An intoxicating new mafia romance is out this week from author J.T. Geissinger, and I have a sneak peek for you.
I open my eyes to find a man leaning over me.
He’s dressed in a black Armani suit. He has jet black hair, a hard jaw, and the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen. They’re surrounded by a thicket of lashes, long and curving, as dense and dark as his hair.
I’m intrigued by this handsome stranger for about two seconds, until I remember that he kidnapped me.
I should’ve known. The hotter a man is, the faster you should run away from him. A beautiful man is a bottomless pit your self-worth can disappear into and never be seen again.
His deep voice softened by a lilting Irish accent, my captor says, “You’re awake.”
“You sound disappointed.”
The faintest of smiles curves his full lips. I’m amusing him. But the smile disappears as fast as it came, and he withdraws, settling his muscular frame in a chair opposite me.
He regards me with a look that could freeze molten lava. “Sit up. Let’s talk.”
I’m lying down. Sprawled on a cream-colored leather sofa in a narrow room with a rounded ceiling, my bare legs and feet chilled by the dry, cool air.
I have no recollection how I got here and no knowledge of where “here”is.
I remember only that I was going to visit my best friend, Natalie, in New York City, and the moment I stepped out of the car in the parking garage of her building, a half dozen black SUVs with tinted windows roared up, and this blue-eyed devil jumped out of one of them and snatched me.
There was also gunfire. I do recall that. The burnt smell of gunpowder in the air, the deafening roar of the shots…
I sit up abruptly. The room starts to spin. There’s a sharp ache in my right shoulder, as if I were hit there. Fighting nausea, I take several deep breaths, one hand pressed to my churning stomach and the other to my clammy forehead.
I feel sick.
“That’ll be the ketamine,” says my captor, watching me. His name swims into memory: Declan. He told me that right after he shoved me into his SUV. His name and that he was taking me to speak to his boss…in Boston.
Now I remember. I’m on an airplane headed to see the leader of the Irish mafia to answer some questions about how I might have started a war between his family and the Russians. And everyone else.
So much for my fun New York vacation.
I swallow several times, willing my queasy stomach to settle. “You drugged me?”
“We had to. You’re surprisingly strong for someone who dresses like the Tooth Fairy.”
The comparison irritates me. “Just because I’m girly doesn’t mean I’m a little girl.”
He lets his gaze drift over my outfit. I’m wearing a hot-pink layered tulle miniskirt by Betsey Johnson that I paired with a short white denim jacket and a white tee underneath. I bedazzled the jacket with rhinestone butterflies because butterflies are beautiful, kickass symbols of hope, change, and self-transformation, and that’s exactly the kind of positive fucking energy I’m all about.
Even if it is girly.
His tone dry, Declan says, “Evidently. That right hook of yours is impressive.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean what you did to Kieran’s nose.”
“I don’t know a Kieran. Or his nose.”
“You don’t remember? You broke it.”
“Broke it? No. I would’ve remembered breaking someone’s nose.”
When Declan stays silent and only sits there staring at me, my heart sinks.
I look down at my right hand and am startled to see bruises on my knuckles. I did break someone’s nose. How could I not remember that?
My voice climbs in panic. “Oh god. Am I brain damaged?”
He arches one dark eyebrow. “You mean more than you were before?”
“This isn’t funny.”
“How would you know? You’re unironically wearing a child’s Halloween costume. I’d say your sense of humor is as bad as your wardrobe.”
I fight the unexpected urge to laugh. “Why am I barefoot? Where are my shoes?”
His silence is long and calculating.
“They’re my only pair of Louis Vuitton’s. Do you have any idea how expensive those are? I had to save for months.”
He tilts his head to one side and examines me with those piercing blue eyes for longer than is comfortable. “You’re not afraid.”
“You already told me you weren’t going to hurt me.”
He considers that for a moment, his brows drawn together thoughtfully. “Did I?”
“Yes. Back in the parking garage.”“
I could change my mind.”
“Why not?” I shrug. “Because I’m charming. Everybody loves me.”
His head tilt and frown are now accompanied by a derisive curl of his upper lip.
“It’s true. I’m very likeable.”
“I don’t like you.”
That makes me bristle, though I try not to show it.
“I don’t like you, either.”
“I’m not the one claiming to be so charming.”
“A good thing, too, because you’re not.”
We stare at each other. After a beat, he says, “I’m told my accent is charming.”
That makes me chuckle. “It’s so not.”
When he looks dubious, I relent. “Even if it were, it’s cancelled by the rest of your horrible personality. What did you want to talk about? Wait, I need to pee first. Where’s the bathroom?”
When I stand, he leans forward, grasps my wrist, and pulls me back down to a sitting position. Without releasing my wrist, he growls, “You’ll go to the bathroom when I say you can. Now stop running your bloody mouth and listen to me.”
It’s my turn to arch an eyebrow. “I listen better when I’m not being manhandled.”
We do the staring thing again. I’ll go blind before I’ll blink first. It’s a standoff, a silent push-pull with neither of us giving an inch, until finally, a muscle flexes in his jaw. Then he exhales and grudgingly releases my wrist.
Ha. Get used to losing, gangster.