Authors: Jackie Chanel
Tags: #Jackie Chanel
Copyright © 2013 by SBR Publications. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission from the publisher (SBR Publications), except by a reviewer who may quote a brief passage to be printed in a newspaper or magazine. For information please contact the publisher
The drive to Allenwood, Pennsylvania took three hours. Despite Domani’s clear orders to park his Mercedes in Nico’s garage and leave it there, Nico maneuvered the luxury sedan down the highway with ease. He was a cool as a cucumber. His sister, however, was not. Caprice spent the entire three hour drive fidgeting in the passenger seat.
At least she was quiet.
Occasionally, Nico would glance at his little sister and wonder what she was thinking. The last couple of days had to be wearing on her. Hell, the last four months had been hard. Now that her father was out of the country, and her great-grandfather finally wanted to meet her, Caprice’s life wasn’t about to get any easier.
Nico looked over at his sister and the weary expression on her face. Maybe he had made a mistake. Maybe he had moved too fast. Maybe there was a slight possibility that Paolo had been right about bringing Caprice into the fold. She was in over her head, that’s for sure.
Her plans weren’t realistic. If things didn’t go her way, a lot of people were going to end up hurt. She didn’t quite grasp that her life wasn’t a television show. Domani had put Paolo in charge and no matter what Caprice thought, it would take a miracle from God aka Fausto Bonatelli for Paolo to step down.
Although Nico completely understood his sister’s desire to get revenge on Keisha and Aries, she needed to ease up with all the tough talk. She wasn’t as tough as she pretended she was. After they got rid of Aries, the best thing that Caprice could do was go to Atlantic City like Domani insisted and focus on getting their father’s casino built. He would handle the business in New York, like he always had.
Sending his son to Atlantic City was the only mistake that Domani had made before he left, but Nico knew how to fix it. His relationship with his great-grandfather wasn’t great, but it was decent enough for him to plead his case. Hopefully, Fausto would overrule Domani’s decision to send Nico to Atlantic City with Caprice.
That was the only reason he was happy that Fausto had demanded a visit from his great-grandkids. Fausto didn’t visit with many people, including his own grandson, but when he called, everyone dropped what they were doing and made the trip to Pennsylvania.
As he pulled the Mercedes into the employee parking lot of Allenwood Federal Penitentiary, Nico looked at his sister. Caprice was staring out the window. Her bottom lip was tucked between her teeth as she stared at the intimidating prison walls.
“Federal penitentiary?” she mumbled. “Is this normal?”
“For what we do?” Nico asked, and then answered his own question. “Yes. Every time we conduct any family business, we’re committing federal crimes, little sis. This is where gangstas like me end up when we make mistakes. Louie Bagels and Tommy Karate are in here too.”
“Who?” Caprice had never heard those names before.
Nico raised an eyebrow at his sister. “You mean you haven’t Googled all the families in New York? You’re slackin’ little sis. And now you have homework. You definitely need to know about Tommy Karate.”
“Why?” Caprice asked. She was still staring up the menacing gray building.
“Because I said so,” Nico replied and opened the driver’s door. “Stop stalling, nut up, and let’s go inside.”
“Through the employee entrance?”
“Fausto has power no matter where he goes. He’s not supposed to have any visitors at all.”
“We’re just going to walk through the guard entrance and visit a prisoner that isn’t allowed to have visitors and one that we barely know?”
Nico sighed. “That’s exactly what we’re about to do. Just follow my lead.”
For once, Caprice did exactly as she was told. She followed behind her brother to the entrance where a uniformed guard opened the door and let them in. He shook his head at guard manning the metal detectors as he led the two visitors around the apparatus and into a room away from the guard station. Caprice thought he looked familiar, but she couldn’t decide where she’d seen him before.
“So,” the guard spoke once he’d closed the door behind them. “This is the newest addition to the family, huh? Uncle Dom’s big secret, huh?”
Nico chuckled. “Caprice, this is my cousin Manny. He’s my mom’s nephew.”
Manny stood at least six inches taller than Caprice and engulfed her in an unexpected hug.
“Heard a lot about you, little cousin,” he said after he let Caprice go.
“Good or bad?” Caprice asked.
“A little of both. I did hear that Angelo is turning you into a real beast in the boxing ring.”
“He’s trying,” Nico replied. “After what happened…” his voice trailed off as he eyed the scar across Caprice’s nose.
“Well, keep at it.” Manny patted Caprice on her shoulder. “I’ll go get Fausto now. You have about three hours before the next shift shows up. Nice meetin’ ya, Caprice. Next time I’m in the city, we’ll hang out.”
“Sure,” Caprice muttered softly. Her voice shook with the single syllable word. She was even more nervous now than she had been in the car.
Nico sat in one of the chairs at the metal table in the center of the floor and eyed the room they were in. it must have been some sort of training room for the correctional officers. The instructional CPR posters were outdated, but the weapons posters looked brand new.
Manny had been working at Allenwood since Fausto had been transferred there from Leavenworth six years ago. He’d been taking criminal justice courses at the local community college and they needed a man inside the prison. Domani gave the order, “talked” to the right people, and a week after he applied, Manny’s application was approved.
“Hey,” Nico said to Caprice. Her knee was shaking and when he covered her hand with his, he noticed a slight tremble in her fingers. He’d expected her to be nervous. There was nothing about the situation that required her to be calm. Fausto Bonatelli had summoned his only great-grandkids, and it was the first time Caprice had ever even seen a prison.
More importantly, she was meeting the real boss of the Bonatelli family. She’d been around for a little over four years, but Domani had kept her away from Fausto. No one knew how he really felt about his great-granddaughter.
Domani wasn’t there to step in and defend her like he did with Paulo. If Fausto said the word, Caprice could be on her way to Miami instead of Atlantic City.
Hell yeah, she was nervous.
The heavy metal door crashed open, startling Nico and Caprice. She shifted in her uncomfortable plastic chair as a legend entered the room and walked over to his great-grandchildren.
Fausto, even in his seventies, was tall and broad shouldered like Domani. As his dark eyes met hers, Caprice saw the family resemblance. She’d seen lots of pictures of Gianni, her grandfather. Her father was the spitting image of his father. Gianni was the spitting image of his father, Fausto.
Old age and a life sentence hadn’t diminished Fausto’s good looks or unparalled arrogance. Even in his prison blues, he strolled, uncuffed in front of Manny, with a slight smirk on his face. His expression clearly read “this is my prison and I’ll do what I want.”
He was going to spend his remaining years in the same maximum security prison that housed Mafia leaders and hit men, however he appeared ready and able to live forever and give everyone hell in the process.
Nico stood up when Fausto approached the table where he and Caprice were sitting. Fausto stretched out his arms.
“Nico, my boy! It’s been too long!”
“Good to see ya, Papa,” Nico replied and hugged Fausto.
“So good to see you, boy. How’s Maria? Any kids yet? Tell me you’re gonna make a proper woman outta that girl before I die.”
Nico laughed. “We’re working on that, Papa.”
Nico looked over at his sister, who was avoiding eye contact with Fausto. Nico wasn’t sure if it was out of respect or fear.
“Papa, I brought someone for you to meet.”
Fausto slowly turned his attention to Caprice and smiled warmly until she raised her head and met his eyes.
“You have your father’s eyes,” Fausto said. He sat down across from Caprice and placed his hands over hers.
Lei e molto bella, il mio bambino
,” he spoke softly in Italian. “You don’t have to be afraid of me.
“It’s nice to finally meet you, Fausto.”
“You can call me Nonno or Papa. I’m your father’s grandfather and the head of this family. Remember that.”
“Sorry,” Caprice said. “I didn’t mean to disrespect you.”
“It’s okay. You didn’t know.” He smiled. “Caprice Bonatelli…I’ve heard so much about you.”
“Hopefully all good things,” Caprice laughed nervously.
Fausto frowned. “Not necessarily, my dear.”
Nico looked concerned as he sat in the chair next to Fausto. His father would never speak ill about Caprice, even if he wasn’t happy with her involvement. The only person who could have been relaying negative things to Fausto was Paolo.
“Papa, no disrespect, but my sister hasn’t been doing anything wrong. She’s been sticking her neck out for us-”
“Because of you,” Fausto interrupted. “You ignored a direct order from Domani regarding your sister. I admit that Caprice has been helpful, but I wouldn’t call what she’s done remarkable.”
Caprice began to frown. Her fear that Fausto wouldn’t like her or accept what she’d done was actually coming true. He was going to send her home. Aries and Keisha would continue to breathe. The casino wasn’t going to get built…
Domani was going to be so disappointed in her. At least her mother would be thrilled.
“Does it have to be remarkable?” Nico asked. “Without her, how would we have known to call in that favor with Cesar? Paolo is the only one who has a problem with Caprice.”
Fausto laughed as Caprice clenched her hands into fists under the table.
“Paolo does have his knickers in a wad over the little lady, doesn’t he?”
“I’m sick of Paolo,” Caprice blurted out. “He’s been on my ass since I moved up here.”
“Calm down. Paolo and I came up together. We did a lot of work together. Even though he forgets who was Boss before me, you will show him respect.”
For only the second time since he walked in the room, Caprice looked directly at Fausto. Domani told her many stories about the Bonatelli family, but he had never mentioned anything about the family before Fausto became the HNIC.
“Who was Boss before you?” she asked.
“My grandmother, Marcia Caldarone. This was back in the forties. She’s the one who brought the Bonatelli’s to America. Boy, she was a tough old broad! She used to carry a razor in her brassiere and a pigsticker in her boot.”