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Stolen Touches: Chapter 19

Salvatore

There are four guards in front of the safe house tonight, which is expected, considering how many people are coming.
“Boss.” They nod in unison as I pass them, the one closest to me opening the door.
Nino’s waiting by the window in the first room, nursing a drink, while Aldo and Stefano are sitting at the table in the corner but quickly rise as soon as they see me.
“Did Tomaso talk?” I ask.
“He gave us everything within the hour.” Aldo motions with his hand toward the door on the right. “Do you want to talk to him, Boss?”
“No. How badly did you rough him up?”
“Three fingers missing. Some beating. He was relatively easy to break.”
I nod and scan my surroundings. “Get me one chair in the middle of the room. Do you have pliers and heavy-duty scissors?
Aldo looks at me with confusion in his eyes, but then collects himself. “Would gardening shears do?”
“Yes.”
The phone in my pocket vibrates. As I take it out, some of the anxiety that’s been building begins to ebb.
“Milene.”
“Riggs vomited all over the carpet.”
“What?”
“How the hell should I know, Salvatore? It looks like hair and half-digested cat food.”
“I was expressing my irritation. Not asking for the cat vomit analysis.”
“You need to work on expressing meaning through your voice. Your intonation sucks. I have to go and clean this up.” She cuts the call. Apparently, she took the fact I told her it didn’t matter what she talked about literally.
I put the phone back in my pocket and find Aldo and Stefano gaping at me. “We adopted a cat. It’s defective,” I say and turn toward the door just as Cosimo and Arturo come in. “Get that chair and bring Tomaso. Tie him nice and tight.”
* * *
It takes fifteen minutes for everyone to arrive. Nino instructs them to stand along the wall opposite the chair where Tomaso is sitting, tied and gagged. After Arturo nods, signaling that all twelve people we’ve been waiting for are present, I walk over to Tomaso and turn toward the group of capos and team leaders for our ranks of soldiers.
“Tomaso here thought it was a good idea to cozy up to the authorities and leak information regarding our drug shipments,” I say, looking at the men who are standing around in utter silence.
I take off my jacket, put it over the back of the chair behind me, and roll up my shirtsleeves. “Nino, remove the gag and open his mouth. And keep it open.”
Tomaso whimpers and shakes his head left and right, trying but failing to avoid Nino’s hands. Once Nino succeeds in opening the guy’s mouth, I take the pliers and the shears off the table and stand in front of the snitch.
“People tend to forget things, so I figured it might be a good time to remind everyone what we do with snitches,” I say.
It takes me a few tries to catch Tomaso’s tongue with the pliers. When I have it in my grip, I pull it out and cut it free from his treacherous mouth with the gardening shears. Blood sprays all over the front of my white shirt as Tomaso screams. I turn around to face the group—every man staring at the screaming Tomaso—and throw the pliers, along with the still-attached pink lump of flesh, onto the floor in front of them.
“I don’t tolerate traitors,” I say. Walking around the chair until I’m standing behind Tomaso, I place my right hand below his chin and my left one on top of his head. “Remember that.”
With those words, I force Tomaso’s mouth closed and keep it that way. He flails, choking on his own blood, and I wait until his body goes still before letting go of him.
I grab a rag off the table to wipe my hands. The blood comes easily off my right hand, but the glove on my left is completely saturated. I take it off and drop it on the ground, right into the puddle of more blood pooling beneath the dead man.
“You’re dismissed,” I say and reach for my jacket.
* * *
Milene is already asleep when I get home. I lean my shoulder on the doorjamb and just watch her for what seems like hours. Would she look at me differently, if she saw me doing all those obnoxious things so I can keep this organization standing? Would she let me touch her with hands that were soaked in blood barely two hours earlier? I know she’s aware of how things are handled in Cosa Nostra, but I don’t think I can risk having her witness it. It should concern me, the fact that her opinion matters this much. I don’t give a fuck that people are calling me a monster behind my back; it goes with the job description. But not her. I grip the doorway with all my strength, ignoring the pain that shoots from my left hand all the way to my head. Never her.

Milene

I feel a light touch on my chin, followed by a finger tracing the line of my jaw. Firm lips soon find my own. I smile sleepily and turn my head toward the heat I feel at my side. Opening my eyes, I discover Salvatore looking at me as he lounges in bed.
“You talk in your sleep,” he says.
“I know.” I reach out to stroke his hair. “I hope I didn’t spill any secrets.”
“You don’t get to keep any secrets from me, Milene.” His finger moves down my neck, lower and lower. “I’ve already told you that you owe me everything.” His palm slides between my legs. “And that includes any secrets you might have.”
I smile, then gasp as his finger enters me. “You can’t demand that.”
“Yes, I can.” Another finger slides inside. “I own you. Your body. Your mind.” His thumb presses onto my clit and he teases me with his masterful fingers. “Your smile. And your secrets.”
“You don’t get to own a person.” I grab at his shoulders and ride his hand. The things he can do with his fingers defy all logic and reason.
“I don’t?” He thrusts his fingers so deep that I choke on my breath and whimper when he curls them inside me. He hits the sensitive spot on my upper wall, and I come in an instant—violently.
I’m still panting, trying to catch my breath, when he covers me with his body, pressing me into the bed.
“You weigh a ton, Salvatore,” I choke out, then gasp when his fingers are replaced by his steel-hard cock.
“Who . . .”—he slides the tip inside, but so very slowly I want to groan in frustration—“owns you, cara?”
I meet his hawkish gaze, smile, and move my hand to his neck. When I tighten my hold, Salvatore lets out a growl and thrusts his cock all the way to the hilt filling me so completely that consciousness leaves my body. It feels as if I’m flying.
“You,” I whisper and slide my palms down his back all the way to his hard ass. “And do I own you, Tore?”
He doesn’t reply immediately, just keeps pounding into me until my walls clench around his cock, and I come again from his punishing pace. Dipping his head lower, he places a kiss on my shoulder and whispers in my ear.
“I’m afraid you do, Milene.” He slams his lips to mine and thrusts into me at the same time, filling me with his hot cum.
* * *
I sit up in bed and watch Salvatore as he walks toward the closet on the other side of the room, takes out a shirt, and puts it on. He has four gunshot scars on his back. One is near his shoulder, two on the left side, and another a few inches to the right of his spine. With his leg and the graze to his right bicep, the total amounts to six.
“Where are the others?” I ask.
“What?”
“Gunshot wounds.”
He turns and fumbles with the buttons on his shirt. “Right thigh and left leg.”
“Holy fuck, Salvatore. When did you get all these gunshot wounds?” I get up from the bed and take over the buttoning of his shirt.
“The one on my shoulder is from a few years back. The thigh shot was last year.” He says this like he’s reciting a grocery list. “My left leg, and the three on the back were inflicted on me during the same incident. Seven years ago.”
My fingers go still on the middle button. Three bullets in the back do not come from an ordinary gunfight. That was an execution. “Who did it?”
“The old don gave the order,” he says. “But it was one of the capos who carried it out.”
“Why?
“The previous establishment became greedy. They decided to keep the lion’s share of the money for themselves.”
That’s insane. I couldn’t have understood correctly. “They were stealing from the Family?”
Cosa Nostra Families have a very strict way of operating, and it’s based on trust above all else. The don and capos are in charge of organizing business, but they are only entitled to part of the profits. The rest of the money is distributed to all other members, all the way down to the foot soldiers. The shares depend on the person’s position in the organization, but the don and the capos never take more than 40 percent of the total income. I don’t know how many people there are in the New York Family, but back in Chicago, there were at least a hundred.
“Yes,” he says. “And I found out.”
“So, they decided to kill you?”
“In the end, yes.” He bends his head and brushes his cheek against mine. “They tried to bring me into their little scheme first. I was a capo then, and I’d already started to build up my own construction business. It was bringing in a lot of money.”
“What happened?”
“I said no. They tried giving me an incentive to change my mind.” He reaches with his hand and traces a line along my jaw with his finger. “They were very enthusiastic in their efforts.”
“Your hand?” I ask and place my palm over the one that’s caressing my chin.
“And my leg.”
“Jesus, Tore.” I blink to keep the tears at bay. “How does anyone survive something like that?”
“Nino found me in the warehouse where I was invited for a ‘meeting.’ He has a habit of following me, even when I’ve told him not to. When I was released from the hospital, Arturo helped me lie low until I was well enough to discuss the matter with the don and the capos again.”
“What did you say to them?”
“Nothing in particular. I only demonstrated where they’d gone wrong.” He presses his lips to my fingers. “When you really intend to kill someone, you aim for the head.”
“You killed the don?”
“And all six capos.”
A shudder passes down my spine. The fact that I like a man who represents everything I wanted to run away from is hard to accept. “Tore?”
“Yes?”
“How many people have you killed?” I whisper. “Personally.”
His finger moves under my chin and raises my head. Our eyes lock. “Do you really want me to answer that question, cara?”
I stare at those amber depths and feeling like the largest hypocrite on earth, I slowly shake my head. No, I don’t want to know. But not because I’m afraid it’ll make me like him less. It’s because I’m afraid I’ll like him the same, whatever the answer is.

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