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Mafia Doctor: A Dark Mafia Arranged Marriage Romance by Parker Fox – Sample

Prologue

“You’re coming with us tonight, and that’s final.”

Aurora groaned dramatically, finally slamming shut her textbook since she obviously wasn’t going to get any studying done right now. “I don’t want to! I haven’t been to a club in years. I’m not a party girl anymore…”

That had come out way whinier than she had meant it to, but she didn’t mind. Missy had been bugging her all day, and she had even called in Jackie for back-up since she was the bossiest out of their group of friends.

“Well, you’re gonna have to dig deep and get that girl to come out tonight then, because I’m sick and tired of the girl you’ve become this past week. She’s lame. And booooring,” Jackie said before grabbing Aurora’s sock-clad foot and dragging her off the couch until she slumped halfheartedly on the floor. “Come on, I’ll even help you pick an outfit.”

“Ugh! You’re such a pain in the ass,” Aurora grumbled before struggling to her feet and following her friends over to her closet.

“You love me.” Jackie shrugged and started digging through her dresser drawers, throwing various pieces of clothing onto her bed and chucking others into a pile on the floor.

“Aurora, it’s good for you to take a break every once in a while. Get out of the house. Maybe even talk to another human,” Missy said, coming up behind her and massaging her shoulders, as if that would make up for them interrupting her carefully planned night of hermit-studying.

“I literally just talked to humans at the gym this morning,” Aurora said with a pout. “And Dr. Jeppsen’s tests are notoriously hard!”

“Dr. Jeppsen is also the one who reminded us that work/life balance is key,” Missy said in her best I’m-wise-beyond-my-years voice.

She did have a point there. In fact, the first day of orientation at NYU was full of presentations on how to make it through rigorous coursework without getting burnt out… and Aurora definitely hadn’t taken any of that advice to heart. It wasn’t until she got close with Missy and Jackie during their second semester microbiology class that she’d started to let loose a little, and that had been really good for her. They’d forced her out of her shell, and in return, she’d forced them to focus and attend weekly study sessions. It was a win-win.

“We all know you’ll ace the test anyways, Brainiac,” Jackie scoffed, handing Aurora a small pile of clothing. “Try that on.”

“Fine,” Aurora huffed before disappearing into the bathroom. Shucking off her casual outfit, she stepped into the fishnet stockings, pulling them up her legs, then tugged on the short black skirt and neon green tube top. She didn’t bother with panties or a bra; this wasn’t the type of look that required either. She glanced at herself quickly in the mirror before walking back out to show her friends.

“Hot,” Jackie said.

Missy nodded in agreement, bringing over a pair of feather earrings and helping herself to Aurora’s ear lobes. “Perfect.”

“Okay, so we’re done here?” Aurora asked, fully aware that she still had an attitude and not caring. If they thought she was going to put a ton of effort into doing her hair and makeup, they had another thing coming.

“Yeah, yeah, we’ll leave you alone. Have your introvert time, charge your battery, because we’re picking you up at nine,” Missy said.

Even though Aurora technically lived by herself, Jackie and Missy were over practically every day, so it was indeed rare that she got an evening to herself anymore.

“I can’t wait,” Aurora deadpanned as her friends rushed toward the door.

“And do your makeup! It won’t kill you,” Jackie added right before Aurora closed the door.

Ugh.

Aurora grabbed her textbook and trudged over to the bathroom. She was an expert multitasker. She could read about animal science and apply glittery eye shadow at the same time.

If she was honest with herself, as put out as she acted in front of her friends—it was good for them, built character—she was kind of looking forward to doing something different tonight. She could very easily hole up in her apartment all day every day, and most of the time she did.

It was a very cushy apartment, paid for by her uncle—he was quite the “legitimate businessman” after all. He called to check in once at the end of each semester to make sure she was being a good girl, still getting good girl grades, and staying out of trouble. He rarely asked about her social life or tried to connect with her beyond that, but he had provided for her every need—and some of her wants—ever since her parents died, and she wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Especially because the next time he called, she planned to float the idea of him paying for her to do a gap year in Europe after she graduated. That was still a couple of years away, but she had learned it was best to start buttering Uncle Enzo up early when asking for favors. She had even practiced how she was going to ask in front of Missy and Jackie, with Jackie doing a hilarious impression of Uncle Enzo that was pretty spot-on.

“No, Aurora. You have duties to your family that must be attended to when you come of age. No fun. Only marriage and babies. Don’t take sides against the family again. Ever.”

That last part had been Marlon Brando instead of Uncle Enzo, but it had worked.

They had all fallen into a fit of giggles, but it had actually hit a little too close to home for Aurora. Now wasn’t the time to worry about that, though. She was going to take the advice Missy always gave her and “live in the moment” for once. Chucking aside her textbook, she turned on her favorite Spotify playlist and got to work on her makeup.

“I think it’s a really bad idea, boss. Really, really bad.”

This was at least the third time Dante had told Enzo that this whole invite had “Red Wedding” written all over it. For whatever reason, the normally stubborn but persuadable kingpin was absolutely adamant.

“I know you think it’s a bad idea, Dante. But we’ve been invited to this wedding, and if I don’t show it could fuck up the alliance I’m trying to build with the Giordano family. Plus, it’s going to make me look like a vigliacco. I’ll have my bodyguards like always. If anyone decides to attack at the wedding, they will make quite a few enemies.”

Dante sighed. “I understand all that, boss. But like I told you, I’ve been hearing rumors, and they’re starting to get much more specific. That there’s someone in our organization—I don’t know who—getting ready to make a move against you, and this wedding seems like the perfect time to do it. Even if the Giordanos aren’t in on it, attacking you at the wedding would allow whoever it is that’s plotting against you to blame the attack on them.”

“I know, I know, Dante. But if I didn’t do anything you warned me would be dangerous, I wouldn’t do anything at all.”

That was bullshit and Enzo knew it, which annoyed Dante, but he decided against pressing the issue since it would only make Enzo angry, and more importantly, it would cause him to dig in his heels further. At least now maybe he’d be on guard and wouldn’t feel the need to get piss drunk at the reception just to prove a point.

Who was he kidding? Enzo Cortesi was definitely getting piss drunk at the reception.

Apparently taking his silence for the extremely grudging acquiescence it was, Enzo continued, “Tell me about these rumors you’ve been hearing. Do you have any idea who it might be?”

“No,” Dante replied. “Someone high up. But I’m not sure exactly how high or how many people are involved.”

“Well you’d better fucking find out then,” said Enzo, with frustration but no real hostility.

“That’s what I’m working on, boss.”

Then, just as he rose to leave, a knock at the door was followed by the entry of very possibly the biggest asshole in Chicago, and very definitely Dante’s least favorite person in the world.

Gennaro Cortesi.

Enzo’s youngest and only surviving brother, who for reasons of familial loyalty—and because Enzo was a stubborn fuck—had been made second-in-command of the whole organization, over Dante’s objections.

Before even addressing Enzo, Gennaro turned to Dante and spoke in his most obnoxious, ordering-around-a-peasant tone. “I just got word there was a break-in at our warehouse over on Canal Street. I need you to go look into it.”

Dante didn’t bother to hide his annoyance. “Really? You want me to go personally check out a break-in at a warehouse?”

“Is there a problem with that?” asked Gennaro combatively.

“No problem, other than the fact that I have things to be doing besides grunt work,” Dante replied snappishly.

While Gennaro was second-in-command of the outfit, Dante’s unique relationship with Enzo was such that everyone in the room understood he didn’t typically get ordered around like some two-bit goon.

With an audible, let’s-just-keep-the-peace-here sigh, Enzo spoke up. “Dante, I know you don’t normally handle this sort of thing, but that warehouse has some important merchandise, so go ahead and oblige Gennaro this once and check on it for me.”

Deciding that he’d pressed Enzo’s patience enough for one night, Dante simply nodded, said, “Yes, boss,” and left the room, making an obvious effort to roughly push past Gennaro on his way out.

As the door closed behind him, Dante couldn’t avoid a sense of intense suspicion. Gennaro was an asshole and liked to flex his muscle within the organization as much as possible, but this felt too random to just be his normal attempt at dick-measuring.

Putting that aside for the moment, he pulled out his phone and called for a driver to take him down to the warehouse district.

Half an hour later, Dante wasn’t just pissed, he was concerned. Deeply concerned. It was one thing for Gennaro to send him out like an errand boy, but it was something else entirely for him to just make something like this up. And yet here he was at the warehouse with no sign whatsoever of a break-in…

His phone buzzed, and he knew instinctively that it was going to be nothing good. A moment later, the near panic in the voice of one of his best informants confirmed his worst fears.

“It’s tonight, boss. They’re making their move tonight.”

“Who? Who is it?”

“Gennaro. It looks like he’s working with Bruno Giordano.”

Fuck.

“I’m on my way.”

Aurora’s phone vibrated again.

Without looking, she knew who was calling. Having Enzo Cortesi for an uncle came with quite a few perks, like a full ride at one of the most expensive schools in the country and an apartment in Manhattan, but also some annoyances.

Like the wedding she was blowing off tonight. The one she’d been all but ordered to fly home to Chicago to attend.

“It’s him again,” Jackie muttered, picking up Aurora’s phone and shoving it at her.

Aurora groaned, “I’m not in the mood to deal with The Godfather, Part Seventeen right now.”

Missy paused the Love is Blind episode playing in the background and sat up, staring at Aurora, clearly annoyed. “Oh my god, just answer it! It keeps interrupting the show, and I’m dying to see these cheesy proposals!”

Aurora sighed dramatically, but grabbed the phone from her lap, knowing her friends were right. He would just keep calling if she didn’t pick up. Besides, she was starting to get a funny feeling that this might be more than just a scolding for skipping yet another event in the Chicago mob social scene.

Grudgingly, she picked up, and the moment she heard the voice on the other end of the line, she knew something was terribly wrong.

It was her uncle’s number, but she recognized the voice as that of Dante Donato, his unofficial consigliere.

“You need to get to Northwestern Memorial right now, Aurora. Your uncle’s been shot.”

Chapter One

Two years later

As she sipped her coffee at the small streetside café, Aurora felt it again. That feeling she’d been having all morning.

Like she was being watched.

Just like the previous several times, she glanced around the tiny establishment, once again seeing nothing but the same cute elderly Italian couple and the same obviously honeymooning tourists that had been here as long as she had. Adjusting her gaze to take in the street outside the window proved no more fruitful.

What was she even expecting? Some Pink Panther looking guy in a trench coat?

It didn’t have to be a trench coat, she decided. But he would definitely have one of those 1930’s detective hats…

Not noticing anyone particularly suspicious, behatted or otherwise, Aurora finished the last sip of her cappuccino, grabbed her purse, and headed out the door. The walk back to her Airbnb just had to include several back alleys, of course—or at least what passed for back alleys in the hip part of Milan—but after some serious self-scolding, she coaxed herself off the café-lined street.

What was she worried about anyway?

Probably the fact that you skipped out on the marriage your mob boss uncle arranged—the one you agreed to as his dying wish—in order to traipse around Europe for the last year?

But that had been two years ago, and she barely knew the guy she was supposed to marry. Granted, she’d been ignoring his calls, texts, and emails, but still…

Arranged marriages were bullshit anyway, even if she’d technically consented to this one.

“Dante Donato can go fuck himself!”

She hadn’t meant to say that out loud, but uttering it made her feel a little braver somehow.

It wasn’t like he was just going to kidnap her off the street, after all.

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