Wrong (Spada Crime Family #2)

By: Katherine Lace
Chapter One


“Hit me.”

The dealer drops a card. I glance at it, do quick math, and realize I broke twenty-one. Oh well. Can’t win them all. She gives me a small smile.

She’s a pretty thing—dark hair, dark eyes. I wonder what my chances are of taking her home. Probably pretty good. The Spada family’s paying her, after all. If she knows what’s good for her, she’ll say yes to anything anybody asks her.

We finish up the hand, and I accept my losses like a man. Blackjack’s not my game anyway. I should find some other way to enjoy this party. There are plenty of other nice pieces of tail to check out, and I can have any one of them. Don’t even have to play my cards right. Which is a good thing, since that’s exactly what I just didn’t do.

Phil Spada likes having parties at casinos. It’s a moneymaker for him, and it puts him in good with local businessmen. He needs to be in good with somebody right now, since he sure as hell isn’t hanging on too well in his own business.

You want to run a mob organization, you need to be respected. But in the Spada family, things are up in the air. Everybody’s edgy. Nobody’s confident. People are jockeying for power.

I’m one of them.

The party was a good idea, I have to admit, but it’s too little too late. If Spada wanted this get-together to convince us he’s still got his fingers on the pulse of the organization, he’s fallen short by about a mile. Mile and a half, maybe.

Still, no point in not enjoying it, or at least trying to. Nothing’s really sparking me. I try to tell myself it’s just the party—the tension, the emptiness of it, the way everybody’s trying to have fun just like nothing’s changed. Truth is, I’ve been like this for a while. Just…kind of dull. Dreary. Going through the motions, mostly. Ever since Dad died.

Fuck that shit. Time for a drink, maybe, while I try to get my thoughts in order. I glance toward the bar.

Well, what do you know? It’s Salvatore De Luca. He’s got a girl next to him, but her back’s to me and I can’t tell who it is right off. It’s probably his latest arm candy, though. Susan? Sheri? No, Sarah. I don’t understand how any woman can spend more than about fifteen seconds in his company, though. Just the sight of him makes me want to go spit in his drink. Or, better yet, in his face.

I’d better get used to looking at him, though. Right now it looks like he’s next in line to the Spada family empire. Spada’s been grooming Sal since Carmine bit it. Nobody likes that. Sal’s an asshole—more so even than most of the rest of us. If we don’t trust Spada right now, double that for Sal. It’s pretty well agreed upon that, if he takes over Spada’s place, things are going to get ugly.

Well, uglier than they are now. I shake my head a little. Sal’s got to go, and I’m probably going to have to be the one to get that job done. That’s fine. I’m up to the task. Thing is, how do I manage it?

The girl next to him turns her head just enough that I can see her profile. Just like I figured, it’s Sarah. They’ve been together a while—several months, I’m pretty sure. I can’t figure it. Sarah’s always seemed quiet, but solid, and Sal? He’s like a box of C4. You wiggle him the wrong way and he’s going to explode. He’s not known for his humanitarian leanings, if you get my drift. How he ended up with a treat like Sarah is beyond me.

Women. What can you do?

She’s talking to him calmly, her gaze steady on his, and I can tell by the way Sal’s back goes stiff in his tuxedo jacket that he doesn’t like what she has to say. She touches his arm, her fingers grasping a bit of the fabric of his sleeve. Sal jerks his arm back, way harder than necessary, and gets right up in her face. She leans back, but she can’t get away from him. I can’t make out what Sal is saying, but his mouth twists, and it’s ugly when he spits the words at her. Then he slams his empty glass down on the bar and stalks away.

Sarah’s hand comes up to cover her mouth. Her eyes have gone big and wide, like she might cry, but she blinks a couple of times and they clear. The bartender approaches her; she nods, and he brings her another drink.

Curious as to what just went down with Sal, I head toward the bar. Probably not the best idea, approaching Sal’s girl, but…

Fuck. Maybe it’s a good idea. What better way to make Sal look like the useless piece of shit he is? Smirking, I head for the bar and slide onto the bar stool Sal just vacated.

Sarah looks up, surprised.

“Can I get you a drink?” I ask her.

She gestures toward the highball glass in front of her. “I’ve got a drink.”