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Authors: Sarah Brianne

Vincent (7 page)

BOOK: Vincent
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Chapter Thirteen

The Mob Princess of Kansas City

 

Opening her small envelope purse, she grabbed her favorite
Angel
lipstick tube from the bottom. Looking in the mirror, she swiped it over her plump lips then rubbed them together. Happy with the results, she put the tube back in her purse.

She started to run her fingers through her curls, giving her legs more time to stretch.
I’m sure he wants to finish his cigarette, anyways.
She laughed, thinking about how he’d had it halfway lit before he had walked out the door.

Fiddling for another minute, she decided it was time to go out before the other one knocked down the girl’s bathroom door.

She grabbed her purse then put one pump in front of the other and swung open the door.

“Shit! Goddamn—” The cursing from the deep voice trailed off as the man started mumbling to himself.

She quickly dropped her purse and touched a man’s arm which was raised, his hand holding the side of his face. “I am
so
sorry. Are you okay? I completely forgot those doors fly open like that.”

Hearing the muffled laughter, she shooed her watchdog away to go laugh somewhere else.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine.” He said it like he was trying to shoo her away, as well.

Dang, I hit him really hard
.

“Are you sure you’re okay? Here, let me see.” She grabbed his wrist with her other hand so she could assess the damage she had done to his face.

“I said—” he began harshly as he dropped his hand from his face to look at who had almost knocked his brains out. Looking at her, he lost his train of thought. It took him a moment before he could clear his throat to change his tone. “I’m fine, really.” He smiled at her.

She stared helplessly up at him, her eyes unwilling to move away. She had been around countless good-looking men since she was born, but
he
was a different kind of handsome altogether. He had blondish-brown hair which was cut almost to his scalp and traveled down to his short-kept beard. The eyes, though, were what she couldn’t quit staring at. They looked like liquid gold. Feeling his strong arm under her hands, she realized his body definitely wasn’t bad, either.

Oh, gosh.
She quickly pulled her hands away from him, trying not to smile in embarrassment from touching him longer than she should have.

She finally moved her eyes away from him. “I-I’m sorry. I feel terrible that I hit you.”

Did I just stutter?
Being flustered in front of men was something which never happened to her.

“It’s really okay. It was my fault. I usually walk farther away from the door, but my mind was somewhere else.”

She smiled back at him. It made her feel instantly better to hear his genuine apology. “There’s no mark yet, but I hope it doesn’t bruise on you.”

“If it does, it wouldn’t be the first.” He started to lean down to the floor. “Here, let me get that for you.”

She watched him pick her purse off the floor and felt his gaze on her brand new nude pumps she had pulled out of the box that morning. Her body slightly tingled as his eyes rolled over her coming up.
Thank you, Christian Louboutin
.

He held her purse out and when she grabbed it, she noticed the size of his hand spanned the whole purse, making her touch it.

“Thank you.” Her hand began to also tingle when she slid it out of his.

“You’re very welcome…”

She swept her gold hair behind her ear, smiling. “Maria.”

Their heads turned when the front glass doors flung open with a thud.

Here we go,
she thought as the man coming through quickly closed the distance between them.

“This is my brother.” She watched something flash in the handsome man’s gold eyes.

“Lucca Caruso.” Her brother held out his hand.

“Kayne Evans.” He took Lucca’s hand, shaking it. “I teach English here.”

He’s a teacher? How come I never got teachers who look like that?

Maria looked at their hands. Kayne’s grip matched Lucca’s; not to mention, he could shake his hand while looking Lucca straight in the eye. She could tell that was really starting to piss Lucca off considering not many men could, let alone an English teacher.

Lucca finally let go of his hand. “English, huh? You don’t seem like the teaching type.”

“And you don’t seem like the type who would listen when I said there is no smoking on school grounds,” Kayne said.

Oh, no.
Maria tried to brace herself.

Lucca reached into his pocket and pulled out his pack of cigarettes. Grabbing a stick, he put it between his lips then began to talk as he held it there.

“Considering I never listened years ago when I was here”—he flicked open his Zippo and lit the end before taking a long, deep hit then blowing out the smoke, making sure it hit Kayne in the face—“I’d say you’re right, teach.”

“Well, I’m glad we know our roles here. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my students are about to graduate.” Kayne then smiled at Maria. “It was nice meeting you, Maria.”

“It was nice meeting you, too.” Maria tried to keep from blushing and staring into the molten gold of his eyes.

“Lucca,” Kayne said as he passed by him.

“Kayne,” Lucca returned as he dropped the butt on the floor, stepping on it.

Well, that could’ve gone worse,
she thought as she watched Kayne walk down the hallway. Damn if his walk wasn’t somehow sexy.

“What the fuck, Sal?” Lucca roared when Sal came back around the corner.

“Sorry, she fucking drilled him right in the face with the door. I couldn’t quit laughing.”

While Maria closed her eyes, feeling bad all over again, Sal began laughing once more, clearly replaying what had happened in his mind.

Lucca wrapped his arm around his sister, dragging them back to the gym. “What have I told you about hitting harder?”

*  *  *

Lake watched Maria walk through the door again.
I knew it.
A second after that thought, the two men walked through the door, staying close behind.
Holy shit, they
are
bodyguards.

A million thoughts ran through her head as she watched them walk up the bleachers. She had no clue who she was sitting by; she only knew she didn’t want to sit next to her. Clearly, anyone worth guarding must be a target.
I don’t want to be next to a freaking target!

“Get ready to scream. Nero’s next,” Adalyn whispered to her.

Lake swallowed at thinking about Maria, feeling as if at any second rounds of bullets were going to be shot in her direction. She looked around, seeing everyone preparing to jump up and down, and then she realized they were surrounded by the mob sea. Whoever the girl was, she was pretty fucking important.

She heard the man come back over the microphone. “Nero—”

Lake put her weight to her feet to stand.

“Caruso.”

You have
got
to be shitting me.
She blinked her eyes over and over as she listened to the howling. She couldn’t see anything except black standing in front of her, because she couldn’t quite make it to her feet.

Lake looked over at the tall, golden blonde who was practically royalty. It all finally made sense, and she knew exactly who Maria was.
The mob princess of Kansas City.

 

Chapter Fourteen

Staring Into the Eyes of a Demon

 

Lake sat uncomfortably in the bleachers, unable to stop fidgeting. Adalyn was going to get a nice piece of her mind when they were alone, since she deliberately hadn’t said who they were.
She has
got
to be shitting me if she thinks I’m going to Nero’s party.

It wasn’t much longer before they all stood to their feet to cheer for the big guy, Amo. All she had left to do was cheer for Vincent, and then she could get the fuck out of there.

Lake couldn’t take her eyes off Vincent as he came closer and closer to having his name called. She just wished she was nearer to the stage. He was so different from before, and she desperately wanted to see it up close.

Stop it!

Lake’s knees were bouncing up and down at that point. She needed to get out of the confined space next to all those suits. It was also Vincent she needed to get away from, though. If she kept watching him for much longer, she was sure to fucking lose her marbles.

“Vincent Vitale,” the guy spoke into the microphone.

Lake stood, clapping, as the men began their howling. The sound of more whistling and screaming drew her attention away from Vincent. She looked around the gym and saw countless girls wailing at the top of their lungs, each one trying to scream louder than the other to gain his attention. That wasn’t it, though; older women were even whistling and screaming along with them.

Unable to take the torture any longer, she began to squeeze past the men and out of the bleachers. She tried her best to quickly exit the gym without breaking into a sprint; however, when she passed a blonde mother with huge fake boobs screaming and jumping over her daughter, she ran.

Lake slammed open the doors, letting the fresh air hit her face. Breathing heavily, she sat down on a bench. She wasn’t quite sure why she was out of breath yet decided to blame it on the run and not the fact that she might’ve actually been having a panic attack.

She began taking deep breaths, trying not to picture all those girls going into heat after hearing Vincent’s name. It was hard to pinpoint a single thought since so many were flying through her head.

Why were they acting that way? Did he know them all? How did he know them? Why do I even care? Oh, my G

Lake’s head snapped toward the school entrance when she heard the door being thrown open. She sucked in a breath and just as quickly snapped her head back.

Please, please go away.

“Do you mind?” a dark voice spoke.

Lake swallowed then met the crazy man’s eyes again.
Yes, I do.
Shaking her head, she scooted as far as she could to the end of the bench. Looking out of the corner of her eyes, she saw him sit and pull a cigarette and lighter from his pocket.

He quickly lit the end with his Zippo before taking in a long drawl. “Why did you run out of there?”

Lake nervously bit her lip. “I-I didn’t.”

“Darlin’, I really wouldn’t try to deny it when you were the only girl in there running in the opposite direction of him.”

Shit.

Lake finally looked over at him, regretting it immediately when she stared into the dangerous blue-green eyes. Seeing him so closely, he looked much different than the other suits. Hell, he wasn’t even wearing one. Instead, he only wore dark slacks and a shirt. By the way he didn’t button his black shirt all the way up, it was almost as if he didn’t like wearing the clothes. Not only that, but he had a scruffy beard and well-past-shaggy hair which he kept slicked back.

Finally, she figured out why he made the hair stand up on her arms. Sure, he was dangerous like the other suits, but the man didn’t try to even hide it behind expensive Italian suits and ties like them. Made men were thugs dressed as millionaires, all except for this one. She only wondered exactly who he was to be able to get away with looking like that.
I probably really don’t want to know.

She contemplated running from him, as well, yet thought better of it when she imagined what he would do to her if she dared.

She took another deep breath. “I was just feeling claustrophobic is all.” Hurriedly, she tried to take the attention away from her. “You didn’t want to finish the ceremony?”

“Fuck no. They’re lucky I made it to the V’s.” He took another hit then let the smoke roll past his lips, uncaring if it hit her in the face. “Now, Lake, why did you really run?”

Excuse me?

“Do I know you?” That had sounded better in her head.

“Maybe.” He gave a sinister smile. “Lucca Caruso.”

The underboss
.

Lake tried to keep her jaw from falling to the floor. She should have known who he was, but she never would have thought someone so high up—let alone the son of Dante—would look like that. It was absolutely clear why he chilled her to her bones.

“So, you
do
know me?” Lucca flicked his cigarette butt to the pavement. “How come you’ve never come around
the family
?”

Lake stared down at her lap, unable to look at him. Clearly, there was no point in lying. “Um, I never really wanted to. I never thought it mattered if I did or not.”

“Why’s that?” he asked.

“Because I’m not important. My dad is only a soldier and has never moved up, even after all these years.”

Lucca began to laugh at her. “You don’t know shit, do you?”

“No, I don’t want to know shit about
the family,
” Lake confessed. She really didn’t like being laughed at, yet seeing the menace in his cold eyes made her wish she could take the words back.

Lucca leaned down closer to her face. “I don’t need to remind you who I am, do I, darlin’?”

Lake swallowed the lump in her throat as she shook her head slowly.

“Good.” He leaned back up and took another cigarette out of his pocket then flicked his Zippo, lighting the end and drawing in his breath. “Now, you have the boss, who makes all the decisions. His close, trusted friend and confidant is the
consigliere
. The Underboss is second-in-command. Capos head a crew of soldiers, and lastly you have associates, who are not members of the family, but business acquaintances. Your father is and always will be a soldier, and he has known that from the moment he became one. Only Italian men can become made men and take the
omerta
. Those who are not will stay soldiers till they die.” Lucca shrugged. “That’s what Google says, anyways.”

Lake thought about his words.
Only Italian men can become made men.
Something about that ‘rule’ started to piss her off, as if they only saw color and to make a man who wasn’t Italian would ‘taint’
the family.

“I see,” she whispered. “So, no matter how loyal my father has been to your
family,
he can never be made, because what? His last name is Turner and not Caruso?”

“I still don’t think you do, darlin’.” Lucca quickly grabbed her jaw to face him. “You need to think about which fucking family was here when your name was called.”

In that moment, Lake swore she was staring into the eyes of a demon. As he held her captive, she began to pray he would release her, unsure if he even would
.
She had finally overstepped her boundaries with him. After all, he was no ordinary man; he was quite possibly the most dangerous man in all of Kansas City.

“Why isn’t your mother here?” he demanded.

“H-her husband is sick,” she managed to finish strong.

“Does he have cancer?”

Lake closed her eyes, wanting to cry. “No.”

Lucca finally released his grip on her. “Maybe now you can fucking grasp an ounce of what family means to us.” Rising to his feet, he gave his final words as he flicked his last butt to the pavement. “But then, what do I care, darlin’? You and your father are insignificant to me.”

Lake wasn’t aware she had been holding her breath until the door came to a close as he vanished. She had barely escaped the demon with her life.
For now, anyway…

BOOK: Vincent
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