He’s as handsome as I heard some of the girls giggle about when I was in school. Even if I didn’t know who he was, I can feel the power he easily yields by merely existing. As soon as he entered the room, there was a shift. How nice that must be. To have such a presence that it alone can scare people.
I lift the gun to my own head. Kane’s eyes widen. “I don’t know. You tell me what you think is next.”
“Put the gun down,” he orders.
“I’m not scared of you, Kane.” I have nothing to lose at this point. Kane is deadly, or so the stories go. Who knows what he might do with me?
“Clearly.” He holds his hands up before taking a few steps closer to me. I start to tighten my finger on the trigger, and he stops. “Do you wish to die today?”
“We all die, but you know that. Many die at your hands, I’m sure.”
“It doesn’t have to be this way. If I wanted you dead, you’d have died in that cage.”
“Exactly.” Why hadn’t he killed me then? “There are far worse things than death.” Today, right now for the first time in my life, I have a choice. It’s something I’ve never had before, and I’m not going to let anyone take that from me.
“I don’t care to repeat myself, little bird. Put the gun down.” His tone is firm. For a second, I almost do it.
“Today, I choose,” I whisper, closing my eyes. “Sorry about the vase.” I pull the trigger as a body collides with mine. The gun fires before falling from my hand. I hit the ground hard, knocking all the air out of me. Or maybe it was the force of Kane landing on me that did it. “No!” I scream in his face when air enters my body again. I try to scratch and punch at him before he pins my arms to the ground. I stare up into his dark eyes, unable to discern what I see in them.
“There are worse things than death,” he says in agreement.
“Sir, there is blood,” Sham says. The other man is picking up his gun from the floor. I see a trace of blood slide down Kane’s neck where I must have gotten him with my nails. “Santino, that’s a lot of damn blood.”
Kane releases his hold on me to slide off. “Fuck, get Doc,” he barks at his men. It’s a scratch. My hands stay where he pinned them. I try to lift them, but everything is so heavy now. Kane’s warm hands touch my thigh, and I try to jerk away. “Don’t move.” He pulls my dress back down that had bunched up around my waist. I roll my head to the side when his fingers brush against my outer thigh again. I’m surprised to see a piece of blue and white glass sticking out of my thigh.
Blood seeps from the wound. “I hate blood. It’s the worst to get out of clothing,” I mutter, my eyes starting to grow heavy.
“Stay awake, little bird,” Kane orders.
“I don’t follow your rules, Kane. I do what I want. I make my own choices now,” I whisper before giving in and letting my eyes fall closed, the darkness soothing me once again.
“His daughter?” I can’t keep the incredulity out of my voice. “He kept his own goddamn daughter in a cage?”
The girl is lying on my sofa being tended to. Good thing the leather is black and the floors are granite. From experience, I know blood can be cleaned off that stone. Doc says she should be fine if she doesn’t aggravate the wound after he stitches her up.
“He said she had sinful tendencies,” Sham informs me.
“We should’ve dusted her father ,” whines Luca.
I notice his suit doesn’t have a single wrinkle or speck of dust on it. I reach for the knot on his tie—“When I told Sham to take the lead, I didn’t mean for you not to do anything”—and tighten. He tries to swallow. I jerk the thin fabric in my fist, and his face grows white from lack of oxygen. “Are you tired of your job? Want to explore your early retirement options?”
He shakes his head violently. I ease the pressure off slowly. “Good. I like you, Luca. You’ve done good work for me in the past. Don’t mess up. We don’t want to be cleaning your blood off the floor.”
Sham keeps his eyes on the ground so he doesn’t give away his annoyance at the other man.
“You can both go,” I order.
“What about the girl?” Sham asks. Luca is interested as well. I’m sure he’ll report back to his lover about my unusual interest in a woman. I don’t care what Kimberly Soritz thinks, but her dad might have a problem. I’ve allowed him to dream of a dynastic match between the two of us for a long time—probably too long. I’ll have to meet with him.