Leonardo Mancini was going to die tonight.
This was my moment. The one I’d been waiting for my entire life. Tonight, I was going to kill the man who’d taken my father away from me. Vengeance would finally be mine. I was so close, I could taste it.
I took a deep breath, watching for the usual guard to make his rounds by the pool. As expected, he paused, looked left and then right and reached into his pocket. The man pulled out a lighter, then a joint and proceeded to light up on the job.
Lazy bastard. Smoking while on the clock.
The men who worked for me would never have the balls to even try something like that. I’d never allowed it and they knew it.
I bided my time, waiting until he’d pulled in several large drags of his weed. Then I moved along the bushes just inside the fenced area of the pool deck. My movements were silent, a stealth technique I’d mastered many years before that was proving incredibly useful tonight. After all, everything I’d ever done had led up to this.
In a few short minutes, I was only feet away from the smoking guard, hidden in the shadows of the heavy bushes along the walls. He’d leaned against a thick fencepost, quite distracted by his self-appointed work break. I adjusted the black mask over my head, ensuring that both my nose and mouth were covered. Black fiber mesh allowed me to breathe easily, a tactical military style that would keep my identity secret. It only covered the lower half of my face, but the mask provided me enough anonymity that I was sure I wouldn’t be recognized.
I maneuvered just a little bit closer.
I was dressed in full combat gear that included a bulletproof vest, thick black pants, gloves, and a long-sleeve black shirt meant to cover every inch of my skin. Not even my neck was exposed. I stuck to the shadows, but unless someone was actively looking for me, they wouldn’t see me. I’d made sure of it.
My fingers deftly dropped to my belt, slowly sliding a switchblade from its sheath. Crouching, I readied myself to attack. Then I powered myself upward using the strength in my legs and launched toward the man, catching him wholly off guard in a fraction of a second. I’d trained for this. I was ready.
I flung one arm around his shoulder and with the other, I swiftly flicked open my blade and wrenched it across his throat. In seconds it was over. He hadn’t even had time to scream.
Quickly, I dragged the body behind the bushes, ensuring that it was well hidden. He would bleed out into the dirt and for a good long while, no one would be the wiser. I wiped the blood free of my knife on his black pants before I put it back in its place on my belt.
That man had been the fifth guard I killed tonight. From my surveillance, he was also the last one on active duty outside the mansion. I’d killed them and still, not a single alarm had been raised. That left just five more inside the house.
I crouched back into the bushes, observing the pool deck for a while longer. There was no movement at all. I looked up, taking note of the cameras I already knew were there. I’d taken great care to ensure that I hadn’t put myself in any of their ranges, safeguarding myself from discovery from whoever was watching the cameras inside.
My eyes locked onto where I had determined that I would enter; a first-story window that led into the second master suite. It was Mancini’s daughter’s bedroom, but I knew she was away at Boston University. The fall semester had started a week ago and I’d seen her leave in a tinted limo just days before that. This wing of Mancini’s mansion would be abandoned and the perfect entry point for me to make it inside. All was going exactly according to plan.
The window was several feet away and I crouched as I made my way closer. When I reached it, I stilled and waited several more minutes for any signs of movement, but again there were none.
Good. I’d done my job effectively then. This was going far smoother than I expected it to and I couldn’t help but mentally pat myself on the back for a job well done. My heart thumped in my chest. Adrenaline pumped through my veins.
I’d been waiting so long for this and it was almost here.
I rose up slowly to my feet at the edge of the window, slid my fingers under the windowsill, and lifted it inch by inch until it was open enough for me to fit through. Not a single alarm went off and I breathed a sigh of relief. I’d disabled every single security system in his mansion but was being vigilant regardless.
One thing I’ve learned in life: always be cautious. But in this, I was confident. I’d double-checked everything. I’d taken the time to study floor plans. Every security system that Mancini had access to. I knew this mansion from the inside out, from the basement to the attic, even though I’d never set foot inside it. I was ready for this.
Carefully, I hoisted myself up and climbed through the window. The bedroom was completely dark, as I expected. It was also totally silent. I crossed the room, steering around the bed and then around a large microfiber loveseat next to an oversized floor-to-ceiling window that overlooked the pool. I absentmindedly thought about what a beautiful view that would be in the daytime.
Just as I was making my way toward the door that would lead into the main part of the mansion, I heard something click across the room. Swiftly, I turned and studied one of the doors in the bedroom, where the suite connected to a closet and then a rather large and opulent bathroom beyond that. The closet door was slightly ajar.
The room was still dark, and I stuck to the shadows but now, I wasn’t so certain that I was actually alone. Quickly, I made my way over to the closet, reaching for the door as I did so.
Then the door swung open, colliding with the side of my head with enough force that it knocked me aside. My hand rushed to my scalp, pressing against the spot where the door had smacked into me and I stood there for a moment, incredibly disoriented and more dumbfounded than I cared to admit.
That’s when I saw her.
Behind her, a soft nightlight emitted a blueish tinged glow, enough to illuminate her creamy skin, smooth as porcelain. I stared at her, breathless. Her hair was wet, still dripping from her bath. Wrapped in only a towel, she stood there and gaped back at me with disbelief. At that moment, she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.
The soft light was enough to make her blue eyes sparkle as her eyes met mine. She looked confused for a split second before her gaze turned angry.
She wasn’t supposed to be here.
I didn’t know what to do.
Unfortunately for me, she did. She launched herself at me and reached for my face. Her fingers clawed at my mask, forcing it down and exposing my face to her.
She’d seen me. She’d had to. The bluish light behind her wasn’t only illuminating her, it was also lighting me. Exposing my identity to her.
Quickly, I spun away and snapped my mask into place, covering my face and hiding my identity once again.
That’s when she started screaming. Hallway lights started turning on. I had to stop this, and I had to stop this now. Another several minutes would pass and then the guards inside the house, the ones I’d been unable to get to yet, would be upon us. Before I knew it, Leonardo Mancini would be in here too.
I should have known the mission was going too smoothly, that soon enough something was going to go wrong like this. I don’t know why she was here and why she wasn’t at her upscale apartment a block away from Boston University. I didn’t want to kill her, but she’d seen me. Or at least, I thought she had.
For a brief moment, I thought about killing Leonardo anyway. Going through with my mission just because I had already made it this far. I knew the number of guards still in the house was five. I could easily disappear, take each of them out, and then the only people in the house would be Sofia and Leonardo. He had no wife. She’d died many years ago.
My heart pulsed for Sofia though. I knew how it felt to see your father murdered right before your eyes. I knew the kind of jagged hole that would be left in her chest by witnessing such a terrible thing.
She was innocent in this.
I didn’t want to tear that apart. I didn’t want to turn her into something dark, something bent on revenge. I didn’t want her to turn into me.
Gritting my teeth, I knew what I had to do. I couldn’t go through with my mission tonight. It had to end here, and I would have to try again sometime soon. I knew it would be more difficult next time. Mancini would post more guards, would have a more thorough security system. He’d be ready for me next time.
But her… My mission wasn’t meant for her.
Sofia didn’t deserve to die. I wouldn’t punish her for her father’s misdeeds long ago. She wasn’t the reason my father was dead. He was.
So I did the only thing I could think of. I launched forward and grabbed her around the waist, hoisting her up and over my shoulder in one quick, smooth motion. She was still screaming. Even more lights were turning on and I heard men outside the doors begin to start yelling too. Then I heard Mancini’s voice booming out in the main entryway.
I had to move. Now.
I bolted back toward the window with Sofia in tow. Her cute little fists pounded at my back and her muscular legs kicked as she tried to escape my hold, but I was strong, and she wasn’t going anywhere but with me. I was taking her, and I would find out if she saw my face, no matter what I had to do to her to get her to talk.
I shimmied out of the window and onto the dirt below. I held onto her, her towel still snug around her body, and ran as fast as I could toward my entry point onto the property. The guards were still inside shouting. Lights illuminated several windows, where just minutes before the entire house had been completely dark.
It was too late though. I was already out, and I’d taken Sofia with me. I sprinted through the garden, one of the most dimly lit parts of Mancini’s compound, before I burst toward the tall brick fence that surrounded the mansion grounds. I’d filed the lock on one of the side entrances, one the gardeners frequently used just days before and I burst through it then, finding my way back onto the street.
I dashed along, keeping to the shadows until I reached the wooded area where I’d concealed my car within the trees. I pressed a button on my wristband and the headlights flashed at me once, and then twice, indicating that the car was unlocked and arming itself for me. It had once been a 2025 Lamborghini Diablo S but I had changed it immensely from its original design. It was all black, sleek, and armed with more weaponry than a military tank. It was lined with thick bulletproof metal and the windows were near invincible. You’d need a rocket launcher to even dent it.
With the press of another button on my wrist, the trunk popped open. Sofia was still screaming over my shoulder and I strode over to the trunk, tossing her inside. The trunk was fairly nice, the bottom and sides padded with soft leather so it wouldn’t be particularly uncomfortable for her. I stared down at her for a moment, then I slammed it closed. Her screaming paused for a second, before continuing at a much more muted level.
I couldn’t believe it had come to this.
I climbed into my car then and took a deep breath.
I pressed my hand against the biometric scanner and the engines rumbled quietly to life. I threw it into drive and peeled out of my hiding place, back onto the streets and jetted out of there.
Fuck. This had gone sideways way too quickly. All because of one single woman. One fucking gorgeous woman who happened to be screaming her little head off in my trunk right now. I’d planned to kill Mancini for what he’d done, but I’d only ended up kidnapping his daughter instead.
I knew quite a bit about Sofia. I knew that she was twenty-three. That she was remarkably intelligent and had placed at the top of her senior class, ensuring herself a full-ride merit-based scholarship to Boston University, even though she could have paid the full cost of tuition herself. She’s always grown up in money and that resulted in her becoming somewhat of a spoiled brat. She demanded only the best things. Designer goods. Platinum jewelry. Only the most expensive perfume and accessories. She was high maintenance, to a fault.
I also knew she wasn’t dirty.
Her father, however, definitely was. Over three decades ago, he’d been the kingpin of one of the leading Italian mafia families here in New York City. He’d ruled the city with an iron fist. Piss him off and you’d be at the bottom of the Hudson with bricks chained to your feet. After his wife had died, he’d sort of turned himself around and became kind of a legitimate businessman. He ran a security business now, which he used to employ a number of his old mafia connections. I was aware that he still ran several illegal operations under the protection of that company, but I also knew he wasn’t shaking down the business on the street, nor was he loan sharking anymore.
As far as I could tell, Sofia didn’t know any of her father’s history or where her family fortune had come from. She’d been brought up just like any spoiled rich girl and as a result of that, acted just like one. She was a local socialite and several famous New York blogs featured her story from time to time, including whenever she had a tantrum on the street when a store wouldn’t close down for her so that she could shop all by herself in peace. I’d seen her face everywhere when I had spent time looking into her, but none of that compared to seeing her tonight.
Wet. Naked. Wrapped in nothing but a damp light blue towel.
Those beautiful piercing blue eyes. Her damp skin covered with droplets of beading water. The way the towel clung to her curvy, muscular body and how her strong thighs had felt beneath my gloved hands. The way her nipples had pebbled beneath her towel when she realized she wasn’t alone in her bedroom. She’d smelt of oranges, lavender, and jasmine, the scent of her shampoo and body wash still clinging to her flesh.
Fucking gorgeous perfection. What I would do to have her beautiful naked body squirming in pleasure beneath me.
I quite literally growled with the arousal when the image came to mind.
I’d taken her. Now she was mine.
I needed to know if she had recognized me though. Since my father’s death, I’d worked tirelessly to make myself strong and independent. I built my own variety of enterprises and had made a name for myself. Through that and my own inheritance, I had a lot of money too. My net worth was several billion dollars and as a result, I’d been featured in several magazines. My face was recognizable. Even wrapped up in her own little world of designer brands and dance clubs, she should recognize me.
If she’d seen my face, she’d likely know who I was. She’d be able to name me, and I couldn’t have that.
I would never be able to kill Leonardo Mancini and destroy what was left of his legacy. I would never be able to get revenge for him ordering the hit on my father. I die before I’d let that happen. I’d worked too damn hard to get to where I was to have everything destroyed in a single night.
My hands were tied. I was going to have to question her.
For now, she was my captive and one way or another, I was going to find out what she knew.
About twenty minutes later, I pulled into the gated driveway of my home. I typed in the passcode in my car and the heavy steel door swung open. I drove inside and down the long twisting entrance until I approached the attached garage door on the ground level of my large, very secure mansion. I pressed the remote button on my dashboard, watching as it opened and revealed the shadows beyond. Then I pulled inside, and the hydrologic system engaged, lowering my car down several levels into my underground vault. When my car came to a standstill, I pulled forward and the lowering system receded back into the wall, effectively cutting off my lair from the outside world.
Here, I monitor the city. With my connections in both the military and intelligence agencies, I have the world at my fingertips. I run several of my security enterprises from here, as well as many other businesses. Using my resources, I’ve even helped the CIA on several missions, all of which resulted in success. When I got involved, I gave them results.
I climbed out of the car and breathed a sigh of relief at hearing silence. During the ride, Sofia must have gone quiet, waiting for whatever was about to happen next before she made her next move. I knew she was smart. I’d have to remember that when I questioned her.
With a deep breath, I made my way back over to the trunk and popped it open with a press of a button. Slowly, I opened it to find those glittering blue eyes staring back up at me. For a moment, I lost myself in them before I offered her a hand, helping her to climb out of the trunk. She did her best to hold her towel in place and maintain her modesty. I stifled a chuckle at her movements.
Her damp hair still clung to her shoulders, her long wavy locks only just beginning to dry. The beads of water had bounced off of her skin, leaving her looking soft, supple, and far too fuckable.
I cleared my throat, trying to ignore the hardness of my cock between my legs.
I needed to focus and figure out what she knew.
“Sofia Mancini,” I said softly, and she visibly stiffened.
“What the fuck is this? Where have you taken me?” she snarled, her face hardening with anger and disbelief. I knew what she was thinking. How dare I have the nerve to lay my hands on her? Where was her protective detail? Most important though, when was Daddy going to show up and save her from whatever this was?
None of that was going to happen. She just didn’t know it yet.
“I’ve worked a long time to get to where I was tonight. You weren’t supposed to be there,” I replied, keeping my voice strong.
“I came home for the weekend for a party. What’s it to you?” she retorted, clearly displeased about her current situation.
I took a step toward her and she took one backward, then another and another until her back pressed up against the cement wall behind her. I followed her, using my body to surround her much smaller form. I pressed my palm against her bare shoulder, pinning her in place before me. Her upper lip rose with ire, but she remained still.
“Sofia, I need to know what you saw,” I pressed.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she sneered, turning away. I’d seen her eyes flick to the left before she turned away. Her face had scrunched up just a tiny bit before she’d broken the stare between us. I couldn’t tell for sure, but she was most likely lying. I gritted my teeth. She was going to answer me, whether she liked it or not.
“You do know. When you knocked away my mask, did you see my face?” I pressed, figuring I’d just go straight for exactly what I wanted to know.
She glared back at me and then narrowed her eyes with both daring and challenge. Her right hand gripped my left forearm, using it as leverage as she brought up her leg straight between my legs, kneeing me in the balls with such force that my eyes began to water from the unbearable pain.
My hand flew away from her shoulder and both of my hands went to cup myself. I blew out a pained breath of air and fell to my knees. A squeak of agony escaped my throat.
She tore away from me, running to find an exit, but I was too preoccupied with my throbbing balls to pay her any mind.
She wasn’t going anywhere anyway.
I groaned with misery. Never in my life had I ever experienced pain like this. In fact, no one had ever kicked me like this before. For several moments, I just breathed through it, before the terrible agony began to fade and I pushed myself back to my feet.
Across the room, I heard the elevator begin to engage.
It was the only way out of my underground vault, but you had to know the exit codes to actually get out of the elevator and I was the only one who knew them.
As I straightened myself, I found myself a little in awe of her bravery. Maybe part of it was inspired by the fact that she felt that she was sort of invincible in a way like many rich girls thought they were. Perhaps she even believed that soon, Daddy was going to swoop in and make this all go away like he always did. But, as much as I was irritated at her actions, I was also kind of proud that she’d had the heart to fight back.
A worthy challenge, but I hadn’t shown her yet what I was truly capable of.
I stopped at my desk and removed the weapons from my belt, locking them away in the cabinet where they belonged. I had no need for them now and I wasn’t about to risk her getting her hands on them. I slipped the empty holsters and knife sheaths free from my belt and then slid it back on through the loops of my black combat pants.
Next, I pulled out my phone from my pocket and stopped the ascent of the elevator. It’s not like she could get out without the passcode anyway. I walked over to the other hidden entrance and stood in front of the eye scanner. A dark red laser then scanned my face, confirming my identity, and the door to the stairs popped open.
I walked up several flights until I entered the guest suite of my home. It comprised of the entire top level of my mansion and had some of the most spectacular views of the city. It wasn’t just a simple guest suite though. It was a vault. I’d designed it in a way to be entirely self-contained. No one would be able to get in or out unless I allowed it. Sofia wasn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
I typed in another command into my phone and the elevator hummed to life once more. It climbed several more floors before the door slid open right in front of me, revealing a furious, trembling woman still wrapped in nothing but a towel.
She clung to it as though it was her shield. And maybe it was, but if she pulled anything more like her little kneeing me in the balls stunt, she was going to lose that privilege for good.
She glared back at me before looking over my shoulder, out the window behind me. Her face fell just the slightest bit. This wasn’t the way out like she had hoped for.
“Just let me go. I didn’t see anything,” she retorted. Once again, she turned away from me, unable to keep her eyes on mine. She gripped her towel tighter, almost defensively, and shrank back toward the opposite side of the elevator.
I knew enough about the signs of deception to be able to tell when a naughty little girl wasn’t telling the truth. I tensed my mouth into a firm line and came to a decision.
If she was going to act like a spoiled little rich girl, then I was going to treat her like one.
She didn’t know what she was getting herself into…