Reckless (Bertoli Crime Family #2)

By: Lauren Landish

Tomasso, who'd also been knocked down, got to his feet and chased the man for a few feet before seeing that I was still on the ground. Coming over, he knelt next to me. "Are you okay?"

I nodded, looking down at my suit, which had a tear in the skirt that pissed me off. "My suit took more damage than I did. He caught me in the thigh with a good knee though."

"Ouch," Tomasso said, offering me his hand. I took it, surprised at how effortlessly he helped me to my feet. Those muscles weren't just beach muscles. I could tell. I took a step and winced as a high heel that I hadn't realized I'd broken gave way and my ankle twisted, causing me to stumble again. This time, though, Tomasso caught me, even if he did have to swing me around to stop my momentum. "I think you need some new shoes."

I realized that we were just inches apart, his hands on my waist and back, his expressive, sensuous lips close to mine, and I felt my breath catch for a moment. "Thank y—”

My words were cut off as an explosion ripped behind me, the blast throwing both of us to the ground. I felt a sharp pain in the back of my head, and then the world went black.

Chapter 5


I was confused at first as Luisa and I went tumbling to the ground, the roar of the explosion making my ears ring. I felt something ding off my forehead, but it was a sharp sting more than anything else, and it was over before I even felt it. I was hurt more when Luisa landed on top of me, driving the breath out of my lungs. Rolling to the side, I eased her off me, blinking.

Black smoke roiled out of the door we'd just been trying to go through, and I felt my head ringing. I couldn't hear much of anything, and so I looked at her, trying to figure out what was going on. "Luisa? Luisa?"

She didn't move, and I noticed that she was bleeding from somewhere on her head. Adrenaline flooded my system as I got to my knees and checked her. She was breathing, but I couldn't hear anything when I put my ear to her chest, until I remembered that whatever the blast had been, it had certainly fucked with my hearing. Remembering the little bit I'd learned in a first-aid class, I checked her pulse on her neck and found it strong and sure. The blood was still pooling under her head, but she turned her head and groaned, which at least told me she didn't have a broken neck. "Luisa?"

She mumbled something incoherently in Portuguese, and even though I know Spanish and Italian, which are cousin languages to Portuguese, I couldn't make out the words. Looking around, I knew that whatever caused the explosion, it wasn't the place that a Bertoli or a woman who was part of a Brazilian crime family should be found when the police arrived.

Picking Luisa up in my arms, I carried her to my car and carefully placed her in the passenger seat. I ran around and got into the driver's seat, cranking my engine and hauling ass. I tried not to speed once we were more than a few blocks away, and I intentionally slowed down to avoid notice from the cops. It was bad enough that I was certain that I was on security cameras and that I was driving a black Alfa-Romeo 4c. Those things don't exactly blend in like a Ford Fiesta or a Toyota Prius.

My hearing slowly returned as I drove home, and I realized about halfway there that my phone was ringing. I pulled over into a gas station and pulled out my phone, seeing that the call was from Pietro. "Pietro?"

"There was an explosion at the civic center. Your father wanted to know if you’re okay.” As typical for Pietro, he was all business, though there was still a touch of concern in his voice.

I wiped at the cut on my head and saw that while there was some blood, I'd more or less gotten off scott-free. "I'm fine, but Luisa was knocked out. We were near the door when the blast occurred. We’re on our way home now.”

There was a muffled conversation on the other end of the line, and I heard the phone being passed over to someone. "Tomasso?"

"Dad," I replied, smiling at the worry in my father's voice. "I'm fine. But I'm bringing Luisa back to the house. She took a hit to the head. She's going to need stitches, most likely."

“I’ll have a doctor ready when you get here. Are you sure you’re okay, Tomasso?”

“We can have the doctor take a look at my ear, but it’s nothing serious. It’s ringing some, but I'm okay, Dad. I'll be home in fifteen minutes."

The whole time, Luisa groaned and muttered under her breath, and I reached over, taking her hand. "You'll be okay,” I promised, then repeated myself in Spanish. "I'll take care of you."

Dad was true to his word. Our doctor met me in the driveway of the house as soon as I pulled up, along with Pietro and Roberto, one of Dad's other younger enforcers. "Take her to the gym,” the doctor said to Pietro. "Lay her on the massage table. I can treat her there."

Pietro and Roberto carried Luisa between them while the doctor looked me over. “Not even back in town a month and already getting yourself hurt. Let me take a look."

I bent my head, and he dabbed at the cut on my forehead with an alcohol wipe. “It looks like you might have a little more character to that baby face of yours," the doctor, who had always been irascible with me in a sort of grumpy geezer sort of way, said. “Whatever hit you, it went all the way to the bone. It’s deep, but just a bandage will do."