Cruel Beast (Dark Lies Duet #3) Read Online J.L. Beck

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Contemporary, Dark, Erotic, Mafia Tags Authors: Series: Dark Lies Duet Series by J.L. Beck

Total pages in book: 86
Estimated words: 79991 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 400(@200wpm)___ 320(@250wpm)___ 267(@300wpm)

Money. It’s the root of all evil and I need it bad.

You could call it the wrong place, wrong time.

To me the day I met Enzo was the day the old me died.

When he kidnaps me thinking I’m the daughter of his enemy the only thing I can do is pretend to be something I’m not.

But the more I pretend, the deeper I fall.

Enzo is dark, cruel, and menacing but he’s protective, fierce and determined.

Soon he wants to forge a contract between our families, making me his bride, but he has no idea I’m not who he thinks I am and when he finds out… well I know I’m as good as dead.

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“Please. All I need is a little more time. I promise I’ll be able to get the money together. It just won’t be right now.”

I’d love to say this is my first time inside this office, but it’s not. It isn’t even the tenth time. By now, my advisor and I are on a first-name basis. That makes it even more painful when he sighs and leans back in his chair after hearing my sob story for nearly the one-hundredth time.

“I’m sorry, Alicia.” He shrugs and tosses his pen on the desk. “But there’s nothing I can do.”

I hold up my folded hands. “John, come on. Please,” I beg. “You know what it’s been like for me.”

“I do because we go through this conversation every time I have to call you in for late tuition payments.”

It takes everything inside me not to grit my teeth and roll my eyes. Instead, I make nice because, at the end of the day, I need him. “They cut back my hours at the store,” I explain even though I know he doesn’t want to hear it. “I could try to get a second job, but then I won’t have any time to go to class.”

As it is, I barely sleep at night since I hardly have time to study otherwise. I’m practically killing myself to get through college, so I might as well try to pass my classes. Otherwise, what’s it all for?

Like always, he is sympathetic, but that’s about as far as it goes.

“I understand. I really do. Many of us are going through hardships. It’s just the fact of life right now.”

I shake my head in frustration. “That’s not even mentioning the fact that everything is more expensive now. Tuition has been raised. I don’t see how anybody can keep up with this, even people with families paying for them.”

He leans forward, folding his hands on a stack of folders. He’s a nice guy, a family man with photos of his kids lined up on his desk. I get the sense he doesn’t make much in his job—his clothes are always a little worn. And once, I passed a shoe store at the mall and could’ve sworn he was one of the guys helping customers locate a style in their size. But the store was pretty crowded, so I could have been wrong. Still, it wouldn’t shock me to find out he has a second job.

“You aren’t the only person going through tough times,” he explains in a quieter voice than the one he used before. “And I agree with you; it’s startling the way costs seem to rise every year. Inflation’s a bitch, too—pardon my language.”

Yes, that was one of the reasons they gave me at the store for cutting back hours. It costs more money to ship products to the stores across the country and more to produce them, so they have to save money where they can. That means people like me go bye-bye.

“I do everything I can to locate money for the students assigned to me.” He plops a hand on top of a thick stack of file folders. “Here are just some of the people who’ve passed through my door in the last week alone. Pretty soon, my kids are going to forget what I look like if I keep pulling the kind of hours I’ve been putting myself through.”

I feel sorry for him, but what am I supposed to say? “And are you able to help them?”

“Some. Others have used every last resource at their disposal, but it still isn’t enough.” He lowers his brow, gazing at me from over the top of his glasses. “Does that sound familiar?”

“Are you trying to guilt-trip me?”

“Of course not.” He looks at me like he can’t believe I would think such a thing. “I’m just saying there’s only so much that can be done. We’ve been here before, Ms. Gutierrez, and every time we’ve managed to pull something out of thin air. But a lot of these programs are tapped out now. The grants, all of it. You’re going to have to find a way to make up the difference yourself. I’m sorry, but the school has policies in place for a reason.”