Ricardo:The Santini Brothers #1

By: Marita A. Hansen

Acknowledgements

Thank you to everyone who has helped me in getting this book published, especially my long suffering family for having to put up with all the time I spend on trying to make my writing career a success.

In addition, I would like to say a special thanks to:

John Hudspith – He’s edited many of my books, and is absolutely great to work with. I always feel that I’m putting my best work forward after he’s been through the manuscript.

D Kristin, Christine Mpande, Kelleanne Miles, and Charmaine Butler – my beta readers, who did a fantastic job with helping me to get the best out of the story.

And an extra thanks to D Kristin for advising me on Ricardo’s psychological condition.





PLEASE NOTE:

US English is used throughout the text, which differs slightly from UK/Commonwealth spelling.

For example, US English uses story instead of storey in regards to building levels, color instead of colour, and so forth. So, if you see slight variations, they are not errors.

Any other differences may be due to the book being set in Italy.

A glossary has been provided to help with some of the words and sayings mentioned.

Lastly, thank you for choosing to read RICARDO.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing it, so I hope you enjoy the story.

All the best, Marita.





1

Valentino watched the group of women dancing provocatively in front of his table, the five scantily clad females trying to get his attention. He was in H20, the hottest nightclub on his island, a place where inhibitions were left at the door. It was overflowing with beautiful women, many giving him the impression they wanted to jump his cock. It was because he looked like his half-brother, Alessandro, a man-whore who did porn for kicks.

He knocked back another grappa, the strong taste of the brandy burning his throat, the way he preferred it. He wasn’t interested in riding Alessandro’s panty trail. He was a killer, not a lover, even more so after the mafia war had sent his wife to an early grave.

“You should be in hiding,” his best friend said over the techno music, “not walking around as though you don’t have a hit on your head. Pedro Landi won’t take kindly to you killing his men.”

The Landi were one of the five main mafia families on his island. Pedro Landi was their Don, and the man who’d ordered his wife’s murder. Pedro thought Maria’s family had a hand in his youngest daughters’ gruesome deaths, but even if they did, Maria had no part in what had happened. She’d been a gentle soul, someone who didn’t deserve to be riddled with bullets all because she was born into the wrong family.

Valentino slammed his empty glass down on the table, not interested in Niko’s advice. “Those men murdered my wife,” he snapped.

Niko threw worried glances around the nightclub. He wasn’t just Valentino’s friend; he was his bodyguard. He was a monstrous man, a six-foot-five wall of muscle, with receding brown hair and a burn scar that made his right eye droop, the latter courtesy of Iraq.

Niko returned his focus to Valentino. “Keep your voice down. You’re going to get yourself killed, you crazy figlio di puttana.”

“If I wasn’t a son of a whore, I wouldn’t have been born,” he retorted. His father was the Santini Don, while his mother had been a common prostitute.

Niko exhaled. “It’s an expression, and you’re still crazy.”

“I’m not crazy; I’m here to save my daughters’ lives.” Valentino indicated for the waitress to bring him another drink. “And no one’s crazier than my oldest brother,” someone he didn’t share a surname with. His father didn’t acknowledge him since he was an embarrassment to the family. Because of it, he’d grown up in a bordello, where men had paid for his mother’s affections—until one of them murdered her. It was what had turned him into a killer. He’d taken retribution on his mother’s murderer at the age of sixteen, tracking him down and placing a gun to his head. He’d pulled the trigger without an ounce of guilt, the man’s cries of innocence all lies. From then onwards, people hired him to take care of their ‘problems’, most of them mafia related.

Niko leaned back in his chair. His white button-down shirt pulled across his chest, revealing a glimpse of his bulletproof vest. “Ricardo may be a crazy bastardo,” he said, “but you’re going for his title by being here. The Landi are after your blood.”

“They wouldn’t dare set foot on Santini premises.”

Niko frowned. “H20 doesn’t belong to the Santini.”

“It does now. They’ve taken it, like they take everything they want. The twins needed a place for their band to play, so their mother bought it for them.” He sneered, hating the troia. Concetta Santini did everything for her sons, and everything against him.

“You’re still not safe. My source says that Don Landi has hired the Black Vipers to kill you. They’re female assassins—”

“I know who the Black Vipers are.”

Niko’s eyes flicked to the women dancing provocatively in front of their table. He leaned in closer to Valentino. “Any one of those donne could be a Viper.”