Caught:A Dark Mafia Romance

By: Piper Stone

My hand inadvertently went to the area just above my hip. “I didn’t know you’d seen it.”

“Hard to miss, girlie. Noticed the sexy rose one day when you were stocking the top shelf. I figured where you’d gotten it.” Emily nudged me, trying her best to cheer me up. “Bad girl suits you.”

“A small reminder.” When I laughed, my bra shifted against my erect nipples and the recent piercings. I’d found a small shop on a whim, and after having spent a night alone reminiscing, the half bottle of wine had given me courage. I felt closer to him just having them.

“You are a hopeless romantic.”

I rolled my eyes, noticing the back door had opened, my favorite delivery driver standing with a grin on his face. “My turn to check in the wine.”

“Leaving the customers all to myself,” Emily purred.

“Don’t you dare do anything I wouldn’t do, or you’ll wind up on the naughty list.”

“Promises. Promises.”

As I walked through the store, I was happy to see just how many customers were inside on an early Friday afternoon. Business had increased by more than double in the last two months alone and since cooler weather was moving in, I had high expectations for the winter months. The hard work had kept my mind off my aching heart, even though I still felt lonelier than I had since leaving Chicago the first time.

Given what had occurred in Chi town, I’d foregone a funeral of any kind for my father, his cremated remains sent to me several weeks before. A lovely couple had purchased the house and I had a few boxes of his belongings sent to me, which I’d yet to go through. There was too much pain involved.

As far as his company? Well, I’d purposely left that in limbo. Perhaps Jagger’s handwritten addition about never seeing him again had pissed me off more than I wanted to admit. Soon, I’d be forced to deal with everything else. But in my way. That was a promise I’d made to myself. No amount of violence or fear was going to keep me from keeping my father’s legacy alive in some manner.

“Hey, Marco. You’re right on time as always.” The hulking brute was the sweetest man I’d ever met.

“Ah, pretty lady. You look particularly delicious today,” Marco said as he handed me the list of deliveries.

“Nice try and no, we’re not going out.”

“Can’t blame a guy for trying.”

I patted his shoulder as I walked to the truck, scanning every box as it was pulled from the back. “Looks like everything is in order.”

“I brought a special wine, just for you.” Marco walked toward the cab, producing a beautiful bottle, the gilded red label shimmering in the limited sun.

“Trying to buy me off?”

“Maybe. Nah. One of the distributors has their holiday wines in full production. Thought you might like to try a bottle.”

I glanced at the label and remembered drinking from the same winery with Jagger. The thought was damn depressing, but I attempted to give him a bright smile. “You’re so sweet.”

“And sexy and adorable and...” He laughed as the words trailed off. “Everything in order?”

“Perfect. Until next week.” I held the bottle against my chest, sliding it between my breasts. When the truck pulled out, I couldn’t help but roll it back and forth across my aching nipples. How I longed to have Jagger surprised seeing the piercings.

Get a damn grip.

Yeah, I needed to listen to my damning little voice. I remained outside for another five minutes before walking back in, the bottle still in my hand, heading immediately for the main counter. Next, an order of books was coming in. Then I might leave for the day. What the heck. I’d been working twelve-plus hour days since my return.

“Hey. A customer is asking for you.” Emily nodded toward the back room, my favorite location. I’d added more art, another bookshelf, and even a second bearskin rug. But I never spent any time in the room myself. Just seemed too intimate in many ways.

“Don’t you dare tell me you’re trying to fix me up.” I plopped the bottle on the counter and exhaled.

“Not a chance. I actually like my job.” Giggling, Emily poured two glasses of wine, grabbing a tray from under the counter. “Just wanted a word with you. Nice wine. Marco likes you.”

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