Six years ago, I got the job I never wanted—being the head of the Italian Mafia. There’s no room to take my position lightly. I do whatever is required of me, according to the rules passed down from my father, including marrying someone I’m not in love with. I hold respect for her as the mother of my children and a former member of another Italian family. It only takes one night for us to be split apart forever. One vulnerable moment when I leave for a business trip gives someone the chance to attack my family. Now my pregnant wife is gone without a trace to be found. I will find who’s responsible and make sure their blood runs through the streets of New York City. First, I have to send all the women I find in the process, home. Except for her, the woman with nowhere to go.
It only takes one night for me to be taken. I should’ve been safer than anyone. Yet I end up on the circuit, bounced around from place to place. It’s only on the day I decide to escape that I’m rescued by him, Valerio Marchioni. A man I should hate with every fiber in me. But then I get to know him. I see him for who he really is. And by then, it’s too late. I can never leave, not even if I wanted to. If he discovers who I really am, I’ll be dead before the men who took his wife.
There, in our stainless steel sink, are two newborn babies. My newborn daughters with blood still covering them. They make small noises, and I breathe a little easier knowing they’re okay.
But what about my boys? And Valeria? My heart starts to hurt.
Whoever did this is going to wish they had never been born.
I make a snap decision to leave my daughters where they are, only for a few minutes, as I finish clearing the bottom floor. I call out to anyone who might be inside the house, but get no reply.
Just as I’m about to go upstairs and start clearing the other floors, I notice movement outside.
I move to the window and stare outside in the trees. Just as I’m about to pull my gun out, my head maid peeks her head out.
She breathes a sigh of relief and comes fully out of the trees, followed by, to my relief, the rest of my children.
She’s holding Valeria in her arm and motioning for the other children to go ahead of her.
Vincenzo is carrying Aurelio on his back, who is sucking on his thumb.
They run inside through the sliding glass door, and I hastily put my gun away before being tackled by them.
Their faces are dirty and tear stricken. They must have been terrified. They shouldn’t have to go through something like this.
But where is she?
“Bernadette, where is my wife?” I ask as she puts Valeria in my arms.
Bernadette’s hopeful smile falls. “I’m sorry, sir, but she was taken away by the men who broke in, right after giving birth.”