Home > Made for the Mafia Boss

Made for the Mafia Boss
Author: Cameron Hart

Chapter 1

Darlene

 

 

“Didn’t you just finish that series?” Devon asks, leaning back in his desk chair. He’s trying to catch almonds in his mouth, though so far, they’ve all ended up on the floor.

“Yes, but now I need to find the perfect place to showcase the series for my bookstagram account,” I say quietly, scanning the library books and placing them in my bag.

“Why didn’t you just keep the whole series instead of checking them out one by one? Isn’t that one of the perks of being a book nerd working in a library?”

“I couldn’t hoard these books all to myself when I know there are others who want to read them too. Taking them all at once is just greedy.”

I glance at the clock, noting that Freya should have been here for our Wednesday lunch date ten minutes ago. But Freya being Freya, I don’t expect her here for at least another five minutes. It’s who she is, and I love her for it.

Devon’s chair thumps against the carpet behind the central information desk as he gets up and heads my way. I cringe when I hear almonds crunching under his steps. I’ll have to vacuum that up before I leave.

He reaches right into my bag and picks up a book. Devon scoffs and tosses it down on the counter, not even bothering to put it back in the bag. “Yeah, I can totally see why these books are in high demand,” he says sarcastically. “What the hell is a dragon shifter romance? Girls fucking dragons? Is that what you’re into?”

I ignore his crude comments and try to turn the conversation around. Devon is my coworker after all, even if he’s only here for the summer. Thank God.

“What kind of books do you like, Devon?”

“I don’t.”

“Oh. So…what made you want to take a summer job at the public library?”

“My stupid mom. She said I needed some real-world experience or some shit. She’s friends with the head of the board of directors or whatever. I can’t wait to get out of this dump. I don’t know how anyone could waste their life in a place like this.”

“You don’t have to be a jerk about it,” I mumble under my breath as I pack my books away.

“What was that, dragon fucker?” Devon sneers.

My face burns bright red as I clutch my bag of books to my chest, trying to use it as a shield. I wish I was more like the heroines in my books. Some of them start out shy like me, but by the end, they are all confidence and kick-ass moves.

“Hey dick wad, what did I tell you about being a smart-ass to Leena?”

I smile at the sound of my best friend's voice, even though she's yelling in the library. Again. There's a reason we usually meet outside.

Devon puffs out his chest and stares Freya down. Freya places her hands on her hips, glaring at him. I don’t need her to fight my battles, but it’s something she’s done since we were teens and ended up in the same foster home. Besides, trying to get Freya to back down when she’s all worked up like this will only cause more of a scene.

It takes all of two seconds for Devon to back down. He mutters something about needing to reshelve some books. Freya spins around on her heel and faces the self-checkout, where I'm standing with my books. She gives me her brilliant smile and I return it with my softer, but no less genuine one.

“Ready for lunch?” She asks, looping her arm in mine and turning us towards the front doors.

I look over my shoulder at the mess Devon left. “I will be after I clean up the almonds and the empty soda cans—"

“Yo, Devon! Clean up your shit, Leena isn’t your maid,” Freya practically shouts across the library. We get several glares from annoyed patrons, but Freya doesn’t seem to notice. Devon pops his head out from behind a bookshelf and glares at Freya. He looks like a petulant child, which I suppose is fitting.

Freya stares daggers at him, clenching her fists at her side. She takes one step towards him and Devon flinches. I can’t help the giggle that escapes my mouth. Freya gets a satisfied smirk on her face before turning us back around and practically skipping out of the library.

“That guy is the worst,” she says once we’re outside.

“Agreed.”

“Why don’t you put him in his place? You’re his boss.”

“No, Susan is his boss. She’s the head librarian and I’m just an assistant librarian.”

Freya scoffs and waves her hand in the air as if to shoo away my ridiculous protest. “Girl, we all know you do the majority of the work in that library. You practically live there, even when you’re not working. Why do you even pay rent?” She teases.

“So I can have a place to keep my books,” I say, half kidding. I’ve slept in some crappy places while in foster care; Freya, too. If it were just myself I had to worry about, I’d gladly share a small apartment with a few roommates to save on rent money. But, as it is, I have my books to care for. They need their space. They deserve to be put on display, not shoved in a closet.

Freya snorts and pats my arm, which is still looped in hers. From anyone else, the gesture might seem condescending, but I know there’s nothing but love between Freya and me.

We make quite the pair, strolling down the sidewalk towards our favorite little café. I’m in second, or let’s face it, probably third or fourth-hand jeans, an oversized t-shirt that says, “Just One More Chapter”, and bright red converse knockoffs, struggling to carry my canvas bag full of books. Freya, on the other hand, is rocking a beautiful royal blue sundress that compliments her eyes and fiery red hair. She’s in strappy sandals that are chic and fashionable without trying too hard.

In other words, she’s gorgeous and totally comfortable with her curves, whereas I’m plain and cover my curves up with baggy clothes. We’re opposites in pretty much every single way. She’s strong and confident, though she tends to act first and think later. Freya is the first to admit she has a temper, but she can be incredibly sweet and is the most loyal person I’ve ever met.

I’m more reserved, cautious, observant of the world around me. I don’t think I’ve ever raised my voice to anyone, even if they are rude. Case in point – Devon. I don’t know that I’d do anything other than read if it weren’t for Freya dragging me out to lunch or inviting me over for movie nights.

But, like old war buddies, our shared experiences in foster care bonded us for life. It felt like a warzone sometimes. I’ve always had my books, though. When I needed an escape, I would spend hours getting lost in the lives of characters and plotlines, so much so I often got scolded for having my nose in a book and not doing my fair share of work around whatever house I was living in at the time.

Since I moved around a lot, I didn’t get to keep many books for myself. Though, there’s one book I’ve had since I was eight, Beauty and the Beast. I could read it a thousand times, and probably have; I’ll never get tired of the classic French fairy tale.

The rest of my books came from the library. It became my sanctuary. The one place I felt safe to disappear inside a story and only surface when I absolutely had to. Sure, being an assistant librarian doesn’t pay much, but there’s no place I’d rather spend my time. It’s not a glamourous life, but it’s mine. It’s stable and predictable, both things I didn’t get enough of growing up. Sure, I get bored and lonely sometimes, even with my bubbly, extroverted bestie, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a good book.

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