Own Her

By: Zoey Parker

A Dark Mafia Romance (Mancini Family Mafia)

Chapter 1


Six Months Ago

The rain drummed heavily on every surface, like thousands of nervous fingertips tapping. The jittery sound amplified Gio Mancini's own tension as he held an umbrella over his head, staring down at the short, rumpled mook begging and cringing on the ground. With his weak chin and the beady, blinking eyes behind his thick eyeglasses, he resembled an unearthed mole—dazed, terrified, defenseless—dragged from the safety of its tunnel.

There were bullet holes in the knees of the mook's trousers, and the blood that oozed from them was quickly carried away by the steady stream of rainwater on the pavement beneath him, creating a dozen cloudy pink rivers. The carefully-aimed hollow point rounds had blown one kneecap off completely and had reduced the other to a handful of gravel. Bits of bone peeked out from the ragged wounds, gleaming as the rain rinsed the blood from them.

Gio walked over to where the mook was lying on the ground and scowled down at him contemptuously. He delivered a savage kick to the splintered left knee and tried to enjoy the resulting shriek as chips of bone dislodged from the injured leg and skittered across the pavement like dice.

But all Gio could bring himself to feel was a wave of scorn and anger so powerful it was almost sickening.

Seven months ago, the mook shook Gio's hand, saying that his name was Francis Maserone and he was a CPA.

Two hours ago, Gio learned that neither of those things had been true.

Jimmy Pirelli, a longtime business associate who was visiting from Philadelphia for a wedding, saw through the disguise of the Mancini family's newest accountant at the reception. Even with four glasses of champagne in him, Jimmy recognized him as Special Agent Fred Masters who'd helped take down one of the largest organized crime families on the east coast three years before. Jimmy whispered this information to Gio's father Mario, who quietly took Gio aside and ordered him to erase the undercover scumbag from the face of the earth.

“First, though, make sure you find out what he's already seen and reported,” Mario insisted, “and do whatever it takes to learn whether we've got any other Feds crawling around us. If we can't at least take this opportunity to extract some useful information, then we'll have spent seven months with a rat chewing its way through our guts with nothing to show for it.”

So Gio returned to the reception, raised his glass, and loudly demanded that everyone in the room drink a toast “to Francis Maserone, the smartest motherfucker ever to balance a checkbook.” This sentiment was met with hearty agreement, and Gio saw him relax visibly, grinning from ear to ear as the Mancinis sitting around him clapped him on the back and kissed him on the cheek.

That's right, Gio thought smugly. Lap it up. You're the world's most secret fucking agent, and a bunch of dumb greasers like us could never suspect you in a million years. After seven long months, you can finally stop looking over your shoulder, right, you rat bastard?

And when the mook finally stood up, drained his last glass of champagne, and announced that he needed to head home before he fell over from all the dancing and drinking, Gio waited for him to leave before giving the nod to Bruno and Julius, two of the Mancini family's enforcers. Together, they caught up with him in the parking lot and choked him out before he could make a sound as he pissed his pants. He slumped over in Bruno's arms and Gio unbuttoned his shirt, revealing a small microphone taped on his chest.

The microphone was removed and smashed under the heel of Gio's imported Italian shoes, and the three men dumped him into the trunk of Julius' car, slamming it shut.

When the mook woke up, he found himself sprawled on the concrete outside of a warehouse at the edge of town. The sedan's headlights glared at him like twin interrogation lamps, and the cold rain soaked him to the bone. Gio stood over him holding a gun as Bruno and Julius waited in the car, its engine idling.

Before the mook could even open his mouth to speak, Gio shot him through both knees.

“That's just so you know where you stand, Agent Masters,” Gio spat as the man yowled in agony. “It's only going to get worse from here. The sooner you understand that, the quicker we can get this over with.”

Gio did his best to keep the gun steady in his hand, keep his voice level, and maintain a dead-eyed leer like the tough guys from the gangster movies he'd idolized as a kid. But this was only the third time his father had tasked him with killing someone, and the first time he'd specifically ordered the victim tortured for information first.

As Mario's only son, Gio's official status within the Mancini crime family was unique. Although he was widely accepted as the crown prince of the organization and received all the power and respect that entailed, at the age of twenty-four he still hadn't earned the rank of “made guy” as men like Bruno and Julius had.

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