Caught:A Dark Mafia Romance

By: Piper Stone

“Chicago isn’t the OK Corral, and I wasn’t ever on their radar. I just don’t like the people my father associated with.” With every second of thinking about him, my mind was driven to the wonderful memories he’d created when I was growing up. Every day was special, even though he worked long hours. He’d make certain he picked up some goofy toy or a single rose for my mother. At least in the early days. We laughed all the time and my mother and I were so happy, even when he wasn’t around.

Then everything had changed. Everything.

“Talk to him. Maybe he just wants to send his love and congratulations on the new business.”

My phone made another sound, a text and I hissed under my breath. He was desperately trying to get to me. As I turned over the phone I was able to read a portion of the message. No. This couldn’t be. My hands were shaking as I slid my finger across the screen, maneuvering to the text.

“Is everything okay?” Emily asked.

I was forced to blink several times before I understood what I’d read and what I would now be required to do. “No. I have to go.” I was numb as I reached for my purse, unable to think clearly. What I knew at that very moment was that the rest of my life would never be the same. “I need you to do me a favor.”

“Anything. What’s going on?”

“Is there any way that you can watch out for the store? Just for a few days. The party can wait. The employees know what to do. I just need someone there I can trust.”

Emily jumped to her feet, crowding closer. “Absolutely. What is happening?”

“It’s my father.” I lifted my head, my heart aching. “He’s dead.”

* * *

The plane ride took longer that I’d expected given the ferocious spring storms. The layover in St. Louis had taken several hours. By the time the flight landed at O’Hare, it was almost three in the morning. I’d read as much of the email that my father’s attorney had sent, the same one who’d called several times, finally texting in an effort to reach me. There was little to say about my father’s death. He’d been at a gala event and simply dropped dead, suspected of having a heart attack.

His attorney had felt it was imperative that I come to Chicago with haste, even though he refused to tell me why over the phone or in writing. I was lucky enough to find a cab that would take me as far to my selected hotel. I certainly didn’t want to stay in my father’s... in my old house. I just couldn’t. But I did want to remain close, especially to his office. I’d already instructed the attorney to begin looking for a buyer for the corporation. The way the man had laughed left me ill at ease, my instinct screaming there was a significant story yet to be told.

I was the only one in my father’s will, so I’d have to spend time going through his things, selling or dumping furniture in an effort to get the house ready to sell. I certainly didn’t want to liquidate the business, but I would if I had to. There was no way I was going to run a real estate development operation. The concept wasn’t in my blood in any manner. Maybe the employees would consider purchasing, or at least one of them could run it in the interim.

I was exhausted after checking in but was unable to sleep. So, I sat in the comfy armchair, a bourbon over ice from the mini-bar in my hand, staring out at the bright and beautiful lights of the city. They were even more mesmerizing at night when the majority of the world was asleep. I was on the twentieth floor, which allowed me a wonderful voyeuristic view of the buildings and the festive lights.

I remember as a kid that I loved the city, never planning on leaving. Everything was so exciting, alive no matter the time of day or night. Now? I couldn’t care less. I laughed as I pulled the blanket from the bed around my shoulders, sipping on the liquor, enjoying the slight burn as it slid down the back of my throat. I hadn’t seen Mr. Rutherford since I was around fifteen. He’d been my father’s attorney since I could remember, yet he was certainly not considered a friend of my father’s. I’m not even certain if my father had many friends.

He called my mother his best friend, the only woman he ever loved. I knew he was devastated when she died, but the event destroyed our closeness. Finding out what my father was into hammered the nails into the coffin. I turned off the light, preferring the darkness, trying to make sense of everything, including the very reason I’d shut my father out of my life. I couldn’t go back. I couldn’t fix anything. I couldn’t...

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