Home > Brutal Prince : An Enemies To Lovers Mafia Romance(3)

Brutal Prince : An Enemies To Lovers Mafia Romance(3)
Author: Sophie Lark

The main level was too formal and antiseptic, like a show home. I want to see where these people actually live.

To the left of the staircase, I find a bedroom that must belong to Nessa. It’s soft and feminine, full of books and stuffed animals and art supplies. There’s a ukulele on the nightstand, and several pairs of sneakers kicked hastily under the bed. The only things not clean and new are the ballet slippers slung over her doorknob by their ribbons. Those are beat to hell and back, with holes in the satin toes.

Across from Nessa’s room is one that probably belongs to Riona. It’s larger, and spotlessly tidy. I don’t see any evidence of hobbies in here, just some beautiful Asian watercolors hanging on the walls. I’m disappointed that Riona hasn’t kept shelves of old trophies and medals. She definitely seems the type.

Beyond the girls’ rooms is the master suite. I won’t be going in there. It seems wrong on a different level. There has to be some kind of line I won’t cross when I’m sneaking around somebody’s house.

So, I turn the opposite direction and find myself in a large library instead.

Now, this is the kind of mysterious shit I came here for.

What do the Griffins read? Is it all leather-bound classics, or are they secret Anne Rice fans? Only one way to find out . . .

Looks like they favor biographies, architectural tomes, and yes, all the classics. They’ve even got a section dedicated to the famous Irish authors of yesteryear like James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, Yeats, and George Bernard Shaw. No Anne Rice, but they’ve got Bram Stoker at least.

Oh look, they’ve even got a signed copy of Dubliners. I don’t care what anybody says, no one understands that fucking book. The Irish are all in on it, pretending it’s a masterwork of literature when I’m pretty sure it’s pure gibberish.

Besides the floor-to-ceiling shelves of books, the library is full of overstuffed leather armchairs, three of which have been arranged around a large stone fireplace. Despite the warm weather, there’s a fire going in the grate—just a small one. It’s not a gas fire, there are actual birch logs burning, which smells nice. Above the fireplace hangs a painting of a pretty woman, with several objects arranged along the mantle underneath, including a carriage clock and an hourglass. Between those, an old pocket watch.

I pick it up off the mantle. It’s surprisingly heavy in my hand, the metal warm to the touch instead of cool. I can’t tell if it’s brass or gold. Part of the chain is still attached, though it looks like it broke off at about half its original length. The case is carved and inscribed, so worn that I can’t tell what the image used to be. I don’t know how to open it, either.

I’m fiddling with the mechanism when I hear a noise out in the hallway—a faint clinking sound. Quickly, I slip the watch into my pocket and dive down behind one of the armchairs, the one closest to the fire.

A man comes into the library. Tall, brown hair, about thirty years old. He’s wearing a perfectly tailored suit, and he’s extremely well-groomed. Handsome, but in a stark sort of way—like he’d push you off a lifeboat if there weren’t enough seats. Or maybe even if you forgot to brush your teeth.

I haven’t actually met this dude before, but I’m fairly certain it’s Callum Griffin, the oldest of the Griffin siblings. Which means he’s just about the worst person to catch me in the library.

Unfortunately, it seems like he plans to stick around a while. He sits down in an armchair almost directly across from me and starts reading emails on his phone. He’s got a glass of whiskey in his hand, and he’s sipping from it. That’s the sound I heard—the ice cubes chinking together.

It’s extremely cramped and uncomfortable behind the armchair. The rug over the hardwood floor is none too cushy and I have to hunch up in a ball so my head and feet don’t poke out on either side. Plus, it’s hot as balls this close to the fire.

How in the hell am I going to get out of here?

Callum is still sipping and reading. Sip. Read. Sip. Read. The only other sound is the popping of the birch logs.

How long is he going to sit here?

I can’t stay forever. My brothers are going to start looking for me in a minute.

I don’t like being stuck. I’m starting to sweat, from the heat and the stress.

The ice in Callum’s glass sounds so cool and refreshing.

God, I want a drink and I want to leave.

How many fucking emails does he have?!

Flustered and annoyed, I hatch a plan. Possibly the stupidest plan I’ve ever concocted.

I reach behind me and grab the tassel hanging down from the curtains. It’s a thick gold tassel, attached to green velvet curtains.

By pulling it out to its furthest length, I can just poke it in around the edge of the grate, directly into the embers.

My plan is to set it smoking, which will distract Callum, allowing me to sneak around the opposite side of the chair and out the door. That’s the genius scheme.

But because this isn’t a fucking Nancy Drew novel, this is what happens instead:

The flames rip up the cord like it was dipped in gasoline, singing my hand. I drop the cord, which swings back to the curtain. Then that curtain ignites like it’s paper. Liquid fire roars up to the ceiling in an instant.

This actually does achieve its purpose of distracting Callum Griffin. He shouts and jumps to his feet, knocking over his chair. However, my distraction comes at the cost of all subtlety, because I also have to abandon my hiding spot and sprint out of the room. I don’t know if Callum saw me or not, and I don’t care.

I’m thinking I should look for a fire extinguisher or water or something. I’m also thinking I should get the fuck out of here immediately.

That’s the idea that wins out—I go sprinting down the stairs at top speed.

At the bottom of the staircase, I plow into somebody else, almost knocking him over. It’s Nero, with that pretty blonde right behind him. Her hair is all messed up and he’s got lipstick on his neck.

“Jesus,” I say. “Is that a new record?” I’m pretty sure he only met her about eight seconds ago.

Nero shrugs, a hint of a grin on his handsome face.

“Probably,” he says.

Smoke drifts down over the bannister. Callum Griffin is shouting up in the library. Nero gazes up the staircase, confused.

“What’s going on—”

“Never mind,” I say, seizing his arm. “We’ve gotta get out of here.”

I start dragging him in the direction of the service kitchen, but I can’t quite take my own advice. I cast one look back over my shoulder. And I see Callum Griffin standing at the head of the stairs, glaring after us with a murderous expression on his face.

We sprint through the kitchen, knocking over a tray of canapés, then we’re out the door, back out on the lawn.

“You find Sebastian, I’ll get Dante,” Nero says. He abandons the blonde without a word, jogging off across the yard.

I run in the opposite direction, looking for the tall, lanky shape of my youngest brother.

Inside the mansion, a fire alarm starts to wail.






Callum Griffin



Nessa’s party starts in less than an hour, but I’m still holed up with my parents in my father’s office. His office is one of the biggest rooms in the house, larger than the master suite or the library. Which is fitting, because business is the center of our family—the core purpose of the Griffin clan. I’m fairly certain my parents only had children so they could mold us into our various roles within their empire.

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