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TOUGH ALLIANCE (Yadili Series #5)

It started with a blind date…

Zoe Himba is working to succeed her father and steer the family empire into the next generation. She has the brains, the beauty and sheer boldness to make it happen.

Nothing will stop her ambition. Not her father’s ridiculous idea to use her as a bargaining chip in a marriage with another powerful family, so he can bolster his stronghold. Nor the unfortunate consequence of an anonymous one-night stand.

Certainly not the recent knowledge that the man she spent one glorious sensual night with is Maddox, the Odili enforcer—a family her father despises.

So when he shows up at her home, serious and sincere about marrying her, she rejects his proposal in the most brutal way possible. It’s tough luck if he thinks he can ever be her husband.

It will end in a vendetta…

Maddox Ejiofor does not bear his name lightly. For centuries his ancestors have been the embodiment of justice in the Yadili secret organisation, and he is proud to be one of the best enforcers of his generation. Family and fairness are two crucial tenets of his existence. He’ll die to uphold them.

So when the Himba’s arrogant contempt threatens his family and blood, he vows to end their iron-fist reign in the central region. But then Zoe shows up, needing his protection. He must apply tough love because he can’t afford to make the mistake of falling for his wife.


“Gentlemen, forgive me for intruding on your discussion. I would like to present my daughter, Zoe,” her mother announced and stepped aside.

Zoe sashayed into the luxurious sitting room. Her gaze collided with Maddox’s, and all the air was punched out of her lungs.  She craned her neck, following his movement as he rose from the sofa, looking fine as hell in the gold-embroidered black tunic set. At over six feet, he dominated the room, and no one else existed. Her mouth dried out.

Although she’d seen him through the window in the distance as he arrived, nothing prepared her for being in the same room with him again.

The memories she had of him didn’t do him justice. Not at all.

He was hot in the flesh, more alluring than in her dreams. Than in the VR goggles.

His low-cut, thick dark hair had shots of grey at the temples. His confident maturity oozed off him.

For a few seconds, she forgot the location and everyone else in it until someone nudged her—her mother—and she blinked and curtseyed, hiding her flaming cheeks in her bowed head.

“Welcome,” she said, barely recognising her soft voice or hyper-focus on her former lover.

What was going on with her? How did she get so distracted by Maddox in front of her father?

“It’s lovely to meet the beautiful woman my son has chosen for a wife,” the older man spoke.

“Thank you.” She straightened, smiling as warmth flooded her chest at the idea of Maddox choosing her.

He had a skin tone and stature similar to his father, although Maddox was taller and broader. Harder.

“Zoe, take the young man over to the other side so you can chat,” her mother said.

A glance at her father showed he was frowning, but he didn’t object, even though this was markedly different from her interactions with previous suitors in their house.

“Okay, Mum,” she said, walking down the steps into the recessed section. It proved far enough from her father’s seat to provide some seclusion but still within reach in a few steps.

Maddox followed, a step behind her. Close enough to make her skin tingle. Yet not near enough to be inappropriate in front of the elders. He hadn’t spoken since her arrival in the sitting room. But he watched her every move with those sharp, obsidian eyes—his description from their night together at Arufin. An accurate depiction. Now she understood why people thought his gaze was piercing.

Her heart thudded as she chose the sofa against the dividing wall and lowered her body. The only way anyone could see her here was to stand directly beside her.

As soon as Zoe sat down, Maddox settled next to her as if he couldn’t keep away any longer. His body heat and cologne—bergamot and something else—radiated towards her.

“How are you?” he whispered in a gravelly voice. His concern sounded genuine, knocking down her defences again.

A lump formed in her throat, and she swallowed to speak.

“I’m well, thank you. And you?” she kept her voice low.

The elders were talking and sounded distant, making her feel like she was in a bubble with Maddox.

This close, his features were stark and rugged—sculpted cheekbones, wide nose and trimmed beard around fleshy lips. The cut of the tunic and the way it stretched across the width of his massive shoulders.

“It’s so good to see you. I didn’t think I’d be this close to you today. May I touch you?” He leaned towards her, and her heart raced.

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