Authors: Michelle Hardin
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #United States, #African American, #Romance, #Multicultural, #Multicultural & Interracial
Dangerous Beauty Part Two: A Mafia Princess Copyright © 2014
Dangerous Beauty, Part two: A Mafia Princess. Copyright 2014 by Michele Hardin. All rights reserved.
This book is a work of fiction. All characters and places are derived from the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to real people or places is incidental.
Manuscript Edit & Review:
To Ty-nesha. We did it again! Book two, and I can’t wait until we finish book three! You’re still the best sister ever, even when you make me scrap chapters because you don’t like them. Thanks for always being there, and thank you for reading each and every manuscript I write. I love you so much!
Carterina Anastacia Stone wakes up from the most terrifying experience of her life to find that her life has been totally flipped upside down. Nathan Salerno is her gorgeous fiancé she can’t remember even meeting, and the mother she thought abandoned
her is demanding to be a part of her life.
Lies. Secrets. The truth. Each of them has a deadly consequence that seem to guarantee that Nathan and Carter will have to spend their entire lives looking over their shoulders. Carter feels like a walking target and Nathan’s determined to make her feel safe again. While revelations threaten to pull them apart, Carter and Nathan fight hard to keep their love strong.
This and more in Part two of the edge of your seat trilogy Dangerous Beauty Part Two – A Mafia Princess.
Anya made her way up the stairs with chocolate milk and chocolate chip cookies, determined to get Nathan out of his room. He had been there since he had woken up from his nap to find adorable and stunning little Carter no longer next to him. That was three days ago, and Anya missed her Nathan’s smiling face. She hadn’t heard him laugh since he’d spent the day with Carter, and she was going to get him out of that room today if it was the last thing she did.
Anya walked down the hallway until she reached his closed bedroom door. It was very quiet inside. This was normal for Nathan whenever he was upset. She knocked softly on his door.
“Nathan!” she called “
, can Mama come in?” She knocked softly once more. When he didn’t answer the door, Anya opened it and peeked in.
Nathan sat at his tiny desk, his crayons scattered around a piece of paper. A frown masked his young face as he focused on what he was drawing on the paper in front of him. Anya opened his door wider and watched him color. She rested her back against the frame of the door, cookies and milk still in hand. Nathan looked up, acknowledging her presence in the room with a small smile.
” he said softly. “I don’t want to go to the garden today.” He turned his attention back to his paper.
Anya entered the room, placing the cookies and milk on his dresser. She sat on the floor and leaned against the headboard of his bed. “What are you drawing?” she asked him. Nathan stopped what he was doing and turned to his mother with an affectionate smile. He picked the paper up from his desk and moved to the floor with Anya. Sitting crossed-legged in front of her, he handed his picture to her.
Anya smiled as she looked at the picture. “Who is this?” she asked, pointing to the tall male in the picture.
“You’re tall! Do you think you will be as tall as your father?”
Nathan nodded his head yes, and Anya smiled. She knew he would be as tall as Angelo. He was already tall for five years old.
“And who is this?” she asked, pointing to the woman in the picture. She already knew, but she wanted to hear him say it.
“Do you miss Carter, Nathan?”
He nodded yes.
“Do you want some cookies and milk,
Anya asked, looking into Nathan’s eyes. She was trying to catch a glimpse of emotion, but much like his father, little Nathan was excellent at keeping his emotions hidden.
A small smile appeared on Nathan’s face, “No, thank you, mama,” he said politely.
Anya raised an eyebrow. “You sure? How will you get big and strong if you don’t drink your milk?” Nathan shrugged. “I’m sure Carter wants you to grow big and strong, too.” She knew it may have been wrong to use that line with her son, but this was the most interaction she’d had with Nathan since the little girl left. He had been locked up in his room, refusing even to come out for dinner. He wanted the maid to bring dinner to his room instead of coming down to eat with her.
Nathan stood up from the floor and went to his dresser for his milk and cookies. He sat back on the floor with Anya and took a sip of his milk.
“Did Papa call Carter today?” he asked, looking at Anya expectantly.
“No, my heart, he didn’t,” Anya replied sadly.
Nathan lowered his eyes and ate his milk and cookies. Anya hated to see her baby like this. She couldn’t bear watching him sulk around all day, and she didn’t know when his melancholy would pass. She wanted to think of something, anything that would lift his spirits. At just that moment, Anya came up with the perfect idea. The only downside to it would be that she would need Angelo’s help to make it happen, but she could do it. She would do anything to put a smile back on her baby boy’s face.
“You know, Nathan. You have not been to the garden in a long time. Maybe if you make a wish, you will have Carter back, eh?”
Nathan looked up from his plate of cookies, “You think so?”
Anya nodded and smiled, “Yes, my heart, I do.”
Nathan looked to the side as if in deep thought. He frowned and nodded his little head firmly, “Ok, Mama. I want to go to the garden and wish for Carter now.”
Anya smiled wide, “Then we shall,
Anya stood up from the floor and held her hand out for Nathan. Nathan stood up and pointed toward the floor, letting her know he would rather carry his milk and cookies down than hold her hand. Anya nodded and laughed softly. She had to keep reminding herself that much like his father, Nathan was a bit obsessed with cleanliness. His room was a testament to that.
Nathan walked down the stairs with Anya following behind him. “You go ahead outside, and I’ll meet you there after I make some lunch.”
Nathan went out the door, and Anya went down the hall to Angelo’s office. Anya opened the door and was about to enter, but halted when she heard Angelo on the phone.
“But where have you been?” he said in a low tone. “You can’t keep disappearing, and then call me out of nowhere.” He sat at the edge of his desk. “Tell me what it is then, Ana,” he pleaded. “Something’s wrong— I know it. Why must you be so damn guarded?” He sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “It’s me,
. You know you can tell me anything. Whatever it is, it’s pulling you away from me. Again. Is that what you want?” He ran his hand down his face. “I don’t want that either, Anastacia. Yes, I know you do, and I love you, too, but you’re so fucking confusing. One second you want me, and the next you disappear off the face of the Earth! I can’t find you or call you. I don’t know whether you’re dead or alive. I just can’t deal with this shit anymore.” He sat for a moment, and then let out a pained groan. “Yes, Ana, I’ll be there. Tonight. I just have to handle a few things here before I leave … Okay … I love you, too. Bye.”
Anya watched him hang up the phone. She couldn’t stop the tears from falling from her eyes. It would have been easier for her to find out that he had been screwing whores all over the world than to find out this.
He was in love? With Anastacia Stone?
Anya remembered Anastacia from her days back in Russia. She had saved her life. Told her Angelo was a good guy, and she’d be safe with him. Anya couldn’t understand what she’d just heard.
She pushed the door all the way open, and Angelo glanced over to where she stood in the doorway.
“Anastacia Stone?” she said, unable to stop the tears. “
You’re in love with Anastacia Stone
?” she asked angrily.
“So it’s not a bunch of women you’re seeing? It’s just her? You’re in love with another fucking woman?” she yelled, walking further into his office.
Angelo’s jaw clenched, “Why the hell are you listening in on my phone conversations, Anya?” he yelled.
“That’s all you have to say?”
“I told you I didn’t want you in my goddamn office!” he yelled.
“Why?” she screamed. “So you can keep it a secret that you’re in love with Anastacia Stone! You let me think you were sleeping with whores…”
“Well, I’m not!”
“This is worse!” Anya screamed hysterically. “You’re a lying piece of shit! You leave me here alone constantly. You neglect your own son—”
Startling Anya, Angelo stormed across the office and stood in front of her. Anya was tall at 5’10, but Angelo, at 6’6, towered over her, and she went silent. “I do not neglect my son. I love Nathan more than anything that exists in this world. Don’t you ever say that again, I mean ever.” His tone was as cold as his stormy, gray eyes. “Nathan has nothing to do with this. Don’t bring him up again.”
Anya shook her head in disgust. “You never loved me, did you?”
“You gave me my son. Of course, I love you.”
“And if I hadn’t gotten pregnant? You never would have married me, would you? You never would have helped me?” she said accusingly as a waterfall of tears continued to flow down her face. “All that shit you told me was a lie?”
Angelo’s features softened, and he looked at her, concern in his eyes. “Anya, honey, don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to.”
Hurt, anger, and rage filled Anya. She reared back and smacked Angelo hard across the face.
“I wish I had never met you!” she screamed at the top of her lungs.
Angelo’s jaw tightened, but he kept his hands at his sides. “Anya …” he gritted out before Anya attacked him.
She slapped, punched, and kicked him over and over again. She wanted him to feel just an ounce of the pain she was feeling. For six years, the man she thought had loved her, accepted her, and cherished her didn’t even want to be married to her. She continued attacking him while he stood still, taking each and every hit she gave him. That only pissed her off more. “I hate you! I hate you!” She pushed him hard, but his body didn’t move an inch. She put her finger in his face, “I’m leaving you,” she spat, her face crimson and drenched with tears. “I’m taking Nathan and leaving.” Something flashed through Angelo’s eyes, but just as quickly as it came, it was gone. His expression went stone cold, but Anya didn’t acknowledge it— she was seeing red. “I never want to see you again, you asshole! And you will never see Nathan. I’ll make sure he knows what type of man he has for a father, and he will hate you, just like I do!”
Anya gasped as her words were cut off. Angelo grabbed her shoulders, lifted her from the floor, and pinned her body against the wall. His hands gripped her shoulders painfully. “Are you sure you want to threaten a man like me, Anya?” His voice was ice cold and completely devoid of any emotion. Anya had never seen this side of him before. “After I stood here and told you how much my son means to me, you feel safe enough to threaten to take him from me? To make him hate me?” Angelo smirked. “You are not a very smart woman if you actually think I would let you take him away. Do you think there’s somewhere you could go on this planet where I wouldn’t find you?”
“Angelo, you’re hurting me,” Anya whimpered as the tears continued to flow.
Angelo chuckled coldly, “Aww. What happened to my little fighter? Where did she disappear to? What happened to the woman who did
?” He lifted his chin, showing where Anya had scratched him. Blood ran down his neck and into his shirt. “You think my son will hate me, huh? You think he’ll hate the kind of man that I am? What about you? What do you think our Nathan will think when he becomes a man, goes to Russia, and finds out his mother was nothing but a whore?” he spat coldly. Anya sobbed and lowered her eyes in shame. “You think Nathan will be proud of you? What were you going to do? Take my son back to Russia with you so you could beg Ivan to take you back? After all I’ve done for you?” Angelo let go of her shoulders and gripped her face. “If you ever threaten to take my son from me, I’ll make sure you never see him again. I’ll send your ass back to Russia and deliver you to that whorehouse, naked and gift wrapped.” He looked directly into her eyes. “I told you I love my son more than anything on this earth, Anya. That includes you.”
“I hate you,” she whispered.
“No, you don’t, Anya …You just
to hate me … Just like I want to hate
,” Angelo said.
Anya could have sworn she saw hurt and understanding flash through his eyes at that moment, but then it was gone. Anya had difficulty believing it, but Angelo was hurting. She remembered the way he talked to Anastacia on the phone. The pain and exhaustion in his voice when he spoke. Anya had wanted Angelo to feel the same pain she was feeling— and it looked like he was.
Angelo let go of her face and walked back to his desk. He sat down, opened a drawer, and pulled out a stack of papers. “Get out of my office, Anya,” he said, not even looking up. Anya left without a word.
She spent thirty minutes in the bathroom crying before she remembered that she had left Nathan alone in the garden. She quickly dried her eyes and tried to hide her emotions the best she could. She hoped her little boy didn’t think she’d forgotten about him. She shouldn’t have gone to Angelo’s office. She wished she hadn’t. But she’d wanted to get Spook’s— No. Robert. She preferred to call him Robert. That was his real name.
She had wanted to get Robert’s phone number to invite him— along with his daughter, Carter— to visit again. Nathan missed Carter, and Anya had to admit that after the brief interaction she’d had with Robert, she … missed him. Missed his presence. She longed to see him again. Their conversation had been brief— just whispers behind her husband’s back— and Anya had wished it could have lasted so much longer. Everything about the man was compelling. It was as if he’d held her captive in some type of spell— and all he’d done was say hi.
Anya shook her head to clear the thoughts. Thinking about him would only make her want him more. She needed to forget he existed. She needed to forget how much comfort his words brought her, how his touch made her knees weak. She needed to forget … everything. She was a married woman. Just because Angelo was unfaithful didn’t mean she wanted to be, too.
Collecting herself, she went to the kitchen and made a quick lunch for her and Nathan to have in the garden. Once finished, she walked outside and nearly dropped everything she had in her hands. Anya’s jaw dropped when she saw the ground littered with roses that had been pulled up from the ground. She didn’t understand. Who would do this to her beloved garden?
Anya’s lips pursed. “Nathan,” she muttered. She couldn’t believe he would do this. “Nathan!” Anya yelled.
Setting their lunch down on the picnic table, she went to look for her miniature garden destroyer. When she found him sitting in front of a rose bush with his head buried in his lap, her anger seeped away, and concern took its place.
“Nathan,” Anya said, sitting down next to the balled-up form on the ground.
He lifted his head from his lap. His face was flushed, his eyes were red, and tears streamed down his precious face. “She’s not here,” he cried. “I made wishes like you said, but she’s not here. She’s not coming, Mama. She’s gone forever.”
A tear escaped Anya’s eyes before she quickly wiped it away. She blinked away the rest, but it was hard not to break down, seeing her little boy hurting like this. Anya couldn’t believe that the two children had become so close after only one day together. She wanted to make everything better for Nathan, but she didn’t know how. Anya pulled him into her lap and held him close while he cried in her arms. “Nathan, look at Mama, please.” Nathan obediently looked up. “I promise you, my heart. You will see your Carter again. Do you know how?”