The Mafia And His Angel

By: Lylah James

My breath went out in a whoosh as he stopped talking. Alessio’s lips quirked up in a tiny smile as he waited for my response.

My eyes widened as I tried to think. I brought a shaky hand to my throat and rubbed it gently, a gesture of nervousness and discomfort.

Option three was obviously not an option. I was not even taking it in consideration. Option two meant being homeless, no money, unsafe on the streets, and very easy for Alberto’s men to find me. Option one meant that I would have money and probably a place to live. But there was only one problem.

I would be dead if he ever found out who I was.

With my eyes still locked on his face, I thought about my options. But most importantly, I thought about my survival. And only one option could help me.

“One,” I whispered hoarsely, as I stared into Alessio’s eyes. He seemed surprised, but then his lips stretched into a full smile.

And I just knew.

With that answer, I had signed myself over to him. I was no longer my own. I belonged to him.

Alessio stood up and walked slowly to me, his steps confident. When he was close, he reached out and touched a dirty strand of my hair.

“Good choice, Ayla,” Alessio said. The sound of my name coming from him made me shiver again. God, why did his voice have to sound so…intimate? My eyes widened with the sudden thought. No. No, Ayla. Don’t lose yourself.

“I’m glad that you decided to…work for me.” The way he said those words made my body freeze. He stared at me, his eyes intense.

Alessio stepped closer so that our bodies were pressed together. He moved his finger down my bruised cheek.

“I’ll make sure that you won’t regret this decision,” he whispered huskily.

Wait, what? Did he mean…? No, he couldn’t. He wouldn’t.

Oh, but he would. He was Alessio Ivanshov. Nothing had ever been denied to him. And I just said yes to his offer.

My breathing and the beat of my heart was too loud. I was sure he could hear it. Alessio bent down until his eyes were to my level.

“Don’t worry. I won’t hurt you.”

I swallowed and licked my lips quickly. His gaze followed my movement as his blue eyes turned from cold to hot. He licked his own, and then he whispered, “Not unless you want me to.”

I sucked in a shocked breath and it made my chest move against his. The friction made my body shiver. Was it apprehension? Or anticipation?

“Umm…what…what did you…mean by…work?” I asked quietly, tripping over my own words.

He took another step closer, forcing me to take a step back. Alessio crowded me, his presence so strong that it made me feel weak and small.

“Exactly what it means…work,” he continued in a husky voice.

Oh my God. Please no. Not that. Anything but that.

“What…what work?” I asked again.

Alessio stared into my eyes. Blue to green.

We both stared at each other, unblinking. The tension vibrated around us. But I couldn’t understand what type of tension it was. No. I refused to understand it. I refused to acknowledge it.

He suddenly took a step back. I breathed out at the movement, and my tensed muscles uncoiled with relief. Alessio stood to his full height, now looking down at me, his eyes hard again.

“My maids need a little help. You’ll be helping with the cleaning and cooking,” he said briskly.

Huh? He wanted me to clean and cook?

I stared at him in confusion. Alessio must have been the most perplexing man I had ever met. Confusing, strange, and dangerous.

“You want me to clean…and cook?” I asked in bewilderment. He cocked his head to the side, still looking at me. Then he smiled. The same malicious smile as before.

“Yes,” he said as he took a step toward me, crowding my personal space again. “Did you think I meant something else?” he asked quietly, his tone suggestive as he traced a finger lightly up my right arm.

Yes. Yes, I did think you meant something else. I thought you wanted me to be your wh—

I halted the thought. Don’t go there, Ayla.

I shook my head quickly, my hair covering my face with the brisk action. Alessio brought his hand up and moved my hair away, baring my face to him again.

I swallowed nervously as I waited for his next move. His warm hand on my face was making the numbness of my body fade away. I hated that his touch could do that. I hated that he had such an effect on me. Already, it was clear he could make me tremble in fear one minute and make me feel warm the next. Inside and out.