Raffaele’s throat turned red, from anger or embarrassment I couldn’t tell. Probably a little from both. He opened his mouth then closed it after a glance at Dante. I had a feeling that Raffaele would give me more trouble than Leo.
“Are any of the girls in already? I’d like to talk to them.”
Raffaele’s eyes darted between Leo and Dante, as if he needed their approval before he could answer a simple question. “Most of them work in Club Palermo until five and then come over here after that.”
The girls who worked here were from Club Palermo? Had any of them slept with Dante? I had to ask Bibiana if she knew the names of the women Dante chose when he frequented the club. “Then I’ll talk to them tomorrow. Make sure they come in early so I can have a word with them before our doors open.”
“What is there to talk about? They are brainless whores, nothing more than three-hole sluts.”
“Raffaele, that is enough. I don’t tolerate you talking to my wife like that,” Dante said in a dangerously low voice.
Raffaele lowered his head but not before sending me a scathing look. I decided to ignore him for now. “Are any important high rollers visiting today?”
Leo shook his head. “No. But tomorrow two senators and a few of their friends are coming in. They don’t gamble that much. They mostly spend the nights with the girls.”
“So we humor them because we want them to protect our interests in Senate?”
“Exactly,” Leo said, surprised, as if he couldn’t believe a woman could come to such a conclusion by herself. Men in our world would be surprised how much their wives and daughters knew about the life they’re trying to protect them from. You can’t grow up in a mob family and not figure out most of what’s going on.
Dante nodded his head in approval and a strange sense of pride filled me.
“Okay, then I’ll be there tomorrow to introduce myself to them, and meet the rest of our employees. I hope we’re going to work well together.”
Leo nodded, but Raffaele obviously didn’t think we would. Dante put his hand on my back and we headed back to our car.
“So what do you think?” he asked as he started the car.
“I think Raffaele will give me trouble. He obviously doesn’t like me.”
“He doesn’t do well with women in general, unless they are prostitutes and have to do what he says. Don’t take it personal.”
“I don’t. I couldn’t care less what he thinks of me.”
“No,” Dante disagreed. “He should respect you.”
“Because it would reflect badly on you if he didn’t.”
“That, and because you are his boss. You are going to make sure everything runs smoothly. Leo will hopefully help you.”
“He seemed okay. But you don’t trust him?”
“I don’t trust either of them.”
I nodded. “They seemed surprised when I said something clever. It really annoyed me.”
“Most men prefer to think of their woman as ignorant and clueless. I know the same men who disapproved of my ruling against rape will disapprove of you working in our casino.”
“I think the mob should stop underestimating women.”
Dante gave me a sideways glance. “Maybe you can convince them.”
Did he really believe that? A question burnt on the tip of my tongue. “Did your first wife work?”
His expression darkened. “No. She kept busy with social engagements as most women in our world do.”
“Oh, of course.” I wondered if despite having offered me a job in the casino, he was unhappy with my desire to work. Would he prefer a trophy wife? Someone who looked good at parties, who warmed his bed and who kept the staff in check? I decided to change the topic. “My mother invited me over. I assume you have work to do?”
“Yes, I do. But I can drive you to your parents’ house if you want. It’s on the way. I can tell Enzo or Taft to pick you up when you’re done.”
“My mother will be delighted,” I said, rolling my eyes.
“Would you rather we drive home and you drive to your parents without me?”
“No,” I said quickly. “I wasn’t joking. My mother will be giddy with pleasure over seeing you again.”
“Your father in one of my underbosses. It’s not like your mother hasn’t met me countless times.”
“But not as her son-in-law. I’ve never seen her happier than when she found out you were stooping to marry me.”
Dante’s brows drew together. “Because you were married before?”
“Of course. I was damaged goods by our standards. Not a pure innocent girl like Gianna or the many other girls fawning over you at parties.”
“Believe me, I’m more than happy that I didn’t agree to marry Gianna. She’s a troublemaker. I don’t have the patience for someone like her. And I don’t pay much attention to girls on parties.”
I huffed. “You are a man. How can you not notice their smoldering glances?”
“Smoldering?” Dante asked with a hint of amusement. “And I didn’t say I didn’t notice. I make sure to always be aware of everything going on in a room around me, but I’m not interested in their silly attempts at flirting. They fawn over an image they have of me, but I’m not that man.”
“I don’t know. Girls think you’re sexy because you are powerful and aloof. The iceprince whose heart they want to melt.”
Dante shook his head, then something changed on his face and he slanted me another glance. “So your mother didn’t know you never consummated your first marriage?”
“Of course not. I don’t talk to her about things like that. And believe me, she would have found a way to tell you about my virginity because it would have increased my worth. She’d die from happiness if she found out you are the man who took my virtue.” I froze. “You’re not going to tell anyone about Antonio, are you?”
Dante narrowed his eyes in thought. “I don’t see how that would help anyone. Of course, it would make my search for Antonio’s lover easier if I could involve my men.”