The Devil You Know – Ashby Crime Family Romance Read Online KB Winters

Categories Genre: Contemporary, Romance Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 81
Estimated words: 76469 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 382(@200wpm)___ 306(@250wpm)___ 255(@300wpm)

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The Devil You Know - Ashby Crime Family Romance

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

KB Winters

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Terry Manning makes me wet. With his dreamy eyes and a body that won’t quit. I’ve been in love with him since middle school.
But I can’t tell anyone or act on it. He’s my brother’s best friend and totally off limits. You know what they say,
Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. And I have two devils to contend with now.

I’ve been working for the Ashbys since I was a kid. Watching Kat grow into a beautiful woman and keeping my distance.
I can’t hold back anymore. I’m a man, not a saint. But this will end everything I thought I wanted.
My friendship, my employment and worst of all, The respect of my best friend.
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KB Winters

Chapter One


“Does it seem like we’ve done a few too many of these lately?”

I leaned against the long wooden bar inside Midnight Mass as the Ashby family and their friends and associates gathered for the memorial to celebrate the life and death of Lance Decker. Sandwiched between my brothers, Virgil and Jasper, we all looked out at the crowd with heavy hearts.

“Fuck yeah,” Virgil growled and took a fortifying sip of whiskey before he smacked the bar and walked off toward Maisie, who’d barely escaped this fate a few months back.

“It’s the nature of the business,” Jasper said in his usual gruff, rational tone. “He was a good man, though. A damn good man.”

I nodded as a pretty brunette with big sparkling blue eyes walked in looking completely overwhelmed. I knew who she was and pushed off the bar, turning to Jasper with a grin.

“Good try at being a human. Add a bit more emotion and say that to his widow, Vanessa.” The poor woman looked devastated and out of place, how I imagined most women would look if they lost the man they loved. “Come on.”

“Do I have to? This is more your thing, or Ma’s.”

I laughed and shoulder bumped Jasper. “You can kill a man without blinking an eye but an emotional female sends you running? Pathetic.”

I made my way to the middle of the room where Vanessa looked like she was ready to bolt and held out my hands in a show of warmth and concern.

“Vanessa? I’m Kat Ashby. Lance was an incredible man. I’m terribly sorry for your loss. Really.” I wrapped my arms around her and gave her a tight squeeze that made her breath hitch.

“Thank you, Ms. Ashby.”

“Kat, please. This is my brother, Jasper. Drink?”

She flashed a hesitant smile at my scowling brother before her blue gaze met mine once again. “I would love a drink. Strong and on the rocks.”

I glared at Jasper until he took a step forward and wrapped his big hands around Vanessa’s delicate, slender hands. “I’m sorry for your loss, Mrs. Decker. It was our loss as well.” Then with a grunt of sympathy, Jasper took off in the direction of Cal and Ma, who looked like they were having a serious work-related discussion.

“Don’t mind Jasper. He’s a bit of a robot at times. Not good in moments like this, but otherwise, it’s an excellent quality.”

In a leader, sure, but it was also the reason Jasper was single. Perpetually single, in fact. Not that I could talk when it came to matters of the heart, but at least I knew my flaws. “Let’s go get that drink.”

Vanessa nodded, her thick chocolate waves falling around her shoulders in a way that had some of the guys eyeing the beautiful widow in ways they shouldn’t. At least not quite so soon.

“Let’s,” she said in a voice that showed the strain of the last few days.

“Clontarf, on the rocks for my friend Vanessa and another for me. Neat.” Midnight Mass had been closed for the memorial celebration so there would be no interruptions. No unwanted guests. “Seriously, your husband was a good man.”

“You knew him well?” she asked, a hint of worry in her tone.

“Not well, no. But he gave me a few pointers on handling a new Springfield Hellcat, said I reminded him of a woman he served with, only she was scrawnier.”

She laughed and shook her head, taking the drink with a smile that made the new bartender blush and lick his lips. Arousal? Fucking men. No class at all. “That sounds like Lance. Charming as hell when he wanted to be, the rest of the time that size fourteen foot was stuck in his mouth.”

I laughed to keep her company. “I didn’t mind. Growing up with brothers, I got used to the clumsy compliments of tough guys.” It was nice to have someone to shoot the shit with, who only wanted to shoot, not talk until they’d uttered every word in the English language. “Let’s sit.”

We grabbed a booth and sat in silence for a long moment, both of us simply savoring the taste of the alcohol, reconciling the jovial atmosphere with the cloud of sadness hanging over us all.

“I miss him so much already,” she said. Sniffling started and tears welled in her eyes. “We were high school sweethearts. I haven’t been with anyone other than Lance. What am I gonna do without him?”

Her tears began in earnest and unlike the men in the Ashby family, I knew how to comfort someone in grief.

I’d had enough practice at it and this woman’s grief lay at my family’s feet. Sure, Lance knew the deal, but that didn’t change the truth. I slid from my side of the booth and around to Vanessa, wrapping my arms around her while she sobbed against my shoulder. Her pain was real, so visceral it sent a shockwave of grief through me until I felt my own eyes sting with the threat of tears. I did what I always did when it came to tears, shoved them back down deep where they belonged and focused on the matter at hand.