Defying Her Mafioso(4)

By: Terri Anne Browning

“He had some things to deal with, but he’s on his way now.” Pushing his coffee away, Cristiano stood and gestured toward my robe. “Make her put some clothes on, Papa. She’s practically naked under that thing.”

Vito’s dark eyes assessed my brother dispassionately. “If you can’t control your sister, how will you control your men? Should I be leaving everything to Scarlett instead of you, Cristiano?”

I crossed my arms over my chest, glaring from one Vitucci man to the other. “I’m not someone who can be controlled, Papa. Cristiano could control his men with the snap of his fingers. I, on the other hand, have a brain of my own and don’t need a man to tell me how to use it.”

Vito threw his head back, a deep chuckle making his thick gut shake. “Dear Lord, it’s been so boring around here without you, Scarlett.” He shook his graying head at me. “But go put some clothes on. Ciro will be here soon and I need all attentions focused on the issues at hand. Not the ones you cause.”

“I’m sure Ciro won’t even care if I’m dressed like a nun or a tart, Papa.” I gave him a kiss on the cheek. “But since Tor will likely murder me in my sleep if I don’t hurry so we can go shopping, I’ll get ready.”

“Shopping?” he boomed. “Who said you could go shopping? I don’t want you girls out of the compound for a few days.”

Victoria stepped into action, knowing her plans would be put on hold if she didn’t start batting her lashes once again. “Cristiano said it wasn’t a problem, Papa. We’ll be out of the house while your meetings are taking place and we’ll have our security with us.”

“Victoria, you just returned from Sicily. My men have to get used to you two and your wildness again,” Vito tried to argue, but I could tell he was about to give in.

“I promise I’ll be on my best behavior, Papa,” Victoria murmured demurely, and I could have laughed at the thought of my twin’s ‘good behavior’. Jesus Christ, my twin was the most mischievous person alive. “And it’s only a few days until your birthday. I want to buy you something special.”

“Victoria…” She started to pout when his tone said he wasn’t going to give in, which had the old man blowing out a harsh sigh. “Fine. If you must go, then go. But be careful. Do not—I repeat—do not run off on your security men. They are there to protect you.”

“Yes, Papa.” She kissed his other cheek, smiling so brightly the room could have been lit from it alone. “Thank you, Papa.”

He sighed again but gave me a wink. “Watch her.”

“Yes, Papa.”

A throat being cleared had us all turning to find one of Cristiano’s men standing in the doorway. He looked like Secret Service, with the earpiece in his ear, and I could easily pick out which side his gun was holstered on. Left side, and probably a Glock from the shape of it. “Adrian Volkov has arrived, sir.”

As if someone had turned the air-conditioning on, the temperature in the room seemed to grow cooler and I felt my father stiffening. I’d heard the name Adrian Volkov before. My father didn’t clam up when he was talking about work in front of me like he did with Victoria. Volkov was nicknamed ‘the wolf’ among most of the Mafiosi, but I’d never seen him before. I knew he’d been to prison—both in his home country and in the U.S.—but had no idea what for.

“Show him to my office,” Vito informed the man. He didn’t speak again until we were alone once more. With his jaw tight, his eyes narrowed to slits and his shoulders straight, he gave Victoria another hug, then gave me a kiss on the cheek before tapping me on the nose twice more. “Get dressed now, Scarlett. I’ll have a car and my best men waiting for you in twenty minutes. Please watch over your sister, passerotta.”

“Always,” I assured him.

Chapter 2


Back in my room, I showered and pulled on clothes. I would have rather been pulling on a pair of yoga pants and a T-shirt, but Victoria would have only sent me back to change. My happy-go-lucky twin was a stickler for the proper outfit for every occasion and shopping, to her, was a time to dress up just as much as a party was.

Sitting on the edge of my bed, Victoria crossed her legs and turned her head from left to right, appraising me from every angle. “That dress is cute. Where did you get it?”

I glanced down at the simple white dress with a red rose on the skirt. It was long enough to hide the fact that I had a gun strapped to the inside of my thigh, so it fit both my needs and my sister’s requirements for shopping attire. “I don’t know. It was just in my closet, Tor.” I pulled on a pair of red sandals and then grabbed a hair tie so I could put my hair into a ponytail. “It’s probably been in there since we left.”