A secret dragon prince of the Mob. The favored daughter of a rival Don. A mating that reveals a family secret…
Domenica comes to Giancarlo for help when her father goes missing. It’s the chance he’s been waiting for, watching for. A chance to convince her that she belongs to him, heart, soul, and sweet, sweet kitty cat.
She can’t explain the deep attraction for her father’s rival, she doesn’t want to leave even after Gian transforms into a dragon. She needs his help to find her father before Capo Biagio takes over and forces her into marriage.
Domenica knocked swiftly on the door. Anna hadn’t explained what she wanted exactly, but she’d sounded very excited on the phone. Then again, when was Anna not enthused about one thing or another?
The door swung open, and Anna reached out and grabbed Domenica’s hand. She dragged her inside then slammed the door behind them.
“Where have you been?” Anna demanded, grinning. Before Domenica could formulate a response, Anna added, “I just had the best idea and everyone’s so excited about it. What do you think of a bachelorette party?”
Domenica blinked. Following Anna’s train of thought was always a little bit of a challenge, but she thought she’d gotten better at it over the years. Apparently, she was wrong. “Who’s getting married?”
Anna’s grin widened. “No one, silly. Of course.”
Of course. Why would someone be getting married? Except… “You said a bachelorette party?”
“Oh yeah, that.” Anna acted as if she’d forgotten what she’d said only moments before. “No one’s actually getting married. But why should that stop us from celebrating our singlehood? Our freedom.”
Freedom. Did she really know the meaning of the word? Anna certainly did. Free of any obligations other than those she chose to undertake, Anna was taking her mid-twenties by storm. She went where she wanted when she wanted with whom she wanted. Slept with anyone who she took a fancy to, and told off anyone she didn’t. The sudden desire to trade places with her friends twisted in her gut, and she shook off the thought.
“Anyway, I thought maybe we could hold it at your nail salon downtown since it’ll be closed by then.”
Domenica had a sudden urge to do something crazy. She was a twenty-six-year-old woman—why shouldn’t she stretch her wings a bit? And rarely did such a good opportunity to do so present itself. “I’ve got a better idea.”
Anna stilled, some of her constant energy finally put on hold, and her eyes locked on Domenica. “Oh, Mena, what are you thinking about? You look positively villainous. I love it.”
“Let me make a call.” She whipped out her cell phone and called the venue she had in mind. The club was the talk of the town and would be perfect, so long as they had a big table she could reserve for their group of girlfriends. And this might be her only chance to actually see the place.
The young woman who answered the phone was dismissive until Domenica dropped her full name. A quick hold and the woman said they would be pleased to host their bachelorette party. When the woman pushed for details, like a cell phone number, Domenica passed along Anna’s information.
“Okay, you should be getting a call soon.”
Anna quirked a brow at her. “From whom?”
“You know that new club, Geode?” She passed Anna and headed into her small living room. Anna’s apartment was nothing like the luxury sky-rise flat that Domenica resided in, but it was homey. And, more importantly, it was all Anna’s. No invisible chains were attached to it.
“Yeeess?” Anna stretched out the word. “You didn’t!”
Domenica halted in front of a mirror that hung in the living room. With Anna vibrating with excitement waiting for her response, she freshened her bright red lipstick. “I most certainly did.”
“Your dad will freak.”
“So what if he does? I’m an adult, remember?” she replied, as much for her own benefit as for Anna’s. She was an adult. But that didn’t mean that the idea of angering her father didn’t send nervous tingles down her spine.
“Can you text everyone to let them know about the change in venue?” Domenica had no doubt that when the half dozen or so women found out, her dad would know in an instant. Anna was completely trustworthy, and Domenica trusted her to take any secrets of hers to her grave. The others… well, those who couldn’t be bought could be threatened. And it wouldn’t take much to convince a couple of them to at least report in on anything interesting, “for her own good” as her father would say.
Anna snorted and pulled her cell from her pocket, then sent off a text that was sure to get the attention of Domenica’s father. “You just have to poke the bear, don’t you?”
As if her friend’s words had set off a signal, Domenica’s phone vibrated. She tugged it from her purse and glanced at the screen. Padre.
* * *
Domenica steeled her expression and stepped into her father’s office. The room oozed masculinity and wealth. From the oversized desk made from some exotic, likely endangered wood, to the large chair behind it that looked more a throne than an office chair.
Her father didn’t glance up from the letter he was writing with a fountain pen, and she had to take a deep breath to avoid rolling her eyes at him. “You know, most people these days use email.”
“I’m not most people, mia figlia.” Like gravel, his voice ground out of his throat. “Sit down.”
Stomach knotting, she sat. Antagonizing her father was one thing. Disobeying a direct order was quite another.
“I am disappointed in you.”
“Why’s that?” She tossed her hair and smiled at her father.
“You know playing dumb doesn’t work with me, piccolo.”
Her smile vanished. “I’m not little, Father.”
“Ah, but you’ll always be my little one, will you not? No matter how you grow.” With care not to drip ink, he set the fountain pen in its holder and then leaned back in his pseudo-throne. “Why have you chosen this venue for your little party? You know that Don Spadaro owns it, yes?”
“So I’ve heard.”
He leaned toward her, his dark eyes never leaving hers. “Tell me why, then, you would choose to host a party there when your own father owns many such places?”
The urge to vent at him was strong. Overwhelming. “I’m my own woman. An adult. And I’ll host a party where I damn well please.”
Anger flashed, and his eyes narrowed. “You are my daughter—”
“And sometimes I wish to Dios I wasn’t! I’m old enough to make my own decisions, Father.” Snapping at her father wasn’t wise. She knew that. His men knew that. Hell, half the city knew that. And yet, she couldn’t seem to help herself. Obeying silently just wasn’t in her nature. “I run my own businesses, and I stay out of yours. Yet, still I deal with men following me, my movements being monitored every second of every day. I want the freedom of—”
“Not being your daughter!” She regretted the words as soon as they left her lips, but she couldn’t take them back. Being her father’s daughter was, in many ways, a privilege. While she made her own money with her salon and other businesses, she was under no illusion about where the start-up money for those companies had come from. And she never had to worry about what would happen if she failed—and she resented that. Even as she took comfort in it.
Being the daughter of a mobster was confusing, to say the least.
A flash of something crossed his expression, gone so quickly she couldn’t be sure what it was. Surely, it hadn’t been doubt. Her father doubted nothing. “Some wishes are beyond even my power to grant.”
“Are you admitting you aren’t all powerful?” She gave him her best mock shocked expression, but inside of her, tiny warning bells went off.
“Careful, piccolo,” he warned.
She ignored her internal alarms. “Why can’t you just stay out of my life? Especially with something as unimportant as this party?”
The anger in his expression disappeared, replaced by a blank look she’d seen directed at so many others, but never at her. She flinched.
“Do you really think you would do better without me, mia figlia?”
She met his gaze without flinching—not an easy task, even for her. “What does it matter what I think? It’s not something I’m likely to find out, is it?”
Her father said nothing, and his expression revealed even less. With that, she picked up her purse and left.
* * *
From his VIP table carefully placed in a high-set, dark corner of the club—so he could monitor his club without being seen—Giancarlo watched the group of women enter his club. Laughing and hollering at one another, they had obviously already shared more than a glass of wine between them. His cursory glance slid over the crowd, before halting abruptly.
One of the women was neither hollering nor laughing, but her bemused expression revealed she was enjoying her friends’ fun. Her dark, curly hair fell to the middle of her back, stylishly arranged around her beautiful face. She wore a vintage dress and carried a matching handbag. Her heels were perilously high, which might bring her up to his shoulders if she stretched. He couldn’t see from here, but from his memory, he could recall an image of her golden-brown eyes. High cheekbones. A flair for vintage style. And the perfect round ass.
Something inside him shivered with need.
He more than knew of her, he lusted after the Don’s daughter for years from afar. If he were honest with himself, he’d admit that for months, he would appear at functions and parties hoping to catch the slightest glimpse of her. Hell, he’d even stalked her Facebook page like a fucking teenager, studying her pictures far too closely, but again he never dared to approach her directly.
Doing more than lusting after her from afar meant almost certain conflict between their families, and Gian hadn’t quite been that stupid. Yet.
What was the Don’s daughter doing in his club? Not only in his club but unguarded by the Don’s men who tended to shadow her from a distance, no matter where she went.
Don Todaro’s idea? Unlikely. There was no reason for the Don to spy on him. A war was unlikely between their families—far too much rode on their cooperation in certain arenas. Neither Don Todaro nor Giancarlo’s father, Don Spadaro liked risking money needlessly. But to say that they were friends wouldn’t be true either. They tolerated one another, while carefully watching across boundary lines in their shared city, each Don hoping the other would show a weakness, so that the other could swoop in and take more for themselves.
The group of women sat at a large table near the dance floor, one that had been reserved, and he could still hear them laughing over the music. A tall order, even with his excellent hearing. Domenica was obviously the leader of the little group. She took care of ordering from the waitress, handing the young woman her credit card. Then she turned back to her group and spoke to them all. Whatever she said caused another round of laughter.
If not under her father’s orders, why was she here? The grapevine had a lot to say about the Don’s only daughter. That she wasn’t a proper Italian young woman. That she was stubborn and difficult to control. That she worried far more about running her own businesses than finding a suitable husband.
He settled further into the shadows to watch her.
Radiant—no other word fit her quite so well. Beautiful and stylish. Outgoing yet not quite flashy. She would be fun to pursue.
He mentally shook his head. Going after Don Todaro’s only daughter—however fun—would be a pointless jab at his father’s rival. If he could actually fuck her, it might be worth the risk. But that wasn’t an option.
Frustration rolled through him, and unable to help himself, he got up from his table and moved in closer to Domenica and her friends. Obviously out for a night of fun, they drank two shots back to back. Domenica finally joined in the giggles, then she dragged one of her friends onto the dance floor.
The music drummed, and the women, perfectly on beat, thrummed along with it. Other men immediately closed in on the women—their dance so sexually charged and seductive it drew the men like moths to a flame. And Giancarlo couldn’t look away from Domenica.
He frowned. Approaching her made no sense, and yet he found himself unable to resist. Before he realized it, he was on the dance floor. Edging between her and her friend. Dancing with the daughter of his father’s rival.
Interest flashed in her eyes, and she shot him a grin. Her dance never slowed, nor did she spare her friend an apologetic look. She seemed as unable to look away from him as he was from her. Then they moved together, a breathtaking, sensual dance. Closer. Closer. Until not even air could have slipped between them.
Her full breasts brushed against his chest, and his hands came down around her waist. They moved together in such a way he imagined it was like sex. Or how he thought real sex would be. Not one drink had passed his lips that night, yet suddenly his mind swam. He was drunk on her. Almost out of control.
Her scent touched his nose. A spicy mix of cinnamon and mint. Of woman and shampoo. He nuzzled her neck, and despite the music and dancers raging around them, they both slowed. Almost not moving at all except against each other.
In his pants, his cock came to life. Hardening suddenly and painfully. Shock reverberated through him, and he pulled her closer. His lips touched hers, seeming to find their own way. And she didn’t pull back. Instead, her arms wrapped around his neck and she pulled him closer. His tongue plunged between her lips, and she hungrily met him thrust for thrust.
Domenica practically climbed him, and he was so tempted to push up her skirt and take her right here on the dance floor that he had to physically stop himself from doing so. His fingers dug into her hips, and she moaned beneath him.
Shit. Can’t take her here. He pulled back, breaking their kiss. And she glared at him.
“Come with me to the back.” His words came out like an order, and a flash of anger touched her expression. But she didn’t fight him when he tugged her along with him.
Not once in his life had his dick come to life like that. When most teenage boys had been fighting directions at every turn, he’d felt nothing. He loved women. He’d made giving them orgasms something of art. But he’d yet to find one that could make him hard.
Something about this woman was special.
He dragged her into the room that served as an office for him when he had need of it. Or was she dragging him? He couldn’t tell and couldn’t give a shit. They were both touching, groping, breathing in the other. He moved from her lips to kiss her neck down her collarbone. Her hand gripped his ass, and she rubbed herself against his hard cock. As if he was drunk, he felt out of control. Not something he normally would’ve enjoyed. But this—this was different.
Domenica was different.
He didn’t feel weaker for his lack of control. He was certain he could have moved a building to get at her right now.
Over her dress, he cupped her breast. Squeezing the full mound before sliding his hand down between her legs. He touched her there, boldly. Not asking for permission, demanding it. Mouth against his, she moaned and leaned into his touch.
He had to have her. Now.