Blame It on the Shame (Blame It on the Shame: Lou-Lou and Ricardo's Story #1) (23 page)


Her screams prompt my own and it's loud enough to wake me.

I know all too well now, what Bruno DeLuca did to her and how I came to be born.

I am cursed.

I can't blame her for hating me so much.

I hate myself.

There's only one way to get rid of this feeling.

Only one way to make it go away.

I sit up in bed and scrub a hand down my face before checking the clock on the nightstand. 2am.

The world only dealt me two choices when it came to being Bruno DeLuca's son...either I had to become him...or become a coward.

Fighting back would ensure that others died.

Those were always his stakes and the day he killed my mother, I realized he wasn't bluffing.

I had no choice but to become a coward in order protect others.

I'm so fucking tired of being a coward
. But for a few short hours...I don't have to be.

I get to take on the bad guys.

I get to make rapists pay. I get to do to them what I wish I could do to DeLuca.

I close my eyes as the next thought slams into me.

I'd like to think that maybe, by doing this, I can earn my mother's forgiveness and love, despite the fact that she's no longer alive.

Because of me...because I fought back.

An arm wraps around my waist and fingers gently skim up and down my stomach. The contact jolts me for two reasons.

One—I forgot that Lou-Lou's currently in my bed.

And two—I'm not used to being touched.

Especially like this.

The only touches I ever welcome are the sexual kind.

From the kind of sex where I don't take control from women...they give it to me, willingly. And in turn, I give them pleasure.

Lou-Lou's touch is soft and's strange. Not in a bad way, just in a way I don't understand.

And yet, I can't keep myself from touching her. She
me touch her. She doesn't flinch or pull away anymore.

Which of course, makes me
wanting to touch her.

The only thing I can compare it to is what happens when magnets flip and find one another.

They can't stay apart.

And now that she's told me she likes it when I touch her and she no longer feels that motherfuckers hands on her when I'm touching her.

It makes me want to do other things.

Like touch her in all the places he violated her...if only to wash all her pain away.

It makes me want to show her what pleasure can feel like... because I'm sure my father doesn't know the first thing about what it takes to please a woman.

It boggles my mind that he's even with her in the first place. He's the last person she should be with. Even if he did save her.

God, the fucking
of it all.

But that's how DeLuca likes his prey...he likes them damaged and bruised. This way he can manipulate and control them...bend them to his will.

The funny thing about Lou-Lou? She's
like that.

She's strong—the kind of strong where I doubt she even realizes the full capacity of her strength. She doesn't realize, that if channeled the right way...she could move mountains and do great things with her life.

But she's with him...and he'll take every bit of strength from her before he tosses her aside like a used toy.

Normally his prey is too naive to realize what he's capable of until it's too late. They're too busy flying high off having the most feared and dangerous mob boss take care of them and protect them.

Oddly enough, I don't think DeLuca has Lou-Lou fooled in any way, shape or form.

She knows exactly who and what he is.

Which makes this feeling burrowing in my gut worse.

She loves him for exactly who and what he is.

Her arm fastens around me tighter. “Don't leave. It was just a bad dream. Come back to bed.”

I close my eyes because she couldn't be more wrong.

“I have to go. I'll be back in a few hours.”

I get up from the bed but she jumps on my back like a spider monkey. “I believe you owe me a truth, Ricky.”

It mildly annoyed me when she first called me Ricky...I know it was just her way of giving me a 'fuck you' for not remembering her name.

However, I'm finding that I don't mind it so much anymore.

She's right about me owing her 'a truth'. She's been shelling them out left and right and she deserves a few of mine but I don't want to give them to her now.

I tilt my head to look at her. “Can I give you an '
I owe you
?', I really have to leave.”

She purses her lips and shakes her head. “Nope. You want me to let you in? Well, that goes both ways.”

She plants a soft kiss on my shoulder and I curse under my breath when my dick twitches and my heart jumps.

She traces the outline of the scripture from the tattoo on my back. “I've never seen this one before.”

“It's from the G
reen Mile
, by
Stephen King
.” I reluctantly plop back down on the bed. She hops off my back and climbs onto my lap instead. I bite my lip and suppress a groan because having her in my lap right now isn't such a good thing.

It makes me want to find another way to escape, especially since she's insistent that I don't leave.

She's off limits; forbidden fruit,
I remind myself. Although every second that passes between us makes it harder and harder for that to sink in.

She looks up at me and searches my eyes. “I didn't know you liked to read.”

to like to read,” I correct her. “See? There's a truth for you.”

“Tell me more.”

I grab her hips and shift us so I'm sitting against the headboard. “What do you want to know?”

Her eyes never leave mine. “I want to know what your nightmare was about.”

Yeah, should have seen that coming from a mile away.

“It wasn't a nightmare exactly. It was a flashback, sort of. It starts off with a flashback that twists itself into a nightmare and then ends with another flashback...if that makes any sense.”

Her head falls against my chest and she wraps her arms around me. Then she begins drawing little circles up and down my arms in a soothing manner.

I suck in air and I know my heart's pounding like a jackhammer.

I'm torn because I don't hate the feeling. I'm just not used to anyone touching me like

My mother had her nice moments...when she was sober. Moments where she acted like I was her son. Moments where I believed she really cared.

But the one thing my mother never did was hug me, or show me any kind of affection. Usually, she was too strung out and ripping into me about hating me so much because of who I am.

Which of course, she was more than justified for.

And as far as DeLuca goes. The only kind of contact we've ever had was a few fist's to the face.

The bottom line is that I've always been a lone-wolf.

Most people belong to packs, usually their family or circle of friends.

It gives them a sense of belonging and in turn, it teaches them how to build human basic connections and from there they establish things like trust and love.

But me?

belonged anywhere.

How could I?

My conception didn't result from a basic human connection. It resulted from an animal who stripped a woman of the rights to her own body without remorse.

I'm the epitome of an abomination.

I never once felt like part of a pack, like I ever belonged.

At least, I
until Tyrone, Jackson and Momma came along.

They're the closest thing I have to a family and if they find out the truth...I'll lose them.

I've never felt included or wanted before them...and I think it's why on some level, I understand what Lou-Lou means when she says that she loves DeLuca, even if it makes her a monster.

I'll never love DeLuca...but try as I might, I can't deny there's a small part of me that wants him to accept me and wants him to love me.

Because no one else
has before.

Lou-Lou squeezes me tighter and plants another kiss on my shoulder. “Tell me what happened, Ricardo. I won't judge you.”

I swallow down the lump forming in my throat before I tell her something I've never told anyone else.

I tell her about Graham and the little girl in my nightmares.


Chapter 16 (Lou-Lou)


I feel tears sting the corners of my eyes and the only thing I can do is keep hugging him.

I know DeLuca does disgusting, horrific, deplorable things...but with the exception of what he's done to me, I've never had to witness his brutal acts first hand.

Not like Ricardo.

No wonder he has nightmares.

And my god, that poor little girl.

Obviously, I don't feel bad that
own father is dead...he deserved it. The only remorse I feel is due to the fact that I didn't witness it with my own eyes.

That said, my heart aches for that little girl. From the sounds of it, she had a father who really loved her.

The way a father is supposed to love their little girl.

Jealousy rears its ugly head, but instead of giving into it and turning into a bitch in order to protect me from these hurt feelings... I take a breath.

And that's when I realize there's nothing to be jealous of because there's no doubt in my mind
little girl is damaged and that
something I can identify with.

I'm not the only person who's ever been hurt in this world.

I look up at Ricardo, his eyes are closed and his brows are drawn together, no doubt reliving his nightmare in his head again.

That's when I remember what I heard him scream before he woke up.

I blow out another breath and fidget with my hands, unsure of whether I should push him because I really don't want to hurt him. I just want to know what his demons are.

I want to know him, period.

I run my hand along his cheek. “Can I ask you something?”

“You can ask me anything.” He leans into my touch and my heart flutters like the wings of a hummingbird.

I never thought I'd be able to touch a man and enjoy it. I never thought I'd be able to trust a man again.

The last thing I want to do is hurt him right now but I really want to know. “Why were you screaming the words 'I'm sorry, Mommy' right before you woke up?”

His face contorts in anguish and I want to kick myself for doing that to him. “You don't have to tell me,” I say. “I don't want to push you.”

He lifts my hand off his cheek and intertwines our fingers together. “I pushed you the other night. You have every right to push me back. We are a team after all.”

He inhales deeply. “Besides, I meant what I said when I told you I wanted complete honesty between us. I have no right to expect that of you if I can't give it back to you. Right?”

My stomach knots because there will always be that one lingering secret between us.

But it's for his own benefit.

“Right,” I say.

“I want to tell you but I don't think I can have you touch me while I say it, Lou-Lou.”

His jaw locks and I quickly get off his lap because it's not often that I see him angry and I'm nervous.

“I know you love DeLuca,” he starts. My stomach drops because it's both true and not true.

“I know you accept that he's a mobster, a murderer, and overall one of the worst human beings that ever lived.” His eyes lock with mine. “But he's also a rapist.”

My lower lip trembles and my head starts spinning.

All I can think is—
how did he find out

My hands fly to my face. “I'm so sorry I didn't—”

“Know?” he interjects. “I didn't think so.”

Yeah, that's
what I was going to say. I was
to say—'
I'm so sorry I didn't tell you, I was trying to keep you safe

His statement is like a drop kick to the chest because that means DeLuca's done it to others. Not just me.

I drop my head into my hands and start shaking because there's a gnawing inner voice inside me that warns, '
this man is not your savior...he is your undoing

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