ORION Ruined is book 1 in the New York Mafia Vengeance series, and ends on a cliffhanger. It is a dark Mafia, reverse harem romance which deals with mature themes that may be triggering for some, as well as scenes of violent and sexual nature.
There is a charged silence in my house as we stare down the wife of Milan the Dog.
This meeting was to be held in the utmost secrecy. The four families controlling New York are finally sitting down to discuss money, murder, and business.
Of course, Milan knew nothing of it because he would instantly reject the invite out of fear that we’d set him up; hence, we needed him to think he’d be meeting me alone. Had he come, the three of us would have proposed life-transforming changes to the syndicate.
But the fucker sends his wife Camila instead. And to do what? Fuck? Gossip?
She even has the audacity to come with a bodyguard. Standing in front of us, ten feet from danger, she’s waiting on an invitation to sit but I’m dead fucking silent. And irritated beyond belief. I should kill her right on the spot.
I look over to the other side of the room and the two most dangerous men I know, Kai Delgado and Logan Vitali, their eyes burning with the same crazed look. Kai’s hands are already closed into fists. He may lose it. He should lose it. It’s within his right. And Logan–I’ve seen him kill a man in one move with his blade. It was one of my men. So as much as I fear them, I respect them too.
“What are you doing here? Where’s Milan?” I growl.
“Milan had more important things to tend to. He sent me.” Camila nods at Kai and Logan. “What are they doing here?”
“It’s none of your goddamn business!”
“To think that I had to leave the party at LaToya’s for this buzzkill,” she says nonchalantly, but her eyes betray a special hatred for us, most likely thanks to Milan. “And now when I tell him about you ganging up on him”–she points to my guests–“there’ll be hell to pay.”
I look at Kai, then Logan. We’re in a tight spot, and will seriously have to consider the consequences. She’s right, there will be hell to pay. And if this gets out, Milan will gain the most. Not one person alive has seen the three of us together, apart from my sister. How on earth, and more importantly why, did the heads of the most feared mafia families, Delgado, Vitali, and Carte, get together to talk without blowing each other’s brains out? To the world, we are bloodthirsty enemies who despise each other, but between us, we have an airtight connection that nobody knows about, or can break. But if anyone in our families hears of it, they’ll get stupid ideas in their little heads.
It’s now a standoff. We stare at each other in silence. It seems the voices in Kai and Logan’s heads are getting the better of them, as they are in mine. Each of us considering different scenarios to figure out what would be best for our families. To stay alive. To remain kings on the streets of New York.
All of a sudden, a loud noise disturbs the silence. We are jolted by the bell ringing furiously, someone yelling and banging on the door, and that’s it.
Kai, Logan, and I scramble for our guns and empty silent rounds on both Camila and her bodyguard. The bodyguard manages to open fire too; one bullet flies right past my face, to no avail. They drop to the floor like flies. There isn’t even blood seeping from the wounds yet, it happened so quick; they didn’t stand a chance. I instinctively point my gun at the others and they mirror me. After a brief hesitation, we aim them at the door where the banging continues.
“I thought you said we wouldn’t be disturbed. Who the fuck’s there, Orion?” Kai hisses.
“How the fuck should I know?” I snarl back. “Someone must’ve sneaked in past my camera sensors.”
Logan dives for cover. “Get ready for the door to be blown.”
We follow his lead and wait, but nothing happens. Just the yelling becoming subdued, and the pounding slowing down.
Irked by whoever dared approach my house, let alone bang on my door, I decide they don’t get any more time. I stand up and motion to Kai and Logan that I’ll unlock the door to see who’s out there. They nod, get closer, ready to kill whoever shows up. But I know we all have the same suspicion. It must be Milan the Dog. And if that’s the case, Camila lying in a puddle of blood just a few feet away would be one of the reasons we have to kill him.
I open the door, ready to rain hell threefold on whoever’s there, and find myself blindly pointing my gun at a girl in torn clothes with blood dripping from her. In stunned silence, I glance at Kai, then Logan.
She doesn’t say anything. Just stares at me with wide, dark eyes, her chest heaving, like a petrified deer on the road waiting for a car to run it over, until her eyes roll back in her head and she faints, falling at my feet.
I crouch to check her pulse. “Fuck!” This is the last thing I need today.
Kai and Logan stride past me and check the driveway. Only Camila’s car can be seen from where I’m standing.
“Clear!” Logan yells.
“Clear,” I hear Kai confirm as I lift the girl into my arms and take her inside. I’m not happy about this situation but I have to get her off my porch.
They close the door and join me as I carry her to the living room and lay her down on the sofa.
For a few moments, the three of us stand over her in silence. I’m pumped, ready to kill the next person in line, but looking at her all covered with blood, she’s the last person I want to hurt.
“Who the fuck is this?” Kai eventually snaps.
“Let’s figure that out later.” In situations such as this, we know the drill. “Logan, take Camila’s car into the garage. Here.” I pull the keys from my pants pocket. “And put the bodies inside. Don’t forget to turn off their cells.”
“Don’t insult me, Orion. I’m not a rookie,” he scoffs, taking the keys. “Come on, Kai. I’m gonna need help.”
I take a second look at the girl. Who the fuck is she? Who sent her? And why? Why tonight? She has blood all over her. She must be wounded. Her clothes are torn, and her top, well, her top’s too small for her breasts, that’s for sure. Why am I even looking there? The way she looked at me right before she crumbled at my feet… fuck. For that reason only, I’ll let her live. For now. Dammit, I hate that she looks so innocent, lying here unconscious. I bet she’s not. She can’t be. Either way, I’ll be damned if I don’t find out.
I pick her up and take her upstairs, straight into one of the guestrooms at the end of the corridor. The only guestroom on the east side of the house, usually reserved for real guests, or those incapable of going home after a night out.
“I’m up here!” I yell at Kai and Logan when I hear the front door opening.
Since I live alone, my house has always been the safest place for our meetings. Nobody’s allowed to walk in unannounced. My privacy is what keeps me safe. I don’t allow anyone to come close without me knowing, thanks to the perimeter of sensor-activated cameras around the property. Except my sister Lisa. She often comes with her daughter, but not unannounced, as my cell buzzes each time there’s movement in the vicinity. Besides, she’s the only one who knows about Kai and Logan. From day one. They met, too. So I don’t even consider her a threat. She brings me food and whatever else I ask her for, and I’d give my life for her.
This girl here must’ve come straight after Camila. I remember my cell buzzing, but I also remember being too angry at Camila’s arrival to check.
Kai and Logan join me in the guestroom.
“She’s still unconscious,” I say to Logan. He’s the doctor, after all. He’s the one who has taken an oath to save lives. Not me. I’d rather kill them and get it over and done with.
Logan looks at her closely for a moment. “One thing’s for sure, her body–”
“Logan,” I warn him. I know where his mind goes.
“Whoever sent her must’ve known about our meeting tonight.” Kai glowers at Logan and me. “And us.”
I pace around the room. That realization is beginning to weigh heavy on me. “Fuck!”
“Most of the blood is around the stomach,” Logan observes.
“How long can she survive a gunshot wound to the stomach?” Evidently, Kai hopes she’ll die before she sees any of us again.
“It would depend largely on the gun, and the type of bullet,” Logan replies. “A 22-caliber rimfire round would make a hole less than a quarter-inch, and might not ‘pass through’ but actually remain in the stomach. A 30-caliber hunting round with a soft point or hollow point projectile designed to expand and expend its energy rapidly would probably blow her stomach apart, killing her quickly. There are hundreds of bullet calibers designed for different purposes, so it’d be impossible to go over all the possibilities.
“Another issue would be the angle of the bullet’s path. If it only hit the stomach and not the liver, pancreas, a kidney, or a major artery or vein, the chances of survival are much higher. If the bullet were to tear the abdominal aorta, death would happen very quickly from blood loss, not the stomach injury the bullet caused.
“Aside from these observations, a bullet would pass through other materials before reaching the stomach, so a heavily dressed individual might have a different life expectancy. Since this one’s practically naked, and she was able to walk here, the chances are that she’s not shot,” he concludes, scratching his chin.
That’s too long a ramble for my liking. I check my watch and frown. “Shit. With Camila dead, we don’t have time to waste. As usual, this meeting never took place.”
Logan points to the girl lying on the bed. “What about her?”
“Let me deal with the bodies I already have for now.”
“Cleaning crew,” Kai states darkly.
I nod. I work with the best cleaning crew on the East Coast, with no connections to anyone in my family. One great piece of advice my father gave me: no matter what you’re up to in your life, find yourself an independent cleaning crew.
“Both of you, stay here. I’ll be back in ten.”
Goddamnit! We didn’t have to kill Milan’s wife! It took us years to get to where we are, and because all of us are trigger-happy, we now have a dead woman on our hands. She was hardly anyone’s role model, but still. She was a good bargaining tool, seeing as she wanted to bang all three of us at some point. And that poor bodyguard didn’t stand a chance.
Orion’s life-transforming changes he wants to propose to the syndicate, a ‘smart’ mafia life for all, is great. I’m sold to the life where I step back and practice medicine. But it’s hard taking even one step forward with the asswipes that are Milan’s men, the Slavs, who never keep their word. I didn’t need this today. Had I stayed at home, I’d be tucked up in my bed right now with a girl under each arm. Not getting annoyed that if this gets out, some prick from my own family may want to cut my balls off, our syndicate’s calling card. I know, I was the one who came up with it–you betray us, you lose your balls. As for death, it will come for sure, but not before a good, lengthy torture. Of course, nobody will get anywhere near my balls as my trusted blade’s always in my pocket, and my skills are equivalent to that of a surgeon with twenty years’ experience. But still.
If it wasn’t for this tempting girl lying on the double bed in front of me, I’d certainly think tonight was wasted.
“I’ll be on lookout out front.” Kai sounds pissed. He’s always pissed. He hasn’t stuck his cock in anyone for nearly a year and of course he’s miserable. Getting on his motorbike and going at a deadly speed is where he’ll lose his head one day, and properly–not like he did last year, over a girl.
“Sure. I’ll try to examine her.”
I reach out and slowly move her arm, checking for a knife wound, but there’s none. I examine her neck and down her body. Her tank top is bursting at the seams, so I undo three buttons and the tops of her breasts spill out. Her chest rises sharply. She takes a deep breath, and moans on the exhale.
Sweet Jesus mama! The sound is heavenly. Her breathing must’ve been restrained, that’s probably why she fainted. I continue my examination. The torn material she wears as a skirt has many slits in it, and I check her legs. She moans again, and her eyelids flutter open.
“Hey, welcome back.” I try to sound comforting, like I always do with the girls I check over in my club. But in reality, I want answers. Why is she here? Why was she banging so desperately on Orion’s door? And why is she so unbelievably sexy?
She sees her top’s undone and lifts her hands to cover her breasts which, by my reckoning, are not exposed at all. I’d have to see her nipples for that to be the case.
Panic visibly takes her over and fills her dark eyes, now wide open. She lifts her head and seems to scrutinize every detail of my face, like I’m the one being examined, then moves on to surveying the bedroom we’re in.
“Do you mind if I check you over?” I ask.
She sits up. “I-I’m fine.”
“Whose blood are you wearing, then?”
She stares at me, looking taken aback by my words. Her chin wobbles and tears bubble from beneath her eyelashes. As if she knows that I cannot stand a woman crying, she does exactly that. My Achilles’ heel.
“Hey, it’s okay. You can tell me.” I speak softly; it’s what always works. I reach out and gently touch her arm, but she jerks out from under my palm. I grit my teeth. Clearly she’s been manhandled and can’t stand anyone touching her.
“It’s from… It’s from a rat,” she eventually says.
“From what?” Shit. This is bad. Really bad.
“A rat. He was aiming at me and killed a rat instead.”
Immediate withdrawal. “I… I don’t know.”
Sometimes I wish I couldn’t read people this easy. She doesn’t want to tell me who it was. No matter. I won’t press. Eventually, she’ll spill. “Why did he want to kill you?”
She shrugs, her deep, dark eyes fixed on mine.
“Well, you have nothing to worry about anymore. You’re safe here.”
I don’t even know why I said that when I know how we operate. You see us together, we kill you. End of.
She smiles at me in a sad, broken way. She trusts me, and yet she’s known me one full minute. “Is there any place I can clean myself up?”
“Sure. Over there.” I point to the door leading to the ensuite bathroom.
She stands up slowly, her body barely covered by the rags she wears, and disappears behind the door.
I’m so immersed in her that I don’t sense the person walking into the room is Kai. On impulse, I pull my blade and nearly spin it at him. After the shootout with Camila, my gun’s safely tucked in my ankle holster, but my blades will do. They’re deadly and silent. What could be better in this world?
“Is she okay?” Kai asks.
“Fuck, man, you should knock, or walk louder. I could’ve killed you.” I tuck my blade back into the special pocket of my pants. All my pants have custom-made leather holsters inside the pockets for my blades. “And yes, she’s up.” I raise my eyebrows at him and smirk. “Something else is up too.”
Kai ignores my joke. “Where is she?”
“Getting cleaned up.” He’s no fun at all these days. This past year, actually.
“No. That’s a rat’s blood on her.”
His eyes narrow. “A rat’s blood?”
“Yeah. Someone tried to kill her and got the rat instead.”
“Who?” Kai snarls. He’s always taking the side of the weaker person, be they a man or a woman.
“She won’t say.”
“We’ll make her,” he snaps.
“Right now, one thing I want to make her is–”
The door of the bathroom opens slightly, and I stop. We don’t see her, but we hear her smoky voice.
“Um, are there any clothes I could change into? Mine are not wearable.”
“I’m sorry. There are none.” My pervy heart rejoices that I may look at this angel’s perfect skin longer.
The door opens fully and she comes out, her wet hair draped over one shoulder, her body wrapped in a towel that I’m jealous of, and her arms crossed over her chest. Kai and I both suck in a breath. We’re rarely in the company of a normal girl, one who hasn’t been passed around and ruined. We don’t move, but I bet she sees the fire in my eyes, and probably in Kai’s, because she questions my earlier promise.
“I’m safe here, right?” She sucks her bottom lip between her teeth.
“Um, yes. Yes, you are. Kai, stop looking.”
She trusts me, I see it in her eyes. But why? I’m a thug. I’ve killed people. I’ve tortured more. Not one living soul trusts me these days and yet, somehow, she does–why? And why am I smitten?
Kai doesn’t miss a beat. “You’re in the safest place on earth, baby girl. I assure you.”
Huh. Look at him. There’s still sap in his balls, I guess. He’s been gloomy and indifferent to every one of the girls we sent his way in the past year. And now this. Good. Fucking great.
I study the girl in front of us, trying to drink in her normal, sweet, innocent presence as much as I can.
God, are you messing with me?
Long, dark curls fall over her shoulder, and eyes as black as onyx stare at us with pure guilelessness. Her rosy cheeks and full lips are still flushed from the shower, a warning of what’s coming next as my eyes travel south to her breasts. Those are the last things you want to lay your head on before you die. Abundant, and virginal.
“What’s your name?” Kai asks.
She looks up at him through thick lashes. “Maisy Roy.”
“Do you know where you are, Maisy?”
She nods. “Orion Carte’s house. Is he here?”
“He will be shortly,” I reply. I want to bathe in those dark, bottomless pools of hers, but I also want her to know who’s in charge. “And it’s ‘O-RYON.’ I’m sure he’ll say something if you mispronounce his name.” I chuckle. “I’m Logan, this is Kai. We’re his associates. Nice to meet you.”