I have to make a guess. Only two places I can think of she might be making for.

One would be the O’Malley compound, where her sister lives. The other would be a lot more dangerous for her.

Chapter Thirteen


I can’t stay out on the street too long, or I’ll get picked up by the cops for riding without a helmet. Thundering through Downtown on his Sportster with the wind in my hair feels so good, though.

Excitement in my gut tingles with panic. I don’t know where I can safely go now. Nowhere is ever going to be completely safe for me. I wish that I could have stayed with mob guy. I want to trust him and I feel like I can. But it’s such a risk.

And everybody betrays me. It’s the life. I never expected anything else. My father wanting to practically trade me to Drago was a shock, but it’s how things are done. Outside the law, you have to use whatever assets you can. It’s as simple as that.

Still, Daddy putting me in that position threw me. It confused me. He was so upset after we lost Giulietta, it was like he was living under a cloud for a year after that. So I was stunned that he seemed ready to lose me, too.

I still can’t believe it. But it’s just the way things are. He taught me and protected me and took care of me until I was eighteen. Now, he would expect me to be able to look after myself. To find a way to deal with any situation I was in.

Or maybe my younger-sister instinct was right after all. He loved Giulietta more than he loved me.

Oh, even at a time like this, my inner brat can still rise up, poke her head out and whine like a princess. Whenever I think I’ve straightened her out, she’s just waiting, red-faced with a shoe in her hand.

When I was little, I used to call her Rapunzel. Always waiting for the perfect prince to climb the outside a tower for her and risk her father’s sword or falling to his death. Like a mean, introspective version of Goldilocks. ‘Too hot,’ ‘too lumpy.’ ‘Too hairy.’ Oh, now I’m thinking of Red Riding-hood.

Now everything seems clearer.

The clearest thing of all is that I want him. Finn. My mob guy. But if I can’t trust my own family, how could I ever trust him?

Much as I love riding the bike, the highway through the desert is dull. Juddering along a straight, flat road with wind and grit in my face is not fun. Especially after the spiky weaving cut and thrust, jamming through gaps in traffic around the casinos.

I’ll stop at Poppy’s store. Say hi, catch up. Pick up my car. I wish I’d found out where he put the tracker. Then I realize, I liked him hunting me down. Excitement simmers in my gut just thinking about it.

I want him to track me. I want him to find me. Take me. Again.

Shame you can’t always get what you want. I can’t be at Poppy’s place for too long. It seems like half of Vegas is after me now. I wonder what Giovani’s deal is. If he is just trying to please Daddy, which would not be like him, or if he has some agenda of his own.

I know one thing. He’ll be mad as hell about his Ferrari. He loves that stupid toy. Always in the shop, always hemorrhaging money. But he always makes excuses for it. That boy needs a woman.

As I finally swerve into Poppy’s parking lot, her face through the window is a picture of total shock. I figure it’s because she hasn’t seen me or pictured me high up on a huge motorcycle before.

It’s only when I’m right in front of the store, when I smile and wave, then sling my leg over the bike to get off, and I see him.



I could just fire the bike back up and run, but I know Drago. He would take it out on Poppy before he came after me. He’s standing too close to Poppy. I can’t tell if he’s actually holding her. Her hands are behind her back.

Drago’s leer hots up as I step into the store. He has four hefty goons spread around the showroom.

“Mia!” His ugly grin splits his face. “Love of my life. We were wondering where you had got to. Your friend here was just telling me that your brother Giovani came looking for you. But you left with a friend. Come in and sit down. Tell me about your new friend. I think I would like to meet him.” Then he gives me his slimy, sly look. “Is that his jacket you’re wearing? It looks well on you. But anything would look better on you.” His eyes narrow. “Most especially, me.”

Tags: Frankie Love Crime
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