New Release! Check out this excerpt from THE RECKLESS UNION by Monica Murphy! BONUS! Get the First-in-Series FREE!

Our marriage may look like a fairytale, but outside forces threaten to tear us apart. Don’t they realize that nothing will keep me apart from Charlotte? Not my family. Not hers either.

What started out as a relationship in name only has evolved into something much more. Something deeper. And when Charlotte is taken from me, I launch into action, determined to rescue her.

She’s mine. Nothing is going to stop me from being with her.

Not a damn thing.

Welcome to the Midnight Dynasty… The warring Morelli and Constantine families have enough bad blood to fill an ocean, and their brand new stories will be told by your favorite dangerous romance authors.

The Reckless Union by Monica Murphy
SERIES Wedded Bliss | GENRE Dark Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER Dangerous Press | PUBLICATION DATE August 16, 2022


A Wedded Bliss Novel
© 2022 Monica Murphy



I startle awake with a gasp, my eyelids heavy with fatigue when I barely crack them open to find I’m in an empty room. Taking in my surroundings, I note the cheap white blinds covering the single window, the bent ones letting in the waning sunlight from outside. I shift, tingles prickling along my legs. My feet. My lower half has fallen asleep, my butt killing me thanks to the hardwood floor I’m sitting on. Grimacing, I try to stretch my feet but the rope around my ankles cuts into my skin.

At least the tape isn’t covering my mouth anymore, I think as I take a deep breath. I swear Seamus did that only for the photos he took on his phone. The minute he was finished, he tore the tape off my face with a gleeful expression, his eyes dancing when I yelped in pain.

The asshole.

I have no idea who he could’ve sent those photos to. My family? My parents wouldn’t care. Not really. My brothers? They’re both so busy working deals and conquering New York City, I doubt they’d notice text messages with photos. And Crew is at school, forgotten at Lancaster Prep. Mom forgets to check her phone most of the time and my father lets his messages pile up to an ungodly amount.

If he sent them to Perry, I know my husband would save me. My family might not care, but Perry… he does.

Or maybe Seamus didn’t send those photos to anyone. Maybe he’ll use them later. Or he took them for his own personal pleasure. I don’t know. Worse, I don’t understand him, or know what makes him tick.

Does he plan on keeping me forever?

A shiver steals through me at the thought.

If he sent those photos to my husband, Perry will kill him when he finds us. He hates Seamus with every fiber of his being, as well he should. And you know what?

I do, too.

Without warning, the door swings open and in walks Seamus. Larger than life, tall and imposing and so, so dark. Like an ominous cloud, filling up the space. He stands over me, his hands on his hips, his scowl aimed right at me. It slowly softens, until his lips are curved into the faintest smile.

“Don’t you look pretty all tied up.” That familiar Irish brogue washes over me and I’m immediately infuriated.

“My husband is going to kill you when he sees those photos you took of me,” I spit out at him.

I think of Perry and his smiling face. That look in his eyes he gets right before he kisses me. Will I ever see it again? Feel his lips on mine? Hear his laughter?

Seamus chuckles, like I amuse him. “Kill me? Please. He’s going to take one look at the security footage from your building and think you left with me. Willingly. He’s not looking for you. He thinks you’re cooperating with me—and trying to trick him with those photos.”

No. Perry would know I’d never leave with Seamus without a fight.

Wouldn’t he?

I think of the footage the cameras might’ve caught. How I’m walking through the lobby, turning to face Seamus. Did I look like I wanted to talk to him? I willingly sought him out. He held a gun to my side, but did anyone actually see it?

What if they didn’t?

“Why did you take those photos of me then?”

“Collateral.” His expression turns smug. “I might need to use them later.”

God, I hate this man. Everything that happened between us feels like a lifetime ago. Seeing Seamus the morning of my wedding had been a total shock to the system. Completely unexpected and downright surreal. How could he suddenly appear in front of me on my wedding day? What are the chances?

I’m realizing there’s no such thing as chance encounters.

“So you didn’t send them to Perry?”

“Oh, but I did.” He kneels in front of me, his grin almost feral. “He hasn’t come to your rescue yet though, has he? Guess he doesn’t care about you as much as you thought.”

Seamus rises to his full height, his gaze never straying from mine and I fight the panic that wants to sweep over me. Those photos, the film footage, my being with Seamus—none of that will matter to Perry. He’ll want to rescue me. It’s in his blood—always wanting to help, to rescue everyone in his family, and I’m a part of that now. I’m his wife. He’ll stand by me no matter what.

Even if it looks like you ran away with your former lover?

Swallowing hard, I try to push past the worry that’s making me doubt myself. Doubt Perry.

Doubt everyone.

“I’ll be back.” Seamus leaves the room before I can say anything else, slamming the door behind him and I fall back against the wall, stifling the cry that wants to escape.

Has Seamus gone mad? Seriously, what he’s doing isn’t normal. Or sane.

I’m worried for his mental state, which means I’m also worried about… me. My safety. How is this going to end? I doubt he’s going to let me go easily.

Frustrated, I squirm around, knocking my ankles together in the hopes my feet will wake up. The prickling sensation is excruciating, and it doesn’t help that my head still feels heavy. I wonder if Seamus drugged me with something. I don’t even remember.

Knowing him and how he’s been acting, he probably did.

The room grows darker as the sun sets and soon enough, it’s nighttime. My eyes adjust to the darkness and I press the back of my head against the wall, gazing up at the ceiling and the light fixture above me. At least he tied my hands in front of my body and not behind me, though maybe that was a stupid move. I could undo the rope when I’m positioned this way…

My chest tightens and I realize I might have to face the truth. Maybe Seamus is right. It doesn’t look like Perry’s coming to save me.

I’m going to have to save myself.

This is how Seamus finds me when he reenters the room. I don’t know how long I’ve been at it, or how many ways I’ve contorted my arms, hands and fingers as I try to undo the complicated knots. Sweat dots my forehead and the skin at my wrists chafe thanks to the rough rope material.

“What the hell are you doing?” he asks, his accented voice calm. Like it’s no big deal he has his ex-lover tied up and locked away in a room God knows where.

I don’t look at him, forcing the wave of anger that floods me down so I don’t say something stupid and piss him off. I do straighten my body out though, trying for nonchalance.

No, you didn’t catch me trying to undo the rope. Why do you ask?

“I’m thirsty,” is what I say to him instead, which is the truth.

“I’ll bring you something to eat and drink later.”


“Later,” he repeats, his voice firm. He shuts the door behind him and leans against it, contemplating me, crossing his arms in front of his chest. The way he studies me makes me want to squirm but I keep myself still. He remains quiet for so long I start to wonder if he’s going to say anything at all until finally, eight words slip from his lips. His tone low and almost menacing.

“What am I going to do with you?”

Terror filters through my blood, making me tense. There must be some sort of motive behind his snatching me out of the lobby at our building. I assume he has a plan. Who kidnaps someone without a plan?

Maybe he does.

I remain quiet until the silence becomes unbearable and I can’t take it any longer.

“What exactly do you mean?” I finally ask.

Seamus pushes away from the door and heads in my direction, crouching down in front of me, his gaze level with mine. “Are you mad at me?”

I blink at him, shocked by his question. Does he actually think I approve of him abducting me?

“Or are you angry? You look angry. You were always extra pretty when you were mad, Charlotte,” he continues, his voice low. God, I hate hearing him say my name in that accent I used to find so charming. “Did you know that? Not that you were ever that mad at me when we were together. Only at the end, when you found out…”

His voice trails and the pain at that memory pierces my heart, reminding me how much his betrayal hurt me.

“Why did you do that?” I ask, my voice small. I sound pitiful, and I see the approval in his gaze. He wants to talk about our past, while that’s the last thing I want to do.

But maybe it’s the smart thing. I could convince him I want to be with him, and maybe that would lower his guard.

“Do what? Lie to you? Keep my girlfriend a secret?”

I glance down, wishing I could conjure up some tears. Men always fall for them, and I know for a fact Seamus does. I think he enjoyed seeing me as the broken little girl. “It hurt so badly, Seamus. And how I found out—”

“I didn’t want you to find out that way,” he rushes to say, his hand going to my knee. Unable to control myself, I flinch and he notices.

Of course he does.

His hand tightens on my knee and I glance over at him, my eyes welling with tears. “You hurt me.”

His expression tightens, his gaze flat. As if he has no emotion. Or he’s trying to keep them contained. “You ran away before I could fully explain.”

He’s right. I did run away. And I never went back. I couldn’t face the humiliation and besides…

My father wouldn’t let me.

“What could you say to explain yourself?” I ask. “It’s obvious what you did to me. To us.”

“I wasn’t in love with her,” he admits. “Not anymore. Not after us, and what we shared. I fell in love with—”

“Don’t say that,” I interrupt, not wanting to hear any declarations of love. He doesn’t mean it. He’s trying to convince me he’s a good guy, while I sit here tied up. The irony isn’t lost on me. “You don’t mean it.”

“You don’t know what I mean, or how I feel. You never gave me the chance to explain any of it. How sweet you were. How I fell under your spell. You were so naïve, so innocent. You soaked up every word I said to you, and I loved it. Those big blue eyes following me as I spoke in front of the class. As if you couldn’t get enough of me,” he says, his gaze distant, as if he’s lost in his memories.

I stroked his ego. That’s why he supposedly fell for me, but it doesn’t sound like love now. I didn’t know much about him beyond that he was from Ireland and passionate about classic European architecture. Oh, and that he was older and seemed so wise and worldly. I was just as he described me—an innocent little girl who’d grown up sheltered her entire life. Given the opportunity to get out into the world, and I did the most impulsive, stupidest thing ever…

Had an affair with my professor.

I think of Perry and how he initially irritated me. His easygoing nature was an annoyance—until he won me over, slowly but surely. The more time we spent together, I discovered his protective nature, his intuitiveness when it came to my feelings. The spark I feel when he looks at me, touches me, kisses me…

That feels more like love.

“You still seem angry,” he observes, pulling me from my thoughts.

My gaze finds his once more and I give up all pretense. “I don’t like living in the past. There’s no point.”

“Miss your husband?” He lifts his brows.

I say nothing. Can only look away, trying to ease the tension in my jaw.

To admit any feelings for Perry to this man would be stupid. A huge error.

I need to keep everything I feel to myself.

“He’s not who I would choose for you, Charlotte, if I had any say in the matter,” Seamus says. “He doesn’t seem your type.”

I can’t help but glare at him. I feel defensive when it comes to Perry.

“You don’t know him.”

“Neither do you. You only just married the man. He’s basically a stranger. Why does he care where you are, or who you’re with? He’s leaving you alone because he thinks you want to be with me.”

“He knows exactly how I feel about you,” I lie. “And how much I can’t stand you.”

“Right.” Seamus laughs. “Keep telling yourself that.”

“We’ve grown close in a short amount of time.” I lift my chin, daring him to contradict what I’m saying.

“Please. Your relationship is based on nothing but sex,” Seamus continues.

“You know nothing about my relationship with my husband,” I spit out, on the defensive. How would he know? He doesn’t have spies everywhere. Definitely not in Mexico.

“I know enough that you went for a joyride with him in his stupid classic car and he fucked you in a parking garage.” His smile grows, though his gaze is dark.

I blink at him, hating that he knows about that moment. It was special between Perry and me. Intimate.

Well. Not so much anymore.

“He’s just using you. Like every other man in your life.” Reaching out, he drifts his fingers across my hair. I flinch and duck, desperate to get away from his touch and he drops his hand. “Your father. Your brothers. Your husband and his brother. You’re just a pawn in their games. They don’t care about you.”

I’m about to protest but he keeps talking.

“Not like I do.” He grabs my chin, forcing me to look at him. “Right, Charlotte?”

Terror twists my stomach and I stare into those fathomless dark eyes. They see everything.

They see nothing.

I swallow hard and it’s painful, my throat is so dry. “What about—her?

Seamus frowns, his fingers dropping from my face. “Who?”

“Your girlfriend.”

He rises back up, looming over me. “I already told you. We ended things a long time ago. I lost my job after what happened, you know.”

I blink up at him. “What are you talking about?”

“You returned to the States and your father got me fired.” His mouth firms into a straight line. “My girlfriend left me soon after. Everything I’d ever built in my life, destroyed by a few passionate months with a girl who ran away and never reached out to me again. Your father took everything away from me, Charlotte. My career. My relationship. My life. I returned home a broken man. Ashamed. What happened made me feel like a lecherous old man, even though you were eighteen and you knew better.”

Victim blaming. Nice. I was young, and he did take advantage of me.

“Next thing I know, I hear you’re getting married to a goddamned Constantine and I knew I had to steal you away from him. Just to throw a wrench in your family’s plans,” he says, glancing over at me. “So I did. And now here we are. Together again.”

His gaze seems to caress my face and I stiffen my body to contain the shiver that wants to take over.

It’s clear he’s completely deranged. I don’t bother saying anything because I don’t think he’s really paying attention to me in the moment.

He appears too caught up in his memories. Again.

“Your father thought he could end my career, and initially, I believed he did. But he was wrong. He didn’t realize who I am, or how important I am to my hometown. My country. I went back feeling like a disgrace, but eventually they all lifted me up. I’m a professor at University College in Cork now. Did you know that, Charlotte?”

I shake my head, remaining mute.

“It’s true. I thought I wanted something different, but in the end, I found success in my home country and I’m quite all right with that. Paris feels like a long time ago. My time with you, a dream.”

More like a nightmare, but I don’t bother correcting him.

“Now I want my true love by my side when I return home.” He rises to his full height and heads for the door. I watch him go, my stomach curdling, my appetite disappearing at his words. “I know you probably believe my actions are rash, but when a man knows what he wants, he goes after it. And I’ve come after you, because you belong to me, whether your father likes it or not. No one looks at me the way you do, Charlotte. No one else has ever believed in me so strongly—until you.”



MONICA MURPHY is a New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.

She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere, along with their four cats and one crazy dog. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to sometimes putting her characters through tough, angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

Monica is also known as USA Today bestselling romance author Karen Erickson.

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