When you grow up in the most feared mafia family, it’s easy to identify the kind of men that are bad news.
They’re the ones with experience.
The ones with secrets.
The ones that exude sex just by saying your name.
From the minute I laid eyes on Lorenzo, I knew he wasn’t just bad news.
He was the headline.
My opinion didn’t change on our second meeting.
Or our third.
But my head and my heart are at war.
He"s too mysterious, too gorgeous, too wild, and now, he wants me.
I should run far away.
So why am I racing toward him"
I"m totally going to get burned.
I know it.
A man like Lorenzo won"t leave me unscathed.
He’ll make ashes of me.Books by Author:Claire Contreras Books
"I have a huge favor to ask."
I look up from the floor, where I"m stretching my feet, and raise an eyebrow at my sister. "Last time you asked for a huge favor, it ended with me moving to another continent."
"This is nothing like that." Her cheeks flush as she sits down in front of me and starts stretching her own legs.
I take in her attire"yoga pants and a loose fitting t-shirt. Her dark red hair is up in a high ponytail. Growing up, people always confused us for twins. Being nineteen months apart and having the same light skin and red hair will do that, I guess. She got the lighter eyes, though, which I"m eternally jealous of. We"re similar in a lot of ways, from our build to our fighting spirit, but Emma is much more outgoing than I am. At a party, I"m the wallflower, while she"s the center of attention. Around men, she"s smiley and flirty. I"m more reserved.
The only place I let myself stand out is on center stage. The moment I step off, I keep my head down. That"s one reason why I hesitate every time my sister asks me for a favor. I was living in London a couple of years ago when Emma called begging me to come back home. There had been a late night special on people with ties to organized crime and lo and behold, most of the men in our family were featured in it. It"s not like I didn"t know about it. I"m not stupid, but I never in a million years thought it would ever come out so publicly. I mean, everyone is supposed to look at the mafia in a romantic light. They don"t want to see people gunned down or businesses burned to the ground. They don"t want to feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods. Why couldn"t the news just let people have their false sense of reality and leave our family out of it" Maybe if it hadn"t affected our lives as much as it did I wouldn"t care. It"s not like I had a solid relationship with my father before all of that, but Mom packed her bags up and virtually vanished from our lives because she didn"t want to deal with the aftermath of it all.
Out of the three of us, it affected my sister the most. It devastated her, not only because it attracted attention to us based on our family name alone, but also because she"d made a career of bringing light to things like this, gaining millions of followers on social media for her "woke mentality." All things that would be gone in an instant if anyone caught wind that she was Joseph Masseria"s daughter.
My sister though . . . the news devastated her, not only because it brought too much attention on our family, but because she"d made a career out of pulling the veil back on criminals and wrongdoers. To make matters worse, she felt the need to break up with her boyfriend and move away. It was too much, she"d said. Thankfully, the documentary left us out of it, but it wasn"t enough. When she called crying, saying she needed me here, I came. I left The Royal Ballet where I"d been dancing and auditioned for the New York City Ballet, thankfully landing a job there, which made my move a lot more enticing.
I start applying ointment to my feet and massaging it in. My sister"s doing barre stretches when she meets my eyes again. She"s been quiet this whole time, which scares me a little.
"I was offered an opportunity to write an article about some people who are cheating the system so to speak. I"d have to go to Chicago and Boston," she says, rushing to reassure me that she"s not going back home for good. "I"d only be gone three weeks"tops."
"But what about school"" School is the reason Emma moved to New York a few years back. She"s been attending Columbia and working on getting her journalism degree.
"That"s the favor."
I stop rubbing my feet and gape at her. "You"re joking."
"It"s only one class. I"m three credits away from graduation and this class is perfect for what I"m currently working on," she says, her eyes lighting up. "And it"s only twice a week. You"ll be in and out, I swear."
"You can"t take it online""
"Not this one." She gives me this look like she"s going to cry if I say no. "Please" I"ll give you my firstborn."
I laugh. "What makes you think I"d want your firstborn" If it"s anything like you, it would be snippy and inquisitive and never shut the fuck up."
"Hey." She leans in and pinches my inner thigh. I yelp and slap her hand away.
She smiles at me. "Please" It"s only two days a week."