Home > Brutal Prince : An Enemies To Lovers Mafia Romance(2)

Brutal Prince : An Enemies To Lovers Mafia Romance(2)
Author: Sophie Lark

“Can we get going?” Sebastian says. “I don’t wanna be out too late.”

“Get in or get out of the way,” I say to Dante.

He stares at us a minute longer, then shrugs. “Fine,” he says, “but I’m riding shotgun.”

I climb over the seat without argument, letting Dante have the front. A small price to pay to get my big brother on team Party Crashers.

We cruise down LaSalle Drive, enjoying the warm early summer air streaming into the car. Nero has a black heart and a vicious temperament, but you’d never know it from the way he drives. In the car, he’s as smooth as a baby’s ass—calm and careful.

Maybe it’s because he loves the Chevy and has put about a thousand hours of work into it. Or maybe driving is the only thing that relaxes him. Either way, I always like seeing him with his arm stretched out on the wheel, the wind blowing back his sleek dark hair, his eyes half-closed like a cat.

It’s not far to the Gold Coast. Actually, we’re practically neighbors—we live in Old Town, which is directly north. Still, the two neighborhoods aren’t much alike. They’re both fancy in their own ways—our house looks right over Lincoln Park, theirs fronts onto the lake. But Old Town is, well, just what the name implies—pretty fucking old. Our house was built in the Victorian era. Our street is quiet, full of massive old oak trees. We’re close to St. Michael’s Church, which my father genuinely believes was spared the Chicago Fire by a direct act of god.

The Gold Coast is the new hotness. It’s all pish-posh shopping and dining and the mansions of the richest motherfuckers in Chicago. I feel like I sprang forward thirty years just driving over here.

Sebastian, Nero, and I thought we might sneak in around the back of the Griffin property—maybe steal some caterers’ uniforms. Dante, of course, isn’t participating in any of that nonsense. He just slips the security guard five Benjamins to “find” our name on the list, and the guy waves us on in.

I already know what the Griffins’ house looks like even before I see it, because it was big news when they bought it a few years back. At the time, it was the most expensive piece of residential real estate in Chicago. Fifteen thousand square feet for a cool twenty-eight million dollars.

My father scoffed and said it was just like the Irish to flash their money.

“An Irishman will wear a twelve-hundred-dollar suit without the money in his pocket to buy a pint,” he said.

True or not as a generality, the Griffins can buy plenty of pints if they want to. They’ve got money to burn, and they’re literally burning it right now, in the form of their fireworks show still trying to put Disneyworld to shame.

I don’t care about that, though—first thing I want is some of the expensive champagne being ferried around by the waiters, followed by whatever’s been stacked into a tower on the buffet table. I’m gonna do my best to bankrupt those snooty fucks by eating my weight in crab legs and caviar before I leave this place.

The party is outdoors on the sprawling green lawn. It’s the perfect night for it—more evidence of the luck of the Irish. Everybody’s laughing and talking, stuffing their faces and even dancing a little, though there’s no Demi Lovato performing yet, just a normal DJ.

I guess I probably should have changed my clothes. I don’t see a single girl without a glittery party dress and heels. But that would have been annoying as hell on the soft grass, so I’m glad I’m just wearing sandals and shorts.

I do see Nessa Griffin, surrounded by people congratulating her on the monumental achievement of staying alive for nineteen years. She’s wearing a pretty, cream-colored sundress—simple and bohemian. Her light-brown hair is loose around her shoulders, and she’s got a bit of a tan and a few extra freckles across her nose, like she was out on the lake all morning. She’s blushing from all the attention, and she looks sweet and happy.

Honestly, out of all the Griffins, Nessa’s the best one. We went to the same high school. We weren’t exactly friends, since she was a year behind me and a bit of a goody-two-shoes. But she seemed nice enough.

Her sister on the other hand . . .

I can see Riona right now, chewing out some waitress until the poor girl is in tears. Riona Griffin is wearing one of those stiff, fitted sheath dresses that looks like it belongs in a boardroom, not at an outdoor party. Her hair is pulled back even tighter than her dress. Never did anybody less suit flaming red hair—it’s like genetics tried to make her fun, and Riona was like, “I’m never having one goddamned moment of fun in my life, thank you very much.”

She’s scanning the guests like she wants to bag and tag the important ones. I spin around to refill my plate before she catches sight of me.

My brothers already split off the moment we arrived. I can see Nero flirting with some pretty blonde over on the dance floor. Dante has made his way over to the bar, cause he’s not gonna drink froofy champagne. Sebastian has disappeared entirely—not easy to do when you’re 6’6. I’m guessing he saw some people he knows; everybody likes Sebastian, and he’s got friends everywhere.

As for me, I’ve got to pee.

I can see the Griffins brought in some outdoor toilets, discretely set back on the far side of the property, screened by a gauzy canopy. But I’m not peeing in a porta potty, even if it’s a fancy one. I’m gonna pee in a proper Griffin bathroom, right where they sit their lily-white bottoms down. Plus, it’ll give me a chance to snoop around their house.

Now, this does take a little maneuvering. They’ve got a lot more security around the entrance to the house, and I’m skint of cash for bribes. But once I throw a cloth napkin over my shoulder and steal the tray abandoned by the sobbing waitress, all I have to do is load up with a few empty glasses and I sneak right into the service kitchen.

I drop the dishes off at the sink like a good little employee, then I duck into the house itself.

Jiminy Crickets, it’s a nice fucking house. I mean, I know we’re supposed to be mortal rivals and all, but I can appreciate a place decked out better than anything I’ve ever seen on House Hunters. House Hunters International, even.

It’s simpler than I would have expected—all creamy, smooth walls and natural wood, low, modern furniture, and light fixtures that look like industrial art.

There’s a lot of actual art around, too—paintings that look like blocks of color, and sculptures made of piles of shapes. I’m not a total philistine—I know that painting is either a Rothko or supposed to look like one. But I also know I couldn’t make a house look this pretty if I had a hundred years and an unlimited budget to do it.

Now I’m definitely glad I snuck in here to pee.

I find the closest bathroom down the hall. Sure enough, it’s a study in luxury—lovely lavender soap, soft, fluffy towels, water that comes out of the tap at the perfect temperature, not too cool and not too hot. Who knows—in a place this big, I might be the first person to even step foot in here. The Griffins probably each have their own private bathroom. In fact, they probably get tipsy and get lost in this labyrinth.

Once I finish up, I know I should head back outside. I had my little adventure, and there’s no point pushing my luck.

Instead, I find myself sneaking up the wide, curved staircase to the upper level.

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