A Mafia Royals Romance - Book cover

A Mafia Royals Romance

Rachel Van Dyken

2: Chapter Two

Asher

The first thing I noticed about her was her eyes.

They were brown.

Nothing really that unique about them, except, when they were trained on me, they widened like she was trying to drink me in and was upset at her body for failing her—her own eyes—for failing to grasp everything she saw.

I’d dealt with it my entire life.

The Abandonato Curse.

Being perfect on the outside and the devil itself on the inside—it was a problem unless you embraced the monster, then you were like a walking, talking, sociopath. Lucky us.

I nipped her lower lip, then tugged it with my teeth, liking the way she hissed out my name like a curse.

I could get used to her mouth.

I grinned, fisting her shirt in my right hand, ready to rip it from her body and make her scream out like she’d been in her dream.

“Asher, what are you doing?” Even as she asked it, she was leaning into me, her eyes dazed, wanting, needing.

“What do you think I’m doing?” I pulled her t-shirt over her head and pressed her back against the mattress, against the cool sheet, her dark hair looked like a waterfall of sin against the white pillow, her swollen lips were parted like she was waiting for more of me. “I’m going to take you.”

“Take me, huh?” Amusement clouded her features. “Exactly where are you going to take me?”

“Heaven.” I leaned down and worshiped her mouth. “Hell.”

“Why both?”

“Why do you think?” I whispered in her ear as I trailed my fingertips down her exposed skin, unhooking her bra, then moving my hands to her jersey shorts. “Because you’re…” She gulped her eyes locked onto mine. “Because.”

“Are you really that petrified to say my name?”

“Maybe.”

“If you can’t embrace all of it…” I teased. “Should you really be tempting it?”

“I’m not tempting,” she said quickly.

With one fluid movement, I had every inch of clothing off of her, dangling over the duvet with a prayer. “I think I’m going to have to disagree.” My vision clouded as I tried to take her in, as I tried to memorize the glisten of her skin, the lust-filled gaze she gave without even realizing it. Everywhere I looked, more skin, the curve of a perfect hip, I breathed out a curse. “Tempting, so tempting.”

She bit down on her bottom lip, sucking it between her teeth and then she leaned up and grabbed me by the shirt, peeling it over my head, my necklace clanged against my chest.

She grabbed it. “Why are you wearing a horse necklace?”

“Because I’d rather not tattoo it on my ass,” I said seriously. “We all have to have reminders of what went down, that night, the night at The Space.” I didn’t talk about it, not outside the family. None of us really did, it was on the faces of my uncles—on the face of my own father.

I liked to give him shit—but even I knew that could get my tongue cut out with a dull butter knife. Self-preservation and all that.

“You mean Dante?” She gulped. “The blood?”

“Blood.” I laughed at that, as her palm pressed against my heart, and then I grabbed her hand and kissed the inside of her wrist. It was almost cute how little she knew; how little all of them knew. “I hope you don’t have a weak stomach.”

“What? Why?”

“Because—” I dropped her hand and hovered over her “—this isn’t a one-time thing, so if you’re out, I need to know you’re out. If you want this, want me, then you don’t get to close your eyes anymore, you get the ugly and the beautiful, they come hand in hand, princess. So—” I lowered myself over her, I gripped one of her thighs and spread it with my hand, then spoke against her mouth “—what will it be?”

Claire’s eyes flashed before she wrapped her arms around my neck—I didn’t realize I’d been holding in a breath until it escaped across her sensitive skin. A madness took over as our mouths met in a chaotic kiss that was almost painful. She pulled my hair as I kicked off my jeans, letting them join her clothes on the floor where they belonged.

And then, I was rolling her over me, letting those perfect thighs grip my body as she rolled her body against mine.

This.

This is what I’d been dreaming of for two solid months.

Every time I closed my eyes.

Every time I opened them in the morning.

Her.

On me.

Me.

On her.

In her.

Everywhere.

Only her.

“I wanted this.” Her kiss lingered, why did kissing feel so much better when the person shares their words on your tongue? “So bad.”

“Trust me, I know, you were screaming my name, chasing that ever-elusive orgasm the bed sheets and mattress really suck at giving you.” I teased, and then we were kissing again, hands tangled in hair, bodies sliding against one another, I reached between our bodies as she gasped out my name again. She was hot. Wet for me in a way that made my body shake.

Touching her, exploring her, feeling her body clench around me had to be like finding heaven in a life full of torment and hell.

“Enough,” I rolled her to her back, her throat worked as she reached for me, gripping me—hard. “Mmmm, keep doing that—” my hips moved “—I dare you.”

She pulled her hand away, and then I was teasing her entrance, almost upset that this was going to be over soon, that this moment I’d built up—these minutes would tick by when I wanted them to last forever. I was so damn hard; I couldn’t think straight. Being inside her just may kill me.

“Asher,” Her eyes glistened like she was about to cry. I slid into her to the hilt and covered her scream with my kiss. She was made for me, this girl, this beautiful girl with her pretty hair and innocent eyes. We moved in sync—chasing each other, clinging to one another for dear life.

I never knew I was capable of breaking.

Of letting go without keeping my guard up.

But she made me feel like I could.

And when she grinned up at me, teased me with her tongue and wrapped her ankles around me holding me tight, I knew I would do anything to feel this again—with her, only her. She was it for me.

A knock sounded on her door. I ignored it as her thighs clenched around me as her body sucked me dry, and she held on for dear life. I knew the exact moment she let go because I followed her off the cliff while claiming her at the same time.

Only to have the door jerk open. “Ah, prodigal son, good to see you’re still getting straight A’s in every sense of the word.”

And I was still inside her.

Her face was completely pale, hey at least her bare ass wasn’t in the air. It’s the small things, am I right?

“Something you need?”

“Meh.” He peered around me. “Nice to meet the girl he’s been talking about since enrolling…”

I was going to kill him.

I flinched, reaching for the ever-present gun that wasn’t actually present since I wasn’t wearing any clothes.

I shot him a glare and flipped him off behind my back.

“Family dinner,” he said with a gleam in his eyes. “Oh, and bring the girl…”

Hellllllllllllllll.

“We sure that’s a good idea…” I grumbled under my breath, thinking of all the ways it could go wrong, number one being her running away screaming.

“I’m sure that’s all that matters…” He flashed me an arrogant grin. “Seven, don’t be late, I’m cooking.”

My eyebrows shot up. “Ma’s letting you back in the kitchen?”

His answer was to point to his gun. “See ya… son.”

“Dad,” I said through clenched teeth.

He shut the door.

Claire pulled a pillow and put it over her face. “Just finish me off.”

“Suffocation.” I pulled the pillow away. “Not glamorous, lots of leg twitches and panic, trust me, clean shots are the way to go.”

“Who are you?” she said it more to herself than to me.

I just shrugged and got off of her. “Come on, you get to meet the Family.”

“Dad?” She just had to say again.

“Right?” I smiled. “He looks like a brother.”

“No, that’s not…” She went completely pale. “Wasn’t that…” She seemed hesitant to say the name out loud.

“Hmm?” I waited with amusement.

“Don’t you think maybe you should lead with that next time? Hi, I’m Asher Abandonato, my dad’s name is Chase Abandonato, make that scary as SHIT senator Abandonato, close to the president of the United States, and the only senator in US history to get away with murder and golf with the head of the FBI, yeah that would be good.”

I shrugged. “He’s just dad to me.”

“How’d he find you?” She wondered out loud.

“Ah, they have eyes, ears, everywhere, spoiler alert, we probably have a sex tape now.” I brushed a kiss across her forehead. “Welcome to the mafia.”

“What the—”

“—clothing,” I stood and started getting dressed. “We need to get ready; the uncles get super pissed when I ‘m late.”

“Uncles.” Her voice croaked.

“Sure thing.” I winked. “I mean, if you want to go naked, that’s fine, but I may kill my cousin if he sees you naked.”

“COUSIN?”

“Keep up.” I tossed her the t-shirt I’d just pulled from her body and then walked over to her closet. “I’d go for something you can run in just in case.”

Insert tense silence.

I glanced over my shoulder at her pale face. “I’m kidding.”

She exhaled loudly then fell back against the mattress. “Not what I had in mind for a Saturday.”

“We keep life interesting,” I said, trying not to laugh at her scowl as she finally got up, moved around the room, and got ready.

I stared boldly when she changed.

The last thing I wanted was for her to put clothes on.

Then again, we were kind of out of options.

Within the hour, we were in my car driving toward the house. I figured we were hosting since Dad was cooking—it had always been this weird competition between my parents like Mafia Masterchef or something.

Claire was quiet next to me, and then she turned and blurted, “Are we seriously driving to your parents’ house in a Maserati?”

“Don’t hate on the car, she’s new…”

“Ya think?” She spread her arms wide. “This is a dream, I’m going to pinch myself, no wait, a slap, I need someone to slap me.”

“I don’t hurt women.” I shrugged. “So, unless you start slapping yourself…” I grinned. “What I wouldn’t do to see you slap your own ass.”

She shot me a glare.

“What?” I laughed, taking the next turn and hitting the accelerator. I was going forty over, didn’t want to be late.

“There’s a cop up—”

I laughed, cutting her off. “Who? George? Yeah, we’re tight.” I sent him a wave; he just shook his head as we sped past him.

Claire’s jaw dropped. “What? Did your family pay him off?”

I snorted out a laugh. “Like we would even have to.”

“I don’t remember you being this arrogant in class.”

“Because I’m bored as fuck in class.” I pointed out. “Just like you are, it’s why you purposefully dropped your pencil—have to say, not the most original, but at least it gave me something else to fixate on.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your touch…” I shrugged like it wasn’t a big deal when it was. And then she was reaching across the console and gripping my hand. I kissed the back of hers and let out a sigh just as I pulled up to the large gate.

I heard a holy shit out of her, and then the gate opened.

Ah, fortress, sweet fortress.

I pulled around the circular driveway and tried to imagine what she was thinking. The house was five stories, brick, a bit over the top with security cameras and men in suits scattered around the yard, but normal, completely normal.

For me.

I tossed my keys to one of the suits, didn’t matter which one, they all worked for my family meaning they all worked for me—I was a little shit as a toddler, dropping my spoon, hanging upside down in trees making them chase me through the grocery store.

A real delight.

I opened Claire’s door and held out my hand, she gripped it just as the front door burst open.

“YOU LYING SON OF A BITCH!” Tex, our Capo aka godfather, yelled as he laughed and made his way down the stairs, every inch of him was packed with muscle, the guy was lethal. Then again, all the bosses were. Tattoos and piercings hid behind expensive as hell suits and so much money it was almost exhausting to think about it.

“Swear jar.” I laughed as I released her hand and went in for a kiss on his cheek, gripping his neck with my hand, forehead to forehead. “You know you’re my favorite uncle, but I wasn’t about to say shit.”

“Yeah, yeah. And you told Nixon he was your favorite when you were five.”

“Nixon bought me a real pony; you gave me a gun.”

“I still think it was a better gift.” He held up his hands and then peered around me. “So, you’re her.”

“I think?” Claire offered.

“Guess we’ll see what you’re made of, huh?” Tex winked, and then we were following him into my home.

It was loud.

Always loud.

So loud, a normal, sane human would need earplugs.

It was half Italian half wine induced.

And one whole bout of crazy as I walked her into the expansive gourmet kitchen where the uncles and wives and cousins all stood in astonishment.

Because I never brought anyone home.

Ever.

My cousins were my best friends.

My uncles came in a close second.

My aunts a close third.

My cousins and I were hell to put up with, and we knew it, so we stuck to ourselves, always.

Blood in no out.

“No. Way.” My sister Violet ran full speed at me and then jumped into my arms. “YOU LIAR!!!”

“Love you too!” I kissed her cheek just as my younger cousin rounded the corner and grinned. “And this is why I win every family bet.”

My dad slapped him on the back of the head.

Serena laughed behind her wine glass and winked at Claire while Nixon made his way toward us.

Claire sucked in a sharp breath.

Yeah, my uncles had that effect on everyone. Men were terrified, women were turned on, it was a problem.

He held out the blue bucket to me without looking away from her.

“No guns during dinner, not after last time,” Nixon said with a smirk and flick of his lip ring.

“ONE TIME!” Serena, his daughter, yelled. “He stole the last piece of bread!”

I narrowed my eyes at her. “Do you think you need it?”

“That’s it!” She charged toward me just as Junior, Phoenix’s son intervened and held her back. “Let me at him.”

Junior just rolled his eyes and gave me a, “please stop antagonizing her,” look.

“Should we eat?” I asked the crowd, there were over thirty of us at this point, including the wives, the cousins, ugh, so many opinions and so many tempers.

Serena gave me the finger.

I blew her a kiss just as we sat down at the table.

I went to grab Claire’s hand then realized she looked extremely overwhelmed, so I cleared my throat and said. “Roll call!”

Amidst groans and middle fingers, Serena and Dom both stood. “Those are Nixon and Trace’s kids; Serena just turned twenty, he’s twenty-nine and married, so don’t even think about it.” Dom winked in Claire’s direction. “And the adorable eleven-year-old in the corner playing is their youngest, Bella. She was a surprise.”

Nixon grunted, “Not to me.”

Trace blushed.

“Ewww!” I plugged my ears. “Not at the table, guys!”

Nixon grabbed Trace’s hand and kissed it. Never let it be said that the bosses didn’t dote on their wives, it bordered on obsession.

I ignored them and kept with my introductions. “That’s Breaker and King, they belong to that dipshit over there.” Tex waved. “And they both hate school.”

“Hate,” Breaker grumbled, his eyes flashed to Claire, and then he winked. “You know Campisi’s got it better—”

A slap hit him in the back of the head from Mo, his mom. Damn, but she was violent when he flirted his way out of situations.

“Get there faster I’m starving to death,” Maksim grumbled.

I sighed. “That’s Maksim, he's Andrei’s eldest, he too hates school but skipped a year, so he’s actually a Freshman, you just rarely see him because he’s either in the library seducing upperclassman or reading. His two favorite subjects—sex and science, his sister is Anya, she’s the gorgeous blonde sitting in the corner playing on her phone.”

Anya looked up long enough to blow me a kiss. She was seriously going to ruin hearts when she got old enough to date, which was actually now, but Andrei kept her on a tight leash, he threatened her prom date with a tiger. A real fucking tiger. We never saw him again.

“You’ve already met Phoenix’s oldest and only, Junior.” I pointed to Junior, who lifted his wine glass and leaned back against his chair, all casual like he wasn’t plotting world domination. “I’m sure you’ve seen him around campus.”

Her sudden paleness said yes; she had, in fact, seen scary as shit Junior walking around campus.

“Sergio and Val’s girls are the ones that keep fighting over the bread basket as per usual.” I grinned. “Kartini’s the oldest in her junior year of high school, and Lydia’s a freshman in high school and has already been suspended for beating up the class bully.”

Lydia and her dad shared a high five. Yeah, our family was weird, and getting weirder the more I introduced them.

Claire hadn’t run yet, so I kept going. “And that brings us to Dante’s two girls, the youngest of the brood, the most spoiled, and champions of Mario Kart two years running.” I pointed to the nine-year-olds. “That’s Raven and Tempest.” I leaned in and whispered. “Their names fit, trust me.”

“Heard that,” Tempest said with a wide grin.

“And you already know my family.” I shrugged. “Izzy’s my twin, and Violet’s a year older, she’s at EE too, you just rarely see her because she finds books more fascinating than people. And my littlest and most spoiled sister Ariel is ten going on thirty.”

“Ten, and yet, she can still kick your ass.” Serena made a face.

I sighed. “I’m ignoring that comment since last time we sparred you limped for a week, by the way, how are the freshman fifteen? Still holding on even though you’re a Junior?”

Nixon let out a growl.

“Uncle Nixon,” I held up my hands in mock surrender. “She kicked me in the balls!”

Serena shrugged. “You didn’t like my shirt.”

I threw my hands in the air. “I rest my case.”

“So—” Phoenix Nicolasi, scary as shit boss interrupted with wine in hand “—Marco tells us you’re from Seattle.” Phoenix was the first to speak.

I let out a groan. “You did that on purpose.”

He just grinned, like he liked throwing people under the bus.

“Marco?” Claire frowned. “Who’s Marco?”

More cursing around the table.

And then a slap hit me in the back of the head, followed by another slap, a roll got chucked at my face—from my own mother before she gave my dad a look.

“Too Italian,” I finally said.

“Damn it, Marco!” Nixon said with a grin.

“Fucking Marco,” Tex added.

“Marco…” Izzy cupped her hand over her mouth.

“Polo.” This from Violet.

I turned to Claire. “My full name’s Marco Chase Asher Abandonato.”

“I like Marco better,” she said, probably earning the love and respect from every single family member at the table. Damn it.

I could have sworn I felt my mom sigh ten seats away.

“All right—” Tex stood “—let’s pray and eat and drill her later; we’ve traumatized her enough.”

I grunted. Ain’t that the truth. I just introduced the girl I was falling for, to the Cosa Nostra. Most people couldn’t even say they survived it.

I gripped Claire’s hand.

She gripped mine back.

And look, I know we were praying and thanking God for letting us rule the crime world, blah, blah, blah, but I could still taste her on me.

Feel her slide against me.

I was at a family dinner, completely ready to swipe the food off the table and feast on her instead.

Maybe she felt my tension.

Her fingers inched across my thigh.

I jolted as her hand cupped me and then moved, just a bit, the friction, her heat. I gritted my teeth. How long was this prayer gonna be?

“Amen,” everyone said.

Her hand remained.

I narrowed my gaze at her, but she was staring innocently straight ahead.

Huh, two could play that game. And I remembered hearing of a few of my uncles nearly having sex during family dinners so…

I reached into her lap.

She jumped a foot.

“Everything okay?” My mom asked.

Claire’s face flamed. “Yup, just… great… food.”

“You haven’t eaten anything yet.” Mom pointed out.

“Right.” She swallowed and shot me a glare. I shrugged and faced my uncles again. All the while pressing my palm against her in warning, I had no qualms about getting her off while thirty people wondered why she was having a heat stroke at the table, in fact. I looked forward to it.

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