Home > Salvatore: a Dark Mafia Romance (Standalone)(8)

Salvatore: a Dark Mafia Romance (Standalone)(8)
Author: Natasha Knight

I just happened to be the sacrifice.

Whose idea was it, I wondered, my father’s or Franco’s?

I swallowed two sleeping pills and finished the second glass of wine. Setting it on the nightstand, I pulled back the sheets and climbed into bed. I wanted to sleep, to stop thinking about everything.

Darkness fell when I switched off the lamp, and I closed my eyes. My thoughts moved from Salvatore and Franco and my father to Izzy. The pregnancy had saved her, or she’d be the one here in this bed right now. They’d wanted her, the firstborn. I’d heard my father and my sister arguing, yelling like I had never heard him yell before. Not at us, anyway. That’s how I’d found out she was pregnant. That was when Izzy had run away, leaving me to a fate that should have been hers.

I couldn’t blame her, though, not when I thought of Effie. She was protecting her baby. But it didn’t absolve her for leaving me without a good-bye. Without telling me the truth herself. She knew what would happen to me.

Those few words we exchanged at the funeral were the first we’d traded in the last five years. Maybe it was time to forgive her. I needed at least one ally, didn’t I?


My head hurt the next morning. Probably a combination of too much crying, too much fighting, and too much wine.

A knock came on the door just as I zipped my suitcase.

“Come in,” I said, expecting Salvatore but finding someone else.

“Car is ready,” the man said. He was the same one who’d stood at the door after accompanying us up here yesterday. He moved toward my suitcase. I’d only packed one. It was a brief trip, and we’d be going back to the US today. I’d be going to my new home—Salvatore’s home—in New Jersey.

“Where is Salvatore?”

“He was called to a meeting, left earlier this morning.”

“What’s your name?”


“What meeting, Marco?” I asked, my curiosity piqued.

The man simply looked at me, letting me know he chose not to answer.


I walked out the door carrying my purse, leaving him behind to follow me with the suitcase. I went downstairs with my head held high, hoping most of all I wouldn’t run into Franco Benedetti. As much as I hated to admit it, he scared me.

The front doors stood open, letting in the bright sunshine and already too hot temperatures. I refused to glance around and kept my eyes on the car waiting outside, the driver standing beside it. Marco’s footsteps followed.

I was almost out the door when I heard a small clicking sound and instinctively turned my head. There stood Dominic, leaning against the doorway to another room. He watched me, and I took a moment to look at him, to see him. He and Salvatore couldn’t be more different in appearance. Salvatore was big and thickly muscled, whereas Dominic stood maybe an inch taller but not as wide, his build leaner. Salvatore had dark hair and olive skin. Dominic was blond and lighter skinned. His eyes, though, were a piercing, steely blue-gray so cold, they chilled me through.

But then he smiled a big smile. The change in his features became suddenly disarming.

Marco cleared his throat behind me.

I glanced back to find Marco’s eyes locked on Dominic. Dominic only shook his head and disappeared back into the room he’d come from. I walked out the door and got into the backseat of the car. After loading my suitcase in the trunk, Marco climbed into the front passenger seat, and the driver started the engine. I glanced up at the mansion as we drove off, irritated that Salvatore hadn’t come with me, wondering if I was being sent away again on my own, hating knowing I was a prisoner to his will.

I had a hundred questions but refused to ask Marco. I wouldn’t let them know I felt unsure, uncertain. Instead, I sat in the backseat of the car and watched the small Italian villages roll by on the hour-long drive to Lamezia Terme International Airport. I would connect through Rome, and the combined flights would take over fifteen hours to get back to the US. Getting to Calabria was a pain in the ass. I remembered hating the flights when we’d come here as kids, and that hadn’t change. I still hated the long trip. At least Salvatore wouldn’t be on the flight with me. Although would Marco then accompany me?

At the airport, Marco opened my door, and I climbed out, the heat coming off the asphalt stifling after the air-conditioned car. The driver unloaded my suitcase. Marco gestured for me to go ahead, guiding me toward the check-in counter. The man seemed to know Marco. I noticed their small exchange when he handed over my passport and ticket, neither of which I’d been allowed to hold on to, as if I’d skip out on my own father’s funeral and fly home. The desk agent took my bag and handed my passport and ticket back to Marco.

“This way,” Marco said.

“You didn’t check-in. You won’t be allowed past security,” I said.

Marco smiled. “I will hand you over to one of my…colleagues in a few moments.”

Marco’s Italian accent was distinct. Raised in the US, although I spoke fluent Italian, I had no accent. Neither did Salvatore.

“He will travel with you.”

I would have been surprised if they let me go alone, honestly.

Used to having guards nearby since I was a little girl, I went along, ignoring Marco and the other man, whom Marco introduced me to and whose name I instantly forgot. We boarded our flight within the next half hour, and I settled in. I read the coverage of my father’s funeral in the newspaper reports, saw my face in the photos along with Salvatore’s and numerous others plastered across page after page of both local newspapers I’d picked up. We made big news here. The reining Mafia family, coming to bury their biggest rival. The daughter of the fallen man, now on the arm of the opposing family’s son. Most of the articles actually told the story of how we’d met and fallen in love. That would be Franco Benedetti’s work. It wouldn’t look good to tell the public the truth.

I folded the paper and tucked it into the pocket of the seat in front of me. I closed my eyes. I felt my bodyguard’s gaze on me, but I ignored him as best as I could.

With a three-hour delay in Rome, by the time we arrived in New Jersey and then drove the hour and a half to Salvatore’s home in Saddle River, I was exhausted. Evening fell, and it took an effort to keep my eyes open, to take in the surroundings of my new home. I was grateful it was Salvatore’s house and not the Benedetti family home.

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