Cruel Lies - Ella Miles

Prologue

Liesel

How is it that everything that dramatically changes my life is written in a letter?

The first time it happened was in a letter from my father. That letter was ripped by Langston, so I only got half of the truth.

But this letter, I ripped myself. I destroyed one half and plan on giving Langston the other.

Why did I destroy half of this letter?

The contents scare the shit out of me.

It changes how I think of myself.

It changes who I am.

If true, it changes everything. I won’t let my world change all because it was written in a stupid, threatening letter, but I have no way to verify the contents.

Except…

No.

Time will reveal the truth.

Meanwhile, I’m left to wonder if the world is the one lying to me…

1

Liesel

I gave up my son without ever having laid eyes on him. I never held him. Never got to see how many of his features matched my own. Never got to smell his sweet head. Never breastfed him. Never changed his diaper. Never dressed him. Never counted his fingers and toes.

I never did any of the things most new moms get to do. Even moms who give their children up for adoption usually hold their child at least once before giving them away.

Not me.

I had an emergency C-section. I was unconscious when he was born, so I never got to hear his first cry. I never met him. I didn’t get to name him or find out what his parents named him.

I thought I’d never meet him. That was the plan. When I gave up my son, I did it for him.

I was young and not ready to be a mother, but if keeping him was best for him, I would have figured it out.

I gave him up because of who his father was—the most dangerous man in the world. I had no idea how he would have reacted if he found out the truth. Would he have tried to kill my son? Would he have tried to brainwash him and bring him under his thumb like he did Enzo? Would he have had to fight Enzo to become the new Mr. Black, ruler of the most notorious crime organization?

No—I ensured that my son would never be harmed, would never grow up in this dangerous and cruel world like I did.

So I gave him up, ensured he had the best parents possible, that he was hidden, never to be found.

And then, Mr. Black was killed. I could find my son. Kai did find him. It was safe to know my son. To love him out in the open.

But I knew better. Mr. Black dying changed nothing. We are all too connected to money, crime, and power for our enemies not to come and find us. We are always in danger. Enzo, Kai, Siren, and Zeke think they can protect their children while still living in this world—they’re wrong. They will never be safe. I did the responsible thing. I kept my son safe. I gave him up a second time.

I thought that was it—I’d never know my son, not even his name, the color of his eyes.

Giving him up the second time was immensely harder than the first. The world turned to shades of gray after I decided to remain out of his life. Nothing brought me happiness or even a tingling of joy. I didn’t smile or laugh, and I knew I never would again.

And then, everything changed.

I realized I made a mistake.

I had to find my son for his own survival.

I searched and searched, but I couldn’t find him, not with all the resources in the world.

Then, I met Waylon Brown. It seemed like a coincidence at first, but eventually I realized he had ulterior motives. He knew where my son was; he provided proof. But in return, I had to marry him.

I would have married him that day, gave him everything I owned, and kneeled in promise to be his servant forever if he gave me my son. I still don’t know what Waylon’s real reason for wanting to marry me was.

Did he just find me attractive and want a good-looking, intelligent woman on his side? Or did he want the treasure he thought I had the key to?

The treasure.

Father, what did you put in motion? Why couldn’t you just burn your letter? Why ruin my life and every generation after because of a rumor of the greatest treasure to exist on earth and only a Dunn able to retrieve it?

“Liesel, did you

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