Chapter 4 - Another Shot of Whiskey
Hayley sat in silence as Luca spoke on the phone in Italian. She tried to control her breathing as she looked around at the quiet bar. There was a singer, a woman, Hayley kept her focus on the woman, she was an amazing singer and her arms and face were so expressive.
Luca, on the other hand, kept his eyes on Hayley, he watched as she unintentionally fiddled with a charm bracelet on her right wrist. He tried to work out the girl who so boldly stood up to him, the woman who worked out men were cheating him and who seemed to be fascinated by Evelyn, the singer.
Frankie was updating him on the clean-up, an issue he would have to address with Hayley. He hung up and he looked at Hayley for a couple of seconds.
He pursed his lips as he took her in. She was nervous, that bravado and boldness she had were long gone. Perhaps, this little girl was scared of him. Perhaps, she was aware of what the evil in him was capable of. The thought made that demon he housed inside him laugh, the sick freak he was.
“Hayley.” His voice brought her out of her reverie, her eyes caught his dark chocolate eyes. He was a handsome man. She couldn’t deny that, but she was scared of him. Her stomach churned as she thought of the three gunshots.
“They are dead?” She asked quietly, although she already knew the answer.
He nodded once solemnly.
She felt her stomach drop, as she watched as he took a sip of the expensive whiskey the waiter had bought for each of them. She picked up the whiskey tumbler and threw all the harsh liquor to the back of her throat, this man had killed people and it was because they were cheating.
Luca said nothing as he watched her shaking hand put the empty glass back on the table and her pretty face screwed with the taste. Her blue eyes locked on to his, and he could see the fear in her brilliant eyes.
“Are you going to kill me?” She asked weakly. Luca laughed darkly.
“Scared now? Bella?” He kept his tone low, it made the fear inside of her rise. He smiled before he took another sip of his whiskey.
“I thought you could handle yourself?” Hayley cringed as she remembered how confident, bold and brave she had been towards him. That was before he admitted he was a mob boss before she heard him kill three people.
But then Hayley shook herself and pulled herself together. If he was going to kill her why stop with the bravery now? She might as well go out bold, confident and without showing her fear.
“I can.” It came out quieter, weaker than Hayley would have liked. Luca eyed the waiter and brought her another whiskey.
This girl baffled him, intrigued him. He had told her what he was, he was sure she heard him kill those assholes yet, she still sat here letting her mouth talk back, yet she didn’t have the fearlessness she had the other night.
“Are you going to kill me?” She repeated. Her words came out with purpose, his eyebrows raised as he watched as she drank from the glass.
“I could be killing you now.” Luca looked at the glass.
Hayley gently pulled the glass from her mouth and looked at it sceptically. Her heart was racing, he was right. He was a mob boss he could be poisoning her, less messy she supposed. Maybe, he was a sadistic bastard and liked to watch people dying slowly.
“If I was, you wouldn’t be able to run,” he spoke coldly, his eyes locked in hers. She was captured by his intenseness, his cold stare drew her in. “You wouldn’t get away alive, Bella.”
Hayley drew in a shaky breath and pressed her lips together and lifted her glass towards him, Luca’s eyes furrowed as he watched the beauty in front of him.
“Well then to life, or what is left of it.” Hayley then threw back the rest of the glass.
Luca had never been impressed by a girl or any person before. But, this woman truly surprised him. Hayley was shaking as she placed the glass back on the table, but before she did it she eyed the waiter and he nodded at her to get her another drink.
She looked at Luca, this woman was crazy. He had just implied he was poisoning her, yet she took the poison without hesitation.
"If you are poisoning me, Luca,” Luca’s mouth twitched as he heard her say his name. “I may as well enjoy the drink.”
“Oh, so you are the only live once type of girl, Hayley?” Why did her heart race when he said her name? The waiter placed Hayley’s third drink in front of her, she thanked him and looked back at Luca.
“We are all going to die anyway,” he watched as she put the tumbler to her lips and took a dainty little sip before removing the glass, and letting her blue eyes catch his chocolate ones.“Nobody can live forever.”
Luca laughed at how much those words echoed her uncle’s mantra, ‘Mafia men can’t live forever,’ words he had grown up to adhere to.
“You would willingly drink the poison?” She shook her head at his words, he watched her brunette loose curls bounce, before she took another sip of whiskey.
“I had already drunk the first glass, Luca.” She said raising her eyebrow as she thought of the first sip she was already gone when she tasted that first sip of whiskey.
Luca just sat cool and confident listening to her lost in her hypnotic, yet now glassy, blue eyes.
“I was already gone like you said I couldn’t run, so I had very little choice. So rather than fight death, I allowed myself to enjoy the expensive drink and the amazing...” Her mind stopped her before she said the word ‘company’ and looked at the singer, but Luca never took his eyes on Hayley. “Singer.” She added as the singer sang a popular song that she had changed so it was almost unrecognizable.
“She is good, one of the best. I only hire the best.” He explained Hayley nodded as she took another sip of her whiskey. She still wasn’t sure if it was poisoned or not, but she drank her poison anyway.
“How did you figure out the dealer was false shuffling?” He quizzed the beautiful Bella whose eyes were still on the singer.
Hayley was enchanted by the stage presence of the singer that she almost missed Luca was talking; she slowly turned her head to face him.
“My dad wanted boys.” She sighed as she placed her empty third glass on the table, the waiter went to get another glass, but Luca could see the alcohol was making Hayley a little tipsy so shook his head at him and he nodded.
Luca didn’t want to carry her home or for her to vomit in the back of his car. He also wanted her to make sense, he wanted to hear her thoughts, finally read her.
“He and my uncle taught me to play darts, pool, poker, I even had to play golf until I put my foot down.”
Hayley laughed as she remembered the good times she had with her dad and her uncle and took a deep breath, that time was long gone now. Hayley shook her head and looked at Luca.
“My dad also wanted me to never fall for cheaters and liars. He taught me how to spot false shuffling and all the other cheaters tricks.” She explained.
“Your dad taught you well,” Luca finished only his first glass, she nodded slowly. “I haven’t poisoned you know.” He said simply.
Relief washed over her as he said those words. But, that made her ache inside, how was he going to kill her.
“But, you know who I am, what I am capable of,” Luca spoke lowly, darkly.
“I didn’t want to know you.” She said, shaking her head.
“I have the same feeling for you, Hayley,” she felt a shiver run up her spine as he spoke, the singer was still singing, filling the room with her hypnotic voice. “You made yourself known to the most powerful man in New York City.” Shaking his head.
“I’ve not told you anything, Luca.” She explained she was right; he knew nothing about the English beauty apart from she was running from someone, somebody who she feared more than a Mafia boss who sat across from her. This piqued his interest.
“Who are you running from?” He quizzed her, he could see the pain behind her eyes he watched as she nervously pushed a stray bit of hair behind her ear.
“I’m not running from anyone.” She was shocked he knew her secret.
“Don’t lie to me Hayley, Siobhan told me you are running but she wouldn’t tell me.”
Hayley looked around the room, she felt like the room was closing in. She could feel herself panicking.
“Hayley,” Luca purred, causing her to focus on him. “If Siobhan promised you safety she means it,” Luca promised. “She always keeps her promise, but who are running from?”
“The past.” Was all she could say, all she would allow herself to say anymore.
That answer was never going to be good enough for Luca, but that was all she was willing to tell. Normally he didn’t care why someone needed Siobhan’s help or why someone hid behind his army.
However, Hayley was something else, he craved to know who had made her run from her old life, he knew he would get to the bottom of it eventually.
“I heard you kill, I know your secret, are you going to kill me?” She demanded the firecracker was back, her fire made him chuckle lightly.
“Hayley,” His voice was deep, smooth and did something to Hayley that only one voice had ever done to her, and it made her stomach flip, but her mind remained sane even if it was clouded by alcohol. “I didn’t bring you here to kill you.”
She sighed and smiled at his words. Luca smiled, she was scared, this is what he wanted, wasn’t it? Someone had disrespected him, and now she knew not to mess with him.
“Another drink?” He asked as he noticed she was calmer than before, she slowly nodded, and the waiter caught Luca’s eye and brought two more glasses.
Hayley was more relaxed now that she knew Luca wasn’t going to kill her, at least not today. Hayley looked back at the singer who lit up while singing a lovely, happy number.
“You really do like her, don’t you?” Luca had brought many women here, none had ever been enchanted by Evelyn as Hayley had been. Hayley smiled and nodded as she clapped the end of the song, and Evelyn began another, and Hayley turned to face Luca.
“It’s because she sings from the heart,” Hayley could feel her face beaming. “I love music, I love how it can make you feel anything. She is wonderful.” Hayley smiled at Luca and picked up her drink and had a sip, Luca did the same.
“Whatever you are running from won’t get to you.” He vowed, Hayley took a deep sharp breath.
“I don’t need protecting.” She reminded him, and he smiled at her as she watched him take another long drink from his whiskey before he placed the glass down to speak.
“Like it or not you work for me-.” Hayley shook her head at his words.
“But, I work for Siobhan.” She countered as she picked up her glass and took a drink.
“I am Siobhan’s silent partner, I give her, her club and her employees’ protection.” Luca had always vowed to look after his godmother and her Venetian empire, he had enemies and her clubs were a major target as that was where a lot of his family were, and where business happened.
Hayley was in Siobhan’s empire, and that meant he had to protect her and a part of him craved to look after her. He looked carefully at the beauty whose eyes were wandering between him and Evelyn.
She was stunning, fiery and brave. Brave and fiery were characteristics he didn’t tend to like in a woman, but Hayley was different.
He believed somewhere underneath her brave front was a broken girl, who needed protecting and a part of him longed to be that hero, the one to look after her.
However, a bigger part reminded himself, he can’t have her not because he didn’t want her. No, he didn’t want to hurt her, a Marcello man can never love, never.
“Hayley.” His tone was firm as he looked at her, and she stopped breathing as he said her name, but she managed to catch her breath again.
What made her feel like this? This man was dangerous but sexy as hell. A part of her knew she should run in the opposite direction, she can’t fall for another man like him.
He killed people, he was proud of his lifestyle and Hayley had to fight whatever her body was trying to make her feel.
“I think,” Luca reached into his dress trouser pocket. “I best give you this back.”
He placed her trusty flick knife on the table. She slowly picked it up and placed it carefully in her own pocket.
“I’ll take you home.” She nodded as she knocked back the last bit of her drink, before taking his outstretched hand and he helped her off the low leather sofa she had been sitting on. She put on her leather jacket and put his hand on her lower back and led her outside, where Nic was waiting in the black SUV. Luca helped Hayley into the car, and he spoke quietly to his cousin.
They never spoke the entire journey, she looked out at the city that Nic was successfully navigating. Hayley’s mind was a blur, she thought Luca was going to kill her, she had drunk way too many glasses of whiskey for midday, and she was now positive that he stirred something inside her, something she swore she would never feel again.
But, she knew she couldn’t let those feelings show. Luca was dangerous, and she wasn’t going to get hurt again. Besides, as he said she was his employee.
Luca helped Hayley out of the care he held her waist as she placed her hand on his shoulder as she steadied herself, the alcohol going to her head slightly.
She was breathtaking as her innocent blue eyes looked at him through her thick lashes, he used his free hand to brush away her stray hair. Her heart was racing at his touch. He used her waist to pull her closer to him, he wanted to feel the touch of her lips, the touch of skin, hell he didn’t care about the consequences he wanted all of this woman.
Hayley knew what was coming as his fingers touched her face as he moved the loose curl strand that covered her face lightly, she knew what his intentions were when he felt him pull her closer.
A part of her wanted to be reckless, she wanted to be stupid and free. But she wasn’t that girl. Hayley was scarred and damaged, the one man she loved left her without so much as a goodbye, she had never been with a guy since.
Luca was not going to be the hero she needed, he wasn’t going to be the healer of her heart, but the devil who will ruin her.
“I won’t let you touch me, not unless I wear a feather,” she reminded him of a rule his godmother had enforced in the Venetian. “Bye, Luca.” Hayley breathed before she left him standing by the car, on the sidewalk as she opened the door to the apartment building.
She slammed the door behind her once she entered the building, pressing her back against it. She steadied her breathing and closed her eyes. Regret washed over her, a part of her -a reckless part- wanted him. She couldn’t have him but staying away from him would be impossible.
Luca sighed as he watched Hayley run into the apartment building. The selfish bastard inside of him wanted the beautiful brunette, and at any cost. The selfish side didn’t care that he would hurt her, he just wanted her.