Filthy Marcellos: Legacy is live! - #Mafia #Romance
I'm so excited for everyone to get a look at the Marcellos next generation in the Legacy prequel! I hope it gets you excited, curious, and more!

Much love from me. Thank you for being awesome and loving my words. Read on for the first chapter of Legacy.

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BLURB:

A Legacy Prequel

filth·y (fĭl′thē)

adj. filth·i·er, filth·i·est
1. Covered or smeared with filth; disgustingly dirty.
2. Obscene or offensive.
3. Vile; dirty. 

adv. filth·y
1. To an extreme and often disgusting extent. 


Newly released from prison after serving a three-year term, Johnathan Marcello just wants to get his head straight, but he's the only one who believes he can do it. 

Stepping into her mother's shoes is the very last thing on Catherine Marcello's mind, but it's already too late and she's got her own games to play. 

The spotlight wasn't in Andino Marcello's plan, but the Capo might not be given a choice when Cosa Nostra starts looking for la famiglia's next boss. 

Being the baby of the family and a good girl is all Lucia Marcello knows, but a little freedom and space could give her the chance to shed those masks. 


In the Marcellos, being filthy isn't a birthright, it's earned. A new generation is ready to take their thrones, but it's not that simple. 

This family is a legacy and this generation might just be the filthiest yet.

***

PLEASE NOTE: Filthy Marcellos: Legacy is a COMPANION piece to the Marcellos series. It is NOT intended to be a standalone in the series. It is not intended to be a full length story with a formal HEA, but a 20k PREQUEL to a new series featuring the involved characters. 


CHAPTER ONE

JOHNATHAN

The black car pulled up and parked alongside of Johnathan. The sight of a dark vehicle with tinted windows was so familiar to him he almost smiled. Almost.
A good portion of his life was filled with memories of cars just like this one picking him up for one thing or another. Likely some situation he’d gotten himself into and needed out of.
The passenger window rolled down and revealed the person who had come to pick John up this time. He did smile at the sight of Giovanni behind the wheel.
Zio,” John greeted.
Uncle.
Truth be told, Giovanni had always been more like a friend and brother to John than just an uncle. Especially now that John was thirty and not just a kid under his uncle’s feet anymore.
Still, Giovanni was the one person in John’s family that he connected with on a level of trust that he didn’t have with anyone else. Despite the salt peppering the fifty-seven-year-old’s hair, and the lines on his face that said Giovanni was not a young man, he somehow still gave off the air of youth. Antony, John’s grandfather, always said that Giovanni had a young soul.
Whatever that meant.
“John,” his uncle replied. “Get in. We’re going to be late as it is with the drive. They told me you would be getting out at twelve and it’s already one.”
“They had some kind of delay on the paperwork.”
Giovanni pointed at the passenger door. “Don’t care. Get in.”
Johnathan knew better than to disobey Giovanni. Pulling open the passenger door, he tossed the large brown paper bag to the floor of the car and climbed in. He hadn’t even shut the door completely before the Gio hit the gas, and the car lurched forward.
“Shit,” John said, grabbing for something to steady himself and laughing. “Slow down. I’d like to see Ma at least once more before I die, all right.”
Gio smirked. “Not your father?”
“You know how it is.”
“I don’t, actually. Lucian, like Dante, is my best friend. We’ve always been close, John. When I was younger, had no self-control and too many issues to name, I always had my brothers. When my father felt a million miles away, my brothers were still there. So, no, I don’t understand.”
“It’s like this, he’s not my brother.”
Gio hummed under his breath. “He’s your father, I know.”
John had never seen eye to eye with his father on a lot of things. Lucian was a good father, as far as that went. He’d always been good to John and his sisters. He loved his children totally. But John had always felt misplaced somehow in his life. Or even out of touch with the people around him, his father included. It made it difficult to have a connection like his younger sisters had to their mother and father.  
“What is in the bag?” Gio asked, passing the brown sack John had tossed to the car floor a look.
John shrugged. “Shit I went in with. Clothes, a watch, stuff like that. Nothing important.”
“Let me see your band, John.”
“Why?”
“Let me see it.”
Sighing, John lifted his hand up to show off the leather wrist band he wore with his family’s crest embossed across the middle. “Happy?”
“Just making sure you got that back, too.”
“Everything that I took in came back out with me, Zio.”
“I don’t trust the system, John.”
Neither did John, really.
“Thanks for sending a package into the prison for me to have clean, decent clothes to come out with today,” John said.
Gio shot his nephew a look. “I didn't send anything, John.”
“Who did?”
“Your father. He sent it up a couple of weeks ago so you would have a suit to wear today. He thinks about you even when you’re not thinking about him.”
John wished that made him feel something, but all he got was a twinge in his chest that reminded him of how detached he truly was. It had always been this way for him. He never felt at home, he always looked at the people around him like he was on the outside looking in.
“So, what is your next week looking like?” Gio asked.
“Nothing unusual. I have to check in with the probation officer. Three years of that nonsense should be fun.”
Gio laughed. “Or we could just pay the fucker off.”
John scowled. “Bribing people was one of the reasons I spent three years behind bars instead of the one year it would have been, Zio.”
“Yeah,” Gio said, wincing. “You’re right. Better to let it lie.”
Attempted bribery of officials to drop the charges he faced. Possession of an unregistered weapon. Discharging an unregistered weapon. Assault on a police officer. Actually, several police officers.
The charges had racked up one after the other on John, and before he knew it, he’d had a five-year term slammed down with the bang of a judge’s gravel. Not even his family’s money, status, or connections had been able to get him out of that one.
John was pretty sure his father and uncle Dante had a bit of a hand in it all. To Lucian, John was out of control. Or rather, out of his father’s control. He didn't always follow the rules. He liked to do things his way, which wasn't always the Marcello way.
Wherever John went, trouble usually followed.
Lucian had said more than once that it was time for John to grow the fuck up. John supposed he finally had, in a way.
He just wished his father hadn't let him take a five-year rap to get his head straightened out. Thankfully, John served his time in three years with good behavior and probation for the foreseeable future, but it still stunk like shit no matter which way he looked at it.
“Hey,” Gio said.
John fell out of his troubled thoughts and gave his uncle the attention and respect the man deserved.
That was the Marcello way.
It was a rule John didn't mind following.
Respect and honor.
Always.
“What?” John asked.
“What do you want to do right now?”
“We’ve got a party to make it to, don't we?”
“Fashionably late is the thing or so I hear,” Gio replied. “Just tell me something you'd like to do, John.”
“A beer. I’d like to have a beer.”
Gio chuckled. “Are you supposed to with—”
“It’s fine. One won’t kill me.”
“I think we can manage that without Dante sending people out looking for us.”
John frowned at the mention of his uncle ... and boss. “It’s my first day out. Are you seriously urging me to irk Dante? Dante, who has a shorter fuse than even I do?”
The older Dante Marcello got, the less tolerable to bullshit he seemed to be. John was smart enough to know that his uncle, the Don of the Marcello Cosa Nostra, would kick his ass first and then ask questions later if need be.
Gio smiled. “It’s not him you should be worried about.”
“Oh?”
“No. Worry about when your mother gets her hands on you for not calling her for three months.”
Shit.
Family first, John. Always.
His father’s words were a mantra John couldn't forget.
John’s mother, Jordyn, had gotten progressively more concerned the closer his release date loomed. She voiced her worries about his release and a possible relapse into another one of his episodes enough that it started to grate on John’s nerves. His focus was simply getting out of prison and what he was going to do after he was out. To do that, he had put a block of sorts between him and his mother.
It probably wasn’t the right thing to do.
“Maybe we should stop at a flower shop on the way to Tuxedo Park,” John murmured.
Gio nodded. “Maybe we should.”
“And the jewelry store.”
“Now you’re getting it, man. Lucian taught you well, regardless of what you think.”
John laughed. “I know my mother worries because she loves me.”
“But?”
“She suffocates me,” John admitted. “I’m an adult, not a child. She acts like I’m seventeen and not thirty. She still thinks I’m a boy.”
“For the record, all mothers see their children as their babies. Jordyn isn’t a special case. Cecelia still thinks she has to fix my damned tie if it’s crooked.”
“You know it’s not the same.”
Gio sighed heavily. “Or maybe you just don’t understand your mother and father, John.”
“I think I do.”
“Do you? They almost lost you twice. Have you ever thought that letting you go too far ahead where they can’t reach makes them feel suffocated? That being unable to keep you close takes away the security they have?”
John didn’t answer his uncle, but he knew Giovanni had a good point. When he was just a baby, his aunt Catrina had been involved with a cartel that had taken John as a way to draw Catrina out. He’d nearly lost his life, as had his father, uncles, and aunt when they’d made the attempt to save him.
Clearly his family won that battle.
The Marcellos always won.
And then John’s first episode had happened when he was seventeen. In the process of losing himself in the manic chaos of his brain, and the torrent of his uncontrollable, rash decisions that led him into a bad place, he nearly died again. Self-medicating, living fast, and almost dying young.
He might as well have been a walking cliché.
Except he wasn’t.
His life was real, and so was the manic bipolar disorder he had been diagnosed with at seventeen, and then severely failed to manage as an adult.
“John,” Giovanni said quietly. “I’d like an answer.”
“How close did my father keep me when he let me be carted off to prison for three years?”
“You didn't give Lucian a choice. You were running crazy, John, doing stupid shit. The faster you ran, the more frenzied you became. You were refusing to work with your father or the people set up for you. On more than one occasion, you put everyone in terrible situations that could have cost us all a lot. You were self-medicating between chemicals and prescriptions. Cristo, John, you went missing for two weeks!”
He had.
He had done all of that.
“I thought I had it under control,” John said.
“That was your first mistake, because clearly, you were lost. Everybody was trying to help you, but you just kept pushing us away until we couldn’t even see you anymore.”
Not one word was a lie.
John wouldn’t deny it.
His last manic episode had begun shortly after his twenty-sixth birthday, and the cycles of the disorder went on for weeks at a time, and lasted for over a year. It almost mirrored his first episode from his teenaged years when his family had finally gotten a diagnosis for what was wrong inside his head.
Chemical imbalances.
Bipolar.
John’s biggest mistake was thinking he could manage his mental health without medications. Those pills labeled him crazy. He didn’t need them. He was wrong, but the longer he was without them, the more manic he became in his daily life. He’d go from stealing because of the rush, fighting because of the high, using substances to manage the highs and the lows, to fucking any female within arm’s reach just to feel.
When he was in a high cycle of the mania, he’d be up for days, running non-stop, and obsessive to an extreme. When the lows of the cycle hit, he would do anything just to get out of it, if he could even manage to function.
Yeah, he’d lost that battle with a bang.
Literally.
His parents hadn’t been able to step in like they had when he was a teen because he was an adult the second time around. When his episode came to a head and John finally hit bottom, he nearly killed his cousin Andino during an argument over territory and men on the streets. It should have been a simple discussion between Capos. John was far too lost in his own nonsense to fully understand what he was doing when he pulled that gun on his cousin in a busy restaurant.
How Gio was even sitting in a car with John after what he’d almost done to the man’s son, John didn’t understand.
Well, truthfully he did know how.
Family first.
“I’m good,” John said firmly.
“Now,” Gio agreed.
John decided right then and there to end the conversation. He didn’t want to talk about his mental health with his uncle, or anyone for that matter. He had a fucking doctor for that shit. Or he’d had before.
“Drop it, Zio,” John said.
“You brought it up first.”
“And now I’m done.”
Gio glared at the highway they were driving down. “Your crew has been divided between a few of the family Capos.”
“Better than Dante handing my position and men off to someone else entirely.”
“You could say that.”
Oh, for fuck’s sake.
John could hear the hesitance in his uncle’s tone, which wouldn’t lead to anything good.
“What now?” he demanded.
Gio rapped his fingers to the leather-bound steering wheel. “Just to be sure that you’re not going to have a relapse the moment you’re out and free to do your own thing, Dante and Lucian decided that it would be better if you worked alongside Andino and Timothy with their crews for a while.”
Anger surged through John like he hadn’t felt in a long time. It was good. So fucking good. Like a shot of adrenaline straight to his bloodstream.
But that feeling was also addictive and bad for him. Bad for his mania and bad for the bipolar currents of his emotions that he fought with daily. He wasn’t that crazy, out of control, unmanageable person. He got that his behavior and issues had put his family and la famiglia through hell, but he was good.
Wasn’t he?
Now?
Did his family not trust him?
Christ.
It pissed him off even more.
“Just to be clear, I don’t get a say here, right?” John asked.
Gio shrugged. “No, you don’t.”
Because that’s how Cosa Nostra worked, and his family was knee-deep into that life and culture like nobody could possibly begin to understand. With his uncle being the head boss of the family, his other uncle acting as Dante’s consigliere, and John’s own father being the family underboss, there was no escaping who he was.
Mafia.
Made.
Cosa Nostra.
When it came to family decisions, especially ones made about him, John didn’t get a bone in the fight. His uncles pulled rank, as did his father.
Rules.
His life was dictated, surrounded, and determined by rules.
John stifled the familiar urge to push back against the walls closing in on him again. They were only in his own mind, after all.
“There’s something else I have to do this week,” John said, dropping the conversation. He didn't want to fight with his uncle about something that neither of them could do anything about at the moment. “I should do it tomorrow, but I need some contacts.”
Gio cocked a brow and passed John a look. “What is that?”
“I need a new therapist. One that my father doesn’t have on his payroll.”
“John—”
“I’ll follow his fucking rules and give him what he wants, but he’s not having control over that. Not now. It’s been three years since my last episode. Give me a fucking break here. I’ve earned that, Gio.”
“You were wrong,” Gio said quietly.
“About what?”
“Your father. He did give you a choice, John. You know he did.”
John forced back his irritation. “Leave it alone.”
“He gave you a choice. An institution to get yourself checked out and settled, or time behind bars. You made the choice, John, not Lucian.”
“I’m not crazy,” John said.
“No one ever said that.”
But they might as well have.
“Putting me in an institution would have labeled me exactly that.”
“We just wanted you healthy.”
“I am.”
Gio passed him another look. “Let’s hope you stay that way.”
“Thanks for that, asshole.”
“I’m just being real, John. We both know if you don’t keep managing this like you’ve been forced to for the last three years, you can easily relapse into another episode.”
John knew that, but it still made his anger rear its ugly head. His saving grace was being able to control it now, whereas he couldn't before.
“By the way,” Gio said as he pushed the gas pedal harder.
“What?”

“Happy birthday, John.”
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