“Please give me a call Maximus. It could be a positive thing.” Stella’s voice echoed in the voicemail I have played a hundred times. Sighing I pressed her contact number listening to the rings before her voicemail came up.
The meeting with Shaw went by quickly since we both wanted to get straight to the point and not bullshit around with politics. The second we were done, I headed back home, away from the dark side of my life and back to the regular gray.
Once I got home I took the first chance I had to call Stella.
But she hasn’t picked up.
Fuck, why isn’t she picking up the phone? I know it’s not right to tell a woman you want something with her than disappear for two months and not call but still. Why would she leave a voicemail telling me I need to call her and then all of a sudden decide to ignore me.
She could be dodging my calls because I texted her saying ‘I’ll call you later’… and it’s been a few days. I’m a dick.
She could have at least sent a ‘fuck off’ text instead of making me sweat, unless this is punishment.
“Are you even listening to me Maximus?” Lorenzo asked snapping me out of my thoughts to glance over to my older brother who is looking annoyed behind his desk. “Or am I boring you asking about your work trip and your impressions on the men you interviewed?”
Clearing my throat, I straightened in my chair. “I’m listening sorry, running on empty. I suggest that we go with Shaw’s offer as partner. He has a good reputation and he would give us good connections in the UK and Canada for our international affairs. Shaw is also straight to the point and good at what he does, I’d trust him.”
Lorenzo slowly nodded. “Carnellio will not be happy and he will not be fired without causing a fight.”
“How has that bastard been since I’ve been gone?” I asked feeling my gut gnaw at me, insisting that something is wrong.
“Quiet.” Lorenzo growled tapping his desk causing the knot in my stomach to grow. “And I don’t think he will be for long.”
Knowing he was right, I got up walking over to the liquor and poured us both a scotch.
“If Carnellio wanted us to stay with him, he should have given us information on the ambushes. Just because we used his father doesn’t mean we will excuse his behaviour. Shaw is more expensive but he is a better bet and anything we bring him will get to its destination safely.”
Returning to my seat I pass my brother a glass and take a sip of my drink, Lorenzo nodding to me. “Shaw it is. Tell the men to watch out for Carnellio, he has a short temper and losing us may make him do something stupid. We will need to prepared for a meeting with him and possible blowback.”
Taking a sip, scenarios began running in my head over Carnellio’s reaction. “When do we want to meet with Carnellio? And should we set up a meet with Shaw to finalize us?”
Lorenzo nodded. “First, we will meet with Shaw, start sending our information to him. Once we are set with Shaw we will meet with Carnellio, do it on our turf to lessen any blowback that bastard may do. Keep Sebastian on him, rather kill Carnellio before he tries a move.”
No one is dumb enough to go against us, there is a reason why Lorenzo has been Don for so long and began at a young age. When he makes a threat, he makes good on it on tenfold. But some people aren’t smart enough to be run by the fear of Lorenzo Sorrentino, if we need to make a message by taking out Carnellio, then we will.
“We done brother? I need to go take of something and get sleep.” I said checking my phone.
Hearing Lorenzo chuckle I look up seeing him taking a sip of his drink. “That something a blonde woman with a dress and tailor shop. Stella is it?”
“Why ask when we both know you have done a background check on her already.” I grumbled settling into the chair for whatever it is Lorenzo wants to talk about. Lifting my drink, I take a large gulp.
He lifted his drink not confirming or denying looking Stella up. “Why her? You’ve never stayed with a woman for more than one night. Or kept her hidden.”
“I’m not hiding her.” I ground out, my hand tapping on my phone wanting to call her again.
His lip turned up. “No but you haven’t mentioned the woman you’re spending nights with.”
“God, you sound like Romano.” Looking down at my drink I watch the amber liquid spin around the glass. “She’s different.”
“Wow, descriptive.” He chuckled making me look up to him rolling my eyes.
“Well it’s true. You look at her and she shows everyone exactly who she is, and she cares for everyone around her. Too much so. With her, everything’s quiet.” I sighed taking a sip of my drink “Not to mention she calls me out on my shit.”
Lorenzo barked a laugh taking a sip. “Now that I would like to see.”
A knock at the door stopped my glare and I got up grabbing my coat ready to finally return to my woman. If she won’t answer my calls, I’ll show up at her door and admit I was a dick.
“Come in!” Lorenzo called letting the door open revealing Romano who slowly walked into the room. “What are you doing here, thought you were going to the piers to do the meet with the Riders?”
Romano blew out a breath. “I gave Esperenza the job.”
I laughed shrugging my coat on. “Tonight, is about to go one of two ways. It’s either, Esperenza took the job because she is interested in a biker or shit is about to hit the fan so you gave the job to her to tell us what’s fucked.”
Lorenzo scoffed. “Our cousin is not getting hot for a biker, Esperenza would have gone for business.”
Snorting I shook my head. “You know nothing about women. Esperenza just came back from an undercover sting, if she is going to give guns to the bikers it’s because she’s attracted to one.”
My little brother shifted on his feet bringing our attention back to him, his expression told me that this had nothing to do with Esperenza and everything to do with Carnellio.
Lorenzo titled his head at Romano, something big would have had to come up for him to pass up the meeting and come to us. “What is it brother?”
“Vinzo got a call from Sebastian thirty minutes ago.” Romano started.
I let out a breath. “Let me guess, Carnellio heard that we are looking for a new cargo partner and is planning something.”
Buttoning my coat, Romano slowly turned to me. The look in his eyes had my gut drop and my phone burn in my pants pocket. “He already did. The woman you have been sleeping with, her name is Stella, right?”
Everything stopped around me, my body fought the impulse to scream. I took a careful step forward, slowly breathing before I growled my demands. “Where is she?” My little brother looked to Lorenzo making me rush to him, grab his suit and pull him in front of me. “WHERE IS SHE!”
Arms came around me pulling me off of Romano who put his hands up. “Carnellio has her. Sebastian called saying Carnellio had men take her a few days ago, he didn’t have a chance to call and warn us before it happened. So, you really do have her as your woman?”
“Where is she!” I growled fighting against Lorenzo’s hold not giving a shit about fighting my brothers. Right now, I need answers.
Carnellio must have heard that I was meeting with Shaw and took her for insurance in case the rumours were true. Fuck why didn’t I plan to have someone watch her while I was gone. Cazzo how did he even know about her?
Oh fuck, it was the night I found her near Carnellio’s bar and took her home. I openly showed him she was someone I cared about and by doing that, a large target was placed on her back.
I left her vulnerable and to fight for herself, alone.
“He’s got her in a warehouse. Sebastian is the one watching her so she is safe right now.” Romano said as I still fought Lorenzo to get out of his hold and get to Stella. “Told you not to get attached.”
Growling I took a threatening step towards Romano to shut him up.
“Hey! Listen to me, now!” Lorenzo ordered shoving me against the wall hard. I tried to regain my composure but right now I felt like a horse chomping at the bit. “Sebastian will protect her, now get your head straight. Stella needs you, not some crazed idiot who will get himself and possibly her killed. We will get her out.”
I shook the thought of Carnellio even touching a single hair on her head, it had me seeing red. Taking a breath I stood up straight needing to be composed and not let emotions run me this moment. “I want Carnellio alive and every man to get to her Lorenzo. And I want whoever hinted her name to him.”
I’m going to tear Carnellio apart piece by piece.
Lorenzo nodded putting his hand on my shoulder. “Didn’t even need to be said.”
Romano shifted telling me he had more to say. Rolling my shoulders, I got my head clear. “What else?”
He looked to Lorenzo and then back to me. “Sebastian says… you can’t freak out.”
“I’m older than you and have been in more gun fights, I can handle this shit now fucking say it little brother before I snap.” I ordered taking a step closer, Lorenzo’s hand on my shoulder tightening.
Romano gave a hesitant look to Lorenzo before muttering a swear. “Stella told Sebastian she is pregnant… you’re the father.”
I froze. From shock or fear, I’m not sure.
My back straightened and I took a deep breath. Her voicemail now made sense, why she sounded tense and vague.
Me… A father? Any thoughts or questions I have about her pregnancy were squished, I can’t go down that rabbit hole. Not until I have her safe.
I numbed myself and took even breaths to keep focused and controlled. “We know the location?”
Romano nodded letting me look to Lorenzo who carefully watched me. “Romano get the men suited up and get the building schematics.”
Romano left, leaving me with Lorenzo who carefully assessed me.
“Can you do this?” Lorenzo asked directly to me, his eyes cold and clear letting me know he was checking my soul.
I cracked my neck while I silently seethed. “I respect the hell out of you my brother, but if you think you can keep me from getting my woman and unborn child. You have another thing coming.”
All I care about right now is Stella and our child.
Lorenzo swore under his breath. “Alright, but if there is a single moment where I think you are emotionally compromised. You’re out.”
Growling I walked past him and stormed out of his office. I could hear the men in the estate getting orders from Romano to suit up and be ready to head out.
Walking down the hall, men got out of my way when they saw my cold face. Romano must have shared that we are going after Carnellio because he has my woman.
Good, let the men know. I’m seeing red and they better see the same colour. Anyone who dared touch Stella will be torn apart.
Time to get my woman and bring her back home with me.