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Home / Stormy Night Publications Newsletter / Cruelest Vow: A Dark Mafia Romance by Piper Stone – Extended Preview

Cruelest Vow: A Dark Mafia Romance by Piper Stone – Extended Preview

Lucia was killing me softly with every piercing look, the way her long eyelashes skimmed across her shimmering skin. As I eased my shirt over her shoulders, an icy chill coursed through my veins. Being with her made me realize that up until now, my life had been lived in stages of black and white, the only color allowed images of the horrific fire as it consumed everything that had mattered.

Now, with her, the moments shared were powerful in their toxicity, dangerous in their entailments. I was fooling myself if I thought this would go anywhere good or decent. There were no such things as fantasies allowed inside the prison walls of the Cosa Nostra. There was only blood and violence, fleeting moments of pleasure that never erased the horrors seen and inflicted every day.

But with her it felt as if the nightmares could be shoved aside, the light she emitted driving the shadows of rage and sorrow deep inside a padlocked prison where they belonged.

I wanted her.

I craved her.

Yet the ache of possession, a need that been building for almost half my life couldn’t remove the stain of who and what I was. Nor could it turn back time, soothing the pain. We would never be allowed to survive.

She was no fool, her upbringing making her cautious. I wouldn’t be able to keep the charade going for much longer. One day of hunting and I’d be finished playing games.

As she turned around, pressing her hands against me, I took a deep breath. She was even more beautiful with her tousled hair and the light shimmer of perspiration caused by our hard fucking. At least for now this was a fantasy I could grasp onto.

I buttoned the shirt halfway, backing away and allowing a grin to cross my face. When I brought her wine, she winked at me mischievously. It was to allow the shadowed veil of truth to slide free.

The time of innocence we were sharing would soon be ripped away as it had once before, replaced with the ugliness of reality. If only I could shield her from the pain she’d soon experience, and from the horrors of the past.

But I wasn’t God.

I was just a cold-blooded killer, a monster straight from nightmares. As I walked away, I couldn’t help but wonder if villains deserved to be happy.

“Where are you going?” she asked, although the sound was more of a purr.

“I did promise you dinner.” I didn’t bother with grabbing my trousers, snatching my drink from the table instead. I sensed her trailing behind and when I padded into the kitchen, she was no longer moving.

“Who did that to you?” she asked after a few seconds.

There was no sense in hiding the scars enveloping my body any longer. The brush of her fingertips across what I’d thought to be dead skin had been her first awareness that I was a broken man. The deeply embedded lashes were only the beginning.

I took a sip of my drink then grabbed a pan for water before answering. “I had a brutal father, a man who believed methods of torture were essential in teaching me how to become a man.” I heard the slight gasp and I’d once hoped it would fill me with glee. It didn’t. A wave of nausea shifted into my stomach.

“I’m so… sorry. What a monster.”

“No, sweet Lucia. That’s what he turned me into.” I casually glanced over my shoulder, studying her expression. Was I trying to push her into leaving, running away screaming as she should be doing? Or was my frankness all about testing her resolve? There was no decent answer.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were trying to scare me. Then the woman who’s spent far too much time dealing with men who called dating a complication in their lives would say you’re ensuring I know you’re not the kind of man who can handle commitment.”

She made me laugh, her analytical mind what she used to call escapism so long ago. Even the look on her face was the same as the wide-eyed girl who’d tagged along even when I’d tried my best to shove her away. “I already told you I would ruin you. What else do I need to say?”

“What you obviously don’t seem to understand is that I want you to.”

Her statement was made with all the eager frankness from before, which tugged at what was left of my heart. I pulled onions and peppers from the fridge, grabbing a cutting board and knife without answering. At least at first. “Be careful what you ask for.”

Lucia inched closer, leaning next to the pole closest to the kitchen. “What will you do to me, sully my reputation?”

With her, smiling was easy. If only it could last. “That’s the least of your worries.”

“You don’t have a girlfriend, do you? I guess I should have asked that before we…”

“Had wild sex?”

She pressed her hand across her lips. “Something like that.”

My balls were already tightening again. “No, I don’t have a girlfriend.”

“Whew,” she whispered, wiping her hand across her forehead in an exaggerated manner. “I’m not that kind of girl. Granted, I didn’t think I was a one-night stand kind of girl either but here we are.”

“Given the filthy sin we just committed, I’d say you no longer need to worry about that.” I threw back my glass of whiskey, immediately reaching for the bottle. Every time she laughed, my stomach tightened.

“I didn’t think of that. You’re brilliant.” After rolling her eyes, she gave me a heated look. “I guess I should confess that I almost kinda sorta have a fiancé.”

“Why does that sound ominously vague?”

Shrugging, she toyed with the top button on my shirt. “I won’t bore you with the details, but my father believes he can arrange a marriage to a pig.”

The ache in my chest deepened. “Sadly, that still occurs in several countries. Aren’t you American through and through?”

Now she rolled her eyes. “Try telling my father that. He even sent my brother to keep watch over me until the wretched event occurs.” She looked away, but not before I noticed her face flushing. “My girlfriends had a crazy idea that I should arrange a marriage of my own.”

I shot her a look as I put my glass on the counter. “Excuse me?”

“Don’t look at me that way. You know, a marriage of convenience that’s all the rage in romance novels? I can’t believe I’m telling you this.”

Smirking, I lifted a single eyebrow. “Did you consider the option?”

“The sad thing is that I have. Does it sound crazy?”

“Are you asking?”

“I’d like your opinion.”

I yanked a towel from the counter, wiping my hands. “Are you asking?”

The bright blossom of red skittering up her already rosy cheeks could make any man turn into an animal. “I… I mean… No, I…” The nervous laugh was followed by Lucia taking a gulp of her wine, her hand shaking.

I grabbed the bottle of cabernet, heading in her direction. As her gaze drifted to my hardening cock, she dared to drag her tongue across her lips. Fuck me, I wanted her again.

“Mmm…” she murmured as I refilled her glass. “It was just a crazy thought.”

“Ask me again when we get to know each other better.”

“Be careful what you ask for.” There was a haunted look in her eyes, as if memories were crowding into the moment. “I shouldn’t say this, but please tell me your father was punished for the way he treated you.”

Exhaling, I returned to concentrating on making dinner. I hadn’t shared a meal with anyone in a long time, other than the ridiculous formal family gatherings I’d been forced to endure since my adoption.

“He’s still alive and kicking, although he won’t be head of the household for much longer.”


I thought about my answer. “Because he’s dying of cancer.”

“I shouldn’t wish ill on anyone, but maybe that’s what he deserves, to rot in hell. Oops,” she laughed, pressing her fingers across her mouth. “My friends always tell me I’m too pushy in demanding information and sharing my thoughts. The one thing my mother did teach me before she checked out mentally and emotionally was that I had to fight harder than boys and men to get what I wanted. That often entailed finding myself in uncomfortable positions.”

“Why did your mother check out?”

Lucia darted another glance in my direction before turning completely away. “Because my father treated my brother much the same way as yours did. It started when Enzo was a little boy, his punishments for the smallest infractions harsh. Then it escalated into more brutal methods when he was older. I never knew how bad it had gotten until I was allowed to come home one summer. I regretted stepping back in my father’s house, something I said I’d never do. Hell, I remained in a fog the entire time. I even swore I saw ghosts. That’s how bad it was.”

The angst in her voice was toxic. I stopped what I was doing, allowing her to relive something she shouldn’t have been forced to endure in the first place.

“But even before that, my sister Sophia and I could hear our brother’s screams at night, wailing for our mother to come save him. We used to huddle together, putting pillows over our heads to try and block out his shrieks. It never worked.”

I lifted my head, studying the faraway look on her face. I’d known from the day my family had arrived at the Lazarro estate that her old man was a brutal son of a bitch. However, it took a special bastard to torture his own flesh and blood.

“I did what I could to try and protect Sophia. She was so young and couldn’t understand why our father beat Enzo weekly if not daily. I used to read to her, playing music to try and soothe her while she cried. The only time she calmed down was when I hummed one of a few very special songs.” She rubbed her fingers across her lips. “You see, my father didn’t want to hear us cry, threatening using his belt if he caught us.”

My grip tightened on the knife, the rage brimming far too close to the surface. I hadn’t known. If I had, the bastard would have died a long time before. The sound of her voice was entirely different, as if she’d needed someone to share her damning story with. She was such a powerful force in business but with me, she was exactly the same girl who’d cried when her horse had gotten sick. Or the night her beloved dog had been found dead, his throat slashed.

I’d seen the bastard do it, Enzo laughing after performing the monstrous deed. Then he’d found me in the shadows, forcing me to bury the poor creature or he’d lie and tell his father I’d been responsible. She’d cried for a week, clinging to me for comfort. I’d never understood why she couldn’t share her grief with her family.

Now I knew why. The desire to rip her family apart only increased with every word of sorrow dripping from her mouth.

“What about your mother? Why didn’t she stop him?” I gritted out.

“She hadn’t fared any better. She tried when we were little, but my father was so brutal that he broke her arm once, finally locking her in the bedroom when he performed his ritual of discipline. I think she was broken long before she fell ill. She’s a shell of a woman now, her coping mechanism falling into a bottle.” Lucia laughed bitterly, finally tipping her head in my direction, every blink allowing another tear to fall. When she noticed my harsh gaze, she wiped them away furiously. “I told myself I would run far away. I thought I had, but you can never run from the claws of a monster.”

The words hung in the air. Why hadn’t I known? Why hadn’t she told me? I could hear her voice so long ago. She’d told me that she’d be the one to protect me. “Fucking asshole.”

“I am so sorry. I have no idea why I told you that. How inappropriate for a date. I seriously am not very good at this,” she whispered.

“You don’t need to be anything but yourself around me, Lucia. I think you know I understand. Although there is no such thing as the perfect family, what you described is intolerable. The man should be chained and beaten.” I resumed cutting, trying to keep the seething anger from becoming an issue.

“You’re right. I wish I had the courage to do it myself.”

I wanted to tell her that she didn’t need to worry, but that would come in time.

The nervous tic in the corner of her mouth was more endearing than I’d remembered, her eyes shimmering with conflicting emotions. “I don’t know why I feel I can trust you, Nicolo. And I don’t trust anyone.”

“You shouldn’t but I’m glad you feel that way.”

“It’s almost as if I’ve known you my entire life. I…” She smiled as she took a sip of wine, easing closer, shutting down the obsidian pathway to hell she’d allowed cracked open. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

“Nothing but enjoy your wine.” I grabbed a pan, placing it on the burner and turning it on. Everything about being with her felt natural, far too much so. However, the urgency to carry through with my plan weighed heavily on my mind. She had a target on her back, one large enough that the fact she had a weapon hidden in her purse, more inside her apartment wouldn’t matter in the end. I needed to determine who else had been assigned to carry out the deed Franco still believed I’d follow through with. The potential list was long, any recklessness in determining the entity’s identification likely resulting in another tragedy.

“You really can cook. Why do I have a feeling there’s more surprises in store for me?”

“You might be shocked.”

“No,” she whispered, her eyes full of lust as she trailed her hand down her long neck to the swell of her breasts. When she rubbed the tip of her index finger around her still hardened nipple, I could feel my control slipping.

“If you keep looking at me that way, we won’t get to dinner, only to dessert.”

Her laugh sent another wave of heat through every vein and muscle. “Dessert is the most important part of the meal. Right?”

“What did I tell you about tempting me?”

As I tossed the peppers and onions into the pan, I was thrown when she started to hum. She wasn’t following the music of a popular song she’d heard on her satellite radio.

It was my creation, the same piece of music she’d asked me to play countless times. Fuck. I closed my eyes, shoving the memories aside. They had no place in my future plans. None.

The hard edge of nerves cresting through me cut through all the bullshit, the years of rage. I’d thought she’d forgotten, that she’d shut down her feelings completely. “What is that?” The demanding sound in my voice was harsher than I’d intended.

“It’s something I used to hum to Sophia when she was so terrified.”

Every muscle stiffened, my heart racing. “It’s beautiful.”

“It is. My favorite in the whole world.”

“Maybe I have the CD.”

“No, sadly, you wouldn’t. I wish you did. Then that would mean… the world hadn’t been turned upside down.” Her last words faded, her lower lip quivering. “The musician was a special person, someone I miss very much. He put his heart and soul into every creation.”

“Who was he?”

“Someone I lost a long time ago. I’m sorry, Nicolo. I can’t talk about it. I haven’t been able to do so since it happened.”


She looked away, shaking her head slowly.

“I’m not pushing you, Lucia.”

“It’s not you. Being with you makes me feel alive.”

I turned off the stove, shifting the pan to another burner before beckoning her with a single finger.

“What?” Her playfulness had returned, the way she shook her head another example of her determined defiance.

“Come here.”

“What will you do if I don’t?”

“Do you really want to find out?”

“Maybe I do.” She acted as if she was going to run, forcing me to chase her. That wasn’t going to happen. Reaching out, I easily grabbed her arm, swinging her toward me. When she slammed her hand against my chest, my cock immediately hardened, pressing between her legs.

“I can see I’m going to need to teach you another hard lesson.”

She struggled in my hold, but it was easy to see she was feigning horror. I tossed her over the counter, ripping up the shirt I’d provided before grabbing a wooden spoon from the utensil holder. When I cracked it across her bottom without hesitation, she yelped.

“This is exactly what happens to girls who disobey their masters.” I brought the spoon down four more times, moving from one side of her buttocks to the other.

Her squeals filled the kitchen, but she leaned further over the counter, the damning invitation one I couldn’t resist. I brought the wooden implement down several times, the sadist inside of me enjoying the color warming both her cheeks and her bottom. Every moan dripping from her lush lips, every breathless sound pushed me further into a moment of peace. That would seem strange to anyone else, but I had a feeling if I mentioned it to Lucia, she’d completely understand. We’d been born of the same cloth, sequestered in similar prisons.

And we both had wanted nothing more than to break free.

When my shaft was aching to the point of pain, I took a deep breath, her essence of desire more powerful to my psyche than before. I was almost blinded from a desire I’d shoved aside, pretending as if I didn’t care. I shoved the handle between her legs, rubbing it up and down her wet pussy exactly as I’d done with my fingers before.

I could live and die on the soft mews, the visible shudder of her body. She gripped the edge of the counter, throwing her head back. Her pursed lips were meant to surround my cockhead, sucking until I elected to come down her throat. She could have no idea how much she affected me, the strength of her resolve boosting mine. I was raw with need, my balls swelling.

As she bucked against the spoon, indulging in the filthy act, my insatiable desire could no longer be contained. I slipped my hand under her leg, placing her knee on the counter. She arched her back, closing her eyes, and the soft moans turned into ragged breaths as I thrust my cock inside her sweet pussy.

“Jesus,” I muttered, electric shocks pulsing through every tendon as her muscles clamped around the thick invasion. She was so tight, so wet that the feeling of being inside of her took my breath away.

“You’re amazing.”

“I’m not finished with you yet.” I pumped several times, coating my cock with her juices, keeping my firm hold on her leg. The second I pulled out, slipping the tip against her dark hole, her entire body tensed. “Every inch of you belongs to me.” As I pushed my cockhead further inside, a twisted thought bore into the back of my mind.

She had her very own monster.

I closed my eyes, driving the entire length deep into the softness of her muscles, invigorated by her slight cries. She writhed in my hold, pushing up from the counter, her breathless whispers in Italian driving my hunger to a frenzied point.

I’d waited so long for a single taste of her. I’d yearned to see the deep amethyst of her eyes boring into mine when I’d claimed her the first time. Instead, I’d fucked her in the shadows. No longer. Whether she understood it now or not, she’d become mine.

I thrust into her long and hard, more brutal than I’d been before. Her skin shimmered, so beautiful that watching her had awakened the soulless man. I lost myself in her just as I’d done before, the sensations infused with rocket fuel. When I lowered my head, raking my teeth over the nape of her neck, she arched her back even more. I bit down, rewarded with the wondrous sound of her scattered moans.

And I kept fucking her, refusing to let go. She took every brutal thrust, her exaggerated moans matching the growls coming from deep within my chest.

Finally, the ache in my balls couldn’t hold back any longer. As I erupted, I hadn’t been prepared for the intensity of my ejaculation. I filled her with my seed, my thoughts drifting to her unusual request.


Yes. I would marry her.

For with every kingdom, a king must take a queen.

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