“Your boyfriend ruined my plans by killing Luca. Now I have no one left for you to marry and merge our families. So now you are the future, my dear. That means other mafia families will get the word out of your true identity and want you for the Vasquez name, since Castello is no longer.
“I figured you should know the truth, and that your life could be in danger. I deal with some extremely dangerous people. Your mother’s husband not only stole from me but stole from the Irish mob as well. I’m here to protect you. They will come for you and they will kill you in the most brutal way imaginable. Or they will force you to marry into their family. Now I can’t let that happen, knowing you’re my blood.”
“What about Mom?” My lip trembles. “How come you didn’t protect her?”
“She was as good as dead either way, and your safety comes before hers.” His voice is firm, cold, so I get up.
“I want to leave and never see you again. I’ll take my chances with the Irish.”
“Now, Erica, I can’t let you walk out of that door just yet. Your boyfriend, by mafia law, is not supposed to interfere with family, but I have a feeling the rules are not going to apply to you in his eyes. Trust me when I tell you I will make him pay for that. No one gets away with interfering with family.” I can’t help the lone tear that falls. I wipe it away quickly.
“Please don’t hurt him. I’ll stay if I have to, just please don’t hurt him,” I beg.
“There are no exceptions for breaking the rules. I didn’t make them, my dear, but if you choose to stay and abide by my rules I will hold off on your boyfriend’s demise the best I can.”
“How do I know I can trust you?” I stare into his evil, gleaming eyes.
“You don’t, but what I can give you is my word to hold off. And I never break my word. Just know this: if he tries to comefor you he may die, and that is completely out of my hands. My men know the rules, and I can’t give you any leeway just because you’re my daughter. They have to respect me. The only thing I can promise you is that I will not seek him out, but if he comes for you I will not be responsible for my men and their actions.” He gives me a look that sends shivers down my spine.
He scares me, and I don’t want to stay with him, but what choice do I have?
“I’m not going to hurt you. I know I wasn’t there for you before, when your mother was alive, but I’m here now. Don’t you understand that she kept you from me?” He looks into my eyes and I see he’s speaking truthfully, but that still doesn’t explain why he had to kill her.
“You will become the strong woman you’re supposed to be with me. Not this weak, pathetic version of yourself that your mother has created.”
“I will never forgive you for what you did to my mother!” I spit, and his face contorts in pain.
“How do you know that I was the one to kill her? I said she got what was coming to her, not that I did it. You will be safe here for now. I’ll have some food brought in, and there’s a bathroom over there.” He nods towards the far end of the room.
“Where am I?”
“A secure location. Now stay put and I’ll be back soon.”
“You can’t keep me in here!” I yell as my real father slams the door and leaves me alone, to fade away into nothing but a dark abyss of mixed emotions and heavy thoughts.
The location Grady gave me is about an hour out of town. I am risking everything coming here, but I don’t care. All I want is to hold her in my arms again. I have enough money to get us out of town and far away if need be. I have safe houses in many locations.
I'm in the middle of nowhere, when my car creeps up to what looks like an old abandoned house. There are no lights on, and no sign of any vehicles. I have men hidden around the perimeter of this property. I know the risk that I’m taking, but I don’t care. She is worth everything I could lose.
This place looks abandoned. It’s dark now as I silently leave my car.
I see a very expensive SUV parked in the back, pretty well hidden.
She needs me now more than ever. God knows what he may be doing to her. I know he’s her father, but he’s a very dangerous man. The most powerful man in the country has my girl.
Knowing he is her real father makes this all the more personal for the both of us.
The tables have turned and I’m not sure what to expect. Gun in hand, I make my way to the house.
I will do whatever I have to in order to get my girl back. Adrenaline is pumping through my veins when I think it’s a possibility I could lose her today.
Any other job is like a walk in the park, but this time I actually have something to lose. The door is locked so I sneak to the back of the house. One of the windows has bars on it.
I hear crying and I know instantly it’s her. I can tell she’s alone, though, because she’s trying to hide the sounds of her sobs.