Dubious Read Online Charmaine Pauls (Loan Shark Duet #1)

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, BDSM, Dark, Erotic, Romance, Suspense Tags Authors: Series: The Loan Shark Duet Series by Charmaine Pauls
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Total pages in book: 110
Estimated words: 107628 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 538(@200wpm)___ 431(@250wpm)___ 359(@300wpm)
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Read Online Books/Novels:

Dubious (The Loan Shark Duet #1)

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Charmaine Pauls

Language:
English
ISBN/ ASIN:
9782956103103
Book Information:

How far will a man go to get the woman he wants?

I’m a loan shark. Breaking people runs in my blood. The Haynes’ were supposed to be a straightforward job. Go in and pull the trigger twice. One bullet for Charlie, one for his sister. But when I saw Valentina, I wanted her. Only, in our world those who owe us don’t get second chances. No way in hell will my mother let her live. So I devised a plan to keep her.

It’s depraved. It’s immoral. It’s dubious. It’s perfect. Just like her.
Books in Series:

The Loan Shark Duet Series by Charmaine Pauls

Books by Author:

Charmaine Pauls Books



1

Valentina

I never take the yellow glow of a light bulb or the blue staccato flicker of the television screen for granted. Looking for signs of life is an ingrained habit for people like me, people who live in fear. Already from the corner, I strain my neck to look at our floor. Then I stop dead. The rectangle of our window stares down at me. Black. Dark.

Oh, my God.

Charlie!

My palms turn clammy. I wipe them on my tunic and sprint up the remaining stairs to the second floor, almost tripping on the last step. A jerk on the handle confirms the door is locked. Thank God. Someone didn’t break in, attack Charlie, and leave him for dead. I drop my keys twice before I fit them in the lock. From inside, Puff starts barking.

The damn lock mechanism resists. One of these days, the flimsy nickel is going to break off in the door. I force until the key turns. In my rush to get inside, I stumble over Puff who runs out to greet me. He scurries away with a yelp and his tail between his legs.

The darkness is menacing. Flicking on the lights doesn’t expel the emptiness or the sick feeling pushing up in my throat. A hollowness settles in my chest as I take in the bowl of half eaten Rice Krispies and the glass of milk on the table.

“Charlie!”

Even if I know what I’ll find, I run to the bathroom.

No one.

“Dammit.”

Leaning on the wall, I cover my eyes and allow myself one second to gather strength. Something wet and warm touches my calf. Puff stares at me with his hopeful, sad eyes, his tail wagging in blissful ignorance.

“It’s all right, baby.” I pet his wiry hair, needing the reassurance of his warm little body more than he needs my caress.

Lightning rips through the sky, the sound lashing out a beat later. I close the curtains. Puff hates thunderstorms. After feeding him, I lock up and knock next door, but, like ours, Jerry’s flat is dark.

Damn him. Jerry promised me.

It’s a wild guess, but I’m betting on Napoli’s being Jerry’s favorite hangout. It’s the only place he ever goes.

The rickety framework clangs under my trainers as I charge down the two flights of stairs. It’s after eight. Having a car thief as a neighbor keeps me protected to an extent, but only from criminals lower in the hierarchy than Jerry. There are the drug dealers, mafia, and gangs to be reckoned with. I remain alert as I go, checking the abandoned houses, parked cars, and alleys. Staying under the streetlights, at least the ones not broken, I walk like my mom taught me––like I’m not a victim.

The brewing storm dissolves, taking with it the rain that would’ve washed away the neighborhood’s stench and soot. It’s summer, but the smoke from the cooking fires gives the Johannesburg air a thick, wintry smell as I cross from Berea into Hillbrow. Most buildings in Hillbrow no longer have electricity. When crime took over, people who could afford municipal services moved to the suburbs, turning the city center into a ghost town. Shortly after, the homeless and others with more sinister goals invaded the deserted skyscrapers. The door and windowless buildings look like skulls with empty sockets and gaping mouths. Doors have long since been used for firewood. What is left is the carcass of a city. The vultures have picked the meat off the bones, and now there are only the scavengers who prey on each other, and if I’m lucky tonight, not on me.

The walk to Napoli’s takes almost forty-five minutes. I’m scared, and my legs ache from standing in the veterinary clinic all day, but worry over my brother outweighs fear and exhaustion. By the time I get to the club, I’m close to collapsing. It’s not the first time Charlie has disappeared. From experience, I know the police won’t help. They have their hands full with murder cases and so many missing persons they don’t have enough space on milk cartons to post everyone. Anyway, most of them are corrupt. I’ll more likely get gang-raped by officials in a police cell than get assistance. I have to find my brother myself.

A group of teenagers in dirty vests sniffing glue at the corner shout insults.

The tallest climbs to his feet, his skin shiny with perspiration and the whites of his eyes like saucers. “Yo, white bitch. What ya doin’ on my block?”

“Hey!” A meaty bouncer in a T-shirt with a Napoli’s logo shuts them up with a look.

The bouncer doesn’t stop me when I push through the entrance, but I feel his eyes burn at the back of my head as I walk down the black-painted corridor into the brightly lit interior. A song from a local rave-rock band blares from oversized speakers. The walls are covered in street art, the day-glo colors popping off the bricks under the fluorescent lights. The club smells of poppers and disco machine smoke. There’s every kind of generalization inside, from the dark-suited Portuguese to the gold-chained Nigerians. Half-naked women do the rounds, most of them looking spaced out.


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