Hero: A Bad Boy Mafia Romance

BOOK: Hero: A Bad Boy Mafia Romance
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HERO

A Bad Boy Mafia Romance

 

Lara Swann

Once, I was an idealistic bastard - a hero, fighting for my country.

But playing hero in Afghanistan didn’t stop the monsters who tore my family apart.

In one moment, my home was taken from me and I learned how the world really works.

Now I know better – the right-hand man for a mafia crime lord, I run this town and I’ll take anything I want.

Anything except the pure, defiant girl who catches my eye.

Lottie.

Beautiful. Delicate softness wrapped around a core of steel. The kept girl of a rival gang leader.

She's forbidden. Off-limits.

If I take
her
, gang warfare will rip us all apart.

But when I feel her body close to mine, her bright spark of optimism challenging everything I thought I knew...suddenly, I don't give a damn about the rules.

Screwing her risks both our lives.

But it's loving her that will f*cking
destroy me
.

Copyright © 2016 Lara Swann

All Rights Reserved

This book is a work of fiction. Any similarity to real events, people, or places is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without the permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations used for review.

The author acknowledges the trademarked status of products referred to in this book and acknowledges that trademarks have been used without permission.

This book contains mature content, including graphic sex. Please do not continue reading if you are under the age of 18 or if this type of content is disturbing to you.

NOTE: All characters in the book are 18+ years of age, non-blood related, and all sexual acts are consensual.

Please note:
This copy of HERO also contains a
bonus book,
HARD! This means that HERO ends approximately 50% into this book – but rest assured, HERO is a full-length 70,000 word novel (with the steamy action and sweet HEA you know I love).

This is a 2
nd
edition release of Hero.

Sign up for my mailing list to find out about new releases, giveaways, advanced reader copies, cover reveals and more…

Click here to sign up!

You can also find me on
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or
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.

Excerpt

 

Lottie pushed me back against the moist tiles of the shower, our mouths locked together with a heat that rivalled the water rushing over us. I pulled her forward, my strong hands nestling her small body between my thighs, watching as her sparkling eyes reflected the same pounding lust I felt.

“Ohh god, Jason…”

I caught her moan with my mouth, nipping and nibbling at her lips while my hands caressed and explored that open, willing body. Slick with moisture and heat, there was nothing better than this small piece of heaven we were making for each other.

It was insanity – locked away in a hotel room, abusing our already clandestine meeting. Taking the girl another gang boss had claimed for himself. But feeling her body on mine, inhaling her feminine scent and seeing the passion in her eyes…that felt so fucking good, I’d damn the consequences to hell.

I pulled her in harder, rough now as our need took over, letting her feel my thickness pulsing oh-so-close to her sweet entrance. She gasped and pressed against me, nails digging into my shoulders as she caught me for balance and looked up, eyes sparking with light.

I flexed my hips as she clung there, rubbing up and down her soft core with a sweet friction that she shuddered against, damn near destroying my own control. My head trailed down her neck, tongue dancing across her collarbone until I reached her breasts and started lavishing them with my attention, hands and mouth working her until she writhed against me.

Lottie was so damn expressive like this – never holding anything back. As open and honest with her desire as she was about any other feeling she had. It got under my skin and stayed there, making every one of these moments feel real and genuine.

Even if we couldn’t let them to be. Outside this luxurious room, we lived different lives. Violent lives – deadly and dangerous, with so much more risk from these brief moments of lust.

I’d flirted with danger and death all my life, but this was different. We both knew that if anyone found out, gang warfare could rip the city apart. Destroy us both, our goals and ambitions in tatters.

And I didn’t fucking care.

Here, in this shower, in this hotel room – all that mattered was the hard breathing of the woman in front of me. The way the water droplets sparkled in her hair. The touches and kisses that echoed my own desperate passion.

Lottie had offered me a brief respite from that crazy life, and I’d be damned if I was going to refuse. Whatever happened out there, we needed this. We needed each other.

With that thought driving me on, I raised a hand to grab hers, my body shifting to push her back against the wall. A thrill ran through me as I held her easily, surrounding her small frame with my hard, demanding body.

“Wait.” Lottie’s voice was determined, if breathy, as I nipped at her neck and felt her pulse fluttering under me.

Waiting was the last thing on my mind and I pressed against her, savouring the feel of her soft body moulding into mine.

She moaned, but pushed back against me, reaching out of that closed space between us to grab the soap on the side. My eyes followed her, questioning, until she stepped back against the wall, one hand lightly running down my chest. I glanced down at the remnants of dried blood there and frowned as those bright eyes looked up at me.

Knowing what she was seeing – what it said about me – disturbed me, and with the echoes of earlier violence flooding through my mind, I pulled back.

“Lottie…”

“I want to.”

That determined gaze didn’t relent. Lottie had never shrunk from what I was. She might hate the things I did and the place I held in the Italian mafia, but she didn’t fool herself about it. She looked at me and wanted to make it better anyway. Wash it away.

My breath caught as soap-slick hands started to circle my hard pecs, down to my abs, and the delicate touch made me want to groan. Her voice murmured against me as her lips touched my neck, my collarbone, and then finally down to my now-clean chest.

“That has no place here. This is our world. Our place, Jason.”

The water beat down around us, and under the echo of its spray her words rang true. Blood and death and violence didn’t belong here. This was a place for our pleasure and passion.

I let her wash away the ugliness of the outside world – of everything we came from – and as that disappeared, my eyes sparked with sudden heat, a dangerous smile spreading over my face.

Not giving her another moment, I took both wrists in one hand and forced them up against the wall. She gasped, but her body melted against me and I positioned myself, my hard cock pressing against her willing body as desire overtook me. One leg came up and curled around my ass, her centre pressing against me as she moaned, ready and waiting.

With a groan, I gave her what she wanted – dropping her hands to lift her up and onto me, her legs coming fully around me now as she rested on my large hands. One slow movement and I was inside her, that breathy mouth against my cheek and arms coming around my neck to clutch tightly.

I groaned at her tight pussy around me, my cock throbbing as I thrust hard and felt that tightness expand and take me. The force of it pushed me forward, trapping her between the wall and my body as my hips worked hard, thrusting with all the pent up lust and need riding through me.

“Oh, fuck Jason…”

Her cries spurred me on, and my mouth joined hers as her breathing became harsher and more desperate, our tongues sparring with each other while I revelled in the sweet softness of her body.

Everything in my life was hard, harsh and deadly – except this naïve, forbidden girl in front of me. And I was fast becoming addicted to her.

Lottie’s hands clawed at my shoulders, her body shuddering against me, and I could tell she was close. Driven by the urgent lust and illicit pleasure that was tearing at any self-control I had left.

I slammed forward, any delicacy abandoned in favor of wild need, roughly fucking her against the wall while she spasmed and gasped, constant cries to my harsh grunts. Hot lust surged forth, my whole body starting to tense as her tight pussy took everything I gave it.

Within moments, we both flew over that sharp edge, her voice ringing in my ears as she cried my name and desperate lust overtaking us, I stopped caring about what we were doing or what this meant.

Fuck them all.

It was just us. Lottie and I.

In this fleeting world we made for each other.

 

 

Acknowledgments

 

Thank you to everyone who supported me through my first release and let me know how much you loved
Hard
– it spurred me on to pursue my dreams and get straight back to work on my next novel!

This one has a special place in my heart, as it takes everything I love about heroism and beauty and shows that sometimes the best things can come from the darkest places.

So I’m especially grateful to both my friends and family for all their ongoing support and belief – as well as all the new friends and readers that I’ve talked to since launching my debut novel
Hard
.

In particular, the generous ARC readers who offered up their time to read
Hero
early, pointing out any missed typos and giving their support and reviews on release.

And of course – everyone reading this now. Without all of you, this novel wouldn’t exist, and it means more than I can say that you’re here, reading what I’ve written.

Thank you for making my dreams come true, and I hope you fall in love with
Hero
as much as I did while writing it.

For those that never stop believing that they can make the world a better place –

You deserve your own special kind of hero

Chapter One

Jason

 

“I-I’m sorry, just…a little more time.” The man held his hands up and edged toward the back of his ramshackle bar. His frightened eyes darted from me to Ham, and back again.

When I didn’t say anything, Ham’s ugly face twisted up in anger and he surged towards the coward, one fist closing around his jacket while the other pulled back for the blow.

“No.” I said sharply, lifting a hand and trying not to sigh as Ham jerked back like the leashed dog he was. The thug had a tendency to hit first and talk later, only to discover the broken jaw got in his way.

I’d told him more than enough times to stay away from the face, but the bastard had trouble remembering in the heat of the moment. I wondered yet again why we were working with this sort, and made a mental note to check in with Valentini about it - he was the one who kept talking about running a more
genteel
op.

But then how far could you trust a mafia boss with what he said?

My gaze traveled around the cramped, dim space. The peeling paint on the walls and ragged furniture scattered haphazardly about the place lent truth to the barman’s words, but then, that was why I’d given him a chance the first time.

“You said that last time.” My voice was mild, but he paled anyway at the calm gaze I gave him, seeming to prefer to look at the ham-fisted man in front of him.

The edge of my mouth turned up in a smile - that was why I was here, after all.

For the pitiful folk on these streets, a beating was probably an everyday experience - my dog would get nothing more out of him than we had the last time. And that wasn’t the kind of game I played anyway.

No, tomorrow he’d have forgotten Ham - but the clean shaven, sharply dressed man who’d stood there dispassionately and watched?

I stuck in his memory.

So if an ‘accident’ were to happen a few days later, I’d be the first he’d think of.

And our protection money – plus a nice sum for the trouble – would flow nicely after that.

“I…it’s just—” He swallowed nervously and shook his head, glancing from me to the guy still holding him up.

“Yes?” I cocked my head and waited, trying to ignore the rising impatience.

I was good at this because I knew how to act, what to do and I didn’t let anything stop me from seeing it through - but this sophisticated intimidation irritated me. And I wasn’t sure whether it was the helpless fool in front of me, the dim-witted thug over him, or my own attitude that was getting on my nerves more.

He swallowed again and glanced away.

“I just…I can’t afford it. Not after…not after the others as well. I swear! I have n-nothing left.” The guy looked about ready to break down, but Ham pulled back in his automatic response anyway, sending a fist thumping hard into the man’s stomach, making the guy cry out as he tried to double up.

At least it wasn’t his face.

Ham’s response had been automatic, but the guy’s words caught my attention.

My body’s instinctive warning kicked in and I snapped my fingers at Ham, shaking my head sharply as he went in for another blow.

“Others?” My voice was even softer than earlier, but that was the only part of me that was. The barman might not have had the training to notice it, but the adrenaline had tightened my body until I could feel every muscle tensed and waiting, my military instincts ready for action.

That
was more like me.

Even if it meant bad news.

He’d fallen quiet and I stepped forward lightly, my gaze locked on his face.

Ham was tense now as I approached - he’d picked up on my vibe at least - and I gestured at him.

As unfortunate as it was, I’d worked with Ham enough times that he knew what I wanted. His thick hand closed around the man’s weak chin and jerked his head up to look at me. Wide eyes stared back as I spoke again.

“Tell me.”

I could see the quick mental calculation behind his eyes - the danger in front of him versus the future risk. The obvious won out, especially with my not-so-subtle glance towards Ham.

“I-I don’t know. Gang from Central area, they’ve been-been comin’ round here. Insisting we pay them, too. I don’t have the money for it! This place don’t earn shit and—”

My raised hand cut him off as my eyes narrowed and I took a step back, looking around again and letting my mind process it.

This
was
bad news.

The central area downtown had always been dangerous, a free-for-all that even those who lived deep in the underside of Cleveland tried to avoid. Even though we’d been toe-to-toe with the semi-organized gangs there before, none had ever formed for long enough to pull off a stunt like this. Valentini’s hold on the east and the outskirts of the city was still precarious; the empire he wanted to build still in its fledgling stage, and struggling against the constant chaos of gangs and street kids.

The one advantage of that was that it provided little
structured
resistance to his plans.

Or at least, it hadn’t so far
.
Someone brazen enough to challenge our territory - even the edge of it, here in Glenville - was something we had to deal with. Immediately.

Bringing myself out of the sudden conclusion, I turned and headed for the door.

I felt Ham’s gaze on me as I turned in the doorway, roaming over the two of them. I met the barman’s eyes once again, and any consideration I might have felt earlier was extinguished completely.

“One last question.” I said, even as I didn’t expect an answer. “What possessed you to think it was more important to pay
them?

My gaze caught Ham as the man in his fists tried to stagger back, shaking his head as something incoherent came out of his mouth.

Ham’s expression hardened at what he saw in me and he nodded before I walked out and shut the door.

The missed payment could have been handled differently - but not this.

When it came to disrespect, any vestige of
genteel
disappeared in a flash.

No one got away with that.

 

*  *  *

 

I stood silently as Valentini swirled the whiskey around his glass, eyes staring at some point beyond the thick walls of his office while he considered.

“Gang down Central, huh?” His voice was distant, and since I’d already given him a heads-up on the phone and then a full report just now, his comment was probably just an internal musing. I answered anyway.

“That’s what he said - don’t know more than that, yet. We can pay a visit to a few of our friends in the area - and if they’re after Glenville, we can raise the alert ‘round there. As much as they won’t want to get in the middle of this, there’ll be a few who’ll come to us hoping to take care of the extra fees.”

It was
protection
money that we charged, after all. Gave me a perverse sort of satisfaction that we might do some actual protecting for once.

I couldn’t tell whether Valentini was listening or not, his keen gaze caught up in his own thoughts as usual - but knowing him, he’d probably absorbed everything I said, even if he never acknowledged it. Most of the guys here preferred it that way, anyway, finding his unwavering attention a little unnerving.

Sitting behind the large, dark wood desk didn’t show off his height or the firm body that he kept fit despite his position, but there was an imposing presence to him anyway. The sort of thing that made me think he might actually accomplish his ambitions to bring back his family’s power and influence in these parts.

I didn’t care either way - he might be one of the few men in this place I respected, but nothing intimidated me anymore. Probably one of the reasons he liked working with me so much. Or at least, I assumed he did - it was fairly rare for an associate to rise so far in this sort of family business, and there were plenty of rumors flying around about how I’d gained his ear. They amused me - somehow, the idiot dogs didn’t quite understand the simple value in
getting shit done.

Of course, the better question was
why
I’d started working with Valentini – though it was probably a good thing no one cared, and the few people who knew could be trusted with discretion.

Still, high ranking or not, I wasn’t family and he never forgot it – no Italian blood, no shared family name.

It was one of the reasons that I was stood here waiting, instead of being invited to drink with him, and why I never called him Fabio. Little things that some of the guys around us probably weren’t even attuned to, but I always noticed the subtle gestures that said I was
associate, not kin
.

I wondered whether he knew that I preferred it that way.

His gaze finally came to rest on me, the blue eyes sparking with undeniable passion as he reached his decision. For an Italian, he was remarkably calm and unreadable most of the time - but the determined emotion he reigned back came out intensely in his eyes.

“We’ve known someone down Industrial way has been pulling together those gangs for a while - looks like this is the first move. Probably just looking for some legitimacy.” Valentini grinned and slammed the tumbler down as he stood. “Well we can give them that, and then some.”

I raised an eyebrow, playing along even though I could guess at his response. He continued with the same enthusiasm.

“We’ll crack some skulls together, show ‘em how a
real
organization responds to a threat - then get ‘em in a room and stake our territory, set the terms.”

I nodded, appreciating for a moment Valentini’s navigation of the politics that these street kids probably didn’t even realize they were playing at.

He’d give them what they really wanted - putting on a show of responding, then acknowledging this new mafioso-wannabe with a negotiation - while maintaining the superior position that would allow him to dictate the terms of their existence. The new boss would accept it, while Valentini came away looking stronger than ever in front of his own people - and he’d get the space and time to build his organization until he had the size and power he needed.

Might even work out better for him this way - when he was ready, crushing one rival group would be far easier than the shifting gangs that had dominated Central before.

“Good - you lead on it, Jason.” He nodded to me and sat, turning back to the papers on his desk in a clear dismissal.

I waited a couple of heartbeats as the air thickened around me, my stomach tightening with anticipation despite the familiarity of this ritual. And its usual uselessness.

I cleared my throat and waited until he looked up at me, his face impassive as always while I asked the one question that kept me coming back to these meetings.

“Ah, about that other matter…?”

“No word, Jason. I’ll let you know if I hear anything.”

I nodded, the small hope fading as I turned to leave.

It had been over a year now since we’d heard anything, and these days I’d started wondering whether I was even in the right place. There’d been rumors the bastard had slipped over the border, and there was no reason to think he’d come back.

But I couldn’t chase a shadow over the border - not without a lead. And the only place I could get that was right here in Cleveland’s ghetto.

“Jason—” Valentini caught my attention as I grabbed the handle of the thick wooden door, and I glanced back at him. “This gang forming might help, you know. Xero and his boys came from that part of town - maybe we’ll find out something from these new guys, one way or another.”

His words were mild, and he turned back to what he was doing without giving me another thought, but that didn’t stop the chain reaction that jolted through me.

Not having a lead to follow had kept me in Cleveland - but Valentini had been the other reason I hadn’t left yet. He was skilled as fuck at stringing me along - at giving me just the right amount of hope to keep going. To keep chasing his objectives.

I knew he was doing it, but the reason it worked so well was because his words rang true. Maybe it was unlikely, but he could be right - and it was all I had.

So I stayed.

For now, I stayed.

BOOK: Hero: A Bad Boy Mafia Romance
2.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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