Home > By Virtue I Fall (Sins of the Fathers #3)

By Virtue I Fall (Sins of the Fathers #3)
Author: Cora Reilly



Love is an inconvenience Anna Cavallaro doesn’t have time for.

She only has one goal: to become a fashion designer. Chicago’s elite already copies her style religiously, not least because she’s the daughter of the city’s notorious mafia boss.

When she’s accepted at a world-famous fashion institute in Paris, her father’s condition is to take her bodyguard along.

Anna definitely wouldn’t mind a few weeks of no-strings-attached fun with her brooding protector.


Santino Bianchi became the Outfit’s enforcer because he liked the thrill of the hunt and kill.

Babysitting his capo’s daughter is an honorable assignment he can’t refuse. His thoughts about Anna? Not so honorable.

Santino’s ignored Anna’s persistent flirting for years. Now, far away from home boundaries begin to blur. But Santino doesn’t have any intention to be the reason for a failed engagement and the ensuing scandal.


A summer fling in Paris.

Only two things stand in Anna’s way.

Santino’s iron will.

And… her fiancé.



I was a loyal soldier.

Being Enforcer for the Chicago Outfit had been a matter of pride. That I enjoyed breaking bones and my task allowed me to do so had been an additional bonus. I was good at it. I enjoyed it.

What I didn’t enjoy was listening to the inane chatter of a teenage girl.

Unfortunately, my brutal talents had led to my Capo asking me to become his daughter’s personal guard.

Playing bodyguard slash babysitter to his oldest spawn had never been my idea of serving the cause.

“You can’t say no,” my father had argued, his eyes wide with alarm when I’d told him I was considering to do so.

“I’m not like you, Dad. I don’t have the patience to hover beside a spoiled mafia woman and listen to her endless bitching with her friends. I’m a soldier, not a nanny.”

“You can’t say no to your Capo. It’s an honor.”

I shook my head. “I want to work with my hands. I want to break bones. I want to destroy our enemies.”

“You should reconsider your decision,” Dad said imploringly. “If your Capo asks you to become his daughter’s bodyguard, there’s only one viable answer, Santino, and that’s yes.”

I had absolutely no intention of reconsidering my decision or say yes, no matter what Dad said. Arturo and I were a good team. We had been working together as Enforcers for years and yet it never got boring. Why would I give that up for a job I would undoubtedly despise?

No matter what Dante said, I would stand my ground and remain Enforcer.



“Why don’t you come over to our house to tell me your decision?” Dante had said during our brief call. “Five o’clock.”

He hung up before I could tell him my answer over the phone. Sighing, I resigned myself to a fucking awkward meeting with my Capo. Dante had a way with words plus a subtle cunning that made people do what he wanted.

I rang the bell, glancing back at my black 1969 Camaro, hoping I would be back inside it, racing down the streets of Chicago soon. These kinds of social engagements were the bane of my fucking existence and I usually avoided them.

It wasn’t Dante who opened the door, nor a maid. In front of me, smiling in a sophisticated, polite way, stood Valentina Cavallaro. She was tall, with long brown hair and green eyes that trapped you like a cat did a mouse. That she could make me feel like one of these small fluff balls of vermin made me even more wary to work in their household.

I gave her a nod and polite smile in return. “Your husband asked me to come over.”

“Oh, I know,” she said. “I thought it would be a great idea to have you meet our daughter right away. Why wait?”

I cleared my throat, about to say what I’d come here to say, when Dante appeared behind Valentina and put a hand on her shoulder. “Santino,” he said with a curt nod.

“I’m glad that Anna will have such a capable bodyguard at her side,” Valentina said, not missing a beat, giving me the smile of a woman who had a subtle way to get her will, and seeing it I knew exactly why.

“The thing is,” I began as Valentina ushered me in. Both Dante and Valentina looked at me.

“Yes?” Valentina asked.

My father’s words flew around my brain like an annoying fly you couldn’t swat away. Standing in the Cavallaro’s mansion and seeing their expectant faces, I realized there was no way I could refuse their offer. At least not yet. Maybe I could work as bodyguard for one or two years and then ask Dante to put me back to the task of torturing people for information.

“Kids usually can’t stand me,” I said, which wasn’t really the truth. Kids were drawn to me like flies to shit but I didn’t have the necessary patience to stand their presence.

Valentina laughed. “Oh, don’t worry. Anna gets along with everyone. She’s a very social and empathetic girl.”

Of course. Why did parents always think their kids were God’s gift to humankind, highly talented and well-behaved altruists, when most of them were annoying, spoiled brats with egomaniac tendencies and a penchant for honesty that bordered on cruelty.

“I’m sure she is.”

Steps rang out upstairs and a flash of brown hair popped up at the top of the stairs. Anna Cavallaro practically frolicked down the staircase, her ponytail bobbing up and down in the most annoying way possible. As icing on the cake, she was dressed in a checkered costume even a woman in her fifties would feel old in. She flashed me a smile. Her eyes sparkled with excitement. She pushed her hand in my direction, peering up at me. “Nice to meet you.”

I forced a smile that felt like it might actually freeze over my fucking face muscles. “Pleasure,” I gritted out. It was a lie, but from the look in her eyes, she didn’t realize it. Dante, however, seemed to look right through me. Yet, he didn’t look displeased by my lack of excitement over meeting his daughter. He knew my ability to protect her didn’t hinge on sympathy. I released her small hand the second propriety allowed it. Another thing I fucking hated: having to be proper. Now that I’d spend my days around Dante’s daughter, my unrestrained cursing and bursts of rage were a thing of the past.

“It’ll be fun,” Anna said.

Maybe she thought I would be her friend or her personal playmate. The girl had a nasty surprise waiting for her. I would protect her. That was the extent of our bond.

“So you’ll protect me with your life?” she asked with a curious tilt of her head, her blue eyes trying to put me on the spot and test my sincerity.

And for the first time today, I didn’t have to lie.

“I’ll protect you until I take my last breath.”

Or until your father shows me mercy and puts me out of my misery.



The first time I met Santino, I almost burst with excitement. I had only briefly seen him before but even then, his tallness and handsome face had made my belly flip for the first time in my life.

I was excited about having him guard me. He seemed like he could be fun to be around and not such a stickler to the rules. I thought he and I would get along well.

Soon I realized that wouldn’t be the case.

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