Leopard's Fury(8)

By: Christine Feehan


Another week went by and still he didn’t come. She was fairly certain he wouldn’t now, and she went over every single thing she’d said and done. She’d touched him. She knew better. He was a man alone. He was frozen. Dead inside. Without emotion—and she’d crossed a line.

She wasn’t able to sleep very well, dreaming he’d been shot and killed. Beaten and stabbed. Buried alive in cement. She was afraid to close her eyes. The shop was thriving, but it didn’t seem the same, not without him in it. She kept the news playing at home and work. On week five, she saw a picture of him on the television. He was standing beside another known crime boss, Elijah Lospostos, and his wife, Siena. Siena was the granddaughter of Antonio Arnotto. Alonzo Massi had been a soldier for her grandfather and was now her soldier. The news anchor asked if Alonzo Massi was the new crime boss rising out of the ranks to become the newest don, taking over Arnotto territory.

At least she knew he was alive. Still, she knew he wouldn’t be coming back. And Siena Arnotto Lospostos was gorgeous. She couldn’t hope to hold a candle to her, whether or not her Iceman had declared Evangeline the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Siena might be married, but how could Alonzo possibly think Evangeline was beautiful next to Siena? Was he taking care of Siena? Her soldier. What did that mean? That he wasn’t coming back. That was what it meant.





2





“NOT a good idea, Fyodor. This is the kind of thing that will get you killed.”

Fyodor Amurov stopped abruptly on the sidewalk in front of the bakery, his long coat swirling around his ankles. Glaring at his brother, he shook his head. “Never use that name. I am Italian. I was born Italian. My name is Alonzo Massi. You have to remember that at all times, Timur. It was foolish of you to keep your name.” His gaze swept the other man flanking him. “Both of you should have known better.”

“I’m tired of hiding, Alonzo.” Timur emphasized the name, disgust in his tone. “But I’m not the point. We take great care with your route, never going the same way twice. We change vehicles. We watch over you and yet you insist on coming back to this place. The other men said you used to come here all the time. I’m beginning to think your sweet tooth has nothing to do with the goods in the cases and more to do with the goods behind the counter.”

Alonzo didn’t smile. He rarely, if ever, smiled. His gaze was restless, scanning the streets, the sidewalks, and most of all, looking through the plate-glass windows of the Small Sweet Shoppe. She was there, just as she always was. Working. Beautiful. Breathtaking. He shouldn’t be there. He was the last man that should ever go into that bakery and put his gaze on that woman, but he couldn’t stop himself. Timur was right. She was his Achilles’ heel.

He sighed and put his hand to the door, shoving it open because he couldn’t stop himself. He was a disciplined man in every area of his life, he had to be, yet for eight months he’d come to the bakery at least three times a week. That was him being disciplined. He’d wanted to go every damn day. He’d stayed away over a month, nearly two. He could count the weeks, days, hours and minutes since he’d last seen her.

“Bad idea, boss,” Timur muttered. He was deadly serious and when he pushed past Alonzo to take a sweep of the small interior, his body in front of his brother’s, he scowled at the woman behind the counter—the one who eventually was going to be the death of his brother if Fyodor kept this madness up.

Alonzo paused inside the door, taking a moment to drink her in. Savor her. Just for that moment before she looked up. He found he was holding his breath. A part of him almost wished she had a man. That she wouldn’t look up, see him and smile that innocent, shy smile that told him she was interested in a monster. On the other hand, if she didn’t smile at him that way, he’d be crushed. Shattered. It had been so damned long since he’d laid eyes on her, and he couldn’t take it one more minute. More, if she was smiling that way for another man, he might commit murder and it would have nothing to do with his leopard.

Her name was Evangeline Bouvier. She was small and curvy with beautiful breasts that called to him. Her hair was a thick, dark silky mass that cascaded over her shoulders nearly to her waist. She wore it pulled back from her face in a thick, intricate braid that always made him want to run his hand down it to the very end, where it rested in the sweet curve of her ass. And she had a very nice ass. He spent far too much time thinking about it, just as he did every single part of her.