Authors: Vanessa Waltz
Tags: #mafia romance, #Contemporary Fiction, #vanessa waltz, #alpha male romance, #Contemporary Romance
“My organization worked with your father for many years.”
She motions for me to sit down and grabs a stack of papers, sitting next to me. “What was it? Black Diamond something?”
“Black Diamond Entertainment.”
Her small hands tremble as she takes the sheet of paper from the pile. I wonder when was the last time she slept.
“Are you all right, hon?”
Marisa’s eyes widen at my tone and I inwardly kick myself for talking to her like she’s just some ordinary girl. She heaves a great sigh. “I’m—I’m fine, thanks. Just a little tired.”
“This must be a very stressful time for you.”
Her eyes quiver as she looks at me, and for one horrifying moment I think that she might burst into tears, but she swallows it all down. “Yeah, it is. I’ve a lot of work to do. I’m just saddled with all this paperwork. It’s crazy.”
“I can help you sort through them.”
She continues on, hardly listening. “The worst part is that my siblings hate me for getting the job over them, especially my brother.” Her cheeks blush magenta and I can see that she immediately regrets opening up to me. “Sorry, I don’t know why I said that. It must be the fatigue. I’m a little overwhelmed, that’s all. There’s not many people I can talk to about this stuff.”
I don’t know what I did to earn her trust, but I’m marking it as a good thing. My first impressions are that she seems lost and a little lonely, a girl that can be easily charmed and swayed. Even though my heart beats hollowly in my chest, there’s a spark I feel between us. It’s barely there, but alive. And I’m going to take advantage of it.
Maybe I’ll even get to fuck her.
God, that’s tempting. Just the thought stirs some life into my cock. I wonder what she’d look like naked, how her tits would feel in my hands.
I don’t know what it is, but Jack made me realize that there were very few fates worse than death. I don’t believe in God or an afterlife. There’s nothing waiting for us but darkness. Emptiness. No conscious thought.
Even though living with this pain feels like it’s killing me, it’s better than never experiencing anything ever again. Like sex, for example.
What would sex with her be like? Is she one of those uptight, missionary only types or would she let me fist her hair and pound her on that desk, her legs wrapped around my waist?
She’s a fine specimen. I glance up her legs to the skirt hugging her hips and the see-through blouse, which reveals a tantalizing hint of flesh and the white bra covering her tits. She looks delectable now, especially with how vulnerable she looks. Her small lips are slightly parted and her eyes are a little wide from fear. I want to slide her onto my lap and tell her that everything’s going to be okay.
wouldn’t mind taking one for the team.
A smile spreads over my face and Marisa gives me a puzzled look.
Shit. What the fuck were we talking about?
“Sometimes, I feel the same way,” I say hastily. “As for your siblings, they’ll come around.”
“I really hope so.”
She’s still pink in the face, and for a moment we just watch each other. I’m surprised by how much I want her. Lately, I haven’t really felt like fucking anyone. Depression is death to desire, and for some reason I’m not feeling the weight of my sister’s death right now.
It’s really fucking hard not to hit on her right now. The only reason I’m not is because Jack would flip out if I fucked this up.
I gesture towards the paper she holds before she can ask me any questions. “What’s that you have?”
“Oh, um—actually, it’s a list of corporations that we deal with. I’ve just been going through them and I’ve noticed a lot of strange things about them. Some of them don’t have any real addresses, a lot of them are connected to the same people, over and over.” She squints at another list. “Vincent Cesare, Paulie Marziliano, it just goes on and on.”
I stare at her. She’s just listing all the captains in our family.
She hands me the highlighted list and I stare down the names. Most I recognize as Jack’s dummy corporations he uses to launder money, others I’m not familiar with. It’s clear from looking at her tired face that she has no idea her dad was working with the mob.
“I’ve actually frozen all transactions with these accounts until I can figure out what’s going on.”
She looks at me wide-eyed, alarmed by the heat in my voice.
Jesus Christ. Jesus fucking Christ.
I struggle to keep my voice even. “Miss Toffoli, believe me, you do not want to do that. Many of these are connected with my employer, and we’ve had a relationship with your father for years.”
“Well, explain it to me then, because I don’t see any evidence that these corporations do any work for us.”
I bite the inside of my lip. “Well, for starters, protection in the VIP rooms—”
“No. I have the names of all of my security companies in my head. Not one of them belongs to any of these.”
Unfortunately for all of us, Marisa is an inconveniently sharp woman. What the fuck can I say? I’m going to have to scare her, and I really didn’t want to have to resort to that. She keeps talking while I think of what to do.
“I cannot find any reason why so much money has been going into these accounts. I have no idea why my dad let this go on for so long, but I’m stopping it now.”
“You’re making a big mistake and I don’t think you realize what the consequences will be.”
Marisa gives me a sharp look, no longer looking confused. She looks pissed. “You’re way out of line. I’m the President of this company.”
I get up from my chair and I grab the arms of hers, leaning in until she’s forced to sit back.
“What are y—”
She shuts up when my face is inches from hers. Her pupils shrink into small, round dots and her mouth parts. I can practically smell the fear from her skin.
“No, you’re out of line. You have no idea who you’re dealing with, honey. This is much bigger than you understand.”
Her small face twists with rage as her arms tremble. “I understand perfectly. You’re trying to extort money from me.”
There it is. It’s finally out in the open. I don’t like seeing the way she shrinks in her chair to get away from me. “You’re going to reopen those accounts immediately, or we’re going to have a fucking problem.”
She flinches from the roughness in my voice. “I’m going to call security.” She tries to get up, but I grab her shoulder and shove her back into the chair. Her wide, terrified eyes stare up at me.
“Goddamn it, you stupid girl. I am trying to help you. Don’t make me hurt you.”
My fingers dig into the fine bones of her shoulder, but I’m unable to cause her any real pain. Fuck. Maybe Jack’s right. Maybe I
“Get away from me! Security!”
My hand immediately flattens over her mouth, but it’s too fucking late. Rent-a-cop guards burst in her office, and I let them haul me away from her chair. She springs out of her chair and grabs the phone.
“Get him out of here. I’m calling the police!”
No, no, no, no, NO! You
re doing everything wrong!
She looks up at me under her frazzled hair as they yank my arms back.
A slow grin spreads over my face. “You’ve just made a big fucking mistake. This isn’t over.”
Marisa’s face whitens as she gestures violently towards the door. “Take him out of here!”
Now Jack will think I’ve really lost it.
The lights over my head give the illusion that it’s still daytime, but Dad’s office window—
office window, is black. The casino parking lot stretches out beneath me, the occasional sound of jets taking off and landing rattling the window.
What a long, crappy day.
Who knew that Dad left things in such a mess? I spent the whole day going through all those dummy corporations and canceling the payments to those accounts. I check my watch and it’s nearly eight; I’m already becoming my father. My hands still shake when I leave my office and lock the door. I wave goodbye to the people still working and head downstairs. The music in the casino pounds through my head until I can feel my brain swelling against my skull. When I leave the casino, my head snaps from side to side to look for anyone who might be waiting for me.
I can’t believe that actually happened.
It all seemed surreal. That Joe guy (whoever the fuck he was) was charming one minute and jumping down my throat the next. He tried to tell me how to run my own company. Who the fuck does he think he is? Obviously, he was behind some kind of huge scam going on right under my dad’s nose. It’s hard to believe, frankly. How could Dad spend so much time here and never pick up on all of it?
The crazy thing was I didn’t have a chance to talk about the whole incident to anyone at work. The police officer hauled him away and I filed a report, and then I went to the bathroom for fifteen minutes to cry in a stall. That look he gave me when he was dragged out of the office haunts me. His eyes looked dead.
I’ve never been threatened like that by anyone in my life, except Nathan, perhaps. The incident reminded me of all those times Nathan would lock me in my bedroom and corner me when I did something to upset him. My stomach clenches as I remember the horrible things he’d say to scare the living daylights out of me. And yet, I’m struggling with the desire to call him and talk about it.
I have no one else. Just him and Jessica.
Sure, I’ve friends, but they wouldn’t understand anything about what I’m dealing with right now.
I hurry to my car, suddenly shaky and nauseas. I unlock my Lexus and jam the keys in the ignition, heart hammering wildly.
ve just made a big fucking mistake. This isn
I wish I didn’t live alone. Maybe I should call Jessica and have her come over, just to feel a little less alone. I would call Nathan, but he currently hates my entire existence. He still thinks this was all my doing. As if. When have I ever done anything dishonest? I’ve only put up with him my entire goddamn life because I didn’t want to leave Jessica alone. Who would protect her if I was gone? Dad always left Nathan in charge when he left the house, and his bullying didn’t stop—even when he turned eighteen. She was too young and I just couldn’t leave, and even now she has no idea how ruthless he can be. I still feel scared for her. There were so many times when I just wanted to fuck off and cut ties with him, but Dad would get so upset.
Screw you, Nathan.
My stomach growls loudly as I pull into the parking garage under my apartment. I groan, thinking about my empty fridge, but I’m too freaking tired to go out anywhere. I think I’ll order in and zone out in front of Netflix to try and forget the horror of today. Tomorrow’s another day, and I’ll have to contact the police to investigate this mess. I push my keys in the door and unlock it, shoving it in. The door swings open to complete darkness and I shiver instantly.
I don’t want to go in. I’m still so fucking rattled from that nut, but I force myself in anyway, and I close and lock the door.
A swishing sound makes my heart jump. Is it a voice? I’m too afraid to turn on the light, because I’m scared it’ll reveal something I won’t want to see.
s nothing. You
re just jumpy tonight.
Yeah, I’m jumpy. I got attacked in my office. Attacked by a hot guy, and not in a good way. In a shit-your-pants, unpleasant kind of way.
There it is again, the unmistakable swish of fabric and then suddenly an arm wraps around my waist and pulls me into his chest. His other hand smothers my scream and a rough voice hisses in my ear.
“Hello, Ms. Toffoli.”
The smooth male voice is instantly recognizable. It’s him. Oh my God, how did he get here?
s here to kill me.
The light flares on before my mind gallops into full-blown panic. The light illuminates the giant foyer and three other men in suits. The callused hand covering my lips blocks my high-pitched scream. I’m trapped, pinned against Joe’s hard body as the oldest man approaches my upright, squirming body. He’s in his sixties and has a shock of white hair, and a gun rests on his hip.
Oh, God. Someone, please help me!
“Do you know who I am?”
He has a venerable voice, but it’s strong. The kind that ripens with age. I know from looking at him that screaming and struggling will be useless. There’s no pity in his eyes, just impatience. The men behind him look just as callous.
Joe’s hand uncovers my lips slowly and wraps around my neck gently. My heart pulses hard into his fingers. It’s strange to be touched like this. His hand moves to my shoulder and I blush hard when Joe’s lips brush over my ear. The sudden surge of warmth confuses the hell out of me.
Answer him, damn it.
, I don’t know you. I don’t know any of you.”
My eyes scan the man with the black-rimmed spectacles, the other one with thick, dark hair who looks at me with poison in his gaze. None of them look familiar.
“My name is Jack Vittorio and I’m the boss of the Vittorio Crime Family.”
I stare at him and my eyes flick from man to man. “What, like the mafia? Is this a joke?” My voice rises to the ceiling, echoing around us harshly.
“Do we look like we’re laughing?”
I feel like I’m in some absurd crime drama TV pilot. My eyes scan the men in front of me—yeah, they’re Italian, but this is New York City. We’re everywhere. There’s no such thing as the mafia anymore, is there? These guys must be joking. This must be some sick joke Nathan cooked up, or it’s a scheme to force me to embezzle money.
“Did my brother put you up to this?” I ask, looking at each of them in turn. “How much did he pay you?”