Home > Beneath These Shadows (Beneath #6)

Beneath These Shadows (Beneath #6)
Author: Meghan March

MY OFFICE. NOW.

The text appeared on the screen of my phone with a sharp ding, and I dropped my mascara wand on the counter, narrowly avoiding smearing a black streak down the front of my white blouse.

I reread the text three times to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood. Three words. Impossible to misunderstand. Impossible to ignore.

I ran down a mental list of anything I could have done that would have drawn his ire, but came up with nothing. I went to work—the job he allowed me to have. I came home. Everywhere I went, I was chauffeured by a man with a gun in a big black SUV with armored doors and bulletproof windows.

But that didn’t mean my father texted me. Actually, he rarely remembered I existed.

A knock sounded on my front door, and I shoved the mascara wand back in the tube. A summons from Dom Casso, head of one of New York’s most notorious crime families, didn’t allow for any delay.

I hurried toward the door, catching my stockinged foot on the handle of a bag I’d left next to the couch. My toe slammed into the table leg, sending pain rocketing through my foot.

“Shit.”

The knock turned into pounding as I winced.

“Eden, hurry up.”

The voice belonged to Angelo, my regular babysitter. Excuse me, I mean security.

“Just a second.”

“Don’t got a second. We need to move.”

I shook off the stubbed toe and rushed across the room, avoiding any more potential tripping hazards. I peeked through the peephole as I’d been taught, ensuring that Angelo was alone and not being held hostage at the end of someone’s gun.

It appeared all clear. And for the record, I thought that rule was ridiculous. I probably ranked in the triple digits on Dom’s list of priorities. Illegitimate daughter fell just below resoling shoes and remembering to pick up a new black golf umbrella.

“I’m hurrying. I swear.”

I slipped into a pair of pale pink Tori Burch flats I’d left in a haphazard pile of shoes by the door and snatched a black trench coat from the whimsical iron hooks I’d screwed into the wall with my very own drill—and it wasn’t a pink drill either. Don’t mind the few pieces of patched drywall where I missed the studs.

I unlocked the four dead bolts and pushed back the security bar. Angelo, who looked just as tall, dark, and Italian as his name suggested, stepped inside.

He surveyed me from the top of my golden-blond head, which definitely didn’t look Italian in the least, to the soles of my less-than-practical flats. But it wasn’t like I was walking the streets of New York.

God forbid I should do such a thing.

I shoved my arms into my coat and tied the belt around my waist. “That was me swearing when I stubbed my toe. Don’t worry. I’m good.”

I stepped out of the apartment, and he waited impatiently while I locked and checked the door before leading the way to the elevator.

“What’s the hurry? What’s going on?”

Angelo pushed the call button and stepped inside first when it came. “You know I can’t tell you nothing. It ain’t fair for you to ask me shit like that.”

This might have been true, but I also knew that Angelo had a soft spot for me, which was why he’d finally brought me dinner from The Halal Guys’s cart on 53rd and Sixth last week after months of me begging him to take a detour during our drives to and from work. Even though I hadn’t actually gotten to have the whole experience like I was craving—standing in line, avoiding making eye contact with strangers, yelling my order as loud as I could over the noise—I still appreciated the gesture all the same.

Regardless, it also meant I kept pushing for an answer as the doors slid shut and he became a captive audience.

“It has to be something big. Dom never wants me in Hell’s Kitchen. Why now?”

Angelo shrugged and leaned against the mirrored wall. “I’m sure he woulda rather come to your place, but he just don’t have time.”

I needed the reminder like I needed another credit card in my wallet.

“Just tell me so I know what I’m walking into.”

“E, I swear, even if I knew what he was going to say—which I don’t—I couldn’t tell you. All I know is that bad shit is happening and we’re on the defensive on every front. Dom sure as fuck don’t like being on defense, so he’s gonna hit back and hard.”

Chills traveled up my spine despite my black trench coat, because even living in the little bubble that made up my world, I had an idea of the brutality that Angelo alluded to. Well, at least I imagined I did. I’d seen The Godfather movies, after all.

“So, what does that have to do with me?”

Angelo met my gaze as the elevator door opened in the lobby. “Wish I knew, Eden. Really wish I knew.”

 


Twenty minutes later, Angelo and I stood outside the doors to my father’s office on the top floor of a brownstone on the edge of Hell’s Kitchen. Angelo knocked, and from inside, someone barked the command to enter.

I hadn’t exactly spent hours and hours committing Dom’s different vocal pitches to memory, but it didn’t sound like him.

Angelo pushed the door open and gestured for me to enter first. As I always did before entering this office, I steeled my spine.

Normally, Dom sat behind his big wooden desk, doing whatever it was mob bosses actually did during the day. I wasn’t quite sure what that was because there hadn’t been a take your daughter to work day for organized crime. Today, the desk sat empty.

I scanned the office and my eyes locked on Vincent Francetti as he turned from the window. Dom’s second-in-command had dark hair slicked back from his face in a style I swore came right out of Hollywood. It might as well be called the mobster.

He’d always made me uneasy for a reason I couldn’t articulate. I’d never been in a room with him without Dom present, and trepidation crept into my veins like a tiny team of commandos.

“Where’s Dom?” I hoped he couldn’t hear the tremor in my voice.

“Dealing with more important things.” Vincent snapped out the words, and the slice of his insult hit the mark.

I shoved my shoulders back and lifted my chin, determined not to let him see how much his words stung. Just because I knew my father didn’t care, didn’t mean I wanted it shoved in my face.

“I can come back at a time that’s more convenient for him.” I kept my tone crisp and my statement pointed.

“He needs you gone now.”

“Gone?” I choked on the word.

Vincent looked at me like I was a child, and a developmentally delayed one at that.

“Yes. Gone.” He strode to the desk and grabbed a thick manila envelope off the leather blotter before holding it out to me.

It seemed like a dare, as if he knew I didn’t want to get any closer to him than I had to, but he was going to force the issue.

Digging deep into my stores of poise to appear unaffected, I crossed the room and reached out to take it. Vincent jerked it out of my reach, toying with me.

Now that I was close, he lowered his voice so that not even Angelo could hear. “You’re going to take this envelope and you’re going to disappear. Don’t tell anyone where you’re going, especially any of your little friends.”

If there had been any room for awkward humor in this situation, I would have laughed at that. Friends weren’t exactly part of Dom’s policy of enforced isolation.

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