Home > Bound By Honor (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #1)(14)

Bound By Honor (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #1)(14)
Author: Cora Reilly

“Really? A lady doesn’t curse,” Gianna mimicked our Father’s voice. “Where did it get you to behave like an obedient little lady?”

I looked away. She was right. It had brought me straight into the arms of one of the deadliest men in the country.

“I’m sorry,” Gianna whispered. “I didn’t mean it.”

I linked our fingers. “I know. And you are right. Most of the people in the garden have blood on their hands and would deserve to die, but they are our family, the only one we got. And there are innocents like Fabiano.”

“Fabiano will have blood on his hands soon enough,” Gianna said bitterly. “He’ll become a killer.”

I didn’t deny it. Fabiano would start his initiation process at twelve. If what Umberto had said was true, Luca had killed his first man at eleven. “But he’s innocent now, and there are other children out there as well, and women.”

Gianna fixed me with a hard look in the mirror. “Do you really believe that one of us is innocent?”

Being born into our world meant being born with blood on your hands. With every breath we took, sin was engraved deeper into our skin. Born in blood. Sworn in blood like the motto of the New York Cosa Nostra. “No.”

Gianna smiled grimly. Lily walked over to the bed and picked up my veil attached to the headpiece. I bent my knees so she could fix it atop my head. She gently smoothed it out.

“I wish you were marrying for love. I wish we could giggle about your wedding night. I wish you didn’t look so fucking sad,” Gianna said fiercely.

The silence between us stretched. Lily eventually nodded toward the bed. “Is this where you’ll sleep tonight?”

My throat tightened. “No, Luca and I will spend the night in the master bedroom.” I didn’t think I’d get much, if any, sleep.

A knock sounded and I squared my shoulders, putting on my outside face. Bibiana and Valentina stepped in, followed by mother.

“Wow, Aria, you are gorgeous. Your hair looks like spun gold,” Valentina said. She was already wearing her bridesmaid dress and the mint color looked gorgeous with her dark hair. Technically, only unmarried women were allowed to be bridesmaids but my Uncle had insisted we make an exemption for Valentina. He was really keen to find a new husband for her. Bibiana wore a floor-length maroon dress with long sleeves, despite the summer heat. It was probably meant to hide how thin she’d gotten.

I forced a smile. Mother took Lily’s arm. “Come on, Liliana, your cousins need to talk to your sister.” She led Lily out of the room, then looked back at Gianna who sat cross-legged on the sofa. “Gianna?”

Gianna ignored her. “I’m staying. I won’t leave Aria alone.”

Mother knew better than to argue with my sister when she was in a mood and so she closed the door.

“What are you supposed to talk to me about?”

“Your wedding night,” Valentina said with an apologetic smile. Bibiana made a face, which reminded me how young she was. Only twenty-two. She’d gotten thin. I couldn’t believe they’d chosen to send those two to talk to me about my wedding night. Bibiana’s face spoke of her unhappiness. Since her wedding to a man almost thirty years her senior, she’d been fading away. Was that meant to soothe my fears? And Valentina had lost her husband six months ago in an altercation with the Russians. How could they expect her to talk about wedded bliss?

I smoothed my dress nervously.

Gianna shook her head. “Who sent you anyway? Luca?”

“Your mother,” Bibiana said. “She wants to make sure you know what’s expected of you.”

“Expected of her?” Gianna hissed. “What about what Aria wants?”

“It’s what it is,” Bibiana said bitterly. “Tonight Luca will expect to claim his rights. At least, he’s good looking and young.”

Pity for her kindled in me, but at the same time my own anxiety made it hard to console her. She was right. Luca was good looking. I couldn’t deny it, but that didn’t change the fact that I was terrified of being intimate with him. He didn’t strike me as a man who was gentle in bed. My stomach lurched again.

Valentina cleared her throat. “Luca will know what to do.”

“You just lie on your back and give him what he wants,” Bibiana added. “Don’t try to fight him; that will only make it worse.”

We all stared at her and she looked away.

Valentina touched my shoulder. “We’re not doing a good job at consoling you. Sorry. I’m sure it’ll be alright.”

Gianna snorted. “Maybe mother should have invited one of the women Luca’s fucked to the wedding. They could have told you what to expect.”

“Grace is here,” Bibiana said, then she turned red, and stammered. “I mean, that’s only a rumor. I—” She looked toward Valentina for help.

“One of Luca’s old girlfriends is here?” I whispered.

Bibiana cringed. “I thought you knew. And she wasn’t really his girlfriend, more like a plaything. Luca’s been with many women.” She snapped her mouth shut. I was fighting for control. I couldn’t let people see how weak I was. Why did I even care if Luca’s whore was at the wedding?

“Okay,” Gianna said getting up. “Who the fuck is Grace and why the fuck is she invited to this wedding?”

“Grace Parker. She’s the daughter of a New York senator who’s on the payroll of the Mafia,” Valentina explained. “They had to invite his family.”

Tears blurred my vision and Gianna rushed toward me. “Oh don’t cry, Aria. It’s not worth it. Luca’s an asshole. You knew that. You can’t let his actions get to you.”

Valentina handed me a Kleenex. “You’ll ruin your make-up.”

I blinked a few times until I had a grip on my emotions. “I’m sorry. I’m just being emotional.”

“I think it’s best if you leave now,” Gianna said sharply, not even looking at Bibiana and Valentina. There was rustling and then the door opened and closed. Gianna wrapped her arms around me. “If he hurts you, I’ll kill him. I swear it. I’ll take one of those fucking guns and put a hole into his head.”

I leaned against her. “He survived the Bratva and the Triad, and he’s the most feared fighter in the New York familia, Gianna. He’d kill you first.”

   
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