Isabella's mother remarried, and Isabella was forced to become the stepsister of the current mafia boss, Emanuele. This man was bloodthirsty and ruthless, aiming a gun at her the first time they met, and attempting to strangle her on their second encounter. She vowed to stay away from this demon of a man. However, later on, she discovered that Emanuele liked to hold her, kiss her, possess her, and even made her the most celebrated bride in the world.
Chapter 1 The First Meeting, He Wanted to Kill Her
Isabella Gould, just off a tiring workday, was hurrying to her stepfather's house.
In a bid to save time, Isabella took a shortcut through an alley she didn't know well, a decision that would soon haunt her. The time was about 6:30 PM, and the streets of Chicago had an eerie, unsettling quiet about them. The alley was poorly lit, damp, and gave off a vibe that made Isabella's skin crawl – she felt like she was being watched from the moment she stepped in.
Suddenly, 'bang, bang', two shots rang out, shattering the night. Isabella's instincts screamed at her to run, but before she could even process the thought, she felt a hot, hard presence against her temple.
"Take the bullet out of my arm," a deep, male voice demanded, the gun's barrel pressed mercilessly against her temple. The man's scent, a heavy mix of blood and the warmth of his body, enveloped her, his presence overpowering, almost suffocating.
Isabella, trembling and not wanting to escalate the situation, stuttered in response, "Sir... I... I don’t know how to—"
"Don't play dumb! You smell of antiseptic, you're obviously from a hospital," he growled, his voice rough and strained, his breathing labored. With a forceful motion, he pushed a Swiss army knife into her cold, trembling hands. It was clear – refusal wasn't an option; it was either do as told or face potentially deadly consequences.
Realizing the gravity of the situation, Isabella, a medical student who had just started her internship, figured that this man had been observing her since she left the hospital. In a city like Chicago, such brazen use of a gun could only mean one thing – mafia. And though Isabella had always loathed the very idea of the mafia, at that moment, her priority was survival. Nodding, she cautiously used the knife to pry open the man's wound and remove the bullet.
Under normal circumstances, such a procedure would require proper lighting and anesthesia, but there, in the dimly lit alley, with a man whose intentions were unknown, Isabella had to rely on her basic medical training and sheer nerve. Fortunately, the bullet hadn't hit an artery. Working with trembling hands and sweat beading her forehead, she could only hope the man wouldn't lose his cool from the pain and accidentally shoot her.
As she worked, the blood flowed freely, but the man bore it with only grunts, keeping the gun steadily trained on her forehead. Isabella, despite the dire situation, couldn't help but marvel at his endurance. The bullet, finally removed, fell to the ground with a soft clink.
His strength waning, Isabella found herself instinctively supporting him. "Sir, you need to be bandaged. I have some supplies in my bag," she offered, her voice barely above a whisper.
Fortunately, Isabella, perhaps due to professional habit, had some first aid items in her backpack. Regardless of who the man was, or his connections to the mafia, her training as a future doctor kicked in – she was compelled to offer aid.
A flicker of something – surprise, perhaps – crossed the man's eyes. He gestured with his gun, a silent order for her to continue.
Isabella worked quickly and efficiently, disinfecting the wound, stitching it up, and finally wrapping it in a bandage. "Done," she announced, her voice steady despite the adrenaline coursing through her veins.
But as she finished, the cold barrel of the gun was once again pressed against her forehead. "Ah... sir..." Isabella's face turned deathly pale, her heart pounding in her chest, her eyes wide with a mix of fear and disbelief.
"No one can know about this, especially you," the man stated coldly, his finger slowly tightening on the trigger. There was no trace of gratitude in his eyes, only a ruthless intent to keep his secret safe.
Isabella's mind raced with despair, her throat constricted with fear, making it hard for her to even breathe, let alone scream for help. She desperately needed to escape, but the deserted streets around her offered no solace, no hint of a safe haven.
Then, her eyes caught sight of something that sent a fresh wave of horror through her – a body lying motionless in a nearby shadow, blood pooling ominously around it. He was dead, undoubtedly killed by the man before her.
This realization wrapped Isabella in a cloak of despair. She could almost feel the lingering warmth emanating from the corpse, a stark reminder of the fragility of life.
And now, was she about to meet the same fate?
Just at that moment, the man's phone rang, cutting through the tense silence of the alley. He hesitated for a fraction of a second before pressing the gun harder against her throat, sliding it suggestively down her neck and resting it on her heaving chest. Only then did Isabella realize that her white shirt, damp with sweat, clung tightly to her body, outlining her figure in a way that felt both vulnerable and provocative.
As the phone's ringtone echoed in the silent alley, like a macabre soundtrack to her predicament, the man glanced around and took out his phone. The screen displayed a call from "Father."
"Alright, I'm on my way back," he spoke briefly, his voice a mix of resignation and urgency, before ending the call and turning his attention back to the pale-faced, terrified girl before him.
In the dim light of the alley, Isabella's soft features, her doe-like eyes now shadowed by the specter of death, appeared all the more fragile, like a porcelain doll on the brink of shattering.
He glanced at his injured arm and then, with a cold, almost clinical detachment, tapped her cheek with the gun barrel. "You're lucky there's a celebration today," he said, his tone devoid of any warmth.
Ten minutes after the man had left, Isabella slowly regained her composure, although tears continued to stream uncontrollably down her face, her legs giving way beneath her, her entire being shaking with a mixture of relief and residual terror.
She had encountered a devil today – a real-life devil, a member of the mafia, bold and ruthless enough to commit murder in the streets without a second thought, trampling the very notion of law and justice underfoot.
All she hoped for now was to never cross paths with him again.
With a deep breath, Isabella mustered the courage to leave the alley, not daring to linger or even glance at the corpse. She quickly cleaned herself of the blood and then, with a heavy heart, continued her journey to her stepfather's home.
Recently, Isabella's mother, Sophia Hurley, had just gotten engaged to Leo Lombardi, the former head of the mafia. Tonight was her first time joining them for dinner, which also included Leo's son and daughter. Who would have thought her mother, only in her forties, would marry a man nearly seventy?
Isabella didn't want to go. As a regular girl, she had led a straight-laced life for twenty-two years. Her circle was ordinary and far removed from the mafia. After tonight's encounter with the crazed killer, she was even more convinced that the damned mafia should be extinct like dinosaurs.
But her mother had made it clear: if she didn't come tonight, they would sever their mother-daughter relationship. With no choice, Isabella agreed to attend. Leo Lombardi's estate in the outskirts of Chicago was vast, with a guard every ten steps, heavily fortified. After Isabella identified herself, the guards thoroughly searched her before letting her in.
Following the butler through the sprawling halls of the villa, Isabella was immediately embraced by Sophia upon seeing her. "My darling, I knew you'd come," her mother said, her voice a mix of relief and joy, as she kissed Isabella's cheek.
"Mom, you look beautiful today," Isabella managed to say, her voice tinged with a weariness that belied the simple compliment.
Sophia, radiant in a champagne-colored gown with a fish-tail skirt adorned with tiny diamonds, shone under the crystal lights of the villa, her appearance reminiscent of a mermaid in a fairytale. However, she seemed somewhat unimpressed with Isabella's choice of attire – a dark green shirt and a black long skirt, which, while modest, were only made attractive by Isabella’s natural youth and beauty.
"You're working now; you could dress up a bit more for these gatherings," Sophia chided gently, patting Isabella's shoulder. "And why do you smell of blood?"
Isabella hastily explained, "Maybe... from the hospital," her voice barely hiding the turmoil she had just experienced.
Sophia, perhaps sensing her daughter's discomfort, didn't press further and instead led Isabella into the living room to meet her husband, Leo, and his daughter, Grazia. It was an intimate family gathering, not many guests invited, a contrast to the opulence of the villa and the weight of the names involved.
"Hello, Uncle Leo, hello, Grazia," Isabella greeted them cautiously, her voice carrying a hint of uncertainty.
Leo, ever the considerate host, nodded warmly towards Isabella, a stranger to their world. "You're welcome here anytime. Just let the butler know," he said kindly, his voice carrying a note of genuine welcome.
Grazia, twelve years Isabella's senior and already married, took Isabella’s hand warmly, her grip firm and reassuring. Grazia had inherited Leo's sharp eyes, with her brown short hair, high cheekbones, and a decisive facial structure revealing an assertive and somewhat impatient nature.
"Isabella, I've heard so much about you from Sophia. You’re beautiful. Do you work at a hospital?" Grazia asked cheerfully, her voice carrying a mix of curiosity and warmth.
Isabella nodded in response, her mind still reeling from the earlier events.
"Then I can come to you if I ever have any health issues, that's great!" Grazia exclaimed, her cheerfulness a stark contrast to the tension that still clung to Isabella.
Grazia's bubbly demeanor eased Isabella's tension slightly, but her earlier brush with death still lingered in the back of her mind.
"But seriously, why hasn't Emanuele come back yet? It's already past seven. We're all waiting for him," Grazia complained, her tone shifting to one of mild irritation.
The mention of the name Emanuele made Isabella's heart skip a beat. Emanuele, a name that even someone as removed from their world as Isabella was familiar with. The head of the Chicago mafia at only thirty-two, his reputation was both feared and revered, his name alone enough to send shivers down the spine of anyone in the country. His notoriety, his body count, far exceeded any other figure in the underworld, making him a man to be both feared and, paradoxically, admired.
Despite his dangerous aura, his good looks, youth, and status had made him the object of many women's fantasies, a topic of hushed, awe-struck conversations even among Isabella's classmates, although she herself had never partaken in such discussions.
Smart and cautious as she was, Isabella had always hoped to limit her interactions with this world, especially after the harrowing ordeal she had just survived.
Just then, the sound of the door opening echoed through the villa, pulling Isabella from her thoughts. A man stepped in from the darkness outside, his presence immediately dominating the room.
He was towering, over one meter ninety, undeniably the tallest in the room, his build muscular and commanding. He was dressed in a black shirt with the top two buttons undone, casually revealing a glimpse of his solid chest. He exuded an aura akin to that of the fiercest wolf king, his presence both intimidating and magnetic.
His face was dignified and handsome, like that of a deity, framed by a strong jawline that only added to his imposing appearance. His deep hazel eyes, intense and cold, seemed to penetrate the very soul of anyone who dared meet his gaze, leaving them breathless.
Upon seeing his face, Isabella's body shook uncontrollably, a visceral reaction that she couldn't control. If not for Grazia's support, she might have collapsed right then and there.
It was him!!!