Knocking on the door I entered Lorenzo’s office. “Got something for you.”
Lorenzo motioned me to sit down, his desk covered with paper for the legitimate business in our city office. Any mafia business is conducted at the Sorrentino estate.
“What’s that?” Lorenzo asked.
I took a seat unbuttoning my jacket. “The owners of the Mintings Hotels over the seaside found themselves in an escort scandal. What you think about getting into real estate?”
He tilted his head. “You want to buy their hotels?”
Shaking my head, I leaned back. “Yes and no. Hotels are not as desired as much as they used to be. Instead I suggest we buy the estate and rent out the place on renter websites such as Airbnb. Or we could buy demolish the hotels to rebuilt into smaller developments.”
“You have time to overlook that with international trade and this thing with Carnellio?” Lorenzo considered.
I shook my head thinking of Carnellio. The man we use for shipping cargo and who could have leaked information leading to the ambush the other night. “Not at the moment. But Romano seems like he is going to kill us if we don’t have him work something other than the clubs.”
Lorenzo laughed. “And he will hate us for giving him real estate.”
Shrugging I nodded. “It could get us new revenue coming in, also depending on who we get into our estates….”
“Blackmail.” Lorenzo finished. “Doubt he would over look getting to threaten people.”
I hummed in agreement. “Information at its finest.”
Lorenzo used his office phone calling Romano to his office.
Romano came into the room a short moment later, our offices on the same floor allowing us to keep contact. Things can change in a matter of moments in our world, can’t lose time getting from office to office.
“I hate drunk kids.” He grumbled taking a seat next to me. “Swear if one more drunk asshole starts a brawl over something stupid I will break their legs and leave them in the gutter.”
Chuckling I rolled my eyes at the younger brother. “You hate everything and want to break everyone’s legs.”
He hummed leaning back waiting for Lorenzo to tell him why he is here which the older brother didn’t wait a beat to discuss. “How much time you got on your hands?”
Romano lifted a brow. “I’m not looking after another fucking club.”
“Always so dramatic.” I teased making Romano glare at me, his mafia switch always on. “You hear about the escort hotel scandal?”
He growled. “Can I break their legs?”
Lorenzo smirked and tried to hide his amusement from Romano’s expected response. “Not yet, first we have business with Carnellio to deal with, after that you can do what you want with the Mintings.”
A dark expression crossed Romano’s face while he no doubt planned what he would do. Our family doesn’t stand for skin trade or forced sex working and Romano’s favorite thing is punishing those who are a part of it.
“If I’m not here for that then what am I here for?” Romano asked.
Lorenzo leaned back in his chair. “Thinking of buying their hotels, use it for real estate to bring in new revenue and information.”
Glancing at Romano I nodded along with Lorenza and decided to add into the conversation before Romano runs from the new task. “Some clients are every day normal people and other clients we can use for blackmail.”
“Real estate? Can’t I do the family business all day.” Romano grumbled coldly getting up for a coffee.
Lorenzo sat up. “This is the family business Romano, need this for money, insurance and to keep the books right. You want out of the clubs, here is something you can do and find leverage against others with.”
The room went tense as Romano stiffened. He never liked working in the ‘civilian’ work, he has always been more drawn to the mafia.
I don’t mind shifting from between worlds. Both have a part to play and working in the civilian life helps keep appearances, maintain allies and get a break from any killing that had to be done.
My phone cut through the room making me check seeing it is Stella.
Fighting the pull of my lip I got up excusing myself from the office and walked through the adjoint door to get into my office for privacy. Those two can go back and forth about the real estate without me.
“My suit can’t be ready that quickly.” I answered walking over to the window to look over the city, the stress of the meeting evaporating hearing her release a small chuckle.
“Just about but that’s not what I wanted to talk about.” Stella said in a soft voice. “I called to apologize, about my Nanna and her remarks.”
I chuckled remembering the gray-haired woman with a speedy mouth full of quips. “No need, I rather enjoyed her.”
She sucked in a breath, I could picture her cheeks turning red from memory. “Well it was unprofessional of her to speak to you that way.”
Watching her work had been the most relaxing and arousing few minutes of my life. The way her eyes narrowed in focus, the slight bite in her lip, the soft touch of her adjustments along my body. Watching her was peaceful but there was also a part of me that want to sit her onto the table in the room and take her.
“It’s okay Stella, don’t feel as if you were unprofessional or made me uncomfortable in anyway. I enjoyed spending time with you and I hoped you enjoyed my presence as well.” She hummed over the phone, the image of her running a hand in her blond hair coming to mind.
I could feel her wanting to give me sass but didn’t for being a perfect professional. “I’m not sure I should answer that since you are still my client.”
Someone knocked on my office door, Romano peeking his head in to motion that I’m needed back. Giving him a nod, he closed the door, my body releasing a sigh wanting nothing but to keep talking to this woman.
“You can’t answer that yet you kissed me the other night.” I chuckled feeling a bulge in my pants remembering her lips. “La mia bella. Don’t fight your desires. You could use a distraction, something to make you live life past your sewing needles. Someone to make you shiver in the best possible way.”
She sucked in a breath, my lips curling up picturing the desire that swam in her eyes the other night when I had her against the wall. “Is that what you think? I happen to enjoy my job and there is nothing wrong with me wanting my career over a man.”
“You can’t deny the pull we have with each other. I don’t bite Stella… unless you want me to.” I had to adjust my pants hearing her breath catch.
She coughed and cleared her throat. “Um I will be finishing your suit today so you can come to pick it up at your convenience Mr. Sorrentino.”
I smiled wanting to see her duck her head to hide her blush that I know she has. “So soon?”
“Well everyone likes to keep reminding me how I have no life outside my job. Plus, once I give it to you then I won’t be distracted.”
I kept imaging her in front of me, her cheeks blushing and the way she would distract herself by doing something with her hands. Those blue eyes would dance in the light from hiding more remarks she would like to say.
Hearing another knock on the door I began to walk towards Lorenzo’s office needing to get back. “Stella, fight me all you want but I’ll be waiting for you, whenever you are ready. Arrivederci Stella.”
Hanging up I walked back into the office noticing the two of them more relaxed then when I left. Good, nothing like family tension that makes a day go to shit.
“Your prey from the other night?” Romano asked making me flip him off.
Leaning against the wall I notice that it is nearly time for civilian hour to be over and mafia time to begin. “I’m thinking its time to meet with Carnellio tonight, see what he has to say about our ambush.”
Lorenzo nodded. “Si, we need to get to the bottom of this before we lose another man. Romano go with, I want him to know that he has one shot at making this right.”
Romano slowly smiled. “How much can we scare him?”
“Enough to make him know that if he is betraying us he needs to cough up information. But not enough that he gets defensive and will lash out against us. Rather have information before needing to put a bullet in someone.” Lorenzo said making me nod in agreement.
Standing off the wall I needed to get going. “Meet at Orega’s club at nine. Have him on our turf.”
“You sure we should have it that public?” Romano asked.
Nodding I button my jacket. “He would be comfortable in a public place, based on previous meetings with him he is focused on making a name for himself. Makes him paranoid and easy to spook. Club gives him security but we still control it ensuring he knows we are in charge.”
“Do it.” Lorenzo said standing up looking at both of us. “I want a full report after this, make sure he knows that one more fuck up and I will be visiting him personally.”
Giving Lorenzo a farewell, I walk out of his office with Romano ready to see that little innocent spitfire again. Seeing her will be more enjoyable than scaring the shit out of Carnellio tonight.
“You seeing the same prey as the other night, that’s not like you.” Romano stated when I walked towards the elevator to leave.
I titled my head to him. “Nor is you referring to her as prey… if it is becoming a pattern even you would not be safe from Anastasia.”
He glared at me then shrugged. “It is strange of you since you usually have a revolving door of women, you never meet with the same woman twice yet with this Stella you seem… smitten.”
Hitting the button for the elevator I gave him a look. “Since when do you care so much about the women I sleep with? I am not the man whore I was brother, I grew up a few years ago. Smitten isn’t the word I would use, more intrigued with the pull I have with her. Why so interested in my love life?”
Romano shrugged, the elevator doors opened letting me slip in. “Just curious.”
Looking him up and down I hit the button for the lobby. “If you think about me being sensitive one more fucking time, I will cause so much havoc at the clubs that you will have to work there for months.”
I was spared his response with the elevator doors closing.
When our mother died Romano shut down, as did Lorenzo. Growing up I did what I had to do to make sure they didn’t the flip switch and lose their humanity. It was hard with Lorenzo, my dad drilled training into him in order for him to take over as Don. Then there was Romano, who focused on learning the mafia and getting revenge.
But when Romano calls me ‘sensitive’ I have no idea where he gets it.
I don’t give mercy. I’ve done horrible things to prove myself as underboss. We didn’t get our positions because we are Sorrentinos, we got them because we earned it.
Needing Stella is a massive mistake. To let myself know someone who is innocent and pure, someone who would only be with me for a short time.
Being with her would never last, only lead to pain knowing I would never drag her into my dark world.