KON (Trassato Crime Family Book 2)(3)

By: Lisa Cardiff



I turned to Nico DeAngelo, my date for the wedding. Technically, this qualified as our third or fourth date. Maybe more. I’d lost count. Like so many other things in my life, I didn’t care. So what? Nico had taken me out couple of times. We hadn’t kissed, though, and it felt like going out with a friend more than anything else.

Two weeks before my dad died nearly three months ago, he demanded I give Nico a chance. I wanted to say no. I needed to say no, but I couldn’t because there was no way I could have confessed I’d agreed to some sort of relationship with Konstantin Trincher. He was already on edge about Gian’s relationship with Evie. While Alix Trincher kept his word and backed off, my dad didn’t believe he’d go away without a fight.

“Do you want to dance?” One corner of his lips perked up like he was the keeper of a million naughty secrets. By almost anyone’s standards, Nico qualified as handsome. He had icy blue bedroom eyes, long lashes that actually curled, pouty lips, and an angular chin with the cleft in the dead center. I’d seen the way other women ogled him. Heck, my cousin Ava practically drooled every time she looked at him. She resorted to draping herself over him during the cocktail hour like a cheap dress, and I couldn’t summon a flicker of jealousy. Without uttering a single objection, I walked away. She could have him. It’d save me a lot of trouble.

“I’m not done eating,” I lied.

He held out one hand, palm up. “Dance with me.” It wasn’t a question. It was a demand, which didn’t surprise me. As long as I’d known him, he never politely requested anything. He took what he wanted, and apparently he’d got it in his head that he wanted me.

I slipped my hand into his and followed him to the dance floor, joining five or six other couples. Grinning down at me, he closed his arms around my waist. I stared at him, hoping to feel something.

A quiver of my stomach. A double thud of my heart. A flicker of lust. A flare of disgust.


When the couples started swirling into motion around us, I gave up and hooked my arms around his neck. We danced to a song about loving a man like you were going to lose him. I’d already lost the only man I’d ever love so the whole song felt depressing rather than romantic.

“You look beautiful,” Nico murmured next to my ear.

“You think so?”

His hands tightened around my waist. “I do.”

“Really?” I tipped up my head, catching his eyes. “I kind of thought canary yellow wasn’t my color.” I wasn’t lying. It brought out the yellow undertone of my skin and made me look jaundiced.

He spun me away from him, probably to avoid responding to my comment, and snapped me back into his waiting arms.

“You look beautiful in any color,” his said, brushing his thumb along my cheek.

A wave of heat rolled up my face and with it a spark of hope. Maybe a relationship with Nico would work. With his position in the Trassato family, he could untangle the promise I’d made to Konstantin and maybe, just maybe, I’d be content, if not happy.

Nico froze mid-step. A hush fell over the room.

“What’s going on?”

“Goddammit. I told her to stay away.” His hands dropped from my waist and his eyebrows flattened into a straight line, highlighting the rigid pinch of skin in the middle.

“Who?” I glanced over my shoulder. A woman in a black shift dress with a young boy on her hip hovered near the entrance to the room. I squinted, trying to bring her into focus. “Wait. Isn’t that your sister?”

I hadn’t seen Nico’s sister in years. She’d been banished from our life after she ended up pregnant three years ago. Apparently, she’d been dating some guy on and off again, and he split for good when he found out about her pregnancy, or least that was the rumor circulating about her.

I didn’t understand why anyone considered it a big deal. She was twenty-four not sixteen, and there were plenty of successful single mothers in the world. Although it wasn’t the kiss of death anymore, the family didn’t see it that way. She disappeared from our circle of acquaintances and no one had seen her since. Until tonight.

Nico cut across the dance floor, his hands buried deep in the pockets of his black suit pants. Without thinking twice, I trailed behind him, wanting to defuse the situation. Nico normally kept a tight leash on his emotions, but from the stiff set of his shoulders, I feared he planned to draw blood. “Gemma,” Nico growled. “What are you doing here?”

She shifted the little boy to her other hip. “I lost the keys to my apartment. I’ve called and texted you a hundred times, and you haven’t responded. I didn’t have any choice. It’s not like I can sit at Lanelle’s house all night with Marco Rocky. It’s already past his bedtime, and you’re the only one with a spare key.”

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