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The Mafia Boss's Mute Bride

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After a deal gone wrong that leads to half of his soldiers being killed, a mafia boss is forced to knock on the doorstep of his enemies. What was supposed to be a measure to secure his empire turns out to be a wedding proposal to ensure peace between both criminal organizations. Soon, he realizes he's tied to mute woman who hates his guts. Although mute, Ariana Rossi is not one to back down from a challenge. She hates the big Russian, but she's determined to marry him to protect her family from his cruelty. Feelings were never supposed to be developed, but as months pass and emotions begin to blur, she finds her loyalty being torn between her family and a husband she swore to hate; one who had fast become her safe haven in their cruel world. With internal and external forces trying to tear them apart, she can only hope she has her husband by her side at the end of it all.

Chapter 1

ARIANA

ROSSI RELATIVES LIKED TO SHOW off no matter the given event.

It didn't matter that it was a funeral. Or that said dead man was their cousin five times removed.

I'd seen about five women donning expensive Cartier bracelets and diamond necklaces that cost more than a year's rent in New York, while they wailed loudly over a man they knew next to nothing about.

Especially one who deserved his death.

Of course, not a single tear slipped down their eyes. Whimpers, loud wails, sniffles, and sobs they could do while holding a crumpled Kleenex to their eyes, but they wouldn't be caught dead ruining their flawless make-up.

Papà wasn't a good man, and that was a truth I'd carried with me for years. Perhaps that was why I couldn't manage a single tear at his funeral. Or maybe it was just because I found crying... unnecessary. The deed had already been done. The smartest thing to do was to move on.

I cringed when another loud wail filled the air, this one accompanied by snorts in between. Cristo. What was wrong with these women? One would think he was their lover or a close relation. Many of them flew in from Sicily and Naples. I could guarantee that not one of them had sat down to have a conversation with him in the past. They were merely distant, extended relatives.

Deciding she wouldn't be left out of the show, another woman screamed in pain, clutching her chest like someone had dug a knife deep inside it.

I eyed her with irritation. I was leaving this ceremony with a killer headache in my skull. That was for sure.

For a second, I contemplated joining Papà in his coffin just so I could escape the theatrics, but I squashed the thought when I realized I'd have to be within breathing space of him.

Beside me, my youngest brother sat with a bored look on his face, looking like he'd rather be anywhere but here. Same here, brother.

Just like me, Enzo didn't like Papà, but no matter how many times I asked, he never told me why. I eventually gave up asking, because we were in the same boat.

In my case, I couldn't tell him even if I wanted to.

I reached for his hand, squeezing it lightly in a silent show of support.

He turned to face me, a slight smile reserved for only family tipping up the corner of his lips. I grinned back at him before placing my head on his shoulder. He wrapped an arm around me, his other hand resting on mine.

To the onlookers, we looked like two grieving siblings, but in reality, we were both relieved he was gone.

As if he'd read my thoughts, Enzo said, "He deserved to die."

I nodded in agreement. That I could easily agree with. Rocco Rossi was scum of the earth.

The ceremony droned on for minutes, our relatives' cries acting as a soundtrack.

Just when I was about to throw in the towel and walk out of the ceremony, the priest announced that it was time for the committal.

I jumped to my feet so fast that I'd have fallen had Enzo not held me to his side. I flashed him an appreciative smile as he led me to our Papà's coffin.

The wails only got louder as we went to say our last goodbyes to the dead.

We had to have a closed coffin during the funeral because my cousin, Nicholas, had tortured him beyond recognition for all his sins. All I could say to that was good riddance.

I felt someone come up to my side, and when I turned, I found my other brother there. Matteo. He and Mamà were the only ones wrecked by Papà's betrayal. Understandably. Matteo had been closer to him than the rest of us. They'd arguably been best friends, so Papà's treachery came as a shock to him.

I slipped my hand into his, squeezing it the same way I squeezed Enzo's, only Matteo needed the comfort. He squeezed back, throwing an arm around Mamà, who stood on his other side.

I shivered slightly as a wave of cool breeze hit my face. It was the perfect weather for a funeral, setting the mood for the somber air that had fallen over the solemn crowd.

Together, we were the perfect, mourning family.

If only they knew I wished I was the last thing he saw before he took his final breath.

*

I shrugged off my coat, handing it to the maid that stood by the front door to collect everyone's coats as they came to say their condolences for the umpteenth time.

Mamà had returned home immediately with Matteo, unable to bear everything that happened. Enzo and I stayed behind for appearances' sake until every last guest had left.

I wanted nothing more than to kick off my six-inch heels. Maybe I could have a glass of bubbly champagne in the privacy of my room while taking a bath. I nodded to myself. That was a foolproof plan. It'd be like my little celebration without anyone being none the wiser.

I began my journey up the stairs, and for some reason, I found my feet dragging me in the direction of his office. I hadn't stepped foot in there in years, so maybe this was my closure.

'Or maybe you're a coward for doing this after his death,' a voice taunted.

I immediately tuned it out.

Either way, I was getting my closure today.

I squared my shoulders, taking sure, measured steps to his office, my heels clicking on the pristine marble floors. I paused in my tracks a few feet away from the door when I heard raised voices. One, in particular, sounded like Matteo.

"Get out! He's dead. We don't have to do sh*t!"

His outburst was followed by three successive shots. I ran to the door, throwing it open, panic making my eyes wide.

I paused when I saw a fuming Matteo standing behind papà's desk while Nicholas sat next to him, his gun pointed at a man, who sat on the other side of the desk. Two strange men I'd never met before sat across from them, and they both turned around when I burst into the room.

My heart stuttered in my chest as two heavy gazes landed on me. The two men looked alike with their angular faces, sharp jaws, and generous lips. I immediately knew they were related—probably brothers. One had a wider set shoulder and a five o'clock shadow on his jaw. He also looked older than the other man.

"I change my mind," the older man said without taking his emerald-green eyes off of me. "I'll have her instead," he declared, tilting his head to the side with a cocky air around him.

The way he dragged his gaze over my body slowly and intentionally rubbed me the wrong way. I immediately decided that I hated him.

I scowled at him.

There was something about the way he carried himself that said he was a cocky narcissist.

Immediate red flag. I didn't like such men.

"Like f*ck you will!" Matteo burst out, storming over to my side. "I'm done with this conversation, Niko. Get them out of here," he spat, directing me to the open door.

I'd never heard or seen Matteo this upset before. Papà's betrayal must really be eating him up. I followed him up another flight of stairs until we got to my room.

He threw the door open, gesturing for me to walk in.

"Don't leave your room for the rest of the day. Understood?" He snapped.

I folded my arms behind my back, cocking a brow at him. Did he forget that I was older than him and Enzo?

He sighed, his shoulders dropping. "Sorry, Ari. Just... stay here, okay? For your safety. I have to clean up Father's mess."

My heart melted for him. He was the eldest son, hence the responsibilities of the family now fell on him as the new head of the family. I knew he'd been preparing for this day, but not so soon.

I wrapped my arms around his torso, pressing myself against his chest, silently offering him some comfort. His body sagged against mine, and he tucked his head into the crook of my neck.

"I... f*ck, Ari... he..."

He choked on a sob, his shoulders shaking with tears. I rubbed small circles on his back, letting him purge it all out.

"He ruined our family, Ariana. He's not who I thought he was. He r*p*d all those... f*ck!"

He cried silently on my shoulder for over five minutes before he pulled away from me. He plastered a weak smile on his face. "You should go get some sleep. I'll go take care of those Russians downstairs."

I returned his smile, squeezing his hand lightly before closing my door, so he could get back to his meeting.

My plan to celebrate was now scrapped.

Mission make Matteo happy again was now in place.

Chapter 2

ALEKSEI

“YOU ARE A DISAPPOINTMENT TO this family.

Those were my father’s first words the moment I accepted his call. My jaw worked in anger, but I remained silent, letting him get all his anger and frustration out because this time, I did fuck up.

“Is this how you plan to take over when I step down?” He spat, his voice deep with anger.

He then proceeded to spew rapid-fire Russian at me, displeasure rolling off every syllable.

I heaved a sigh, checking the time on my wristwatch to see how much longer I had to endure this form of torture.

We still had about ten more minutes to go before he decided he’d said enough.I zoned him out, trailing my fingers over the paperweight on my desk, doing anything at all to distract myself from this one-sided conversation.

I mentally listed off all the work I had to get done tomorrow while my father’s voice buzzed incessantly in my ear. He could talk for days, that one.

Heroes

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