Her dad had yet to explain how Trevor and Anya were murdered, and though I haven’t pushed the subject, it was always at the back of my mind. First, I had to take down Arthur and find Mitch all before my trial, which was scheduled to take place in less than two months. For that, I needed Mario, so making an enemy of him wasn’t the smartest move.
“That has nothing to do with a teenaged girl living in my home without my consent. How do I know she didn’t run away from home, and her parents aren’t looking for her?”
“Um… actually, I’m twenty so legally, I’m an adult, Daddy O.”
My patience was now completely gone.
Her throat was in my hand, and I was marching her backward out of the kitchen before John could respond. My firm hand around her neck was the only thing keeping her up and from tripping over her feet.
“Hey, hey, hey! I only like the rough stuff when I have nothing on,” she giggled. It turned into a nervous broken sound after the look I gave her, warning her not to fuck with me.
She was quickly becoming a pain in my ass along with being an inconvenience. I didn’t have time to babysit. However, after learning the things I had about Mario, maybe it was his plan.
Having his daughter in my care could have worked to my advantage, but now I wasn’t so sure of his paternal feelings for his daughter. If I never met Dash’s parents or even Monroe’s aunt, there would be nothing to convince me that good parents existed.
“You know the way to the guest bedroom and, by the way, he’s my uncle, not my father, so either you were stupid enough to come here without doing your homework or your father was just stupid enough to send you here period.”
I shoved her toward the stairs and disappeared back inside the kitchen without waiting for a response.
“I didn’t raise you to treat women like that,” my uncle barked. He was standing by the door as if to come to her rescue. It was all I could do not to roll my eyes but then I caught on to the first part of his statement.
“Raise me? Is that what you call being gone three hundred and sixty-five days out of the year?”
“Regardless of how you feel about me, you will not treat women that way.”
“Treat women like what?”
“We don’t manhandle a woman the way I just saw you do.”
“No, we threaten to take away their child.” His lips thinned out in a hard line as he glared at me. Once again, I’d backed him into a corner. He had been gone for far too long after making too many mistakes to step in and be a parent now. “Look…” I released an aggravated breath, feeling myself giving in partially. “I won’t bring trouble to your doorstep, and I can’t toss her out, so you’ll just have to trust me.” I turned on my heel and left him to mull it over.
The hallway was clear so I assumed Diana did as I ordered. I followed after her to the guest bedroom. It was next to mine so if she ever tried to sneak out, I would hear her pass. I wasn’t taking any chances.
The bedroom door was unlocked so I pushed my way in. She was centered in the middle of the bedroom, leaning back on her hands, wearing a playful expression. “It’s about time you came. I’m ready now to test out those rough edges of yours and ruffle some bed feathers if you are.”
“Just… stop. I need you to start talking. Why did your father send you here?”
“I told you—”
“I want the truth, not the rehearsed bullshit he told you to say. Q told me what happened between you two ten years ago. Is it true?”
“I don’t see why Q felt the need to tell you any of that.” Her eyes lowered with what might have actually been shame. She sat up and crossed her legs, letting her hands rest in her lap.
“He didn’t go into detail.” I had no clue why I wasted time reassuring her. I didn’t care about her feelings. I cared about what was inside her head—her knowledge, her memories… her plans. The daughter of Mario had to have a plan. I just wondered who was meant to suffer. “Just tell me what I need to know. Make this easy on yourself now because I will get it out of you.”
Her eyes narrowed as bitter resentment shone through. “If you knew me at all, you wouldn’t waste your time on threatening me, but since you don’t, I’ll spell it out for you—I don’t care about what you can or are willing to do to me. The life I’ve lived isn’t one I will miss.”
“Then maybe we can help each other.”
“Your father… how attached to him are you?”
* * *
I was taking a huge chance walking into this place, but after what I had learned last night, I was quickly running out of chances. I managed to turn every head when I walked in, and word would likely get out that I was here, but it was a risk worth taking.
Mario was dirtier than I’d thought, and he’d been playing me all along—right from the fucking beginning.
He toyed with my hate for the syndicate to use me as a pawn in order to take over Arthur’s organization. His plan was to either kill me or recruit me once Arthur was out of the way.
He would never get a chance to do either.
I was going to beat him, my father, and Arthur at their own game. Sooner or later, someone would have to be the victor. I just had to ensure that it would be me.
“Mr. Masters, how are you?” The detective with the thick mustache who had arrested me weeks ago greeted me as he walked into the room. Another man, who I assumed was his partner, followed, and they each took a seat in front of me.