Amatucci Family


Mafia: bad guys or heroes?

Fierce, loyal, savage, brave. The Amatucci Family controls New Trenadie with an iron fist and they do what needs to be done to protect their own – no matter the cost. You live by their rules, or you die by them.

Willow Chase is the adopted daughter of Maria and Angelo Amatucci. Broken by a life she didn’t choose, she finds refuge in the family who saved her. But when that new life is threatened, Ryker Penn – billionaire tech mogul – gets a firsthand introduction to the family who rules his city. New allegiances will form and cause a ripple effect that will be felt by each member of the family.

Arturo, Talia, Domenico, Massimo, and Raphael will have their lives tossed upside down and inside out. The women and men brave enough to love them will test their loyalty and their tempers. Lies will be told and secrets will be revealed in this connected series of white-hot passion, bravery, and taking chances when everything inside you tells you to save yourself.

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Chapter 1 - Willow
I squinted against the strobing lights that felt like nails stabbing their way through my eyes and straight into my brain. My long light brown hair was a million-pound weight on my skull. The only thing that saved me was the fact that this dress didn't require a bra. Or, I should say, the only thing that saved Talia was my braless state. I was going to kill my best friend for forcing me to come here. It'll be fun. You need to get out of the house, Willow Chase. Life is passing you by while you sit here and live in the past. A noisy club at the end of the longest week on record was not my kind of fun. But Talia had begged. And I fell under her spell every freaking time. She was my last lifeline to the real world. She also made it so I couldn't ignore her. Even if I wanted to. "Is this seat taken?" a tall man shouted as he approached the table. His shaggy brown hair was pushed up and off his face that framed the chiseled edges like he was an angel. He didn't even bother waiting for my reply before he took the tall chair from the round table I'd hidden behind. I snorted mentally, definitely not an angel. "Yes, you douchebag. It's for my friend," I shouted back as he walked away. Thankfully the music went into a lull for a few blessed moments. Chair Stealer stopped with a jerk. Turned his head like an owl...or a possessed chick in a horror movie. "What was that, little girl?" I downed the rest of my drink. Cleared my throat. "Yes, you douchebag. It's for my friend." I spoke clearly and slowly. Obviously, this guy was a little on the hard of hearing side. Rare for a man who looked like he was in his late twenties or early thirties. I mean seriously, the music wasn't even playing right now. He set the chair down with a hard snap. His spine stiffened and his chest puffed out like a peacock's. "What did you say to me, little girl?" Really? Little girl? I rolled my eyes at the ego on this one. And the guy was practically deaf. Poor thing, just trying to overcompensate. I sighed and raised my voice again. "YES, YOU DOUCHEBAG. IT'S FOR MY FRIEND." Everyone in a five-table radius turned to look at me. Because of course the low roar of conversation had halted for the two seconds it took me to yell at him. I shook my head and rolled my eyes. Oh well. It might be better for other people to know he was an ass. "You can put the chair back now, thanks so much." I tipped my chin at the far side of the table in case he was also stupid. I looked over the guy's shoulder and lifted a hand for the waitress. When I caught her eye, I lifted my empty glass, gave it a slight shake. She smiled and nodded. The music kicked back up into high-and a deep thudding low-gear. The bass pulsed in time to the headache trying to eat my brain. I heard the high-pitched squeal of the legs of the kidnapped chair scrape over the floor as Chair Stealer brought it back. He leaned over the table, an ugly look on his face. "You might want to learn how to act in public if you're going to be out in it," he said, his voice just louder than the music. His cheeks were flushed under the flickering lights. "Otherwise, someone might take offense." I snorted. "Same back atcha, fella. Taking a chair with barely a cursory ask is poor manners as well." I made sure to raise my voice. The waitress came over and set my drink down. She pushed up into my space and said, "Here you go, Chase. This guy bothering you?" She jerked her thumb in the direction of the guy, not even bothering to look at him. I shook my head. "Nah. We're just discussing manners. Thanks, Lex." She nodded. Shot me a smile. "Give me a shout if you need anything else, love." The tall, gorgeous blonde glared at the guy before turning on her heel. Her yelled, "Watch yourself, jackhole," before walking off had the guy jolting like she'd shoved an electrified pike up his butt. He turned back to me, anger and ego brightened his eyes, darkened his face. His fuzzy blue eyes lit from within. He leaned over the edge of the table until he was close enough for me to smell the booze on his breath. "Who the f**k are you?" I lifted a single shoulder. "No one. But I've heard the guys who own this place don't like rude people in their club. Better start reading some Emily Post before you get off your chain again." I tipped my drink at him in a toast before taking a sip. Behind the guy, Talia bounced up the stairs to our table. Without even bothering to look, she took the chair from his hands, slid her spectacular ass on it, and stole my drink. The man stared in rapt fascination while he watched her throat work as she guzzled my soda water and lime. His eyes lost the anger but kept the ego. Leading with his southern head, he shifted to his right, leaned one elbow on the table, and reached out a hand. With the back of his fingers, he brushed her wild mane of black curls off her shoulder. I rolled my eyes and smirked. The bubble of joy in my belly at what was about to happen next had an honest to goddess laugh tickling my throat. Talia slapped the glass snifter down with a sharp click. Her dark brown eyes wild with fire. "Emily Post, bro," I said with a smile. He looked up at me for the barest of moments before he turned back to Talia. In mere fractions of a second, his face registered the pain. The whimper slid from between his lips, a glorious benediction to stupid assholes everywhere. Without needing to see it firsthand, I knew Talia twisted her hand. Over the edge of the table, her elbow c****d out at the perfect angle. That was going to be one sore d**k for a hot minute. "Do not touch me. Ever." She leaned up into his face, her low, sultry voice hard as diamonds. The man nodded stupidly as his mouth worked like a guppy's. His fingers spasmed as he fought for purchase on the smooth tabletop. He grabbed the abandoned glass. I nipped it from his grasp before he could use it against my best friend. This guy was on the Learning Train tonight. He'd have the sprained c**k to show as a certificate of excellence. And that was only if her brothers didn't hear about him touching her without permission. Talia released him and pushed him back. With a roll of her dark eyes, she stood back up and came over to my side of the table. She brushed her lips over my cheek. "Another drink, then you're getting your ass on the dance floor, Chase." I snorted, shook my head. "Migraine. Can't." I smiled at her. "So sorry." She laughed in my face. "If you had an actual migraine you'd be puking on the floor and writhing in pain. Come on, get your body moving. Let some of that stress leak away." A chair crashed to the floor as Broken p***s McChair-Stealer finally righted himself. His face was dark red with rage as he stepped over the chair and made a grab for Talia. I bumped her out of the way with my hip as I leaned back out of his reach. As he slammed into the table, the table slammed into me. I smashed into the wall, my head made a thick, meaty thump that made my stomach revolt as stars flashed in my eyes. My legs went numb as the table bisected my thighs on its fall to the floor. Pinned by a raging egomaniacal douche canoe and a heavy table wasn't really how I saw this evening ending. I blinked my sight clear and smiled. Was it technically hurting yourself if someone else inflicted the pain? The heavy, greasy waves of pain sloshed and slid inside me, close to overwhelming. Pain and I were old friends. Most of the time, I managed it. Slid it to the side when it burst and exploded deep within. Not so this time. Like night descended on the sky, the agony surged over me in a giant tidal wave. Just as the darkness was almost complete, the table was pulled off my legs. I slumped to the floor with nothing else to keep me upright. With another bone-jarring greeting, my head met the floor. Everything went still and soft around me as the darkness ebbed and flowed at the edges of my brain. I sighed in relief as my mind could finally sort the pain as it floated me to the top of the waves. I danced on the surface of it as lights flashed above me. Bright lights that reminded me of my headache. It joined the ocean of throbbing sensations overtaking my body. I relaxed into it. Rode the swells as they buffeted my body. Finally. Finally, I could truly feel. Someone slid something cold and wet over my forehead. Cold and pain were my least favorite combination. Someone was looking to get her ass kicked. I squinted open one eye. Glared at Talia. "Get that away from me." She chuckled as tears filled her eyes. "If you don't like it, you're going to need to move it yourself. But don't move your lower body." She wiped a hand under her nose. "What the s**t was that, Willow Koa Chase?" I winced. s**t, I was in deep trouble if she used my full name. I could count on one hand the number of times I'd heard it. From anyone. I stiffened my upper lip. "I don't know what you mean." I looked away from her as I tried to lift a hand to grab the cold rag from my face. She slapped my hand away. "Touch it and I'll make them give you morphine." Betrayed by my best friend. The agony. I lowered my hand to my belly like the good little girl I was supposed to be portraying. Her laugh was wet as she lowered her head to mine. She moved the wet cloth, pressed the gentlest of kisses to my cool skin, and replaced the cloth. "Don't ever do that again. I can handle myself. You know that." Her voice was a low, ragged whisper. I shook my head slightly. "I just reacted. Had he not stumbled into the table, it would have been fine." "Doesn't matter. He's getting tossed out and they're pressing charges." My eyes widened. "Seriously?" She nodded, her beautiful face caught between desperation and vengeance. "He's lucky I had to get to you. Or he'd be dead." My lips ticked up at the corner. "D-E-D, ded." Tears escaped her eyes as she laughed. "Don't make me laugh, Chase. I'm furious with you." She swiped her fingers under her eyes. The mascara left a crazy trail of black smeared over her cheeks. "We're waiting for the ambulance to get here." She watched me, held my gaze. Terror shot through the lovely pain. Made it spike hot and hard. "You can't. You can't let them take me to the hospital, Tali." I tried to escape. Tried to roll away, to get to my feet. She held me down with pitiful ease. "We have to, girl. The table might have done some serious damage. And when he landed on top of it?" She shook her head. "It's either the hospital or in-house call. And if you choose the latter, then you better do whatever Rafe tells you. Even if that means going to the hospital." I shook my head as tears burned at the backs of my eyes. Either way, I could end up in hell. Hooked up to machines where they counted down the beats of my heart like some kind of nuclear apocalypse clock. "I can't go there, Tali. I'll do anything, but I can't go there. You know that." I grabbed one of her hands in mine. "Hell, call my parents before you let them take me to the hospital." Her dark chocolate eyes widened. Her brow furrowed. "You can't mean that. You haven't seen them in ages." "I'd rather brave my parents than..." I trailed off. She knew what I was talking about. Who I was talking about. I didn't need to voice the words. Neither of us needed to relive that time in my life. She heaved a sigh. "Let me get Rafe." She looked up and over towards the bar area. "Lex, they can come over here." The terror leaked away, leaving me bobbing and floating on the pain once again. "And bring me another cool rag, please." I reached up, pinched her leg. "No more rags." She ignored me. I wiggled my toes. Or tried to at least. I wasn't sure they were still attached to my body. I couldn't really feel anything below mid-thigh other than a deep pulsing along the line where the table had crashed into me. Three handsome faces moved into my eye line. Seriously, how the Amatucci family produced five gorgeous children should be chalked up to sorcery of some kind. It was almost unfair. I probably would have thought so more if I'd been on the outside of the family. But since they'd all but adopted me, I guess I could forgive them their good looks. Turo, the oldest Amatucci sibling, got to me first. His dark brown eyes, five o'clock shadow, and slightly too long hair were upside down as he knelt at the top of my head. "Will, what are we going to do with you?" I smiled at the nickname they'd given me when I first met them all those years ago. "Anything you want, except send me to the hospital." "We could protect you, you know." His low voice curled around me in comfort. Gold winked at his wrist as he stabilized my head between his hands. "You say the word, little sister, and we'll rain hell down on his head." I knew he was serious. Deadly serious about that. But I wasn't about to get their family involved in the crapshow that was my life. Besides, I figured if I could stay off his radar for at least another two years, he would forget about me. Please, sweet goddess, let him forget about me. I shook my head, wrapped my hand around Turo's wrist. Squeezed slightly. "If Rafe gives me the okay, I'll just go home and wrap them up." Turo winced. "I don't know that that's going to happen this time." He looked down the length of my body. Brought his gaze back up to my face. "They're already a dark purple color." Craaap. I just smiled and waited for the youngest Amatucci brother to give me his medical opinion. Another Amatucci brother stepped into my line of sight. Not the medic I was hoping for, but I certainly wasn't going to send him away. Domenico stepped over my body. His dark pants looked black in the lighting, but I knew he favored navy. He hitched up his pants as he knelt next to me, grabbed my hand. "When I said you needed some color, I was thinking of a tan. Not purple, black, and blue." His butterscotch eyes were the lightest pair in the Amatucci family. They practically glowed from his olive-skinned face. "Well, then, you should have been more specific, shouldn't you? I'm just trying to follow the rules you laid down, Dom." I blew him a kiss, shot him a saucy wink at my personal nickname for him. He groaned and rolled his eyes. "As if I would be so lucky that you'd follow my rules. You wouldn't end up in these kinds of situations if you did what I told you." He kissed my palm. Warmth flooded my heart. The second Amatucci son would always hold a special place in my heart. If it hadn't been for Tali, I think I would have been adopted by Dom all by himself. We had an odd brother/sister thing that could turn into more if we let it type of relationship. Since neither of us were willing to risk the friendship, we flirted like crazy and stayed friends. "Keep wishing, Dom." "I do," he said as he kissed my palm again. "You okay?" I nodded. "Floating." He gave me a bleak smile. "If it gets too bad, you tell me. You hurt yourself playing with that pain and I'll drug you deaf, blind, and dumb." "Promise." I brought his hand to my lips. Pressed a kiss to the back of his hand. "I learned my lesson the last time. I won't go too far." His butterscotch eyes studied me for a moment. "I'm taking that chit, Will." I nodded. I winced as something jarred my lower body, causing a rush of spiky sensation up my legs. Dom turned, slapped his hand over the back of his youngest brother's head. "Careful, Rafael. She's not a slab of meat to toss around." "What? You think I don't know that?" the youngest Amatucci male said in his gruff voice. I looked down the length of my body. I quirked my lips. Unfortunately, nothing got in my way. The Boob Fairy had apparently been booked pretty full when it was my turn to get my portion. Either that or she'd donated all the rest of it to my ass and hips. Rafe was near my knees, his hands moving over my thighs. His dark brows were furrowed as he studied my body. The EMT trained family medic was inhouse trauma care for when the rougher side of the family business got a little bloody. "Can you feel this?" he asked as he moved my leg from side to side. I nodded. "Yeah. Do I still have toes?" s**t. That just slipped out. I bit my lip. The headache was apparently turning me into Sally Sharer. He jerked his gaze up to my face. "You can't feel your toes?" I shrugged. Kept my mouth shut. He leaned down towards my feet. Moved one of his arms. I giggled as he raced the nail of his finger up the arch of my foot. "Yup. Still there. Now stop." I tried to arch away as he did it to the other foot. I hissed out a breath as the pain flared in my thighs. "Crapcakes, that hurts." Dom put a finger under my chin and pulled my face to look at him. "Too much?" I did a quick self-assessment. I didn't lie to these boys, this family. They were all I had. And even if it hurt me, I wasn't going to damage these relationships with stupid lies. "It spikes. Forces me out of the smooth and into the rough when I move. I can handle it, but I'll probably need something once I start moving." Dom's eyes widened slightly. "Then we'll have something on hand for you. I think Mama's got some morphine left." I jerked back as if he'd slapped me in the face. I turned away. Tried to pull my hand from his. "s**t," he whispered. He held on, squeezed my fingers. "Look at me, Will." I continued to study the fallen table. The cast iron base had to weigh at least fifty pounds. That didn't include the quartz stone top that looked as if it weighed half that. I was lucky I didn't have any broken bones. If I got away with just some deep muscle bruising, I would finally take Talia up and join her Krav Maga classes. "Willow, look at me," Dom ordered. His voice was hard and gruff. I turned to look at him, my gaze hard. "You could take a half. Even a quarter. That much isn't going to take you back down that path. We would monitor it for you. No one else." "Damn right I would be monitoring it," Rafe said. "We won't lose you. And certainly not like that, Will. Talia would snatch us all bald-headed." He ran a hand over his dark hair. His was long enough to brush his shoulders. To curl over the collar of his shirt. "I like my hair too much." He gave a dramatic shiver. "Here's the good news. I think you've got just the deep bruising. Walking is going to be difficult for a while. Do you have any jobs in the next few weeks?" I nodded. Turo laughed. "Didn't you read the newspaper this morning, Rafe? Our Will is big time nowadays. Schedule booked out until 2025." I laughed. "Not quite, but yeah, I've got gigs that I need to be able to move for." Rafe smiled. "Good for you, little sister. I'm so proud." He tapped a finger to his lips in thought, his other hand smoothed my dress down my thighs. "Any kind of movement is going to be painful for a while. If you overdo it, you could end up in the hospital or on bedrest with passive therapy." He watched me. I grimaced. "Then I'll behave." All three men snorted. "We'll believe that when we see it, Will," Dom said for all of them. "Let's get you on your feet and see what kind of ROM we're looking at." "English, bro," Turo whined as he got his hands under my shoulders. "Range of motion. If you'd pay attention while I'm going over basics, you wouldn't sound like an i***t asking for English." Rafe pushed the table farther away and stayed crouched near my knees. "On three, boys." Rafe wrapped his warm hands around the back of my knees as Turo pulled up on my shoulders. Dom stayed near my pelvis and helped stabilize that as I was lifted upright. My brain dipped and swayed with the sudden change in elevation. I felt my belly swirl as my dizzy head tried to orient itself to being upright. I was glad all three men were still there and holding onto me. I would have dropped like a bowling ball if they hadn't been. My legs quivered as searing pain turned my stomach and set my thighs on fire. "I'm going to pass out," I said softly. "Turo, drape her over Nico's back. Now. Hurry," Rafe ordered. Dom stiffened his spine under my chest as I sank against him. My legs were the least of my worries as my stomach tried to escape my body through my throat. Dry heaves shook my chest as they forced more blood to pound through my head. "f**k," Rafe whispered as he sifted his fingers through my hair. "She's bleeding from her head. And there's a lump the size of a baseball back here. We've got to take her to the hospital for a CT scan. Now." It was the last thing I heard before I passed out. Crapcakes.

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