After a very long wait, my new book is finally out. I'm so very excited for you to read TWISTED LOYALTIES. It's the book that revived my desire to write. Leona and Fabiano begged me to write down their story and I could not stop. It feels wonderful to immerse myself in my mafia world again, to meet familiar characters and new ones. I hope you will love TWISTED LOYALTIES as much as I do, and of course the following books in my new series.
Leona wants to build a decent life for herself, away from her drug-addicted mother. But soon she catches the attention of a dangerous man – Fabiano Scuderi. Staying out of trouble and living a normal life are near impossible with a man like him.
Leona knows she needs to avoid Fabiano, but men like him aren’t easy to shake off. They always get what they want.
Fabiano cares about only one thing: the Camorra.
But his attraction to Leona soon puts his unwavering loyalty to the test. Is Leona worth risking everything he’s fought for, and ultimately his life?
Here's an excerpt for you:
It had been years since I’d last treaded New York ground. I’d never liked the city much. It had meant nothing but loss to me.
The bouncer in front of the Sphere gave me a once over as I approached. I detected another guard on the roof. The street was deserted except for us. That wasn’t going to change until much later when the first party-goers would try to get in.
I stopped in front of the bouncer. He rested his hand on the gun in his hip holder. He wouldn’t be quick enough. “Fabiano Scuderi,” I said simply. Of course he knew. They all knew. Without a word, he let me walk into the waiting room. Two men barred my way there. “Weapons,” one of them ordered, pointing at a table.
“No,” I said.
The taller of the two, several inches shorter than me, brought his face close to mine. “What was that?”
“That was a no. If you’re too deaf or stupid to understand me, get someone who can. I’m losing my patience.”
The man’s head turned red. It would take three moves to severe his head from his body. “Tell the Capo he’s here and refuses to put down his weapons.”
If he thought he could intimidate me with the mentioning of Luca, he was mistaken. The times when I’d feared and admired him had long passed. He was dangerous, no doubt, but so was I.
Eventually, he returned and I was finally allowed to pass through the blue-lit cloakroom and dance floor, then down to the basement. Good place if someone wanted to stop outsiders from overhearing screams. That, too, didn’t manage to unnerve me. The Famiglia didn’t know the Camorra very well, didn’t know me very well. We’d never been worth their attention until our power had grown too strong for them to ignore.
The moment I stepped into the office I scanned my surroundings. Growl stood off to the left side. Traitor. Remo would love to have his head delivered to him in a plastic bag. Not because the man had killed his father, but because he’d betrayed the Camorra. That crime was worth a painful death.
In the middle of the room there were Luca and Matteo, both tall and dark, and my sister Aria with her blond hair like a beacon of light.
I remembered her to be taller, but then again, I’d been a kid when I’d last seen her. The shock on her face was obvious. She still wore her emotions on the sleeve. Even her marriage to Luca hadn’t changed that. You’d think he’d have broken her spirit by now. Strange that she was the same I remembered when I had become someone new.
She rushed toward me. Luca reached for her but she was too quick. He and his men drew their weapons the moment Aria collided with me. My hand came up to her neck momentarily. She hugged me, her hands splayed out on my back where I had my knives. She was too trusting. I could have killed her in a heartbeat. Breaking her neck would have taken little effort. I’d killed like that before in fights to the death. Luca’s bullet would have been too late. She looked up at me hopefully, then slowly realization and fear set in. Yes, Aria. I’m not a little boy anymore.
I looked back up. “No need for drawn weapons,” I said to Luca. His cautious gaze flitted between my fingers positioned perfectly on her neck and my eyes. He recognized the danger his little wife was in, even if she didn’t. “I haven’t traveled all the way to hurt my sister.”
It was the truth. I had no intention of hurting her, even though I could have. What Remo had in mind for her, I couldn’t say. I slipped a note into the pocket of her jeans.
Luca staggered toward us and pulled her away from me, warning clear in his eyes.
“My God,” Aria whispered, tears filling her eyes. “What happened to you?”
Did she really have to ask? Had she been so busy saving my sisters, that she hadn’t considered what that would mean for me?
“You, Gianna and Liliana happened.”
Confusion filled her face. She really didn’t get it. Cold fury shot through me, but I pushed it down. Every horror of my past had made me who I was today.
“I don’t understand.”
“After Liliana ran off as well, Father decided that something must be wrong with all of us. That perhaps Mother’s blood running through our veins was the problem. He thought I was another misfortune in the making. He tried to beat it out of me. Perhaps he thought if I bled often enough, I’d be rid of any trace of that weakness. The moment his whore of a second wife gave birth to a boy, he decided I was no longer of use. He ordered one of his men to kill me. But the man took pity on me and drove me to some shithole in Kansas City so the Bratva could kill me instead. I had twenty dollars and a knife.” I paused. “And I put that knife to good use.”
I could see the words sink in. She shook her head. “We didn’t want to hurt you. We just wanted to save Liliana from a horrible marriage. We didn’t think you’d need saving. You were a boy. You were on your way to becoming a soldier of the Outfit. We would have saved you if you’d asked.”
“I saved myself,” I said simply.
“You could still…leave Las Vegas,” Aria said carefully. Luca sent her a glare.
I laughed darkly. “Are you suggesting I’ll leave the Camorra and join the Famiglia?”
She seemed taken aback by the harshness of my tone. “It’s an option.”
I turned my gaze toward Luca. “Is she Capo or you? I came here to talk to the man leading the show, but now I think it might be a woman after all.”
Luca didn’t seem fazed by my words, at least not openly. “She’s your sister. She does the talking because I allowed her to do so. Don’t worry, Fabi, if I had anything to say to you, I’d do it.”
Fabi. The nickname didn’t provoke me the way it was supposed to. I’d grown out of it. Nobody knew me by that name in Vegas and even if they did, they wouldn’t dare using it.
“We are not your enemy, Fabi,” Aria said. And I knew she meant it. She was the Capo’s vice, and yet she knew nothing. Her husband saw me as I saw him: an opponent to watch. A predator intruding on his territory.
“I’m a member of the Camorra. You are my enemies.” If this journey had been good for anything, then to prove to myself that there was truly nothing left of that stupid, weak boy I’d been. It had been beaten out of me, first by my father, and later in the street and in the fighting cages as I fought for a place in this world.
Aria shook her head, not able to understand. She hadn’t abandoned me on purpose, hadn’t sealed my fate with my sisters by helping them running away on purpose, but sometimes the things we caused by accident were the worst.
“I have a message from Remo for you,” I told Luca, ignoring my sister. I’d deal with her later. She wasn’t the only reason why I had come to New York. “You have nothing to offer to Remo or the Camorra, unless perhaps you send him your wife for a joy ride.” The words left a bitter taste in my mouth, if only because she was my sister.
Luca was halfway through the room before Aria stepped in his way. I had my gun out and one of my knives. “Calm down, Luca,” Aria begged. He glared at me. Oh, he wanted to rip me to shreds, and I wanted to see him try. He’d be a challenging opponent. Instead he let my sister talk him down, but his eyes held a promise: You are dead.
Remo would have never listened to a woman, would have never shown that kind of weakness in front of anyone. Neither would I. The Outfit and the Famiglia both had grown weak over the years. They weren’t a threat to us. If we handled the situation with cleverness, soon their territories would be ours.
I performed a mock bow. “I assume that’s all.”
“Don’t you want to know how Lilly and Gianna are doing?” Aria asked hopefully, still looking for a sign of the boy she used to know. I wondered when she’d realize that he was gone for good. Perhaps when the Camorra took over power some day and I’d ram my knife into her husband’s heart.
“They mean nothing to me. The day you left for your pampered life in New York, you ceased existing for me.”
I turned. Presenting my back to the enemy wasn’t something I’d usually do. But I knew Aria would stop Luca from killing me with her puppy dog eyes, and I wanted to show him and his brother Matteo that I didn’t fear them. I hadn’t feared anyone in a long time.