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Holiday Teaser Scene from Mafia Captive:
A Dangerous Fake Holiday Engagement: Mob Style:
Leo took the phone. What fresh hell was this? “Hey, Ma.”
He’d barely gotten the phrase out when she began a nonstop string of excited sentences, some of them running on top of each other.
“Angelo tells me you’ve got a girl, now. Says you’re getting married. When were you going to tell your poor old mother? When we all got there? The whole family is dying to meet her now. What’s her name? Faith? Is she Catholic? Is she a good girl, Leo? What’s her family like?”
“Ma…” Leo said, trying to calm her. This wasn’t good. His family would all be here for a week for Christmas. He hadn’t known exactly what he was going to do with Faith. As horrible as it would be for her, he’d considered locking her downstairs in the dungeon for the duration and having Demitri take her meals down. At least he wouldn’t risk questions that way. Maybe by next year he could trust her enough to let her be with the family under one pretense or another—maybe as a new household servant or nurse for his practice.
But he’d already known sending her to the dungeon would terrify her and make him feel like an even bigger monster. He was almost glad hiding her wasn’t an option now. Surely Angelo hadn’t implied Leo had known Faith long enough to propose marriage? That had to be something that had gotten into her head from somewhere else.
The women in his family were a bunch of gossips. You could start out with the simplest story and end up with illicit affairs, murders, and a funeral with a missing body by lunchtime.
“I mean it, Leo. I’m very unhappy you didn’t tell me about this. And if she’s living at your house like Angelo said, you better be marrying her! You know I don’t like my boys living in sin.”
He knew she was thinking of Angelo and Davide. He could practically hear her crossing herself over the phone. The shock of his brother coming out had about killed her and she still wasn’t over it. Of course. That was why Angelo had told her Leo was getting married—to take the heat and attention off him this year.
He suppressed a growl. “Yes, Ma. We’re getting married. I already proposed.” If they knew about Faith, he may as well have a sham marriage. He’d never get his mother off his back if she thought they were ‘living in sin’. He wondered what she’d think if she knew Faith was being held here against her will? Nothing good.
“Without us meeting her!?! We raised you better than that! I can’t believe you’d get engaged without so much as calling your poor mother! Is she Catholic? Please tell me she’s at least Catholic.”
He had no idea one way or the other, but what was another lie on top of the rest of it? “Yes, Ma. Of course she’s a good Catholic girl.”
“What about her family? Are they a good family?”
“She doesn’t have any family,” he said, injecting a drop of honesty into the conversation.
“Oh, that poor girl. Well she’ll have a big family, now.” It was all it had taken for his mother to switch gears. “Is she Irish? I know you’ve dated your redheads, but Sal won’t like Irish blood in the family. Please tell me she’s not Irish.”
“Yes, she’s a redhead.”
“Benedica la vergine Maria,” she whispered. Blessing the virgin mother was Gina’s response to anything scandalous. If his mother knew the full weight of the scandal, she’d be praying the rosary nonstop until the New Year.
“Ma, I’ve got to run, but I’ll see you next weekend.”
They exchanged the normal end of conversation pleasantries, and he disconnected the call. Demetri’s eyebrow rose.
“Don’t say it,” Leo said. “Go to Tiffany and get me an engagement ring. Something that looks convincing… like I bought it for someone I deeply love.”
“What if the girl won’t go along with it, Sir?”
With Faith being moved to the other end of the house, the staff knew he’d gone soft and left her alone.
Leo allowed his gaze to harden. “If she won’t go along with it, she’ll spend Christmas in the dungeon.”
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