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Savage Princess

Savage Princess

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I want to be more to him than just a job. More than a burden. And when circumstances take a terrifying turn, it becomes clear that he might need me more than he knows if we’re going to make it out of this city alive.

Savage Princess is the second book in the Savage Trilogy. The trilogy is complete. Reading order Savage Assassin, Savage Princess, Savage Love. 

Main Tropes

  • Protector to Lover
  • Marriage of Convenience
  • Unexpected Pregnancy

Synopsis

He promised to keep me safe. But I want so much more from him than that.

One night with Levin changed everything for me. But for him, I quickly find, it was a night that only happened because he thought we were going to die.

Now we’re stuck in Rio, a continent away from home, with danger on our heels and new threats coming from every corner. Levin swears to me that he’ll succeed in his mission to keep me safe–but with every day that passes, that becomes more difficult.

I want to be more to him than just a job. More than a burden. And when circumstances take a terrifying turn, it becomes clear that he might need me more than he knows if we’re going to make it out of this city alive.

Levin is terrified of the history that haunts him repeating itself. But there’s one thing he hasn’t accounted for.

This princess can be every bit as savage as her assassin.

Click Here To Read An Excerpt

Chapter One

Elena

I will keep you safe, Elena. I’ll do everything I can. I’ll fight and kill anyone I have to in order to get you back to Boston and your sister. But I won’t touch you again. Not like that. I can’t. 

Levin’s words ring in my ears as I sit there, feeling half-stunned, and a flood of other emotions that I can’t entirely untangle. I’m not sure if I’m sad or angry or some combination of those, but I do know that I’m not regretful. I don’t regret what we did. If I could rewind time back to that night on the beach, even knowing we’d be rescued, I would do the same thing all over again.

I would choose Levin.

I don’t think he can say the same, and that’s what hurts. That’s what makes me angry. It’s not that I feel used, exactly–I think Levin went to great pains to keep me from feeling that way–but I want to feel as if he would have chosen me no matter what, just as I would have him. And I’m fairly certain that’s not true.

As soon as he walks out of the cargo hold, I want to go after him. I want to ask him what the difference is now, why it matters when we’ve already done it. Why he wants to take back something that he so obviously wanted and enjoyed as much as I did.

But I don’t. I sit here on my folded-up blanket, fists knotted in my lap, and I let myself cool off before I go find him. As much as I want to yell at him and demand answers, I know nothing is going to be solved by doing that. If anything, it’ll make the situation more tense.

When I feel like I can at least speak to him with a level head, I force myself to stand. My ankle throbs painfully the second I put weight on it, and I suck in a breath–which only serves to send my stomach churning. The space below deck smells like sea brine, damp wood, and something mustier, and as warm as it is down here, it all combines to make a truly nauseating smell—to me, anyway. 

The following steps don’t feel much better. I grit my teeth against the pain, limping slowly towards the stairs. The only thing that keeps me going is the fact that it feels worse to sit below deck and do nothing, wondering what happens next. Levin isn’t going to be happy with me for wandering, that much I know—but as far as I’m concerned, he should have finished the conversation instead of leaving me down here alone. 

The ship seems to have a somewhat sparse crew, at least compared to what I’d think would make sense for a ship of this size—not that I really know anything about that. I’m glad, because it makes it easier to look for Levin without drawing too much attention that I don’t want. 

The attention that I do get, however, makes my skin crawl. As I walk up to the second level of the ship—where the warm, damp smell is at least a little less prevalent—I see several shirtless crew members turn to watch me as I go, eyes raking over me in a way that makes me shudder. It feels like the way Diego looked at me—the way the men at the auction looked at me, like a piece of meat dangled in front of them, like predators sizing up prey. As if they’re imagining what I look like without my clothes on and feasting on everything beneath.

These men are rawer, though—more hungry. It makes me walk faster, even as the weight and pace on my ankle shoots pain up my calf and into my thigh. I want their eyes off of me as soon as possible. I want to be back with Levin—where I feel safe.

It doesn’t help that I heard the man who negotiated with Levin say that he wouldn’t bother telling his men to stay off of me. I’m stiff and tense as I hurry towards the next set of steps as best as I can, waiting for one of them to come towards me, or catcall me. 

Almost there. I hear a whistle behind me, a grunt of approval, and I see one man grab his crotch with a sweaty hand, leering at me—but no one tries to approach, much to my relief.   

Maybe Levin put the fear of god in them. He did say this was the kind of danger he could protect me from.

When I find him, he’s standing alone on the upper deck of the ship, arms crossed over his chest. His back is mostly to me, and it gives me a moment to just look at him in a way I don’t often get to without him catching me. It sends a different kind of shiver down my spine. He’s made me feel this way since the first day I met him. As I look at his broad shoulders, the muscled arms crossed over his chest, and the inky tattoos crawling down the side of his neck and forearms, I wonder if I will ever stop feeling that shiver of desire when I look at him. If years of knowing him, being with him, would change it—or if it always feels this way.

I want to ask my sister if Niall still makes her feel this way, now that he’s hers. If desire is a product of novelty, or if it lasts forever, the way it feels right now.

Levin shifts as if he can feel my gaze burning into his back and turns slightly. “Elena?” His tone is sharp, disapproving, exactly as I’d thought it would be. “What are you doing out here? You’re not supposed to be wandering around the ship. Your ankle—”

I walk towards him, fighting off a small surge of nausea from being on the water for the first time. “I made it up here. I’m fine. We need to talk.”

Levin’s lips thin as he presses them together. He lets out a long, sharp breath and then raises his eyebrows, turning to face me. “You could have waited until I came back down.”

“I didn’t want to wait around for you to decide it was time to talk.” The words come out sharper than I mean for them to, and I take a breath, trying to calm myself down. I don’t want to fight with him, and I can feel the tension shimmering between us. One wrong word could tip this into an argument instead of a discussion.

“I needed time to think.” His forearms flex across his chest in a way that’s far too distracting for the conversation we need to have. “I needed space.”

“From me.” It’s not a question—I already know the answer. I just want to hear him say it out loud.

“It doesn’t matter.” Levin looks at me, a hint of impatience in his eyes. “What did you come up here to talk about, then? What was worth risking all the crewmembers on this ship seeing you, after you heard the captain say very plainly that he wasn’t going to bother keeping them off of you?”

“No one touched me.”

“They thought about it.” Levin’s jaw tightens. “If I hadn’t had a word with a few of them that I heard talking about the girl on board, who knows what would have happened?” His jaw clenches a little tighter, and I can tell that he’s trying hard not to get angry with me. “You said you’d listen to what I told you to do, Elena.”

“Sure, when we were running from Diego’s men.” I can feel my own anger starting to rise, frustration welling up in me. “Even when we were on the beach. But that doesn’t mean I’m always just going to sit around and wait for you to tell me what to do! I’m a part of this too. And I want to know what the plan is.”

Levin blows out a sharp breath, shaking his head. “The plan?”

“Yeah.” I cross my arms under my breasts, a mirror of him. “I want to know what our plan is when the ship docks. I don’t want to just follow you without knowing what we’re going to do.”

Levin blinks at me. “Are you trying to suggest you’d be better off on your own? Because if you think I’m going to let you go off and try to get back by yourself, Elena—”

I hear that thread of possessive anger in his voice again. I can’t pretend that it doesn’t excite me. Having him protect me, want me, keep me safe—it feels like a fantasy. Like something I’d read in a book. 

A small, wicked part of me wants to push, to see what happens if he explodes—what he’d say or do if I made it sound as if I really were thinking of going off without him. But just like picking a fight, I know it’s not really going to help anything.

I let out a long, frustrated breath. “No, Levin. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that I don’t want to just be left out of the loop. I want to know what you’re planning.”

There’s a moment of heavy silence, and then Levin nods. “Once we’re back in Rio,” he says finally, “I’m going to try to make contact with someone who can help us get back to Boston. Until then, I’m going to stay close to you to make sure that you’re safe. But not too close,” he adds, seeing the expression on my face. “I’m going to do my job.”

“If you really regretted what we did together, then you shouldn’t need to keep your distance.”

The words come out before I can stop them, and I see Levin’s face go hard, his lips pressing tightly together again. I can see from his expression that I’m treading on shaky ground. 

He takes a deep breath, and I can see him sway towards me the slightest bit, as if he wants to come towards me, and he’s trying to stop himself. His hands drop to his sides, his fingers flexing, and it takes everything in me not to be the one to close the space between us. I want to go to him more than I want to breathe, but I also don’t want to make things worse—for myself or him.

Touching him right now would make it all so much worse.

“I don’t regret it because I didn’t want you,” Levin says quietly, and I feel my heart leap into my throat. And then he keeps speaking, and it falls back down to my toes.

“I regret it because I shouldn’t have allowed myself to give in to that weakness. The last time–”

He cuts off, his jaw tightening again, and I know I should ask him what he means. What the last time means. But I can’t think past the burning of tears in my eyes; hearing him say the words, I regret it out loud. All I can think is that I’d hoped he might say that he didn’t actually regret it, that he would do it again if he could, but now I know for sure that’s not true. 

The last thing I want to do is cry in front of him right now. 

I think Levin sees the expression on my face, because his softens a little. “Elena–” He closes his eyes briefly, then takes one step closer, looking down at me. “What happened between us happened because of the dire circumstances we were in. It can’t happen again. I won’t let it. You’re my responsibility. I can’t let my good judgment be affected by this.”

Every word out of his mouth hurts more. I swallow hard, fighting back the tears welling up, desperately wanting to keep them from spilling over. “I know you enjoyed it,” I whisper. “You can’t fake that. You can’t tell me you were pretending the entire time—”

“I’m not saying that I was,” Levin says carefully. “What I felt when I was with you, Elena—”

The words hover in the air between us, the salty breeze ruffling through my hair as I stare at him, wanting to hear what comes next. I want to hear him say aloud what he felt when he was with me, how I made him feel, how good it was for him too. I want him to break down and make me feel as if I didn’t imagine it all.

I want, more than anything, for us to get a second chance.

“What I felt is the reason this can’t happen again,” Levin says gruffly, taking a step back. “Distraction could mean our lives, Elena. I’m prepared to die to keep you safe, but I’m not going to let anything happen to you. This is dangerous. It needs to be taken seriously.”

“You don’t think I’m taking it seriously?”

“That’s not what I meant.” Levin runs his hand over his hair, his expression suddenly exhausted. “Just go back down to the hold, Elena, please. Stay there until I come check on you. Stay out of the way of the crew. We’ll be in Rio before long, and then it’s just a matter of time until I can get this sorted and we get back to Boston, okay? And then—”

And then all this will be over. I can hear the unspoken words hovering between us, and it makes my heart ache.

I don’t want it to be over. The danger and the running and being so far from anywhere I feel safe—I want that to be over. But not this—not what I know there is between Levin and me. 

“Please go back down where you’ll be safer,” Levin says quietly, and something about the way he says it, the way he emphasizes the please, makes me feel as if I can’t tell him no, no matter how much I want to stay here talking to him. Even arguing with him is better than not talking at all.

“Alright,” I say softly. “Just–come down soon, okay? It’s lonely down there.”

Levin swallows, but he nods. “Before long,” he says finally. “I promise.”

I turn away then, limping back towards the stairs that will take me back to the cargo hold. As I do, I can’t stop the tears from starting to slide down my cheeks.

At least now, Levin can’t see.

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