Title: Ruling the Mob
Author: Kristen Luciani
Genre: Mafia Romance
Publication Date: September 6th, 2018
Cover Designer: Dark City Designs
Kristen Luciani is a USA Today bestselling author and momtrepreneur with a penchant for stilettos, Silicon Valley, plunging necklines and grapefruit martinis. As a deep-rooted romantic who prefers juicy drama to fill the lives of anyone other than her, she tried her hand at creating a world of enchantment, sensuality, and intrigue, finally uncovering her true passion. No pun intended…
“He’s coming. He’s coming!”
“Be prepared. Be ready. Be careful.
“You have a lot of responsibilities, Nico.”
Bits of conversations ricochet off the walls of my mind, eating away at my confidence to uncover an all-consuming fear that lurks inside me like a predator ready to strike.
Because he’s out there. I know it, Dad knows it, the guys know it.
And most of all, he knows it.
Fear makes you weak.
Weakness gets you killed.
I slide out of the passenger seat of my Audi R8, my feet landing on the concrete of my driveway. I slam the door shut and walk the few feet to the front door. Shaye is waiting for me on the other side, hopefully wearing nothing but the apron she uses when she cooks dinner. My stomach growls, but I’m not hungry. Not for food, anyway.
I slide my key into the lock and grasp the brass doorknob, ready to turn, ready to put this day behind me. Each day is just like the last…work, work, work, wonder…work some more…wonder some more. It’s the wondering part that has my brain twisted. I never wonder. I always know.
But this time, I’m a sitting duck, waiting for the hunter.
I don’t f*cking like it one bit, and the loss of control is crippling. And I don’t know how much longer I can bury this shit and hang on to my last shreds of sanity. Sometimes I think these mind fucks are worse than someone putting a bullet in my brain.
I push open the door, but the house is dark. Even the kitchen. One light is on. Upstairs, in my bedroom. Maybe she decided to just order pizza. Later. Works for me. The sooner I can get Shaye naked, the sooner I can dive inside of her and escape all of this other bullshit. Then, it’ll just be us.
The way I wanted it to be.
The way I know it never can be.
I toss my keys into a bowl on the hall table, nearly missing it because I can’t really see it. I kick off my shoes and take the stairs two at a time. Seconds pass and I’m no closer to the top. The staircase looms above me. The faster I jog upward, the faster the steps seem to regenerate.
What the fuck is happening?
I place my hand on the railing, but I don’t feel the smooth wood grain along my palm. Instead, it’s submerged into a sticky, gel-like-liquid…like quicksand. I yank and pull, but it’s useless. My hand is stuck.
I use my other hand as leverage and slap it against the wall. But it slices through the sheetrock, which morphs into the same type of gummy substance. I blink hard at the stairs that seem to lead into the heavens, stairs I can’t even climb because I’m literally stuck to the wall. My heart thumps against my ribcage, blood rushing between my ears.
I can’t move. But maybe I can scream. If Shaye is upstairs, she’ll hear me and we’ll figure this out together. “Shaye!” My mind hears the scream, but my mouth is still closed tight. I try to force my lips apart, but they’re stuck. Just like my body.
My ears perk up. She’s calling me! She is here! I try again. “Shaye!”
Nothing. Nothing but the shrieks that follow my name. And then…
“Help me, Nico!”
A loud crash follows, along with a sinister laugh.
I know that laugh. I’ve never heard it before, but I know it.
I yank my body left and right, trying to free my hands. Nothing.
Bile rises in my throat. I need to break free. Now. All the preparation, all of the planning…none of it matters. This shit is happening now, and I finally need to reclaim my life. I tug and pull some more as her screams get louder and more desperate. I have to get upstairs now. I can’t see through walls, but my gut tells me exactly what I need to know…Shaye is in danger. It’s knowledge I’ve kept buried for years and unleashed without a solid plan for how I can protect her.
It may be too late…