Amore part 1, p.11
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       Amore: Part 1, p.11

           Bella Jewel
 
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  He groans, his hands tangled in my hair, and pumps deeper, stretching my lips wide. With a ragged hiss, he comes deep in my throat, and I take every last drop. Only when he slides from my mouth do I look up at him hovering over me, so powerful, so deadly.

  “Stand up.”

  What?

  “What about me?” I croak, standing.

  He tangles his fingers into my hair, bringing me closer and kissing me, plunging his tongue into my mouth. I moan and squirm, pressing myself into him. He takes a step back, breaking the kiss. He does his pants up, straightens up, and then looks down at me with those piercing brown eyes.

  “Good night, Julietta.” He turns and strides from the alley.

  “Are you serious?” I screech, my body wound up so tight I’m about to explode.

  He keeps walking.

  Argh.

  Jerk.

  Smart, beautiful, jerk.

  ~*~*~*~

  RAFAEL

  “I like her,” Vincent says, lighting a cigarette and leaning back in my office chair. “When you’re done with her, pass her on. I need some sass like that in my life.”

  I glare at him, and he shoots me a grin. “She ain’t for sharing.”

  “You don’t keep them long,” he points out. “Not sure what you’re worried about.”

  “She’s mine, Vincent. Don’t touch. Don’t look.”

  He throws his feet up on my desk, which he knows I fucking hate. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re into her a lot more than you’re letting on. I’ve never seen any woman slap you around with a bouquet of flowers. And she got away with it.”

  I grunt. “She didn’t get away with it. Now get your fucking feet off my desk before I shoot you.”

  He takes his feet down with a smirk.

  “Riccardo found the man from the club. I’m going to question him, see what I can find out.”

  “Good. Report to me when you’re done.”

  “On it.” He finishes his drink and leaves my office.

  I lean down in my chair and sigh, running a hand through my hair. I’m fucking tired; it’s been weeks since I’ve had a decent sleep. Between losing my club, trying to figure out who’s fucking with me, and dealing with Julietta, I’ve barely had five minutes to myself.

  Not that dealing with her has been hard. God, she fucking gets to me in a way no one else has.

  I push that thought aside and move out of my office and into the kitchen, where Maria is preparing dinner.

  “That was her, wasn’t it?” Her voice is soft, but there’s a hint of wariness beneath her tone. As if she’s wondering if she should be asking this question.

  “Who?” I ask, stopping at the counter and placing my hands on it.

  “The nurse. The girl that came into the club the other night. It was her.”

  How did she know about the club? “You weren’t at the club. How did you know about that?”

  She doesn’t answer. “She’s the newest one.”

  I narrow my eyes. “I didn’t think you had a problem with how this works. You know this is part of this life.”

  She shrugs. “Oh, I know. I just never usually know who they are.”

  “How do you know this time?”

  She avoids the question again by answering the phone when it rings. Maria doesn’t tend to involve herself much in my life, so it’s surprising that she knows about Julietta going to the club. Did one of my men tell her? Did she have a friend there? I shake my head. It doesn’t matter. I have other things to worry about.

  I move into the kitchen, pressing a kiss to her temple before retreating back to my office and calling Julietta. She answers on the second ring, and she sounds puffed.

  “I’d like to think you’re puffing because you ran for the phone,” I say in a low, seductive tone.

  “Actually,” she says, “I was having crazy, monkey sex with my neighbor. I’m telling you, that man is an animal in the sack.”

  I growl. “I don’t find that funny.”

  “Exactly,” she chirps. “That’s why I’m doing it.”

  “Is this revenge?”

  “Oh, you mean for bringing me to the edge of orgasm and then walking your fine ass away while I was left high and dry? Absolutely.”

  I grin. “If you don’t stop with the attitude, I’ll have to double my efforts next time.”

  “Try it, handsome. You’re not the only one with crazy awesome skills in the sack.”

  I snort a laugh. “You’ll be the death of me. I’m coming over.”

  “Maybe I’m busy.”

  “Too busy for me to finish that orgasm I started?”

  She makes a pleased sound. Fuck she’s cute.

  “That’s what I thought. Be naked when I get there.” I hang up the phone with a grin.

  This girl is way under my skin.

  It’s not fucking good.

  But I can’t stop.

  CHAPTER 19

  JULIETTA

  Another blissful month passes and in that time, nothing else major happens. Rafael sees me daily, calls me often, and is attentive and perfect. I’ve taken a few extra shifts at work, so things have been somewhat crazy. I haven’t heard anything more about the club explosion, and Raf refuses to talk about it with me, understandably. Those are the rules.

  Tonight, there is a work meeting followed by drinks at a local bar. I didn’t particularly want to go, but considering the hospital is providing, I feel like it is an unofficial work function and I can’t say no. So after my shift, me and a few others on my team all attend the meeting and then head over to the bar. I let Raf know where I’m going, but he’s currently busy with business so he doesn’t mind.

  Not that he gets much say so.

  Okay, who am I kidding? He totally does.

  Jacob is being extra creepy tonight, sitting beside me, buying me more drinks than I’m asking for and just being a general pest. I try to avoid him by talking to the other nurses, but everywhere I turn, he’s right there, staring at me. I’m fairly certain a few of those times, I’ve seen him lick his lips, which is just wrong. I excuse myself after drink number four, feeling a little lightheaded. I need some fresh air, and to call Raf.

  I move outside, sighing the second the cool air hits my face. I press my back against the brick wall and close my eyes for a moment, just letting the clean scent move through me. Then I pull out my phone and dial Rafael. He answers on the second ring. I don’t usually call him, but he told me I could tonight so I’m taking the opportunity with both hands.

  “Hey,” I say softly.

  “Cara. How’s your evening going?”

  I sigh. “Jacob is being a creeper, the nurses are flirts, and quite frankly, it’s like having a conversation with a bunch of geese.”

  He chuckles. “Sounds thrilling. Do you want me to come and give you a ride?”

  “I’ll leave soon. I just came outside to get some fresh air.”

  His voice drops low. “Be careful.”

  “I’m always careful. It’s avoiding Jacob that’s proving to be difficult, but I’m managing.”

  “Don’t like that man, not at all. Is he bothering you?”

  “Well,” I say, secretly wanting a reaction, “he did lick his lips when he was looking at me, which was a little freaky.”

  “You tell Josh to keep his fucking tongue in his mouth.”

  I giggle. “Jacob.”

  “Don’t fucking care. You want me to come get you?”

  “Nah. I’m going to have one more drink then get a cab home. I’m so tired.”

  “Call me if you need me, understand?”

  “I will. Bye, handsome.”

  I hang up and tuck my phone into my purse again. I’m about to push off the wall when Jacob comes outside. “Oh, there you are. I was worried.”

  Were not.

  Creep.

  “I was just about to head back in.”

  “It’s nice out here,” he says, coming over and standing in front of me, blocking m
e from taking a step forward.

  “Yeah, it is,” I say, shifting. “I could use really use some water.”

  Hint, hint.

  “How are you liking your job?”

  Crazy man. “It’s good,” I say, trying to step past him.

  He grabs my arm. “I’m not going to bite you, Julie. I’m just making conversation.”

  His fingers tighten just slightly, and I’d swear it’s in warning. Don’t poke the bear. Give him conversation if it means he’ll let you go and you can get the hell out of here.

  “Sorry, I’m just not feeling well,” I lie.

  “Are you ill?” he asks, letting go of my arm and staring down at me with concern. Ick.

  “I think I’m just over-tired and have had too much to drink.”

  “Do you need a ride home?”

  “No, thank you.”

  “It was nice of the hospital to do this for us,” he says, his eyes dropping to my lips.

  Ugh. Get me out of here. “Yeah, it was.”

  “I really like you, Julie. I know that I’ve asked you out, but I’d really love the chance to show you that I can be right for you.”

  Let him down easy, Julie. “Look, Jacob, you’re a great guy. Truly.” Not. “But I’m seeing someone and it’s getting serious.”

  “Really? Because you never really mention him other than to say you’re ‘seeing someone’ and it’s making me wonder if you’re just saying that.” His voice is growing harder.

  Retreat. “I think it’s time for that bottle of water now.”

  He grabs my arm again, pushing me back just slightly so my back hits the wall. “What have I done to you to deserve you making up a fake relationship? It’s not like I’m hurting you.”

  “Jacob, let me go,” I say, trying to squirm away.

  “I only asked for one date.”

  “Jacob,” I warn.

  “What? So you’re too good for me now?”

  Fear starts creeping up my spine when he steps closer, his grip tightening. “I didn’t say that,” I say, trying to figure out the best way to get out of this.

  “I suggest you get your fucking hands off her, right now.”

  I exhale in relief at the sound of Rafael’s voice.

  Jacob looks over his shoulder and both of us see Rafael striding towards us with purpose. Jacob lets go instantly and steps back. “This is a private conversation.”

  Rafael stops next to me, stroking a thumb down my cheek. “Are you okay?”

  I nod.

  Jacob’s mouth drops open as he pieces it together. “Mafia . . . you’re . . .”

  Rafael turns around, taking a step towards Jacob who stumbles backwards. “That’s right, and if I ever catch you harassing her, touching her, or even looking in her fucking direction again I’ll put a bullet right between your eyes. Are we clear?”

  Jacob stammers, then nods frantically.

  “Get out of here before I change my mind and end you now.”

  Jacob turns and runs off, stumbling and tripping.

  Rafael watches him, then turns to me. “You sure you’re okay?”

  “What’re you doing here?” I whisper, so damned in love with this man right now.

  “I had a bad feeling. I was right.”

  “You saved me.”

  His eyes soften slightly. “I protected you.”

  I step towards him and his lips find my forehead. “Thank you.”

  “Always, cara.”

  I hope so.

  ~*~*~*~

  RAFAEL

  “Long shot,” Vin says, polishing his gun. “But I think we’ve got a traitor closer to home than we first thought.”

  My eyes flick to his. “Why?”

  “The information we’re chasing just ‘magically’ disappears, and every time we get close to figuring out what the fuck is going on, something happens to block it off and we’re left with nothing.”

  “It’s a big call to say one of my trusted men is fucking me over.”

  “I know, boss, but fact of the matter is, it’s been a month since that bombing and we’ve got fucking nothing. We’ve lost shipments, we can’t find who they’re being re-directed by, and then the bombing.”

  “You still looking into Julie’s father?”

  Vin nods. “Got Benito tailing him. I think he’s in on something, I just don’t know what. Man is smart.”

  “Fuck, if this all leads back to him . . .”

  “Yeah,” Vin says, lighting a smoke and placing his gun down. “You’re fucked.”

  I exhale. “Fuck.”

  “You need to talk to the girl, boss. Ask her questions. She might be able to give us answers we don’t have.”

  “She’s my mistress and nothing more. I told her my world won’t touch her, and I intend to make sure it doesn’t.”

  “It’s her father. She can give us information.”

  “He wouldn’t have told her a damned thing,” I point out.

  “But if he knew you were involved with her, he might just show his true colors.”

  My eyes flick to Vin. “You’re an evil fucking genius.”

  “All it takes is for him to catch a glimpse of you helping her into a car, or touching her tenderly. He doesn’t need to know what she is to you, but if he knows you’re somehow involved with her, he’s going to lose his shit and maybe fuck up.”

  He has a point. It’s not the best plan, but it’s better than anything we’ve got right now.

  “She might talk, too,” he continues. “If he goes to her, that is.”

  “It’s worth a shot.”

  “Make it happen. In the meantime, I’m going to keep digging,” he mutters.

  I nod, staring out the window.

  I wish I didn’t have to involve her, but it’s starting to look like I just have no fucking choice.

  Dammit.

  CHAPTER 20

  JULIETTA

  “What are you doing talking to Rafael Lencioni?”

  I blink at my father who, in the middle of stirring spaghetti sauce, drops that bomb on me.

  I try not to stammer. Try not to show him anything. What has he seen? What has he heard?

  “Pardon?” I say, my voice far shakier than I’d like.

  “I didn’t stutter, Julietta. What are you doing talking to the leader of the Italian mafia?”

  “I’m not sure what you’re talking about,” I go on, deciding acting dumb is the best option.

  “I saw you earlier talking to him outside a café off Taylor Street.”

  I think back to my day, and I know exactly what he’s talking about. Rafael was outside my usual café that I order coffee from. He stopped, had a conversation with me, and left.

  “I met him at the club one night. He was saying hello.” God, that’s a pathetic lie.

  “Why did he tuck a strand of hair behind your ear?” he demands.

  Did he? Shit.

  “I don’t know.” I shrug, acting casual. “He’s a lady charmer; he was probably trying to woo me.”

  My father makes a wheezing sound. “I’d like to hope you’re telling me the truth, Julie.”

  I glance at him, and he studies me with a hard expression. “Daddy, nothing is going on. I’ve met him once.”

  “He is very dangerous, Julietta. More so than you’ll ever be able to understand. I don’t want you anywhere near him—you’ll end up killed or worse. That man is the scum of the earth and cannot be trusted.”

  I know my dad doesn’t like the Mafia, but he’s speaking as if he’s dealt with Rafael firsthand. “I didn’t realize you had so much to do with them,” I dare to say.

  His eyes flash. “I’m not stupid. I know about their reputation. It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out.”

  “That’s judgmental, Daddy. If you’ve never had anything to do with them, don’t you think stereotyping is a bit rude?”

  He snorts, an angry snort. Oh yes, my father has dealt with them before, all right. That has a thousand questions running throug
h my head.

  “Just do as I ask. Stay the hell away from Rafael Lencioni.”

  I nod, not wanting to enrage him any further, but you can guarantee I’ll be asking Rafael if and how he knows my father.

  Mama saves the day by charging into the kitchen with a loaf of fresh bread in her hands. “I’ve got bread to serve with dinner. Julie, start mixing the garlic into the butter.”

  I nod and move away from my father. I can feel his gaze burning into the back of my head. He’s pissed.

  “I think Daddy does this best,” I say, beginning to chop the garlic.

  “Nonsense. My Julie has the best cooking skills here,” Mama says proudly.

  “You’re biased.” I laugh.

  She kisses my cheek. “Of course. How is Celia? Is she coming?”

  I nod. “Yeah, after work. And she’s good.”

  “Wild child, that one,” Dad mutters.

  “Then it’s a good thing she’s friends with me, being the quiet angel I am. I think I balance her out.”

  He cracks a smile.

  I exhale with relief.

  Thank God.

  ~*~*~*~

  JULIETTA

  “Hey,” I say sauntering over to Rafael later that night.

  He’s sitting on my sofa, which he’s claimed as his own, and is working on his laptop. He moves it aside to let me slide onto his lap.

  “Hey.”

  “Can I ask you something?”

  He nods, cupping my jaw and bringing his lips to my neck. Distraction plus. “Anything,” he murmurs against the skin there.

  “My father saw us outside the café on Taylor today.”

  “Mmmm,” he goes on. “Is there a problem?”

  “He told me to stay away from you. He got really upset. Do you and my father have beef?”

  He stops kissing my neck and pulls back, looking into my eyes. “Why would I have an issue with your father?”

  I shrug. “He just seemed really upset, and kept warning me to stay away from you. He’s not usually so passionate or angry. He maintains he has nothing to do with you, but the level of upset he was tells me otherwise.”

  “If he’s lived in this town a long time, he’s probably heard all the rumors, Julie. He’s probably just worried. What did you tell him?”

 
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