Home > Bound by Vengeance (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #5)(7)

Bound by Vengeance (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #5)(7)
Author: Cora Reilly

“Cara, your father and I are looking for you. Come back to the party,” she said, completely ignoring the man in the corridor with us.

I nodded and rushed past Growl. His eyes, amber not dark as they’d seemed from afar, followed me but he remained silent. When I had my back to him, a thrill shot through my body and I had to stop myself from looking over my shoulder.

The moment Mother and I were out of the corridor and in the deserted hall, she grabbed my arm in a crushing grip. “What were you thinking being alone with that…that man,” she practically spat the last word. Her eyes were wide and almost frantic. “I can’t believe they let him in. He belongs in a cage in shackles, far away from anyone decent.”

Her nails dug into my arm.

“Mom, you’re hurting me.”

She released me and I finally recognized the emotion on her face. Not anger, but worry.

“I’m fine,” I said firmly. “I lost my way and came across…” I searched my mind for a name to call him other than Growl, which seemed like too much of a nickname to use around my mother but came up empty-handed.

“Cara, you can’t go running around like that, without thinking about the consequences of your actions.”

“I was on her way to the ladies room. I wasn’t running around,” I said.

“Cosimo is a good match. Don’t go ruin it now.”

I blinked, unable to believe my ears. “That’s what you’re worried about.”

Mother took a deep breath and pressed her hand against my cheek. “I’m worried about you. But that includes your reputation. In this world, a woman is nothing without a good reputation. A man, that’s a different matter. They can do as they please and it’ll even help their reputation, but we are bound to different standards. We need to be everything they’re not. We need to make up for their failures. That’s what we’re meant for. We, you need to be gentle and docile and virtuous. Men want everything they see. We should keep our desires firmly locked away, even if men can’t.”

It wasn’t the first time she’d said something like that to me but the way she accentuated the word ‘desire’ in her speech made me worry that she knew of my body’s reaction to Growl’s closeness.

She needn’t have worried though. My fear of that man, of everything he stood for and of what he was capable of, trumped whatever small thrill of excitement my body might have felt around him.

Growl

Growl watched them leave the corridor. The door fell shut and he was alone again. Her vanilla scent still lingered in the air. Sweet. Girls like that always chose sweet scents. He didn’t understand why they’d try to appear even more harmless by smelling like a delicate flower.

He pulled at his collar. Too tight. The fabric against his scar, he hated it. This suit, this shirt, that wasn’t him.

The look on her mother’s face had reminded him why he hated events like this. People didn’t want him around. They wanted him to do their dirty work, and they enjoyed talking shit about him, but they didn’t want him near.

He didn’t give a fuck.

They were nothing to him.

He knew they watched him like a circus animal. He was the scandal of the evening. The sweet-smelling girl, too, had been watching him. He’d seen her and her friends observe him from across the ballroom.

But the sweet-smelling girl had surprised him. He knew her name. Of course. Falcone had talked about her father and her family too often in the last few weeks. Cara.

She hadn’t run away screaming, even though they’d been alone in the corridor. She hadn’t even looked very scared. Of course there had been fear; there always was, but there had also been curiosity. Because he was a monster that they feared and that fascinated them.

He didn’t care. She was just a girl. A society girl with a pretty dress and an even prettier face. He gave a fuck about pretty. It meant nothing. It was fleeting, could be taken away in a heartbeat. Still his eyes had sought her out several times that evening. He’d imagined ripping that pretty dress off her body, imagined running his not-worthy hands over her curves. Then he’d forced his gaze away and left the ballroom before he could do something very stupid. She was someone he wasn’t meant to have. Someone he shouldn’t even imagine having. She was someone to admire from afar. And it was for the best.

Cara

That day, shortly after we returned home and I lay in bed, my fingers found the sweet spot between my legs, answering to the need that had called to me ever since I’d seen Growl. The cloak of darkness washed away my resistance and my worry of being caught. Even my mother’s words that echoed in my head weren’t able to stop me. ‘Be proper, be virtuous. This is sin.’ The image of that fearsome man had caused a sweet tingle in my core, and I was unable to resist. Wrong, my mind screamed but I banished the thought until finally my body shuddered with release.

But seconds after, a familiar sense of being dirty washed over me. This was sin. Mother hadn’t stopped saying those words to me since the day she’d caught me touching myself two months ago. I’d not given in to my sinful needs since then, until tonight.

I took a deep breath, wishing my heart would stop racing. Wishing my body would stop reminding me of what I’d done.

Ever since Mother had caught me there was a tension between us I could hardly stand. She avoided my eyes as I avoided hers. I was almost glad for my quickly approaching wedding so I’d finally escape Mother’s judgement. I still felt a wave of blatant shame was over me when I remembered that day and the look of shock on my mother’s face. It hadn’t been the first time I’d touched myself but the first time I’d really understood the wrongness of it. I’d sworn to myself back then to never let my body overrule my brain again and now I’d broken that promise. In the protection of the night, I’d dared to let my fingers roam again, all because of a man whom I shouldn’t even think, let alone fantasize about. Wrong.

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