I thought death was supposed to be cold. The same cold that follows darkness, creeping up your back like a spider you couldn’t shake. Wrapping around your neck, forcing you to take your last slow gasp. I thought death didn’t hurt but I know for a fact my wrists were stinging.
I wiggled my wrists. I could move?
Am I dead?
My eyes fluttered open and slowly my surrounding came into focus. There were people in the room, somewhere. I could hear low chatter around me. As my heart rate settled a little, I could hear pieces of the conversation too.
Someone was laughing. A man, I think. Or maybe a female with a really, really, really low voice. “She... She... She actually shot you!” The man couldn’t even speak with how much he was laughing.
“Malachai,” Someone warned. I knew that voice.
Everything came back to me at once and my eyes shot open. “Oh, looky. She’s awake. Morning, sunshine.” I squinted up at the man staring down at me.
He was tall, with dark delicately styled hair and green eyes that danced with mischief. He could only be Enzo’s brother, Malachai Coretti. I’ve seen him in more magazines and posters in my roommate’s bedroom to be well familiar with the man. Judging by his smirking face pointed directly at me, he was the loudmouth of the group.
I glance at the others in the room. One of them was leaning against a dark oak desk. His eyes were narrowed into slits as he took me in like I’m doing to him. If his eyes were whiskey then every girl in the state was parched. He had dull-blonde hair that fell into his eyes, sharp jaw that went well with his muscular frame. He was the pretty boy in the group especially with the tattoos snaking up his arms and his neck like that... he was a walking wet dream.
I knew him... not personally I mean. I knew of him. People whispered his name like a sin. He was the Coretti’s Enforcer.
If someone weren’t paying their debts or if they needed to get a message out through violence or... someone’s death. He is who they called.
According to the rumors Nino Coretti wasn’t a man to play around with, he killed more than a serial killer with anger issues.
The last one was leaning against the wall twirling a switchblade in his hand expertly, looking like he was bored with everyone’s existence. He had jet black hair and a face that reminded me of a sculpture of Apollo I’d seen on my last visit to the museum. Why were they all so bloody beautiful!
Vince Coretti was the Consigliere of the Coretti Famiglia. He serves as the Capo’s righthand man, in this case, he was Enzo’s righthand-man.
How did I know any of this? Well, I grew up trying my best to avoid any interaction with any of the Mafia Famiglia. And I was doing damn well until this handsy prick deciding to kidnap me!
I look at the man in mention who was scowling down at me besides his brother. I look him over, I could see pieces of a bandage peeking through his dark suit. So I shot his shoulder... dammit.
“You’re alive,” I practically growled out.
“Don’t sound so disappointed, I might think you don’t like me,” Enzo taunted.
“Oh, and we wouldn’t want that.” His lips tilt up slightly at my retort.
“Do you know why you’re here, Dylan?” He asks and I hate how my body reacted to the way he said my name. It sounded smooth from his lips/
I scowl. Don’t let this stupid fuck get into your head. This is what guys like him do. Use their beauty to distract you until they get what they want, shattering your heart into a million pieces in the process. I know their kind all too well and I wasn’t falling for it.
“You want something from me.” I smiled. “It’s important enough that you didn’t kill me the moment I pulled the trigger.”
The smirk slipped off of Malachai’s lips and the others tensed, all except Enzo. He was as stoic as ever.
Rule number five, you never let your prey know just how much you’re starving. My brother taught me that the moment I could walk.
“You can’t hurt me.” I couldn’t shake the grin off my lips.
They need me desperately. Whatever it is that they want, I’m their last hope that’s why they didn’t touch me. That’s why he didn’t kill me.
No one shoots the Capo and lives... well, until me apparently.
Enzo leans down slowly, his strong arms caging me in. I tried to go further in my seat but the handcuffs wouldn’t let me get far. “You’re right, we do need you. But unfortunately, my brother is not a very patient man and might decide you’re not worth the headache. He’s a kill first ask questions later kind of guy.” I gulp at the wolfish grin that stretches on his face. He looked vicious then. “I, however like a more practical approach that involves long hours of me spilling blood. If you think you’re going to be difficult, I’d think twice if I was you. Everyone is expendable even you, little girl.”
He leans away from me when it seemed like I wasn’t going to speak. I was just saving my strength for when I get free, I wouldn’t miss this time.
“Now for the matter at hand...” He casually put his hand in his pockets looking down at me. “Have you ever heard of a certain hacker who goes by the name Cypher?”
My blood went cold.
“No-N-No,” I stuttered out.
He smirked. “I think you do.”
I glared at him. “Why am I here?”
“Fine, we’ll do it the boring way...” He leans against his desk. “At the site where ‘Cypher’ was pronounced dead, we found a phone. And do you know what was on the phone, sunshine?”
“Let me guess, your nudes? Is that why you’re so cranky?”
Malachai coughed to hide a laugh and I smiled.
Enzo went on as if I hadn’t even spoken. “It had your number on it. Why would your number be in the phone of someone working for the most wanted man on Earth? So you see, I have all these questions but no answers. I would ask you again, Dylan. Do you know who Cypher really is?”
Something in him snaps.
“Leave us,” he orders and a shiver of dread slithers up my spine.
Fuck, I pushed him too far.
As soon as the last person was out the door and the door was slammed shut, he had me out of my handcuffs, his hand wrapping around my neck to haul me out of my seat. I’m pushed up against the wall.
I freeze with his hot breath fanning the side of my face. The scent of peppermint and some unknown spice arousing my senses. A small inkling of fear settles in my stomach and I’m ashamed of it. “Why do you have this desire to test me, hmm?” He whispers darkly.
“Maybe because I’m not afraid of you...” But my voice didn’t match my words.
“Is that right?” He asked. He leans in closer as if we weren’t close before and I tense at the intrusion. His nose slowly skims down my throat, lingering on my pulse point. Enzo’s lips brush against me, sending a violent chill down my back. “You smell so good...”
“Don’t fucking touch me,” I say through a clenched jaw.
“Or what.” He challenged. “You’re forgetting who’s in charge here, mia cara. I could fuck you and no one would bat an eyelash, same if I snap this pretty neck of yours. You are completely at my mercy until I say I am fucking done with you.” He drops his hand from around my neck but he doesn’t move. “Look at me!” I don’t and he grips my chin hard, forcing me to. “I keep giving you advice and you keep ignoring them, maybe this time I’ll just fix the problem myself.”
“Fuck you,” I spit out and he shakes his head in disapproval.
“Keep struggling, and you’ll have to take care of this.” He pushes his hips into me and I feel his erection poking into my stomach. Fuck. He’s sick.
“I’m going to give you a month to get me Cypher. I don’t care how you do it, just make sure you do. I want results, mia cara, and if I don’t... I hear you have family in Mexico. A grandmother, a sister, and a new brother-in-law, correct?”
My eyes snap up to his and all I see is darkness in his green eyes. He was a full-blown psychopath and he wasn’t hiding it. “If you touch them, I swear to god I will kill you.”
“Story of my life, love.”
He pushes off of me and I thought I would’ve been able to breathe but no. I felt as if someone had tied a string around my neck and was jerking me around at his command and sooner or later he was going to pull hard and there would be nothing left in me. I’d be dead.
Enzo strides to his desk, picking up a glass and filling it with alcohol. He presses a button on the intercom and it hums to life. “Yes, Mr. Coretti.”
“Call for Emilia, would you.”
“Yes, Sir.” Then the voice is gone. The silence that stretches between us is deadly. I want to kill him, but can’t. He wants to kill me, but can’t. We’re at a temporary impasse and it’s only a matter of time before one of us smothers the other in their sleep.
Minutes later, someone barges into the room. She was tall with gold-blonde hair that fell all the way to her slim waist. She was probably an inch taller than me but a whole lot of beautiful. She had Heterochromia, her left eye was brown while her right was a greenish-gray.
She held herself with grace and elegance that could only be reserved for royalty and I envied it a little.
The girl arched a delicate eyebrow at the man behind the desk. “Your majesty rang.” I could hear the sarcasm in her tone, so did Enzo but he chose to ignore it.
“Emilia, meet my new pet, Dylan. Dylan, my cousin Emilia. I need you to look after her for me.”
“You’re kidding,” She didn’t even look at me once, glaring at him. “I’m not going to babysit your whore!”
I scoffed. “I would sooner shoot him than sleep with him. Oh, look at that, I already did.”
Enzo rolls his eyes at me before he turns to Emilia again. “I need you to keep an eye on her. She is a crucial part of my plan. If she trips, I’ll blame you, if she runs, I’ll blame you. She is your responsibility now, Emilia.”
Emilia groans. “Why can’t Malachai or one of the others do it?”
“Because I don’t trust them with her. Vince would most likely shoot her and you know your brother and Malachai, their horny little assholes who’d put their dick in anything that moves. I want her unharmed and ready for when I need her. You always say you want a hand in our business. This is the first step. Succeed and I’ll see about giving you a permanent position in the business.”
It shocks me how easily these people could talk about the Mafia as if it is as normal as drinking water. People die in this life every day and this girl is begging to join. Humanity is fucked up.
“Fine...” She says and then she finally looks at me. Her eyes traveling up my figure, “Can I dress her up?”
Do I look like your freaking barbie doll, bitch?
Enzo waves a hand dismissively already engrossed in the stack of files on his desk. This conversation was over long ago for him. “I don’t care.”
Emilia smiles for the first time at me. “Come on.” But why do I feel like I’m being coaxed by another devil, but with this one, her venom rests in her smile and her opened-toed pumps?
This family is going to be the death of me. Literally.