Authors: Fiona Davenport
Tags: #alpha male romance, #mafia romance
Mafia Ties #1
© 2016 Fiona Davenport
All rights reserved.
Edited by PREMA Romance Editing.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used factiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons or living or dead, events or locales are entirely coincidental.
The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/ Use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owner.
ic DeLuca is used to taking what he wants. Born to lead a powerful mafia family, he’s not in the habit of asking for permission—or forgiveness. He’s willing to cross any boundary when it comes to possessing what he considers to be his, and from the moment he laid eyes on Anna Martin, he knew she was meant for him.
ic is quick to move the innocent nanny into his home... and his bed. But, he hides his dark side from Anna. The deception is necessary to ensure she falls for him before she realizes exactly who he is.
lease note: Nic & Anna’s romance is a three-part story, but there are no relationship cliffhangers.
Love is not blind,
it sees more not less;
but because it sees more,
it chooses to see less.
ood morning, Anna,” the recruiter at the Manhattan nanny agency greeted me, waving towards the chair in front of her desk. “You look lovely this morning.”
“Thank you.” My reply was faint. I might look nice on the outside, but I was a mess on the inside as I sat down across from her. I’d dressed with extra care this morning because I needed the boost in confidence. I’d hoped to have been placed with a family by now, but each of my interviews had been worse than the next.
The first family’s home had been a disaster and they’d fully expected the nanny to be the one to clean it. The second family’s children were holy terrors who’d managed to scare off three nannies in two weeks. My third interview was a couple days ago and had been horrible. The mother hadn’t been able to make the appointment due to a work commitment and the father made it quite clear he expected to receive special attention if he hired me. It had been enough to make me seriously reconsider if I was cut out to be a nanny.
“I’m sorry things haven’t gone smoothly for you so far. Matching a nanny with a family isn’t always an easy task, but I’m sure we’ll be able to find something suitable for you.”
At least one of us was sure. “I hate to admit it, but I was thinking maybe this was a sign that I should try to do something else instead.”
She cocked her head and studied me a moment, most likely trying to gauge how serious I was about giving up. “Are you willing to give me one more chance?”
My hands twisted in my lap, toying with the edge of the cardigan sweater I’d paired with a sundress to make it more appropriate for a visit to her office. “Maybe.”
With a nod, she lifted a manila folder off the top of a stack and flipped it open. She scanned it quickly before flashing me a smile. “I think this might be perfect for you. The girl is six years old and has had health issues, almost from birth. Because of her illness, it’s harder to find a nanny to accept the position. Your schooling could be put to good use.”
My heart strings tugged, even though I knew my one year studying to become a physical therapy assistant wouldn’t be much help when it came to caring for a sick child.
“Her grandmother has been caring for her, but she isn’t able to keep up with her any longer—not because of Sophia’s health issues, but because she’s had a health scare of her own. Her dad came to us several weeks ago, but so far we haven’t had any luck matching them with a nanny.”
I noticed a glaring omission in her description of the family. “What about her mom?”
She rifled through the papers in the folder before answering. “I can only assume she isn’t a part of her daughter’s life since there was no mention of her in the information provided.”
“After what happened on the last interview, I’d really prefer a position with a family, with a wife who will be around a lot. Not a single dad.”
She closed the folder and leaned towards me, lowering her voice. “I was lucky enough to meet with Mr. DeLuca in person. I don’t think I’ve ever met a more gorgeous man. Trust me when I tell you that he has no need to take advantage of an employee. Not only is he sexy, he has money too. You’re a pretty girl, but I’m sure he has women throwing themselves at him left and right.”
“Okay,” I sighed, feeling like she’d put me in my place.
I was a nanny who couldn’t find a charge, and this little girl sounded like she couldn’t find a nanny. Maybe it was meant to be. Besides, if the interview didn’t go well, I could just throw in the towel and think of something else to do. Really, what was the worst thing that could happen?
An hour later, I was untying my cardigan from around my waist so I could put it back on before knocking on the door of the impressive brownstone, on the upper west side, in front of me. Although my cream and pink striped sundress was flattering, it was hardly appropriate for an interview with its spaghetti straps and low neckline. All of which I wasn’t able to cover up with my sweater before the door flew open.
A tall, dark-haired man with a neatly trimmed beard stood in front of me. His black, button-down shirt was drawn tautly across his muscular chest because one of his arms was pulled behind his back as he held the door. His dark gaze swept over me from head to toe, and I felt my skin heat in response to the flare in his eyes as they landed on my chest. He whispered something under his breath. It sounded like it might have been Italian. I hurriedly put my sweater on and buttoned it up, well aware that his gaze remained on me the entire time. When I lifted my head once again, his lips were tilted up in a smirk that somehow made him even more attractive.
“Anna Martin, I presume?” His voice was deep and slightly rough, a perfect match for his looks.
“Yes,” I replied, my voice quivering at the end as he lifted my hand to his lips instead of shaking it.
“I’m Niccolo DeLuca. Nic,” he introduced himself, tugging me into the house and keeping possession of my hand to lead me into an office in the back.
I should have known, but he was much younger than I had expected. Most likely still in his early twenties. Holy heck, the recruiter wasn’t kidding when she said he was hot. If anything, she’d understated it. After my experience with the dad at my third interview, I’d been understandably nervous about the idea of working for a single dad. But if Nic DeLuca wanted to sexually harass me, I wasn’t sure I’d complain.
“Please have a seat,” he gestured to a small, brown leather couch.
After he helped me get settled, he dropped down onto the matching chair which was diagonally opposite from me. His legs were long enough that my bare calf brushed against his dress pants.
“Thank you for agreeing to meet with me on such short notice.”
“It wasn’t a problem at all. I had a meeting at the agency this morning, so I was already out and about anyway,” I assured him.
“My mother fell and broke her arm about a month ago, and it brought my attention to just how much she does for Sophia and me. Unfortunately, her doctor has decided she needs surgery because the break isn’t healing the way he’d like. So, the need to find a suitable nanny for my daughter is more urgent than ever.”
His eyes softened when he talked about his mom and daughter, making him even more attractive than before. I mentally shook myself, trying to overcome his magnetic pull. “I’m sorry to hear about your mom.”
“Thanks.” He flashed me another smile before getting down to business. “The agency sent your resume over. I noticed that up until a couple months ago you were studying to become a physical therapy assistant. Have you decided not to continue with that? Because the hours I’d need you to be available aren’t conducive to a full, or even part-time, course load.”
“No, I decided that it wasn’t for me so I won’t be going back.”
“What made you decide to try nannying?”
“I love kids,” I blurted out awkwardly. “I mean, I’ve always been good with children. I started babysitting when I was twelve, volunteered at the church’s day care all throughout high school, and had planned to focus on pediatric patients as a PTA.”
“You only spent a year at college. I’m hoping whomever I hire will stay for at least several years. Sophia is only six and will most likely grow attached to her nanny. I don’t want to make any unnecessary changes to her routine once it’s settled.”
Finding the right words to explain was difficult. None of my friends or the few boys I’d tried dating in high school understood where I was coming from. It had to be done, though, so I forced the words out of my mouth. “Leaving school the way I did probably makes me seem flaky, but I swear I’m not. It just wasn’t right for me, it wasn’t what I’m really looking for in life. It might make me sound old-fashioned, but what I really see myself doing is being a wife and mother. Since I haven’t found the right guy for me yet, being a nanny makes sense. I can’t promise to stay on as Sophia’s nanny forever, but I can tell you that I’m loyal. I’ll probably grow as attached to her as she will to me, and it would be hard to leave her.”
I felt my jaw drop as I leaned towards him. “But you haven’t even checked my references or anything,” I sputtered.
“I’m not used to anyone questioning my decisions.” His tone held a trace of steel mixed with humor, so it was hard to tell if he liked that I was questioning him, or if I should never do it again. “But, of course, the offer is subject to the background check I’ll run on you.”
Since I’d always been one to follow the rules, I didn’t have to worry he’d uncover anything and shrugged my shoulders.
“I’d like you to come back to meet Sophia tomorrow, after I’ve had the chance to talk with her about you.”
“That will be fine,” I agreed.
“And then, if all goes well, I’ll want you to move in this weekend when I’m available to help.”
“Move in?” I gasped. “I didn’t realize this was for a live-in position.”
“It is now.” Some of my shock must have shown on my face. “No need to worry, though. Not only will we have my daughter to act as a chaperone, but my mother lives upstairs.”
I didn’t understand exactly what he meant about the position only now being a live-in one, but I found myself agreeing anyway. It looked like I’d found the nanny position I’d wanted, only it was more than I’d bargained for.
aduto dalle Nuvole,” I muttered softly. The expression of surprise had slipped from my lips involuntarily when I opened up my front door to find the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. Not in the traditional sense, like a tall, Barbie-shaped model. This woman was all curves and sweetness—a combination so sexy, I was suddenly fighting to keep from scaring her away with an obvious erection. I suddenly had a strong hatred for long sleeve sweaters with buttons up the front. Her dark hair, green eyes, and olive skin hinted at an Italian heritage, and I filed that away for later.
In a spilt-second, I had no doubt the woman was mine. I’d taken her hand and walked her back to my office for an “interview.” It seemed the wisest course of action at the moment. I didn’t want to scare her away. Not that I would let her go. In fact, when she spoke about her desire to be a wife and mom, I decided to move her in with us. Surprisingly, it hadn’t taken much convincing, and I’d had to stifle a lascivious grin when I realized she was just as affected by me as I was by her.
I took her hand once again, helping her up from her seat and guiding her to the front door. I lifted her hand and brushed my lips over the silky skin on the back.
“Until tomorrow, mia dolce.”
Anna’s eyes were wide and a little bewildered, as she nodded then turned to slowly descend the stairs leading to my front door. When she reached the sidewalk, she looked back to where I was standing, leaning against the doorframe, watching her. I smiled and winked, immensely pleased with the pink tinge that appeared on her cheeks. Damn, she was fucking gorgeous, and I couldn’t wait to get another look at the lushness beneath her sweater and learn just how far down she would blush when I was worshipping her body. And make no mistake, it would be happening soon.