Shadow keeper, p.26
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       Shadow Keeper, p.26
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         Part #3 of Shadow series by Christine Feehan  

  "She would have been that woman," Taviano corrected. "I would have been the man for her, but I'm not. Not with the things that happened to her. Life shaped her in ways I can't undo. I can't be any different, and neither can she." He sounded matter-of-fact, but his shadow was connected with every one of his brothers as well as Emme's. He was hurting. He was raging. His every instinct was to go get his woman.

  Stefano stepped close to Taviano. "She belongs to you. You were put on this earth to see to her every need. You do your job. Whatever it is you need from her, those instincts, those desires and needs are in her. You might have to go slow and find your way, but it's your duty to her. In any case, you're going to go out of your mind the first time some man puts his hands on her. I don't want to be cleaning up dead bodies after you. Figure it out."

  "Yeah, well, I pretty much blew that entire go slow and find my way thing," Taviano admitted. He glanced across the room, saw Newborn crawling toward the door. Unhurriedly, he crossed the room. "I wasn't exactly gentle with her when I took her home the other night."

  He kicked Newborn in the ribs, a vicious front kick snapped out with tremendous force. Newborn howled and rolled over, holding the ribs that had been broken like twigs.

  Taviano walked back to his family without missing a beat. "She doesn't want anything to do with me."

  "What exactly did you do?"

  Taviano shook his head. "Suffice it to say, I was drunk, furious and out of control. Not a good combination, especially when she needed sober, calm and complete control. I'm surprised she didn't try to run."

  "She quit the job at the flower shop," Emmanuelle volunteered. "She got a job at Salvo's restaurant. If you take another woman out, you'd better avoid that place."

  "We don't take women to our territory ever unless they're our proven partner," Stefano reminded. He glanced at Vittorio. "You're quiet."

  "I guess it skipped me."

  Stefano frowned. "What do you mean? Skipped you?"

  "You found Francesca, Ricco found Mariko, and now Giovanni found Sasha. I should have been next, but Taviano has Nicoletta. Emmanuelle comes after him."

  Emmanuelle shook her head and stepped back to distance herself from her brothers. Stefano frowned. "Taviano found Nicoletta before Ricco and Giovanni found their partners. She'll come along. Have faith."

  Vittorio looked a little shocked. "I didn't think of that. I suspected Nicoletta was Taviano's, but until he confirmed it, I guess I didn't count that time."

  "What did you find out about traumatic brain injuries?" Giovanni asked as he slowly made his way across the room to stand beside the moaning, rocking body. Newborn had pulled his legs up and was writhing in the fetal position.

  "Sandlin has one of the best doctors in the country," Stefano said. "Sasha did her research. I contacted him and told him the family would pay for any additional therapy or resources he felt would help her brother. I also asked about other doctors and therapies here in the States as well as other countries. I'm sorry, Giovanni, he said they were doing everything that could be done. He was willing to try a couple of other noninvasive techniques, but as to his memories, they aren't coming back. As for the prognosis, the longevity of his life, that doesn't look that good, either. They want him comfortable and happy."

  Giovanni had been fairly certain that was what Stefano was going to tell him. He'd done a little research and the doctor's name came up often along with headlines using the terms leading edge, cutting edge, the best the United States has to offer the world. He sighed and planted his feet on either side of Newborn's head.

  "I was afraid of that," he admitted. He looked over at his brothers and sister. Each of them nodded. He reached down and grasped the hit man's head between his hands and yanked hard, breaking the neck in the grip he'd been taught and had to perfect since he was young. All the while he looked at Stefano. "Did the doctor specify how long he thinks Sandlin has?" He dropped Newborn on the floor and stepped back, dusting off his hands.

  "He didn't think long. Maybe three years, but that's best-case scenario. He has chronic subdural hematomas. They operated once already, drilling holes to relieve the pressure, hoping to curb the seizures. The leaks continued. They're slow, but even trying twice, they've been unable to repair them. He's getting worse. Eventually, it's going to kill him."

  Giovanni went to the corner and began to peel off his clothes. He threw his gloves and shoes into the bag. Taviano did the same. The others weren't close enough to Newborn to get even a drop of blood on them. The two changed into the clothes they'd brought with them.

  Emilio glanced at his watch. "Sal will be arriving any minute. You can get home, he'll take care of this."

  They nodded and started back up the stairs. "Let's meet at Biagi's in a couple of hours. That should give us time to get ready," Stefano said.

  Giovanni thought two hours would be perfect. He couldn't wait to get back to Sasha. He was silent, as was Taviano, on the way home. He didn't have the right words to say to his brother. He could feel Taviano's temper smoldering beneath the surface. He understood, because if he knew who his woman was, after waiting so long, he'd want to go after her as well. Nicoletta was eighteen and traumatized. Being with an older and very controlling man wasn't going to be easy for her--or for Taviano. His brother was right, she needed careful, gentle handling, and that wasn't in his personality.

  He lifted a hand and sent Taviano a small, regretful smile as the car pulled away. When he turned around, his entire body came to life. She was there. In his home. In his bed. Waiting. Heat sang in his veins and rushed to his groin. His heart beat hard, and it felt like a rhythm of joy.

  Giovanni entered the bedroom already stripping his shirt from his chest. He kicked off his shoes, his gaze on Sasha's body. She lay on her back, her full breasts on display. The sheets were tangled, and one arm was flung out toward his side of the bed. Her curls had come out of the loose braid and her hair was a mass of golden and platinum waves spread over the pillow. Her legs were sprawled out, not too wide, but wide enough to see her golden curls and a flash of pink beneath. Her face was beautiful. Her long lashes lay like two thick crescents on her cheeks. Her mouth was a bow, lips full. Her skin looked and felt like silk.

  He crawled up between her legs, on his stomach, hands to her thighs, spreading her legs farther apart. He didn't wait for her to wake slowly, he put his mouth exactly where he wanted and kissed her intimately. His tongue swiped her lips and then made its way deep. Liquid honey greeted him. Sighing, he caught her hips and began to devour her.

  She said his name on a gasping breath, both hands going to his head, fingers curling in his hair. He didn't stop. Didn't hesitate. He fed. He ate. He devoured. He loved her taste. He loved her response even more. Her clit was sensitive to every rake of his teeth, every hard flick of his fingers, to the laving of his tongue and the sucking of his mouth. He used his tongue and fingers ruthlessly in her, driving her up again and again so that her hips bucked helplessly and her demands grew passionate.

  Her orgasm was fierce, the waves rushing over her, taking her hard so that her stomach muscles rippled and her thighs danced. He wiped his face on the inside of her thighs and moved over her, surging deep right into her orgasm so those muscles clamped tight around his cock. It felt like a silken fist, scorching hot and tight as hell, grasped him, clamped down and pumped. So slick. So perfect.

  He moved in her, watching her face. Loving the look he put there. Loving the way she embraced sex with him. He bent his head to her tempting breast, sucking deep, but mindful that her nipples might be a little sore. His hands stroked over satin skin, taking her in, claiming her, while her hands moved over his body. She lifted her legs around his waist, locking her ankles and riding him hard.

  He loved the way they came together. Looking down, he could see his cock sliding out of her body, slick with her honey, and then disappearing deep, her muscles grasping him so tightly he thought his brain might explode.

  "Look at us, baby," he whispered.
"It's a beautiful sight."

  She lifted her head to look and he saw the flush of beauty on her face, the way her eyes widened and breath caught in her throat. "We are, aren't we?" Her eyes met his. "Kiss me."

  "I'll taste like you." He wanted her to kiss him. He wanted to share her taste. To him, it was sexy as hell.

  She lifted her face and one arm curled around his neck even as her body kept riding, kept tightening. He found her mouth. So hot. So tempting. Everything he could want. The walls of the bedroom disappeared. Sounds became ragged breathing. Hearts beating. Their bodies coming together with a hard slap of flesh on flesh. Her moans. His name on her lips. His love swelling until he knew he was going to burst with it, but he couldn't stop. He never wanted to stop. He kept alternating between kissing her, sucking her breast and rocking her with hard, deep thrusts.

  "I can't stop it," she gasped against his lips.

  "Then don't," he whispered into her open mouth.

  Her body clamped down so hard for a moment it felt as if his cock had been seized by a vicious, scorching-hot vise and then the scalding seed in his balls blasted into her, splashing the walls of her sheath, triggering one wild orgasm after another. He closed his eyes and let her take him straight to paradise.

  He collapsed over her, trying desperately to regain air in his lungs, unable to move. He had no idea how much time went by while her body clenched and spasmed around his. Each movement sent waves of euphoria rushing through him. Her hands moved over his back and down to his buttocks. He felt possession in her touch and he smiled, turning his head to claim the side of her neck. He bit down, and felt her body tighten again around his.

  "That's a good way to wake up," she admitted. "I could get used to it."

  "Good. I'm very addicted to your taste." He took her mouth again. "Good morning, Sasha. This is the best morning I've ever had."

  "We're just getting started," she pointed out, with her slow, sexy smile.

  CHAPTER FOURTEEN

  Giovanni and Sasha joined his family for breakfast at Biagi's Cafe, in Ferraro territory. Giovanni had never felt as much happiness as he did waking up to Sasha. She'd taken such amazing care of him, her mouth working his cock the night before, taking him to paradise. He'd wanted to return the favor in the morning, to wake her, his mouth between her legs, devouring her. Next time, he decided, he would take his time, making sure she felt love in every stroke of his tongue, his hands and his cock. He wanted every morning to be perfection. He wanted her to feel loved every minute of the day.

  She kept her hand in his, even though the people around them stared as they entered the cafe. Imeldia, Bernardo and Leah Biagi's oldest daughter, greeted them. She showed them to the massive Ferraro table where his brothers, their wives and Emmanuelle sat waiting for them. Imeldia wove around the other tables like a pro. She'd been a waitress since her early teens and now was the hostess. She was one of the people in their territory Giovanni particularly liked.

  "Melda, I'd like you to meet my fiancee, Sasha Provis," he said, as they reached the table. He brought Sasha closer to him, not because she needed the added confidence, but because he liked her close. He liked holding her hand. Or having his arm around her shoulders. He liked bringing her in close, under his shoulder, her arms tight around his waist. He just plain liked touching her, and she never seemed to mind.

  Imeldia's smile brightened. She had that high-wattage smile that could charm a snake. He knew quite a few of the work crews ate breakfast in Biagi's just to see Imeldia smile at them.

  "How lovely to meet you," Melda said instantly. "I've known Giovanni for years and he's always up to no good, so watch him closely," she cautioned with a wink.

  Sasha smiled back. "I'll do that."

  Giovanni pulled out her chair for her and waved at John and Suzette Balboni, owners of Balboni Hardware. John had taken a bullet the same time Giovanni had, when the Ferraro family had been attacked. John looked good. Fit. Giovanni knew Stefano and the others had visited him twice in the hospital and a couple of times at his home. Francesca and Emmanuelle had kept close tabs on his progress and the needs of the family while he was laid up.

  "It's good to see John out," he told his brothers as he seated Sasha and dropped into the chair beside her. Close. He reached out and put one hand on her thigh. As always, she didn't flinch away from him. She rested her palm over the back of his hand.

  His brothers and their women greeted Sasha. Emmanuelle just smiled. She looked tired and unhappy. So did Taviano. Giovanni squeezed Sasha's hand. He understood his brother and sister, how their lives could be lonely right in the midst of their large, loving family. "How's John doing?" he asked Emmanuelle. He knew Francesca would probably have all the information, but he wanted to engage his younger sister.

  She nodded. "He's so much better. I actually think physical therapy helped him more than just recover from his injury. He and Suzette joined the gym, and they work out together. You see them together much more often. They laugh all the time. I think they both realized John could have been killed and they pay attention to their marriage more."

  "It's all about sex," Vittorio announced gravely, using a wise voice. "Good sex with the perfect partner. She nearly lost him and she's all over him. He's happy again."

  "Is that what it takes to make a man happy?" Emmanuelle asked.

  "Yes," her brothers chorused, Giovanni included.

  Emmanuelle rolled her eyes.

  "Fast cars," Ricco added. "And ropes."

  "Food"--Vittorio indicated the menu with the bread he was holding--"really good food."

  "Good sex and good food," Emmanuelle echoed. She shook her head, but there was a ghost of a smile curving her bottom lip. "You boys."

  Giovanni leaned into Sasha and put his mouth against her ear. "Nipple clamps," he whispered.

  Her skin flushed a delicate rose. She tried hard to give him a quelling look, but her laughter was too close to the surface.

  "Dio, I'm in love with you," he added, his lips brushing her earlobe deliberately. He couldn't resist temptation. He caught her lobe in his teeth and bit down just hard enough for her eyes to widen in shock and her mouth to open slightly. Her breath slipped out in a heady rush. She dug her fingers into his thigh.

  Very gently, he put his hand over hers and pressed her palm into the muscle of his thigh. "Breathe," he whispered and brushed a kiss over the little sting.

  A young waitress approached their table. She smiled at Ricco, looking at him as if he might be her hero. Ricco inclined his head. "Rita. I heard your studies went very well this last semester. How are you doing?"

  "Great. I really appreciate the scholarship, Mr. Ferraro," she said. She glanced over her shoulder, smiling at the boy bussing the table just over from theirs. "Maso is doing awesome as well. He really likes working here, and he's gotten fast." She made a little face. "There was some breakage at first. A lot of it," she corrected with a grin, "but he's over that phase."

  "Good. I hear very good things about both of you," Ricco said.

  "What can I get you this morning?" she asked.

  As they were giving their orders, the door opened, allowing in a swirl of cool air and two obvious detectives dressed in long, brown, almost identical trench coats. Giovanni tightened his hold on Sasha's hand. He made a small sound, one that alerted his family to the presence of the two policemen.

  They fell silent as the cops approached. Both showed their IDs, although it was silly to do so as Giovanni recognized both from when they had come to Sasha's apartment. "Detectives Maverick and Bradshaw." He nodded to them. "What can we do for you? Or have you come in for breakfast? The food is the best."

  Art Maverick looked from Sasha's face to Giovanni's. "How are you, Ms. Provis?"

  "I'm good, thank you for asking," Sasha said. "I haven't been back to my apartment."

  "I've arranged for a cleaning company to come in," Giovanni said. "I'd prefer she doesn't go back until we're certain we removed every single camera and there is no eviden
ce whatsoever of her stalker anywhere in her home."

  "You might think about changing the locks on the doors and windows as well," Jason Bradshaw advised. "Have you had any more trouble with him?"

  Giovanni pressed her palm harder into his thigh. He didn't dare look at her. His family sat very silently, waiting to see how Sasha would handle her first test--lying to the police. She shook her head.

  "That's odd. He was so aggressive in your apartment. The wine, the lingerie, the entire scene, using everything in your bathroom and leaving his own towels. I would have thought he would have come at you more aggressively,"Maverick said, the frown on his face revealing he was attempting to figure out her stalker's next move.

  "What can we do for you?" Stefano asked.

  Both detectives immediately turned their attention to the head of the Ferraro family. "John Darby has made allegations against you. He claims you came to his home and beat him up, staged him looking at porn and released the video to every outlet imaginable."

  Stefano frowned and looked first at Francesca, and then at his brothers. "John Darby?"

  "He's a reality television star," Giovanni supplied. "He came to the club several nights ago and caused problems. Security threw him out."

  "I wasn't even there, was I?" Stefano asked. "I don't remember dealing with him."

  "He claimed you came to his house," Maverick supplied.

  "While I might not be opposed to beating someone up if they deserved it, I'm not in the habit of making porn films, or whatever he is alleging I did." He sighed. "I suppose we're going to have to call Vinci. Our lawyer can deal with this. I keep hoping people will leave us alone, but they always seem to find new ways to try to get money."

  "When was this supposed to have taken place?" Francesca asked, glaring at the two detectives.

  Maverick gave the date, and Francesca looked outraged. "We were at the club. Celebrating. All of us. Stefano included. We danced most of the night. Drank a little too much and closed the place down. In case you're wondering, I was the one dancing with Stefano."

  Mariko nodded. "We were all there."

  Bradshaw glanced at Sasha. She nodded her head. "It was crazy busy that night. All the Ferraros were there. Even a couple of cousins from New York. They stayed all night. Stefano and Francesca danced nearly every dance, and when they weren't, they were at the table."

 
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Comments 1

DEESTA WILEY
DEESTA WILEY 10 January 2019 09:13
0
Love this the Shadow Rider series. Look forward to seeing more from Ms Feehan
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