One Step Closer (Erotic Romance) Book 1 (The DeLuca Brothers)

One Step Closer (Erotic Romance) Book 1 (The DeLuca Brothers) by Lucinda DuBois

Book: One Step Closer (Erotic Romance) Book 1 (The DeLuca Brothers) by Lucinda DuBois Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lucinda DuBois
Tags: Contemporary Romance
Chapter 1
    Ten
years.
    A
decade.
    That's
how long it had been since thirty-five year-old Frank DeLuca had been home. It
was strange how little had changed in the old neighborhood. He glanced in the
rearview mirror. He supposed he didn't look much different than he had back
then. His coal black hair was still thick and free of gray. A few small lines
had appeared at the corners of his mouth and his dark blue eyes, but his six
feet, four inch frame was still lean and muscled, courtesy of his athletic
lifestyle. He wasn't sure why he'd expected the neighborhood to have changed so
much. Things here rarely did.
    His
childhood home seemed smaller, somehow, even though it looked exactly the same:
a two-story, four bedroom, two bathroom, brick Cape Cod with a small front yard
and a slightly larger fenced-in back yard. His mother's prize azaleas filled
the flowerbeds under the two front windows, a wash of pink and fuchsia and red
that had only shifted in spectrum. The sidewalk that led up to the front steps
was clean, the grass around it neatly trimmed. At least his little brother was
keeping up with the yard work. Frank couldn't see it from his car, but he felt
safe in assuming that the third stone from the steps still had a small chip out
of one corner where he and his brothers had dropped their Uncle Leo's bowling
ball one hot summer night. Uncle Leo had been furious but their mother had just
laughed.
     The
blue-and-gray Cape Cod to the left of the DeLuca house looked a bit shabbier
than it had before, but if the same people were living there as had been when
Frank had left, they had to be getting well into their seventies. Charles and
Lydia Rizzo had always been nice enough, but a bit odd. Maria had often
referred to them as having only half a deck of cards between the two of them.
The house to the right, where the DiNozzi family had lived through most of
Frank's childhood, appeared to belong to a much younger couple now, judging by
the sheer volume of toddler toys cluttering the porch and front yard. Whoever
they were, they'd kept the same black and white color scheme even though the
paint seemed new. A few other houses on the street had changed colors, but
there was still a sameness there. No additions or removals. Some new cars, but
nothing that seemed out of ordinary in the middle-class neighborhood. If it
wasn't for the abundance of satellite dishes, Frank would've sworn he'd stepped
back into his childhood.
    One
house, in particular stood out as being unchanged. It was smaller than the
DeLuca house, but there had only been one child in the Bianchi family. Frank
shook his head. He didn't want to think about her, the girl he'd last seen
eight years ago. Still, unbidden, her face rose in his memory, the way she'd
looked the last time he'd seen her as fresh as it had been all those years ago.
Her long, dark brown waves still mussed from bed. Her dark violet eyes full of
love. Or, as least what he'd thought at the time was love. Frank raked his
hands through his hair and then flexed his fingers. He could still feel her
silky skin beneath his palms, the way her body had curved to fit his, as if
they were two halves of the same coin...
    “Pull
your shit together, DeLuca,” Frank muttered. It took more concentration than he
liked, but he was able to turn his thoughts from her to his family. Well, his
immediate family anyway. He didn't want to think about his cousin Gio. That led
right back to her since they were both responsible for what had happened.
    Instead,
he thought about his mother. Maria Russo-DeLuca, a northern Italian with thick
blond curls and navy blue eyes. In her early fifties, Maria had been widowed
young. Frank had been only ten, his youngest brother still two months from
being born, when their father died. The life insurance had been enough for Maria
to pay off the house and she'd continued teaching and doing after-school
tutoring, whatever it took to put food on the table. Frank had always thought
his mother was

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