To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement.
I managed to get Raven alone, wearing nothing but a bed sheet around her perfect body. I had her…she was pinned against the wall, letting me do whatever I wanted. Watching her come all over my encased dick was such a turn-on. It was obvious she had enjoyed it.
So, why did she still turn me down? I wasn’t used to things not going my way, so it was difficult to take a step back. I wanted her to be ready now…wanted her to belong to me.
I growled under my breath, knowing I would have to work for it. I’d never done anything like this before. If I wanted a woman, she came willingly. But not this one. The most beautiful woman I’d ever met, and she wouldn’t even let me touch her.
I had to step my game up.
No way was I gonna lie down and accept her rejection. I was simply giving her a moment of reprieve. I’d make another move soon. It wouldn’t take long to wear her down. She was still a woman. They all had the same needs and desires. I just had to fit the bill, letting her see what sort of man I was. She’d eventually come around, realizing there was no one else worthier of her.
Ruler of my empire, I was a king without a queen. My obsession with Raven only grew the more I saw her and while I wasn’t looking for love or a wife, it would be nice to have a strong woman beside me.
I didn’t want to find a good woman that stayed at home raising the children. I wanted a warrior – a woman that spilled as much blood as I did. We wouldn’t need love because we’d get off on each other’s power. We would balance each other out perfectly.
I’d never have to keep secrets from her because she’d know everything about me – would be a part of every operation.
It was a big fantasy, but it was mine.
All these years, I never saw the face of my dream girl because her characteristics had little to do with physical beauty and everything to do with her inner qualities. Strength, confidence, and mercilessness. My dream girl finally had a face.
Raven had demanded my attention from the moment she first opened that smart mouth and threatened to shoot me at point blank rage. I wasn’t going to stop until she submitted to me.
Ricky hopped out the car and met her at the door. In skin-tight yoga pants and a fitted T-shirt, she was gorgeous. Her long, dark hair was pulled into a high ponytail, the ends resting between her shoulder blades. A gym bag was slung over her good shoulder, which Ricky took from her. I was glad to see her wearing a jacket and watched her pull the zipper up from where I sat in the back of the tinted car.
She looked right at me, and even though I knew it was impossible for her to see my face through the dark glass, her stare seemed to penetrate me.
I tracked her with my eyes until she reached the door. My driver held it open for her and our eyes met. Sliding into the seat beside me, she kept her thoughts hidden and her expression flat.
Like a fortress, her walls were fully erect. Her armor was impenetrable, protecting her from the cruelty of the outside world. She probably thought she was safe behind her defense mechanisms, but she’d never truly be safe from me. I’d put a chink in her armor in no time.
Ricky slammed the door shut and hopped back in. The engine was already running so we pulled off in the direction of the warehouse. I continued to stare at her profile, impressed by how devoted she was to keeping her face forward.
Her slender hands rested on her thighs casually. I reached for one, weaving my fingers between hers before she yanked herself out my grasp. My expression darkened, the aggression rapidly mounting.
I grabbed her hand tighter this time, squeezing her fingers together hard enough to give her just a taste of my strength. She looked at me, her eyes wide as she tugged on her arm, making a weak attempt to loosen my hold. Bringing her hand up to my lips, I pressed a kiss to her knuckles.
I held her gaze the entire time, making sure my intentions were clear. I owned her, whether she knew it or not. She might not have given me her body, but she’d signed away her soul. I released her and faced forward like nothing happened. Beside me I heard her breaths quicken, making me smirk. I had affected her.
Which meant her armor wasn’t as impenetrable as she believed. I’d tear those walls down in no time.
Before she knew it, she’d be on her back with her legs spread for me – giving herself to me willingly. It was my most erotic fantasy, and she was the star.
After inspecting the new shipment of product that’d be out on the streets tomorrow night, I finished up a few calls in my office. Things were looking good as far as my legal businesses went. I owned a chain of hotels, the largest of which was in this very city, of course.
I had enough money to live comfortably for the rest of my life, but that sort of thing didn’t matter when it came to the mob. Our entire operation wasn’t about income so much as it was about respect. Power.
My family had been running this city since before I was born. My grandfather and great uncle built this empire from nothing, and it’d been passed down from father to son for the last two generations. This lifestyle was permanent. Unlike common criminals, there was no walking away from La Famiglia.
Not unless you left in a box.
I made my way to the large gym in the next building – the space my soldiers used for training and exercising. A lot of times I saw the men sparring at this time of day. Because I had ordered my second-in-command, Vincent, to start Raven’s training today, I hadn’t expected to walk into a crowded gym.
Tony and Raven circled one another, their arms up defensively and feet moving from side to side as they felt one another out. It looked like I was catching them in the middle of a new round. A laceration split Tony’s left brow, a drop of blood leaking and landing on his cheek.
Raven had a dark bruise on her face but was otherwise unscathed. My dick instantly got hard. Her jaw was clenched, and her eyes were narrowed as she concentrated on her opponent, watched his every move. Vince appeared next to me, his eyes glued to the fight like mine.
“Your girl is a fast learner,” he said by way of greeting.
I smiled, proud to hear she was doing well even though I never had a doubt. “Good. How much have you covered?”
“The basics. Hand to hand combat…we played around with some blades and small swords. To be honest, I think she’s done this before. Her form is flawless, she’s light on her feet and quick to react. She’s pretty much been sparring with the guys for the past two hours.”
I felt my brows rise in surprise. I knew she had potential, but I never stopped to think she might have had previous training. It sparked my curiosity. I wanted to know more about her past, but she’d made me promise I’d let it be if she worked for me.
I wasn’t a good man. I wasn’t honorable in any sense of the word. I was cold, heartless, and evil. Anyone in my city would agree. But I didn’t back out on my word. I never would have made it this far in my career if my word didn’t hold value. I followed through with my promises. Every. Last. One.
So, I wouldn’t dig into her past. For now.
Tony took a step forward, his fist flying toward Raven’s face. She held up her arms and blocked him, delivering a blow with her foot right into his stomach. He stumbled back, his jaw clenching tighter and a vein pulsing on his forehead. There was murder in his eyes.
I took a step closer, a foreign need possessing me to intervene if necessary.
Raven ducked and weaved, avoiding each of his blows. Her left shoulder was re-wrapped with a new bandage but also reinforced with athletic tape. Vinnie was right: she was light on her feet. And quick, too. If I didn’t know better, I would never have suspected that she was injured.
When Tony least expected it, she dropped to the floor and brought her leg around fast, knocking him off his feet.
He hit the ground hard and she landed on him, her legs straddling his hips as she pulled a small knife from her waist and pressed it to his throat. A few of the men whistled and cheered.
Vince stepped through the crowd and pulled Raven to her feet. Her eyes met mine and I stared at her with open lust. I made my way through the crowd and stood before her. She tilted her head to look up at me. Her cheeks were flushed – the left one slightly purple from the forming bruise. Even then she was still beautiful.
“I hear you’re doing well,” I said casually, my eyes soaking up the sight of her perfect curves spilling from the tight yoga pants and T-shirt she wore. Her breasts were shiny with a coat of sweat and drops beaded in her cleavage line.
“Vince is a great coach,” she answered as she swept the back of her palm along her forehead. Her green eyes were brighter, and her pupils were dilated from all the adrenaline coursing through her bloodstream.
I held her gaze, searching for the woman inside. “He seems to think you’ve done this before. Says you’re a fast learner.”
Her eyes bulged wider, but she remained silent. I watched her for thirty seconds straight without blinking. She ran her fingers over the top of her ponytail, her eyes darting to the floor.
“I’ve taken self-defense classes before…” she met my gaze again.
I let the revelation sink in. It was getting harder to keep my promise to her. With every hint of her past she gave me, my obsession only grew. I was fascinated by this woman – desperate to know her.
“Have lunch with me.” I didn’t state it as a question because it wasn’t.
“Sure,” she said, a hint of a smile on her lips. “Let me just shower and change. Is twenty minutes too long?”
I grinned, imagining what her naked body would look like under the warm spray of water. “Take all the time you need, sweetheart.”
I got another small smile before she turned and exited the gym. She entered the men’s locker area like she’d been one of the guys for years. I had a private bathroom and shower attached to my office, but I didn’t stop her.
If she felt comfortable enough sharing a space with my men, then I wouldn’t come in between that. They needed to build their own relationship anyway. The plans I had in mind for her required that my men be loyal to her. They would treat her differently if they saw me showering her with special attention.
I had to keep those gestures private – between the two of us. I knew first hand how difficult it was to earn the respect of the family. As a teenager that started training back when my Papà was head of the house, I had endured many tests of patience and loyalty.
I knew she was strong enough to handle anything.
She emerged half an hour later even though I’d told her to take all the time she needed.
I would have waited two hours for her if that’s what it took.
With her small gym bag strapped to her back, she approached me. Dressed in a black T-shirt and dark jeans, I was beginning to see a trend. While I wanted to drown her in jewels and designer dresses, she preferred comfort over glamour.
It didn’t bother me because I would have preferred her in nothing at all.
“Ready,” she said, adjusting the strap of her bag as she stopped a foot away from me.
“Leave the bag. We’ll be back later anyway.” She nodded, setting her things down on a nearby bench.
Ricky waited outside with the car running so I offered her my arm. She slipped her small hand through the crook of my elbow and followed me out.
I waved my driver away, reaching for the door and holding it open for her. Staring at her ass as she climbed in, I nearly forgot my earlier promise not to fuck her.
Without waiting for my order, we pulled off. Ricky new I had lunch at the same place every day. Today was no exception. The only difference was that I’d have some company this time.
I turned my attention to the beautiful woman I was fast becoming obsessed with. “How is your injury?”
She glanced at her shoulder then at me. “Now that you mention it…it’s a little sore.”
I chuckled. “A little sore? I’ve had men stay out for days from minor flesh wounds. They’re a little spoiled with Danny around, I guess.”
She smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. She looked a bit haunted, like she was remembering something terrible. “I’ve lived with worse.”
Worse than a gunshot wound? What had this woman suffered?
“Whatever your past experiences, I want you to know that you’re safe with me. Only a madman would cross me, and he’d be dead in an instant.” I cupped her cheek and made her face me. She held my gaze along with her breath. “I’m also a good listener…if you ever find yourself in the mood to talk.”
A soft blush formed over her cheeks and the bridge of her nose. She nodded, but her lips were pressed in a mulish line.
Unable to resist, I leaned in. The moment my face was a breath away from hers, her lips parted. It was instinctual – her body needing more oxygen to accommodate her racing heart. She had a great poker face, but she couldn’t hide her attraction to me. Not when her body spoke to me that way.
I dragged my thumb over her bottom lip as I closed the distance and pressed my mouth to hers. She shuddered, her lips trembling as she kissed me back. She didn’t seem to mind this. She granted my tongue entrance and a breathless moan slipped from her throat when I swept it over hers. She tasted like coffee, probably having had some earlier that day.
When I pulled away, her eyes were lidded. She blinked a few times before our gazes met. Biting her lip nervously, she broke eye contact – looking down at her lap instead.
Whenever I was around her, I couldn’t help but feel as though a dark cloud hung over her. She was melancholy but also constantly on the defensive. I’d never caught her off guard, as though she were always prepared for an attack.
Remembering that morning’s incident, I decided to pry a little further.
“I should have known you had experience, considering the way you laid Benito flat on his ass earlier.”
Her eyes met mine. “Benito?”
“Benny…you might know him better as the one you knocked out this morning.” I suppressed a smile.
Her face crumpled in embarrassment and she hid behind her hands. “Again…I’m sorry about that. I really thought someone was breaking in…”
I chuckled. “Don’t apologize. You managed to impress me…again. As far as anyone breaking in, I have guards posted all over the city – 12 of which are assigned to you.”
Her look of embarrassment melted into one of surprise. “What? You have people watching me?” Surprise quickly bubbled into anger and warnings fired off in my head. “You have people following me?”
“Raven.” The warning was clear in my tone. I had let her get away with talking back to me a few times, but now that she was part of this family it would no longer fly.
“Don’t,” she snapped, turning to face me. “I thought you wanted me to be one of your soldiers…why would you have me followed by them? Is it because you don’t trust me…or because you think I’m incapable of taking care of myself?”
“Raven.” I said it a little louder this time, wanting to give her one more chance to check her attitude.
“Because I am capable, you know. I survived all this time on my own without ever needing anyone’s help. Suddenly, you waltz into my fucked-up life and just because I agreed to work for you, you suddenly think you can –”
“Raven!” She swallowed her words when she saw the look of fury in my eyes. “That is enough. I assigned them to you not because I don’t trust you or believe you to be incapable of handling yourself…but because I find you to be valuable and want to keep you safe.”
She stared at me, her emerald eyes full of hostility. Scarlet moved into her cheeks as her fury built up. Like a bottle of soda, I had shaken her up and she was on the verge of an explosion. Her breathing was labored, loud enough for me to hear as she attempted to keep herself in check.
I kept my features impassive, watching her with indifference.
“You may speak,” I finally said, unable to pretend I didn’t care what she had to say.
“I don’t want, nor do I need your thugs to follow me around.”
The corner of my lip quirked up in amusement. “I don’t give a fuck how you feel about it, so I apologize if you thought otherwise.”
The fire in her eyes burst as an inferno threatened to burn everything in her path. For reasons I couldn’t explain, my cock came to life – straining uncomfortably behind my tailored slacks.
Knowing I wouldn’t tolerate another outburst, she snapped her gaze back to the window, sliding away from me and creating as much distance between us as the large vehicle would allow. In spite of our argument, I found her little tantrum to be cute. Again, that word did not normally exist in my vocabulary but with Raven, I found myself using it more and more.
“Raven.” My tone was softer this time, warmer.
She gave me a cold look over her shoulder. “Yes, Mr. Moretti?”
My smile was automatic, stretching from ear to ear. “Careful,” I grated, my pitch dropping an entire octave, “I happen to love when women address me that way.”
Her anger turned to disgust, and she scoffed, giving me the back of her head. “Fuck you,” she muttered, probably thinking I wouldn’t hear.
“I’d love to,” I said, sliding closer, “are you offering?”
“God, you’re such a pig.”
Grabbing her hand, I placed it over the bulge in my pants, making her gasp. Her eyes met mine and she tried to pull away. The key word there being tried. I held her firmly in place, my eyes darting between hers.
“Your little show is only turning me on…so unless you want me to bend you over this seat and fuck your brains out, I suggest you drop the attitude.”
The color drained from her face when she realized I was serious. “Let me go,” she whispered, tugging her arm back.
“Apologize,” I replied, stroking her hand over the outline of my dick.
Again, she tried to pull her arm away and again, I held her fast. “I won’t say it again, Raven.”
Defeated, she loosed a frustrated sigh. “I’m sorry.”
Smiling, I brought her hand to my lips and pressed a kiss to her knuckles. “Good girl.”
Oh, boy. Luca is a conceited prick, no?
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