For the Love of Luca

By: Soraya Naomi

Chicago Syndicate, Volume 8








“I don’t think man was meant to attain happiness so easily. Happiness is like those palaces in fairy tales whose gates are guarded by dragons: we must fight in order to conquer it.” ~ Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo.





PROLOGUE


Fallon





I CAN HEAR MY PANICKED breaths roaring in my eardrums as I stand with trembling legs and the gun drops from my grasp, hitting the hardwood floor with a loud clunk. In complete disbelief, I gape at the body that’s sprawled by the couch, its beige fabric splattered with crimson streaks, and the stench of gunpowder infuses the air as I wipe the sweat from my upper lip.

“Oh my god!” Clutching my hair with my hands, I edge backward, away from the horrific crime scene, not knowing what to do. Not even Luca will be able to help me now.

Absolutely freaked, I run past the couch and go left down the hall, but when I reach our master bedroom, the elevator swooshes open and I stop.

Luca steps out and turns right into the kitchen, scrubbing a palm over his square, neatly trimmed jaw as he flings his keys onto the island. As always, his muscular, six-foot frame radiates power and control and his disheveled dark hair topples over his forehead, giving him a forbidding look.

Glancing to the side, he spots the blood on the cushions and freezes. Then, with infinite slowness, his gaze moves up and he looks down the hall to where I nervously stand in the doorway of our room. Our eyes meet, and his hard stare doesn’t release me from its hold.

Taking one step forward, he peeks between the couch and coffee table before his unrelenting glare lands back on me and he advances toward me, barking, “What have you done?!”

On instinct, I inch backward into the bedroom, but he grips my upper arms and lifts me to my tiptoes, repeating, “Fallon, what did you do?!”

My vision blurs as I say, “I-I had to defend myself! I’m innocent!”

Even though I’m not short, he towers over me, and as I smell his familiar citrus scent, I clench my fists to keep from pushing my hands into the V of his dress shirt, fighting the pull I feel toward him.

“And I’ve told you to obey me!” He releases me as if I’ve burned him, but neither of us moves as he ignores my profession of innocence.

I’m so tired of him being the underboss these days – constantly. The man who explains himself to no one yet expects everyone to submit to him.

His deep voice exudes sensuality as it skitters over my flesh, until his tone becomes dangerously low when he adds, “I don’t know what to do with you anymore...” Anger sweeps across his face as he glowers at me, and then all the sorrow of the past few weeks blisters to the surface while his vivid green eyes bore into me. “You have no idea what you’ve done, Fallon!” Spinning around, he moves to the vanity and looks at me in the mirror, clenching his jaw before swiping everything off, his tightly leashed self-control gone.

He isn’t the man who saved me and took care of me anymore. He’s no longer the man who promised to love me for the rest of my life and beyond on our wedding day.

“What are you going to do?” I ask hesitantly.

Turning around, he rubs a hand down his mouth and states resolutely, “You’re going to the Syndicate.”

“No!” Without thinking, I barge out of the room, hearing him curse when I escape.

“Fallon!” he roars and comes after me down the hall.

But I dash into the living room, jumping over the couch and snatching the revolver from the floor before racing across the room to the front door with him close behind.

When I reach the elevator, I press the button, swivel around, and aim the gun at Luca’s forehead, already knowing I’m screwed because I murdered a Syndicate member.

He stops dead in his tracks at first but then inches forward and orders in a lethal tone, “Lower the gun.”





CHAPTER 1


Luca




Four weeks ago





“NOAH, DON’T YOU DARE pee on me. You’ve done that to daddy twice already,” Fallon warns around a wide smile.

We lean over our three-month-old son while she changes his diaper on the glass desk in the office at Club 7, the dance club that I co-own with my boss and best friend, Adriano.