvy women meant for them are about to drop these crime bosses to their knees. All three books in The Ruined Trilogy can be read as standalones. And don’t forget to grab Nico’s story to meet the brother they risked everything to save from a life shackled to a criminal empire he didn’t want.
The Ruined Trilogy: The Beginning
by Nichole Rose
Genre: Curvy Girl Mafia Romance
Love is the final test for this professor and his star student.
My brothers are mobsters. Criminals.
They rule their kingdoms with iron fists.
I’m nothing like them.
I’m an astrophysicist. A professor.
My lecture hall is full of laughter.
Until I set eyes on Norah Bishop.
She needs my help, but I need her.
And I’ll do whatever it takes to keep her.
Even if it means returning to the family I left.
All I’ve ever wanted was to be a scientist like my dad.
But I stumbled into something I shouldn’t have.
Now, the biggest criminal in Chicago is coming for me.
And the only person who can help me is his brother…my new professor.
I don’t want to drag Nico into this.
But when he touches me, I lose all control.
He’s my professor. I think I want him to be my forever instead.
Loving him comes with a price.
But losing him will break me.
If you enjoy over-the-top nerdy men, curvy heroines willing to risk it all, and forbidden student-teacher romance, you’ll love Nico and Norah’s sugary-sweet and extra steamy story! As always, Nichole Rose books come complete with a guaranteed HEA. Physical Science is the steamy beginning to the Ruined Trilogy. It can be read as a standalone story.
“What happened, angel?” I ask, twisting to set the cup on the dresser.
“I shouldn’t involve you in this,” she mumbles, breaking my gaze to stare at the floor. “He’s your brother.”
“And you’re my…” I almost say future but manage to stop myself. “Student. Let me help you.”
She hesitates for so long I think she’s going to refuse.
“Please, beautiful girl. Talk to me.”
“I saw him kill someone,” she blurts out, wringing her hands together.
“What the fuck?”
She grimaces, her face falling again. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said it like that.”
“You saw him kill someone?” I say, just to make sure I heard her correctly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not surprised he killed someone. It wouldn’t be the first time and I doubt it’ll be the last time he drops a body. But the fact that she saw it…that’s what’s fucking me up. She’s too innocent to live with something like that!
She nods miserably. “I was at the harbor, doing some things.”
“I was snooping, okay?” she huffs, throwing her hands up. Irritation flashes in her eyes. “I’m nosy and impulsive and I wanted to see what was in all the barrels they keep stored there, so I snuck in to have a look around.”
“You’re fucking kidding me.” She’s not kidding me. I can tell by the guilty look on her face that she’s being completely serious right now. She broke into the harbor’s storage facility to snoop.
“Do you do things like this often?”
“No.” She bites her lip, her eyes flitting across my face. “Define often.”
“Jesus Christ,” I groan, tipping my head back to look up at the ceiling.
“In my defense, I was unsupervised. And bored. And I really, really regret doing it.”
I tip my head down to glare at her. “A jury won’t care if you’re sorry or not, Norah. You committed a felony.”
“I know,” she admits, her voice small. “But my felony is small fries compared to the other felony that happened while I was there, don’t you think?”
Well, she’s got me there.
“Tell me what you saw.”
“I heard two men arguing by the docks, so I snuck closer to see what was going on. It was your brother and another guy, someone who works for him. He did something that upset your brother. He told the guy that he never should have put his hands on what didn’t belong to him, and then he pulled out a gun and s-shot him.” She sucks in a deep, shuddering breath. “The man fell into the river.”
“Jesus fucking Christ.”
“It gets worse,” she warns me.
How could it possibly get any worse? She’s already admitted to a felony and implicated my brother in a murder. It can’t get much worse than that.
“I screamed when the gun went off.”
“He saw you?”
She nods again.
Fuck Murphy and her law. Of course it gets worse. Of course it does.
“And I lost my phone when I was running.”
“Fucking hell,” I swear.
“I didn’t mean to!” she cries, tears welling in her eyes.
Poor angel. She’s been through hell and back. She doesn’t need me cursing at her and making her feel worse. None of this is her fault. It’s Rafe’s fault. It’s my father’s fault. It’s my fault for not recognizing that her rampant curiosity was bound to lead her into trouble. I should have seen that and done something to protect her.
What am I saying? She isn’t mine to protect. She isn’t mine, period.
Except…that’s not true, is it? Not now. Not anymore. It stopped being true the second she showed up on my doorstep and I carried her inside. She became mine in that moment. If I lose my job for claiming her, so be it. I already decided this semester would be my last because of her. So nothing stood in the way of me claiming her. If I have to fight my brother to keep her safe, so be it. No one is going to harm her. No one.
“I don’t know what to do, Nico,” she whispers, tears spilling down her cheeks. “I know I shouldn’t be here telling you any of this, but you were the first person I thought of. I didn’t know where else to go. I can’t go to the police.”
No, she definitely can’t go to them. They’ll lock her up for commercial burglary, sealing her fate. If my brother’s reach extends anywhere, it’s into the heart of every jail and prison cell in this state.
“Hey,” I murmur, reaching out for her. This time, she doesn’t flinch. I pull her into my arms, holding her. My heart aches as she snuggles into my embrace with a whimper, letting me comfort her as she cries. Part of me, a big part, wants me to be the first person she thought of because she feels the same way I do. The other, more logical part realizes she probably only came here because Rafe is my brother.
I don’t suppose her motivation matters either way. She still came here. She still trusted me to keep her safe. She’s still mine…and I still have to deal with my brother.
Fuck my life.
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The Ruined Trilogy Book 1
One look at his curvy captive and this Mafia boss will risk it all. Even if it means toppling his own kingdom to the ground…
A life in chains was the deal I made with my father to win my twin’s freedom.
My soul is black with the things I’ve done to keep my promise.
I never regretted any of it until now. Until her.
Amalia Santiago’s bravado and fierce defiance make me feel alive in a way I never expected.
I was never meant to fall for her.
I don’t deserve to put my filthy hands all over her pristine body.
She’s supposed to be my prisoner.
But now, she’ll become my world instead.
When the devil came for my foster brother, I let him take me in his place.
I swore I’d find a way out of this mess for both of us.
Except Rafe Valentino wasn’t supposed to have a heart…
And I wasn’t supposed to fall for the ruthless crime boss.
So why do I come alive when he touches me?
Now, I’m one wrong move from destroying everything.
And nothing is what it seems.
How do I sacrifice the man I love to save my brother?
If you enjoy OTT possessive older men with a little bit of darkness in them and sassy, curvy heroines with heart, get ready to fall for Rafe and Amalia in this sweet and extra steamy romance. As always, Nichole Rose books come complete with a guaranteed HEA. Safe read. No cliffhanger. Each book in the Ruined Trilogy features a different Valentino brother and can be read as a standalone story.
“What’s your name, tigrotta?”
“My name is irrelevant,” she says, brushing off my question. “You came here looking for Diego. He isn’t here. You and your men can leave now.”
“Her name is Amalia Santiago.”
She turns a venomous scowl on Mattia.
“Amalia,” I say, unable to resist. It’s a beautiful name. I can’t wait to whisper it in the dark when I’m fucking my kid into her. I’ll say it again and again, until she hears it in her dreams. “Where is your boyfriend, tigrotta?”
“Of course that’s what you assume,” she says, rolling her eyes at me.
“He’s not her boyfriend,” Mattia says, translating her annoyance. He’s far better at understanding women than I am. Save for my housekeeper, there hasn’t been a woman in my life since I was a teenager. People say it’s because I’m a heartless bastard. Their whispers suit my purposes, so I let them think it. But the truth is I never let myself get close enough to one to risk falling. I may have made my world safer for women, but that doesn’t mean one deserves to be shackled to a motherfucker like me. “I believe they grew up together.”
Interesting. Diego’s father, Alvise Butera, was one of my father’s associates. He was never fully one of us, but he was never entirely on the outside, either. Diego grew up in our territory. This girl didn’t. I’d remember her. You don’t forget perfection like this.
“I don’t know where he is,” Amalia says, casting another dark glower at Mattia before turning back to me. I’m sure she intends it to be fierce, but it’s just fucking cute if you ask me. She’s a kitten facing down a lion. Her claws are sharp, but they’re soft. “He doesn’t tell me where he goes or what he does. Even if he did, I wouldn’t tell you. I know who you are.”
“Then you know why I’m here,” I say, my voice soft.
A shadow passes through her mocha eyes, letting me know I’m right. She knows, if not everything, then enough to know this visit doesn’t end with Diego living a long, happy life. And yet he left her here anyway. Either he’s confident I won’t involve her…or she means less to him than Luca thinks. I’m not prepared to say it’s the latter. Not if they’ve known each other since they were kids. Not if he’s been coming here twice a month like clockwork. Not if she knows he’s in deep. She means something to him. He’s just banking on the fact that I won’t hurt her because she’s female.
The arrogant bastard thinks I’ll dance on his strings, bound by my own honor. If Amalia were anyone else, he’d be right. I’d let her go simply because I’m not my father. Luca, Gabe…every man on my payroll chose this life, same as I did. We knew the risks. We accepted them anyway.
If war comes, we die bloody. It is what it is.
But Diego seriously fucking misjudged the content of my character. I may not be my father, but I’m still the motherfucker this city loses sleep worrying about. And I want this girl beneath me, her nails embedded in my skin. When it comes to some things, there is no honor. There’s only want. And take.
I want. And I’m taking.
No, that’s not right. I need. It’s damn near a compulsion at this point. She’s mine.
I’ll burn this entire fucking complex to the ground before I leave here without this girl.
“You’re lying,” I say, taking a step toward her. She doesn’t back up. She doesn’t waver. My dick throbs in the face of her defiance. Will she be as fearless in bed? As fiery? “I think you do know where he is, Amalia. But I think you’d rather sell your soul than tell me.”
“No hago tratos con el diablo.” I don’t make deals with the devil. She flings the insult at me in Spanish, but I speak the language fluently.
“You’ll make a deal with this devil, tesoro,” I say, taking another step toward her. The toes of my dress shoes land flush against her ballet flats. Her cinnamon and vanilla scent swirls around me. I grit my teeth, fighting the urge to snarl like an unruly beast. I press closer, until her tits graze my chest.
Ah, tesoro. Your ripe little body tells a story your eyes would deny.
She knows I feel those hard little nipples. She grits her teeth, her cheeks flushing. Her defiant gaze never wavers from mine.
“Tell me where he is, or I’m taking you in his place,” I whisper, already knowing she isn’t going to tell me where Diego is…already knowing I’m not really giving her a choice at all. As we’ve already established, there aren’t any lines I won’t cross if it gets me what I want. Her.
“Go to hell,” she whispers.
I hold her gaze for a long, silent moment before lifting my head. “Mattia, pack her things,” I say. “She’s coming home with me.”
“Do it then,” I say, one corner of my lip lifting in an amused smile. “Scream.” I step closer, pressing our bodies together in one long line. The top of her head fits perfectly beneath my chin. I tilt my head, putting my mouth next to her ear. “See how much blood I’ll spill to keep you, Amalia.”
She gasps quietly.
“Eres mío ahora.” You’re mine now. I say it in Spanish instead of Italian to make sure she understands.
“Your prisoner,” she spits, pushing away from me with her hands on my chest. Flames scorch me when her eyes meet mine. “Fine. I’ll go with you. But hell will freeze over before I tell you anything about Diego.”
She means it, and I have no intentions of making her eat her words. As soon as he finds out I have her, he’ll come looking for her. He’ll tell me everything I want to know by himself. If he thinks he’s taking her from me though, he’s sadly mistaken.
Amalia Santiago may think I’m the devil…but she’s about to become my queen.
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The Ruined Trilogy Book 2
Falling for the enemy wasn’t part of Luca Valentino’s plan. But one taste of his curvy captive will change everything for this mafia boss.
A life in hell was the sacrifice I made to keep my brothers alive.
There’s nothing I won’t do to see that job through.
Even if it means seducing the enemy.
But I never intended to fall for Callandria Genovese.
She was supposed to be a means to an end, nothing more.
Now, I’ve got more to lose than ever.
And the woman who holds the key to my future is in chains in my bedroom.
I need her trust. I want her heart.
One way or another, I will have both.
I’ve been taught to hate the Valentino family since I could walk.
I know they killed my grandfather.
But no one warned me that the real monster of the bunch was Luca Valentino.
They didn’t tell me I’d find myself imprisoned in his bed, either.
Or that I’d be so reluctant to leave it.
But that’s precisely what happened.
Little by little, he’s slipping beneath my defenses and making me feel things I shouldn’t.
But which side of him is real?
The wanton man who sets me ablaze…or the ruthless mobster who refuses to let me go?
If you like your OTT possessive older men morally gray and your curvy heroines strong, prepare to fall for Luca and Callandria in this steamy mafia romance. As always, Nichole Rose books come complete with a guaranteed HEA. Safe read. No cliffhanger. Each book in the Ruined Trilogy features a different Valentino brother and can be read as a standalone story.
“What are you doing?” she demands, her voice low and throaty from sleep. She’s tousled, a tiny crease across her cheek. “Why are you half naked?”
“Just got up,” I say. It’s not technically a lie. “I thought you might need to use the restroom.” That part is entirely made up. I hoped she’d sleep a little longer so I could catch a few hours.
Her suspicious gaze flits across my face, searching for any hint that I’m bullshitting her. Clearly, my little principessa doesn’t trust easily, either. She has a survivor’s instinct. In this world, it’s necessary. Kill or be killed. Doesn’t it always come down to one or the other?
Not for her. Never for her.
“I can come back later….”
“No!” She sits up quickly, her tangled hair tumbling down her back. Heat climbs into her cheeks, staining them a dusty pink. “Um, I’ll go now.”
I jerk my chin in a nod and set to work undoing the restraints I just replaced around her delicate wrists. “Did you sleep well?”
“Does anyone sleep well chained to a bed?” She eyes me balefully.
“I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been in your shoes.”
“Want to trade places? I’ll play the captor. You can be the helpless hostage,” she retorts, sarcasm heavy in her voice. “I’ll even let you wear my chains.”
A ghost of a smile dances at my lips. “Is this your way of telling me you want to tie me to the bed, bella?”
“Only if I can set it on fire once you’re in it,” she says, batting her lashes at me.
I chuckle, unoffended. Her honesty is refreshing. No one else would even dare speak to me in such a way. Even our enemies watch their mouths when they speak to us. Not Callandria. She doesn’t give a flying fuck if I’m a Valentino or the Pope. To her, I’m just the asshole keeping her against her will.
“Go to the bathroom before you get yourself in trouble, Callandria,” I say, releasing her from her bonds.
She pulls her hands toward her body, rubbing her wrists as if they hurt. I frown at the sight. Perhaps I missed some bruise or mark?
“How long do you plan to keep me chained like a dog, Luca?” she asks, climbing to her feet.
“Go to the bathroom, principessa, and then we’ll talk.”
She stares up at me for a moment, her lips pursed, and then she huffs. “Non rompermi le scatole, Luca Valentino.” Don’t break my boxes, Luca Valentino. Don’t get on my nerves. She sails past me, muttering under her breath.
I grab her arm gently, dragging her back against my chest. “You don’t want me to get on your nerves, princess?” I growl in her ear. “Then stop fucking with me. Because every time you open that smart mouth, I want to fuck it.”
A soft gasp escapes her lips, full of shock. But seething just below the surface, I hear what she desperately tries to hide. Curiosity. Desire. She’s attracted to me. The thought of sucking me off turns her on as much as it pisses her off.
I press my face to her neck, raking my teeth across the sensitive skin beneath her ear. Her pulse hammers there, pounding like a war drum. “Sooner or later, you’re going to give in and give us both what we want, bella.”
“N-no, I’m not.”
“Liar,” I whisper, nipping her throat before I release her.
She doesn’t deny it again. We both know she can’t. She wants me. It’s only a matter of time until she caves.
“Don’t bother trying the bathroom window, bella. It doesn’t open.”
The Ruined Trilogy Book 3
To win her love, this crime boss will need more than money and power.
They say those with the power make the rules.
Genesis Santiago refuses to bend to my will.
I know because I’ve tried.
She wants nothing to do with me.
That isn’t going to work for me.
She’s the only thing in this world I need.
One way or another, I’ll make her mine.
Even if I have to break her to claim her.
I know what people say about Gabriel Valentino.
He’s not just a billionaire. He’s a criminal.
When he catches me trying to steal from him, I expect a quick death.
Instead, the bossy, arrogant man hires me.
But I won’t bow to any man…
Not even the one who owns my soul.
Not even to save my own life.
When this wicked mob boss finds his curvy girl, he’ll do whatever it takes to make her his. If you enjoy over-the-top billionaires, willful heroines, and steamy romance with a touch of darkness, you’ll love Gabriel and Genesis. As always, Nichole Rose books come complete with a guaranteed HEA. No cheating. Each book in the Ruined Trilogy features a different Valentino brother and can be read as a standalone novel.
“What the fuck?”
I yank my hands from the drawer as if burned, spinning with my hand over my heart.
Furious hazel eyes meet mine, anger snapping in their depths.
“You scared me.” I lick my lips, trying to work moisture back into my mouth. Why is it so dry? I know instantly which brother he is. Gabriel Valentino, the youngest. I’ve seen his brothers’ pictures in the paper enough to know he isn’t one of them.
He looks like them in all the ways that count, but his hair is lighter, his expression darker, harder. Water slicks his overly long hair and drips down the strong planes of his face. It slides down his broad shoulders and defined chest as if flowing along a path carved from muscle.
Save for a towel clutched in front of his groin, he’s naked.
“I…um…” I should look away, but I can’t. If he’s going to kill me for touching the mafia’s money, at least I’ll die having seen all of him because wow. He may be the single most beautiful man I’ve ever seen, but there’s an unholy darkness to him, as if the scars that crisscross his abdomen and mottle his side also mangled his soul. There are so many scars. What happened to him?
“Are you usually jumpy when you’re stealing?” he growls, striding into the office from the attached bathroom as if he’s fully clothed.
“Stealing?” I gape at him. “I’m not…I wasn’t stealing!”
I wasn’t going to take the money…was I?
I don’t know how to answer that question, and that shames me.
“You aren’t now.” He wraps the towel around his waist with a flourish as he crosses the floor to me in four steps. Before I can move, he’s in front of me, standing so close I feel the heat of his body against mine.
“Back up,” I whisper.
“You should have kept your hands out of the cookie jar, little girl.”
I seethe at the name and the way he says it. I seethe even more when he refuses to back up and instead places one arm behind me, blocking me into place between him and the desk. “I have a name, and it’s not little girl, Gabriel Valentino.”
He laughs abruptly, one brow rising. “You know who I am, and you still decided to try to steal from me?”
“I told you I wasn’t stealing from you.” I try to slide around him, attempting to put space between us, but the jerk refuses to let me. He blocks me with his other arm, effectively imprisoning me between his body and the desk.
I’ve been here before, backed into a corner by a man who thought he could control me. Only, this time, terror doesn’t clog my throat. A thrill goes through me, and my body reacts, heat pooling low in my belly.
I react to that about as well as I did to the fear. I bring my knee up hard, aiming for Gabriel’s groin. He dodges my knee, allowing me to slip around him.
I barely make it a step before he’s got his arms around me, hauling me up against his broad chest. “Fuck, you have fire,” he growls in my ear. “Keep fighting, little girl. You’re only making it harder.”
I groan when I feel his erection against my back and realize what he’s talking about. His dick. I’m making him harder.
“Stop fighting me.”
“Then let me go.”
“I just caught you trying to steal from me. You aren’t going anywhere, piccola fiamma. Not until I decide to let you. Not unless you want to explain to the police why you were in my office with your hands on the cash in a drawer you have no business opening.”
I freeze at his threat, the fight draining out of me as fear sets in for the first time since he growled at me. An overgrown bully, I can handle. But there will be no hiding from Alexander if the police show up. They’ll lead him right to my doorstep, and I’ll be right back where I started a year ago.
I’d rather die first.
“Ah,” Gabriel murmurs, his lips so close to my ear I shiver. “She sees reason.”
“Go to hell.”
“Haven’t you heard?” He laughs without humor. “I’ve helped rule hell for years, piccola fiamma.”
“I have a name,” I growl. “Learn to use it.”
“I can’t learn to use it if I don’t know it, tesoro.” I refuse to be swayed by the gentle rebuke in his tone, as if it’s my fault he can’t read a nametag.
“That’s odd, because you’ve only looked at my chest about fifteen times. Surely you saw the nametag.” I pause for effect. “Or are you telling me that you don’t know how to read? Because I have a hard time believing a man who has Voltaire on his shelves can’t read a simple five-letter name.”
He brings his hand up, wrapping it gently around my throat. “Keep using that smart mouth on me, Genie, and we’ll see how well you spit fire at me when you’re choking on my cock.”
I fight like hell not to tremble in his arms, refusing to admit that his threat turns me on. Refusing to entertain the reality that this man turns me on. Nope. No way. He’s bossy, arrogant…rude. And he speaks to me as if he has the right. He may be beautiful, but he’s a despot just like any other, using his name and his fortune to get what he wants.
Well, he’s not getting me. Hell will freeze over before that happens.
“Let me go.”
“Oh, I hope you do.” He nuzzles my throat, breathing me in as if he’s scenting prey. Is that what I am to him? Prey? Something to hunt? To play with? Well, he’s going to be disappointed when he realizes I’m not an obedient little toy. I bow to no man, not even a Valentino. I won’t run from one either. “I hope you scream the fucking building down when I’m pleasing you, piccola fiamma. I don’t intend to stop until your voice breaks from the pleasure.”
“I’m not sleeping with you,” I growl, spinning in his arms to glare up at him. I barely reach his chest, which is a whole new level of irritating. He overwhelms me in every way. I’m five-two and curvy, the type of woman men like him step over on their way to the top. And yet he stares at me like he can’t look away.
“Not yet.” His smile doesn’t reach his eyes. I don’t think he’s smiled in a long time. But they glint with some emotion that makes me shiver. Excitement. Interest. Desire? I don’t know. “You will.”
His smile widens. “You’re coming to work for me.”
“I have a job.”
“Not anymore. As of this moment, you work for me, tesoro. Or…” He lets the threat linger unspoken. I know what he means though. Or he calls the police and we let the chips fall where they may. I think he knows I can’t take that risk, though. The bastard knows he isn’t really giving me a choice here.
I think he loves knowing I have no choice and no say. I’m his to command, his to control. And part of me doesn’t hate it nearly as much as I should. Another part of me wants to hate him for that.
And yet…I don’t.
Can you really hate a predator for being a predator? When the lion brings down the gazelle, as much as you hate it for the gazelle, doesn’t a small part of you cheer for the lion?
He’s a six-foot-three lion. And I think I may be the little lamb to the slaughter.
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Nichole Rose writes filthy, feel-good romance for curvy readers. Her books feature headstrong, sassy women and the alpha males who consume them. From grumpy detectives to country boys with attitude to instalove and over-the-top declarations, nothing is off-limits.
She is sure to have a steamy, sweet story just right for everyone. She fully believes the world is ugly enough without trying to fit falling in love into a one-size-fits-all box.
When not writing, Nichole enjoys fine wine, cute shoes, and everything supernatural. She is happily married to the love of her life and is a proud mama to the world’s most ridiculous fur-babies. She and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest.