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by Tori Carrington
Description: She'd be the death of him... When undercover FBI agent Lucas Paretti agreed to infiltrate the mafia, revenge was the only thing on his mind. So he never dreamed he'd come face-to-face, lip-to-lip, body-to-body with his first love, Gia Trainello. Years ago he'd fallen hopelessly in love with sexy Gia. But before they could plan a future, the situation got hot and Lucas had to run, leaving her behind. It was the hardest thing he'd ever done. Until now... Because Lucas still wants Gia--madly, frantically ... recklessly. And the scorching sex between them has only improved with age. It could have been so good... If only Gia wasn't the new Lady Boss of the crime family Lucas has vowed to bring down...
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Blaze,
eBookwise Release Date: November 2007
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [Secure - What's this?]: OEBFF Format (IMP) [265 KB]
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One month later…
LUCAS PARETTI STOOD off to the side of the wide front steps to the Long Island Trainello estate, watching as people came and went, none of them leaving a particularly lasting impression. It was at times like these when it was all too easy to forget the past seven years existed. Too easy to remember himself as little more than a kid fascinated by, and proud to be associated with, the family. More specifically, the Venuto crime family, one of the most powerful of five mafia families in the New York City area that had been headed by Giovanni Trainello.
Too easy to imagine that he and Gia Trainello were the same young couple in love, stealing a few, precious minutes alone whenever they could.
Then he remembered his younger brother, Angelo, and he felt the warmth leave his blood.
He fished for a cigarette from a pack he'd had for a month and lit up, squinting through the blue smoke at the street.
Angelo. There was a time when not a moment went by when he wasn't acutely aware of the loss. When he went to his parents' small walk-up Brooklyn apartment and felt that emptiness everywhere he looked, including in his parents' faces, and saw the way they appeared twenty years older than they were.
Angelo had been seventeen when he'd vowed to follow in Lucas's footsteps.
Seventeen when he began going to the Trainello business front in Brooklyn begging for odd jobs.
Seventeen when he'd been gunned down, forever losing his rights to turning eighteen.
Lucas looked down the long, curving driveway bordered by lush, mature trees, suddenly surprised that he was out in Long Island instead of in Brooklyn where his brother had been killed. For a moment he could smell the wet concrete sidewalk that had recently been watered down, the exhaust from cars on a nearby busy street. In his mind's eye, he saw the yellow crime scene tape and the stain made by Angelo's blood.
And the spot on his own shirt, made as he'd cradled his brother's head in his arms, pleading for him to come back.
The flashbacks didn't happen as often as they once did. Which was a good thing. Because if he thought about what had happened to his brother every moment of every day, he would never be able to function. Never be able to focus on what he had come back to New York, come back into the family, to do.
Another part of him supposed he'd purposely pushed thoughts of his brother aside over the past month because the entire reason for him being there had changed, and by all rights he should have quit his cover position as Venuto family attorney and have been on the first plane back to St. Paul, returning to New York only to occasionally visit his parents.
A black Lexus sedan pulled up the driveway, the reason why he wasn't on that plane and was instead still working undercover sitting in the back seat. Gia Trainello. He took another drag off the cigarette, watching her black stiletto heels hit the pavement, her black stockings clinging against her shapely calves as she got out. Her gaze locked with his beyond her large sunglasses and she looked surprised to see him. Just as she had nearly every day over the past month since her father and brother had been killed.
Then the moment passed and she'd either nod or say hello, and circumstances returned to normal.
"Morning, Luca," she said softly.
And just like that the driver handed her her bags from the trunk of the car and the connection was broken, restless ghosts chased back into the shadows of the past as she walked up the stairs to the sprawling Italian villa-style estate and disappeared inside the house.
Gia Trainello. The reason why he'd stuck around.
And the number-one reason why he should still catch the first flight out for St. Paul.
* * *
THE QUIET MOMENTS in Gia's life were few and far between now. Which wasn't entirely a bad thing. The busier she was, the less likely she was to remember that night at the Seasons when she'd shot Claudio with his own gun and then lay there with his motionless body on top of her until Vito's men arrived. It had taken the sound of them gaining access to the room to bring her around to the reality of the situation. And as soon as they'd removed his body, she'd curled into a fetal position, ignoring attempts to get her to move, to leave the room before anyone started snooping around. Or, worse yet, called the police.
She couldn't remember who had dressed her and taken her back to her place. All she could recall was that when she awakened twelve hours later and clawed her way to the shower, her skin was still covered with Claudio's blood.
And twelve long hours after that, when her known world had refused to start revolving again, and she'd felt the shadows of the Venuto family sucking at her heels, she'd known what she had to do if she hoped to ever return to any kind of sense of normalcy: she had to step into her father's shoes until her father and brother's assassins were brought to justice.
In the past month, her days had come to look very different from the life she'd known before. She'd packed her penthouse apartment in mothballs and then moved back into the family house in Long Island. There wasn't a time when there weren't at least five armed men around her, and more guarding the compound. It was almost as if the past seven years in Manhattan had never existed…except for when her partner, Bona Dea Bryan, came to visit her to discuss company business.
Copyright © 2007 by Lori and Tony Karayianni.