Luca rescues Natalya
This scene happens in parallel after Luca leaves Sera with Santino.
The ominous closing of the door weighed heavy on my chest. I had left Sera with that psychopath, Santino. The only reason I hadn’t lost my shit was because I trusted Alessandro to keep her alive. He was escorting them through the secret tunnels. Tunnels that were used back in the day when the Rossis escaped a raid from law enforcement.
But sometimes when it came to the people I loved, I trusted their safety to no one but me.
So why did I do this to my niece? Because I was an asshole. Because I couldn’t accept that she married a De Lucci. Because her impulsiveness, which eventually led to a divorce anyway, left me a fucking mess to fix, so it was only right that she helped me with it.
But despite the self-righteousness trying to take root inside me, I couldn’t help glancing over my shoulder, my strides slowing down in my turmoil.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Frankie Rossi told me, as if he was reading my thoughts. We reached the foyer. I didn’t have time for remorse and I needed to stick to the plan.
“I know.” My attention turned sharply to the sweeping staircase on my left.
Four men surrounded us. Two were loyal to Sandro, and two were Frankie’s men. My eyes went to one of Sandro’s who gave me a signal. I fell behind while Frankie continued rambling. Sandro’s man tossed me a gun and I caught it just as Frankie and his men realized what was happening.
Before I completely racked the slide, one of his soldiers fired at me. He missed. I shot him, hitting him square in the chest.
Sandro’s man screamed at me to go.
I ran diagonally toward the staircase while keeping an eye on the gunfight that erupted behind me.
Movement at the top of the staircase drew my focus. Another of Frankie’s soldiers showed up at the landing of the staircase. We exchanged fire. Again, I hit him and he missed. His gun cluttered to my feet. I picked it up and turned back to the mayhem in the foyer just in time to see Frankie’s angry face and his gun pointed at me. I fired first and he staggered back. It wasn’t a mortal wound, unfortunately. I wanted to end that asshole. He was unhinged and I was glad I was getting Natalya out of his hands. A voice in my head whispered. At whose expense? I pushed away my guilty thoughts about Sera and I took the steps two at a time, turning a corner that took me out of the firing zone. I reached the top and immediately turned left, having the floor plan memorized.
Sandro had shown me a diagram of the mansion when we strategized the rescue. He was my inside man.
“Luca, you son of a bitch!” Frankie screamed.
I realized the shooting had ceased.
Shit. Did that mean Sandro’s men were down?
I reached the last room and pounded on the door. “Natalya!”
No answer. Of course she wasn’t foolish enough to answer.
I unearthed the key Sandro had given me and unlocked the door just as movement where the hallway met the stairs caught my attention.
“You double-crossing motherfucker!” Frankie yelled. He was walking lopsided, favoring his left shoulder. He raised his right hand and pointed the gun at me.
I shot at him before I dove into the room, slammed the door shut, but luckily had enough presence of mind to avoid the lampshade swinging toward my head.
I caught my attacker—a woman—around the waist and flung her on the bed, ignoring her outraged yelp.
I picked up the key that had fallen on the floor and locked the room from the inside. Just as Sandro had detailed, a heavy vanity was situated beside it.
“I’m here to rescue you,” I muttered, dragging the heavy furniture to block the door.
Only then did I turn to face her. I’d never seen Natalya Conte in person. The few times her father, Vincenzo and I met, she hadn’t been around. I’d seen her pictures. Of course I had. I had a dossier on my prospective bride, but the pictures didn’t do her justice. Her blonde hair was straight and almost silvery in the semi-darkness, but I could make out her features.
She was exquisite. Vincenzo wasn’t a handsome man, but his wife Elena was a former beauty queen.
I walked toward her. “Did I hurt you?”
“No. Who are you?”
Her brows furrowed. “Chicago?”
She swallowed. “How are we going to get out of here?”
“You mean you don’t have a plan?”
“No.” I got annoyed. “Of course I do.” The plan was to keep her safe before Frankie could use her as a bargaining chip.
A noise crashed against the door.
We both looked at it.
“That will not hold them,” she whispered.
“Fucking aware.” I clasped her biceps and dragged her to the bathroom. Spotting the tub, I led her to it. “In there and keep down.”
Natalya didn’t hesitate. Good. I didn’t have patience for combative females.
I had sent a text to Tony before I went into my meeting with Frankie and Santino. They should have been here by now. I whipped out my phone and called him. He answered on the first ring.
“Where are you guys?”
“Five minutes out.”
“This will be over in two.”
“Hang on, boss. Matteo and Dom are ahead of us.”
I ended the call just as an automatic weapon sprayed the door with bullets. It was one of those heavy slab wooden doors, not the paper thin interior doors common in modern housing constructions.
Still, they weren’t even thinking of Natalya now.
I leaned against the bathroom door frame and peeked into the room. Commotion and shouting erupted from the outdoors and heavy shooting followed.
The cavalry had arrived.
Muffled yelling came from the hallway before it filtered off. Either they were running away or joining the firefight outside. I sidled along the wall to the window and peered outside. Muzzle flashes lit the night.
“Is that help?” Natalya said by the bathroom door.
I walked toward her. “Did Frankie hurt you?”
“No.” Her tone was still wary, as if she didn’t quite trust me, but knew I was the best bet to keep her alive.
Fair enough. My reputation wasn’t stellar, but between Santino, Frankie, and I, Frankie was known to have a screw loose and to be sadistic toward women. There were rumors of mutilated prostitutes, not to mention the state of his wife’s body when she died. I stared at Natalya now and weighed the consequences of using Sera as bait.
I sure hoped Sandro got my niece to safety, or redemption was beyond my reach. I had my reasons. In the beginning, I blamed Sera for this bloody war, but I knew I was lying to myself. Sera would have never agreed to marry Santino whether Matteo had come into the picture or not. And I wouldn’t have forced her to marry that egomaniac.
With a shake of my head, I buried my conflicted feelings of guilt and returned my attention to Natalya. “Frankie was going to force you to marry him.”
She wrapped her arms around herself and shuddered. “I know. Thank you.”
“No need to thank me. I was just avoiding more bloodshed. Santino needed to be stopped.”
“Is Gustavo okay?”
“We got him back.”
“And my parents?”
“They’re in a safehouse.”
Voices coming from the hallway had us both tensing. I tipped my chin for Natalya to go deeper into the bathroom.
I glanced at Natalya. “Stay here while I find out the situation.”
She nodded. My phone rang.
It was Tony.
“We’re outside the bedroom.”
“I know. Let me get this thing moved.”
It seemed heavier now. Adrenaline had ways of lending you temporary strength.
I opened the door to my nephew.
We both gave each other a once over.
No visible bullet holes or blood.
“They’re terrible shots,” I quipped. “Frankie?”
“Bled out on top of the stairs. He’s dead.”
Dom and I locked stares. I killed the boss of the Rossi crime family.
“Was it you?”
I shrugged. “Does it matter?” Sandro and I had a plan. “Sera?”
“We’re waiting to hear from Matteo.”
Dom looked past my shoulder.
“Yes,” I gritted, dragging Natalya to my side.
“Natalya, this is Dom, my nephew.”
“Oh, you are—” she started.
“We need to get out of here,” I cut her off. Now that her safety was almost ensured, I needed to get back to Chicago and do damage control. Once news of Frankie Rossi’s death hit the underworld grapevine, there would be a power struggle here in New York, and we needed to control the narrative.
“We got a vehicle waiting.”
When I emerged from the room with my arm wrapped around Natalya, I noticed Tony and Rocco together with three of Dom’s soldiers guarding us.
“Boss.” They acknowledged. I gave my own men a shoulder squeeze to thank them for coming through with this plan and let them lead us to our exit that was behind the mansion leading to the service delivery entrance.
Sporadic gunfire echoed around us.
As we got into the waiting SUV, Dom got the call.
“Sera is safe.”
Relief whooshed inside me and I didn’t know how tight my chest was until that moment when breathing appeared easier.
Natalya gasped, “He’s dead?”
“That’s good news, don’t you think?” I said sarcastically. “How about Sandro?”
“Injured but alive. They’re taking him back to Harlem. You guys get out of here.” Dom tapped the vehicle. “There’s some cleanup to do.”
I nodded. With Santino dead, it wouldn’t be too difficult to spin the narrative that he and Frankie killed each other.
“He was my cousin,” she whispered beside me. “But he’s hurt so many people.”
“Don’t forget, he was going to give you to Frankie.”
“What will happen now?”
“Now?” I gave the woman beside me a closer look.
My future bride. With the alliance between Chicago and Galluzo, I would become the most powerful man in the underworld.
I picked up her hand and clasped it in mine. “Now, we rebuild your father’s organization.”
SCORNED VOWS is Luca and Natalya’s book. Coming in January and will be available for preorder soon. This story is going to be epic. It’s thirty percent longer than Scorned Heir and will have all the heroine heartache and hero redemption.
Sera’s Bachelorette Party
“Maybe Matteo and I should elope again.”
Ivy, who was looking over the seating chart on a tablet, looked up in mock horror. “After going this far?”
“I mean eight hundred guests.”
“You sent out three hundred invitations. This is an expected return.” Ivy said. “And you don’t even have to worry about who will sit with whom. Your aunt Carlotta is doing the heavy lifting.”
With knowledge of both sides of the family’s relationship squabbles and alliances, Aunt Carlotta eagerly accepted the assignment of managing the wedding’s reception in Little Italy. Meanwhile, I was excited about our couple’s first dance. Matteo indulged me by agreeing to do the tango as our entrance dance and we’d been taking lessons. I had told him that Luca was an accomplished tango partner and, as always, my would-be-husband for the second time around was still competitive against my uncle.
What I hadn’t told Matteo was that Luca hadn’t danced in years.
The wedding was in a week, and today, a Saturday, was the second day of my bachelorette celebration. The girls had a full weekend planned for me. After a brunch at Eamonn’s, we went for a sailing-champagne cruise followed by a late afternoon relaxation at the spa before a chef-prepared dinner. Our party included Matteo’s cousins from the McGrath side of the family. Unfortunately, my family wouldn’t be flying in until next week.
Ivy and I were sharing a room at the Plaza and we were preparing for a night on the town. The De Luccis and the Archers shot down her party bus idea as a security risk.
So we were going to Cardo, the De Lucci’s four-story exclusive dance club that had private event rooms.
“How do I look?” I twirled around.
We wore matching hot pink T-shirts accessorized by multicolored rhinestones.
My rhinestones spelled out “Bride.”
I paired my T-shirt with a silver sequined short skirt and strappy heels.
“You look stunning!” Ivy walked over to me.
Ivy’s T-shirt said #1 Party Babe. She was wearing a long black ruffle skirt that had been a hit in their Donateka’s spring collection.
She was also planning their label’s first fashion week in September.
“We’re stunning.” We complimented each other, laughed, and gave each other a hug. Ivy was nothing but honest when it came to the fit of clothes on me. “I adore the skirt you’re wearing, but you’re right that the ruffles wouldn’t be good for my silhouette.”
Ivy was tall, she was five-six without heels and right now she’d added another two inches.
“I’m still feeling guilty,” I told her. “Fashion week planning must be ramping up and you’re always helping me out with last-minute wedding details.
“Well, unless you want Carlotta to handle everything.”
We burst out laughing. I love Aunt Carlotta but it was important to set boundaries with her.
“You’re just blessed with your mother-in-law.”
“I am, aren’t I?” In contrast, Ava knew not to overstep. It probably was because her mind wasn’t idle and she had her Eamonn’s empire to oversee.
A muscle clenched in my chest. I grew up where my loyalty was fulfilling a duty to the Moretti crime family. There was love for sure, but being brought into Matteo’s loving family—De Luccis and the McGrath side—I experienced unconditional love. Were they perfect? No. But in the past few months, I couldn’t help basking in the warmth of my newfound family. There was also a twinge of regret, of hoping that Luca was also finding this same happiness in his married life. I was glad he and Natalya were flying in and Luca was walking me down the aisle.
A knock sounded on the door.
Ivy went to answer it.
“I’m so sorry!” A voice, Bianca’s voice, wailed.
What was going on?
“Don’t worry about it,” Ivy replied.
“I’m sorry if my son was being an ass,” Ava said.
I walked over to greet the newcomers Ava, Carlotta, and Bianca. Liz, Matteo’s McGrath cousins and Carlotta’s daughter Lucia were meeting us at the venue.
“What’s going on? Did Matteo say something?” I demanded. I turned to Ivy. “Why didn’t you…”
At my friend’s expression, realization came over me. “Oh, ha. Wrong son.”
“You got it,” Ivy said dryly.
“What did Nico do?” I asked. She and Nico were always at each other’s throats. I was hoping they’d be sniping less at each other by now, but Nico had been banished to Europe for three months, so I didn’t get the chance to execute a master-plan to socialize them properly like one would for aggressive dogs. Nico had just returned two weeks ago and apparently nothing had changed.
“It’s nothing. It’s forgotten.”
But I’d known Ivy long enough to know it was simply not nothing.
I stared at Bianca and my mother-in-law, but it was Ava who answered, “I don’t know what was said and Bianca’s not talking. And when she’s not talking but feeling out of sorts, it’s bad. She’s covering for her brother.” She glanced at said daughter with disapproval. “And I know my son can be tactless, so I’m apologizing.”
“Nico is just being protective,” Ivy said.
“From you?” My brows furrowed.
“Ivy was looking for non-professional models to promote diversity,” Bianca said. “I told her I could cover the height diversity.”
“I’m shorter than you,” I turned to Ivy. “Why didn’t you ask me?”
“She didn’t technically ask me,” Bianca admitted sheepishly. “I offered myself.”
Ivy laughed. “She did.”
“I can pull it off,” Bianca added.
“I know. But I don’t want your brothers glaring at me for distracting you when you’re in school.”
Okay. I was seeing where this was going. The brothers were ultra-protective of Bianca and I didn’t think they’d be happy for her strutting along a runway. But she was twenty-one. Old enough to make her own decisions. “Nico said something mean to you because Bianca wants to be in Fashion Week?”
Ivy rolled her eyes, clasped my shoulders, and turned me around to march me back into the living room. “This night is about you.”
Carlotta, who’d been observing with amusement, said, “Young people.” She sidled up to Ivy. “I expect front row seats.”
And I didn’t know whether she meant Fashion Week, or the Nico-Ivy battle.
“I don’t know, man. Ivy is scary.” Trevor was standing outside the private room at Cardo.
“I promise you,” I said in a threatening tone. “I’m scarier.”
“You’re supposed to be at your bachelor party.” He looked over my shoulder at Dom. “We pitched in for strippers. What happened?”
“He was moping at the bar, not even watching the show, and missed the main event,” my cousin griped behind me.
Dom, Renz, Nico, and I left the other guys at The GrindHouse boxing gym where they had converted it into a gentleman’s club with an open bar. We had a private poker game the night before and a boring game of paintball this afternoon—Sera vetoed the rock climbing saying what idiot would want to risk broken bones so close to the wedding.
She had a point.
“I told you guys I didn’t need a bachelor party.” I didn’t feel like a bachelor. As far as I was concerned, Sera was still my wife despite our divorce last year. My reaction to seeing the strippers surprised me, though. I felt physically sick. Maybe because they were there for me and everything inside me rebelled against the idea.
“Told you guys we should have had another poker night,” Renz told Dom. “That’s the obsession for you. We can’t look at any other woman.”
“You guys sound like penguins,” Nico scoffed.
“What do you know about penguins?” Renz challenged.
“I watch National Geographic,” Nico shot back.
“Christ. That obsession again,” Dom groaned. “Luckily, I used that stupid myth to explain why our guest of honor was distracted. The ladies found it sweet, otherwise they’d start getting a complex. They’re the most sought-after strippers in Manhattan.”
“We shelled out the big bucks, man.” Trevor commiserated with Dom.
“I’ll pay you back,” I gritted. “Now step aside.”
Poor Trevor must have seen something on my face, but he shot me a wide grin and opened the door.
Pounding music and cheering blasted at us.
My timing was impeccable. It was almost as if everything was planned.
Sera was sitting in the middle of a stage and three muscular bare-chested men in trousers were gyrating in front of her. We both red-lined lap dancing. But the difference was, my woman seemed to be having fun watching oily tanned male bodies lewdly circling around her.
What the fuck? And I couldn’t bear to be away from her for another night?
I spotted Ivy and Bianca. They were on their feet, cheering and whistling.
But everyone turned in our direction when we moved further into the room.
Mom burst out laughing and as I passed her and Carlotta, I saw money change hands.
“I told you he was going to show up,” Mom told my aunt when I reached them.
“I tried, Mamma,” Dom told his mother.
Carlotta shook her head at me. “I expected better self-control from you, nephew.”
I smiled briefly. “Can’t help it.” My eyes zeroed in on Sera and absorbed the scene. The male strippers had the sense to move away from her, but all those naked sweaty torsos surrounding her were fueling the possessive beast inside me. My reaction was predictable.
Her mouth opened in an “oh” when she saw me.
That’s right baby, I’ve had enough of this shit.
And as if to punctuate just how enough, the booming music cut off.
Murmurings and laughter went around the room.
Sera’s eyes and mine never wavered from each other.
She stood. I moved in on her and stopped, our bodies not quite touching, but close enough to feel each other’s heat. She was flushed beneath the lights and perspiration beaded the top of her lip. I took in the extremely short skirt and my mind calculated my next moves. I didn’t want her flashing her bare pussy at everyone with what I was about to do.
I lowered my head. “Are you wearing panties?”
“Yes.” Her eyes were bright. She didn’t look pissed. I would say she even felt relieved, exhilarated. I was feeling the same way. Almost forty-eight hours away from the woman I loved had reduced me to this pathetic state. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Was it healthy? Was my obsession with her going to become manageable?
Not anytime soon.
And I was fucking fine with it.
I bent and threw her over my shoulder.
“Matteo!” Sera was laughing and trying to be outraged at the same time.
The heckling started.
“Go claim your woman.”
As I made my way down the stage, I spotted Ivy throwing up her hands, annoyed but resigned. “Can’t a girl even have a night of fun anymore?” Nico had blocked her access to us. Even if that brother of mine didn’t understand obsession, he had my back with whatever I needed to do.
“You’ll have her back tonight.” A few of them were doing a pajama party and even I didn’t want to ruin that for them.
Renz had gone to Liz, who was also shaking her head and laughing.
I needed to mark my woman.
“You’re crazy,” Sera breathed.
I had her up against the wall and was busy trailing kisses down her neck. I had discarded her T-shirt, but had an indecent urge to leave her short skirt on.
I made my way back up her neck. “I’m always crazy for you, baby.”
We were both breathing hard. I checked us into a hotel across the street from the club. I couldn’t wait to taste her and drown in her sweetness. “Are you drunk?”
She smiled slowly. “Are you trying to be a gentleman? Because you left ‘gentleman’ at the club when you tossed me over your shoulder and flashed my pink panties at everyone.”
“I covered your ass,” I growled.
“Can I make a confession?” she whispered.
My heart clenched, and I swallowed. “What?”
“That was hot.”
That was all I needed to hear. I slammed my mouth on her.
Afterward, I dropped to my knees and shoved up her skirt and shoved my nose against her pussy to inhale her. I rubbed my jaw against it.
Her fingers dug into my hair. “Uh, Matteo.”
I glanced up at her.
“You’re acting like a cat.”
“Well, this cat loves your pussy.”
She gave a silent laugh, but inhaled sharply when I gave her a broad stroke with my tongue. Her hands tightened their grip. I loved it when she couldn’t decide to pull me away or smash my face against her. I decided to fast-track this and return her to her bachelorette activities. I removed her panties and pocketed them.
“I need that back.”
Without answering, I dove between her legs again and groaned when I tasted her. “So fucking wet, baby,” I growled. “And sweet. So fucking sweet.” I wasn’t sure if she understood me, but I had to get closer. I lifted her leg over my shoulder and licked avidly. Spearing my tongue, I chased the source of the addiction. I pulled away and rasped, “I can’t get enough. I never get enough.”
Then I licked her some more. Her clit swelled and begged to be sucked. I was familiar with her every tell when she was about to come, but it never got old. I could eat her for hours, but we were on the clock. Inserting two fingers, I hit her sweet spot. I withdrew them and finished her off with my mouth.
She came immediately, crying out, cursing me, and crying out some more.
I rose, working my hand between us to free my cock. I gritted, “Hop on, baby.”
My hands gripped her ass and lifted. She wrapped those legs around me and I drove into her.
“Oh my God!” she gasped. “I missed you.”
I breathed, “Missed you too.”
Then I hammered into her.
Quick, rapid thrusts. She egged me on. “Harder. Harder.”
“Christ, you’re perfect.”
We locked gazes one more time. Her eyes reflected what I was feeling for her. Bursting with love and passion and adoration. I squeezed my eyes shut, savoring those emotions as I heard her moan and we came together.
It was past one in the morning when I walked her back to her room at the Plaza.
“I couldn’t ask for a better maid of honor,” Sera quipped. Ivy had left her a change of clothes outside our hotel room door. That meant I got to keep her panties.
I brushed a stray curl off her face. “Enjoy your pajama party, baby.” I lowered my head to kiss her.
The door to their room opened.
A chorus of female voices groaned. “Come on.”
We both looked at the faces of Ivy, Bianca, Liz, and my McGrath cousins.
“All yours,” I told them.
They laughed, yanked Sera into the room, and slammed the door on my face.
My mouth twitched. In a way, I loved seeing her surrounded by my family, and she had a loyal friend in Ivy. I headed back into the elevators, back into the lobby and back into the Manhattan early morning.
I walked up to Nico’s Maserati SUV and got in. “Thanks for chauffeuring, bro.”
“Feeling better?” he asked with a touch of amusement in his tone.
“Thank god. Now we can get some sleep.”
I agreed. I was relaxed. I was looking forward to the craziness of next week and dozed off with a single thought in my mind.
Sera was a woman I’d marry over and over.
There would never be anyone else.
Sera is my forever.
*** End Bonus Content ***
I hope you enjoyed these short stories.
Scorned Vows releases January 2024
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