Home > Sweet Temptation(4)

Sweet Temptation(4)
Author: Cora Reilly

Dad cleared his throat. Even without seeing him, I knew he was uncomfortable. “Yes, last night.”

“How did she react?”

“Giulia is aware that it’s an honor to marry an Underboss.”

I rolled my eyes. I really wished I could see their faces.

“That doesn’t answer my question, Felix,” Cassio reminded my father with a hint of annoyance in his voice. “She’ll not only become my wife. I need a mother for my children. You realize that, yes?”

“Giulia is a very caring and responsible… woman.” The word didn’t fall easily from Dad’s lips, and it took me a moment to realize he meant me. I didn’t feel like a woman yet. “She’s kept watch over her brother’s child on occasion and enjoyed it.”

I’d played with my brother’s toddler for a few minutes when they visited, but I had never changed a diaper or fed a child.

“I can assure you Giulia will satisfy you.”

My cheeks heated. There was a moment of silence. Had Cassio and his companion misunderstood Dad’s words like I had?

Dad cleared his throat again. “Have you told Luca yet?”

“Last night, after our call, yes.”

They began discussing an upcoming meeting with the Capo, which caused me to zone out for a bit, getting lost in my thoughts.

“I need to call home. And Faro and I would like to relax for a bit before dinner. We’ve had a long day,” Cassio said.

“Of course. Why don’t you go ahead through that door. The library is quiet. We still have an hour until I introduce you to my daughter.”

I stumbled away from the door when steps rang out behind it. The handle moved, and I quickly rushed behind one of the bookshelves, pressing myself against it. I glanced toward the door. Cassio and Faro stepped inside. Dad gave them another fake smile then closed the door, locking me in with them. How was I supposed to get out of the library and upstairs with Cassio and his companion around?

“And?” Faro asked.

Cassio moved farther into the room and closer to me. He was frowning, but some of the vigilance had disappeared. “Exhausting. Mrs. Rizzo in particular. I hope her daughter doesn’t take after her.”

I pursed my lips in indignation. Mom was exhausting, true, but his words rubbed me the wrong way.

“Have you seen a photo of her?” Faro picked up one of the frames from the side table, chuckling.

Peering through the gap in the books, my eyes widened in horror. He held it up for Cassio to see. I was nine years old in that photo and grinning widely, showing off my braces. Two small sunflowers were attached to the sides of my pigtails, and I was dressed in a polka-dotted dress with red rubber boots. Dad loved that photo of me and had refused to remove it despite Mom’s nagging. Now I wished he’d listened to her.

“Fuck it, Faro. Put that down,” Cassio said sharply, making me wince. “I feel like a fucking pedophile looking at that child.”

Faro put the frame down. “She’s a cute kid. It could be worse.”

“I sincerely hope she got rid of those braces and awful bangs.”

My hand flew to my bangs. A mix of anger and mortification washed over me.

“It works for the schoolgirl look,” Faro said.

“I don’t want to fuck a goddamn schoolgirl.”

I flinched and my elbow collided with a book. It fell over in the shelf.

Oh no. Silence descended over the room.

I looked around frantically for an escape. Ducking my head, I tried to slip into the next aisle. Too late. A shadow fell over me, and I collided with a hard body. I stumbled back into the shelf. My tailbone hit the hard wood, causing me to cry out in pain.

My head shot up, my cheeks flaming. “I’m sorry, sir,” I blurted. My proper upbringing be damned.

Cassio stared down at me, glowering. Then realization settled on his features.

As far as first impressions went, this could have gone smoother.

 

 

“I’m sorry, sir.”

I looked down at the girl before me. She watched me with huge blue eyes and parted lips. Then I realized who the girl was. Giulia Rizzo, my future wife.

I stared. Beside me, Faro was holding back laughter, but I wasn’t close to fucking amusement. The woman—the girl—who would become my wife in less than three months had just called me “sir.”

My eyes raked over her body, taking in her bare feet, slender legs, ugly denim dress, and the flowery atrocity she wore as a top. Finally, my eyes settled on her face. She still had bangs, but the rest of her hair was long and wavy, trailing down her bare shoulders.

She raised her eyes when I didn’t make a move to let her past and stiffened, obviously surprised by my unwavering attention.

I had to admit that the bangs didn’t look half bad. She was very pretty. A lovely girl. That was the problem. Dressed as she was, she looked like a teenage girl, not a woman—definitely not a wife and mother.

She touched her bangs with shaking fingers, a blush creeping over her cheeks.

She must have heard everything we’d said.

I sighed. This was a bad idea. I knew it from the start, but things had been agreed upon and now there was no going back. She would become my wife and hopefully never call me sir again.

She dropped her hand and straightened. “Excuse me, sir, I don’t mean to offend you, but you shouldn’t be alone with me without supervision, much less stand this close to me.”

Faro gave me a look that made it clear he was close to pissing himself.

I narrowed my eyes at Giulia, not stepping back, but I had to admit I liked that she stood up to me despite the power I held. “You know who I am?”

“Yes, you are Underboss in Philadelphia, but I fall under the rule of my father, not yours, and even if I did, honor forbids me to be alone with a man I’m not married to.”

“That’s true,” I said quietly. “But in less than four months you will be my wife.”

She tipped her chin up, trying to look taller. Her show was impressive, but her shaking fingers and wide eyes betrayed her fear.

“How I see it… you spied on us. We had a confidential conversation that you barged in on without permission,” I said in a low voice.

She looked away. “I was in the library when you came in and startled me.”

Faro started laughing beside me. I silenced him with a glare and heaved a sigh. I didn’t have the patience for drama. For weeks, I’d hardly slept through a night. The maids took most of the work off my hands, but Simona’s crying woke me anyway. I needed a mother for my children, not another child to take care of. “Faro, can you give us a moment?”

Giulia regarded me with uncertainty, still backed into that shelf. I took a step away from her, giving her the appropriate space. Faro left and closed the door.

“This is inappropriate,” she said in her soft voice.

“I want to have a quick word with you. Later, your parents will be around and we won’t have time to talk.”

“My mother will do all the talking. She’s exhausting like that.”

Was she teasing me? Her face was curious and cautious.

“That wasn’t meant for your ears.” I motioned toward the armchairs. “Will you talk to me?”

She tilted her head as if she tried to understand me. “Of course.”

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