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A Night with The Mafia Don

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  • 9.8
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"You and I are getting married." Goldie, disguised as Octavia, attended Salvatore DeMarco's lavish party for a night of pure fun, but when the ripping of her dress leads her into Salvatore's arms, she least expects his audacious proposal: marriage for protection. Salvatore's infatuation with Goldie soon turns to obsession, causing her hidden secrets to unravel their fragile alliance and bind her to a fate she fears. Can Salvatore defy the odds and forge a future with her, or will the shadows of their pasts tear them apart forever?

Chapter 1

Goldie POV

I couldn’t believe I let my friends drag me out that night. The weight of exhaustion settled on my shoulders as Calista, my work bestie, and I rode in an Uber to a party downtown. All I craved was the comfort of my humble apartment after a long day at the diner, but Octavia and Calista had different plans.

Octavia insisted I borrow her Zara dress for the occasion, decreeing that I wouldn't be wearing any underwear beneath. With Octavia mysteriously vanishing after a bout of sickness, I was left alone with Calista, who was determined to dive headfirst into the night's festivities.

The sight of luxury cars lining the streets outside the party venue only exacerbated my unease, stirring memories of a life I had left behind. A life characterized by shimmering facades and insincere smiles.

With a reluctant sigh, I stepped out of the car and into the opulent surroundings, feeling utterly out of place. The extravagance of the party served as a stark reminder of the world I had escaped, intensifying my sense of isolation.

As we rounded the corner, the mansion came into view, illuminated like a beacon in the night. Its glass façade glowed invitingly, while beautiful people lounged in every corner, adorning the steps, rooms, and back lawn in elegant clusters.

“We’re only staying ‘til midnight, Cal,” I warned my friend as we tottered up the front steps in high heels. “I’m opening the diner tomorrow and I do not want to be hungover for the Saturday morning rush.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” she sassed back. “In bed by midnight or Goldie the Explorer will turn into a pumpkin. Roger that.”

Then she hooked her arm through mine and brought us up in front of the bouncer. “Hi,” she purred.

He glanced down at us over the edge of his clipboard. “Names?”

Calista elbowed me hard in the ribs. “Say it,” she hissed under her breath. “Like we practiced.”

I sighed. “Octavia Callahan and guest,” I said. We rehearsed that little white lie enough times on the ride over that it came out more or less natural.

The bouncer took a long time perusing his list before nodding and stepping aside. “Enjoy your evening, ladies.”

Then we stepped through the door and into another universe.

Everything gleamed white and golden, with bold hints of black marble where you least expected it. There was an honest-to-goodness fountain in the center of the living room, and I was fairly sure I saw a peacock roaming the grounds out front.

“Is this a house or a palace?” Calista asked me, dumbfounded.

“Better question,” I replied. “If Octavia can get into parties like this, what on Earth is she doing waiting tables at Winslow's with us?”

It wasn’t the only thing about Octavia that didn’t quite make sense. She randomly showed up to work one day with a diamond Cartier tennis bracelet on, for example. When I asked her where she got it, she just laughed and smiled and changed the subject—then it was gone the next time I saw her. She never invited us to her apartment; whenever we hung out, it was at my place or Calista’s. Truth be told, I wasn’t even sure what part of town she lived in.

“Champagne, ladies?” came a voice from my left. I turned to see a server offering us a selection of glittering flutes of champagne on a silver tray.

“Yes, please!” Calista chirped. I got one; she snatched up two. “One for me and one for my, uh…other friend.”

The man bowed his head and whisked away without another word. Calista promptly downed the first glass in a single go and set the empty flute on a nearby pedestal.

“Thirsty?” I teased her.

“Girl, I get, like, one night out per year to enjoy myself. So I’m gonna enjoy myself. Mama deserves to have fun. And,” she added, bumping my hip with hers, “so do you.”

“Yeah. Fun. Totally.”

But that gut-churning feeling was still alive and well in the middle of my belly.

We meandered through the house, snagging hors d'oeuvres off of circulating trays and gawking at the insane architecture. We passed more knots of people, too, congregating on every surface and talking intently.

Salvatore DeMarco.

Again and again, everywhere we went, that's what I heard.

It rose up from every single group we passed without fail. There was a strange sort of skittishness in the air, too. Every female between the ages of eighteen and forty kept checking over their shoulders like they knew something we didn’t. Like something important was coming and they wanted to look their best when it got here.

We found ourselves stepping out onto the back lawn. It was festooned with fairy lights branching out from a stage at the far end. A jazz band played classy music to a crowd of people intent on looking cool by ignoring it. No one but Calista danced at parties like these.

“Uh-oh,” Calista warned with a wicked grin. She pointed down at her hips, which were starting to shimmy from side to side like they had a life of their own.

“Cal…”

“Uh-oh!” she repeated in a delighted cackle. “I can’t help it, Goldie! It’s—I’m—They’re aliiive!”

“We’ve been here for twenty minutes and you’re already wasted?”

“No,” Calista clapped back, “I’m having fun. You should try it sometime.”

I loved her, I really did—I just couldn’t match her energy all the time. Definitely not without significantly more alcohol in me.

She, on the other hand, didn’t need a drop of the stuff. Even when she was sober as a judge, Calista was a ten out of ten. She laughed loud, loved loud, lived loud.

It was miraculous, honestly, because she’d been busting her butt to make ends meet for as long as I’d known her. She was raised by a single mom off food stamps, working in diners like Winslow's long before she was actually old enough to do so legally.

She was right: she did deserve a break. Life was hard.

“You go dance,” I said sheepishly. “I’m gonna go find another drink first so I can keep up with you.”

She shrugged and flipped her hair over her shoulder. “Fine. But if you find me grinding up on some hot young thing when you get back, it’ll be your loss!”

I grinned and kissed her on the cheek. “I hope I find you grinding up on two of them.”

“Don’t tempt me, girl. I just might. I really just might.”

Laughing, we separated and I went back inside the house in search of a bathroom. I put on a brave face while Calista was watching, but as soon as I found a bathroom, I shut the door behind me, locked it, and drew in a huge, shuddering breath.

This was too much. It had been a bad idea to come here. Back to a place like this, around people like this… I had turned my back on this world. I never wanted to return.

As soon as I got out of there, I was going to double down on that vow.

When I touched the back of my neck, my palm came away soaked with clammy sweat.

“Midnight,” I swore to my reflection in the mirror. “Just a couple more hours, then the clock will strike midnight and I can say goodbye to these people.”

I rinsed my sweaty neck and stepped out of the bathroom, ready to brave the rest of the party. Through the distant double doors, I caught a brief glimpse of Calista in the crowd. But before I could even get a step in her direction, I felt an unexpected hand on my waist.

“Hey there, gorgeous.”

I followed the sound of the slurred greeting to a rumpled man with a damp forehead. He was swaying from side to side.

“Hi.” I gave him a tight smile and retreated towards the wall.

“I came over because you look lonely.” His words were breathy, arriving on a cloud of alcohol fumes. “Thought I’d keep ya company.”

I wrinkled my nose. “Oh, that’s nice of you. I’m fine, though. But thanks!”

If he understood the implied goodbye, he didn’t show it. He stepped closer, his belly pressing against me. “Who are you with?”

“My boyfriend,” I lied reflexively. “He’s getting me a drink right now.” He hesitated for a second and then cackled. “B*llsh*t.”

That threw me for a loop, mostly because he was so certain. “I don’t—I mean —How would you even know?”

"Because you're here to meet him. Just like the others," he declared, his tone carrying an air of finality that suggested hidden knowledge.

With a multitude of questions swirling in my mind, I attempted to maneuver past him. "I'm just going to—"

"He's not all that," he interjected, shifting to block my path. "Everyone's after Salvatore, but I'll show you what a real man can offer. There's no queue for me."

Rolling my eyes, I muttered, "I wonder why that is." Addressing him directly, I added, "I have no clue what you're on about. You're probably drunk. So if you could just move—"

Abruptly, his clammy hand made contact with my rear.

In the background, I could hear the faint sound of fabric tearing. But it felt inconsequential compared to the urgency of the situation.

Those who had ever toiled in the food service sector were well-acquainted with the shocking antics of customers. Married men left their digits on receipts; kindly grandpas overstepped boundaries; and disgruntled wives hurled insults under their breath.

For those entrenched in the food service grind, there were only two options: endure the indignities with a smile to keep the job, or live out the ultimate server fantasy and give those who crossed the line a taste of their own medicine.

Today, I embodied the latter.

And he was about to learn just how wrong he was to cross me.

Chapter 2

Salvatore's POV

I was utterly bored beyond belief.

Every face at that party seemed to be the epitome of dullness. One after another, they failed to spark even a modicum of interest. For a gathering of rogues and criminals, you'd think there would be at least some stimulating conversation.

But there wasn't. Quite the opposite, actually.

Because almost every individual under my roof that evening had the same irksome agenda.

To maneuver me into marriage.

Whether it was themselves I was supposed to wed or their kin—daughter, sister, cousin, mother—it hardly mattered. They simply aimed to draw nearer to me. To my empire. By any means necessary.

I couldn't even fault them. The Emerald Empire reigned as the largest shark in a sea teeming with competitors. We held the wealth. The authority. We dictated the terms of distribution, and the standard responses were typically "us," "all of it," and "right now.&

Heroes

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