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Bound by Hatred(3)

By:Cora Reilly

“What are you doing here?” Umberto asked.

“You should pay better attention in the future and keep your breaks to a minimum,” Luca told him.

“I was gone for only a few minutes and there were guards in front of the other doors.”

Bored by their argument I turned my attention back to the redhead.

Gianna put her hands on her hips, somehow pushing her chest out. She really had a body to die for. I wondered if Scuderi had already set her up with some loser from the Outfit.

Gianna met my gaze. “What are you looking at?”

I let my eyes wander the length of her. “At your hot body.”

“Then keep looking. Because that’s all you ever get to do with my hot body.”

“Stop it,” Umberto warned.

Gianna really shouldn’t have said that. I’d always enjoyed the hunt. While Luca didn’t bother once a girl proved to be work, I’d always preferred going after a difficult conquest.

Gianna’s narrowed eyes followed me when Luca, Romero and I left the suite. I smiled to myself. The girl had fire.

Luca sighed. “Don’t tell me you’ve set your sights on the redhead. She’s a major pain in the ass.”

“So what? She’d definitely make my life more interesting.”

“What? Killing off Russians and having a new girl in your bed every other night isn’t doing the deal for you?”

“I like to change things up now and then.”

“You can’t have her. She’s off limits. I won’t tell Father you brought war with the Outfit down on us because you pawed at Scuderi’s daughter. There’s only one way you could have the redhead in your bed and that’s if you marry her, and that’s not going to happen.”

“Why not?”

Luca paused. “Tell me you’re joking.”

I shrugged. I didn’t really want to marry yet, or ever for that matter, but Father had been on my case for months. Every woman he’d suggested so far had been boring as hell.

Luca gripped my shoulder. “You won’t ask Scuderi for his daughter’s hand tonight.”

“Is that an order?” I asked quietly.

“No. A piece of advice.” Luca smirked. “If I ordered you, you’d do it just to annoy me.”

“I’m not a hotheaded teenage boy,” I said, then grinned because Luca knew me too well.

“I just want you to take your time. You might find Gianna’s bitchiness fascinating now, but I doubt that’ll last more than a few days. I know you. The moment the hunt is over and you got what you wanted, you’ll lose interest. But this time you’d be stuck with her forever.”

“Don’t worry. I have every intention of scoring tonight. That’ll make me forget all about Gianna.”


Aria’s & Luca’s wedding


This wedding was a farce. Aria leaned away from Luca and clutched my hand the moment we sat down. It was obvious how unhappy she was. She was trying so hard to hide it, but for me it was plain as day. Of course nobody gave a shit. It was pretty much standard that the bride was forced into marriage, so unhappiness was a given. Nobody ever asked what we wanted. Nobody ever cared. Not even the other women.

It was then that I made a promise I was determined to keep: I wasn’t going to end in a loveless marriage. I didn’t care if it was my duty or if honor dictated it; nothing in this God-forsaken world could make me marry for anything but love.

Matteo kept glancing my way from across the table, that annoying cocky grin on his face. He’d pretty much ogled me throughout the entire wedding so far. I had to admit he didn’t look too shabby in his light grey vest, white shirt and dress pants. Somehow his tall muscled frame stood out even more dressed up like that. Of course I’d have bitten my tongue off before admitting to anyone that I found Matteo’s looks tolerable, especially when his personality wasn’t anywhere close to being sufferable.

Aria clutched my hand under the table even tighter because of something Luca had said to her. She was oblivious to Matteo’s flirting with me. Oblivious to anything but her distress.

I squeezed her hand but then the dance floor was opened and soon we were ripped apart as Luca led her to their first dance as a married couple. I quickly pushed to my feet, desperate to sneak away toward the bay where I could be alone, but Matteo cornered me at the edge of the dance floor, that same cocky grin on his striking face. Why did the bastard have to look so good?

His dark hair was intentionally messy and his eyes were so dark, they were almost black. It was impossible not to check him out. Of course he was perfectly aware of the effect he had on most women and obviously expected me to fawn over him as well. Hell would freeze over before that happened.