COPYRIGHT © 2023 LUCY MONROE
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without express, written permission from the author Lucy Monroe who can be contacted off her website https://lucymonroe.com.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
5 Years Ago
The left side of my head throbs. There is a faint tang of copper in my nose and on my tongue. Opening my eyes, I groan. The sunlight coming in through the open curtains is too bright. I am on the floor of my father-in-law’s office.
I sit up, shifting so I can lean against the side of the desk. Trying to remember how I got here, I reach up to my forehead. It hurts. I feel something wet and sticky and look at my fingers. I blink. They are smeared with red. Blood.
Memory comes back in disjointed flashes.
Leo screaming at me. Trying to shove me at the safe. Shaking me so my head snaps back and forth on my neck. Me falling.
Terror makes my heartbeat erratically in my chest. I jerk up onto my knees so I can see the gun safe. It’s still closed. Relief washes over me. I didn’t open it for him.
Leo needs professional help. However, my husband, Tino, and his father insist I figure out how to care for Leo on my own. We don’t go outside the family for help.
Only, there is no one in the Detroit Cosa Nostra trained to deal with a man who suffered traumatic brain injury at the age of twelve. Leo is now 20, only three years younger than me, but he still responds like the twelve-year-old he was when he took a shot to the head while out learning the business with his father.
Only now he’s the same six feet tall as his brother and just as physically strong. However, while Tino would never hurt me, Leo has. Not on purpose, but that doesn’t change the outcome. This is only the second time he’s gotten this bad.
My mind shies away from memories of the first episode like this and what it cost me.
I don’t know how long I’ve been knocked out, or where Leo has gone. He didn’t get into the gun safe and for that I have to be grateful.
Leo is obsessed with the idea of becoming a Made Man like his father and brother. The idea of the unpredictable man with a mind of a child carrying a gun and thinking it is okay to kill people sends chills down my spine.
My phone rings and I pull it from the back pocket of my jeans. My father-in-law prefers me in dresses, but during the day while he and Tino are gone, I wear casual clothes and tennis shoes. Keeping up with Leo requires flexibility of movement and the ability to run, even on the marble floors that cover so much of the first floor of the mansion.
The phone keeps ringing and I see that it is Tino. I tap to answer. “Hi, Tino.”
“Listen, amore mio, you and Leo have to get out of there. Go to the cabin and wait for me to call you there.”
I don’t waste time asking why, or what’s going on. Tino’s voice is tight with tension and an emotion I don’t think I’ve ever heard in him before. Fear.
“Okay. I’ll get Leo and we’ll go.”
“Ti amo.” In the three years we’ve been married, Tino has only told me he loves me three times.
When I told him I was pregnant. The day I lost the baby and now.
Oh, God, this is serious.
“Be careful,” I say.
I don’t know if he hears me before he cuts the call. Something bad is happening and I’ve got to get my brother-in-law and get out of Detroit.
The pounding bass of the club’s music thrums through my body. Swirling lights play above the gyrating bodies on the dance floor.
A woman on the edge smiles and crooks her finger at me. I pretend not to notice.
Instead of wearing my usual dark suit, I’m dressed to blend in. My black dress shirt is a snug fit and open at the neck. No tie. My slacks are clubwear not the bottom half of my usual designer suit. Nothing about me screams Chief Enforcer & Head of Racketeering for a Greek mafia family.
It’s my job to gather intel on potential business tithes for our protection racket before anyone realizes we’re claiming territory here.
It’s nine o’clock and Nuovi Inizi is already half full. People are dancing and drinking.
I take note of the bar to my left, staffed with three bartenders. I count four waitstaff serving customers on the floor. I bet that number increases once the club gets busier. Very promising.
This place probably pulls in $30-40,000 a night even though it’s in a suburb of Portland and not downtown. Whoever did the décor, knows how to draw in people who want to party in a trendy setting. I bet the drinks are expensive and the booze to make them is cheap.
I make my way to the bar and order a Scotch, neat. I’m right that the price is at the high end. Exactly one shot is served in a rock glass by a smiling bar tender. I toss it back and am surprised. The Scotch is a higher quality than I expect. It’s not top shelf, but it’s not bought for profit margins alone.
That could be good, or bad. Higher quality liquor might bring in more customers to the club, but overall the profit margins are going to be lower.
The percentage we require for tithe once we take over protecting an area can go up or down depending on the profit margin for the business. We can’t expect 10% of net out of a restaurant when their profit margin is only 7%. Doesn’t leave enough money to put back into the business. A bankrupt business doesn’t make us any money.
A nightclub like this should be able to support ten though. The owner might need some advice on how to increase their liquor margins, but that’s an easy fix.
A feminine voice interrupts my calculations. “Give me a cranberry juice and soda would you?”
The husky tone of the woman’s voice sends an arrow of desire zinging straight to my cock. I have to control my body’s instinct to spin and face her and force only my head to turn. And I stare.
She is beautiful. No more than five-foot-four, her red heels give her an extra three inches. She still only comes up to my chest. I want to reach out and touch the silky waves of her chestnut brown hair. My hand starts to lift and I have to press it into my side.
Pretty dark eyes observe me from her heart shaped face. One sculpted brow raised in silent question.
I’m too busy looking my fill to answer.
Encased in a red dress that just brushes the top of her knees, her body is all curves. The sleeves are long; the neckline does not plunge and it’s still the sexiest damn thing I have ever seen. Her generous tits are lovingly accentuated by the red silk clinging to them. The skirt fits her luscious hips like a second skin. I know if I could see her ass it would be a perfect, juicy peach.
I need to get my hands on it. Gamó. What is happening?
I’m never like this when I’m on the job. I would like to blame this reaction on how long it has been since I got laid, but I fucked a woman last night.
My cock is hard as steel, wanting this woman. Women are interchangeable to me. A pussy is a pussy. But not this one. This one I crave.
I will have her.
This job just got a whole lot more interesting.
A practiced smile curves lips I want to crush under mine. “Are you enjoying yourself?”
I am now.
Even if I can tell she is not hitting on me.
I may not experience emotions like most people, but I have learned to read them. Necessity for the job. She’s asking like someone who works here, even though she’s not dressed like one of the servers. A manager maybe? Not just a woman to fuck, but someone who will have good information for me if I ask the right questions.
“It’s a bangin’ club,” I say.
Pride shines in her chocolate brown eyes. “Thank you.”
“Do you work here?”
Her laughter is a sexy trill that hardens my cock further. This time her smile is genuine. “It’s worse than that, I own the place.”
I am not often surprised, but I am now. She seems young to own the club. I’d assumed the person behind the LLC was older. Probably a man. She’s neither and my dick is thrilled.
“That means you’re not on the clock.” I shift my body closer to hers.
She doesn’t move away, but takes a sip of her cranberry juice and looks up at me through her lashes. “Or I’m always on the clock. It depends on how you look at it.”
“Dance with me.”
She’s opening her mouth to turn me down.
I can tell, but I’m already taking her drink from her hand and putting it on the bar. “Watch it for her,” I instruct the bartender.
The woman nods, her eyes wide, like she’s never seen anyone pick up her gorgeous boss before. Good. That means I don’t have anyone I have to incapacitate to claim all of this woman’s attention. And that is what I plan to do for the foreseeable future.
Sliding my arm around her, I settle my hand onto the curve of her hip and guide us to the dance floor. She gasps, but she doesn’t try to pull away.
When we reach the dance floor, I turn her body into mine. I lift her left hand and put it on my neck and place her right hand over my heart. Then, pressing her against me, we grind. Her red painted lips are parted, her eyes filled with the same sexual need crashing through me.
What am I doing? I don’t dance with customers. I haven’t danced with anyone in more than five years.
I don’t even know this man’s name, but his hard thigh is between mine and our bodies are moving together like we’ve been doing this for years, not seconds. One of his hands is pressed against the top of my ass, holding my body close to him. The other is on my nape.
It’s a possessive, dominant hold and my ovaries are exploding.
It’s wild. Unbelievable. And irresistible.
Since Tino, I don’t date. I don’t let men get close.
Suddenly, my body is telling me how starved it is for touch. My inner sex kitten that has been hiding my whole darn life comes out to play. She wants to rub against his thigh and push my breasts against the hard plains of his torso.
He reads my mind and his leg shifts so he’s making my dress ride up my thighs. If I don’t get a hold of myself soon, I’m going to be dancing with my thong exposed and my ass along with it.
I can’t get that inner sex kitten to care. She wants this. She craves it.
He leans down and nips at my earlobe. “Tell me you have a storage room we can go to.”
“I…” I try to shake my head to clear it, but he’s kissing the spot under my ear that has my vagina clamoring for more.
Somehow, I find myself leading him through the club and to the right of the bar, down the hall and to a nondescript door. I press the unlock code into the keypad and the heavy steel door clicks open. He reaches around me and yanks it so he can push me through.
The lights go on, revealing the stairs. He picks me up and throws me over his shoulder, taking the stairs two at a time.
I laugh breathlessly and push myself up so my soft stomach isn’t bouncing on his hard muscles with every step. “Take a right at the top.”
This used to be storage rooms, but I renovated the area into an apartment for me when I started Nuovi Inizi. It made sense financially and timewise, but right now all I care about is that my bed is only a matter of feet away.
He stops in front of the door and lets my body slide to the floor in front of him. “Get us in, ílios mou.”
“My name is Lucia.”
“You burn hot like the sun. You are my ílios.”
Isn’t it enough he has a body to die for and his voice sounds like sex? Does he have to be charming as well?
My fingers slip and it takes two tries to get the code into the keypad and my apartment door unlocked. I don’t remember ever being this hot. Desire runs through my veins like lava.
Is it because it’s been so long since I had sex? I’m not like this though. My vagina keeps clenching and it feels empty. Sex is fun, but it’s not necessary.
At least that’s what I’ve told myself for the past five years. It’s how I thought of it before my husband was killed in the war over territory in Detroit. I don’t want to think about Tino right now, or my life before I came to Oregon though.
I am a new woman and apparently my body got the memo, because I want this man enough to leave the club in the hands of my employees and bring him into my personal sanctuary.
I don’t bring strange men home. I don’t bring men home at all. I don’t even invite my friends over, but this man? I want him here. In my bed.
Is it because I’m finally realizing my dreams? Have my body and mind slipped the tight leash of relentless work and effort of the last five years?
He shoves the door open and pushes me inside. His roughness doesn’t make me nervous. It turns me on. But then I was once married to a mafia soldier. Normal men don’t scare me.
This one though. He is something else. I don’t think he would even be intimidated by the don.
Kicking the door shut behind him, he starts unbuttoning his shirt. “Do you like that dress?”
“Then take it off before I rip it from your body.”