Page 7 of Defiant Princess

Lil dropped everything in a heap and kicked it to the side before rushing over. Her features were pinched, and panic darkened her light-blue eyes. When she whipped off her hat, her hair cascaded around her face in a staticky mess of silvery blond.

“What’s wrong?” Emiliana stiffened, and with a flick of her wrist, a knife hidden beneath her sweater dropped from a spring-loaded sheath strapped to her arm, made specifically by the martial arts master her brother had hired to teach her more than what he and Stefano already had.

Lil growled as she flung a hand toward Eva. “Tell them.”

Eva huffed and rolled her brown doe eyes. “What? It’s not a big deal.”

“She was talking to the Bratva!” Lil shouted in exasperation. “The fucking Russian mob.”

“You’re so dramatic.” Eva peeled off her coat and dropped into one of the club chairs with another roll of her eyes. “You’ve seen him, right? Why wouldn’t I talk to him?”

None of us moved as we gawked at her.

“Which one, Eva?” Marissa’s voice pitched an octave higher, and I cringed at the fear and hope there.

“Ivan.” Eva grinned. “The Pavlov underboss. He’s smokin’ hot too.”

“No.” Lil’s lips curved into a frown. “He is not.”

“Whatever, cousin.” Eva dismissed Lil with a wave of her hand.

Shit, this is bad.I had to do something because the desperation in Marissa’s eyes was putting me on red alert. Marissa would kill me, but… I slid my phone out and texted her brother about who had been spotted on campus. I would tell mine, too, but that could wait because I didn’t want them to descend on me like locusts. And they would.

Stefano’s response was instant:Where are you? Where is everyone?

Me:In our building.

Stefano:Don’t let anyone leave. Be there in ten.

I slid my phone back into my pocket and refocused on the minor spat between Eva and Lil. It held my attention for the five minutes that it raged on. Lil screeched at Eva, whose sly grin told me she had her sights set on the Russian and nothingwesaid could deter her. But she couldn’t ignore one of the bosses. And while Stefano was only an underboss, she would have to listen to him or face the consequences of the Five Families coming down on her, especially if I told my dad.

“Did you ask him about Camila?” Marissa’s question about her older sister, who was married to one of the Russians, stopped all conversation.

Tension rippled through the air, and I crossed the space to her, sank into the couch, and wrapped an arm around her. I wanted to smack Eva as badly as Lil did.

Eva had the decency to drop the mischievous grin when she looked at Marissa. “No. But I’ll ask him. I’m sure she’s okay.”

“How can you be so sure?” Marissa jumped to her feet as the door opened with a bang as it hit the wall.

Stefano slammed it shut behind him, strode into the living room, and gripped Marissa’s shoulders. “I know what you’re thinking, sis, and you need to stay away from him. Ivan won’t tell you anything about Camila.”

“But we don’t even know if she’s alive.” Tears swam in Marissa’s deep brown eyes.

“Of course she is.” Eva flipped her hair over her shoulder. “If she were dead, I’m sure you would have heard something.”

“Shut up,” Stefano snapped, and I stiffened on the couch, instantly aware of the leashed violence vibrating from him.

Eva’s gaze dropped to Marissa’s ring, and she surged backward, her cheeks infusing with color. “At least your dad married Camilla to someone close to her age and powerful, which is probably what Lil’s father will do for her. With my luck, I’ll end up with some dweeb who has one foot in the grave but gives my family a pass, like a judge, if I’m even thought of at all.” Eva pivoted on her heel, grabbed her coat, and stormed out of our place.

No one tried to stop her.

“I’ve called in security. None of you will go anywhere without additional soldiers,” Stefano informed us in a voice that didn’t invite discussion.

We already had guards breathing down our backs. I guessed it would get even worse. I wanted to be mad about it, but the Bratva… they were the enemy. I couldn’t blame him.

Emiliana’s gaze was locked onto Stefano’s, but she looked away at the order. He reacted to the shift in her attention by releasing his sister then going to where Emiliana sat on the couch and pulling her to her feet. “I mean it, Em.”

“Why are you worried about me?” She raised her chin and glared at him. “You should be concerned about your sister.”

Tags: Amy McKinley Romance
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