Twisted Bonds

By: Cora Reilly

I shuddered.

Nino caressed my arm “Kiara,” he said quietly. “Don’t let this drag you back into the past.”

“It won’t, but it’s difficult for me to bear the thought of the girl’s terror.”

I felt Nino nod, trying to understand my pity but unable to grasp the concept. He didn’t care about Serafina. He couldn’t.

I linked our fingers. I’d try to be our conscience.

The water soon grew cold and Nino helped me out of the tub then proceeded to rub me dry. His touch left tingles in its wake as always but I didn’t allow myself to relax into it. We settled in bed, both naked, wrapped in each other. Nino was still aroused, but he made no move to initiate intimacy again.

I fell asleep in Nino’s arm, marveling at the power of love. Despite what I knew of Nino, of what he was capable of, I loved him.



Nino stirred and gently untangled himself from me. I watched through half closed eyes him getting dressed in a black shirt and jeans, not saying anything. He threw a quick glance over his shoulder at me before he left for the video recording. The moment the door closed, I swung myself out of bed and threw a bathrobe over my nightgown. I had an inkling where the recording would take place. I needed to see Serafina with my own eyes.

Even more than that, I needed to figure out a way to help the girl without betraying my new family—because that’s what the Falcones were.

I crept through the corridor and made my way toward the door that led into the basement.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

I cried out in surprise and jumped away from the hot breath on my neck. Whirling around, I hit Savio’s chest hard.

A grin flitted across his face. “Ouch,” he said, rubbing the spot in exaggeration.

“You’re in an awfully good mood considering a girl is being tortured in the basement,” I said, turning and trying to continue, but Savio stepped in my way.

The amusement disappeared from his expression, which was a rare event. Savio always either smirked or grinned. “Someone’s always being tortured,” he said mockingly.

I couldn’t believe him. With Nino I understood why it didn’t bother him; it was his emotional disposition, but Savio didn’t have that excuse.

He sighed, running a hand through his usual impeccably styled dark hair. “The girl’s not being tortured.”

“Are you sure about that?” I asked, trying to sidestep Savio. He mirrored my move.

“I can’t let you go down there. Orders from Nino.”

Angry, I quickly ducked past Savio. His arm came around my waist and he lifted me off the ground. Tension shot through me and I sucked in a startled breath. Savio carried me a few steps then set me down and peered into my eyes. “Come on, no panic attack, all right? I touched your waist. No danger.”

I swallowed.

“Hit me again, if that helps.”

“What?” I asked, confused, and my panic subsided.

Savio gave me the cocky grin. “I know you enjoyed hitting me.”

I knew what he was trying, and under different circumstances I might have laughed.

“Let me pass,” I said.

“No,” he said. “If you try again, I’ll hold you.”

“I don’t care.” Once again I tried to walk past Savio and this time he grabbed my shoulders and pressed me against the wall, holding me fast. I squirmed, my body tightening, but he didn’t release me.

“Kiara, I won’t let you go down there. I gave Nino my word. Give up. I don’t want to have to restrain you.”

I shivered at his proximity.

“Fuck,” he breathed. “You know I’d never hurt you, right?”

I looked up into his face, into brown eyes that had held wariness in the beginning but were softer now. I gave a sharp nod and began to relax in his hold.

He let go of me and stepped back, then ran a hand through his hair again. He looked at me. “I really wish I could have been there when Nino and Remo dismembered him.”

I knew who he meant and I was surprised by his admission. Savio and I had gotten off on the wrong foot, and I often still had the impression that he resented the new restrictions my presence had brought.

He leaned one shoulder against the wall beside the basement door. “Remo would never hurt an innocent woman like your uncle hurt you.”

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