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Running (Caruso Mafia 1) by Nova Mason Book

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Running (Caruso Mafia 1) by Nova Mason Read Book Online And Download

Overview: Luca

She wasn’t the bride I thought I was getting when I signed the marriage contract, but she’s the one I want and the one I’ll get.


She was the Don’s unknown daughter until she broke into our compound, kicked me in the balls, and shot her uncle.


Rising tensions and a need for vengeance have my hellcat running from me and the life she was born for. I don’t care how far she runs or how long of a trail of blood we need to leave. Eventually I will get her to stop running and shackle her to me with those two sweet word.


I do.


Elena

I’ve been on the run all my life. Fighting defense. Why not switch to offense, cause a little chaos? Right a few wrongs.


I came to Chicago to get a Kidney to save my mother’s life.


Now, I’m thinking I can check a few other items off my to-do list while I’m here. My father won’t know what hit him. I’ll get my vengeance and be on my way. No distractions.

Running (Caruso Mafia 1) by Nova Mason Book Read Online And Download Epub Digital Ebooks Buy Store Website Provide You.
Running (Caruso Mafia 1) by Nova Mason Book





Running (Caruso Mafia 1) by Nova Mason Book Read Online Chapter One


THERE IS NOTHING quite like being summoned to the Don’s private office at seven am on a Monday morning to start your week off right. Yes, that is sarcasm. It’s been a rough couple of days and I just want to get on with my normal shit. I am tired and still seething from the betrayal I discovered. 

On Saturday evening I got a call from the Port Master at our docks. He claimed our usual shipment of guns had been delayed. I don’t like kinks or deviations in our plans. Call me controlling, but when you sit at the table of a multi-billion dollar mafia empire that was built on blood with enemies searching for ways to extract more, you crave control. Demand it even. 

Not willing to accept the delay as is, I hopped into my SUV with my closest men. Massimo my best friend and trusted enforcer, Val my blood brother and rising hacker, and Al my driver and bodyguard. I’d like to say I don’t need a bodyguard. I can handle business and defend myself just fine. I don’t, however, have eyes in the back of my head. For that I am thankful for his presence. He has saved my life on more than one occasion. Both literally and physically preventing me from getting stabbed in the back.

Being raised by the Underboss of the Caruso Family Mafia, I was made to be cold, calculating, and above all, loyal. Those three qualities are necessary for not only survival but success in our line of work. Being cold means I don’t trust easy. Trust in my world could get you killed. My lack of trust was why after hanging up the phone, I had a gut feeling something wasn’t right.

Could shipments be delayed due to unforeseen circumstances that were in no way malicious? Of course. Was my gut agreeing that this was one of those times? Absolutely not.

The Port Master had been in our pocket for years. He was mid fifties, married with a couple of kids. Seemed like an okay guy, though I couldn’t be bothered to learn his name. It’s why I always called him Port Master.

While on our way to the docks I had Val dig into his finances. It was the first place I always looked when I got a suspicion. Money talked and to shady fucks with no honor, loyalty could be bought. 

Unfortunately for him, I was right. Val had accessed a bank account in his name that had been opened two days prior. A deposit of a half a million dollars had been made. Val traced the money through some offshore accounts where it had been bounced around in an effort to hide the trail before finding out the Irish Mob had initiated the transfer. 

Before we got to the docks, ten minutes after our call, and five minutes after Val found the money, the Post Master had a change of heart. It was too late to be acquitted, but I listened anyway. He was immediately remorseful and pleaded for leniency. Said he was paid to report a delay in our shipment so the Irish could arrive before our men and steal our cargo. He continued to beg for forgiveness and said that once he hung up he felt the guilt and knew he had to make it right. 

Once arriving at the docks, the Port Master and I, whose name I learned was Fred, had a conversation between my fists and his face. I hit him several times even though he started apologizing and begging for mercy immediately. 

Ruthless. That was what my men called me. I had no patience for traitors. Even though Fred was not a soldier he was a paid employee. That warranted loyalty that he didn’t have. Fred learned the cost of his betrayal, one he wasn’t done paying yet. He was still breathing. For now.

After his initial beating he gave us all the details he knew on the Irish’s plan. We had about an hour before they would arrive. Which was enough time for me to gather a small army of men and have them hidden in the warehouse in strategic locations to take out the men the Irish sent.

It was a blood bath. One that resulted in no loses on our side, and complete obliteration of theirs. After my men cleaned up the scene, I reminded Fred once more what would happen if he ever betrayed the Caruso Family again. I hadn’t forgiven him. Not even close. And just because he was breathing now. Didn’t mean he would be for long. 

Walking down the hall with the Don’s office door in my sights, I wondered if I was about to regret letting Fred continue to breathe. I didn’t make a habit of second guessing myself, so these thoughts only added to the swirling of emotions that had no place in my head.

Would the Don question my decision to let him live? He had turned himself in before he caused any damage to our operation or cost us any money and I was confident he wouldn’t make that mistake again. Besides, he’d only be breathing long enough to get a suitable replacement in at the docks. The men under my direct command were keeping a close eye on him. He wouldn’t run or try to betray us further without a bullet between the eyes.

The Don has been in a mood lately. If he found my actions lacking I would be punished severely. I have yet to be punished by the Don and I don’t plan on ever being so. My father, on the other hand was quick to the belt when I was growing up. As his firstborn son, I was his heir. My actions reflected on him so he saw it as his obligation to correct my wrongdoings swiftly and harshly. 

In my youth, I hated his lessons. I will never admit it to him, but now I am grateful for them. Learning the harsh realties of life in the mafia early kept me vigilant and has allowed me to move up the ranks quickly even with his name and position giving me leverage above others.

Fear of the whip made me the successful man I am today, and while I do not yet have the title of Underboss, I have been admitted into the Don’s inner circle and granted a place at the table. An honor only two other men currently share. My father, and the Don’s Uncle Santo, his Consigliere. Otherwise known as adviser.

My father, the Underboss, Ricco Mariani has been Don Bosco Caruso’s best friend for years. They make an unlikely pair. While the Don is barely thirty, my father is in his mid-forties. My father is shorter at five foot eleven with a budding beer gut, or more accurately, a whiskey gut. The Don is six foot four and built like a linebacker. Before they were friends, my father was a lowly soldier. He would have likely stayed one if he hadn’t gone down the wrong alley for a delivery twelve years ago. 

He had a bag full of cocaine. It was meant to be dropped inside the back door of a local strip joint. Payment had already been made and the details of the drop confirmed. Ricco turned left into an alley a half a block too earlier. Luckily for Don Bosco that he did because he was laying on the ground with three grown men kicking everywhere their boots could reach. My dad hollered for them to stop and pulled his gun out from under his shirt. The men stopped but none of them had run off like he had thought they would. Instead they called his assumed bluff and returned to kicking the crap out of the future Don. 

Ricco pulled the trigger quickly. He hit two men in the chest. The third ducked behind a dumpster before he could be hit and attempted to fire back. While Ricco kept the third man focused on him. Don Bosco was able to crawl to where his own gun had been tossed during the scuffle. Instead of going for a kill shot, he got the third in the kneecap before pistol whipping him into unconsciousness. 

Four hours later, my dad and future Don had the body of the last guy hanging from meat hooks in the warehouse. His face unrecognizable and body ripped to shreds with the various tools they had used to extract information on the attacker’s bosses. They learned the beating had been a planned attack to take out the future Don by the Irish.

After that day they were inseparable and my dad moved up the ranks to Capo within months. Once Bosco took over as Don from his father, he immediately promoted him to Underboss. It caused a rift in the family for several months. The Underboss was a position given to blood. Much like the Don’s position it was inherited by a male son. 

Don Bosco was seen as stomping on that tradition until it became common knowledge that his father’s Underboss had been secretly selling skin on the side. He had been using the family’s clubs as hunting grounds with his son leading the drugging and kidnapping of single women off of the dance floor. 

The Caruso Family may sell drugs, run guns, own sex clubs and strip joins but human trafficking was a hard limit. The Underboss and his son were given a slow death and the rest of their family was banished to Italy where members of the old family would keep a close eye on them.

I take a deep breathe. My muscles are tense. I don’t remember the last time I had a day off. There is too much going on now. I should find myself a release soon though. Perhaps I’ll check on Vivid, one of our newer nightclubs tonight. Even on a Monday it should be busy which means I’ll have my pick of any number of women. 

Standing at the closed door to the office. I need one last moment to myself before I go in. Too bad I don’t get it. 

No sooner do I take my breath in than do I hear the piercing scream of an excited young girl. Milan, the Don’s eight year old daughter runs down the hall and launches herself at my legs. 

“Luca, did you come to play with me today?” She asks. Her bright green eyes stare up at me. Her blond hair is a mess of curls. Her mother hates her hair. Ravinia is a woman whose pride and joy is her looks. She is as vain as they come. I swear she spends half her day in front of her mirror, and hundreds of thousands of dollars on cosmetics and surgery. Which is absurd. The woman is barely thirty. There is no way she needed that much work done yet. Milan is a near identical copy of her mother, with the exception of her hair. The color is a near match to the professional dye but where Milan’s is curly and unruly, Ravinia’s is pin straight. 

I don’t have time to play today. Nor do I want to play. 

Milan is a sweet girl. Most of the time. It depends on how closely her mother is watching her that day. Milan craves her mother’s attention and affection and often times acts out because of it. Dealing with her tantrums and meltdowns is not something I have time or patience to deal with today. It requires a gentle hand and with all the shit going on, I know I will be anything but gentle. 

I take another deep breathe, school my face so my anger doesn’t show. “Sorry Milan.” I squat down as she releases my legs. Getting eye level with her should help ease the blow I am about to land. “I’ve got a lot of work to do today. Maybe another day.” I keep my voice as soft as I can.

Tears start to well in her eyes. Damn. “You always say that and you never do! I just want to be friends.” With that she turns and runs back down the hall. Mario, her guard is standing at the bottom of the stairs watching her. He opens his arms for her to crash into.

“Come on Cupcake, why don’t we go have a tea party?” The man has the patience of a saint. He’s surprisingly good with kids, particularly Milan. It’s not a common trait for a man in the mafia. For him it’s a huge benefit seeing as he is Milan’s personal guard.

I scrub my hand down my face. I am not in the mood for this crap. It’s too early and I need some coffee. Maybe I won’t wait until tonight to get a girl. Maybe I’ll swing by the strip club and have one of them suck me off. They are always eager to give attention to a man of the family. It’s one of the reasons I normally avoid using them. 

I give the door a more aggressive knock than intended. “Get in here Luca.” Grunts the boss. I enter. My eyes scanning the room for threats. There aren’t any. There never should be any in this room. It’s more protected than the White House. Armed guards outside and on the roof, an army of German Shepherds roaming the yard, and a state of the art security system are among the layers of protection at the Don’s house. Even knowing this, my training is engraved in my being. Securing a room is habit. 

Two opposing walls of the office have floor to ceiling bookshelves. Scattered among the books are a few trinkets. Gifts given to him as signs of respect or thanks. Tucked in the right corner by the door I just entered are two dark brown Queen Anne chairs. Between them is an antique mahogany chess table. The ongoing game between Don Bosco and my father sits idle. To my left is a leather rolled arm sofa on which my father sits. 

I walk further into the room. Keeping my back to the wall as usual. Satisfied that the room holds no immediate threats, I allow my eyes to move to the Don. He is seated behind his desk. Two large, bulletproof windows on either side of the wall behind him allow me to see part of the compound beyond. For safety reasons the Don’s mansion is set on fifty acres just outside the city of Chicago. There is a ten foot wall with cameras that surrounds the land with armed guards that patrol it day and night. 

“You wanted to see me Boss.” I say as I lean my hip against a bookshelf. It gives me the best viewpoint of the entrances to the room. The door to my left and the windows behind the Don to my right. The Don raises his eyes from his paperwork. He puts his pen down and relaxes back into his chair. If I didn’t know any better I would say he was relaxed, calm even. His eyes say different. Something is haunting him. More than the usual. 

There is another knock at the door and before the Don answers Santo enters. He crosses the room without a word and takes his usual perch behind the Don. His back resting against one of the high window ledges. Arms crossed over his chest. He looks more agitated than usual today. His normally crisp all black suit is wrinkled and his tie is loosened. I wonder if whatever I have been called in for is the reason behind his appearance. A quick glance at my father’s well pressed suit and emotionless expression have me mildly second guessing that thought.

“Take a seat son.” Says the Don as he gestures to one of the chairs in front of his desk. Fuck. He only asks men to sit if he’s got bad news. I can’t show fear. The Don hates fear. I mask my face. Ensuring I show no emotion. The chair is mildly comfortable. I won’t relax. Can’t. 

There are another few minutes of silence. I want to speak, yet I know better. This could be a test. Teachings from my childhood taught me that weak men, men who have something to hide don’t like silence. I am neither. So silent I stay.

“How did the shipment at the docks go? I heard there was a problem.”

“Yes Don. The Port Master had been contacted by the Irish. He accepted a bribe to report our shipment delayed. The Irish intended to intercept the package.” I state the facts as I continue to detail the events. No fluff. The Don already knows what happened at the Port. It would have been reported to him by one of his Captains. 

“I take it he understands the predicament he put us in.” Meaning does the man know he is dead if he tries to screw us over again. 

“Yes Don. I spoke with him myself.” Less with words and more with fists. I give a smile to the Don as I flex my fingers. His eyes focus on my bruised knuckles. A rare smile crosses his lips. “With several more shipments coming in over the next few weeks I have allowed him to keep breathing. For the moment. He is being closely watched until I get his replacement.”

“Very good. You have always done well Luca.”

“Thank you Don.”

“Your loyalty has been tested many times. I hear you were even approached by the Russians.” Santo tenses at the Don’s statement. No one in our family likes the Russians. They are loose cannons. They took over Boston a few years ago. Not that we Italians had much territory there to begin with. Our focus is Chicago, New York, Las Vegas, Detroit, and San Francisco. The five families have each claimed a city. Chicago is Caruso territory. The heads of those families make up the Council. They make the laws that we mafia men live by. 

I hadn’t told the Don I was approached. It wasn’t a secret but as I am approached at least once a month by rivals, I no longer feel the need to report each attempt. My allegiance is to the Caruso family. I handle those spontaneous meetings the same as I always have. With a bullet between the eyes of the messenger and his head on the doorstep of the family who provoked me. 

“Yes sir. Mishkin thought he could buy my loyalty.”

“How much?” Asks Santo. His arms have dropped to his side. I can see the interest in his eyes. Does he believe I can be bought? That there may be even a drop of disloyalty in me?

My blood boils at the thought. My fingers itch to grab my gun and shoot him. I am as loyal as they come. I would give my life to this family. “Does it matter? There is no price I am willing to accept from any other family for my loyalty.”

The Don claps his hands as he stands. His eyes stay trained on me as he rounds his desk. “That’s why I chose you Luca.” Chose me? “I have never doubted your loyalty. I can see the fire in your eyes. If I asked you to shoot your father. Right here. Right now. You would do it.” It’s not a question. 

Without flinching or hesitating I retrieve my gun from its holster, flick off the safety, and aim it at my father. “Head or chest?” 

“Which would you choose?” He questions. His eyes are alight with excitement. He loves pain. He lives for it. While other Dons keep their hands clean once they take the throne, Don Bosco did not. 

I pray this is a test. I don’t really want to shoot my father. He may have been stern and unrelenting in his punishments, but he was otherwise good to me and my family. Showed me love but taught me to fight and defend the family. “Depends on what he did. Does he deserve to suffer? If so I can do a shot to the abdomen or knee to start.”

The Don laughs. A hearty laugh that shakes his belly. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the noise. I’m fairly certain my father hasn’t either judging by the look he is giving him. 

“Put the gun away son.” Don says as his chuckle fades away. “I knew you were ruthless but damn. You really would have shot your father without a second thought. Ricco remind me not to piss off your son when he takes over.”

Takes over? Takes over what? 

I look to my father. His face gives nothing away accept he looks proud. 

“What am I taking over?”

“No worries son. It won’t be for a few more years. We’ve got time to train you before the wedding.” He goes back to sitting behind his desk.

“Wedding?” Shit. Don’t tell me it’s what I think it is. “Who’s wedding?”

Don smiles proudly at me. Then gives a nod to my dad who stands and moves to stand next to me. “Yours son.”

Fuck, that’s what I thought they were going to say.

“What I am about to tell you stays in this room.” I nod to the Don. “Ravinia and I have been trying for another child since Milan was born. I need an heir. No number of treatments have helped. The latest round of IVF has failed. Again.”

Manners tells me to offer my condolences, though emotion is rarely seen within these walls. It is no secret that the Don needs a son. The Council requires the Don to have a direct blood connection to the family or a new family will take control. It has only happened three times among the families in America and each time it brought chaos and war. Leaving all cities weakened to our enemies. Before I can speak the Don continues.

“With no male heir, the position will go to my daughter’s husband as long as the Council approves. I’m sure you can understand the predicament that puts us in.” I nod. She will need a strong husband. One with good standing within the family. Someone close to the inner circle. “I have arranged a marriage for Milan. In ten years’ time, she will marry my chosen successor.”

The Don smiles as he puts his hand on my shoulder and gives a squeeze. Shit. 

“You my boy. You will marry Milan and become the next Don.”

Fuck.

“Sir?” I can’t tell him no. I’ve never given thought to being Don. I knew my place would be Underboss and I have worked hard to prepare for the position. Regardless, I won’t turn it down. I can’t. It would be the biggest insult to him and Milan to do so. 

He releases my shoulder and walks to the window. “You are the closest thing I have to a son. I trust you. I trust you to lead this family and I trust you will treat Milan with respect.”

“Of course sir.”

“Then it’s settled. The Council has already agreed. The contracts just need your signature.”

Santo places three stacks of paper on the desk. A copy for the Council, one for the Don, and one for me. I pick up the pen. My hand hesitating briefly. A moment of regret washes over me. I had not thought much of marrying. When I did, I assumed it would be with a woman I had chosen for myself. One I loved or lusted over and would be a good mother to my children like my mother was to me. If Milan remains her mother’s shadow I have no doubt I will neither love nor lust for her, and our children will be getting a team of nannies to raise them so as to minimize her influence over their upbringing. I will not allow my children to turn out like her. I need strong not spoiled heirs.

I am sure to keep my thoughts to myself. The Don need not know my true thoughts on his wife and daughter, though I suspect from whispered conversations between him and my father, that his views are the same as mine. 

Another stab of remorse hits me as I sign the first copy. I am devout to all oaths I take. Marriage is to be for life. Forsaking all others. If I am to take the oath of marriage as seriously as I do all things in life, then once I am married the only woman in my bed will be Milan. My balls seem to shrivel at the thought. I make a promise to myself to avoid her until she turns eighteen. It’s already weird enough to know that I am thirteen years her senior and held my future wife the day she was born. I shudder at the memory. 

Nope. If I am to ever perform my duties as a husband, I cannot interact with her while she is still a child. We will not wed until she is eighteen and we do not require to date or have a long engagement as this is an arranged marriage.

As for my needs in the meantime. As long as I keep things respectful to the Don and not be seen with a woman on my arm in public or sire any children until that time, I am free to sow my oats. 

I scrawl my name on the remained two contracts. 

“Welcome to the family son.” Don pulls me into a quick hug before releasing me. “Let’s get started on your training.”

Ten years. 

Ten years before I am a married man. To a girl that not an hour ago ran away from me crying.

Great. 


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