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The Banker (Banker #1)
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They’ve taken my father. They’ll take me next unless I comply with their demands.
Taking down the most powerful man in Italy.
The man is accompanied by his security team everywhere he goes. His fortress in Tuscany is impenetrable. He’s the most paranoid man in the country.
And there’s no possibility I’ll be able to take him down alone.
If I want to save my father, I only have one option.
To get into Cato’s bed…and stay there.
**This story is not about the Barsettis, but it takes place in the same universe. There are guest appearances by Crow Barsetti and Bones Jr.**
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My grandmother left me a small house outside Florence. It was old, a living antique. The pipes were original, and I could hear the water running through the entire house when I flushed the toilet. There were cracks in the stone outside, and the glass in the windows was so aged that they were constantly blurry, regardless of how many times I cleaned them. It was a short distance from the city, so close that I never felt like I was really out in the middle of the Tuscan countryside, but it gave me the quiet and peace I craved. Every morning in spring and summer I could hear the birds chirping outside my window. It’d been a haven to me for a long time—since I’d turned my back on my family.
But right now, this house couldn’t protect me.
I sprinted up the wooden staircase, the creaks screaming beneath my feet as I moved as quickly as my body could carry me. There was no point in being quiet—not when they knew I was here.
“Run, bitch.” Damien led the chase, his two cronies behind him. “It’s more fun this way.” His sinister tone reached every end of the petite home, as if he were speaking over a sound system that amplified every single syllable.
“Shit.” I made it upstairs and slid across the hardwood floor toward my mattress. Tucked in between the two pieces of the bedding was the revolver I kept for emergencies. I’d disowned my family years ago, so I’d thought I would never need it.
Guess I was wrong.
I turned off the safety and prepared to shoot Damien right between the eyes. I wasn’t the kind of person who hesitated when they squeezed the trigger. It was either him or me.
It certainly wasn’t going to be me.
Damien took his time moving up the stairs, his heavy footfalls beating like the sound of steady drums. “Sweetheart, I would check that gun if I were you.” His deep voice carried down the hallway, his smile so audible I could actually see it behind my eyes.
My hands started to shake.
I opened the barrel and looked inside.
“You’ve got to be kidding me…” They must have hit my house while I was at work, stripping away all my bullets so I would be unarmed when they came for me. It was smart on their part—because I was a good shot. “Fucking asshole.”
His laugh drifted down the hall, the sound getting louder because he was so close. He seemed to move slower the closer he approached, as if he wanted to savor this for as long as he could. He cornered me like a rat—and he wanted me to squirm.
I was no rat—and I didn’t squirm.
I opened my closet and pushed back all my shoe boxes until I found my sword—a samurai sword given to me as a gift from Kyoto. I removed the sheath and prepared the blade, ready to stab my attacker right through the neck as I’d been taught. I wasn’t a master of the sword, but I certainly knew how to stab someone.
I pressed my back against the wall and waited for Damien to walk through the open doorway.
Damien cocked his gun before he moved inside, his gun held at shoulder height. “Sweetheart, you know I love it when you run—”
I slammed my blade down fast, aiming to sever his arm right at the elbow.
Damien must have been expecting me to hide there because he dodged out of the way. “Ooh…you look pissed.”
I slashed my sword at him again.
He jumped out of the way and kept his gun aimed at my right shoulder. “And sexy.” The corner of his mouth rose in a smile that looked more like a sneer. He was enjoying this way too much. His jet-black hair flopped down in front of his face and hid some of his left eye from view. He was the top dog in the organization—because he loved his job so much.
I stabbed my sword at his gut, wanting him to bleed out all over my floor.
He backed up toward my bed. “Sweetheart, I will shoot you.”
“And I will stab you.” I put all my strength into the move, preparing to drive my sword right through his gut and into the wall behind him.
He pulled the trigger.
I didn’t feel the bullet enter my shoulder, just the jerk of my body at the momentum. My shoulder jutted back and my body shifted because the force was much stronger than my own velocity. Smoke burned from the tip of his gun. The smell was suffocating—along with that of my own blood. I dropped my sword but stayed on my feet. It was the first time I’d ever been shot, and the shock that washed over my body protected me from the pain.
I stayed on my two feet—refusing to fall.