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Irish Promise

Irish Promise

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The Irish King saved Ana. But at what cost? Liam says he'll keep her safe. That is promised. But which promise will Ana keep?

Irish Promise is book two in the Irish King Series. The series is complete. Reading order Irish Savior, Irish Promise, Irish Vow, Irish Betrayal, Irish Princess and finally Irish Vow.


Major Tropes

  • Broken Heroine
  • Alpha Hero
  • Billionaire

Synopsis

The Irish King saved me. But at what cost?

Liam McGregor swooped in and stole me away from Alexandre. Like a white knight bent on saving the damsel, he’s scooped me up and taken me back to Boston, back to safety. There, with my friends and his, he says I can begin to heal.To get back to the girl I once was.But whatever there might once have been betweenus, I don’t know if there can be anymore.

I’m half in love with a man who Liam says is insane and I say is just as broken as I am, and now thanks to him, Liam is broken too.He says he can’t live with what he did to me. I’m not sure I can live without Alexandre. But as the days pass and we get to know each other better, I start to wonder if there’s not some better future with this man who traveled across the world to rescue me, my Irish savior.But he has secrets that could shatter our fragile peace, and Alexandre isn’t about to let me go without a fight.Liam says he’ll keep me safe. That he promised.

But which promise do I keep?

Click Here To Read An Excerpt

For a minute, I think I dreamed it all. Every insane, fucked-up, miserable, happy second of it.

Alexei. The Paris apartment. Alexandre. The study. The bedroom. His bedroom.

His dining table. Liam. Liam. Liam’s hands, Liam’s—cock. Yvette, holding a gun to my head.

The test that I’d failed. Oh god, I’d failed it so completely.

Alexandre, calling out for me. Me, calling out for him. And Liam, putting a bullet in his knee. His shoulder. Other parts of his body that I hadn’t seen.

Is he dead?            

It feels like a dream in parts, a nightmare in others. I don’t know what to make of it, so I keep my eyes squeezed tightly shut because I’m not sure if I want it all to be a dream or not. If I want for none of it to have happened.

And if none of it did, what bed am I in? Where am I? Am I in my tiny apartment back in New York, the one I rented after Sofia “moved in” with Luca, and the gorgeous pre-war apartment we’d lived in together was no longer being paid for? God knows I couldn’t have kept it up on a ballerina’s stipend, so there was no choice but to move somewhere else. Luca had helped me out a bit, feeling guilty for what Franco had done to me, but I’d had to move. 

I hadn’t loved that apartment. I hadn’t done anything with it. It had been four walls and a bed, and I’d moldered away there, wallowing in my sadness and depression and self-pity, hoping I’d die and not having the nerve to end it myself. Ignoring everything I was supposed to do in order to get better.

It was nothing like the Paris apartment either, full of sunshine and art and books, plants and the scents of the city wafting in through the windows, coffee, bread, and lemon cleaning solution.

But was that real?

Was any of it real?

I'd hallucinated the music box—or had I? Was that a hallucination within a hallucination? 

Am I going fucking insane?

I open my eyes slowly. My mouth feels dry, I’m guessing from whatever was used to drug me, if it was all real. I remember that part—or I think I do—squirming in Liam’s arms and screaming, trying to get free, his frustration before he’d finally done something to make it possible to get me out of the apartment. I can’t exactly fault him if it was real, though I want to. I’d done everything I could to get free, to get to Alexandre.

Why? Why had I wanted to stay with him so badly? Why does my heart feel like it’s breaking at the thought that I’ve lost him?

He’d given me away. Tested me, according to him, but the former is what it feels like, somewhere deep in my shattered heart. He’d said he wanted to protect me, his pretty broken doll, and then he hadn’t. He’d given me to Liam, telling me that if I really loved him, Alexandre, I wouldn’t get any pleasure from it.

But that wasn’t fair.

I’d wanted Liam, from the moment I’d set eyes on him, the way you want something that you know is unattainable. A designer pair of shoes you’ll never be able to afford, a dress that you know would never look good on your body type, a meal so expensive you could never justify going out to eat it, a bottle of champagne you tell yourself you’ll buy one day when you deserve it. When I’d met Liam, I’d known from the jump that I could never deserve him. Even that one afternoon in the garden, I’d known it was all a fantasy. That I was having a conversation with someone who would ultimately go back to his life and think of me softly with pity, from time to time. Not someone who would want me back. Not someone who would love me, come after me. Save me?

I hadn’t even really thought I deserved Alexandre, though he’s closer to what I would think I might deserve. He was broken too, like me. He’d been hurt, destroyed, had his soul ripped into so many pieces that he wasn’t sure he even remembered who he was, twisted into something so different from the man that he’d once been that only the very core of him was left.

That resonated with me, because I feel that way too.

But Liam.

The head of the Irish Kings. Handsome and powerful, the heir to something bigger than I can imagine. No, I couldn’t be with a man like that.

But if I’m to believe everything I remember, Liam came to save me. Me. He left everything he was responsible for in Boston and came halfway across the world to snatch me out of Alexandre’s arms and bring me—where?

Where am I?

When I open my eyes, I’m in a bed. A crisp white bed, very different from the one I’d woken up in in the Paris apartment,  but it brings back that memory, sharp and clear. Waking up dry-mouthed and groggy, just like now, looking around and not recognizing my surroundings, just like now. Wondering what was a dream and what was real. So many of my days have been like that, to the point that I no longer entirely trust my own mind. I feel like I’m floating, grasping at memories to make anything feel more concrete, and I hate it. I want to feel solid again, real.

Alexandre made me feel real, just for a little while. And at the same time—not. 

His doll. His pretty, broken doll.

In my mind, I try to think of the order of events all the way back to Franco. Him snatching me from the hotel where I’d met one of the Bratva soldiers, trying to dig up any information on Viktor that I could for Sofia, to try to enable her escape from Luca—back before she’d admitted she was in love with him. Before she knew and believed that he’d do anything to protect her and their child.

I’d thought Alexandre would do that for me. That he’d protect me against anything. In the end, he couldn’t even protect me from myself—or him, either, and his paranoia. His need to know for sure that I was his, and only his.

Franco’s men, tying me up and taking me to that warehouse, where they’d questioned me, beaten me, and destroyed my feet before dropping me on Luca’s doorstep. The harrowing weeks that had followed—the doctor’s appointments, the surgery, the therapist and physical therapy appointments that I’d skipped. The days in bed, Sofia’s attempts to get me out of my shell, to remind me that I’d once been a whole person.

Viktor’s remaining men came with Luca and some of his to tell me that I was in danger and that I needed to go with them. That even though Franco was dead, the same actions that had led him to torture me had put me on someone else’s hit list. 

Alexei.

Franco had been brutal but clumsy, but Alexei had been something else. A sociopath in every sense of the word, cruel and calculating, wanting to cut the men who he thought had wronged him where it hurt the deepest. And in the end, I don’t know if anyone escaped him but me. 

Was that why Liam had come after me? Not because of some lingering connection to me for my own sake, but because Sofia and Caterina and Sasha and the girls were lost or dead, and he needed to find me to assuage his own guilt.

            The thought wraps icy fingers around my heart and digs in, bringing tears to my eyes. If that’s the case—

I don’t think I could go on. Sofia and Caterina are all I have left in the world, now that Alexandre has betrayed me, and if they’re dead or lost forever—

How much is one person expected to endure before they give up? As much as the part of me that’s always been strong wants to refuse to admit it, I’m reaching my breaking point. Part of my mind already feels broken, and once the rest goes—what will be left of me?

Anything?

The door opens, and I sit bolt upright, pressing one hand against my aching head as I scramble back against the pillows, pulling the sheet against my chest. I’m still wearing the dress that I’d been wearing at the party, the pretty lavender linen dress Alexandre had bought me. I grab at the skirt with one hand, pulling it down as far as it will go despite the fact that I’m already covered with the blankets. The rose gold bangle with the raw amethyst that Alexandre gave me is still on my wrist too, and when I move my other hand up to touch my ears, the matching earrings are still dangling there as well.

Liam didn’t undress me or remove anything, making me feel a little better. Is he even still here? I wonder if he’ll even be able to face me, after what he did to me in Alexandre’s dining room. Alexandre had forced him, but he’d wanted to fuck me enough to get hard. He’d managed to do it, and I don’t know how I feel about that. 

I don’t know how to feel about any of it. I want to burst into tears, but I know that won’t help anything—it’ll only send me into a panic spiral that will be nearly impossible to come back from. And whoever is coming through that door, I need to have my wits to deal with it.

I almost hope it will be Alexandre, as furious and heartbroken as I am with him, though I don’t know how that could be. I don’t even know if he’s alive. But it’s not, of course.

It’s Liam. He looks as if he hasn’t slept, his red hair rumpled, his beard fuller than I remember it, his clothes wrinkled. He looks as if he slept in what he’d shown up to Alexandre’s in, his shirtsleeves rolled up, and the first few buttons were undone, his face pale with bags under his eyes. He looks exhausted and sad, and for a brief second, my heart goes out to him—until I remember that he didn’t just “save” me.

He also fucked me in front of an audience and shot the man that I love. That I think I love? That I think loves me?

That, too, I can’t decide how to feel about.

He walks slowly into the room and comes to stand at the foot of the bed, and something bubbles up in my chest, tight and painful. I think it’s going to be tears until it comes out, and then when the first hysterical sounds spill out of my lips, I realize that it’s laughter, that I’m laughing, but I sound like a crazy person. Liam’s eyes go wide, but to his credit, he doesn’t move or flee the room. He just grips the railing at the foot of the bed so hard that his knuckles turn white as he looks at me, crouched against the pillows and laughing until I actually do start crying.

It’s so much like that first morning with Alexandre that I can’t help it. It’s like all of it repeatedly replaying, just with Liam instead of Alexandre. It makes me wonder if I somehow dreamed everything in Paris, if I’ve been in a coma or just asleep since Alexei’s chalet.

“Was it real?” I ask the moment I can speak, and Liam looks dumbfounded for a moment.

“Was what real?” He runs a hand through his hair, and I can’t help but see how handsome he is all over again. He’s one of the most physically striking men I’ve ever seen, with his copper hair and beard, making his sharp jaw look broader, setting off the angles of his cheekbones. I can see the hint of the same copper hair in the open v of his shirt, the rumpled white fabric clinging to his flat stomach, the muscles in his forearms flexing, and the veins standing out as he grips the railing of the bed so tightly that I almost think he might break it.

            “Any of it,” I whisper. “Paris. Alexandre. Did I dream it?”

“I don’t entirely know what happened there,” Liam says slowly—which, of course, he doesn’t. He hadn’t been there with me, just at the end. 

“But yes,” he continues, watching me cautiously, like a feral animal that he’s afraid might jump at him. “It was real. Alexandre was real, and he was keeping you prisoner in his apartment in Paris.”

“I wasn’t a prisoner,” I say defensively.

Liam frowns. “Were you allowed to leave? Come back to New York if you wanted to? Did he offer you the option to come home?”

“No,” I whisper, swallowing past the lump in my throat. Put flatly like that, it paints Alexandre in a whole new light—but as Liam said, he wasn’t there. He didn’t know Alexandre. I did—do

“Then you certainly weren’t a guest,” Liam says bluntly.

The two of us stare at each other across the expanse of the bed silently for a long moment.

“Is he dead?” I ask finally, my voice catching. “Did you kill him?”

Liam’s jaw tightens, and I see the muscle there leaping as he considers his answer. The hesitation makes my heart skip a beat in my chest, clenching with premature grief as I imagine the yes that must be coming, the certain knowledge that Alexandre, my Alexandre, is dead.

“Why do you care?” Liam asks finally, an edge to his voice that I hadn’t heard before. “Jesus, Anastasia, why? The man bought you. He owned you like a piece of property. He hurt you, he forced me to—” he runs both of his hands through his hair then, turning sharply away so that his back is to me, and I see his shoulders heaving as he drops his hands to his sides, clenching them into fists. 

Several seconds pass before he turns to face me again. I can hear my own heartbeat in each one, waiting for him to answer, and despite myself, I start to cry. Slow tears at first, dripping hotly down my cheeks, and then faster, until they’re streaming, sobs that I have to bite back until the tears are running off of my chin, pooling in the seam of my lips.

Liam flinches visibly when he turns back around and sees me there, crying silently with my hands clenched in the duvet I’m still holding against my chest. “No,” he says finally. “I didn’t kill him. As far as I know, Alexandre Sartre is not dead—though I wish to God he was!”

His last exclamation only makes me cry harder, and Liam shakes his head, coming around the foot of the bed to stride towards me, his face flushing with visible frustration. “I wish I’d killed him,” he growls savagely. “I wish I’d shot him in the fucking heart for daring to take you, for doing what he did, for forcing me to do those things to you. But getting you out, making sure you were safe, was more important. Do you understand me, Ana? Do you understand what I’ve done to save you, what I—”

His voice is rising, and it sparks the panic in my chest, rising up hot and thick. I can feel myself starting to tremble, and I shake my head wildly as he comes towards me, feeling myself start to spiral.

"No!” I scream, scrambling away from him. “No, fucking get away from me! Get away!”

As long as I live, I’ll never forget the look on his face when I scream that. It’s a look I’ve never seen on any man’s face except Alexandre’s.

I know it very well, because I’ve seen that look on my own face in the mirror. 

Somewhere between the garden in the safe house and this hotel room, Liam McGregor has become a broken man.

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