Home > Machiavellian (Gangsters of New York, #1)

Machiavellian (Gangsters of New York, #1)
Author: Bella Di Corte







We were once the rulers of the world. Side by side, my father and I reigned over what I assumed would be mine one day: a kingdom of misfits and a throne built on fear and respect. Soon enough, though, I’d find out that ruling the world was only one reality.

Reality differs from person to person, soul to soul, perspective to perspective.

For instance, my father saw life as a game to be won—to be precise, a chess game. Move for ruthless move, he had become the king of New York by being brutal and cunning. No matter what he did, or what move he made, he did so with one objective in mind: win all, no matter who gets trumped in the end. Strategies, forethought, take no prisoners and show no mercy, not even to those closest to you—these were the three codes he religiously lived by.

He made the right connections, married the perfect girl, worked all the lavish parties and schmoozed or killed numerous people from all walks of life. He proved to the reality we created, the world we ruled over, how competent he was and how vicious he could be. Even those who ruled the streets feared his name.

Arturo Lupo Scarpone, the King of New York.

No one could trump his moves. No one could get close to him. Not even his own flesh and blood. His son.

Vittorio Lupo Scarpone, the Pretty-Boy Prince.

Arturo stripped me of the reality, that name, and banished me from the kingdom he had so savagely prepared me for, and then, and then, he wrote me off as dead.

There was a reason his men called him il re lupo. The king wolf. He’d kill his own offspring if it meant more power.

There’s an old saying: Dead men tell no tales. I didn’t have tales to tell. I only had one gruesome story.

This time the man who created me was going to pay. Because if I was already dead in his eyes, how could he see me coming?

Boo, motherfucker. You called me The Prince. I’m back to rule your world as King.






18 Years Ago

Arranged marriages were not uncommon in our culture. I’d always known that someday I’d marry Angelina Zamboni. Her father was connected, and apart from mine, he was one of the most powerful men in New York. Angelo Zamboni, Angelina’s father, was in politics.

Mine dealt more in fear and bloodshed, though hers didn’t shy away from that either. Angelo’s hands were clean even if his conscience was filthy. Arturo Scarpone was born without a conscience and grew into a man with palms full of blood—most people in our circle both admired and feared that about him. Angelo craved that sort of ruthless backing, so he agreed to the marriage before his daughter had a say.

We were the couple that everyone admired and praised. We made a beautiful couple. We would make beautiful babies. We would make a beautiful life together, even if the shady parts of my life were hidden behind the seemingly perfect life we lived. When the day came for me to rule this ruthless kingdom my father left me, she’d be the queen next to me on this throne built on bloodshed.

Angelina would also be my very own omertà. She’d be my vow of silence through thick and thin, good times and bad, sickness and health, through the most trying police interviews and adversaries attempting to put the fear of God into her.

Loyalty was even more powerful than love in this life. It was imperative to know your enemies better than your friends. But I had learned early on that no one was truly your friend. Loyalty all depended on how much they depended on you, and you on them.

Angelina grinned and then nudged me as we walked the streets of New York, bringing me out of my thoughts. It was dark out, but the many lights around us lit up her face.

Her hair was the color of soft caramel, her skin tan, and her eyes brown. My brother once said she had wicked eyes. They were. When she wanted revenge, they narrowed to daggers and showed no mercy. She wasn’t taller than me even with heels, but she was tall for a woman. Her legs were long enough to wrap around me and pull me closer when we fucked.

In a month’s time, I’d call her my wife—Mrs. Vittorio Scarpone—and years’ worth of business dealings between my father and hers would come to fruition. Arturo liked telling Angelo that the two families shared an olive tree. Angelo brought the tree from the old country. Arturo planted it in New York soil. To kingdom come, both families would enjoy the golden oil.

“You’ve been quiet,” she said, her eyes glistening as she glanced up at me.

“Can’t get much talking in during a Broadway show.” The breath rushed out of my mouth in a cloud of smoke.

“I can’t read your mood.” She stopped walking. I did, too. She backed up a pace so we could really see each other. Her eyes narrowed. “Have you been having second thoughts?”

Snow twirled between us. White specks landed on the dark material of my jacket. They collected for a few seconds, even on my lashes, before I spoke. “I’m returning the question.”

She smiled a little at that. She shook her head. “This is a done deal.”

In our world, it was always about the art of the deal, and making sure you paid for your sins if you went against the king. “Only God could sever this arrangement,” I said.

“God or your father.” She stuck her long, elegant fingers inside the pockets of her expensive jacket.

A man in a suit passed us, one hand on his briefcase and a phone stuck to his ear. I didn’t miss his eyes, though. They roamed over Angelina as he hustled to get out of the cold. It didn’t trouble me. What bothered me was the cold hand that seemed to touch my neck—and it wasn’t the weather.

Angelina had been used as a pawn in this game before she could even string two words together. I was at her side since we were kids. We both understood that love had nothing to do with this arrangement, but I wanted this to be a great union, a powerful one, and I knew it’d be easier if we both held mutual feelings for each other. I expected the kind of respect from her that had its foundation in loyalty.

Lately, though, I could sense something from her that felt off. It wasn’t the first time the cold hand seemed to touch my neck and make my instincts prickle.

“You really are a beautiful man, Vittorio. You should have taken your father’s offer when you had the chance.”

My eyes narrowed, as if I could see her better. See straight through her. These sorts of remarks didn’t sit right with me. Not one to mince words, she was getting better at the art of subtlety. I didn’t fucking like it. Especially when she started throwing words around that she had no business bringing out into the open.

She was right. My father had once given me an out. A chance to live my life the way I saw fit while still doing his dirty work. Instead of being an integral part of the business, he wanted me to be the face of it. I’d own all of the fancy restaurants and grease high society to get them closer to his pocket. He said my looks and charisma would charm them. My brother, Achille, was better suited to be his right-hand man.

It was the only choice my father had ever given me. However, it wasn’t truly a choice. It was a dare. Let my younger brother, who he called The Joker, control the kingdom with him, and what did that make me? A pussy that he’d have no use for. I’d be lower than the ten-dollar guys he hired to clean his tables.

Angelina seemed to know that my father would never let me live it down. Once he found a weakness, he’d stick his finger in the soft spot until the sore refused to heal. Until it healed around him, so he could reopen it anytime he wanted.

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
» From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1)
» A Million Kisses in Your Lifetime
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Den of Vipers
» House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2)
» The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #
» Sweet Temptation
» The Sweetest Oblivion (Made #1)
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» Wreck & Ruin
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» Twisted Hate (Twisted #3)
» The Play (Briar U Book 3)