Home > Bound By Honor (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #1)(2)

Bound By Honor (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #1)(2)
Author: Cora Reilly

I felt like I was falling. “Why me?”

“Vitiello and Fiore have been talking on the phone several times in the last few weeks, and Vitiello wanted the most beautiful girl for his son. Of course, we couldn’t give him the daughter of one of our soldiers. Fiore doesn’t have daughters, so he said you were the most beautiful girl available.” Gianna was just as beautiful, but she was younger. That probably saved her.

“There are so many beautiful girls,” I choked. I couldn’t breathe. Father looked at me as if I was his most prized possession.

“There aren’t many Italian girls with hair like yours. Fiore described it as golden.” Father guffawed. “You are our door into the New York Familia.”

“But, Father, I’m fifteen. I can’t marry.”

Father made a dismissive gesture. “If I were to agree, you could. What do we care for laws?”

I gripped the armrests so tightly, my knuckles were turning white, but I didn’t feel pain. Numbness was working its way through my body.

“But I told Salvatore that the wedding would have to wait until you turn eighteen. Your mother was adamant you be of age and finish school. Fiore let her begging get to him.”

So the Boss had told my father the wedding had to wait. My own father would have thrown me into the arms of my future husband now. My husband. A wave of sickness crashed over me. I knew only two things about Luca Vitiello; he would become the head of the New York mob once his father retired or died, and he got his nickname ‘The Vice’ for crushing a man’s throat with his bare hands. I didn’t know how old he was. My cousin Bibiana had to marry a man thirty years her senior. Luca couldn’t be that old, if his father hadn’t retired yet. At least, that’s what I hoped. Was he cruel?

He’d crushed a man’s throat. He’ll be the head of the New York mob.

“Father,” I whispered. “Please don’t force me to marry that man.”

Father’s expression tightened. “You will marry Luca Vitiello. I shook hands on it with his father Salvatore. You will be a good wife to Luca, and when you meet him for the Engagement celebrations, you’ll act like an obedient lady.”

“Engagement party?” I echoed. My voice sounded distant, as if a veil of fog covered my ears.

“Of course. It’s a good way to establish bonds between our families, and it’ll give Luca the chance to see what he’s getting out of the deal. We don’t want to disappoint him.”

“When?” I cleared my throat but the lump remained. “When is the engagement party?”

“August. We haven’t set a date yet.”

That was in two months. I nodded numbly. I loved reading romance novels and whenever the couples in them married, I’d imagined how my wedding would be. I’d always imagined it would be filled with excitement and love. Empty dreams of a stupid girl.

“So I’m allowed to keep attending school?” What did it even matter if I graduated? I would never go to college, never work. All I’d be allowed to do was to warm my husband’s bed. My throat tightened further and tears prickled in my eyes, but I willed them not to fall. Father hated it when we lost control.

“Yes. I told Vitiello that you attend an all-girls Catholic school, which seemed to please him.” Of course, it did. Couldn’t risk that I got anywhere near boys.

“Is that all?”

“For now.”

I walked out of the office as if in trance. I’d turned fifteen four months ago. My birthday had felt like a huge step toward my future, and I’d been excited. Silly me. My life was already over before it even began. Everything was decided for me.

***

I couldn’t stop crying. Gianna stroked my hair as my head lay in her lap. She was thirteen, only eighteen months younger than me, but today those eighteen months meant the difference between freedom and a life in a loveless prison. I tried very hard not to resent her for it. It wasn’t her fault.

“You could try to talk to Father again. Maybe he’ll change his mind,” Gianna said in a soft voice.

“He won’t.”

“Maybe Mama will be able to convince him.”

As if Father would ever let a woman make a decision for him. “Nothing anyone could say or do will make a difference,” I said miserably. I hadn’t seen Mother since she’d sent me into Father’s office. She probably couldn’t face me, knowing what she’d condemned me to.

“But Aria—”

I lifted my head and wiped the tears from my face. Gianna stared at me with pitiful blue eyes, the same cloudless summer sky blue as my own. But where my hair was light blond hers was red. Father sometimes called her witch; it wasn’t an endearment. “He shook hands on it with Luca’s father.”

“They met?”

That’s what I’d wondered as well. Why had he found time to meet with the head of the New York Familia but not to tell me about his plans to sell me off like a better whore? I shook off the frustration and despair trying to claw their way out of my body.

“That’s what Father told me.”

“There has to be something we can do,” Gianna said.

“There isn’t.”

“But you haven’t even met the guy. You don’t even know how he looks! He could be ugly, fat and old.”

Ugly, fat and old. I wished that were the only features of Luca I had to worry about.  “Let’s google him. There have to be photos of him on the internet.”

Gianna jumped up and took my laptop from my desk, then she sat down beside me, our sides pressed against each other.

We found several photos and articles about Luca. He had the coldest gray eyes I’d ever seen. I could imagine only too well how those eyes looked down at his victims before he put a bullet in their heads.

“He’s taller than everyone,” Gianna said in amazement. He was; in all the photos he was several inches taller than whoever stood beside him, and he was muscled. That probably explained why some people called him the Bull behind his back. That was the nickname the articles used and they called him the heir of businessman and club owner Salvatore Vitiello. Businessman. Maybe on the outside. Everybody knew what Salvatore Vitiello really was, but of course nobody was stupid enough to write about it.

“He’s with a new girl in every photo.”

I stared down at the emotionless face of my future husband. The newspaper called him the most sought after bachelor in New York, heir to hundreds of millions of dollars. Heir to an imperium of death and blood, that’s what it should say.

   
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