Bound By Temptation

By: Cora Reilly


“You need to drink, kiddo.”

My eyes flew up to his face. “I’m not a kid.”

The ghost of a smile crossed Romero’s face. “Of course not, Liliana.”

I searched his eyes for mockery, for a hint of the darkness that had been there in the basement, but he looked like the good guy I wanted him to be. I sat up and took the glass from him. My hand shook but I managed not to spill water on myself. After two sips I handed the glass back to Romero.

“You can go to your sisters soon, but first Luca wants to have a word with you about what you saw today,” he said calmly.

Fear speared me like a cold blade. I slid out of the bed when someone knocked, and Luca entered a moment later. He closed the door. My eyes darted from him to Romero. I didn’t want to break down like I had before, but I could feel another panic attack pushing through the drugs in my bloodstream. I’d never been alone with them, and after today’s events, it was too much.

“Nobody will hurt you,” Luca said in his deep voice. I tried to believe him. Aria seemed to love him, so he couldn’t be bad, and he hadn’t been down in the basement torturing Russians. I risked another look at Romero, whose eyes rested on me.

I lowered my face. “I know,” I said eventually, which probably sounded as much a lie as it felt. I took a deep breath and leveled my gaze on Luca’s chin. “You wanted to talk to me?”

Luca nodded. He didn’t come closer, nor did Romero. Maybe my fear was plain as day to them. “You can’t tell Aria about what you saw today. She’ll be upset.”

“I won’t tell her,” I promised quickly. I’d never intended to talk to her. I didn’t want to remember the events, much less to tell anyone about them. If I could, I’d wipe my memory clean of them instantly.

Luca and Romero exchanged a look, then Luca opened the door. “You’re much more reasonable than your sister Gianna. You remind me of Aria.”

Somehow his words made me feel like a coward. Not because Aria was. She was brave and so was Gianna, both in their own ways. I felt like a coward because I agreed to keep my silence for selfish reasons, because I wanted to forget, and not because I wanted to protect Aria from the truth. I was pretty sure she could have handled it better than I did.

“You can take her to Gianna, but make sure they don’t walk around the house again,” he said to Romero.

“What about Aria?” I blurted.

Luca tensed. “She’s asleep. You can see her later.” With that he left.

I wrapped my arms around my waist. “Do my parents know what happened?”

“Yes. Your father will pick you up once he’s done with business and then take you back to Chicago. Probably in the morning.” Romero waited but I didn’t move. For some reason my body bristled at the idea of going closer to him, which was ridiculous considering that not too long ago I’d fantasized about kissing him.

He opened the door wide and stepped back. “I’m sure your sister Gianna is eager to see you.”

Taking a deep breath, I forced myself to walk in his direction. His body was relaxed and his face kind, and despite the terror and fear still simmering deep in my body, my stomach fluttered lightly as I brushed past him. Maybe it was shock. I couldn’t possibly have a crush on him after today.





CHAPTER TWO



Liliana

Whenever I thought I’d gotten over what had happened last September, something would remind me of that day and my stomach would tie itself into a hard knot again. Like today, when Gianna and I headed toward Matteo, Aria and Luca. Father had finally given in and allowed my sister and me to visit New York to celebrate my fifteenth birthday.

“Are you okay?” Gianna asked quietly, startling me out of my rising nervousness. Only being back in New York and seeing Matteo and Luca again was enough to fill my nose with the sweet stench of fresh blood.

“Yeah,” I said quickly. I wasn’t a little girl anymore who needed her big sisters for protection. “I’m fine.”

Aria ran toward us when we’d almost reached them and threw her arms around both of us. “I missed you so much.”

Being reunited with my sisters, I couldn’t help but smile. I would even have walked straight down into that basement if that meant I could see them again.

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