Page 62 of Code of Silence

I shake my head. “No …”

“How about you do one?” He opens his top drawer and pulls out a small baggie. Lifting his right hand, he pulls a piece of hair out of his head and places it in the bag before he zips it. “You can see for yourself.” He slides it across the desk. “Don’t say I never gave you anything.”

My stomach drops, and the hairs on my arms stand. It feels like a million little bugs are crawling over my skin. “I want nothing from you,” I whisper.

He gives a rough laugh. “Everyone wants something from me, Haven. Whether that be protection or money. And you are no exception.”

“Why now?” I hear myself asking but can’t find the courage to look up at him.

“Because you have something I want.”

Closing my eyes, a tear runs down my cheek.

“Haven.” His voice is soft yet firm and demands my attention.

I open my eyes and look up at him through watery lashes.

“No Rossi will marry a Bianchi.”

His words are final. Like a nail in a coffin. The last breath taken. I will die, and it will be soon. I know what kind of man he is. I may not know him personally, but he’s just like Luca and his family. They will take out who they want, and they don’t care who stands in their way.

“I know you don’t want to be with that bastard,” he spits out, his hatred for Luca showing. “Daddy is going to take care of your problem. You have nothing to worry about.”

I’m sitting on the balcony of our room, smoking a cigarette. My hair still wet from my shower and up in a clippie. I have a pair of his sweatpants and a T-shirt on. I don’t know where Luca went, but I haven’t cared enough to call or text him either.

So much has changed since this morning. Who I am? Where did I come from?

My father is Alberto Rossi. A mob boss who runs the South Side of Las Vegas. And I’m engaged to my ex, who just so happens to be his enemy.

My life is shit.

I take another drag from the cigarette and slowly blow out the smoke. Resting my head back, I hear the sliding glass door open.

Luca walks outside along with Nite and my mother. My jaw tightens at the look on her face. Her tear-streaked face. The proof she’s been upset.

Fuck her.

She wasn’t lied to all her life. Sentenced to death for loving the wrong man. In the end, we’ll all have to answer to God for our sins, but mine will be for falling in love. Since when should you go to hell for that?

“Why is she here?” I ask him.

“Your mother needs to talk you.” His answer is clipped. I’m not sure who he’s mad at more—her or me—but at this point, I don’t care.

I look at Nite. “Why is he here?” He’s supposed to be protecting Mia.

“Your two newest bodyguards are being burned as we speak, so he’s been assigned back to you.”

My mother gasps. I take another puff of my cigarette. Wonder if they were dead or alive when their bodies were set on fire?

“Haven?” She sucks in a long breath. “Since when did you start smoking?”

I can’t help it. I throw my head back laughing. Out of all the things that have happened in the past twenty-four hours, that’s what she wants to focus on.

“You need to talk to your mother,” Luca says.

I look up at him. Now he wants me to be social? “She lied to me all my life. Why would I listen to her now?”

She sits down beside me and reaches out for my hand, but I jerk it out of her reach.

“I had to protect you,” she whispers.

I snort and take a drag of the cigarette.

“Haven …?”

“Was any of it true?” I snap, unable to keep it in. I threw that stupid piece of hair away, but a part of me knew he was right. I just can’t understand why she wouldn’t tell me. I thought we were close.

She bows her head. “No.”

I lean forward in my seat. “Start from the beginning,” I demand, needing to know. When she stays silent, I help her out. “The miscarriages?”

“A lie,” she whispers.

Unbelievable. “Who the fuck lies about that?”

“You wouldn’t understand,” she whispers.

“Try me,” I snap.

She takes in a deep breath, and her shoulders fall. “Your grandfather … he wanted grandchildren. He wanted your father to have an heir.”

There’s that word again. Heir. “This is bullshit.” I stand.

“Haven.” She reaches up and grabs my wrist. “I … please sit.” Her eyes plead with me to give her a chance, to forgive her, but I’m not sure I can. No matter what she tells me, I’m not sure I can give her what she wants right now. “I’m begging you. Please. Just listen to the truth. I’ll leave afterward,” she assures me.

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