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Bound by Hatred(9)

By:Cora Reilly


He smirked. “Oh, but I do.” His dark eyes roamed over my skimpy outfit, lingering on my naked legs. “Every inch of you.”

I shook off his grip. “You are insane. Get away from me.” He followed Luca without another word, but left one of his stupid baboons-slash-bodyguards with me. I was so angry, I wanted to run after him and pummel him to dust.

Instead I went over to Aria who looked lost as she stood unmoving in the center of the dance floor. “That asshole,” I muttered.

After a moment, her eyes settled on me. “Who?”

“Matteo. The guy has the nerve to tell me not to dance with other men. What is he? My owner. Fuck him.” Aria looked miles away. “Are you okay?”

She nodded. “Yeah. Let’s go to the bar.” Luca’s two lapdogs, Romero and Cesare, followed us and Aria lashed out at them. “Can you watch us from afar? You’re driving me crazy.”

Stunned, I watched as she rushed toward the bar and ordered drinks for us. Romero and Cesare were watching us with hawk eyes from afar. So much for feeling free and having fun. Anger at Matteo resurfaced again but I swallowed it. I wouldn’t let him ruin the evening.

“You can go dancing,” Aria said with a shaky smile, clinging to her drink like it was her lifeline.

“In a few minutes. You look pale.”

“I’m okay.”

She didn’t look okay, and I wasn’t sure why she didn’t want to tell me what was bothering her. Though I really had no right to complain. After all, I still hadn’t told her about the kiss.

“I really need to go to the restroom,” I said after several minutes of silence.

“I need to sit for a few more minutes.”

I hesitated, wondering if it was a good idea to leave her, but it wasn’t like she was alone. After all, Romero never left her out of sight, thanks to Luca’s possessiveness.

I made my way toward the back of the bar where the restrooms were, trying not to lose my shit on Cesare who was like an annoying shadow. When I returned to the bar a few minutes later, all hell had broken lose. Aria was swaying and Cesare had to hold her up while Romero had his knife buried in some sleezebag’s leg. “You will follow us. If you try to run, you’ll die,” Romero growled.

“Aria?” I whispered, my heart pounding in my chest. She didn’t seem to hear me.

“Take her drink. But don’t drink,” Cesare told me. I picked up the glass, too shaken to be annoyed by his patronizing tone.

We made our way to the back and then down into a basement. Aria’s legs barely supported her. I stayed beside her the entire time. When we stepped into a sort of office, my eyes settled on Matteo who lounged in a chair. His gaze zoomed in on me before taking in the rest of the scene. He pushed to his feet. “What’s going on?”

“Probably roofies,” Romero said.

Roofies? I narrowed my eyes at the asshole who’d drugged my sister. I wanted to hurt him, but the expression on Matteo’s face made it clear that I would get my wish. His eyes held a promise to me. I knew it was sick, but somehow this made me want to kiss him even more.

Something was so wrong with me.

***

Aria and I were sent away before Luca and Matteo started dealing with the bastard, and Romero led us out the backdoor toward an SUV. My heart clenched when I settled on the backseat with Aria’s head on my lap. She was so helpless. I stroked her hair as I listened to her rambling. The idea that someone wanted to hurt her scared the shit out of me. This was probably the first time that I was glad for our bodyguards. Without them that sick fuck would have kidnapped Aria and raped her. But I knew he’d get what he deserved, and I was oddly okay with it. I hated the mob and what it stood for, but right now I couldn’t bring myself to feel bad for Aria’s attacker. Maybe this was a sign of how much this life had shaped me, a sign of how messed up I was. I couldn’t get the look on Matteo’s face out of my head. That flicker of excitement as he pulled out his knife before Aria and I left the room. He and Luca were both monsters. I wasn’t sure yet who was the more dangerous of the two. But the worst thing was that part of me felt attracted to Matteo’s monstrous side.

***



Almost one month had passed since I’d last seen Matteo. Somehow his words about owning me still wouldn’t leave my mind. Every time I relived our kiss, I brought them to the forefront of my brain to let my anger wash away any kind of longing my body felt. The only reason why I even still remembered that stupid kiss was because things at home were so bad. I was constantly fighting with Father, most of the time about my habit of saying what I thought, just like today. “I don’t give a damn what’s expected of me.”

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