Defying Her Mafioso(76)

By: Terri Anne Browning

Laughing, she tickled his stomach and then carried him over to join me and Zariah on the floor. With Zayne on her lap, she gave me a smirk. “I thought you had meetings this morning with the other capos at Papa’s?”

“Something more important came up,” I told her. There was nothing more important that getting to snuggle with my baby girl.

Her eyes were laughing down at me, but she nodded with complete seriousness. “So I see.” She stroked her hand over our daughter’s back, getting an angry cry in response because the baby thought her mother was going to take her away from me. Scarlett rolled her eyes. “Spoiled little daddy’s girl.”

I sat up with Zariah still on my chest. Rubbing my chin against her cheek made her giggle, which filled my heart to nearly overflowing at the sweet sound. Little fingers pushed into my mouth, wanting me to nibble at them. I gave her what she wanted for a few seconds, then reluctantly handed her over to Scarlett. Leaning forward, I kissed my wife on the lips long and hard, much to my son’s annoyance.

Pulling back, I winked down at her and then got to my feet. Vito wasn’t likely to accept that I’d been held up all day by his beloved granddaughter. I had responsibilities that required my attention. As soon as I walked out that door, I wouldn’t be the loving husband and father I was right then. I’d learned to leave that part of myself right there in Scarlett’s safekeeping, knowing that as soon as I felt her lips on mine at the end of the day that I’d be whole again and turn back into the man who worshiped her and our twins. “Love you, vita mia.”

“We love you too, Papa.”


There are so many people I want to give a shout out to. First and foremost, my readers. Thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart. It’s because of you that I continue to write and as long as you ask for more, that is exactly what I’ll give you. Your love for every character I give you overwhelms me each and every time. LG, MC, and LJ…I can never tell you how much I appreciate you. The three of you keep me sane whether it’s real life drama or writing. Thank you for being the voices of reason and showing me that killing off a major character isn’t the answer when there are perfectly good secondary ones that can easily withstand a little torture here and there. Thank you, thank you, thank you to my amazing editor, Lorelei, who has been with me since The Rockers’ Babies. She takes my crazy babbling and turns it into something worth reading. I can only imagine the migraines I’ve given her over the years. To my children, thank you for understanding that when Mommy’s in the cave, she’s probably lost her mind and shouldn’t be approached. For accepting that even though I don’t leave the house like other mommies do, that I do in fact have an actual job that requires my attention at odd hours of the day and night. And especially for loving me despite zoning out on you in the middle of normally everyday events because a new plot twist or character has entered my head. To the ever amazing Mike Browning, my husband and partner in life as well as work, thank you for helping me take my love for writing and turning it into a career. Without you, none of this would be possible. You’re there when I’m losing my mind and becoming so much a part of the writing process that I act like I’m going through some crazy breakup with a person who only exists in my head. I love you more than anything. Then. Now. Forever.