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Bare Flames

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She reminded me of the princess in the high tower...So delicate and full of innocence! She was an angel but a broken one... Had I known the sinister intentions disguised in that innocence, would I have still desired her as much?

Romance / Thriller
4.9 1 review
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Chapter 1


The silence encompassing the Florence Cathedral was the same as every other night.


The city was asleep and unaware of the screams echoing inside the church hall.

“Of all the awful places,” I wiped the blood with the cloth Falco handed me. “You had to choose the church!” My voice, cold and cutting like my existence.

I sat on the bench in the front row and watched Lorenzo scream in pure agony. His broken bones were broken further and his wounds were torn open once again.

“You thought God would protect you, Lorenzo!” I lit the cigarette and closed my lighter with the click. He was begging for mercy but he knew better that it won’t be shown.

It was the rule of our world.

A code!

Blood is the price!

Every traitor paid the price and every boss lived by it and passed it down as a legacy to the coming generation.

I was no different.

Only terrifying.

“Mer-” Lorenzo croaked while looking at me through his slipping consciousness. The ice-cold calmness on my face in response to his incomplete plea made him wet his pants.

I was not a man of emotion. Lorenzo knew it but he continued with his groveling.

“Mercy, capo!” Lorenzo pleaded again. The clicking of my lighter only amplified his fear for the worse.

“If you wanted mercy,” I let out the last puff and dropped the butt of the cigarette on the floor, crushing it under my shoe before standing up. “You should have known better before joining hands with our enemies.”

“I didn’t mean–”

My humorless chuckle made Lorenzo drop whatever lie he was going to spew to save his neck. He worked for me long enough to know what I was capable of and yet, he dared to step out of the line.

He played the fool’s hand for a real fool and now he was hanging by a thread for his dear life. Not only his but his family too.

I was going to hunt down his line to its last kin.

Because I, Gabriele Revello, was notorious for not having an inkling of humanity and kindness.

I was a true monster. The most feared man in the entire world after Andrei De Carlo. My mentor, my guardian, my godfather.

That man took me under his wing after the assassination of my family and trained me to be the ultimate weapon in human form.

I was a man through and through in our world, a successful businessman and ruler of the mafia, but worse than the devil of hell for his cunning, manipulative, and ruthless nature.

“Give me one more chance, capo,” Lorenzo crawled towards me. “I swear on my life that I will prove my loyalty to you.” He hugged my feet. “I was played by Marcello. I never intended to betray you. Spare my family, capo. Not my family.”

His eyes widened when I put the muzzle of his gun on his forehead.

“I know,” I smirked evilly at his petrified expression. “See you in hell, Lorenzo,” I clicked the lock. “Mio fratello.”

I watched Lorenzo’s body fall to the cold floor with zero emotions.

“What made you think I won’t know, Marcello?” I hissed under his breath. “I warned you over and again but you had to step out of the line and put your head in the lion’s mouth.”

I walked out of the church with my men following me.

“How much, Falco?” I asked my right-hand man.

“Five containers out of the shipment to Cuba,” Falco replied. He went ahead and opened the door to the backseat of my car. “Your orders?”

“Hang his body up there,” I pointed to the church bell without looking. “He’ll make a good calling for every backstabber out there before they think they can mess with us.”

“And his family?” Falco inquired. “Andrei favored his children–”

“I’m not Andrei, Falco,” I cut him coldly. Falco just nodded. “It’s time to pay our respect to our elders, no?” I smirked wickedly. “We are going back to Milan right now. We are going to Marcello’s.”



“You little bitch!”

I held my ground when Marcello threw the vase at me. It barely missed my head by a graze and crashed into the wall behind.

“You could not get one thing right, you ungrateful cunt.” I didn’t look up when he loomed over me. “One job. I gave you one fucking job.”

“I’m sorry, papa–”

I sealed my lips when Marcello grabbed my neck and choked me.

“Don’t call me papa with your filthy tongue, Miriam.” He shoved me back and turned the other way. “Set up another meeting with Fabio.” He barked coldly. “Please him any way possible but make this deal get through. It is my only chance to beat that fucker.”

“If only Lorenzo hadn’t fucked up. I don’t know how that bastard gets wind of everything every fucking time.” Marcello went to his desk and took out the cigars from the drawer. “Maybe, I should have sent you to Revello, no?”

I made sure my face was blank when he looked at me suggestively.

“All these pests are small flies! Unwanted obstacles I need to get rid of before I move towards my goal.” Marcello lit his cigar and blew out leisurely. “How much more dirt do I need to get on my hands? I need to win over Andrei.”

I gripped my wrist tightly to keep the trembling from Marcello.

Marcello and his business partners were not my only nightmare. There was someone above them who was enough to break my calm façade and make me shake like a leaf and cower in a dark corner.

Andrei De Carlo!

He wanted my mother first and now, he had his eyes on me.

I came face to face with him twice over the years and both meetings scarred me for life.

For Andrei, I was a substitute for Eloisa Rossi whom he needed to own to satisfy his ego and to torment my mother’s soul.

“Do whatever the fuck you have to do. Do you hear me? Get me close to Andrei.” Marcello thundered at me. I begged my so-called father with teary eyes to not push me further into this pit but he only laughed it off.

Marcello would chop me into pieces and distribute them among those wolves if needed.

I lived each second in fear of that moment I would be handed over to Andrei. Once I was in his clutches, there would be no escape and there would be no one to protect me from that monster.

No one!

“Make another mistake like today,” Marcello hissed. “I won’t let your dear brother see another day.” I fisted my hands at his threat. “That good for nothing piece of shit,” Marcello spat. “Fucking pest just won’t get better or die. What a burden!”

He was our biological father. We were his flesh and blood.

There would be no father like Marcello Ferraro in the entire world and I prayed that there should be no father of scum like him.

A father who wanted to kill his children before they were born. A father who uses his daughter as a piece of meat for his business and his son as livestock to control the wealth our late mother left behind.

He married Eloisa Rossi for her wealth.

He killed our grandparents and wiped out the entire Rossi family, leaving my mother alone and devastated with no one to turn to but him.

But when she learned about his true colors, he tried to kill her.

That accident was no accident. It was a planned assassination by our father.

Alas! Marcello couldn’t get rid of me and Luca. He couldn’t get his hands on all the wealth of the Rossi family.

He kept us alive because of the changes in our mother’s will that he was not aware of and the involvement of police.

“You are just like Eloisa,” Marcello sneered, “nothing but a whore ready to spread her legs for every dog and bastard.”

I listened to every insult with poise because that was the only thing I could do.

“So do your job properly. I didn’t feed you and provide for you all these years so you can act like that ungrateful bitch.”

“Yes,” I replied emotionlessly.

“Get lost,” Marcello growled.

I walked out of his office and went to Luca’s room instead of going back to mine. My steps wavered when I saw Higgs standing guard outside his room.

He was Marcello’s guard dog and his job was to report our every little activity to Marcello.

And to sexually harass me nowadays.

Higgs never dared to look at me or approach me before. But after witnessing Marcello treating me like trash one night, he gained courage for his lewd actions.

“Ignoring me?” Higgs blocked my path when I tried to enter Luca’s room. “You hurt me, baby doll.” I remained unperturbed by his lecherous gaze and talk. “You know I liked that red dress on your body better than this one.”

I slapped his hand away when he tried to lift the hem of my dress.

“Woah!” Higgs laughed loudly and closed in on me. “Don’t be feisty, baby doll. Daddy is not going to protect you from becoming food to big bad wolves.”

He fisted my hair and pulled my head back.

“Don’t think you are a princess of this castle.” His eyes roamed over my face like a hungry hyena eyeing the meat. “I know what your worth is. You are born in the Mafia world after all.”

I went inside the room silently when he let go of me, my head buzzing with his last words.

You are born in the mafia world after all.

“So, I’m going to be nothing but a piece of meat!” I whispered under her breath.

“Mir-iam?” I looked up from the floor and at Luca. I ran to him happily and knelt in front of his wheelchair. “He- hi-t yo-u again?” His misty eyes roamed over the bruise on my cheek. “I’m sor-ry, Mi-ri”

“Don’t be,” I put his hand on my cheek. “I’m fine.”

“If on-ly” Luca looked at me helplessly.

I knew what he wanted to say and felt.

If only that accident never happened, he wouldn’t have to watch his baby sister putting herself as bait in front of those sharks to save his life.

Luca was twenty-eight now but he was bound to the wheelchair because of Marcello. He was aware of Higgs molesting me but he could do nothing.

His body suffered massively in that accident while protecting me. Marcello never let him undergo proper treatment. He didn’t want Luca back on his feet. He knew what would happen if Luca recovered.

Marcello made sure Luca stayed in the wheelchair, paralyzed, and exploited me to get his business going.

“I know, Luca,” I put my head in his lap. “If only that man disappeared from our lives.”

My gaze became hollow like my whole existence as I stared into the distance. My eyes burnt as I relived and recalled every cursed second of my life.

Every second that I had to endure while going to Marcello’s partners to do his bidding.

Every second was etched in my soul like a plague.

“Everything will be fine.” I whispered.

We looked at the door when Gina hurried toward us after locking it. Worry and fear was evident on her face.

She was one of the loyal servants of her mother who stayed by their sides.

“What’s wrong?” I asked her. Her complexion was ashen and she was visibly shaking. “Gina?”

“Don’t step out of this room,” Gina replied fearfully. “Please! Stay with Luca. I don’t want that man to see you at any cost.”

“Who?” I asked in confusion and curiosity.

“Gabriele Revello,” her voice shook while saying his name. “I’m sure you have heard that devil’s name but don’t ever cross paths with him, Miriam. He won’t spare you even if you are innocent.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Who would spare and forget the murderer of their parents, Miriam?” Gina replied ghostly. “That night still haunts me. They were assassinated in their home the same night you and Luca met that accident with your mother.”

I looked towards the door when several gunshots resounded in the air.

“Gina?” I called after her.

“Take Luca to the secret room and stay there.” She stopped by the door and looked at us. “I beg you, Miriam. Please, don’t ever come in front of that man at any cost. Gabriele will only see you two as children of Marcello Ferraro and nothing else.”

The door closed soundlessly after Gina.

I wheeled Luca across the room. I uncovered the secret panel and entered the code. The wall switched to a secret door and I wheeled Luca inside.

“I remember hi-m,” Luca said suddenly. “Gabri-el-e Re-ve-llo,” he looked at me over his shoulder. “We were on ou-r wa-y t-o me-et Reve-ll-o’s th-at n-i-ght.”

“Stay here.” I walked out of the hidden room before he could stop me and went out after making sure Higgs was not outside.

If a formidable enemy entered their territory, Marcello would need every last one of his men to protect himself.

“Gabriele Revello,” I whispered his name as I went to Marcello’s study after making sure the coast was clear.

The door was left wide open to my luck.

Marcello’s study was swarmed with armed men of both parties.

“I’m curious to know what is giving you this much courage to act out so openly!” I couldn’t suppress the shudder his deep and dangerous voice invoked out of me.

I could only see his back because he was facing Marcello. His posture was exuding arrogance and a powerful aura.

I wanted to see his face. He made me curious. He was tall and well built. That was all I could see for now.

“I don’t fear you, Gabriele,” Marcello sneered. I could sense his faltering bravado. “I won’t yield to your tricks. Unless you hold solid proof to support your accusations, don’t come here again.”

“Proof you say?” Gabriele chuckled. “Fair enough, Ferraro.”

I ran back upstairs and went to the balcony that opened to the main entrance.

“You want a fucking proof!” I hid behind the curtains when I heard him across the threshold, right below the balcony. “You will not even live to regret these words.”

So, this is the man my father fears!



I stopped and looked back when I sensed eyes on me. I scanned the entire area until my gaze located a silhouette behind the curtains across the window right above me across the balcony.

I cocked one brow when that silhouette stepped out from behind the curtains and into a clear view.

A woman in Marcello’s place!

The curiosity in those big blue oceans caught and piqued my interest.

“What do we have here?” I mused. “Who is she?”

“Marcello’s daughter,” Falco replied. “She is not a public figure. Marcello doesn’t let her out of his private circle.”

I could not hide my surprise at this newfound discovery. This was the first time I was hearing about Marcello having a daughter.

“Is that so?” I looked back at her. She opened the window and stepped out. “She either doesn’t know me or she has no fear” I muttered while watching her.

I had seen many beautiful women but not one like hers.

She was dressed in a white dress. It was nothing sensual or revealing yet I felt the fire of the arousal in my blood and fuck me it was nothing I ever felt before.

There was so much harmless curiosity in those eyes.

There was something hauntingly alluring about her.

Something unfamiliarly familiar.

Her oceanic eyes, golden locks, and hourglass figure could make any man kneel by her feet. She was oozing innocence from head to toe.

“What’s her name?” I asked angrily.

“Miriam,” Falco replied.

“Miriam,” her name rolled off my tongue like velvet and I was fucking hating the feeling of it. “We’ll be seeing each other soon, angel.”

I smirked when she turned around and hurried inside.

“Interesting.” I got in my car and we drove out of Ferraro’s mansion. “We found a princess locked up in a high tower.”

“Marcello has a son as well,” Falco informed me. “Luca Ferraro. He is the same age as you. He was handicapped in the accident twenty years ago.”

“And Miriam?” I asked. “How old is she?”

“Twenty-four,” Falco answered.

“What an unexpected turn of events!” I looked out the window. “Miriam Ferraro!” I closed my eyes.

A ghostly smile danced on my lips as my memory recalled something.

“I remember you now.” I barked a cold laugh. “That pretty red dress at the club!”

Falco looked at me but didn’t say anything.

“Miriam Ferraro!” I hummed thoughtfully and leaned back in my seat. “What an interesting little thing you turned out to be.”

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