Authors: Cristina Grenier
Tags: #mob romance
It had taken her until well after she’d graduated, but here she was. She had her own place, but she was still somehow subject to her parents whims. Often, she wondered why she didn’t just move away from Boston entirely and taken them out of the equation. The obvious answer to that question, however, was that deep down, some guilty part of her still wanted to have a good relationship with one of them.
She was edging up on thirty and the prospect of spending time with either one of her parents literally made her cringe. Her mother was a woman wasting away as she pined after a husband who cared nothing for her, and her father had big aspirations but loved to spend the money that might go towards them the moment it was placed in his hands.
He was a drinker, a smoker, and a gambler; and there had been more than one occasion upon which Grace had wondered if perhaps some of the people he owed money to were less than scrupulous. After all, there was owing money to one’s friends and there was owing money to infinitely more dangerous people.
When she aired these concerns to her girlfriends, they merely laughed as they speculated about her father being part of the Boston criminal underbelly. Grace, however, had seriously contemplated the notion more than once. The people her father spent his time with…the amounts of money that passed through his hands – it wouldn’t be too terribly far-fetched.
But now hardly seemed the time to think about such things.
It was five in the morning and she might as well get ready to start her day. Seeing as how her evening wasn’t going to be her own and her father expected her to look like a street hooker with a bit of class, she might as well make the preparations.
She was in the middle of washing her hair, letting the hot water sluice over her body in an attempt to wash away her irritation – when her phone buzzed once more. Grace suppressed a groan, pausing mid-scrub to eye the phone as if it were her worst enemy. Thankfully, however, it didn’t continue, signifying a text message rather than a call.
Which meant it couldn’t be her father. Ignacio never took the time to text her. That would require thought and presence of mind; as he rarely contacted her anyway, expecting a text message was completely out of the question.
Grace quickly rinsed her hair and toweled off before stepping from the shower. She glanced down at her phone as she dried her hair to see text message from Emily – one of her best friends and the lead for the play she planned to see uptown tonight.
Just you coming tonight, babe? Should I be hunting for a cute guy to double date
Emily was newly engaged to her boyfriend of two years, Clyde, and the two were inseparable- so much so that she and her girlfriend barely got to spend any time together anymore. Of course, Emily didn’t mean anything by it. She was young and in love and far be it from Grace to rain on her parade.
Clyde was a good guy and it was extraordinarily awesome of Emily to try and set her up with men to alleviate her own loneliness. However, as one of Grace’s closest friends, Emily also had to know what a futile attempt such set-ups were. Grace knew that she was one big emotional fuck-up. Her parents were the veritable definition of marital dysfunction. They had never loved her properly, so how the hell was she supposed to know how to feel about men?
Of the two relationships she’d had in her life, she’d fucked one up immensely, driving the heartbroken boy to move to another state while the second had cheated on her explosively throughout the time they’d been together. Ultimately, Grace had simply found that she didn’t have the energy to care.
She was busy at her job as a PR Associate for one of Boston’s largest tech firms and when that wasn’t on her plate, her parents were still driving her insane. It was all she could do to not fall asleep during dates, and men certainly didn’t find
Tonight, however, she was going to enjoy Emily’s play if it killed her. She’d been promising her friend that she would go to see it for the past two weeks without success; when Emily had finally blown up at her, she’d forced herself to ask for a day off work to indulge herself.
And of course, her father had proceeded to swoop in and ruin it. Now, she would have to rush through her dinner plans with Emily to appease the man, and the mere thought made her scowl in resentment. She sifted through the clothing in her closet almost angrily, ripping a shimmering silver dress from its confines to toss on the bed. It was something she’d bought for clubbing when she was younger and she supposed she should consider herself lucky that it still fit.
If it didn’t, though, her father still would have asked her to wear it and she wouldn’t have found herself even angrier with him. A large part of her was very tempted to call her mother to let her in on their father’s secret. She could just imagine the looks on the old men's’ faces if Alyssa Trellis showed up instead of her daughter and they were forced to spend the night dealing with her incessant chatter.
It would serve them right.
Unfortunately for Grace, she couldn’t bring herself to be so callous – or to excite her mother for no reason. No, she’d go out and get her hair and nails done, pamper herself a little and pretend it was for some tall, dark foreign lover instead of a gaggle of old perverts.
She would get herself all dolled up to confront her father’s clients; but first, she would go to Emily’s play and forget about Ignacio, her mother, and everything that reminded her of them. She was going to have a good time with Emily and Clyde, and even her father couldn’t take that away from her.
Chapter Two: Taken
It had been a while since Vicente had last visited. The last time, his mother had still been alive and she’d expressed a desire to see New York City. Unable to speak English, she had of course enlisted her son to go with her and they’d had a lovely time. They’d stayed in Manhattan for two weeks, treated by Giorgio, of course, to the most lavish hotels and venues.
Amya had enjoyed seeing the city that never slept, even as her cancer had secretly ravaged her. In hindsight, Vicente always told himself that he should have noticed that she seemed more tired or slow, but during that point, he’d merely been happy to see her smile. Giorgio’s intimidating presence often stifled such inclinations, and though they hadn’t travelled without an entourage, being away from the man himself had seemed to do wonders.
This time, he wasn’t travelling to New York, and the trip most certainly wasn’t for pleasure. Giorgio had sent him to Boston on business. There was a certain big-talking numbers runner in the city who owed him more money, even, than the late Mario. The man –Trellis by name – was in for over half a million dollars, and Giorgio was tired of waiting.
There was little he could do from across the ocean, though he had a network of thugs at his disposal should he chose to use them. Thugs usually got the message across. For him to have sent Vicente, the matter must be very grave indeed.
And the Don had sent him not after the perpetrator himself, but another.
How many times had Vicente carried out jobs like this? At least when he was put into these particular situations, they were usually resolved with little to no bloodshed. Giorgio got what he wanted and everyone went on their merry way. In fact, these particular situations were some of the only ones that didn’t frequently end in assassinations.
Giorgio liked blood far too much to keep from spilling it unless he thought it might interfere with his business. Offing important persons to those who owed him money didn’t help his business at all.
Leaning back in his seat, Vicente relished the taste of the champagne he sipped, completely at ease within the lush interior of the private jet. Of course, Giorgio hadn’t sent him alone.
If he was forced to work with any number of his stepfather’s brainless thugs, then he preferred to work with Matteo and Giovanni. They, at least, held no grudge against him for being the Don’s stepson, and followed his orders seamlessly. Additionally, they weren’t as mindlessly bulky of many of the members of the Acconci army. They were toned where they needed to be, swift, and decisive without being overt. Giovanni was a childhood friend of Vicente’s who had joined him in the ranks of the underworld, while Matteo was fairly new, having only been with the organization for about four years.
They were the two men he most trusted at his side should things get hairy, and they hadn’t let him down to date. Slim Matteo was situated in a window seat, pretending to flip through a magazine even as he stared through the thick plate glass beyond. He hated flying, though he pretended to be alright with it, and would remain stiff and silent until they landed.
Giovanni, on the other hand, was snoring on the couch across from Vicente. He had fallen asleep the moment they’d left the airport in Rome and would most likely stay that way until the stewardess served their meal. He had always been a man controlled by his stomach, though one couldn’t tell from looking at him. He was perhaps less compact than Matteo, but his form bulged with muscle instead of fat, and he had lightning reflexes that had more than once turned the tide in their favor in fights.
He just couldn’t be expected to do any fighting before breakfast.
By the time they got to Boston it would be late in the evening. While Vicente had never visited the city, they had contacts there that would show them to their hotel before they prepared for the job that lie before them.
Sipping from his champagne. Vicente contemplated the job, glancing down at the open file in his lap. He was reluctant to do so for simple wariness of how powerfully he’d been struck by the image that lie there the first time he’d taken it in.
The target’s name was Grace Trellis, aged twenty eight.
She was a PR representative for a popular Boston company and only daughter to Ignacio Trellis, the man that owed Giorgio a cool half million.
She was also a breath-stealing beauty of the sort Vicente hadn’t encountered since his impressionable youth. Standing around five and a half feet tall with a figure like a finely carved hourglass, her blue eyes were almond shaped, announcing her Italian heritage. The orbs entranced him so that it took him a moment to take in the rest of her – long, aquiline nose and full mouth with an elegant, oval facial structure framed by a fall of deep mahogany waves that dropped just past her shoulders.
In the picture, she wore a figure-hugging black dress, her hair drawn becomingly away from her face, and she sat at the side of her father, looking distinctly bored. Of course, a girl like her would be bored with the moneyed lifestyle of those around her.
No doubt she’d been spoiled from birth, provided with everything she ever could have wanted. She was eager to get back to her designer bags and shoes and away from the man who treated her like a bauble. He, of course, would have unending affection for her, despite her distance.
Which was what would make Vicente’s job so easy.
He would snatch the girl, demand the money from her father, and Ignacio would pay up. It was that simple. It was either that, or cause the death of his only daughter, which no father would even begin to contemplate.
Once they had rested themselves, they would bring the girl back to Rome. From there, Giorgio would pull whatever strings he had to get the man to bend. It would also put him in close contact with the daughter should Ignacio be unable to keep his end of the bargain.
It was a classic play – one almost as old as the Italian mob itself, and Vicente was hoping that they would be in and out within three days.
However, he couldn’t help the small flicker of guilt that sprang to life in his breast as he met Grace Trellis’ arresting eyes in the picture provided. She was a young flower in full bloom, and though she might be spoiled beyond all rational belief, she was quite lovely. He knew that Giorgio would have no issue marring that beauty if Ignacio didn’t deliver.
In the end, Vicente supposed, it wouldn’t matter. He was sure that after a week or two in the woman’s company, he’d be well ready to have her off his hands. Captive women tended to make outlandish demands while they were being held for ransom and he didn’t have the patience to deal with them. In the space of a decade, he’d gone from trying to fuck everything with the necessary parts to dreading his interactions with women.
All those he’d met in his work with Giorgio were vipers, exploiting what they would, when they could, for whatever profit it could gain them. He himself saw little need to have a woman on one’s arm. They were complicated, untenable creatures – that much he’d learned from his mother.
He had no desire to have the lesson taught to him again.
…”Vicente looked over as Giovanni cursed in Italian, yawning as he struggled to claw his way from the depths of sleep. “Are we there yet? Or is it at least time for dinner?”
Vicente merely smirked. “Stomach telling you it’s time to eat, is it?”
“I never miss a meal, Vicente. Don’t fuck with me.” The blonde Italian sat up on the sofa, stretching, before he reached out to tug the passing stewardess into his arms. She was an artificially pretty thing – with a full figure and long dark hair, intended no doubt to cater as much to her passengers carnal as to their travel needs. When Giovanni grabbed her, she merely allowed herself to be bundled into his arms. “When is dinner,