Caught:A Dark Mafia Romance

By: Piper Stone

“I’ve already told you, your damn attorney, your assistant, and half a dozen other people from your shoddy organization that I am not selling out to you. I don’t care what you plan on doing. The company is worth much more than the pittance you offered. You also can’t have the battlefield property. That’s precious to me.”

The battlefield property was the icing on the cake, a piece of land my father added to this particular contract. I couldn’t care less. “What I hope to do with the beautiful piece of land is vital to the city and people of Chicago. However, that’s not what I was hoping to talk to you about.” I held my grin as I wrapped my arm around his shoulders, walking him away from his oversized thugs.

“And what do you want to talk to me about?”

I was improvising of course, going along the lines of what Diana has suggested. By the end of my soliloquy, Caleb actually shook my hand. Not only would we be building the largest Casino in the state of Illinois, but I had his full backing on several other acquisitions and he would soon hold the title of vice president of Bishop Enterprises. Funny how life could turn on a dime.

There was one other holdout and this one wouldn’t be so easy; he couldn’t be handled by implied threats or throwing a bone about working together. Richard Markum was old school, growing up on the East Side, working his way through college working two jobs. He saved his money, finding a few investors and opened Markum and Associates when he was only twenty-five years old. Through the years, he’d acquired hundreds of pieces of property, turning some into destinations worth millions of dollars. Yeah, I’d learned everything about the man, including details about his family, his friends, and private information about his bank accounts and real estate holdings. His wife had been dead for almost four years and he had an estranged relationship with his daughter, who’d all but disappeared. The man was very much alone in his business decisions.

Through nothing more than hard work and tenacity, Richard had turned Markum and Associates into a thriving business employing over two hundred people in Chicago and the surrounding area. From everything I could tell, he was moral, ethical, and had refused on several occasions to bow down to anyone pushing his buttons.

Including my father.

I genuinely liked the guy and I only knew him on paper. I even admired him for his business ethics and his regard for his employees, but his luck had run out. He’d made a single mistake, albeit significant, and now I was able to capitalize on that in order to force him to sign a contract.

“I take it by the grin on your face that everything went well?” Diana asked as she handed me a glass of champagne, her eyes twinkling.

“Very. Your idea was brilliant. You might have a keen sense of business after all.” I scanned the room, searching for any sign of Richard. He’d confirmed his attendance and given he was an honorable man, I expected him to attend. There were no secrets. He knew the score and would come prepared for an answer. Breaking his balls could be in order, but I was more than prepared to do just that.

“And what about your next intended prey? What are you going to do with him, cut off his testicles and feed them to your hamster?”

I chuckled as I gave her a quick glance. She had her father’s brusque and uncaring demeanor, hence the concept of bitch. “My hope is that he’ll listen to reason.”

She laughed and swirled her glass. “You must be kidding me.”

As Richard walked into the room, entering with no fanfare and no one on his arm or by his side, I bristled, a cold chill shifting down my spine. The aging man certainly wasn’t formidable, but there was something about him that gave me pause. “I’ll be right back.” I headed in his direction, able to see the look of concern on his face, the way his skin seemed ashen, almost gray. “Richard. Good to see you here. I hope that you’re prepared to give me your final answer.”

Richard tilted his head, looking me dead in the eyes. In his, I could see such sadness, as if he’d given up on the world and his beliefs. “I’ve lived a long life, Jagger but I’m a lonely man. All I have is my business. There is no family that cares any longer, no grandchildren to bring me joy. Only my company. I worked hard to make certain I had a legacy and even though that no longer matters, I still have my pride. I won’t sign the contract. I simply can’t.”

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