Brizio DeLuca - Sneak Peek
Updated: Jan 14
Savage Bloodline Series
Copyright © 2023 by Keta Kendric
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher and author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Locales and public names are sometimes used for atmospheric purposes. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or to businesses, companies, events, institutions, or locales is completely coincidental.
Maya: I couldn’t leave well enough alone. My obsession with finding out what happened to my brother led me into the hands of Brizio DeLuca. His offer to help me came with a set of rules and instructions that set me on a path lined with torture, death, and destruction.
Brizio: I was minding my business and working on becoming a better man. And here she comes. Maya waltzed into my club and brought with her a mountain of trouble, the kind of trouble that whispered sweet nothings to my dark side.
Warning: This book is an interracial romance that contains explicit language, graphic violence, and strong sexual content. It is intended for adults.
Who the hell is that and why is she questioning my customers?
My eyes squinted into slits, while reading her lips. The large monitors I stood behind in my club’s office aided me in making out enough to know that she was asking questions about the person in the picture she would occasionally flash.
First, Primo, my cousin and Capo of St. Louis, with his new girlfriend showing up out of the blue tonight. Now her. She was in my club a few weeks ago, and although she exhibited strange behavior like she was casing the place, I hadn’t confronted her.
Now, she solicited men, feigning interest to gain their attention so she could question them. From what I could tell, they weren’t taking her interrogation sessions well, some threatening to hurt her.
There was something about her even at a distance and scaled down to a stilled image on one of my monitors that didn’t give off a cop vibe. She was too reckless. The person she was asking about had to have been a missing or dead loved one. A sister, brother, or close friend.
An exhausting sigh did nothing to alleviate my building tension. There was more important shit going on in my family than for me to be dealing with this shit. I would have to go and break this up before she ended up in a physical altercation. Surely the woman had enough sense to know that being sexy wasn’t enough to keep a man from laying hands on her.
Threading through the crowd I picked up bits of conversation here and there, but nothing stood out. The accidental bumps, seductive smiles, and admiring eyes from females and the occasional male was the norm. I pretended to be flattered by the attention and handed out a few cheek and back of the hand kisses because it was good for business.
Truth was, it took a lot for a woman to keep my interest, more than a lot of these women were willing to give, I was sure. Therefore, I didn’t stick around long enough to lavish them with too much attention.
I sped up, bumping into people in an attempt to get to the woman before the man she augured with decked her. He had already gripped her by the shoulders and shook her, but the aggressive action had no effect on the determined woman. Now, his fists were balled up at his sides and his eyes narrowed into slits.
“Is everything all right here?” I questioned, stepping between the two and invading their personal spaces. The man stood to my left, the woman to my right. My gaze landed on the woman.
Up close, she was gorgeous. Her perfectly symmetrical face showed off lush pouty lips, a cute nose, and big expressive eyes, all aligned just right. Five-seven. My quick eye captured her height in a second flat. Body fit, but with enough curves to give those jeans and the top she wore enough definition to drag in major attention.
The light bounced off her sugary-brown skin tone, so unblemished it begged for a few bruises, or perhaps a little rope burn. Images of me yanking those shoulder length reddish-brown untamed curls, while slapping her round, drool worthy ass was already on replay in my head.
A light touch of dark, smokey makeup encircled big brown eyes while the blush red lipstick on her lush lips was sending me a personal request to be smeared.
How could this woman be so damn right and ready for me and not even know my name?
She’d made me forget why I was here in the first place, a sign that I needed to turn my ass around and leave her alone. I rarely get distracted, and she’d done it without even trying.
“This is none of your concern,” she stated, leveling me with a side-eye dangerous enough to cause physical damage.
In my peripheral vision, the man bristled. He had enough sense to keep his mouth shut, an indication that he at least had a clue as to who I was in name or in ownership of this club. Didn’t matter to me either way.
Since it would be a waste of time talking to the mouthy woman , I turned my gaze on the man.
“Walk away now, while you still have the legs to do so.”
He scoffed and threw up his hands.
“She’s not worth the trouble,” he muttered before turning abruptly in the opposite direction. He was a damned liar. Little Ms. Mouthy was worth some trouble, I just hadn’t determined how much yet.
“I’m out of here,” the man muttered over his shoulder before stepping off and mingling with a crowd of dancers flashing white teeth and welcoming him with open arms.
Hands on sexy ass hips. Big brown eyes leveled on me, squinting. I ignored the stare and took my time letting my gaze travel from the top of her head to her feet and back up. Sexy as hell-lit sin, any idiot who walked away from her had a weak ass ego.
“I should charge you for looking at me that way,” she said. “Why are you all up in my…”
“Brizio,” I said, cutting into a statement I knew would be full of venom based on the danger in her one-eyed squint and the wrinkle above her nose like I gave off an odor.
She wanted a fight, of that I was sure. Someone hadn’t just pissed in her cereal this morning, they had dropped their pants and taken a shit in it .
“You’re inside my establishment, so your business is my business,” I stated, taking a deliberate step closer, although I was sure intimidation wasn’t a tactic that worked on this woman. She was as wild as a stallion that needed to be broken, and I had just the thing to tame her sexy ass.
“Look B3co, or whatever your name is.”
She knew damn well what I’d told her my name was, but she could have that one jab.
“Just because this is your little club,” she said, dragging out the word club like it tasted nasty on her tongue. “It doesn’t mean you can tell me who I can and can’t talk to. You can move it right along and pretend to be the boss of someone else.”
She actually sized me up, running a scathing gaze up and down my body like I bothered her trouble-making ass. And she wasn’t done.
“I don’t care if this club belongs to the Pope. I’ll ask whoever I want, whatever I want.”
I wasn’t used to anyone speaking to me this way. Normally, I wouldn’t tolerate this kind of lip from anyone, but something about this particular mouthy ass woman made me like the opposition she posed.
She was a challenge if I ever saw one and although her vibe and expressions breathed a serious attitude, there was a vulnerability hidden within the depths of her eyes that revealed itself to me.
I took another half step, so close now, her warm breath breezed along my face. My voice dropped an octave lower, my unflinching gaze at war with hers.
“I’ll pick you up and carry you out of here myself if you’re here to start trouble.”
“I wish like hell you would put your hands on me.” She edged closer, throwing her chin up in defiance, her eyes projecting a dare so serious, I hiked up a brow.
“Try it, and this club will be mine by next week,” she spat, dripping sass like her body was oversaturated with it.
Her words sliced through me like a flaming knife through butter, and although her attitude irked my damn nerves, I liked the kind of whiplash her tongue was capable of dishing out.
If only she knew how badly I wanted to toss her across my shoulder and spank her ass until it was raw. Even better, marching her down to my sandbox so we can play adults games that would have her begging me to untie her or pull the rope tighter.
“Is everything okay?” a female voice broke into our stare off. When I managed to lure my gaze away from the piercing gaze of the unruly woman in front of me, it landed on a familiar face.
I was tempted to crack a smile at the woman who may as well have been my new cousin-in-law the way Primo had been holding her a little while ago in our meeting. His body language clearly conveyed that she was his and if anybody was bold enough to say differently, balls were getting cut off.
She stood beside the mess-starter I was currently in battle with, her posture fierce and territorial. Were they sisters?
“Everything is fine. I’m just playing the part of Peacekeeper, so your friend here will stop stirring up trouble in my club. She’s agitating my customers,” I said, my eyes back on the one I was still tempted to toss across my shoulder.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Primo’s woman stated before snatching the messy one by the arm and dragging her away. I turned and stared after them, catching the eyes of my opponent when she glanced back and tossed a teasing smirk across her shoulder. My gaze chased them until the crowd hid them from view.
My interest was piqued now. Who was she and why had she been acting like a rookie detective with my customers?
Once I was back in my office, I rewound the surveillance footage to capture a clear image of the object of my intrigue. With a message attached to a clear photo of her, I sent it to my detective contact, head of homicide for the SLPD, Johne Crawford. For ten grand a month, he was my loyal eyes and ears in the precinct.
Although a quarter of law enforcement in this city was on the DeLuca payroll in some capacity or other, Johne was known for being straight-laced and by the book. In the four years that I’ve been dealing with him he was so meticulously careful that he’d never been caught doing anything outside the law. Had even earned several bonuses for finding two double agents who worked for us as well as reported information on us back to the Soldanos family against us.
Lifting my phone to my ear, I focused on the frozen image of Ms. Messy on the screen.
The line finally clicked on but Johne didn’t say a word. He never did. He cleared his throat two consecutive times, letting me know his line was secure and that he was listening.
“I just sent you a picture. Find out who she is and why she would be in my club asking questions like she’s the police.”
He cleared his throat once more and hung up.
My lips bent into a sneaky smile while continuing to stare at the monitor.
“Soon, I’m going to know who you are. May even get a chance to make you…”
My attention was drawn to another monitor. Primo had eyes on him and it wasn’t from one of the many admiring women he had a habit of ignoring.
We would be engaged in a bloody, possibly deadly game, if the two men currently spying on him were angling for trouble.
The sight of Nevah’s retreating back while leaving me standing at the bathroom door tore at my heart. She’d had to drag me away from B3co so she could give me one of her motherly talks.
Nevah and Tracy weren’t blood, but they were my best friends, my sisters. I hadn’t shared with them that I was back on the hunt to find my brother’s killer. They would want to help, and I didn’t want to risk them getting into trouble or hurt because of me.
My desire to find answers concerning my brother’s death was a twisted obsession I couldn’t shake. He had been beaten to death, so violently I hardly recognized his face when I identified him.
The sight was permanently etched in my brain, each memory of the image a rip in my heart. My brother had suffered. Based on the police reports I had begged and bribed to get my hands on, he had fought hard for his life.
All I received was a bunch of ‘I don’t knows’ and ‘we’re investigating it’ without a single clue as to who had savagely murdered him. Eric was too good a person to die so viciously only to have the detectives gloss over his case. They didn’t have any witnesses or informants who could help solve their case for them. Not even a flimsy lead had surfaced.
I sucked in a deep, chest lifting breath and prepared to return to the club area. At this point, my motivation was shot and all I wanted was a few drinks and to call it a night.
The vibrating beat of the music welcomed me back with open arms. I appreciated the distraction more than I expected. The noise helped drown out all the nagging voices in my head, urging me to question anyone suspicious. Nevah was right in the little speech she’d just given me, I needed to chill.
I headed to the bar, not caring about the not so subtle bumps from men attempting to get my attention. I ignored them all. My new objective was to get wasted.
“Crown and coke,” I told the bartender, who ignored the man attempting to get his attention to fix his smiling eyes on me. He nodded at my request, before turning away to go and fix my drink. He hadn’t responded to the man beside me who amped up his huffing and puffing to gain the bartender’s attention. A lazy smile crept onto my lips.
The joys of being a woman could be fun at times. At other times, womanhood was an ugly bitch, especially when men treated you like you were mindless, weak, and helpless. God forbid, you attempt to try and get one to listen to your ideas where it concerned subjects deemed unfit for a woman. A perfect example were the assholes down at the police precinct who wouldn’t hear reason to investigate the few hunches I had…
“Stop it. Chill the fuck out,” I muttered under my breath to stop myself from getting upset all over again.
“Crown and coke,” the bartender said, his pearly white smile on display.
“On the house,” he announced before winking and walking away with a smooth stride that had me checking him out. Nice body, nice smile, and good looking in a rugged sort of way.
If he kept smiling like he wanted to suck up my pussy juices with a straw, I just may have to fuck him. Lord knows I needed a good sex session to put my mind back on track.
Five minutes later, I stood and mouthed, “Next time,” to the cute bartender and laughed when he mouthed back “Okay,” understanding my drift.
I walked off in the direction I last saw Tracy and spotted her immediately. She was the only one of our little group who actually enjoyed herself when we went out. I headed in her direction and something, intuition I suppose, made me glance up at the recessed blacked out area adjacent to the second level VIP area.
I got the sense I was being watched and knew who those eyes belonged to. I kept my eyes pinned on the area before I lifted my hand and licked up my middle finger. I sat the finger in front of my face, ensuring the watcher saw my gesture.
The act was childish, but there was something about the man, B3co. Tall, lean, sexy, and toned like the gym was his playground. His low scruffy beard and all that dark curly hair made my damn fingers tingle. He had all the qualities that reeled in women from miles around. As much as his sexy ass turned me on, he also irritated the hell out of me.
“You ready,” Tracy asked, breaking me out of my stupid act of rebellion against a man that could care less about my childish antics.
“Yeah. Did you have fun?”
She nodded, and dropped her gaze quickly, but I didn’t miss that bashful glint that peeked through her gaze.
“I just ran into a priest when I was coming out of the bathroom. Surprised the shit out of me…because, what the hell is a priest doing in a place like this?”
“Exactly,” she said, taking my shrug for the run-on sentence it represented.
“I took it as a sign that it was time to go home,” she stated, aiming a finger in the general direction of the front door.
With that, she waved at the company she was keeping with a cute Hispanic guy, and we headed for the door. She expressed a pleasant smile, but I knew when her smile was genuine. She wasn’t ready to go back home, priest sighting or not. Her reality at home came with a lot of stress that I didn’t envy.
I gripped her hand and swung it back and forth like we were kids. All I cared about was the genuine smile that appeared at my action.
Tracy would go home to three kids that came with a man who was more in love with the streets than he was a wife that did everything in her power to make them a family. Every once in a while Nevah and I would take the kids for a weekend so Tracy could get a break. The hours the three of us just spent in this club Tracy would consider vacation time.
I didn’t have the kind of dedication she possessed. I would have left Kahlil’s ass staring at my back the moment he informed me of his ex-wife walking out on him and leaving him with three bad ass kids to raise alone.
The urge to glance back again lured me from my thoughts, but I maintained my pace to the front door. At 1:45 in the morning this crowd was just getting energized. Unable to stop myself, I took one last lingering glance at the shiny pitch-black glass before we pushed our way through the exit.
Two weeks later.
“Dammit woman, give me a fucking break,” I muttered when she popped up on the monitor.
With her rough upbringing, no wonder she wasn’t afraid to get in a man’s face. According to what was reported back to me about the neighborhood she grew up in, half the kids didn’t make it into adulthood.
My fingers brushed the report sitting atop my desk, but my eyes remained on the monitor. The death of her brother was what was making her a thorn in my side. There was no connection I’d found between her brother and my club.
Why are you targeting Hard Rain?
Although I didn’t see it in the reports, this may well have been one of the last places he visited before he was killed. How would she know that information though?
I placed my hand to my forehead and massaged my temples while her beautiful image danced across the monitors. She was at it again, harassing my customers which meant I’d have to go and put a stop to the shit.
A stupid smile filled my face. I couldn’t put my finger on the reason for it other than wanting to see her again up close and hear what that sassy mouth of hers would say tonight.
Admitting a truth I had been ignoring, I’d wanted her to return despite the trouble she could get into by testing this world. The trouble she would get into if she didn’t stop the quest she appeared determined to carry out.
She was playing detective because the one assigned to her brother’s case was a fucking joke who couldn’t solve the mystery of his own ass crack let alone a murder case. And it was reported that she marched down to that precinct and stayed on his ass enough for him to hide from her when she showed up.
A few quick strides put me outside my office door. I drew it closed behind me and waited until the beeps alerted that the room was secure.
Minutes later and after having been stopped several times, I finally located my little trouble maker in a dark corner flashing a picture in front of Jed’s face.
My right brow lifted high on my forehead when she became the center of my focus. The way those ripped jeans hugged her ass had my gaze zeroing in on the delicious area.
Damn. Why did she have to be sexy? Was she a test sent to put my willpower in jeopardy after I’d vowed to stay away from trouble?
For the past week, I’d been doing well in my new vow, not angling to find someone to hurt, torture, or kill. I’d even let Victor from the Soldanos family slide for drilling one of my informants for information about my family.
A pair of shiny tan heels cupping pretty feet with red painted toenails caught my attention. Her sunbaked skin peeked from tiny cut outs in a trendy black top. Her tone was so syrupy and creamy it made me want to lick her to see if I could guess her flavor. Her skin was as tempting as the rest of her, beckoning for a touch, when I already knew one caress would destroy my vow of becoming a better Brizio.
I reminded myself of the subject at hand. Stop her from pestering customers, no more.
Jed was a regular, rich and older. Told me he was searching until he found a wife half his age that was likable and compatible with him.
“Good luck with that shit,” I’d told him several times. Here he was a year later, continuing the search and no closer to finding his magical wife. He was fifty and had a lot of good years remaining that would allow him to fuck and forget he even wanted a wife. Despite the odds stacked against him, I rooted for him to find what he was determined to find.
However, it wasn’t going to be that sexy-sassy one hounding him for answers he didn’t have. Her mouth was working overtime, but those scanning eyes of hers landed on me.
She squinted and I couldn’t tell what the little twitch in her facial expression meant until it became the lead up to a dramatic eye roll and a visible sigh. Her action caused Jed to glance in my direction.
“Brizio,” he greeted with a nod and wide smile.
“Jed,” I returned. “Is this woman bothering you?” I motioned in her direction with a dismissive hand gesture.
Jed’s eyes flicked back to Maya which caused his smile to grow about as wide as the Grand Canyon. She could have been bothering the hell out of him, but her looks had him willing to deal with whatever she dished out.
“Not at all,” he replied. His eyes practically undressed her although she was dressed somewhat tame compared to the bits and pieces of outfits being modeled tonight.
At a closer observation , I noticed a hint of cleavage, her chest impressive enough to call out loudly to my attention. Her eyes had never left me, scanning and sizing me up.
“B…3…C…O,” she finally greeted, her tone dripping so much contempt, I swore I heard some splash on the floor. She mocked my name, converting it to numbers and letters, but it did sound like she was saying it correctly, something I wasn’t admitting to her smart-mouthed ass.
“I see you choose the kindergarten’s way of saying my name. If you need pronunciation lessons, I’ll be happy to give you a few.”
She managed to squint and side-eye me at the same time, cursing me with a look like I’d stole something from her. I didn’t notice I’d stepped into her personal space until Jed was forced to take a step back. She didn’t.
“Jed,” I called to him without unpinning my gaze from her razor sharp one.
“Yeah,” he replied, his head rocking back and forth between the two of us. She and I remained locked in a standoff that we didn’t initiate or intend, but neither of us would relent.
“This one’s not for you. She’s my little pet.” I spit out the world pet like it stung my lips. “You’re going to have to find a future wife somewhere else.”
“Pet! Who the fuck are you calling a pet?” Maya questioned, waving her hand like a blunt object in my face. Back and forth that hand danced to add serious emphasis to each of her biting words.
Jed lifted his hands, “Sure Brizio, I didn’t know she was one of yours.”
I read her lips as her head jerked back in dismay at Jed’s statement.
Jed backed off. His abrupt departure drew her attention before she leveled her fire-blazing gaze back on me. The raw energy she gave off and the crease of tension that was a resting staple between her eyes said she could rip a man apart with just a look.
She jammed a stiff angry finger in my face, aiming it inches from my left eye. Hostility swirled in her fiery gaze and sparked a magnetic charge that rolled off of her and struck me like an invisible slap.
I fucking liked it. I like that I could get her this upset. Calling her my pet had done the trick.
“You must have lost the one rusty screw keeping your brains pinned to the inside of your head, calling me your pet, you limp dick loser.”
Her wicked words were a backhand to my cheek, and I along with anyone within earshot paused.
“Calm down, you sour pussy skeezer.” I slung an insult right back at her in a relaxed tone, leveling my hands down to indicate she needed to take her tone and attitude down a notch.
She jerked her head back, her lips parting at the insult. I know she didn’t think she could toss out insults and not be given one in return.
“Pet is a term of endearment, not a derogatory saying. All you need is a good belly rub and scratch in the right places and you will be back on the path of righteousness.”
She huffed and puffed, her words an explosion in her brain based on her widened eyes and sharp head snap. My justification for calling her my pet did nothing but heighten her already amped up attitude.
“Just because these weak ass women you’re used to dealing with let you talk to them in any kind of way, doesn’t mean that I will. You can go to the kennel and rescue a dog if you want a pet. I’m no man’s fucking pet.”
She spit out the word pet like a bitter pill melting on her tongue. I pinched my forehead between my fingers, squeezing and rubbing the throbbing in my temples that pulsed harder each time she spoke.
“You’ve obviously lost your diseased ridden mind, but I’m just the one to help you find it,” she muttered. Her wicked tongue sliced through her aggressive words like a blade through hot fat meat.
Tuning her out wasn’t easy because she had the unique ability to lure me into her chaos. I pictured her naked, tits bouncing while she bobbed up and down my dick instead of listening to all that shit she was talking.
The only reason we hadn’t been approached during this little standoff was that most of the regulars knew I was the owner and a DeLuca. A small percentage also knew what went down in the basement of my club.
Before I noticed what I was doing, my fingers tightened around her right arm, and I dragged her in the direction of my office. She labeled me several types of sons-of-bitches and motherfuckers for this stunt.
I leaned in, placing my lips against her ear.
“We need to have a fucking talk,” I muttered through gritted teeth.
“Yes, we fucking do,” she spat right back.
Although her facial expression revealed the depth of her anger, she didn’t jerk away from me. I eased up on the hold I had on her arm. We had drawn enough attention. The last thing I needed was for her to go off and get herself killed after hundreds of eye witnesses had seen us in a heated debate and me dragging her off like a jealous lover.
“Brizio fucking DeLuca!” a strong male voice shouted from the crowd behind us.
Not fucking now!
I didn’t have time to deal with him and his bullshit right now. My abrupt stop at the irritating voice caused Maya to bump into my side.
She was more worried about who called me out than plowing into me. She turned to see who she was in competition with for my attention.
“Detective Limp Dick,” I called out to Detective Lincoln Marx. “How the fuck did you get into my club?” I asked him, finally turning fully to see the irritating as fuck smug grin I knew would be on his face.
“I have my ways. But, that’s beside the point,” he said, casting a lingering glance at Maya. A hint of knowing flashed in his eyes before he fixed his stringent gaze back on me.
“I have a few questions to ask you about a homicide that took place in a burned down warehouse…”
I jumped in his face, slamming my chest against his, shoving him back and cutting him off. His loud ass was drawing the wrong kind of attention. He was doing the shit on purpose. Marx was known for harassing DeLucas on every trumped up nugget of information he believed he knew.
“You better contact my lawyer and get the fuck out of my club before I have you tossed out on your ass,” I spit the words in his face.
He drew closer, his eyes dead locked on mine, face drawn back in a snarl. At this point, all eyes were on us.
“I’d like to see you try. You touch a hair on my head, and I’ll have you behind bars within minutes. Now, I asked you a question: De…Lu…ca.” He sounded out every syllable of my last name, the hate in his tone undeniable.
“And I said get the fuck out before you piss me off,” I growled, my nostrils flaring as rage ripped through me like rolling thunder. All that kept me from exploding was the crowd and a part of my brain reminding me that Maya stood next to me.
He snickered but was smart enough to back off.
“You are going to fuck up and I’m going to be right there, waiting to slap handcuffs on your want-to-be-mob-boss ass.”
“Your little fantasy has about a raindrop’s chance in hell of coming true. You’ve been trying for what, years now? You couldn’t take down a stale donut much less a DeLuca. Be gone pig before you stink up my establishment.”
I waved him away with the flick of my hand, loving that tick of frustration under his right eye. He wanted me and anyone in my family in jail so badly, it was only a matter of time before his by-the-book ass did something illegal to make it happen.
He turned with a sharp snap and stomped off. After he faded into the crowd my rage settled to a low hum of energy versus the serge of blazing fire it had become seconds ago.
“You have interesting friends,” Maya said, drawing my attention.
“You have no idea,” I replied before turning to continue our journey. I took a hold of her arm, not because I was afraid she would turn around but because of my roaring need to touch her. I dragged her stubborn ass along, making her heels click clack loud enough to be heard despite the crowd and music.
Once we cleared the first level hall, the flight of stairs, and were out of eyesight of the public, she swung on me. Ripped her arm out of my hand and nearly took my head off. If I didn’t have any training, she would have decked me with a wicked right hook. Hard.
“Look, you camel-toe-faced asshole, the next time you grab me like I’m one of these skanks you’re used to manhandling, you’re going to end up being dubbed the one-handed mute, because I’m going to chop your hand off and use it to snatch your tongue out of your mouth.” Dayem!
I blinked. And blinked a few more times for good measure. I couldn’t let her have the last word.
“Look you slimy faced slut, the day you put those crusty claws of yours on me is the day you’re going to draw back a stump.”
She threw her hand on her hip, jerked her neck back, and stared me down, daring me to touch her again. I was rarely stunned by anything, but this spitfire of a woman was pissing me the hell off and at the same time about to make me come on myself.
I was still processing that she’d swung on me and insulted my face. A lesser man would have been crying by now.
“And I didn’t forget the slick shit you said, calling me your damn pet.”
My face bunched into a tight knot and a flood of emotions or something chose this moment to silence me. She was hot and sexy and fuck, so much more than met the eyes. I sensed it but I didn’t know how to interpret the shit.
She was also serious, and I couldn’t figure out if I was angry or turned on. Tempers flaring be damned, we needed to talk.
“First, calm the hell down. Second, you’re going to get yourself hurt asking questions about a subject that raises red flags. Third, get your ass moving so we can talk in private.” I barked, deciding after all that it was anger that pulsed through me.
“Be glad I didn’t toss you out of here with the limp dick detective. You got some damn nerve and if you keep running that mouth, I’m going to put a ball gag in it.”
She got in my face, that evil finger of hers nearly taking out my eye.
It was all she got out before I snatched her ass, spinning her around and shoving her towards my office door. I pinned her between my body and the door at her back. I slapped my palm against the glossy surface next to my door and allowed it to scan my palm before keying in the six digit pin that popped the door open.
She breathed out her anger, hard and fast, eyeballing me with murder in her gaze the entire time. We were so close, her warm breaths winded against my chin, her body heat mingling with mine.
Once the door was open, I spun her ass around again, placed a firm palm in the center of her back, and shoved her into my dark office.
“Get your hard headed ass in there!” I ordered, giving her more of that manhandling she claimed she didn’t like but was getting today.
Whatever she was about to say died on her tongue. My office, once I flipped on the lights, became way more interesting than the shit she was about to say. She glanced around, taking in all of the equipment. Her eyes stopped on the large display of monitors.
“Maya Daniels,” I said, my voice low, firm, and edgy from her getting my nerves charged up.
Me calling her name pulled her gaze away from the monitors. Her sharp-eyed gaze strolled over me, her observation deliberate, like she was seeing me for the first time. Although I knew it killed her to stay quiet, she did and I was grateful she knew when to shut up after all.
“I know about your brother. Know the authorities aren’t doing anything to solve his case. Know that you’re attempting to do it yourself. But, you’re going about it all wrong.”
She lifted a curious brow and folded her arms across her chest.
“If you’re the paradigm of knowledge and infinite wisdom, then by all means, tell me how I’m supposed to be handling it,” she spit at me.
“With a lot more finesse. You want anything done in this city, in this type of environment, you have to do it from a dark place. A place where no one knows you’re even looking. A place where you may have to and are willing to get your hands dirty, maybe even bloody to get the answers you’re searching for.”
I stepped closer, so near, her warmth and invigorating scent flowed over me like a sheet warm from the dryer.
Why was this my first time getting a good whiff of her? Did she have me so upset that I had ignored that scent. Fuck! Spicy amber, lavender flowers, and…stop. I was allowing her to distract me again.
“So, you used all of your finessing and dark skills to find out who I was? And about what I was doing?”
She still hadn’t lost that hard edge I liked.
“Yes,” I said, proud of myself, although her pursed lips and stiff eyes suggested she wasn’t the least bit impressed.
“So what?” she shrugged. “You know who I’m and why I’m doing what I’m doing. What does that have to do with why you brought me in this…”
She turned and took in my office that contained a surveillance area just as big as the one in my basement.
“...Office,” she decided.
I released a long sigh.
“I may regret this, but I want to help you.”
“Why?” She squinted and placed a hand on her sexy ass hip and dared me not to lie with her rigid glare.
“If I don’t help you, you’re going to end up getting yourself killed. I know where you grew up, know you’re a lot tougher than you look. But, some of my customers are not your average everyday criminals. There are people out there who would snuff you out with a snap of their finger and no one will ever know you existed.”
Her face softened for the first time and the crease between her forehead disappeared.
“Why do you care what happens to me? I’m none of your concern.”
“I don’t care.”
Liar! The voice in my head called my ass out.
I didn’t know this woman on a personal level and until I dragged her into my office, I hadn’t planned on offering her help.
“I don’t want detectives sniffing around my place looking for your dead body because the last place anyone saw you was in my club asking the wrong kind of questions. I don’t need that kind of heat. You already met Detective Limp Dick sniffing around here like a let loose bloodhound.”
She placed a manicured finger against her lips, very sexy ass lips, and her eyes narrowed into a hard squint before she lifted them to meet mine. I could see her thinking.
“So let me get this straight, you want to avoid the heat the cops will bring, but you're willing to get involved with the kind of trouble I’m stirring?”
The gleam in her eyes brightened or maybe it was the way her eyes widened when an idea popped into her head. Her sexy lips curled into a smile.
“What am I saying? You’re the mob. Of course you don’t want to draw any attention. Cops are either trouble for you or the solution. I get that part, but I can’t figure out why you would help me? It doesn’t benefit you. And what does this help of yours entail, anyway?”
She was right. Me helping her didn’t benefit me or my family, but I felt the strange need to do it anyway. I also knew that my club wasn’t the only one she’d been visiting on her journey to the grave.
“I can use my connections to find out what happened to your brother.”
She shook her head. “And that’s it. What do you want in return? I know damn well you’re not volunteering your services out of the goodness of your heart.”
I considered what she was saying. When I dragged her into this office it was pure impulse and male ego driving my behavior. The last thing I wanted to do was offer her help. I blinked, my face drawn in tight contemplation.
Why did I volunteer to help her? What did I want from her? This was some strange behavior, even for me.
“I can tell by the constipated look on your face you probably want something that I’m probably going to tell you to go fuck yourself for asking me.”
She took a deliberate step closer, not the least bit afraid of me. She didn’t have much in the way of brains, by how recklessly she was managing her life, but she had balls, big ones.
“You think you know all about me, but I know your last name. Mr. DeLuca,” she spit out the syllables of DeLuca like she was hawking up a big wad of spit.
“I’m in just as much, if not more danger, from your family taking me out than the people I’m questioning. I’m better off on my own.”
She wiggled a finger around in my face while talking. The act would have been comical if we weren’t discussing something as serious as her life. Did she want to die? Was she on a suicide mission?
She turned and stepped towards the door. I followed, getting in her face and shoving my hand against the door to keep it closed.
“I’m trying to save your life. Are you suicidal or something?”
“If finding out who killed my brother makes me suicidal, then the answer is yes. Besides, I’m sure getting tangled up with you in any situation is more detrimental to my health than anything else out there.”
I lifted an eyebrow. The DeLucas did love to flirt with death and disaster, but that wasn’t the point. There were things just as dangerous, if not more so than us out there and she needed to get it through that thick skull of hers.
She continued to pull effortlessly at the door. The hot headed ass woman was going to end up getting herself killed, and for some irritating as fuck reason, I didn’t want to see that happen.
I shoved my face closer to hers, so close her breath blew against my lips. But, she didn’t back down and the challenge in her eyes made me want to do all sorts of mean and nasty shit.
“Go ahead, you will probably end up dead long before you find any answers. See if I give a damn. Just don’t bring your ass back to this club with that shit.”
She released a long-winded sigh. Released it all into my face before she rolled her eyes and snatched the door open. She shoved her shoulder into my arm, knocking me out of her path before she stomped off, leaving the door open.
“Fucking straight trouble,” I muttered through gritted teeth. Why on this earth was I forcing myself to believe that she needed me? Needed my help. Needed me to save her from herself before she ended up like her brother.
I placed my phone to my ear after I’d listened to it ring for the third time.
“Brizio,” Jay called into the phone. “Everything is set up. When are you coming down?”
Jay and I conducted shows of a kinky nature down in the Devil's Sandbox, the dungeon in the basement level of Hard Rain. The secrecy of its existence and exclusive admission process was known to less than one percent of the people who frequented my club. Occasionally, we took in a select few invites.
“You’re going to have to run the show tonight,” I told Jay. “There’s a bit of an emergency I need to handle.”
There was an emergency all right, a hard-headed ass woman who wouldn’t listen to a damn thing I had to say. It irritated the fuck out of me that she hadn’t taken me up on my offer to help her.
“Okay. I’ll make you proud,” Jay stated.
“Thank you.” I clicked off, but my phone was right back at my ear. I was talking as soon as Vance, my club manager, said hello.
“I need to leave the property and I’m not sure when I’ll return.”
“Okay. Call me if you need me,” he replied.
“Thank you.” I hung up. Vance wasn’t a DeLuca, but he was my right hand at the club and had put in work as a cleaner for my family for nearly a decade. He called the job his retirement plan. I still didn’t know which job was the side job, being my club manager or our family cleaner.
I snatched my keys and headed out the door. Although muffled a bit, the pulse of the music beat against my skin as soon as I stepped into the hallway. Once I cleared the stairs and cracked the back door open, I was gripped by a different intensity. Silence. It pricked at my skin, but was tinged with random sounds that traveled among the warm currents of the night.
From the shadows, I started my car remotely, checking out my surroundings. A carefree life would never be something I’d ever experience. Even as a young child I was taught to check my surroundings, keep my head on a swivel, and always invest in information and knowledge.
When I was sure the coast was clear, I stepped out of the clingy shadows and hopped into my car. Once inside, I called up the app attached to the tracker I had stuck inside the wheel well of Maya’s silver BMW when I saw her on the monitors pulling up and parking over an hour ago. I didn’t expect to have to turn on the tracker, but it appeared this woman was determined to make me chase her.
***End of Brizio DeLuca Sneak Peek***
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