When I go to protest, Luca’s eyes land on mine, and there’s a challenge in them. To defy him. To force his hand. To give him a chance to prove to the other men in this room that he fucking owns me. My mother taught me to pick my battles, and as I stand in a room with five very powerful men, I know the battles haven’t even begun yet.
The door shuts as Nite removes Haven from the room.
I whirl on her dad, my hand wrapping around his throat. I practically throw him down onto his desk. “Luca …”
I squeeze, taking away his air, and lean over him. “Don’t ever fucking touch her again. Do you understand?”
His blue eyes narrow up at me. His hands gripping my wrist that holds him captive.
“Do you understand?” Reaching over with my free hand, I pick up the pen he used to sign her name and stab him in the arm with it and release his neck.
“You son of a bitch …” He growls as he rolls off the side of the desk. Coughing, he rights himself and yanks the pen free from his upper arm, throwing it onto the desk. It wasn’t much, but it’ll be a reminder. “You little shit!”
I fist my right hand and swing, the hit knocking him into the bookshelf behind his desk. His eyes roll into the back of his head, and he goes limp long enough to fall to the floor. He comes to seconds later, and I grip his suit jacket, hauling his ass to his feet. Getting in his face, I growl, “You handed her over. She no longer belongs to you and no longer answers to you. She is now mine. I will do with her as I see fit, and I will punish her how I see fit. Do you understand me?” I’m shouting. I can feel my pulse jumping in my neck. My body physically shakes with my anger.
I wanted to rip his fucking hand off when she cried out that he was hurting her. But I had to show some restraint in front of her. My father’s present, and this is just another test. I won’t treat Haven the way he treats my mother. I will stand up for my wife. But I will make sure every motherfucker knows I control her. I own her.
“Yes,” he finally growls, and I shove him backward.
I ignore my father’s smug smile and my brother’s cocked eyebrow and storm out of the office.
Two years ago
I LIE IN my bed, curled up in a ball. I haven’t moved in hours. I don’t know the time, but the sun has set.
I’ve done nothing but cry. I can’t eat, can’t sleep. My heart hurts too much.
Luca left me. He told me he loved me, and that we would run away together, and then he just … poof … was gone. I’ve been calling him, but it goes straight to voicemail. My texts go unanswered. I keep telling myself I need to move on and come to terms with it, but I can’t. I refuse to believe that all this time has been a lie.
“Haven?” my mother whispers my name, entering my room. “Honey, you need to eat something.”
“Not hungry.” My voice is hoarse from all the sobbing.
The bed dips behind me, and I feel her hand on my back. “What can I get you to eat? You’ll feel better if—”
“He never loved me,” I interrupt her and squeeze my eyes closed.
“I don’t believe that, and neither do you.”
I turn over and look up at her. “Then why would he leave me?”
She sighs, running her hands over my shoulder. “Some things can’t be explained, Haven. The world that Luca lives in is different than most. Maybe, in a way, he thought he was doing what was best for you.”
“No,” I cry. “Him leaving isn’t what’s best for me.”
“Come here.” She opens her arms wide, and I get up and crawl into them.
Hugging her tightly, I cry on her shoulder. I don’t know what hurts more. The fact that he so easily said goodbye, or the fact that I can’t help but still love him.
From where I’m sitting in the passenger seat of Luca’s car, I look over to see him exit the front door to my parents’ house. He jogs down the stone steps. Once he reaches the bottom, he stops and speaks to Nite, who only nods a few times at whatever Luca is saying before he walks toward the car.
I quickly wipe the tears from my face, not wanting him to see me like this. So broken. So defeated. I just signed a contract. Well, my father signed it for me, but Luca’s father was right. They are the court. They own this city. They don’t call it Sin City for nothing. The worst part is, I have no idea what was on that contract. And that terrifies me.