Home > Ruthless People (Ruthless People #1)(8)

Ruthless People (Ruthless People #1)(8)
Author: J.J. McAvoy

We all laughed and turned to Orlando who smirked at me with those damn chapped lips of his. I wasn’t sure if it was because he agreed or because all the cancer drugs were messing with his brain. Orlando Giovanni was harder to read than most.

“Well then, Orlando, I do believe I’ll be marrying your daughter,” I said with no emotion in my voice. Declan handed me the contract again.

Before the pen touched the paper, I stared at the meticulous script that spelled out Melody Nicci Giovanni.

I wanted to see her first, but I signed anyway. My father had always told me to pick my battles so that I could have energy to survive the war. There was too much riding on this for me to refuse just because I would have to get an okay from a little princess. Besides we were married, I would keep her too busy to care.

“You aren’t going to seek counsel from your father?” Orlando asked as I signed away my soul.

“His bride, his choice,” my father said, speaking for the first time, and with just as much emotion as I had. None.

“My choice it is,” I repeated, handing the sickly man, my future father-in-law, the papers. We shook hands, and I tried to force myself not to snap his in half. “I would like to see whom I have chosen.”

“But of course,” he said, ringing a bell that echoed throughout the room. Finishing the last of his horrible brandy, I waited.

When the door opened, I felt my cock try to detach itself. The girl who walked in was an ugly duckling with thick and messy dark brown hair, dark glasses, and goddamn braces.

Fuck it all to the seven levels of hell! my mind screamed.

“Just think, underground heroin fields. When would you like that plastic surgeon’s number?” Neal murmured beside me. I could hear the laughter being held back in his voice. He cared about those damn underground heroin fields so much, you would think he did fucking heroin himself.

“Ms. Bianchi, where is my daughter?” Orlando asked, and my blood pressure dropped while my cock rose in hope. I could have sworn I heard the old man snicker.

“Closest fucking call of your life,” Declan uttered, as we waited for the ugly duckling’s reply. The timid girl glanced at us, but did not answer. Instead, she kept her eyes glued to the floor. If she didn’t speak up soon, I would twist her ugly little head off.

“It’s fine, Adriana. The man before you is Melody’s fiancé. You may speak freely,” Orlando told her while I was losing my goddamn patience.

Bowing at us first, she rose and gave me her full attention, standing with so much pride it almost distracted from her appearance . . . almost.

“Good morning, sir. The Boss is in a meeting in the basement,” she said, making us all freeze. Everyone in our world knew that fucking word.

“Is this some sort of joke?”

“Who do you think has been running things while I die, gentlemen?” He snickered, before turning away from us. “If you don’t believe me, you are free to go to the basement. But be forewarned, you won’t meet a woman who needs to be taught anything. Benvenuti nella famiglia,4 Callahans.”

Flaming, I turned back to my father who was still staring at the sick man in the chair.

“Did you know this?” I glared at him, only to have him glare right back. Most days, I knew my place under my father, but the tides were shifting. I was rising, and I needed to know if he had held information from me.

“No, Liam, I was not aware. It seems to have been a well-kept secret, but does explain the recent growth of the Giovanni Empire,” he replied, seeming somewhat baffled by the thought of it as well.

“No fucking way a girl has been behind all this,” Neal said like a child.

“Take us to her then,” I commanded the girl, and she nodded. I would see this Melody and find out if she was truly the Boss they had dared to call her.

“Sedric, may I share words with you for a moment?”

My father nodded, no longer caring what I chose to do.

One last time I turned to Orlando, who didn’t even bother looking back as we left. It must have been a grim day for him. He would lose a company and a daughter. I didn’t pity him, though—he’d be dead soon enough.

The ugly duckling didn’t speak, or even bother breathing, until we reached the end of the hall that was guarded by two of Giovanni’s men. From the corner of my eye, I saw both Declan and Neal slowly reach for their guns. In Declan’s left hand, his cellphone was ready to call in more guns if this was a trick. But my instincts and common sense told me that Orlando really was dying and he wanted to marry off his daughter first. What I didn’t know was what to believe about said daughter.

“Sir.” The men glanced at me before opening the door, only to reveal an elevator with Fedel Morris inside. He was the bastard son of Gino Morris, one of the fucking mutts who had the balls to break into our safe house and kill fifteen of our men sixteen years ago. It was the reason my father pushed for this goddamn contract.

“This is as far as I can go, sir. It was a pleasure to be of service,” Adriana said to us, giving me a short bow again before stepping back.

“Mr. Callahan,” the mutt said with forced respect, making space for us in the elevator.

The moment we were all inside, Neal took a step next to him, clearly itching for an excuse to pull the trigger. He knew Neal was there but did not say a word or even flinch when Declan reloaded loudly.

All any of us could hear when we stepped out of the elevator was a man gasping for air as water splashed around him. We were a level up from where they were waterboarding the man. The basement was just one giant gym with a boxing ring in the corner. They had cleared everything on the ground floor to make room for their prisoner. As I stepped up to the rail, a few eyes fell on me. The men gave me a short nod as if they understood the shift happening within their company. Each one of them looked just as deadly as our men, and they all stood silently, allowing the man’s underwater screams to echo around the space.

“Enough,” a gentle voice called out, and each man stood straighter when the most beautiful woman I had ever seen stepped forward. Even from where I stood, I could tell she was perfection. From her wavy, black hair, flawless olive skin, and deep brown eyes, to her perfect hourglass figure. The knee-length white dress she wore hugged each one of her toned curves and, God, her tight ass—fuck. Her lips demanded to be kissed, and my cock demanded I have my way with her right then and there.

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