Filthy Marcellos: Dante is live! #Mafia #Romance - Read Chapter One
The very final Filthy brother (book) is out today. I hope you all enjoy and love Dante as much as the other brothers, if not a little more. He was my favorite of them all. Read below for Chapter One.

Filthy Marcellos: Dante, Book Three

Dante Marcello’s life has been a carefully planned event as an heir to a Cosa Nostra throne. For as long as he can remember, he’s had one goal in mind, and that’s becoming the Don. With his father ready to step down, it’s Dante’s turn to step up. But without a wife at his side, his seat as the boss is on shaky ground. Until she shows up with an offer he wants to refuse, but can’t.

With her, he’s got everything to gain.

Catrina Danzi is known for her angel face and a predator’s grace. For over a decade, she’s worked as a successful Queen Pin dealing with a repertoire of clientele who can’t afford a scandal. That’s why they ask for her and why they call her Queen. Marrying Dante Marcello means giving up the business and status she loves in order to gain protection she can’t provide on her own, but she no longer has a choice.

Without him, she’s got everything to lose. 

The rules for their arrangement are simple: no intimacy, no emotions. Dante isn’t looking for love and Catrina doesn’t need attachments. In the end, life has a way of breaking down walls when you least expect it to, and once love gets in, there’s no bleeding it out. Together, they make a formidable team the Commission won’t be able to ignore. Catrina’s secret of what she’s kept safe will put the entire Marcello family in danger when it finally catches up with her. The Marcellos have yet to be beaten, and they’re not about to start bowing down now.

Even the most beautiful things are a little filthy.

* * * 

A contemporary erotic romance with organized crime and suspense elements 

* * * 

Available for pre-order at the following: Amazon Barnes & Noble  | Kobo | iTunes | Google Play
Add Filthy Marcellos: Dante on Goodreads

* * * 

Chapter One

Control doesn’t always equal power.
Dante Marcello had never been more aware of that statement until now.
“I own forty percent of Marcello Industries. You can’t get rid—”
“I can,” Antony interrupted calmly. “I own fifty. Giovanni owns ten. I’m paying you out, Dante.”
Dante blinked, his hands balling into fists at his sides. The large wall-to-wall windows overlooked the city, a sight so familiar to him that he found it comforting. He spent eight hours a day, six days a goddamn week in this building. Marcello Industries had always been just as much his as it was his father’s. This didn’t make sense.
“It’s time for you to stand on your own,” Antony said. “You’re capable, so show me.”
“Stand on my own?” Dante’s anger vibrated through his entire body. “I’m twenty-eight-years-old. I’ve worked with this company since the day I graduated—”
“You’ve worked for me.”
“This is ridiculous!”
“Is it?” Antony asked, opening his arms wide. “I’m asking you for something simple, Dante. That’s all.”
“You’re upending my entire fucking life. Everything I’ve worked for.”
“No, everything I’ve worked for. I want to see what you can do, now. Challenge me. Rival me. Surpass me. But you can’t be me, Dante. You have to be you.” 
His father pushed away from the edge of the desk, turned around, and grabbed a small slip of paper off the top. Antony held the check out to Dante, waiting patiently for him to take it.
“Go on,” Antony urged.
Dante eyed the check with too many zeros to count, his disdain making him sneer. “Fuck you. I don’t want your money, Dad.”
“It’s your cashed out shares, so it’s not mine.”
He couldn’t believe how unaffected his father seemed to be. Like this entire show was nothing for him.
“Burn it,” Dante spat. “I don’t want it.”
“You’ve rallied against everything I’ve asked of you. You said it, son. You’re twenty-eight—nearly twenty-nine. This is more than Marcello Industries right now. It’s only one thing. Think about it. If you won’t step out on your own willingly and begin your life, then I will force you to.”
Dante swallowed the burning fury scalding his throat. “You’re talking about marriage. Again.”
And doing in it a really shitty way, Dante thought.
“Marcello Industries is just one thing,” his father repeated. “It’s a start, though.”
“You’re capable, Dante. Show me.”

• • •

Dante slammed the office door open so hard it crashed into the wall with a bang. Gio stood from his chair, arm outstretched with a gun pointing at the door and the hammer cocking back. Cain growled from his spot at his master’s feet. The moment his younger brother knew who intruded on his space, the weapon lowered.
“What in the fuck are you trying to do, get your head blown off?” Gio asked bitingly.
“Did you know?”
“Seriously, doing shit like that is liable to earn you a bullet, Dante. We’ve got issues on the streets right now, and the last thing I need is people rushing my office like a fucking idiot. You’re goddamn lucky I’m a see first and shoot second kind of man. Lucian or Dad would have popped your stupid ass.”
Dante ignored his brother’s rant. “Did you know?”
Gio set the gun to the desk. “I just asked—”
“What Dad was going to do to me with Marcello Industries, did you know, Gio?” The expression on his younger brother’s face said he didn’t. Dante fell into the closest chair as bitterness raged. “I guess you wouldn’t. He doesn’t need your sign off. You’ve only got a ten percent share.”
“That I don’t even use,” Gio said like his brother ought to already know. “I get a payout once monthly into an account I never touch.”
Dante glanced at Gio. “What the hell do you do with it, then?”
“Pay taxes on it and shuffle it around between other accounts to pillow illegal funds.”
Made sense. Dante chewed on his cheek, irritated. “This is crazy.”
“What happened?” Gio asked, resting into his chair.
“He paid me out.” Dante winced, remembering the check he tossed into his father’s garbage can. “Tried to. I refused the money.”
“How much?”
“That’s what you want to know, really?”
Gio shrugged. “Curious about the company’s worth.”
“Yeah,” Dante said, sighing. “He’s in everything, you know. Marcello Industries has a hand in fucking everything. The last five years alone it’s doubled in value.”
Gio cleared his throat, shooting Dante with a look. “Since you signed on after college.”
“But you’ve focused hard on developmental projects with real estate and investing. Dad goes all in everywhere else, including those.”
Dante frowned. “What are you getting at?”
“Your attention is better spent where you’re great and not just good.”
“So, why would Antony keep you in a place that’s only going to hold you back by making you focus on several pictures instead of just the one?”
“Fuck you,” Dante muttered, his anger coming back rapidly. “You don’t get it.”
“Why, because I don’t own a twenty-million dollar condo on Fifth Avenue and I don’t want to? Shit, Dante, I can see Dad’s point, even if he has a crappy way of proving it. He’s going to make you do what you’re good at instead of eventually forcing you to take over a company you might not want in thirty years.”
“It’s Marcello Industries for a reason, asshole.”
Gio nodded. “Sure, but companies sell out all the time and he’s fifty-eight-years-old.”
Dante canted his head, something in the lilt of his brother’s tone catching his attention. “What does his age have to do with this?”
“Nothing. I didn’t mean it like that, I just—”
“Liar. What aren’t you telling me?”
Gio wouldn’t meet Dante’s stare. “Dante—”
“Tell me, Gio,” Dante demanded.
“A few months ago, after Johnathan’s Christening …”
“What about it?”
“It wasn’t just about Marcello Industries, was it? Today, whatever he said to you, it was probably more than just the business. Am I right?”
Dante’s jaw ticked. “Maybe.”
“That’s what I thought.”
Dante’s opinion on the topic of marriage was well-known to his family. As in, he didn’t want to be married at all. His life was a thoroughly planned event and always had been. The most important goal he wanted to achieve was just beyond his reach—being the Don of the Marcello Cosa Nostra. He wouldn’t be considered until a woman stood at his side wearing a wedding band and toting his last name.
It was completely fucking absurd, but that was the Commission’s demand.
“Has Dad told you, yet?” Gio asked.
Dante frowned. “Told me what?”
“I can’t believe he hasn’t told you. We’ve got a Commission meeting in six months and—”
Whatever patience Dante had left was gone. “Told me what?”
“I’m not surprised he’s paying you out and forcing you into your own thing, especially where Marcello Industries is concerned. He’s ready to retire.”
Dante’s mind fell silent, his thoughts leaving right along with his ability to talk.
“Lucian is not going to take over the family. I’m too young and I’m not made for it. You’ve got six months to get your shit figured out. Have you been seeing anyone?” Gio asked quietly.
Dante leaned back in the chair, the ceiling gaining his attention. “No.”
“Not even for a quick fuck?”
“Well, that’s not what you asked, little brother. Really, I don’t have much time for that at the moment, either.”
“If someone is good enough to sleep with, why isn’t she good enough to date, Dante?”
Dante could ask his brother the same goddamn thing about his past ventures with women, but Gio was married now, so the point would be moot.
“It’s just marriage,” Gio continued. “What are you scared of?”
Not being able to give a woman the normal things that came along with marriage and love. Failing at one thing in life that should come easy, but likely wouldn’t. Beginning something with someone only to have it end eventually.
Dante wouldn’t admit those things out loud. “A woman isn’t going to make me a better boss.”
“But she might make you a better man, Dante. And I bet that’s what you’re most afraid of.”

• • •

A week later, Dante found himself downing a rum and coke while listening to men bark at one another.
“I’m telling you, there’s a huge problem on the streets right now,” Gio said, his frustration starting to show.
“In your streets, maybe,” Lucian replied. “Mine are fine.”
“Mine, too,” Leo, a capo, said.
“Well, mine are seeing a hit,” Val, another Marcello capo at the far booth, put in. “I’m with Giovanni on this one. There’s something happening there.”
“The coke, right?” Gio asked.
“Mostly,” Val agreed. “It’s not selling at all. Blow sells, Lucian. It’s like fucking pop rocks candy.”
“I know it sells well because I don’t have a problem selling it.” Lucian blew out a harsh breath, shooting Dante a look. “What do you think?”
Dante shrugged. “We import the shit, so it’s hard to say.”
“What’s the importing having anything to do with it not selling on the goddamn streets?” Leo asked.
Dante was five seconds away from telling Leo to eat his gun. He had little to no patience for this nonsense today. Besides, it wasn’t supposed to be his day to deal with these men. Once a month, all nineteen of the Marcello capos gathered to pay their dues to Dante’s father. Seventy percent of everything they made cash-wise was handed over, drinks were had, and issues discussed. Antony, in all the years Dante could remember, had never missed a tribute.
Chancing a glance at his watch, Dante realized his father was already an hour late. Practically unheard of for the Marcello Don. “Where’s Antony?”
Every capo in the room perked at the question. None of the men seemed entirely surprised that Antony wasn’t there, but rather, interested in why Dante asked.
“I thought you would know. Paulie isn’t here, either,” Gio said, his brow furrowing.
“Huh?” Dante asked. “Why would I—”
He shut his mouth before he said something stupid. Antony, Paulie, and Dante all held the three highest positions in their Cosa Nostra family. It was Dante’s responsibility to know what was going on with the other men around him, being his father’s underboss and all. Saying he didn’t know would only make him look like a fool.
Something he surely didn’t fucking need.
Torno subito,” Dante said, excusing himself and pushing out of the booth.
Dante made sure he was hidden from view when he pulled out his cellphone and called his father. He hadn’t spoken to his father in a week since their fight. It was unheard of for them, but he was still pissed off about Marcello Industries. Dante figured keeping some space would let his anger ebb.
It hadn’t.
Ciao,” Antony greeted, his voice far too cheerful for Dante’s liking.
“Where are you?” Dante asked immediately. “It’s tribute and your capos are waiting.”
Fuck pleasantries. It wasn’t the time.
“I’m taking your mother to dinner and a show. She bought a new dress. I wanted to show her off.”
“I said—”
Dio, I heard what you said. Where the fuck is Paulie, then?”
Dante stared at the wall, wondering what in the hell had become of his life. “Are you serious?”
“You can call Paulie and ask him which hall he’s at. And if you don’t believe me about my plans tonight, would you like to speak to your mother? She can tell you which movie we’re seeing after our meal.”
“No, I don’t want to speak to my fucking—” Dante stopped himself, pinching the bridge of his nose as he tried to regain some sense of control. Or at least the semblance of it. “Please tell me it’s your age making your mind go, you forgot the date, and that’s why you did this to me today. Because otherwise, the only thing I can come up with is the fact you’re being an asshole over last week.”
Antony was silent for longer than Dante liked before saying, “Did you just call me old?”
“No, now you’ve pissed me off by calling me old. That’s unacceptable. I’m not coming to tribute, Dante, so deal with it like you would any other time.”
“You’re here any other time!”
“Am I really?” Antony asked.
“Tell me, is this about last week?”
Cristo, son, come on. Why would I be angry about last week? I made the choice to pay you out, not the other way around. I wanted it to happen. It’s just tribute, Dante. You can fill me in later.”
“There’s issues these men need to discuss with you,” Dante said, trying to make his father see reason.
Nothing his jumbled mind came up with explained his father’s sudden behavior and lack of interest in his famiglia.
“So, they can discuss it with you, Dante,” Antony replied quietly. “Like they have been for the last few months at every tribute.”
Dante’s brow furrowed as he considered his father’s words. “But, you’ve been here.”
“Staying in the shadows, yes. My involvement was very little. If you didn’t notice me letting you take the reins every once in a while, that’s not my fault. Get some observation skills. You’re going to need them soon.”
Thunderstruck, Dante felt a headache begin to throb. “You could have called me, Dad. Given me a little warning you weren’t going to be here.”
“Phone works both ways, son. I wasn’t the bitter one this week, you were. Instead of trying to talk it out with me, or even discuss what you wanted to do after Marcello Industries, you ignored me. I simply let you.”
“You’re making me look like an idiot here.”
“No, I’m making you look like a Don.”
With that, Antony hung up the call.
“Everything all right?”
Dante slipped the phone in his pocket as he turned to face Lucian. His older brother’s approach had been quiet, but Dante knew he was there before Lucian said a word. “I don’t know.”
Lucian’s brow lifted, amusement playing on the corner of his mouth. “That’s a pretty shitty answer.”
“Dad’s not coming.”
“I figured.”
Why was everyone else completely unsurprised at Antony’s no-show?
“I don’t think he’s going to be coming to any of these for a while,” Dante added quieter.
“Figured that, too,” Lucian said, shrugging. “What’s wrong?”
Dante met his brother’s unbothered stare. “Am I ready for what this means?”
“Guess we’re going to find out.”

• • •

“Antony is indisposed with his wife and Paulie is busy, so let’s continue as we usually would,” Dante said.
“Got it, boss.”
“Back to the issue with the blow, then,” Gio said, nodding at Val.
Dante didn’t show his surprise at the title of boss. Acting like he fit the bill seemed a better plan, anyway. “Yes, back to that.”
Leaning back against the booth, Dante tapped his fingers to the table’s edge as the men spoke. Since Antony had made his status on his position clear to the men by not showing, as well as Paulie not coming to tribute, Dante’s new role was expected. Being acting boss meant a lot of things, but mostly, it meant he had control, and he needed to damn well act like it. So, instead of sitting in the booth like before, he stood at the ready, commanding.
“There is no issue,” Leo stated, waving his hand dismissively in Gio’s direction. “He just doesn’t want to admit he might be losing a little bit of his touch, that’s all. Skip’s got problems, but only in his own mind.”
Gio sneered. “What did you just fucking say to me?”
Silence enveloped the chatter of the men sitting around the booths and tables. All eyes turned on the two capos who looked like they were ready to go head to head. Dante couldn’t have these men at one another’s throats, even if one was his brother. It looked bad on him for the men to be fighting amongst themselves.
Hey! Cool it, you assholes,” Dante warned. “I’m not in the mood for this shit.”
Gio didn’t take his glare off the rival capo for a second, but he wisely kept whatever smartass comment he was chewing on inside his head. Cazzo, this was going to be a long day.
“Since Giovanni’s crew isn’t the only one suffering a hit in this particular product, I’m inclined to think there might be something there we should dig into,” Dante noted, drumming his fingers to the tabletop.
“Of course, you would,” Leo muttered.
Dante scoffed. “Excuse me?”
“I’m just saying … boss.”
Dante didn’t like the way Leo had to force the respect to stay in his tone as he handed that title over. “Just fucking saying what, Leo?”
“Well, you know … he’s your brother and—”
This was bullshit.
“Spit it out. If you’ve got a problem, I’m willing to hear it. If you’re too much of a goddamn coward to speak the fuck up, then sit the hell down and shut your mouth before I sew it closed. Do I make myself clear?”
Leo’s short-trimmed mustache twitched. “Yeah, boss, I got it.”
“Good. Moving on. Gio, you’re not the only crew, right?”
“No,” his brother replied quickly. “Val’s streets come right up to mine, and since we run most of that area together, it’d make sense he’d see a hit, too. And he is, right, man?”
“About thirty percent down these last two months, I’d say,” Val confirmed with a shrug. “According to my guys, anyway.”
“Mine isn’t,” Lucian added in where he stood beside Dante. “But that’s not to say there isn’t something happening in that area. I’m a bit farther from Gio's and Val’s streets, and I’m selling to an entirely different group. Val was right earlier. Blow sells, regardless of the price or cut of the product. It sells well, so long as you’re the only crew selling it and there’s no competition.”
“And it’s not right now,” Dante said, musing the implication of that. “Has there been any talk?”
“Not from our men, just that it’s not moving like it does,” Gio answered.
Dante sighed, gazing up at the club’s ceiling. “We import the product, so that begets an issue there.”
Leo, still looking like he was sucking on a lemon, asked, “I still don’t get that; how so?”
“Simple, really. We don’t control the people providing us with the product. We just name the substance, demand an amount, pick up and pay for the shipment, and then we control it from there. We have no idea if someone else is underpricing us in that area with the suppliers or not. Beyond that, there’s the idea that the supplier could be cutting the product on the boat with something, skimming off our shipment, and then handing it out to another party.”
“All the while, we’re still paying full price,” Lucian said, filling in the blanks.
Dante nodded. “Yeah. Problem is, that’s only an idea. It isn’t fact, and we’ve never had that kind of problem before. Our suppliers deal in drugs, but they’ve always been trustworthy with business. If they fuck us over, we fuck them over.”
“Who’s stupid enough to work their shit on Marcello territory?” Carmen, an older capo, asked from three booths over.
“I suppose that’s what we have to find out,” Dante replied. “I want everyone and their wife’s fucking dog on that like flies on shit until we figure it out.”
“We’ll see what we can do,” Lucian said.
“It shouldn’t take much prodding,” Gio agreed.
A couple of envelopes on the table caught Dante’s eye, reminding him of the whole point of the damn day. “And before you all start bickering like a bunch of barking spiders again, pay your fucking tributes so I can pretend like I give a fuck, yeah?”
“Yeah, boss,” came the echo of several voices.
Lucian laughed quietly as the cash started flowing and the bills were counted like it was any other day.
Dante only had one more issue to handle and then he could swallow another few drinks and get back to his condo. “Oh, Leo, something else …”
The capo in question cocked an arrogant brow at his boss. “What’s that?”
“Your face,” Dante said with a smirk.
The chattering around them quieted again.
“My fa—”
“That mess of hair above your lip. Get it gone.”
Dante held up a single hand. “The rules are clear: no facial hair. I didn’t make the fucking rules, I just enforce them. By next month, it better not be there.”
Leo’s jaw clenched. “And I suppose Giovanni’s three day scruff doesn’t bother you a bit, does it?”
“He’s not sporting a mustache, asshole. It’s not the same thing.”
“Yeah,” Gio said, grinning like a fool across the booth. “Besides, I don’t wear this look to be cute. I wear it because my wife likes the feeling of it on her—”
“Gio,” Lucian cautioned.
“I was going to say her cheek, cafone.”
Dante laughed. “No, you weren’t.”
Business as usual.

• • •

Conversation milled around the dining room at a dull roar as Dante’s mother and his sisters-in-law served the table. Dante didn’t think the Marcello tradition of having a large supper for their close friends and immediate family would ever change. He wondered whose house would be the next to take on the near impossible task of feeding twenty or more people after an entire morning and afternoon in church.
“How’d you do on Wednesday?” Antony asked Paulie from his spot at the head of the table.
“Good. Beat my overall.”
Antony laughed. “You’re the only fool I know who still likes to bowl.”
“It’s a good hobby,” Paulie defended.
“It’s bowling.”
“And what should I do, old friend? Collect knives and cars like you do?”
“Better than tossing a ball at a bunch of pins.”
Chuckles filled the dining room, including Dante’s.
Lucian leaned over in his seat closer to Dante, his voice lowering so no one else around could hear. “Gio’s got news about the blow issue we talked about on Wednesday.”
Dante wondered why his younger brother wouldn’t have mentioned something. Gio was sitting to the right of Dante at the table, for Christ’s sake. Then again, Gio was thoroughly involved in a discussion with his wife, and when Kim was in the picture, he cared little for anyone else. Dante let it go.
“I think he would have brought it up this morning before church, but he’s trying this new thing where he doesn’t prick Dad’s nerves all the time, you know.”
Dante rolled his eyes. “No business on Sundays. What’s the fucking news?”
“Quit your whispering down there,” Antony ordered.
Dante skillfully flipped his father the middle finger without his mother seeing as Cecelia sat down at the table. Turning back to Lucian, Dante scowled. “In a couple of months, I’ll be twenty-nine, you’ll be thirty, and he’ll still be barking at us about whispering at the dinner table.”
“He’s never going to change,” Lucian said, laughing quietly.
Cecelia had Antony distracted with some concert she wanted to go to, so Dante took advantage of that.
“Anyway, news.” Dante picked up the cloth napkin and snapped it open, placing it over his legs. “What about it?”
“There’s a small crew working their shit in at a majorly reduced cost compared to ours, and according to some, a better product in general.” Lucian shrugged, mimicking Dante’s actions with his own napkin. “So, there’s that.”
“What, like they’re selling to the dealers?”
“No, they’re dealing it, too. Which, I would think, is why they slipped by us so fast and did the damage they did before we finally caught up to them.”
Dante grunted under his breath, agitated already. “See, that’s a problem.”
“I know.”
“No, you’re looking at it from a capo’s perspective who is losing money. I’m seeing this as a territory thing. Nobody should be in our streets working anything unless we know about it or have had a good old sit-down with them so they understand the rules.”
“That, too,” Lucian agreed quietly.
“Somebody wanted to catch our attention.”
“Could be.”
Dante’s gaze narrowed as he considered that. “But why?”
“That’s your job to find out.”
Yeah, Dante was aware.
“Make contact, ask for a meeting, and make it quick, yeah?”
“Will do.”
“Dante,” Antony called down the table. “Do us a favor and say grace.”
Dante figured he’d prayed enough today in church, but he had no interest in annoying his father after spending more than a week ignoring one another. Or rather, Dante ignoring his father.
Antony never did things just because he wanted to. There was always a reason behind it and usually, it was a good one. Dante decided to remind himself of that whenever his anger caught up with him over Antony paying out his shares.
Time to let that shit go. That didn’t mean Dante wasn’t going to give his father hell in the real estate development market, because he sure as hell would when he got back to it.
“Sure, PapĂ .” Dante smiled and held his hands out palm up for those sitting beside him to join in the prayer. Both his brothers’ palms met his. He waited until everyone around the table were connecting as well before beginning. “Blessed Father …”
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