Authors: Jasmine Denton,Genna Denton
Cosa Nostra #2
Code of Silence : Cosa Nostra #2
Copyright © 2016 by Jasmine Denton
Book Formatting by Derek Murphy @Creativindie
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations em- bodied in critical articles or reviews.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
For information contact :
Book and Cover design by Genna Denton
First Edition: January 2016
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“I swear never to betray the secrets of this thing we have, and to obey with love and Omertà the Sicilian Code of Silence.”
~Cosa Nostra Oath
DeLuca Family Structure
With her hands placed on the iron railing, Bela stood on the balcony overlooking the front lawn and watched as her brother’s private construction crew finished building the security fence. The twenty-foot tall brick structure stretched around the entire ten acres of property, spanning from the gated driveway in the front to the massive garden out back and beyond. The new fence would serve to both keep their enemies out and lock her inside.
For the last few weeks, Trey had been going overboard on enhancing security. From now on, nobody could enter the property without buzzing in at the front gate—guarded by two armed henchmen at all times. He’d also added an automatically locking door separating the east wing, where they lived, from the west wing, where Trey and their father conducted their business. Nobody could get from one side to the other without the security code. With Bela’s psychology major, she could see right through Trey’s need to put a wall around their entire lives. He’d even moved Mandi in so she would be ‘protected’. Ever since she’d been attacked by someone Trey had trusted, Trey had been on overprotective overdrive. She’d even heard rumors he’d fired his entire crew and was working to build a newer, super-elite gang with Vincent as his right-hand man. Things had changed drastically in the course of two months, but Bela knew any sense of well-being was short lived. When you carried the DeLuca name, nothing as important as safety came with a guarantee.
For this reason alone, she should’ve expected the precautions Trey would take next. Still, when she was summoned to his office later that afternoon, she didn’t suspect a thing. There was a guy sitting in front of his desk; someone she had seen around the house from time to time, but she couldn’t recall his name right off hand. Trey stood from his seat in the leather chair and walked around his desk to face her as he said, “Bela, I’d like you to meet Gio.” He pointed to the man, who stood as if on command.
She shook his hand and her grip tightened when she heard her brother add, “Your bodyguard.”
She dropped the stranger’s hand and turned to Trey. “Wait a second…
“Yeah, I thought you’d be upset,” he said. “The thing is: I don’t care.”
Shaking her head, she turned from both of them. “Look, I’ve stayed quiet while you’ve built an entire wall around our house and locked it down with all kinds of alarms and codes, but I’ve got to draw the line here. I don’t need a
. Maybe you’ve forgotten, but I’m not
tied to any of your…business.”
“You’re a DeLuca.” His dark eyes narrowed, shooting her a look that said he thought she was being naïve. It was one she’d been seeing a lot lately. “You’re tied to it by blood, when are you going to get that? And that fact alone puts a target on your head.”
“That’s being a little paranoid, don’t you think?”
“Someone tried to kill Mandi,” he said. “And, given who we are and what we do, I think it’s long overdue you get a little protection.”
“Someone tried to kill Mandi because he was obsessed with her,” she said. “That had nothing to do with…what you do.”
“Are you a hundred percent sure about that?” he asked. “Because I’m not. In fact I’m pretty sure someone who wants me gone sent that loose cannon Mandi’s way.”
“This is crazy, Trey.”
“It’s not up for debate,” he snapped. “Look, just humor me. Okay?”
Maybe it was because of the worry in her brother’s eyes, or the tension in his posture, but she found herself nodding just to please him. “Fine. For now.”
When she left the room, Gio followed her. After about two seconds, she was already annoyed. Spinning on her heel, she snapped, “Try to stay at least ten feet behind me all the time, all right? I don’t want to look like some freak being stalked by Secret Service.”
He responded to her attitude with an even gaze and a slight smirk. “How about ten feet in the house and five in public?”
In an abandoned warehouse downtown, Vincent met with his handler, Daniel. When he entered the cavernous room with yellowed walls, he found Daniel studying poster boards they’d set up a couple weeks back. Each poster had details about the mafia members he’d pinpointed, from Sal to Nik to Trey. So far, Vincent had managed to calculate that Trey ran a crew of about a hundred, while Nik seemed to carry out Sal’s business for him and oversee Trey and the other Capos. He might’ve even been the one who ordered the hit on Bela’s mother.
“I have news.” Vincent shrugged out of his leather jacket. “Trey’s gotten even more paranoid than usual, so all of the crews are being rotated. Everybody except for me.”
“Seems you made a good investment when you helped him find his girl,” he said. “He trusts you. Even enough to overlook how you spend your nights.”
Vincent glanced over at Daniel in question.
“Oh come on, I wasn’t born yesterday.” Daniel shrugged. “You can bang whatever hot mafia girl you want, just don’t take your eyes off the real prize.”
“Anyway,” he said, attempting to steer the subject back toward something less likely to make him punch his boss. “Whoever was out to get Trey will try to sneak someone into Trey’s new crew.”
“I don’t care who tried to kill Trey,” Daniel said. “We’re not even after him. It’s Sal who needs to be taken down.”
“I know, but whoever it is may be trying to get to Sal through Trey,” he explained.
“So we just need to get to him first.”
“Yeah,” Vincent said with weary sigh as he studied the ever-growing board of evidence. “Piece of cake.”
“See? Right there.” The nurse pointed to a small spec on the computer screen. Mandi craned her neck to see the screen from where she lay stretched out on the exam table. Her shirt was pushed up and covered with sticky jell over the course of her ultrasound. “Meet your baby. About eight weeks old, I’d say.”
Mandi looked at the small blip on the screen and waited for the famed maternal instinct to kick in. Eight weeks was what, two months? She should feel it by now. Love, admiration of the miracle of life.
Trey could feel it. She saw it in the proud twinkle in his eye, felt it in the way he planted his lips on the top of her head in a gentle kiss as those twinkling eyes stayed locked on the computer screen. For some reason, all Mandi felt was inescapable, undeniable
“What are you hoping for?” the nurse asked as she began to wipe the gel off Mandi’s still flat-as-a-board belly. “Boy or girl?”
“A boy,” Trey said, without hesitation.
The nurse laughed. “Of course.” She looked at Mandi expectantly. “What about you?”
She should say something, she realized. She should at least fake the act of the excited mother. “A boy is fine,” she said with a smile. “Girl is better.”
Trey gave her hand a squeeze.
“Just a few more weeks and we’ll find out,” she said.
As the nurse put away her equipment, Mandi wondered if there was something fundamentally wrong with her. Why wasn’t she excited about the baby? Why wasn’t she glowing with anticipation? Why did she feel like an abyss was about to swallow her whole? All this time, she’d been hoping those feelings would go away, but they continued to grow along with her pregnancy.
“I can’t stand lying to him.” Bela paced the thin line between the coffee table and the small television set in Vincent’s one-room loft. “I’m paranoid all the time—every time he wants to talk to me, I’m afraid we’ve been caught.”
“We’re not going to get caught,” Vincent’s soft voice assured her as he watched her walk back and forth from his place on the couch. “I’ve been very careful to hide all of my connections with the FBI. They don’t even use my real name in their files. Everything is going to be all right.”
“You keep saying that,” she sighed, “but you don’t know my brother the way I do. He’s not an idiot.”
“Neither am I.”
“I know.” Running a hand through her long dark hair, she tried to take a calming breath. “And now he’s got this guy following me around all the time—it’s going to make it even harder on us. What if he overhears something? I mean, he’s waiting downstairs right now. He wanted to follow me in but I insisted that wasn’t an option.”
“We’ll just be more careful.”
“You have an answer for everything, don’t you? But I don’t care how smart you are or how careful, it’s no match for his ruthlessness. You’re trying to take down his entire organization—the very thing he’s been helping build since he was fifteen. If he finds out…it doesn’t matter how much I love you, he’ll kill you just to prove a point.”
“Bela.” Vincent stood, meeting her in the center of the room. He took her hand in his, the soft feel of his fingertips bringing her a momentary feeling of comfort. “Nobody’s going to kill me. You can’t think like that.”
“I can’t stop thinking like that,” she said.
His almond colored eyes peered into hers, tinged with regret. “I never should’ve brought you into this,” he whispered. “It was too much to put on your shoulders.”
“No. No, it’s not. I’m fine.”
“You just stood here and said you’re a nervous, paranoid mess.”
“Yeah…” she looked up at him through her eyelashes. “True. I can handle it, though. At least now I know I’m with one of the good guys.”
This brought a smile to his lips.
“Just promise me something,” she said. “Promise me if it gets too dangerous, we’ll run. We’ll disappear and leave all of this behind. Promise me you’ll do that before you let them kill you.”
His lips parted, then hesitated and she wondered why. Was his mission more important than his life? Was he willing to die for it? After what seemed like minutes had passed, he nodded. His thumb feathered across her cheek as he whispered, “I promise.”
It was half-past midnight and Mandi was already in bed by the time Trey came home. Burrowed under the covers, unable to sleep, she heard the door creak open and then shut again. After a minute, he slipped into bed beside her, wrapping an arm around her waist. He must’ve seen that her eyes were open, because he sounded surprised as he said, “You’re awake.”
Sitting up, she stretched across the bed to turn on the lamp. Once the dim light filled the room, she said, “I can’t sleep in this house.”
“It’s too big.”
He chuckled. “You’ll get used to it.”
She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I know it sounds silly, but there are all these weird noises and I can’t relax.”
His hand dipped beneath the curtain of her hair, wrapping it around the base of her neck. The gentle, yet firm touch filled her with a sense of safety and calm. “That might have more to do with what you’ve been through than the size of the house.”
Not for the first time that night, she thought of the psychotic stalker who had kidnapped her. “Maybe,” she admitted. “It’s been two months. You’d think I’d be over it by now.”
“Some things just take longer than others.”
“Are you sure he’s not coming back?” she asked.
“What if he does?” she asked. “I know you made him leave town, but what if he thinks he can beat you? What if he comes back and—”
“Mandi,” he said, the seriousness of his tone stopping her panic short. Holding her gaze, he said, “Johnny’s never going to hurt you again. I promise.”
There was such sincerity, such honesty in his eyes, she couldn’t help but believe him. Somehow, she just knew he was telling the truth. She wondered if Trey had broken the promise he made her and killed Johnny anyway. She’d told him she didn’t want a murder on her conscience. But did that matter to a guy like Trey, who only saw the world one way? To him, the world was filled with two kinds of people: those who were loyal and those who weren’t. People who could be trusted and people who couldn’t. Johnny had crossed from one side to the other when he hurt her, and what was the penalty for such a betrayal in Trey’s eyes? She didn’t want to ask, too afraid to know the answer. Instead, she buried the question and her suspicions and chose to believe he’d done what she asked. Just as she held back the questions that rose when she noticed his knuckles had purple gashes on them. Some things were better left unspoken.