King For A Day

By: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

The King Series Book Two


To Vicki Randall.

Thank you for giving me that last push.


San Francisco.

Present Day.

Have you ever been wrong about someone? I mean, really, really wrong?

I’m not talking about guessing an age incorrectly or going out on a date with some “nice” guy you had a good feeling about, only to discover he’s a chauvinistic a-hole.

I’m talking about the kind of wrong that shatters the foundation of every belief you’ve ever had. The kind of wrong that wrings your heart bone-dry, and then infests your mind with a corrosive acid made of concentrated fear. Suddenly, you don’t know if you’ll ever breathe right again. Because if you could be wrong about this one person, then everything else in your reality is fair game. Nothing is sacred or real or unchangeable.

Have you ever been that kind of wrong?

I have. Holy hell. I’ve never been so wrong in my entire life. Because the beautiful, evil man at the center of the sloppy, tangled mess deep in my stomach is not who I thought.

Not even close.

I shook my head, mentally berating myself. You knew something was just not right with King. But this? I’d completely had my blinders on.

Hell, Mia. No one could have seen this coming. No one. Because it’s…fucking impossible.

Still, I couldn’t help thinking, if I’d just opened my eyes, I might’ve seen the truth.

Maybe I’d been distracted by his seductive lips or the hypnotic effect of those pale gray eyes outlined by thick, black lashes. Perhaps my attention had been hijacked by the godlike perfection of his masculine body and that deep, room-filling voice he used to control my emotions. Maybe I’d missed the truth because he scared the living hell out of me. Yes, his ferocity was a definite distraction. No man should be that lethal and powerful. No man.

And, as I read the entry of his journal while curled up on the antique leather armchair in his private chamber, two floors above his secret warehouse filled with priceless art, mystical artifacts, and hundreds of thousands of other objects he’d collected, I suddenly understood what it was all for, who he really was.

I closed the thick leather-bound book and crushed it against my chest, clenching my eyes shut, holding back the tears of horror that begged to be set free with a scream.

The man known as King, the man who was said to be able to “find anything or anyone for a price,” was so good at hunting because he had spent a lifetime searching for the one thing he needed most. It wasn’t more power or money—God knows he had enough of both to last an eternity. But what King wanted, only my death could bring.

And, dear Lord, despite every terrifying detail I now knew about the man, a tiny, sad little part of me wanted to give it to him. No one should be allowed to suffer so much in one lifetime. Not even King.

I just wished it didn’t have to end like this. Because at any moment they would be coming for me, and I would become the property of a man who intended to “pick the flesh from my bones.”

I dropped my face into my hands. “King,” I said with a sad breath, “if there’s any chance in hell you can hear me, I want you to know that—”

The heavy steel door to King’s chamber suddenly burst open.

“They’re here,” I whispered to myself.


Approximately Twenty Hours Earlier.

Key in hand, I gaped at the football-field-length warehouse overlooking the San Francisco Bay. It was six thirty in the evening, and a cool fall breeze drifted off the salty water. The street was empty but for a few plastic grocery bags rolling with the wind.

Go inside, Mia. Don’t be afraid. Nothing bad will happen. I glanced at the ominous, oversized steel door, and then closed my eyes, trying not to let my fear send me packing. I had to do this. If there was any chance of finding King, I owed it to him to try. Didn’t I?

I shook my head and ground the ball of one foot into the dirty sidewalk. No, perhaps I didn’t. King had disappeared two weeks ago. Two. And Lord knew my life was infinitely safer without him in it, but if I didn’t help him, then who?

The other demons from hell?

Okay, he wasn’t a demon. That I knew of.

He was, however, evil and beautiful and powerful. He also demanded complete obedience from those who “worked” for him, showing no mercy for those who pissed him off. Plus, he considered me his property.

Let me repeat that: His. Property.

How was that possible? It was a long story that can be summarized in one brief, twisted, unbelievable story: my brother went missing in Mexico; my life was threatened when I went searching for him; I couldn’t get help from anyone, including the authorities. In short, King had been the only option to present itself in a moment of desperation. So I went to him, a complete stranger, begging for help, unaware that doing so would cost me dearly. “My price is you,” he’d said. What he’d really meant was that I would have to trade my life for my brother’s.

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