Home > Brutal Prince : An Enemies To Lovers Mafia Romance(4)

Brutal Prince : An Enemies To Lovers Mafia Romance(4)
Author: Sophie Lark

They certainly meant to have more of us. There’s four years between me and Riona, six between Riona and Nessa. Those gaps contain seven failed pregnancies, each ending in miscarriage or stillbirth.

The weight of all those missing children lays on my shoulders. I’m the eldest and the only son. The work of the Griffin men can only be done by me. I’m the one to carry on our name and legacy.

Riona would be irritated to hear me say that. She’s infuriated by any intimation that there’s a difference between us because I’m older and male. She swears she’ll never get married or change her name. Or bear children, either. That part really pisses my parents off.

Nessa is much more pliable. She’s a people-pleaser, and she wouldn’t do anything to annoy dear old Mom and Dad. Unfortunately, she lives in a fucking fantasy world. She’s so sweet and tender-hearted that she doesn’t have the tiniest clue what it takes to keep this family in power. So she’s pretty much useless.

That doesn’t mean I don’t care about her, though. She’s so genuinely good that it’s impossible not to love her.

I’m pleased to see her so happy today. She’s over the moon about this party, even though it barely has anything to do with her. She’s running around sampling all the desserts, admiring the decorations, without a clue that the one and only reason for this event is to secure support for my campaign to become Alderman of the 43rd Ward.

The election takes place in a month. The 43rd Ward includes the whole Lakefront: Lincoln Park, the Gold Coast, and Old Town. Next to the mayorship, it’s the most powerful position in the city of Chicago.

For the last twelve years, the seat was held by Patrick Ryan, until he stupidly got himself thrown into prison. Before that, his mother Saoirse Ryan served for sixteen years. She was much better at her job, and demonstrably better at not getting caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

In many ways, being an Alderman is better than being a mayor. It’s like being the emperor of your district. Thanks to Aldermanic Privilege, you have the final say on zoning and property development, loans and grants, legislation, and infrastructure. You can make money on the front end, the back end, and in the middle. Everything goes through you and everybody owes you favors. It’s almost impossible to get caught.

And yet, these greedy fucks are so blatant in their grift that they still manage to bring the hammer down on themselves. Three out of the last four Aldermen in the neighboring 20th District have gone to prison, including the current incumbent.

But that won’t be me. I’m going to secure the position. I’m going to take control of Chicago’s most wealthy and powerful district. And then I’m going to parlay that into mayorship of the whole damn city.

Because that’s what Griffins do. We grow and build. We never stop. And we never get caught.

The only problem is that the Alderman position is not uncontested. Of course it isn’t—it’s the crown jewel of power in this city.

The two other main candidates are Kelly Hopkins and Bobby La Spata.

Hopkins shouldn’t be a problem. She’s an anti-corruption candidate, running on a whole lot of bullshit promises of cleaning up City Hall. She’s young, idealistic, and has no idea that she’s swimming in a shark tank wearing a meat suit. I’ll decimate her easily.

La Spata, on the other hand, is a bit of a challenge.

He’s got a lot of support, including the electrical workers’ and firefighters’ unions, plus the Italians. Nobody actually likes him—he’s a blustering fat fuck, drunk half the time, and getting caught with a new mistress the other half. But he knows how to grease the right palms. And he’s been around a long time. A lot of people owe him favors.

Paradoxically, he’ll be harder to get rid of than Hopkins. Hopkins is relying on her squeaky-clean image—once I dig up some dirt on her (or invent some), she’s sunk.

By contrast, everybody already knows La Spata’s flaws. They’re old news. He’s so debauched that nobody expects anything better from him. I’ll have to find another angle to bring him down.

This is what I’m discussing with my parents.

My father is leaning up against his desk, arms crossed over his chest. He’s tall, fit, gray hair cut stylishly, horn-rimmed glasses giving him an intellectual look. You’d never guess that he came up as a bruiser, smashing kneecaps at the Horseshoe when people failed to pay their debts.

My mother is slim and petite, with a sleek blonde bob. She’s over by the window, watching the caterers set up on the lawn. I know she’s anxious to get out there as quickly as possible, though she won’t say anything about it until our meeting is over. She may look like the consummate socialite, but she’s as deeply invested in the nuts and bolts of our business as I am.

“Make sure you talk to Cardenas,” my father is saying. “He controls the firefighters’ union. To get his support, we’ll basically need to bribe him. Be subtle about it, though, he likes to pretend he’s above that sort of thing. Marty Rico will need promises that we’ll change the zoning on Wells Street so he can put in his condos. We’ll waive the affordable housing requirement, obviously. Leslie Dowell will be here too, but I’m not sure what she—”

“She wants an expansion of charter schools,” my mother promptly answers. “Give her that, and she’ll make sure all the women on the board of education support you.”

I knew she was listening over there.

“Riona can handle William Callahan,” I say. “He’s had a thing for her for ages.”

My mother’s lips tighten. She thinks it’s beneath us to use sex appeal as a lever. But she’s wrong. Nothing is beneath us if it works.

Once we’ve gone down the list of people we’ll need to hobnob with at the party, we’re ready to break and get to work.

“Anything else?” I say to my father.

“Not about tonight,” he says. “But sometime soon we need to discuss the Braterstwo.”

I grimace.

As if I didn’t have enough to worry about, the Polish mafia is also becoming an increasingly aggressive thorn in my side. They’re fucking savages. They don’t understand how things are done in the modern era. They’re still living in a time when you solve disputes by cutting off a man’s hands and throwing him into the river.

I mean, I’ll do that if I have to, but I at least try to come to an agreement before it reaches that point.

“What about them?” I say.

“Tymon Zajac wants to meet with you.”

I hesitate. That’s serious. Zajac is the big boss. The Butcher of Bogota. But I don’t want him coming to my office.

“Let’s figure that out tomorrow,” I tell my father. I can’t have it on my mind tonight.

“Fine,” he says, straightening up and tugging the hem of his suit jacket back into place.

My mother gives him a once over to make sure he’s looking sharp, then she turns her eyes on me.

“Is that what you’re wearing?” she says, raising one perfectly manicured eyebrow.

“What about it?” I say.

“It’s a bit formal.”

“Dad’s wearing a suit.”

“She means you look like an undertaker,” my father remarks.

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