Reckless (Bertoli Crime Family #2)

By: Lauren Landish

He nodded, and I grabbed my suitcase and duffel bag, following him out to the parking lot. "As to your question, I figured you'd be looking for a good ride, so I brought the Cali."

The Ferrari California was one of my favorite cars in the lineup owned by my father, and I whistled as I saw the sleek lines and blue-gray paint job. "Still sexy as fuck," I said, holding my hand out. "Keys."

Jake chuckled and held them out. "I thought you said that you wanted to earn it."

"Hey, the car's still in my father's name," I said with a laugh. "Besides, I spent four years driving a Chevy. Just promise me one thing."

"What's that?" Jake said, tossing me the keys and climbing into the passenger seat.

"Tell me you have absolutely no country or southern hip-hop on the sound system. I think I've had my fill of that over the last couple of years,” I said, climbing into the driver's seat. I'd forgotten how ironically luxurious a firm foam seat felt. I'd gotten too used to soft foam that just mushed out like a fucking pillow under your ass. The Ferrari, though, grabbed your legs, ass and back and told you to sit the fuck down right here. The growl of the engine as I started it up sent a shot of adrenaline down my spine, and I grinned as I flipped the switch to retract the hardtop convertible roof.

"If you drive the way I think you will, it won't matter, will it?" Jake said. "Just remember to try and keep it at ground level, okay?"

Actually, I cruised, enjoying the feeling of the sports car as I drove north along the Interstate toward the Bertoli mansion. "So how's life for you now?"

"Not bad," Jake said. "You know the Don's got me working at the pizza joint?"

"No shit?" I said with a laugh. Bertoli's Pizza was just one of my family's legitimate businesses. No Mafia family can go for long without having some legitimate business to filter all the profits of their other enterprises, and Bertoli's Pizza was a Seattle institution. We'd even catered the summer barbecue for the police union   three years running for free. "What's he got you doing? Deliveries?"

Jake laughed and shook his head. "Nah, learning how to actually do business. He's got me working the books in the office and stuff. He told me that the Army took care of the violent side of things, and they taught me about how to organize. Now, it’s time to put the finishing touches on me—his own words. So I've spent six months working in the back offices, doing orders for tomato sauce, cheese, flour, shit like that after I got reacquainted with Seattle. Worst part of it all is, I haven't even seen a slice of pizza the whole damn time. But what about you? You leave a bunch of heartbroken girls back in Alabama?"

"Heartbroken? No way. Broken in? Hell yes." It wasn't the total truth, but I couldn't exactly tell Jake the truth. He wouldn't have understood.

He laughed and we continued driving. Reaching the mansion, I stopped in front, getting out to take my bags.

"You go say hi to your father. I'll park the car," Jake said. “And don't worry about the bags, either. You may want to do stuff on your own now, but remember, you're still part of the Bertoli family. There are people to do that sort of stuff around here. Your bags be in your room when you're done talking with the Don."

I nodded and went inside, unconsciously checking my pants and shirt to make sure I looked okay. While Father would understand that I'd flown wearing track pants and a t-shirt, that didn't excuse if I'd shown up looking like a bum. Inside, I saw one of the maids, a nice girl named Jessie who'd been with the house for years. "Jessie?"

"Master Bertoli, welcome home," she said, smiling shyly. Jessie was a few years older than me and had gotten married while I was in college. Still, we'd had a few nights back when we were both single that still left pleasant memories and warmed cold nights. Tiny, trim, and with a bobbed haircut that gave her sort of a pixie vibe, she'd always been a great maid, and she'd let me rock her world once or twice. "How was your flight?"

"Good, but you know I don't like that Master stuff. Just Tomasso."

Jessie blushed a little but shook her head. "I can't, sir. At least, not using your first name while working. I suppose you are looking for Mr. Bertoli?"

"Yes, do you know where he is?"

She pointed out toward the back. "I believe he's by the pool. He's on a bit of a fitness kick recently, if you can believe it."

I shook my head. "Really? What caused that?"

She leaned in close, whispering into my ear. "He tried on his tuxedo for Miss Bertoli's wedding to Daniel. Let's just say it didn't fit too well. Since then, he's been on a fitness kick. He wants to make sure things look good for the ceremony."

I chuckled and shook my head. If my father had any weakness in terms of his thinking or actions, it was Adriana. Then again, since I agreed with his sparing of Daniel, I couldn't argue it too much. "Thanks, Jessie. I'll let you get your work done.”

I left and found my father in the family pool. It was three lanes, and while not competition depth, it had let my brother, Angelo, do pretty well for a short, stocky Italian on the high school swim team. Of course, I suspect he joined the swim team only because he got to spend a lot of time around girls in swimsuits.