Breathless & Bloodstained - Bethany-Kris

PROLOGUE

Abriella Trentini had been called a lot of things in her life. A principessa, a beauty, stubborn, and difficult. She had been praised for her tenacity, adored for her place as the oldest granddaughter of the Outfit’s boss, and respected simply because of her last name.

What she had never been called was a whore.

Until now.

“Just like our mother,” Joel snarled. “A whore, Ella.”

Abriella flinched as if her brother had reached out and slapped her with his hand instead of his words. Squeezing Abriella’s arm tighter, Joel dragged her down the dark hallway. His fingers dug so deeply into her skin that he was going to leave bruises. With every step they took, she could barely hear the thrum of the club behind them.

“Let me go,” Abriella hissed.

She tried to jerk out of Joel’s grasp, but he yanked her hard enough to make her stumble. The short club dress she wore did nothing to protect her knees when she hit the floor. Joel forced her back on her feet, sneering.

“Stop fighting, or this will get a hell of a lot worse,” Joel warned.

Abriella sucked in a hard breath, wanting to stay calm. For the most part, she followed the rules set out by her family. Being mafia bred, meant women didn’t get much of a choice when the men in their lives made calls on certain things.

The women who fought back lost.

The men of the Outfit won.

Always.

Abriella had too much stubbornness to go out like that. She’d always been close to her grandfather. There was no way in hell that Terrance Trentini would stand for his granddaughter being treated like she was worthless, no matter what she did. Terrance might have been the boss, but he loved her. He let her get away with anything, even if that meant he had to hide things for her. Terrance wouldn’t stand for Joel acting like this.

“I want to call Granddaddy.”

Joel barked a bitter laugh. “He’s out of town. Shut up. Don’t make me tell you again.”

“I said—”

Joel kicked open a door and shoved Abriella inside before she could finish her sentence. Abriella fixed the skirt of her dress and spun around to face her brother, thinking she had just made the worst mistake yet. Her brother was angrier than she had realized. When he took a step toward her in the dark room, Abriella stepped backward.

Her back hit the edge of a desk, stopping her from moving further away. The room looked like some kind of office for the club. Joel flicked on a light, illuminating the space. A leather couch rested along the far wall. Black and white pictures of Chicago lined the walls in a haphazard fashion. The desk she bumped into was filled with paperwork, a laptop, and other personal belongings.

She had picked the wrong club tonight. With the help of high heels, a tight dress, and a fake ID, Abriella was able to get into just about any club she wanted. Eighteen wasn’t legal, but her ID said she was twenty-one, and no bouncer would refuse her.

She just wanted a good time tonight.

Respirare was the newest, hottest club in town. She heard about it through her friends at college. Abriella checked it out, ended up dancing with a guy who bought her a few drinks, and then she found herself being shoved down a dark hallway by her brother. Abriella didn’t even know how Joel found out she was there.

“Christ, look at you,” her brother spat.

Abriella blinked away the tears stinging in her eyes. “I didn’t do anything wrong, Joel!”

“Is that what you think, really? Where I stand, you didn’t