Blame It on the Shame (Blame It on the Shame: Lou-Lou and Ricardo's Story #1) (5 page)

With my head hanging low, I prepared to walk back into my hell-hole.

The hand on my shoulder tightened. “That won't be necessary, John.”

My father looked confused. “I don't follow. She's
my
daughter and she's going back inside. Don't involve her with our business.”

The large man beside me shook his head. “She doesn't belong to you anymore.”

Both my father and I looked at him in shock then. Heck, even his buddy Luke gave him a funny look. “What?” I screeched.

“You're not taking my daughter, Bruno. She's 15 for Christ's sake. That's illegal.”

The large man that I now knew to be Bruno stepped toward my father. “Trust me, my intentions with her are far less illegal compared to the ones you've been partaking in, you sick fuck.”

My father paled. “You can't be serious. Don't believe whatever it is she told―”

The fist to my father's face made him swallow whatever words he was about to say.

“She doesn't belong to you anymore, Travine. Got it?”

Panic flashed across my father's face and he gave a small nod.

Bruno fixed the ring on his hand. “Good, now that we've got that settled. Time to talk business.”

I could hardly believe my ears, I didn't know what the heck was happening.

Yet, the only thing I could manage to feel was relief.

This Bruno guy was saving me from the devil himself. I felt like I owed him my life at that moment.

“What kind of business?” my father inquired.

“You still haven't paid off your debt to me, Travine.”

My father reached into his pocket. “I told you I'm good for it. I'll write you a check right now.”

Bruno waved his hand. “I don't want your money anymore. I need a personal favor.”

My father made a face. “What kind of personal favor?”

“I need you to befriend a woman for me. A widow of a police officer. I think you know whom I'm referring to.”

My father nodded, while I stood there confused.

“I already have a wife. What do you mean
befriend
?”

Bruno tossed his head back and let out a bone-chilling laugh. “It's rather funny you're concerned about the state of your marriage considering you beat your wife up nearly every night.”

My father had no argument for that, so Bruno continued, “I want you to start a relationship with this widow and slowly sink your hooks into her.”

“Why?”

“Because I want someone on the inside for me. I want to make sure that both mother and daughter are suffering.”

I swallowed hard, on second thought maybe this Bruno character
wasn't
such a good guy after all.

Bruno took another step forward. “I want you to make their lives a living hell. Little by little, until they don't know what hit them.”

My father shook his head. “What's in it for me?”

I grew disgusted all over again. What he should have said was 'no.'

“I know you're looking to run for mayor in a few years.”

That's when I tried to pry myself away from the hold Bruno still had on me. “I don't want to go with you anymore. I don't like the things you're asking him to do. What's the matter with you? That's an innocent family, you asshole.”

Bruno backed up until he stood directly behind me. He lowered his lips to my ear. “Everything I do has a purpose. It's not for you to decide what that purpose is, little girl. It's for
me
to decide. You'll find I can be very generous if you don't fight me. I can make you feel like a goddamned princess. However, if you do fight me, you'll know what
true
fear
will feel like. And believe me, what I can do to you will have nothing on all the years you've suffered at your father's hand. Understood?”

I gave him a small nod. This was about self-preservation, I had to play along.

It was the only way to save myself.

But more than that?

I vowed that I wouldn't let anyone break me.

I was resilient..indestructible even because I had no choice but to be that way. Every night I survived the most horrible, unspeakable acts over and over again.

“Now, where were we?” Bruno continued, “That's right. Mayor. Do you want my support in a few years or not?”

My father nodded so hard I'm surprised his head stayed attached to his body. “Yes. Of course. Consider it done.”

Bruno smirked. “Very well, then.” His eyes cut to mine. “Say goodbye to your father, Lucianna.”

I flipped my father off instead and Bruno snickered. “So feisty.”

We began walking across the front lawn but Bruno turned around at the last minute.

“Oh and John. Two more things.”

“Yes?”

“One―the widow has a daughter around Lucianna's age.”

He stroked my cheek. “Although not quite as beautiful.” I raised my eyebrow at him, but he ignored me. “Feel free to make her your new little plaything.” He lifted a finger. “But be forewarned, she's still very close with a certain FBI agent, and if she tells him―I'm
not
bailing your ass out of jail and you can kiss your future candidacy for Mayor goodbye. I'm not in the mood to clean up that kind of scandal.”

My father shuffled his feet nervously. “Fair enough. What's the second thing?”

Bruno's gaze turned dark. “If you ever touch or talk to Lucianna again. I will kill you. And make no mistake, it won't be quick. You'll feel every single ounce of pain...but not before I let a herd of doberman's bite your pecker off!” he shouted.

My father trembled and his mouth hung open. Mine as well.

I'd never had a person protect me before.

Was it possible that someone so dark had a little bit of light in them after all?

 

For over 2 years, Bruno treated me like the princess he promised he would. He wasn't home much, always out conducting business, but I never had to want for anything.

He only had one rule- Never leave the house without him.

And
house
was a bit of an undersell. His home was more like a mansion, located all the way out in the Hampton's.

During those rare time that he was home, he showered me with attention.

He told me that I didn't look at him the way everyone else did. He said I didn't look at him like I was petrified of him...and for some odd reason he liked that about me. He said it proved how strong I was.

Bruno also talked a lot about his son, Ricardo. I'd never met him, but he said he was a disappointment...or rather, he
used to be
until very recently.

Bruno's favorite thing to talk about was his undercover fight club. His eyes would sparkle and his smile would light up the room.

I was astounded when I heard that his very own son was fighting in the club. Apparently, he was more than halfway through whatever contract Bruno had made him sign and he was amazed he lasted so long.

When I made the mistake of questioning
why
he would have his son sign a contract that set out to hurt him in the first place, Bruno snapped at me and said it was none of my damn business.

I shut my mouth after that and never brought it up again.

 

The dynamic of our relationship shifted somewhat during the last 3 months leading up to my 18
th
birthday.

In addition to the admiration he had in his eyes for me, I started to see something else brewing in those dark orbs...lust.

I quickly dismissed the idea, though. Bruno was 50 years old, I was only about to turn 18. I knew there was no way he could be in love with
me
.

Despite his own looks which were more along the lines of dark, brooding and intimidating, rather than handsome...I saw the women he brought home from time to time.

They all looked like what
real
women should look like. They had curves, ample breasts, and they were all tall and beautiful.

My appearance hardly changed from when I was 15, the exception being the one inch of height I accrued, making me just slightly over 5 feet tall. Well, that and my breasts, but they barely even filled a B cup on a good day.

No, I didn't remotely resemble the women that Bruno seemed to adore.

And yet, he
did
tell me things he never told anyone else. There was an unmistakable bond between us.

Not only did he protect and provide for me, he let me see a side of him that I slowly found myself falling in love with.

I could never tell him that, though. He told me time and time again that romance and love were for the weak. If I told him how I felt, he would probably laugh at me and kick me out, it would ruin our relationship forever.

And even though I knew this man wasn't my knight in shining armor, I couldn't deny that he was my savior either.

 

“Get in here, Lucianna,” Bruno shouted from across his wing of the mansion.

Given it was the night of my 18
th
birthday, I had no idea what I could have done to make him so mad.

Maybe this was it
. He'd finally had enough of me and wanted me gone.

It was confusing because he'd given me a great birthday. He even bought me a pink convertible Ferrari. He became mildly annoyed when I inquired the reason behind the purchase, seeing as he never let me leave the confines of his mansion without him, but I recovered and thanked him profusely.

I glanced over at the clock on my nightstand, it was 2 am in the morning.

With a sigh, I got up from my bed. I briefly thought about grabbing a robe to put over my nightgown but then he shouted my name again.

I ran out of the room and tip-toed to the library he frequently spent his nights in.

No one would ever guess that Bruno was a big reader; I promised him that it would remain a secret between us.

“Lucianna!” he shouted, his tone sharper. I looked around the library but he was nowhere to be found.

That meant there was only one other room in this wing he could be beckoning me from.

His bedroom.

Which I'd never seen before.

I swallowed the lump in my throat and rounded the corner to his large mahogany doors.

I knocked, then thought the better of it since he'd already screamed for me to come in multiple times.

I took in the large space encompassing his bedroom. Red curtains were elegantly draped along the two large windows matching the blood red color of his bedspread.

Over in a corner of the room, he sat in an over-sized dark leather chair with his back turned away from me. I could see the smoke from his cigar floating into the air.

Even though it was a warm July night, I shivered and curled my arms around myself. “I was sleeping, you know, ” I informed him.

“Bullshit,” was his retort. “We both know you don't sleep during the night.”

He was right. Bruno knew me well, he knew I never fell asleep until well after the sun came up.

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