Home > Brutal Prince : An Enemies To Lovers Mafia Romance

Brutal Prince : An Enemies To Lovers Mafia Romance
Author: Sophie Lark




Aida Gallo



Fireworks burst into bloom above the lake, hanging suspended in the clear night air, then drifting down in glittering clouds that settle on the water.

My father flinches at the first explosion. He doesn’t like things that are loud or unexpected. Which is why I get on his nerves sometimes—I can be both of those things, even when I’m trying to behave myself.

I see his scowl illuminated by the blue and gold light. Yup, definitely the same expression he gets when he looks at me.

“Do you want to eat inside?” Dante asks him.

Because it’s a warm night, we’re all sitting out on the deck. Chicago is not like Sicily—you have to take the opportunity to eat outdoors whenever you can get it. Still, if it weren’t for the sound of traffic below, you might think you were in an Italian vineyard. The table is set with the rustic stoneware brought from the old country three generations ago, and the pergola overhead is thickly blanketed by the fox grapes Papa planted for shade. You can’t make wine out of fox grapes, but they’re good for jam at least.

My father shakes his head.

“It’s fine here,” he says shortly.

Dante grunts and goes back to shoveling chicken in his mouth. He’s so big that his fork looks comically small in his hand. He always eats like he’s starving, hunched over his plate.

Dante is the oldest, so he sits on my father’s right-hand side. Nero’s on the left, with Sebastian next to him. I’m at the foot of the table, where my mother would sit if she were still alive.

“What’s the holiday?” Sebastian says as another round of fireworks rocket up into the sky.

“It’s not a holiday. It’s Nessa Griffin’s birthday,” I tell him.

The Griffins’ palatial estate sits right on the edge of the lake, in the heart of the Gold Coast. They’re setting off fireworks to make sure absolutely everybody in the city knows their little princess is having a party—as if it wasn’t already promoted like the Olympics and the Oscars combined.

Sebastian doesn’t know because he doesn’t pay attention to anything that isn’t basketball. He’s the youngest of my brothers, and the tallest. He got a full ride at Chicago State, and he’s good enough that when I go visit him on campus, girls stare and giggle everywhere he goes, and sometimes pluck up the courage to ask him to sign their t-shirts.

“How come we weren’t invited?” Nero says sarcastically.

We weren’t invited because we fucking hate the Griffins, and vice versa.

The guest list will be carefully curated, stuffed with socialites and politicians and anybody else chosen for their usefulness or their cache. I doubt Nessa will know any of them.

Not that I’m crying any tears for her. I heard her father hired Demi Lovato to perform. I mean, it ain’t Halsey, but it’s still pretty good.

“What’s the update on the Oak Street Tower?” Papa says to Dante while slowly and meticulously cutting up his chicken parm.

He already knows damn well how the Oak Street Tower is doing, because he tracks absolutely everything done by Gallo Construction. He’s just changing the subject because the thought of the Griffins sipping champagne and brokering deals with the haute monde of Chicago is irritating to him.

I don’t give a shit what the Griffins are doing. Except that I don’t like anybody having fun without me.

So, while my father and Dante are droning on about the tower, I mutter to Sebastian, “We should go over there.”

“Where?” he says obliviously, gulping down a big glass of milk. The rest of us are drinking wine. Sebastian’s trying to stay in tiptop shape for dribbling and sit-ups, or whatever the fuck his team of gangly ogres does for training.

“We should go to the party,” I say, keeping my voice low.

Nero perks up at once. He’s always interested in getting into trouble.

“When?” he says.

“Right after dinner.”

“We’re not on the list,” Sebastian protests.

“Jesus.” I roll my eyes. “Sometimes I wonder if you’re even a Gallo. You scared of jaywalking too?”

My two oldest brothers are proper gangsters. They handle the messier parts of the family business. But Sebastian thinks he’s going to the NBA. He’s living in a whole other reality than the rest of us. Trying to be a good boy, a law-abiding citizen.

Still, he’s the closest to me in age, and probably my best friend, though I love all my brothers. So, he just grins back at me and says, “I’m coming, aren’t I?”

Dante shoots us a stern look. He’s still talking to our father, but he knows we’re plotting something.

Since we’ve all finished our chicken, Greta brings out the panna cotta. She’s been our housekeeper for about a hundred years. She’s my second-favorite person, after Sebastian. She’s stout and pretty, with more gray in her hair than red.

She made my panna cotta without raspberries because she knows I don’t like the seeds, and she doesn’t mind if I’m a spoiled brat. I grab her head and give her a kiss on the cheek as she sets it down in front of me.

“You’re going to make me drop my tray,” she says, trying to shake me loose.

“You’ve never dropped a tray in your life,” I tell her.

My father takes fucking forever to eat his dessert. He’s sipping his wine and going on and on about the electrical workers’ union. I swear Dante is drawing him out on purpose to infuriate the rest of us. When we have these formal sit-down dinners, Papa expects us all to stay till the bitter end. No phones allowed at the table either, which is basically torture because I can feel my cell buzzing again and again in my pocket, with messages from who knows who. Hopefully not Oliver.

I broke up with Oliver Castle three months ago, but he isn’t taking the hint. He might need to take a mallet to the head instead if he doesn’t stop annoying me.

Finally, Papa finishes eating, and we all gather up as many plates and dishes as we can carry to stack in the sink for Greta.

Then Papa goes into his office to have his second nightcap, while Sebastian, Nero, and I all sneak downstairs.

We’re allowed to go out on a Saturday night. We’re all adults, after all—just barely, in my case. Still, we don’t want Papa to ask us where we’re going.

We pile into Nero’s car because it’s a boss ‘57 Chevy Bel Air that will be the most fun to cruise around in with the top down.

Nero starts the ignition, and in the flare of the headlights, we see Dante’s hulking silhouette, standing right in front of us, arms crossed, looking like Michael Meyers about to murder us.

Sebastian jumps and I let out a little shriek.

“You’re blocking the car,” Nero says drily.

“This is a bad idea,” Dante says.

“Why?” Nero says innocently. “We’re just going for a drive.”

“Yeah?” Dante says, not moving. “Right down Lake Shore Drive.”

Nero switches tactics.

“So what if we are?” he says. “It’s just some Sweet Sixteen party.”

“Nessa’s nineteen,” I correct him.

“Nineteen?” Nero shakes his head in disgust. “Why are they even—never mind. Probably some stupid Irish thing. Or just any excuse to show off.”

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