I have always been a bird. Caged by one prison or another when the only thing I ever wanted was to fly away.
Sold. Beaten. Starved. Drugged.
Nothing scares me anymore.
He makes the numbness go away.
He is hazardous to me. It has nothing to do with his mafia lifestyle, and everything to do with what he offers.
A gilded prison.
A retreat from everything that I once knew. The reality I have no desire to return to.
He thinks he"s caged me, but soon"
I"m going to fly.
I live by a code. The Vory code.
In this mafiya world, there are traditions.
She does not care for these things. She does not care about anything.
She thinks she has me fooled with her haunted eyes.
What she can"t know is that I see her better than most.
She wants to fly.
But I"m going to clip her wings.
And make her my wife.Books in Series:Boston Underworld Series by A. ZavarelliBooks by Author:A. Zavarelli Books
Hope is for suckers.
That"s what Mack and I always like to say.
So I guess I"m a sucker too.
Because when Dmitri asked me to go to Mexico with him, I couldn"t say no.
There was a part of me that wanted to. The part that keeps my shields up and my armor in place. We"ve only been dating for a month. Not enough time to vacation together.
Not that I would know. I"ve never even been on a vacation.
Mack and I have always done it tough. Growing up in foster care and then on the streets. Scraping by every day. When the majority of your life is consumed by the thought of your next meal or a safe place to sleep, places like Mexico might as well be on another planet.
But things are different now.
I"m twenty-two. And perfectly capable of taking care of myself.
Mack doesn"t agree.
And even though I"m here in paradise with this man who promises the world, I can"t stop thinking about her.
She"s like a sister to me. She"s the only family I"ve got. I hate that we argued before I left. We"re always arguing these days, it seems.
She hates my job. She hates all of my life decisions.
And it hurts. Because I miss her. She should be here with me, in this beautiful place, experiencing it with me. But instead, she"s back in Boston" completely oblivious to where I"m at. I couldn"t bring myself to tell her about this vacation. I knew she would argue. I knew she would tell me that I was making another mistake.
She doesn"t like Dmitri, even though she"s never met him. Mack always sees the worst in everybody. It"s her way of protecting herself and me.
But sometimes, like right now, I just want to see the good.
Dmitri has done nothing but treat me well since I met him. And I have this crazy idea in my head that maybe someday Mack will meet him and understand that. That she"ll be able to see what I see when I look at him.
I want to call her right now. I want to tell her all about this place. How beautiful the weather and the drinks and the beach are. These last few days have been the best of my life, and I want to share that with her.
But my phone is up in the hotel room and Dmitri and I are down by the pool. So it will have to wait until tonight.
I"ll get the courage to call her tonight.
"Hey." Dmitri reaches over and touches my face, turning my attention to him. "Why so sad, kitten""
"I"m not," I lie.
He smiles, and I do too.
"Good," he answers in his Russian accent. "Because tonight, I am taking you somewhere you will never forget."
My heart rate slows and some of the anxiety in my chest ebbs away. I feel like I could trust Dmitri. And I haven"t felt like that in a long time.
"Tell me, Talia," he brushes his fingers down my arm and breaks away, watching me carefully. "Have you enjoyed our time together so far""
"Yes," I answer.
And that isn"t a lie. I feel like he"s different. Like he can read me better than most. I"ve told him things about my life that I"ve never told anyone. I"ve opened up to him. I"ve given him a piece of myself that nobody else has ever earned.
It isn"t just my body, but a part of my heart too.
"I"ve enjoyed our time together as well," he says wistfully. "Very much."
The expression on his face confuses me, but it vanishes quickly. A moment later, he"s checking his watch and taking me by the hand.
"Come," he says. "The car is waiting out front."
I follow him through the resort and into the back of the car. He gives instructions to the driver in his native language, which surprises me a little. I didn"t realize that he"d brought anyone else down here with him. But it is apparent that this man works for Dmitri.
Something nags at the back of my mind. A sinking feeling takes hold of me as we drive, and I can"t be sure what it is.
When I glance at Dmitri across the seat, he is lost in his own thoughts. And distant. He is never distant. It worries me. As does the landscape up ahead. Which is looking less like a tourist area by the moment.
Dmitri seems to sense my panic though as he always does.
"It"s okay," he assures me.
He reaches out and takes my hand in his, and I try to focus on organizing my thoughts. I"m at war again. In my mind. Looking for demons in everyone the way that I always do. I told myself that I wasn"t going to do this anymore. I told myself that I was going to forget the past.
"You trust me, don"t you"" Dmitri asks.
I look up at him and give him a nervous smile. Half of me is screaming no while the other half nods on autopilot.