Title: Brutal & Raw
Series: Beneventi Family #1
Author: Sonya Jesus
Genre: Romance Suspense
Release Date: January 23, 2020
Cover Design: Touch Creations
He wanted everything. He could have my nothings too.
My whole life, I’ve been running, living just under the radar. The day I arrived on the East Coast, looking for a new start, I found an end instead. One careless night landed me in the hands of a dark mafia boss, who wanted nothing more than to render me a number—to eviscerate my identity with his brutal mind game.
That’s what he called me. That’s all I was to him.
At least at first, before Breaker Beneventi told me all his family secrets, trickled his way into my heart, and then ordered my death. He set me free, knowing the butcher would find me.
Now, I’m the girl who escaped. The one with the power to destroy his organization. And he’s relentlessly searching for Lyla Vaughn all over the country, spilling the blood of innocents and losing his control.
But he’s not going to find me. Because that’s not my name.
From Bestselling author Sonya Jesus comes “Brutal and Raw” a psychological thriller romance full of plot twists, interwoven with dark mafia romance.
I drop down to my knees and crawl toward the ditch next to the field of untamed red poppies. The small twigs and pieces of wood scrape against my bleeding knees, fragments of dried leaves sticking to the moist wounds. Small stones pierce into the exposed flesh, making the softer ground even more unbearable than the concrete of The Farm’s barn.
I can’t go back there, I silently proclaim and hasten my pace. Fear drowns out the pain long enough for me to reach a small entrance. Wedging my naked body between the walls of dirt, I manage to squeeze myself in a hole barely large enough for a child. My bent legs press against my bruised breasts, stretching whatever skin is left of my scraped knees. In this tiny space, there’s no easing the pain. Everything hurts. Unmalleable tree roots dig into my back, scrubbing my skin raw as I fail to become invisible.
There’s no use.
If I stay like this, he’ll find me. The thought surfaces quickly, provoking my instincts. My bloody fingers scrape against the damp ground beneath my thighs, coating themselves with dirt. Damn it. It hasn’t rained in weeks…or months. I can’t remember.
I scamper to gather debris from outside the ditch and hide the opening. The dangling threads of dying roots and cobwebs aren’t enough to hide my red hair. I would’ve had better luck hiding amidst the fucking poppies.
There’s nowhere else to hide though, and it’s only a matter of time before—
A loud noise erupts through the forest.
My heart stills.
Three … Echo.
Shit! He’s close. I can’t go back!
Panic erupts within me. Fighting through the agonizing sting of injured muscles to combat time amplifies the ingrained sound of the gunshot from moments ago, and the reflection of sound waves sync with the force of my heartbeat.
I focus on the rhythm as the blood surges through my veins. My heart pumps in increments of three followed by a missed beat. One, two, three … One, two, three … Breaker.
He’s the missing beat.
Even cowering in a hole in a desolate forest, bleeding from more places than I can count, I still think of Breaker Beneventi.
He killed every hope I had left—literal bullets through hearts of friends who now wait for me six feet underground—and then set his eyes on destroying me. Torture first, wicked and endless, until I begged for an end—an escape.
Mercy, or so I thought, until I realized human sentiments don’t exist in this place. Here, compassion from the soulless is simply another form of torture. He spared my life, only to slowly strip me of emotion and degrade what little of myself remained.
Which is not much.
Lyla, is just a word, a deadly keepsake of the girl who’s been reduced to a number. Three twenty-seven.
I gave Breaker Beneventi everything, my humanity included, and it’s all my fault… I chose the man who broke me.
I shut my eyes and wait…He can have my dignity too.
A warm stream of liquid dampens the ground and the soles of my feet. I dip my fingers into the urine-infused dirt and coat my hair with the cakey substance, blunting the brightness of its strands. The pungent smell of ammonia infiltrates my nostrils as I add a layer of stench and dirt to my skin. Bits of hair stick to my face and catch on the uplifted skin of my dried lips. My tongue darts out, moistening and easing the sting, but the taste of metal, piss, and desperation brings tears to my eyes.
Another loud sound whips through the wind.
My chest grips for air, but all I can think is…
The Butcher’s here.
Sonya’s a nerd—a cool nerd—who loves science, books, make-up and unicorns. She even has unicorn slippers and unicorn plushes adorn her office. It’s not an obsession (or so she says), it’s simply an ode to her imaginative side. Storytelling has been her passion since her youth, but her family believes it’s more than that.
Though she’s fun-loving, complex-minded, and heart-driven, her philosophy on life is quite simple: Shit happens. Keep going.
When asked to elaborate, she said, “Believing in yourself is probably one of the hardest things to do, but look in the mirror. You’re still standing. That’s strength. Don’t underestimate yourself.”
Sonya also believes in fairytales and in the beautiful things a mind can conjure. She’s a firm believer in empowering the crazy fictional ideas, putting them down on paper, and letting them flourish into a story.
“There’s so much potential in a dream… a thought… not exploring it seems like such a waste of something absolutely beautiful.”