#NewRelease: Filthy Marcellos: Lucian #Mafia #Romance - Read Chapter One
Lucian's story in the Filthy Marcellos Trilogy releases today and I am ridiculously excited about it. 

Read on for the entire first chapter. ;) 

Enjoy, 

--Kris



Lucian Marcello is aware of the expectations following him as the oldest son of one of North America’s most infamous Cosa Nostra Dons. Family in his world is more than blood and sharing a last name. It’s the honor, respect, business, and the life. Being a Capo is just a stepping stone until it’s time for him to take on the role of underboss but a chance meeting with her could be the one thing he’d risk it all for.

She is exactly what he didn’t know he was looking for.

Jordyn Reese spends her time trying to stay under the radar of a man who wouldn’t think twice about killing her. Unwillingly affiliated with a dangerous MC gang, her life is dominated by the men surrounding her and her future rests solely in how useful she can be for them. The last thing she needs is some Mafioso gaining her more unwanted attention from the club.

He is everything she should stay away from but can’t.

Notoriously violent when it comes to getting what he wants, Lucian will stop at nothing to make the target on Jordyn’s back disappear. But sometimes the worst threats are the ones you can’t see until it’s too late. The truth behind Lucian’s history is about to take center stage in more ways than one, and it’ll either save him … or kill him.

This world leaves everyone a little filthy.

***

Filthy Marcellos: La Cosa Nostra is not just a choice of regime and routine, it’s a culture. Born as mafia royalty, the Marcello brothers were raised ingrained with the beliefs and rules of what it meant to be a Mafioso prince. It is for life. Their status is considered a given right. They will always be these people. They will always be Marcellos.
 

Buy Links

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~ iTunes

Chapter One Preview

***
Crouched low, eight-year-old Luciano Grovatti hoped no one passing by the dark alleyway could see his small form resting beside the restaurant dumpster. The roadway and sidewalk seemed busy tonight, but he risked it anyway. It was the best place to find food, even if it was dangerous. On more than one occasion, he’d heard shouts coming from inside the business. He always made sure to hightail it as quick as possible when that happened.
The alley smelled awful, like garbage and death. But it was warm, and the sloped roof above provided shelter from the wetness of spring in the city. It was also relatively warmer because of the heating vents blowing out a steady stream of hot air from inside the business.
Soon, he would turn nine.
This was not how he thought he would spend any birthdays.
How many birthdays had passed since he’d been on the streets, now?
Holding up his dirty hand, Luciano ticked off the seasons he’d watched come and go. Spring, fall, winter, and summer. They repeated twice by his count and memory. Two years, he thought. It was an awfully long time for a little boy to be on the streets of New York, slumming it in alleys to find food, and struggling with older squatters for a safe shelter to sleep.
Luciano knew no other way.
At least it was warm enough to keep the shivering at bay tonight.
“Are you hungry, child?”
The voice came from nowhere. It was dark and deep, that of a man. It was also vaguely familiar. He spoke in Italian, not English, though Luciano would have understood either language. Luciano’s eyes popped open to darkness, fear saturating his insides. Instantly his gaze swept the opening of the alleyway to see if someone had slipped in and seen him when he let his guard drop down.
How stupid could he be?
Looking back over his shoulder, Luciano stared directly into the green eyes of a man who kneeled down to his level. Something warm smelling and sugary wafted under the spicy tones of the man’s cologne. In his clean, pressed suit, the man seemed almost regal to the dirty, tiny Luciano. Even his shoes shined in the dank alley.
Holding out a package, the man said, “Take it.”
Luciano hesitated. “No, thank you.”
“It won’t hurt you, I promise. It’s just cookies. Chocolate chip. Fresh from the oven. My favorite.”
Luciano still refused to take the package. Locked in a staring contest with the unknown man, the boy felt like he was being visually searched by the eyes looking him over. Carefully, a hand reached out and brushed the too long hair from Luciano’s forehead with a tenderness that frightened him.
Like a skittish mouse, Luciano moved back quickly, his spine slamming into the dumpster. The man frowned at the obvious display of fear. “I won’t hurt you, child. I could never hurt you.”
What did this man want from him?
“Your name?” the man asked in Italian.
Luciano whimpered. “Please don’t hurt me.”
“I said I wouldn’t. Your name, child.”
“Luciano.”
“Your surname?” he pressed gently. “Please, tell me the name given to you by your father.”
Luciano shook his head wildly. It was something he knew he should never tell, not to anyone. His mother had been adamant, his last name was not a safe thing to speak out loud. There were people who would hurt him just for knowing where he came from.
Sighing, the man rubbed at his forehead. “How long have you lived like this, then?”
Holding up his hand once more, Luciano held out two fingers.
The man flinched. “And your mother?”
“She told me to hide.”
“Of course she did.” The man stood, brushing off his pant legs. “You thought you were being careful, child, but my men have seen you digging around here more than once. I own this restaurant, you see. The only thing that stopped them from scaring you away was the fact they heard you muttering about in Italian. When they described you … I had to see for myself.”
See what?
Luciano couldn’t hold the man’s gaze any longer. It turned from seeking, to sadness and pity. “Please, sir, if I promise not to come back here, would you let me go?”
“No.”
“W-what? Why?”
“I knew your father, child. He was my very best friend. He would be sorely disappointed in me if I let you continue on like this.”
Luciano forced himself to swallow the bad taste in his mouth. “My father?”
“My name is Antony. I was, like your father was, a caporegime. I am the boss, now. The boss, child. Do you understand what that means?”
Faint memories bubbled up to the surface. Words from men Luciano didn’t understand well enough, though he knew his father was one of them. La Cosa Nostra. The family. His mother, a goomah for his father.
Antony was speaking again, bringing the boy from his thoughts. “I knew of your mother, but I didn’t know about you until after. And for that, I am so sorry.”
Momma?” Luciano managed to ask.
Antony gave a single nod in response, smiling tightly. “Would you like to sleep in a bed tonight, Luciano?”
“I …” Could he trust this Antony?
“I have two little boys of my own,” Antony continued, his tone growing softer. “Dante and Giovanni. Dante just turned eight. Gio is six, going on seven. I bet they would love to meet you, and have someone new to play with.”
“She told me to hide,” Luciano said quietly, needing the man to understand. “I shouldn’t.”
“You don’t have to hide anymore, okay? I made the men who hurt your madre and your padre go away. I am boss, remember?”
“Boss,” Luciano echoed.
“A bed?” Antony asked once more.
“Please.”
Antony’s smile grew to a brilliant grin. Then, two men slipped into the mouth of the alley, shadowing the bit of light the street afforded. One held a blanket, while the other simply stood silent and stoic with his arms crossed. With a snap of Antony’s fingers, the man with the blanket came further in and handled the article over. Antony used it to cover Luciano without a word.
“Want me to take him, Boss?”
“No,” Antony said firmly, barely glancing at the other man. “He will be raised as my son, now. I will take him.”
My son.
Before Luciano could say a word, he found himself picked up by Antony as if he didn’t weigh a thing. Instinctively, he wrapped his arms around the man’s neck and his legs around his waist. Antony let out a shaky breath in response, but said nothing about the smell lingering on the boy, or the dirtiness staining his pristine suit.
“From now on, we will call you Lucian. Lucian Marcello. Do you understand?”
Luciano nodded. “.”
“Let’s go home, Lucian. My wife has waited a long time to meet you.”

• • •

Lucian awoke with a jolt. Sweat slicked up his skin, leaving beads of perspiration dotting across his naked chest. For a brief moment, he struggled to adjust his eyes to the dark room, but it didn’t take long for him to remember where he was, or for the familiar space to seep comfort into his suddenly aching muscles with their old memories.
It wasn’t often he dreamed of that night in Brooklyn, not anymore. Sometimes it would creep into his mind and it wouldn’t let go. The memory itself wasn’t a nightmare. Antony taking him off the streets, giving him a home, brothers, a mother and a father, had been the very best thing for Lucian. It was everything else surrounding that night, the things that came before … those were the nightmares, now.
Lucian released a heavy breath, raking his fingers through his hair as he sat up in his old bed. As hard as he tried, he couldn’t come up with a good reason for why he was dreaming of that night. It wasn’t like his biological parents were on his mind lately.
He had parents—ones who loved him very much.
There wasn’t a thing Lucian wanted for when he grew up in the Marcello home, although it took him an entire month of sleeping in a closet before he felt comfortable with the size of his new bedroom. His hesitance to trust Antony or Cecelia—Lucian’s adoptive mother—had broken their hearts, but they gave him space and time until he was ready for all that love, support, and care they gave to him.
His new brothers had been the most welcoming, and probably the most frightening. As funny as it was now, the two boys full of nothing but piss, energy, and an abundance of Italian cuss words scared the living hell out of Lucian. They liked to rough house then just as much as they did as adults. Dante was the largest of the three Marcello boys, though Lucian towered over him by a couple of inches in height now. Giovanni—Gio to his family and friends—was definitely the smartest and most cunning of the three, always leading them into some kind of trouble and then managing to get himself out of it when they were later caught.
Lucian had good memories of his later childhood. Antony and Cecelia had given him all that he lost, and even the things he didn’t have before his mother’s death.
They never hid the truth from him, either.
The mother he so adored was for all purposes, his father’s mistress. Someone he loved, yes, but not someone he was willing to marry or leave his wife for. After all, marriage was for life in their world. It didn’t have to be about love, and his father’s marriage certainly wasn’t for that.
John Grovatti married his wife on an agreement made between his own father and his wife’s father. His wife, Kate, was a vicious thing in more ways than one. She lied about Lucian’s father to her daddy, telling him how awful her husband treated her, how he beat her, and how he wouldn’t share her bed because he was much too busy in the bed of another woman.
Well, at least that last one wasn’t a total lie.
Needless to say, there were consequences for John’s actions.
A boss didn’t need to have permission to make the call for a hit, no matter who it was for.
Cazzo,” Lucian cussed under his breath, kicking off the sheets and moving his bare feet to the cold wood floors. “Damn it.”
Those were not the memories or things he wanted to think about tonight. It was Saturday and the Marcello brothers always spent the night at their parents’ home and attended Mass the next day as a family. Their mother always made a large breakfast feast, they’d go to Mass, and then spend the day together, ending the evening with a family dinner and drinks. It was something they did ever since the first son moved out, following through until the last one did, too. There was no business on Sundays, but there was no rest, either.
Here, Lucian didn’t have his punching bag to beat out his frustrations on until he was too exhausted to stay awake for one more second. Instead, he settled for digging through the bedside table in hopes his mother hadn’t cleared out his stash of vices.
Of course, Cecelia had.
Lucian was surprised she hadn’t lectured him yet if she found them.
More agitated than before, he clambered out of the double bed, grabbed the sweats he’d tossed off earlier in the night, and pulled the pants on. It didn’t take him long to begin his silent trek through the upstairs of the three-level home like he’d done so many times before. If there wasn’t anything to calm his overactive nerves in his old bedroom, he’d find something in his father’s office.
After all, Antony liked his whiskey and cigars, too. Besides that, being twenty-seven didn’t do a whole lot for Lucian’s restraint when he wanted something. Much like the rest of the men in his family.
Maybe it was Marcello thing.
Lucian stumbled, still reeling from the aftereffects of his dream, into his father’s office and found exactly what he hadn’t expected to. Antony sat behind his desk, sipping from a tumbler half-filled with amber liquid, while Dante was stretched across the leather couch, nodding at whatever his father had said before Lucian arrived.
Antony barely glanced up over his glass. “Don’t you have clothes to wear?”
Lucian shrugged, not caring he was half-naked. “Didn’t think anybody was awake.”
“I hope you brought something better to wear to church in the morning other than sweats and those jeans you like. Your mother will not appreciate you going to Mass in dark wash denim again, Lucian.”
Dante snorted quietly. “Mom makes sure he’s clothed. His closet now sports six more custom made Armani suits, and I think she had some sent over here so he couldn’t act like he forgot his at the condo.”
Well, this conversation was going nowhere, Lucian decided.
Vaffanculo,” Lucian muttered, effectively telling his brother to fuck off. “Leave me alone. It’s not normal to wear a suit every day of the week, all right? I wear one Monday to Saturday, anyway. The least I could have is Sunday to wear what I want.”
“It’s good to be dressed appropriately,” his father added from the side. “And watch your mouth.”
“Whatever.”
“What are you doing up?” Antony asked, placing his glass to the table.
Lucian’s nerves grew under the scrutiny of his father and brother. “Nothing. Something woke me, a noise, maybe. Where’s Gio?”
It wasn’t like his father to have a meeting with one brother and exclude the others. Lucian didn’t like that at all.
Dante waved one hand in the air, uncaringly. “Sleeping off the drinks he slammed back before crawling into bed.”
Lucian caught his father’s cringe out of the corner of his eye. It wasn’t exactly a secret that the youngest Marcello son had his issues. Most of them revolved around his taste for alcohol and sometimes things a little harder than booze. Being the baby of the boys afforded him a little leg room to move more than the other two, but Lucian knew Antony was two steps away from shipping his youngest son to a rehab out of country to get his shit straight if he couldn’t shape up and do it himself.
“Was it bad?” Lucian dared to ask.
“He didn’t drive himself home, and he came here for church tomorrow,” Antony said. “That was better than last week.”
“Maybe I should keep an eye—”
“No, do nothing,” Dante interrupted firmly. “Not yet. Give him a chance to handle it.”
Lucian shot his father a look that silently asked if that’s what he wanted, too. Antony said nothing, only shrugged before picking up his glass and taking another gulp of what Lucian suspected to be whiskey.
“I’m just saying, I could keep him a little closer is all.”
“Sure,” Antony said, nodding. “But what good will that do, Lucian? So far, he’s kept the issues away from business. I’m hoping it can stay that way. If it doesn’t …”
Lucian frowned. “But—”
“But nothing. He’s twenty-five going on twenty-six, not a little boy anymore.”
Yeah, but Gio was still his kid brother, too.
Lucian looked towards the large, ornate grandfather clock in the corner of the office. The time was well after two in the morning, letting him know it was early Sunday. Now, he was really curious as to the reason for the late night meeting in Antony’s office that didn’t include him, or Gio, and was obviously about business in some way.
No business on Sundays. It was a rule.
Just like dressing well, no matter what public opinion was. Even if they were on the Department of Defense’s list of major organized crime families in North America for their influence in the drug and weapons trade. Not to mention racketeering, extortion, smuggling, gambling, money laundering … The list went on and on.
There were quite a few rules, actually.
Being an Italian, Cosa Nostra born family was everything when it came to living life as a Marcello.
Family. Honor. God.
La famiglia. Onore. Dio.
Greed. Money. The business.
It all needed to be handled just so. Appearance was important. Family was everything. Pride and fearlessness was expected. As was the ruthlessness their syndicates and enemies had come to expect when a Marcello was crossed. They were to keep their heads on straight, no matter what situation they came in contact with. Never were they to leave their home without a gun on hand. Cops were not to be talked to, associated with, or trusted.
Lucian understood how to work and use his own handgun by the time he was twelve. At thirteen, he was disassembling and reassembling assault weapons. As a child, he knew the basement and attic weren’t places he was permitted to use or explore like any other room in the house because his father had a large collection of illegal guns in one, and kept multiple incoming and outgoing shipments of drug substance in the other.
They weren’t good people. Lucian didn’t want to be, either.
But he was proud of his family. It was just who they were.
“Business on Sunday, Papà?” he asked, nodding at the clock.
Antony scowled at his desk. “Wasn’t given much of a choice. Sit, we can talk now, I suppose. Just don’t tell Cecelia.”
He did as he was told, resting his frame down into one of his father’s high-back business chairs that always sat across from his desk. “You want me to go and get Gio up?”
“No, he’s likely too damn drunk still to understand the seriousness of this. I’ll talk to him after Mass.”
Lucian sat up a little straighter in the chair. Those words didn’t bode well at all. “What’s going on?”
“You know, I wish you’d quit marking up your skin with that awful ink, Lucian.”
Smirking, Lucian shrugged. He had many tattoos. They were all important in their own way. His newest tattoo rested across his chest, from one collarbone to the other in elegant script. It read: This Thing of Ours. It was, essentially, La Cosa Nostra in English. Usually, his father peered over his tattoos with the disregard of a man who disliked ink, but he rarely said anything. This vocal disappointment was new.
Giving his brother a cocked brow over his shoulder, Lucian wondered what in the hell was up with his father tonight. Dante had come to sit up on the couch as well, a seriousness darkening his otherwise friendly features. Not that Dante was particularly friendly with anyone outside of their family and business.
“Is it pick on Lucian night, or what?” Lucian asked sarcastically.
“At least you can cover them up, I suppose,” Antony said, ignoring his son’s remark. “If Gio gets another tattoo on his neck where I can see it when he’s wearing a dress shirt, I’m going to burn it off with a hot knife and blow torch. See how he likes the pain, then.”
Lucian shivered, but hid it well enough. Antony did not make idle threats. Even if it was towards his sons.
“I’ll keep the ink to a minimum,” Lucian said to appease his father.
“You do that.”
Or I’ll just keep my shirt on so you can’t see, he thought silently.
“So, what’s up?”
Antony finished off his glass of whiskey before speaking. “About ten after twelve tonight, there was a shootout between the authorities and the motorcycle gang The Sons of Hell I’ve been keeping an eye on.”
Lucian’s interest was definitely peaked, now. “Oh?”
“Outside my casino.”
Damn.
“That’s ridiculous.”
Antony nodded shortly, anger clouding his face. “I don’t mind their business. I’ve let them do their nonsense on my territory because really, it’s not affecting me. They pay a healthy due to the Capos to keep their peace and place, just like every other drug or weapons dealer working inside my territory does. They follow my rules. I don’t fault them on that.”
“But?” Lucian pressed, knowing it was coming.
“But this is different,” Dante said from behind. “It puts us in a spotlight we don’t need right now. We do all of our business on the low, and the last thing we need to be, or even thought to be, is affiliated with a motorcycle gang famous for their bloodshed and drugs.”
“Like we’re not?” Lucian asked.
Antony chuckled. “At least we’re well-dressed sinners.”
Well, money did give them that.
Lucian still didn’t feel like he was getting the whole story. “What am I missing?”
“They’ve gone too far this time.” Antony sighed, a weariness reflecting in his green eyes. “This war they’ve declared on the NYPD has certainly kept the police off our backs for a little while. But it’s bad, Lucian. A young couple was picking up a friend at the casino. They had a baby in the back seat of the sedan. The young family was killed, as were three police officers, and one MC member.”
Oh, shit. Lucian felt a sickness rise in his gut like a poison. “Dad, you can’t blame your—”
“They aren’t the first innocents to be killed in this mess the MC created,” Antony continued, unaffected. “And while we all understand that collateral damage happens, they clearly don’t know when to quit. I will not have my businesses and family affected from their mess.”
“We’re going to make them quit,” Dante said, coming to stand beside his brother’s chair.
“What, pull a Montreal?”
A couple of decades earlier, an Italian crime family in Montreal, Canada stepped in during turf wars between rival gangs to put a stop to the bloodshed and violence. Oddly enough, it worked.
Antony gave him an unhappy look. “I wouldn’t say that. This isn’t a couple of kiddy gangs tossing lead at one another. This is the police, and a well-known, well-organized motorcycle gang that has over one-hundred-fifty clubs all across the United States and some in Canada. It’s not exactly going to be an easy thing, but it needs to stop.”
Fear was a great motivator.
The Marcello family was surely big enough to pull weight here.
“No, probably not easy,” Lucian agreed. “But what is?”
“I want it finished,” his father said finally, a sadness coloring up his tone. “Let’s sit down and make a list of names—important ones. We can easily set something up to meet with the President of the club and whoever else he wants there.”
“And if they don’t take your … advice … seriously?” Lucian asked.
“We’ll start crossing off names until they do,” Dante finished for their father.
Sounded simple enough, didn’t it?
It rarely ever was.

0 Responses

Post a Comment