“Please sit, Erica.” He gestures to the chair across from him.
Taking my seat I stare at my plate full of food, but my appetite has vanished.
“Not hungry again?” he asks and I shake my head no, refusing to speak to him.
He huffs out a breath and places his napkin on the table. I must have lost weight staying at this place. I can’t stomach anything.
“Are you ever going to talk?”
“What do you want to talk about? How you abandoned me my entire life? Or the fact that you kill people for a living?” I retort, and his expression remains the same. Devoid of any emotion.
“I didn’t abandon you. I was unable to care for you personally, but I didn’t abandon you per se. I took care of you financially your entire life because your mother wouldn’t allow me near you. She threatened to turn me in, and I’ve worked too fucking hard to just throw it all away.”
“So you just threw me away? Like I didn’t matter to you at all?” My eyes water, but I refuse to let my tears fall.
He visibly swallows, and contemplates his next words.
“You deserve better than this life, Erica. I know that. But you’re older now and I’m established, and you’re in danger. Your life was not truly threatened until now, or I would have just let you be. Your mother and the man who raised you fucked up, but that doesn’t mean you should go down with them.” I actually see sincerity, which surprises me. But why allow Luca all this time to take me against my will?
“How could you allow Luca to do what he did to me?” I croak, and he sighs.
“Sometimes we have to make sacrifices. You were supposed to comply and be groomed for this life. If anything, it has made you stronger.” I think this man is insane.
“Let’s just forget about it and eat,” I suggest, and start to eat my food the best I can. My nerves are shot at this point. I don’t know if it’s the fact I’m leaving and never going to see my father again, or the thought of escaping and getting caught.
No more words are spoken. Antonio gets up after he’s finished, leaving me alone with my thoughts. I stay an extra twenty minutes after he’s gone to make sure the coast is clear for me to leave.
The basement door was left unlocked for me. I tremble as I walk down the rickety stairs. The two men are armed and ready to exit through the back door.
“You don’t need those weapons. He just wants me back,” I insist, and they continue to shove me out the back door and into a truck.
“Shut the fuck up and stay put,” he barks, and I do.
The drive is fairly long. I have no idea where we are because I am now blindfolded again.
The car stops and I hear muffled voices, then doors open and slam.
“Where is she?” Jared demands, and I sigh in relief that he’s here. But I’m scared because they have weapons.
“Give us our wives and we will hand her over.”
More muffled voices and doors open and shut. I’m being pulled out of the truck. I still have a blindfold on and my hands are tied.
“Babe, you okay?” Jared shouts. I nod, holding back my tears.
“She’s fine, now hand them over,” one of the guards says.
“Her first,” Jared grunts out.
My blindfold is torn off my face and my hands untied. It’s like in slow motion as I catch sight of Jared and his men.
When I see his gorgeous face I run to him and he lets the women go, catching me in mid-air as my legs wrap around him.
“Babe, you all right?” He soothes and rubs my back. I’m shaking and crying in relief.
I look over to see Grady, Beefcake, Glock, and four other men with their weapons drawn at the two guards. They wait and watch them leave, speeding off into the night.
He takes one look at my face and I can see the love there. I kiss him like it’s our last kiss, and he returns my kiss willingly. I love this man so much right now it hurts.