Twisted Bonds

By: Cora Reilly


There wasn’t the hint of doubt in his voice.

“How can you be sure?”

“I know Remo,” Savio said simply, for a moment again dropping his arrogant smirk.

Like Nino, he had unfailing trust in Remo. I huffed, wishing I could share their convictions. “I want to go into the kitchen, if that’s still allowed?”

Savio stepped back after a moment of hesitation. I walked past him toward the kitchen. He followed me like an annoying shadow.

I whirled on him. “Am I a captive in this house now too?”

Savio raised his palms. “This is Remo’s game, not mine. Talk to him, if you don’t like what’s going on.” He smiled in a way that suggested I wouldn’t. Maybe the arrogant smirk was his protection. They all wore different masks, Nino his lack of emotions. Remo his anger, and Savio his arrogance. I wasn’t quite sure about Adamo’s mask yet, but he was wearing one too, I was sure of it.

I turned on my heel and continued into the kitchen, wondering why these twisted Falcone men wormed their way into my heart a bit more every day.



After a quick breakfast, I moved into the library, pointedly ignoring Savio who leaned beside the basement door, typing on his phone. I wouldn’t spend all day in the bedroom while Remo played captor, and I couldn’t stop thinking about Serafina.

I was lounging on the couch when Nino came in. The moment I saw the haunted look in his eyes I knew something had gone horribly wrong. Dropping my book, I pushed to my feet and hurried over to him, trying to suppress my rising worry.

“Are you okay?”

Nino cupped my face and kissed me fiercely, catching me by surprise. My body sprang to life, answering to the need in his kiss until it became more, heated, too much. I tore away from him, shaking my head, even as my body throbbed with desire. “Tell me what happened.”

Nino’s gaze dropped to his forearm where his fingers traced the scars. He frowned, pain and sadness flashing in his eyes before emotionless calm wiped them away. “Remo recorded a live video for Cavallaro and Serafina’s family, but her choice wasn’t the one Remo had anticipated.” There was no emotion in his voice, only that terrifying calm.

I backed away. “Don’t tell me you gave Serafina that choice?”

My insides convulsed, twisting tighter and tighter. Nino continued to regard me with that quiet scrutiny. “Remo is playing mind games, but Serafina is strong-willed. She chose pain, forced his hand in front of Cavallaro.” His gaze flickered to the scars on his wrist. “She chose her wrist for the cut ...she ...”

“Remo cut her?” I took another step back then turned around. “I’m sick of it. I’ll have a word with him. Someone has to.”

I rushed toward the door to confront Remo. Nino slung his arm around my waist from behind and held me tight. First Savio, now him. Anger and frustration flooded me, and a worse feeling of helplessness. “Let me go.”

“Only if you promise not to go to my brother.”

I squirmed in his grip. “Let me go.”

“No,” he said firmly.

I twisted and peered up at him, swallowing my hurt. “You promised to never use your physical power against me.”

His arms loosened slightly, but not enough for me to slip away, and a pained look crossed his face. “I’m protecting you. I’d never use my strength to cause you pain, I swear it.” He kissed the side of my head. “Don’t compare me to your uncle.” His voice rang with a note of vulnerability that startled me so much I turned in his hold to see his face better. It was impassive, but his eyes weren’t.

“I’m not,” I said. “I’m not scared of you or of you restraining me like this, but it makes me feel powerless and I hate it.”

“Your protection is always my top priority. I’ll take making you feel uncomfortable if it serves that purpose.”

I sighed. I didn’t want to fight with Nino. In his mind, his reasoning made sense.



“Where is she?” I asked Nino, who followed close behind me as we headed into Remo’s wing. My pulse was still up from my confrontation with Remo but I was glad that I’d managed to talk him into letting me visit Serafina.

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