Owned:A Mafia Menage Romance

By: Meg Watson

I force myself to stare up at him and blink several times as though I didn't know he was standing right there. “No of course not, Mr. Menkov,” I say smoothly, even as my heart flutters in my chest.

“Good, that is good,” he purrs, though I get the feeling that it's actually not good at all. The tip of his tongue snakes out between his teeth and rummages under his upper lip along the gums. The way he's looking at me, I feel like he's licking the inside of my ear or something, and I hope he stops before I throw up.

“Marie, will you please credit Mr. Menkov's check to my account?” Daddy says jovially, as though this Russian thug isn't trying to rape me with his eyes.

“No need for that, Don Lauro,” Stosh purrs. He drags a wad of hundred dollar bills as thick as my fist out of his front pocket. When he lifts up the hem of his shirt, I see the butt of the revolver sticking out of the waistband of his tracksuit pants. I can't believe that Daddy would let himself be alone in a room with these animals.

Stosh pulls a handful off the top, overestimating his room tab by about $600. He puts the bills on the counter and covers them with his palm. Then he slides them toward me, daring me to touch him to retrieve them. I fold my hands behind my back and smile innocently at him.

“Daddy loves to be generous, Mr. Menkov.”

“As do I, principessa,” Stosh says, using the Italian word for princess as though that's going to do anything for me. Still, I go ahead and giggle because that's sort of my job.

Daddy inhales and claps his hands together loudly, indicating that the meeting is over and everyone should disperse now. He rubs his palms together with a dry noise and grins as widely as he can.

Stosh opens his arms and cocks his head to the side as Daddy takes him in a brief, manly bearhug. The other, smaller guy shifts toward the front door and peers out of it suspiciously before nodding to Stosh. He jerks his rock-like chin at Daddy in a sort of goodbye salute.

“Well, I couldn't be more pleased with how today has worked out,” Stosh booms, his accent oily and metallic. “It looks like everything will be coming up with the roses! I'll be seeing you soon, Don Lauro.”

His eyes slide over to me, slithering up and down my body and making me wish I hadn’t worn this tight black sweater dress. When his gaze dips between my breasts, I'm starting to think I should have worn a bathrobe or muumuu or something instead.

Daddy keeps smiling and nodding until the Russians leave and the door is closed firmly behind them. Then he turns around to face me and Gianna. His smile sort of falters and he shifts his eyes to the side, indicating that he’s about tell me something I do not necessarily want to know.

“Oh! I should really be going!” Gianna announces suddenly. I want to roll my eyes at her obvious getaway move, but I don't want Daddy to see that or think that I'm rolling my eyes at him. Instead I ignore Gianna and just plaster a smile on my face so I can stare at him.

“All right, thank you, Gianna. Good night,” Daddy says, grateful he doesn’t have to ask her to leave.

Gianna gives me a secret squeeze on my hand as she slides behind me to get her purse. Seconds later, I'm listening to her footsteps fade away as she walks down the back hallway to the parking garage entrance. Daddy is just looking at me with a carefully frozen expression, as though he's somewhere far away.

I take a deep breath. “So, I guess your meeting went... well?” I say. Might as well get this over with, whatever it is he's trying to work up the courage to say to me.

He nods, taking the chance to walk up to the counter. I think it's so sweet, the way he is so nice to me. Everybody thinks he's this big, scary guy, but really he's puppy dog, at least to me.

Folding his hands on the counter he jerks his chin toward the Scion, a 155-year-old port wine that usually only comes out over the most dire contract negotiations.

“You want to taste?” he says to me, letting me know that whatever he’s got on his mind, it's really bad. Daddy doesn't approve of my drinking in the least. He certainly wouldn't be offering me anything stronger than a sweet chianti. Now I have to wonder if I'm dying or something.

Scowling, I turn around and get a couple of wide bowled glasses from the crystal shelves. I turn them up on the counter and uncork the bottle of wine, pouring a healthy splash into his and just a half ounce into mine, since I am such a good girl.

Taking the glass in his big hands, he holds it in the air. I tip the rim of my glass against his, making a small clinking sound before bringing it to my lips. Squinting at him suspiciously, I watch him take a deep breath before he downs the amber liquid in one gulp.

Exactly what the hell is going on here?

“Daddy, whatever it is, just tell me,” I say. He is starting to freak me out, to tell you the truth.

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