Authors: Rachel van Dyken
Eagle Elite Prequel
Rachel Van Dyken
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part, electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright violation.
Copyright © 2015 RACHEL VAN DYKEN
Cover Art by P.S. Cover Design
Fill (someone) with great delight; charm. The process of putting someone under a spell. EG: The blue of her eyes enchanted him—and he was forever lost to her.
He was everything a girl could hope for — everything she could dream up. Men like Luca Alfero only existed in my wildest fantasies. His brother Frank was quiet, always quiet, but Luca? He could wake the sun, moon, and stars — he could breathe life into the very dead. – Joyce Alfero
T WAS A DANGEROUS
game. Then again, life was dangerous. I toyed with the straw in my coke, teasing it between my ruby red lips, once, twice. Finally. He looked. I glanced down, as if ashamed of my bold behavior when really it was the exact opposite – it was on purpose, everything I did had a purpose when it came to him.
For fifteen years I’d been after one thing and one thing only.
He’d always been polite, cool, almost indifferent… which only propelled me further into the mad obsession I had to steal his heart—make it beat for me and only me.
“Woman,” A gruff voice said next to me, “You may as well be wearing a damn sign.”
“Frank.” I breathed a sigh of relief. “I didn’t see you there.”
He let out a grunt and ordered a whiskey on the rocks. “Story of my life, eh doll?”
“Was there something you needed?” I touched the string of pearls clasped around my neck, unable to stop the nervous gesture, my eyes wanting so desperately to glance to the left to see if Luca was watching.
Frank tilted his head, his stormy blue eyes kept me captive. Women were obsessed with Frank almost as much as I was obsessed with Luca. He was rumored to be the heir to the Alfero crime family, even though Luca had always been more ruthless in his killings as if he truly enjoyed taking life from others. I shivered half in fear and half in delight. Danger had always fascinated me. And Luca… he was fascinating.
“I wonder,” Frank took a long sip of his drink and leaned back against the counter. His white shirtsleeves were pulled up over muscular forearms, he was a big man, a menacing man, then again most men I knew, were. “What you’ve got planned for him next?”
“Coy,” He smirked, “I like it, gives the idea that you have absolutely no idea that you’re playing with fire and forgot to bring a bucket of water.”
I rolled my eyes.
He leaned in, the scent of his musky cologne caused me to hitch my breath. “But here’s something you don’t know… my brother will never look at you the way you want him to if you do nothing but shoot him sexual looks and paint your lips red. He may want you from afar, but he doesn’t have what’s needed to take you.”
“And you do?”
He tilted his head back and laughed, his tan throat mocking me almost as much as his musical laughter. “Perhaps.”
I tried to fight the flare of desire that ran through me. Frank looked at me the way I wanted Luca to look at me—with desire. But the desire was easily squashed down when I realized what he was saying… pick him, pick a different option, because I was going to fail.
“I don’t want you.”
“Don’t you?” He stopped laughing, “Seems to me that the only thing you’ve got on your mind is this… snag a boss, snag him fast.”
Bristling with irritation I clenched my teeth to keep from saying something that would get me killed.
“That’s ridiculous.” I crossed my arms. “Luca being the possible boss has nothing to do with my attraction to him.”
“Then it’s his… what? Overly friendly demeanor?” As if on cue a fight broke out near the side of the bar. Luca’s fists when flying as they connected with a man’s jaw and then his ribs. I winced and looked away, blood made me nervous but the way that man fought for it—well it did things to a girl. “Like I said,” Frank lifted his empty glass, “You’ve got no chance in hell.”
“I’ll do you one better.” He leaned in, his lips curving into a seductive smile that had me feeling faint. “I’ll make a wager with you.”
“I don’t gamble.”
“You’re in deep with us and you don’t even realize it. Doll, you’re one mistake away from being a comare.” He sighed, “And of course you gamble, it’s in your blood to bet against the odds, isn’t it?”
Damn the man for being perceptive. And damn him for basically labeling me a mafia whore. He knew nothing about my reasons behind wanting Luca—absolutely nothing. And being told I was a whore did nothing to push me away from my plan—if anything it fanned the flames.
He moved in, his body encasing mine against the bar, the heat radiating from his skin like a scorching fire. “You earn a kiss from Luca, hell you earn any sort of emotional reaction from the man, and I’ll pay for your hospital bills.”
“W-what?” My knees knocked together as my entire body threatened to collapse against him. How the hell did he know I was in the hospital? That I needed treatments?
“You heard me.” He whispered, his lips curving into a menacing smile. “Get’s expensive doesn’t it?”
“I have no idea—“
“—stop.” He tilted my chin toward him, his breath was hot on my face. “You win his affection, I save your life.”
Tears blurred my line of vision. So he knew.
He knew how bad it was.
He knew I didn’t have money to pay.
He was calling up my marker and forcing my hand.
Damn mafia, damn Alefero’s.
“Fine,” I pushed against him, “And if I fail?”
“You marry me.”
“W-what?” I screeched loud enough for people standing next to us to pause and take notice. My heart was beating so erratically I was worried I was going to pass out. Marry him while I loved someone else?
Frank leaned in, his lips curving into a predatory smile, “I need a wife. You’ll do.”
“You’re a bastard.” I hissed.
“I’m your savior.” He bit his bottom lip, “It’s a win-win, a sure bet, a sure thing. What could possibly go wrong? Either you win his affection, his heart, and his money, or you win me, and I clear your debt. Forever.”
I was making a deal with the devil. I knew it in my soul, I was making the wrong choice, a bad choice, but he was offering me my very life, how could I say no to that? When I so desperately wanted to live.
My hand shook as I held it out, “You have a deal.”
He gripped it tightly within his then jerked me against his chest. “That’s not how we make deals, doll.”
His mouth crashed over mine. The feeling, while I wanted to say it was unpleasant, was anything but. Warmth seeped into my cold lifeless veins, my body came to life, and just when my tongue brushed against his, he pulled back. “Deal.”
Luca was a young man while Frank was fifteen years his senior… what Luca lacked in maturity Frank made up for in spades. The man was a walking, talking, gangster. People rarely looked him in the eye and I knew that Luca wanted nothing more than to follow in his older brother’s footsteps. It’s why he chose not to feel, why he shied away from women. But not for long. I’m afraid to say, this story, does not end as most do — Happy. – Joyce Alfero