Blame It on the Shame (Blame It on the Shame: Lou-Lou and Ricardo's Story #1) (7 page)

I soon found out when he slammed into me again, so much harder than he ever had before.

“Fucking bitch,” he sneered. “Who the fuck do you think you are?”

He rammed into me savagely again and I yelped in pain.

“Apologize, now,” he ordered.

I'd never apologized to him before, but I would do whatever he wanted to make this pain go away.

“I'm sorry, Bruno. Mio amore. Please, stop. It hurts so much.”

He paused and straightened himself.

I breathed a sigh of relief

Until he pressed me against the table again and forced himself inside my other entrance.

I dug my nails into the table and screamed out at the top of my lungs. My previous pain was nothing compared to
this
.

I couldn't believe he was violating me this way, especially when he knew everything my father did to me.

He didn't relent with his brutal thrusts and tears made their way out of my eyes as I felt my heart shatter.

My tears only made him madder and he pulled my hair harder. “One more tear, Lucianna. Shed one more fucking tear, Bambina. One more tear and I swear, it will be the last one you ever shed. I
will
kill you. No matter how much it may pain me to do so.”

Oh, my god.

It happened.

For the first time in almost six years, Bruno had threatened my life.

For the first time since the night I first met him...I was scared of him.

My eyes dried and I went limp, the fight drained out of my body. The only movements I made were from the tremors washing over me since I couldn't cry.

He then pulled out and sprayed his release all over my back, similar to how a dog pisses on a fire hydrant.

“And for the record,” he said, zipping his fly. “You'll never walk out that door until I say you can. You'll
never
be free of me. Now don't move from the floor until
I
tell you to.”

I slumped down to the floor as his men reentered the room.

They murmured amongst themselves, embarrassed for not only my state of undress but what had obviously transpired.

Bruno cleared his throat and stood at the head of the table. “Pay no mind to my disrespectful whore, gentlemen. We have a meeting to continue.”

 

That night he walked into my old bedroom. The one I hadn't returned to since the night I turned 18.

I rolled over because I couldn't bear to face him.

I wasn't quite broken yet...but I was certainly cracked.

Even worse than that? I was officially a prisoner.

Which was just downright mind-boggling considering how often I used to worry he would get rid of me one day.

“Look at me,” he ordered.

“I can't.”

“Lucianna.” He said my name softer than he ever said it before.

“You did something to me today, Bruno.” I stared blankly at the wall. “I thought you loved me but―”

The bed dipped from his weight as he sat down. “Have I
ever
told you I loved you?”

“No. You haven't and now I finally believe you.”

I hugged my pillow and curled up in a fetal position. “It doesn't matter that you don't love me...because after today I love you less. You can take your love and shove it because I don't need it anymore. I don't need you anymore. I'll make it on my own without you, just like I did before.”

He grabbed my shoulder and I flinched. “You don't mean that,” he whispered. “You're
not
leaving me, bambina.”

“I do and I am.”

I heard the door slam and I told myself not to cry.

I felt so worthless and ruined. I felt like nothing more than a stupid, naive girl who thought the man she loved had felt the same way she did this whole time.

I didn't know which hurt more, hating him for
not
loving me...or allowing him to
prove
just how much he didn't.

Or the hardest truth of all...hating myself for
still
loving him―all while knowing he would never be capable of giving that back to me.

All while knowing he destroyed a part of me today that my father never did.

The part that still believed in fairy tales and happy endings.

The part that still thought I deserved true love despite being damaged goods.

The heart is the most peculiar and complex structure in the world.

It could endure so much pain, but yet it
still
continued to beat...
still
held on to hope...and
still
continued to go on living when the rest of you would rather be dead.

Moments later I heard his footsteps enter my bedroom again.

He sat down and rested his hand on my hip. I tried to move away but he latched on.

“Look at me,” he whispered.

I shook my head.

“Please, Bambina.”

He never said please. I turned my head slightly and he cupped my cheek. “I love you, Lucianna. You're the
only
person that I love. Now tuck it away inside yourself and take it for what it's worth because I'll never utter those words again.”

I nodded my head but hearing the words had the opposite effect on me.

They only made me feel worse about myself. Like it was bad to love me.

And it didn't erase what he did this morning
or
what he threatened to do to me.

He seemed to sense this because he pressed his lips to my forehead. “I won't apologize for what I did. You needed to learn. You became too bold, Lucianna. I can't have that.”

He reached for something on the nightstand. “I'm not letting you leave me but I can give you something to ease the pain.”

I sat up and he grabbed hold of my arm. I didn't understand what he was doing until he pulled out a syringe and I immediately drew my arm back in fear. “You only administer heroin to those you're trying to kill. Those you once cared for. Is that what you're doing, Bruno? You're gonna kill
me
?”

No wonder he told me he loved me, this was the end of the road for me.

His fingers traced my cheekbone. “No, Bambina. I thought about it, but I know now that I could never kill you. I love you too much.”

He yanked on my arm again and it was then that I knew
exactly
what he was doing.

He needed something to make me depend on him. He needed something to make me weak, so I didn't have control over him. He needed something to control
me
instead.

This was a fate worse than death. This was the cruelest thing to ever do to another person.

I grabbed his face with my free hand. “Please, Bruno. I'll be good. I'll do whatever you want.” My voice shook, but I continued, “You don't have to turn me into this. Please, mio amore. Don't do this to me.”

He ignored me and plunged the needle into my vein.

My ears rang, my head spun and I leaned over the side of the bed and puked.

He stood up and stroked my cheek. “I'll be back in 24 hours. This isn't what you think. I'm not turning you into a junkie. I would never do that to you. I'll only be using this when I see fit. You'll still be completely functional.”

I began to doze off. “Where are you going?”

“Down to the fight club. Evidently my son made it through his last fight after all. But unfortunately he has left town and I have another proposition for him.”

He laughed and the sound made me sick. “You see, just like you, he'll never be able to get rid of me either.”

3 years later...

Chapter 1 (Ricardo)

 

He trapped me again. I thought I was free of him, I should have known he had one more trick up his sleeve.

I thought I lucked out when he didn't bother showing up during my last fight.

I hopped on a plane and got the fuck out of New York, but he eventually ended up tracking me down in Houston.

I was there for almost a full year and I was enjoying my freedom.

But my freedom came with a catch.

Because being in the fight club had hardened me in a way I never expected it to. It brought my darkness to the surface.

It made me more like DeLuca than I ever wanted to be.

For 10 years straight, I watched while strong men failed and dropped like flies.

Death was like a poisonous fog that loomed all around me...but still, I fought.

Sometimes I used what happened to Graham to get through the fight.

Sometimes I used what happened to that poor little girl.

Sometimes I used watching my mother die.

But
every
time I used my hatred for DeLuca to push through when I felt like I wouldn't make it.

At the end of my 10 years, I was the only one left standing.

Everyone else had died. DeLuca made sure of it.

A big part of me wondered if that had been his intention all along, to ensure no one completed their deal.

No one except for me. In the back of my mind, I wondered if he did that on purpose, but I didn't want to believe it.

I earned my fucking freedom. The bastard could kiss my ass as far as I was concerned.

A deal was a fucking deal.

No matter how much someplace deep inside me missed that club. Missed pushing myself further and harder than I ever thought was possible.

Missed feeling the sense of power and control in the cage. Missed letting the darkness roam free and burn through me.

Missed being a DeLuca.

Fucking hell.

I'd never forget the conversation with DeLuca after he tracked me down in Houston.

I was working in a small shop that I purchased with some of the money that I saved from fighting.

I glanced down at a pair of metal tipped shoes and my anger bubbled through me. “I see you bought that mustang after all,” he said.

I glared at him from under the hood. “Yup.”

Take that, fucker.

“I suppose I can admire that.”

I snorted. “I don't need or want your admiration, DeLuca. Now get the fuck out of my shop before I put a few bullets in your chest.”

“Well, I'll be damned. You are like me after all.”

I threw the wrench on the ground. “You really want to have this conversation with me again?”

He looked around the shop. “You know, you're almost 30 now, son. And this is all you have amounted to. A fucking mechanic.”

“I could have amounted to more had my asshole father not saw fit to make me drop out of school. Not that there's anything wrong with being a mechanic. Unlike what you do, it's an honest and noble profession.”

“But it's not where your heart is at, son.”

“Fuck my heart. I don't need it. Just like I don't need you. Now, leave before I make you.”

“I have a proposition for you.”

“Not interested.”

He didn't seem to care because he said, “I'm having a problem at the club.”

I hated how my ears perked up at the mention of the club.

He smiled, because he knew it. “Business is going down...I can't seem to keep any of my fighters for more than a few months at a time. They're all weak. People don't want to place bids anymore because they're not sure if they'll be back the next week.”

I glared at him. “Well, maybe if you didn't keep setting the fighters up to die in the cage...you wouldn't have that problem.” I sighed. “And from a business standpoint, people want to bet on a sure thing. Despite its underground nature, people like to have favorites, fighters they can root for. But in order to do that, you need to keep them around for more than a few months. That's the only way you'll ever increase revenue.”

“You have a point.”

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