Read Salvatore_ a Dark Mafia Romance (Standalone) - Natasha Knight Page 0,1

had happened there just moments earlier shamed me.

But it could have been so much worse for her.

It could have gone the way my father wanted. His cruelty knew no bounds.

She had me to thank for saving her from that.

So why did I still feel like a monster? A beast? A pathetic, spineless puppet?

I owned Lucia DeMarco, but the thought only made me sick. She was the token, the living, breathing trophy of my family’s triumph over hers.

I walked out of the room and rode the elevator down to the lobby, emptying my eyes of emotion. That was one thing I did well.

I walked out onto the stifling, noisy Manhattan sidewalk and climbed into the backseat of my waiting car. The driver knew where to take me, and twenty minutes later, I walked into the whorehouse, to a room in the back, the image of Lucia lying on that examining table, bound, struggling, her face turned away as the doctor probed her before declaring her intact, burned into my memory forever.

I’d stood beside her. I hadn’t looked. Did that absolve me? Surely that meant something?

But why was my cock hard, then?

She’d cried quietly. I’d watched her tears slip off her face and fall to the floor and willed myself to be anywhere but there. Willed myself not to hear the sounds, my father’s degrading words, her quiet breaths as she struggled to remain silent.

All while I’d stood by.

I was a coward. A monster. Because when I did finally meet those burning amber eyes, when I dared shift my gaze to hers, our eyes had locked, and I saw the quiet plea inside them. A silent cry for help.

In desperation, she’d sought my help.

And I’d looked away.

Her father’s face had gone white when he’d realized the full cost he’d agreed to; the payment of the debt he’d set upon her shoulders.

Her life for his. For all of theirs.

Fucking selfish bastard didn’t deserve to live. He should have died to protect her. He should never—ever—have allowed this to happen.

I sucked in a breath, heavy and wet, drowning me.

I poured myself a drink, slammed it back, and repeated. Whiskey was good. Whiskey dulled the scene replaying in my head. But it did nothing to wipe out the image of her eyes on mine. Her terrified, desperate eyes.

I threw the glass, smashing it in the corner. One of the whores came to me, knelt between my spread legs, and took my cock out of my pants. Her lips moved, saying something I didn’t hear over the war raging inside my head, and fucked up as fucked up can be, she took my already hard cock into her mouth.

I gripped a handful of the bitch’s hair and closed my eyes, letting her do her work, taking me deep into her throat. But I didn’t want gentle, not now. I needed more. I stood, squeezed my eyes shut against the image of Lucia on that table, and fucked the whore’s face until she choked and tears streamed down her cheeks. Until I finally came, emptying down her throat, the sexual release, like the whiskey, gave me nothing. There wasn’t enough sex or alcohol in the world to burn that particular image of Lucia out of my mind, but maybe I deserved it. Deserved the guilt. I should man up and own it. I allowed it all to happen, after all. I stood by and did nothing.

And now, she was mine, and I was hers.

Her very own monster.

1

Lucia

Five Years Later

Calabria, Italy

The last time I walked down the aisle of this cathedral had been my confirmation day. I’d been a child. I’d worn a beautiful white dress, and my mother had wound a rosary through my fingers, binding my hands in prayer.

I hadn’t prayed, though. Instead, I’d thought of how I looked in my dress. How it was the prettiest of all the girls. How I was the prettiest.

Today, I wore black. And I no longer cared who was the prettiest. Today, I followed my father’s casket to the front of the church.

Black lace hid my face, so I could take in the audience without them seeing me. The pews stood empty until we reached the front rows, where ten were occupied. Fifteen mourners on the right—my family’s side. Double that on the left. Did soldiers count as mourners, though? Because that’s what the Benedetti’s had brought.

I ignored them and looked at each of the fifteen faces who had dared show up on my side. My father did not