KON (Trassato Crime Family Book 2)(4)

By: Lisa Cardiff

“Rocky? His middle name is Rocky?” I blurted out, ignoring the way saying my dead fiancé’s childhood nickname knifed through my chest. Seeing that he hated the nickname, only Rocco’s mom and I used it. He thought it sounded childish, and had stopped acknowledging it by the time he turned twelve. Most people called him Rocco or Little Rock because he was named after his dad.

Her dark eyes cut to me, and her mouth contorted into what could only be called a snarl. “Nico, what are you doing with her?”

Nico patted her shoulder. “Come on, Gemma. This isn’t the time or the place. I’ll walk you out.”

“Not until you tell me what’s going on with Carmela Trassato.” She spat my name like a dirty word.

“She’s my date. Now, c’mon. Let’s take this outside. Nothing good is gonna happen by staying here.” His hand circled her upper arm, and he pulled her toward the exit.

“Your date?” She snatched her arm away. “Are you serious? Please tell me you’re not serious. You wouldn’t date her after everything, right?”

Clueless what I did to piss her off, my attention ping-ponged between Nico and his sister. I’d only met her a handful of times, and she was more Ava’s friend than mine. They hung around a fast crowd, whereas my parents practically kept me under lock and key until I graduated from high school.

“What did I do?”

“You and your family did plenty.” She lifted her finger, aiming it at me like a loaded gun, and I backpedaled a few steps.

“That’s enough,” Nico barked. “Carmela doesn’t have anything to do with this. You made your bed, and if you want to see another dollar from me, you’ll shut the fuck up and march your ass outta here right now.”

She blinked away a few tears. “So that’s it? You’re choosing her over me too?”

The muscle in the lower half of his jaw ticking, Nico pulled a keychain from his pocket. “Grow up, Gemma. Not everything revolves around you.”

Gemma’s shoulders sagged, and she held out her open hand. “Fine. Whatever you say. Just give me the key, and I’ll leave.”

“Take my car.” He dropped the keys into her palm. “I’ll stop by later and we can talk.”

She unthreaded a key and tossed the keychain at Nico’s chest. It bounced off and clattered to the floor. “Lanelle’s waiting outside. I don’t need you or your stupid car. Facia bruta.”

She spun on her heel and stomped away. What a drama queen.

“Sorry about that.” Nico took my hand. “Are you okay?”

“What was that about?”

“Nothing. She’s bitter about the way her life turned out, and she doesn’t have anyone to blame except herself. She made a lot of bad decisions over the past few years, and she refuses to accept responsibility and move on with her life.”

“I’m going to the bathroom. I’ll catch up with you in a few minutes.”

“Don’t worry about it. I need to talk to Dominick anyway. Come find me when you’re ready to go.”

He planted a kiss on the corner of my mouth. I drew his spicy scent into my lungs and hooked my hands around his neck. I kissed him back, barely a faint touch, lingering for a few seconds when a husky noise rumbled from his lips. He opened his mouth and moved his tongue against mine.

Deep. Possessive. Hungry.

It’d been too long since I kissed a man. Over three years to be exact. The last time I saw Rocco looped through my brain like a horror movie and I staggered back, ending the kiss. I blinked twice trying to bring everything into focus. I couldn’t believe I had kissed Nico.

He squeezed my hand, a grin splashed across his face. “Go do what you need to do. I’ll be waiting for you.”

I nodded numbly and rushed out of the ballroom, ignoring the stares from the guests. I needed a few minutes alone and not only due to the weird confrontation with Nico’s sister, but also because everyone’s prying eyes were directed at me. I couldn’t count the number of times people pumped me for information about when I planned to get married. I wished they’d shut up and mind their own business. So what? My twin brother beat me to the altar. I was twenty-eight, not thirty-eight. I had time.

“Carmela Trassato?” A man with a black hoodie and jeans stepped out of the shadows, and a chill darted down my spine.


He shoved a white envelope against my stomach. “This is for you.”

I frowned, tearing it out of his hand. “Who are you?”

“No one important.” He turned, heading toward to exit.

I sat on a cobalt blue bench near the bathroom and ripped open the envelope, my hands shaking and dread suffocating me.

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