Enzo held up his phone. “Called reinforcement.”
“Come on,” Dante said, straightening up and holding out his hand for me. I took it and let him pull me to my feet.
“Do you really think it was a trap? I got the feeling Frank was lonely and wanted to talk to someone about Antonio.”
“Someone shot at us,” Dante said simply. I couldn’t argue with that. And Frank had definitely run in the direction of the shooters. Slowly I was starting to understand why Dante didn’t trust anyone.
“I’m sorry,” I said quietly, but Dante wasn’t looking my way. More of his men were running toward us from the direction of the casino. He barked orders at them and they spread out in the area to search for our attackers.
“Take Enzo to see our Doc,” Dante told another man, despite Enzo’s protests. Then Dante turned to me. “We’re going home now.”
I shivered at the anger in his voice. Dante urged me forward with a hand against my lower back. He didn’t talk as he led me toward the car, nor during the ride home. I kept glancing his way, trying to decide in how much trouble I was. “I’m really sorry.”
He ignored me, but a muscle in his jaw twitched. I turned back toward the passenger window. Dante parked the car in our garage and got out immediately. I followed him into the house. I could practically feel his fury burning my back as he walked behind me. I stepped into the bedroom.
“I’m really sorry,” I tried again, then gasped when Dante threw the door shut and pressed me against it. I was sandwiched between his muscled body and the door. I was startled and confused but not scared. Dante was obviously careful not to hurt me.
“Why do you keep disobeying me, Valentina?” He shoved up my skirt and pulled my butt roughly against his groin, and his rock-hard erection. Wetness pooled between my legs. “I don’t know,” I said, trying to hide my excitement.
“That’s the wrong answer.” Dante pushed my panties – I wasn’t wearing tights, only suspenders – aside and slipped two fingers into me. Before I had time to articulate another answer, Dante replaced his fingers with his cock, slamming into me in one fierce stroke before he started to fuck me against the door. I was pretty sure he realized that was as far from a punishment as it could possibly get.CHAPTER SEVENTEENI quickly figured out that Dante fucking me against the door wasn’t his idea of punishment. That came in the days that followed. Dante treated me even colder than before and I barely got to see him because he was too busy looking for Frank and his accomplices. He didn’t even seek me out at night anymore, and even though I was too proud to admit it to him, my body longed for him to touch me again.
One afternoon, about one week after my messed up meeting with Frank, I encountered Rocco Scuderi in the lobby of our house. “Valentina, good to see you,” he said on his way to the front door.
I smiled, although I was surprised. Scuderi always treated me with politeness and respect, but I didn’t have a personal relationship to him like I had with his wife, or with Aria.
“I have a favor to ask of you,” he said.
“Of course.” It was unusual for a Consigliere to approach the wife of his Boss and ask her for a favor, but he was also my uncle, so maybe that changed things.
“You know my daughter Gianna is supposed to marry Matteo Vitiello, but she’s still a bit hesitant about the marriage.”
From what I heard, hesitant wasn’t even beginning to cover Gianna’s feelings about her wedding to Matteo, but I nodded anyway.
“I thought maybe you could talk to her?”
I’d never been very close to Gianna so the request surprised me. “Wouldn’t it be better if Aria talked to Gianna? After all she’s married to another Vitiello?”
“Gianna won’t listen to her sister. I think someone who isn’t immediate family might have a better chance to get through to her.” I was Gianna’s cousin, but of course he had a point.
“I can try, of course, but I can’t promise that she’ll listen to what I have to say.”
“Try is all you can do,” he said, looking almost resigned.
“Is there anything in particular you’d like me to address?”
“Maybe you can tell her that marriage doesn’t mean she’ll be trapped in a golden cage? I mean, look at you, you’re even allowed to work.”
I did, but I was the huge exemption. Gianna would know that as well. And even if Dante started pushing his men to let their wives work, that wouldn’t help Gianna. She’d be living under the Vitiello’s rule in New York. “I’ll do my best.”
“Why don’t you and your family come to dinner tomorrow?”
“That’s a great idea. That way Gianna won’t get suspicious and you can breach the subject casually.” We made out a time before he inclined his head in thanks once more and walked out.
I closed the door and headed toward the kitchen. Zita was preparing dinner – Canneloni filled with ricotta from the looks of it – when I stepped in. Gaby was ironing Dante’s shirts in a corner of the kitchen, far enough from the cooking that there was no risk of the fabric absorbing the smell.
“Zita, I invited the Scuderis for dinner tomorrow.”
Zita pursed her lips. “A bit more time to prepare would have been nice. I need to go grocery shopping, figure out a menu and then cook everything.”
“I know, but you won’t be cooking.”
Zita’s lips parted but no word came out. Gaby had stopped ironing to stare at me as well.
“I’m going to take care of everything. I used to cook frequently in my first marriage and I want to prepare dinner for our guests.”
“Are you sure that’s wise? They expect a certain standard.”
“Don’t worry. I know what I’m doing.”
“And what are you going to cook?” Zita asked skeptically.
I smiled. “That’s a surprise. Now I’ll let you get back to your work.” With a wink toward Gaby who was openly gawking, I left the kitchen and headed for Dante’s office and knocked.