Defying Her Mafioso

By: Terri Anne Browning

Prologue


Scarlett





The aching that was pulsing throughout my entire body woke me. The first thing I realized was that I was in a bed that wasn’t my own. The sharp, worn springs were digging into my back, making it ache that much more. I wasn’t some delicate princess who couldn’t sleep on a damn pea but, shit, those springs hurt. Slowly I lifted my eyes, but the dimness of the room didn’t help determine where I was. I barely made out a chair beside the bed and a sink across the room.

A toilet would have been nice. I had to pee so fucking bad my bladder ached too.

The smells hit me before I could even get my eyes open. Damn decaying wood. Cigarette smoke that seemed to linger throughout the entire room and burned my sinuses. Worst of all was what smelled like ripe garbage that had been left in the sun for days. It was enough to turn my stomach.

I blinked, trying to adjust my eyes a little faster so I could see what else was around me—what kind of danger I was in. The blurring of my vision slowed the process down, the ache in my head and the nausea rolling in my stomach telling me I probably had a concussion. I couldn’t feel the presence of another person, but given the amount of pain I was in, my senses could have easily been off.

Carefully I shifted my arms and moaned before I could call the noise back. Jesus Christ, that hurt. They ached the worst and I realized why almost immediately. They were tied above my head on the bed. There was no slack to let the blood flow freely through my limbs and the slight shifting of them had sent a shot of agonizing pain straight down my arms to my shoulders.

Ciro.

His name was like a balm to my mind if not my body. I wished he were there, but knew if he had been I wouldn’t have been experiencing the pain I was currently in. The person who had stupidly taken me would be dead for even daring to think of doing the things that had been done to my body.

Tears stung my eyes as the full force of the pain my body was in hit me, but I forced them back. I bit into my bottom lip to keep any more whimpers or groans from escaping as I took stock of the rest of my body. I had to keep a clear head. It could be the difference between life and death.

My legs were tied to the other end of the bed but they didn’t hurt nearly as bad as my arms. My chest was throbbing, especially on the right side, and as I sucked in a deeper breath I realized I probably had a broken rib or two. Lowering my head to the bed once more I tried to think through the fog caused by the concussion.

How had I ended up here?

The last thing I remembered was dancing at some club downtown with my sister. Victoria had needed a night out so we had gone out for drinks and to unwind with some dancing. I’d needed to go to the bathroom but she’d been so lost in her own misery that I’d left her at the bar before going alone.

I wasn’t expecting to be gone for more than five minutes. I’d walked into the bathroom and then… Nothing. I didn’t remember anything after that. Not even relieving myself.

Was Victoria okay? The thought had a new fear piercing my chest and anger burning through my veins.

Had they taken her as well? Was she in another room, hurt and afraid?

Just thinking about the possibility had my nausea threatening to overtake me and I nearly retched. I’d slaughter anyone who touched my sister.

I closed my eyes as I listened for signs of life outside the room I was in. Nothing. No creaking boards. No TV. No traffic. No birds chirping. If Victoria was there she wasn’t making herself known. Where the hell was I? The lack of noise was almost deafening and for a moment I had the real fear that they had fucked my head up so bad that I’d lost my hearing.

Another moan left me and my heart lifted slightly in relief as the sound echoed off the walls.

Damn it. I had to stop that.

A new sound reached me. Scratching feet that sounded like they were in the walls. Mice? Rats? Opossums? Maybe a raccoon? Hell, I didn’t know, and as long as they stayed in the walls I would be just fine. If I saw one though… Damn, I needed to pee so bad.

Ciro.

I swallowed back his name, knowing if I spoke it aloud then there would be no force in the world to keep my tears at bay. I wanted Ciro. Needed him more in this moment than I’d ever needed him before. I knew he would come. Ciro would save me.

And then he’d help me kill them all.

Ciro. I need you.





Chapter 1


two weeks earlier



Scarlett





Jetlag had officially set in. I didn’t want to move, let alone get out of bed, but apparently my day had already been mapped out whether I liked it or not.

“Come on, sleepyhead. Let’s have breakfast and then maybe we can talk Papa into letting us go shopping.”

I lifted the pillow off my head to look up at my twin. She was my exact copy in appearance, but our personalities were so different it was like we hadn’t even come from the same mother. Victoria was a morning person. She was actually fucking happy when she woke up—most mornings. She saw the beauty and the good in everything and everyone. Papa said she was so much like our late mother that it almost hurt.