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Captured By A Sinner: Chapter 19


My first three days in New York, I stayed at a hotel until I found a studio apartment on top of a Sicilian restaurant. It’s in the old neighborhood where I used to live with my family, and it won’t take a huge chunk out of the money Viktor gave me. With the low rent, I’ll be able to stretch the funds for eight months.

I’m not going to lie. I’m scared out of my mind being on my own for the first time in my life.

At least you’re surrounded by a Sicilian community. You just need time to adjust.

I came to New York because it’s the last place that felt like home. It’s where I spent most of my life before my father died, and we started moving from city to city.

But it doesn’t feel like home anymore because I have no family here. Coming back here has only intensified the grief because I see familiar places I used to go to with my family. Especially Central Park, where I used to accompany my grandfather for walks on Sundays. He’d tell me stories of when he was young, and we’d easily spend two hours in the park.

The house we used to live in is run down, and the flowers I planted are all gone. There used to be a big tree in the front yard where my dad and Uncle Ricco built me a treehouse, but that’s gone too.

I’ve lost so much since I left New York. It was stupid of me to think things would magically get better once I returned.

After fruitlessly searching for a job all day long, I return to my apartment. It was already furnished when I signed the lease. That’s a relief, at least, and it will do until I can afford something better.

I shut the front door behind me and lock the three bolts in place that took me hours to install. Slumping down on the couch, I kick off my sneakers and let out a tired sigh.

I only sit for a few minutes before the intense heartache hits, and I burst into tears. Lying down on the couch, I curl into a bundle and ride out the wave of pain that comes in waves.

I miss playing with Luna and having her sleep next to me.

I miss hearing Viktor come home and nag me to join him for dinner. I miss his scent, the way he walks, the intense look in his eyes, and his strong arms.

God, I miss them so much.

Sniffling, I swallow back the tears and pull the phone Viktor gave me from my pocket. I open the messenger app, and when I see Viktor still hasn’t read the text I sent to say I arrived safely, my heart breaks more.

What did you expect, Rosalie? You told the man to let you go, and that’s what he’s doing.

I didn’t think it would be this hard, though. Just a simple text from him saying ‘okay’ or even a thumbs up would make me feel better.

Geez, four days, and you’re crumbling. You wanted this, so suck it up and start sorting out your emotions.

Getting up, I make myself a cup of coffee before I sit down at the kitchen table. I pull the notepad closer and look at the list of pros and cons I’ve made of my feelings for Viktor.

Under cons, I have Viktor taking part in killing my family, him kidnapping me, and the fact that he’s the head of the bratva and kills a lot of people.

Under pros, the list is endless. He was never violent with me. He provided for everything I needed and never expected anything in return. He didn’t force himself on me. He was kind and caring. He got me a puppy.

This is stupid.

As soon as I find a job, I’ll get a psychologist to help me figure out if what I feel for Viktor is real.

It sure feels real.

Letting out a sigh, I glance at my luggage I still have to unpack. I only brought a couple of books. Viktor will send the rest with Luna once I’m ready.

Find a job so Luna can join you in New York. She’ll make everything better.

Pulling out my phone again, I open Google and search for jobs. I don’t have any experience, which makes it really hard.

Maybe you should study a short course to help you get a job?

I search for courses, and seeing a couple in the beauty industry makes my eyebrow rise.

I could do that.

I call the school that offers the course, and when the lady tells me the next course starts the day after tomorrow, excitement trickles into my chest.

Ending the call, a smile tugs at my lips. The course is a start in the right direction.

Feeling hopeful, I get up and start to unpack my luggage. The closet is much smaller than I’m used to, so I pick the most practical clothing and leave the rest in the bags.

A knock at the front door has my head snapping up and my heart hammering in my chest.

Don’t get your hopes up. It’s probably the landlord.

Not wanting to just open the door to anyone, I call out, “Who is it?”


My lips part in a gasp, and my eyes widen with surprise. I quickly unbolt the door and yank it open. “Oh. My. God.”

“Surprise,” she says with the cute smile I remember. “Mrs. Caruso told me you’re back and renting the apartment above her restaurant, so I rushed right over.”

“It’s been so long,” I cry as I dart forward to hug the girl who was the only friend I ever had. “God, I missed you.”

Her arms wrap around me. “I missed you too.”

We hold each other for a long moment before I let go and invite her inside.

“Tell me everything I’ve missed,” she says as she sits down on the couch.

“There’s a lot to tell,” I chuckle. “Would you like some coffee?”

“Please.” She glances around the tiny apartment, then tilts her head. “I have to ask why you’re living here?”

“It’s affordable.”

A frown furrows her brow. “But your family is wealthy.” She gives me a comforting smile.

Alissa’s father is one of the heads of the Cosa Nostra, so she knows what kind of lifestyle I’m used to as we come from the same world.

As I stir the warm liquid, I shake my head. “Not anymore.”

I hand a cup to Alissa and sit down next to her.

“What do you mean, not anymore?”

I inhale deeply and lift my eyes to the girl I used to share all my secrets with. No, she’s no longer a girl. Alissa’s grown into a beautiful woman. Her hair is no longer reaching down her back but cut into a super cute pixie style.

The scar on her chin has faded. She got it when she fell out of the treehouse.

She’s changed in so many ways but also still looks the same.

Thinking her dad would’ve told her about what happened to my family, I ask, “You heard about the attack on us in Canada? Right?”

Again she frowns, her eyes widening. “No. What attack?”

“Your dad didn’t tell you? I’m sure he would’ve heard.”

“Daddy never tells me anything. What happened?”

The need to talk to someone about everything I’ve been through overwhelms me for a moment. That’s when I realize I’ve never spoken about it. I’ve been bottling everything deep inside.

The moment passes, though, because I’m not ready to talk about my trauma. Also, I haven’t seen Alissa in years, and offloading the mountain of grief and heartache on her so soon after seeing her again would be wrong.

I shrug and shake my head. “I’ll tell you another day.” I take a sip of my coffee, then change the subject by asking, “What have you been up to? Did you study after school?”

Alissa lets out a burst of laughter. “Oh, hell no. I’ve been living the high life as a socialite. All the events and parties keep me busy.” She drinks some of her beverage. “You still make the best coffee.”

Three years ago, I thought I would be a socialite and travel the world.

Wow, so much has changed.

Alissa sets her cup down on the worn coffee table, then says, “I can’t stay long. I just wanted to say hello.”

A smile curves my lips. “Thanks for coming over.” Getting up, I add, “It was really nice seeing you again.”

She glances around my studio apartment, then says, “I don’t know what happened that you have to live like this, but you’re welcome to stay with me.” She scrunches her nose. “No offense, but my closet is bigger.”

I let out a self-conscious chuckle. “None taken.” Shrugging, I try to explain as best I can. “I know it’s not much, but I’d rather stay here.”

Alissa gives me an endearing smile. “Well, the offer stands if you change your mind.” She starts to walk to the front door, then pauses. “I’m having an intimate party for my twenty-first on Saturday. Please come.”

“I will.” I grin, thinking it will be nice to see Alissa’s parents again and to spend more time with her.

We hug before I let her out, then I glance at the tiny space.

It’s not much, but it’s home. For now.


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