Available FREE on kindleunlimited or buy for only $3.99. Download here.
Crave author Bella J stopped by today for a peak at her new release, Mafia Prince, book two of her Royal Mafia series. Thank you Bella!
Mafia Prince by Bella J Excerpt
Somehow, I was no longer in the mood for a night out. Just this morning I was all up Antonio’s ass about a bachelor party for Lorik, but ever since that goddamn phone call, I was unable to tear my mind away from her.
The woman who ruined me.
The woman who destroyed the man I once was.
And after hearing a voice that was either hers or sounded a lot like hers, the memories felt like it all took place just yesterday. I had been walking around the whole goddamn day as if I was waiting for a fucking bomb to go off.
“You warned Karina, right?” Lorik touched my shoulder from the back seat. “Because if you didn’t, I am going to be in a fuck-load of trouble when I get home smelling like bourbon and unable to piss straight.”
I laughed. “Where’s the fun in that? I love hearing my sister swear at you in Italian. The look on your face is fucking priceless.”
He snorted. “Yeah, well, I’d like to see you try to keep a straight face when the woman you’re about to marry—who also happens to be the owner of the only pussy you will ever get for the rest of your life—gets angry at you and starts shouting in a language you can’t understand, yet you know she’s pissed at you. How the fuck am I supposed to know what to say when I don’t know what the fuck she’s saying?”
Antonio and I started laughing. Karina might be sweet, but she had Italian blood running through her veins, and when Italian women got angry, men tended to wish for the world to come to an end.
I parked my Audi in the underground parking—our usual spot. When you financed the owner’s illegal gambling setup, you got guaranteed VIP treatment.
As we approached the back door, the bouncer opened it, allowing us through, no questions asked. God, I loved this life. I couldn’t believe there was a time when I wanted something different. Who wouldn’t want to be treated like a goddamn prince?
Antonio nodded toward the bouncer in greeting, but naturally Lorik had to do the whole fist-bump maneuver.
“Tim, my man.”
Lorik held up his hand, showcasing the wolf tattoo. “Not a detective anymore, Tim. I’m a wolf now.” He smiled like an idiot.
I rolled my eyes then grabbed him behind his neck, dragging him down the hall. “Anyone ever tell you you’re a dumbass?”
Once we stepped inside the club, I felt a little of the tension ease out of my shoulders. The music, the people, the smell of sex and alcohol made me think of the here and now rather than the past or the fucking future. All that mattered was now—the present. Tomorrow would deal with the aftermath of the decisions which were made today.
Antonio took the lead with me short on his heel, while Lorik walked next to me. All eyes were on us—especially the women’s. It happened whenever we entered a goddamn room. Why? Because in this city we were fucking royalty. Everyone knew not to fuck with us.
The second we walked up to the second floor reserved for VIP guests, a waitress dressed in nothing but a black mini skirt and glitter nipple patches greeted us.
“Can I get you gentlemen something to drink?” Her eyes met mine, and memories of her naked body pressed up against the wall of the men’s room flashed through my mind. By the way she bit her bottom lip, I knew she was thinking of it too.
Antonio unbuttoned his suit jacket. “Three bourbons on the rocks, and a round of tequila.”
Lorik smiled. “This is going to be one hell of a night, gentlemen. I can feel it all the way down my fucking spine.”
The waitress brought our drinks, and we took a seat close to the glass barrier, wanting the view of the dancefloor below.
Antonio leaned back in his seat. “Anyone else been wondering about the weird phone call today?”
“Oh, come on,” Lorik complained. “Could you please pull that motherfucking stick out of your ass for one night? Just one goddamn night?”
I laughed. I couldn’t help it. Yes, the weird fucking phone call had been on my mind, but trust Antonio to bring it up at the start of what was supposed to be a fun night.
“I’m with Lorik on this one, brother. We can go one night without discussing such matters.”
Antonio shrugged, forfeiting his attempt to talk business. It was typical of him, always thinking business, and never making time for anything but that. Sometimes I got the feeling it was physically painful for him to have fun and to enjoy a good night out. I, on the other hand, had that down to a T, since even though there was that weird as fuck phone call, I could easily push it to the back of my mind. Tomorrow would be a good time to start fretting over it again.
I turned to Lorik, wanting to change the subject. “Still excited to be a part of the family?”
He rubbed tiny circles over the wolf tattoo on the top of his hand. “Best thing that ever happened to me.” He looked up at us. “Your sister, I mean. Not you two dildos. Fuck knows, my grandmother’s urn is more fun than you two.”
Antonio laughed then stood and walked to the glass barrier and stared out over the club. I rubbed the stubble on my chin with my thumb and forefinger, and Lorik ordered another round of tequila.
I looked up at Antonio, who stood with his back toward me. “Yeah?”
“How sure are you it couldn’t have been Layla who phoned you from the other side of town?”
“Believe me, I’m sure.”
Antonio kept staring down to the dancefloor. “I think you need to come see this, little brother.”
“What is it?” I got up and sauntered over to the barrier.
Antonio pointed to the entrance, where I saw Matteo—the new Mancuso underboss since Lorik put a bullet in his brother’s chest. He looked every ounce the asshole we all knew he was. Not even a thousand-dollar suit could make him look like more than an ugly motherfucker. What annoyed me the most about him and his entire fucking family was how they walked around town like they owned it. They lived as if they had the world at their feet. Meanwhile, they didn’t have shit. If it wasn’t for the poison they were passing around on the streets like fucking candy, they wouldn’t even have a pot to piss in.
I took a sip of my drink, the tension slowly creeping back up my shoulders. “It’s Mancuso. We knew he might turn up here. What’s the deal?”
Antonio kept staring down at the crowd who walked in with Matteo, worry lines forming grooves on his forehead.
“Antonio, what the fuck, man?”
Without saying a word, he lifted his arm and pointed down toward Matteo. My gaze followed—searching, watching, and then…her.
The moment I saw her face, it felt like every drop of blood drained out of my body. Ice spread down my spine, and the glass slipped out of my hand and shattered on the ground by my feet.
“Layla,” I whispered. “Jesus Christ.”
It was her.
The woman who left after she stole the best of me.
I was frozen on the spot, staring down at her. My mind couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing.
Layla-fucking-Moore, in the flesh. And, dear God, she looked exactly as I remembered. The longer I stared at her, the more my heart pounded against my ribs as if it was trying to break through my chest. It felt like my heart knew…it fucking knew the woman who stood there in the ruby red dress, golden blonde hair tied up to expose her neck, was its rightful owner. It was exhilarating, yet painful at the same time to see her again.
I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t even fucking move. Memories. Words. Moments. Everything I shared with Layla came rushing back like a motherfucking tropical storm, and it would have knocked me off my feet if I weren’t gripping the rail in front of me so damn tight.
In the distance, I heard Lorik’s voice saying something about tequila and tits. I heard Antonio mention Layla’s name, and then Lorik stepped in next to me just as Matteo placed his hand on Layla’s shoulder, fingers brushing against her bare neck.
“Well, fuck,” Lorik muttered right when everything around me turned to shades of red.
The longer Matteo’s fingers lingered on her skin, the darker my vision became. I had no idea what the fuck was happening. It felt like I was in an alternate universe, as if everything around me went on mute, people moving in slow motion. Even Matteo’s goddamn fingers on Layla’s neck moved in long, slow, torturing strokes. My heart no longer tried to break through my chest. Instead it was the beast in me who tried to claw its way out. It wanted to kill. It wanted to slaughter. It wanted to butcher every motherfucker who stood in a ten foot radius of her.
“Dante,” Antonio said beside me, but I ignored him. “Dante. I think we should leave.”
I couldn’t tear my gaze from her, from the way Matteo touched her.
Five years. Five fucking years, and it felt like no time had passed. As if the woman who stood right there still belonged to me. As if she never broke my heart. Never left.
“Dante?” Antonio placed his hand on my shoulder, but I jerked away. “Brother, you need to calm down, and we need to leave.”
Lorik held the shot of tequila out to me. “I suggest some tequila to tame the urge to go on a murderous rampage right about now.”
I took the tequila and tossed it back before throwing the glass to the ground. “I am calm.”
Lorik stared down at the broken glass. “Yeah…yeah, I see that.”
I remained still, my gaze glued to the one and only woman I had ever loved. And no matter how she hurt me, how those words on that goddamn letter ripped my heart out, the way Matteo touched her made me want to tear him the fuck apart.
Questions that should have been running through my mind…didn’t. Questions like why was she back? Why did she leave? Why was she here with Matteo? Those were questions with answers that fucking mattered, but I couldn’t give a flying fuck. All I cared about…was her.
“This is not good, man,” Lorik said beside me.
Antonio touched my shoulder again, and that was the exact moment Layla looked up, her gaze meeting mine. That was also the moment my entire world came crashing down around me. Every bone in my body ached, my lungs unable to expand because I forgot to fucking breathe. Moments, seconds, minutes, hours. A week could have gone by, and I wouldn’t have noticed because all I concerned myself with was staring at her, to not take my eyes off her in case all of this wasn’t real.
But then Matteo’s hand dropped from her neck, his knuckles dragging down her arm. The movement caught my attention, forcing me to take my eyes off her.
Rage. Fury. Anger. Jealousy.
I could feel the blood in my veins start to simmer, the need to kill and destroy scratching against marrow and bone. Suddenly, I was very much aware of the gun tucked away at my side, the weight of the weapon begging me to clutch it in my palm, then aim and pull the fucking trigger.
Matteo looked up, meeting my glare, a smug grin spreading across his motherfucking ugly face. That grin was like a giant “fuck you” directed right at me, and when he leaned down, placing his lips against her cheek while his eyes were still focused on me, I fucking lost it.
Antonio tried to stop me. But how did you stop an enraged animal with a lust for blood? I rushed down the stairs, adrenaline scraping against my veins as images of Matteo’s headless body filled my mind.
As I stepped onto the dancefloor, I looked at Layla. Her amber eyes were wide with panic, her lips slightly parted.
She knew it. She knew it as well as I did.
I was coming for her…because she was mine.
Available FREE on kindleunlimited or buy for only $3.99. Download here.