September Book Of The Month
“What is your name?” Vitaly asked, trying to keep from frightening her even further. He could well imagine what was going through her mind and, though he acknowledged such atrocities happened on a daily basis in his city, he did not want her to think him party to that particular crime.
“Gia—Giancarla Bonetti,” she muttered her reply. As though he’d given her leave to speak, she asked, “W-what are you going to do with me?”
“I haven’t decided yet,” he replied with disturbing honesty. “But I’ve no intention of hurting you.”
A sob escaped her, but she choked others back. After a moment’s struggle, she managed to ask, “Who are you?”
“Vitaly Synvolka.” He paused, then asked, “Did the Culebras take your purse?”
“I lost it when they kidnapped me. It’s long gone by now.” Her lips twisted bitterly. “I’ll have to get a new driver’s license, Social Security card, student ID, and everything else.”
“You’re a student?”
She sighed and supposed there was no harm in volunteering information. He’d saved her from a fate worse than death, after all. “Yes, I’m in the master’s program at Cleveland State, the marine biology program.”
A small smile crossed Vitaly’s face. He thought he’d caught the glimmer of intelligence and was glad she’d confirmed his hunch. They rode in silence for a while as he drove toward the Cleveland suburb of Beachwood. Inner city gradually gave way to more affluent neighborhoods. The car pulled into the garage of a tidy house, not extravagant, but certainly larger than one man would need. Gia cast him a covert glance. Whatever Vitaly did, he was paid well for it. And maybe he had a wife and children who lived with him in the pretty house.
Gathering her courage, she ventured to quietly rebuke him as the garage door automatically lowered and cut off any chance of escape: “I had hoped you’d be willing to drop me off at home.”
Vitaly nearly grinned at her small display of audacity, knowing she was still frightened. But he kept his expression neutral and said mildly, “You’ll be safe here for the night. We’ll discuss your situation in the morning.”
“In the morning!”
“Da.” He unbuckled his seatbelt and opened the driver’s side door. “Trust me, Giancarla.”
“That’s a little hard to do. You just bought me from those criminals,” she muttered, her tone bitter.
“Would you have preferred I left you with them?”
“No!” Gia took a calming breath. “Look, I’m grateful that you got me out of there, really, I am. I’ll pay you back somehow.”
She wasn’t sure how, but she vowed she would pay him back.
#HollyBargo #HenHousePublishing #Mafia #Romance