The Bossman

The Bossman by Renee Rose

Book: The Bossman by Renee Rose Read Free Book Online
Authors: Renee Rose
head held too high. She pretended not to see him. He walked toward her car, arriving at it before she did.
    “Why are you here?” she demanded. Her eyes darted around like she was afraid he might abduct her.
    He spread his hands. “I wanted to see you. Make sure you’re all right.”
    “I texted you I was all right. I told you not to call anymore.”
    “Yeah, so I didn’t call.”
    She rolled her eyes.
    “I miss you.”
    She must have heard the honesty in his voice because her eyes flew to his, as if in surprise. Emotion flitted over her features and she averted her face. “Well, we just weren’t destined to be.”
    Was there a waver in her voice? He reached to turn her chin, then stopped himself. It felt too presumptuous. “What if we were?” he asked softly. “What if we could figure something out? I don’t know, leave town or something.”
    She turned to look at him, her eyes searching his face. “Would Al let you go? Or would you just start up the same thing somewhere else?”
    He wanted to lie, to say of course Al would let him go, but he knew she had it right. Even if Al let him leave town, it would be with the expectation of taking business with him.
    She took his hesitation for her answer, snapping her face away again.
    “Sophie, this isn’t West Side Story or Romeo and Juliet . We both come from the same side of the tracks, you know.”
    She shook her head. “I don’t have feelings for you.” Her voice broke completely, telling him it was a lie.
    He longed to draw her into his arms, to soothe her pain away and make things right, but he feared the gesture wouldn’t be welcomed. “You wouldn’t cry if you didn’t care,” he murmured.
    “I gotta go,” she choked. “Don’t come around again,” she said, walking to the driver’s side and looking up with a narrowed eye. “I mean it.”
    He stared at her, numbness taking root in his soul as a defense against the pain threatening to knock him on his ass. He drove to the club for poker night, actually grateful for the distraction instead of burdened by the ritual he no longer enjoyed.
    “I’ll see your c note and raise you by another,” he said, tossing two hundred dollar bills onto the table. His phone buzzed and he glanced at the caller. His mother. Great. He excused himself from the table and entered his office, which adjoined the room.
    “Hi, Ma,” he said.
    “Joey, I just got off the phone with Sophie.”
    “You did?” he said, bewildered.
    “Yes. You have to stop calling her and showing up where she works. She doesn’t want to see you anymore.”
    His body went hot and he couldn’t splutter a reply.
    She went on, “I talked to her at Angela’s shower. I knew she’d never be happy with la famiglia . I told her she’d just make your life miserable, just like her mother did to her father. I told her I don’t want that for my son.”
    “Fuck!” he snarled and threw the phone across the room, satisfied with the smash of parts clattering when it collided with the wall. For good measure, he tossed his desk chair onto its side, just as Al opened the door.
    His brother showed no surprise, just looked coolly at the wreckage, his eyes settling on the phone. “Who was that?”
    “Our mother,” he said through clenched teeth.
    That caused Al’s eyebrows to shoot up. “Oh yeah? What happened?”
    “She pushed Sophie into breaking up with me.”
    “No shit?” Al said, sounding surprised. “Yeah, she always liked Alessia.”
    He looked at his brother, suddenly certain if he didn’t speak his mind he would break in half. “I want out,” he spat. “I don’t aspire to be the future underboss, or consigliere . I don’t want to run this club anymore. I just want to be your investment broker--the guy who makes it all come out clean. Can I just be that guy?”
    Al’s face wore shocked disgust, but before he could speak, a deafening boom came from the lounge and the wall flew out to hit them.
    “Sophie, did you hear?”

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