Twisted Roses

Page 67

My gaze narrows. “This girl Lena was a prostitute?”
“Of course she was. Why else do you think she was there? You see all the women mingling in the background? Anybody that wasn’t attached to one of us guys—like Stefania being Leandro’s daughter and Lucius’ wife—was for sale that night. If memory serves me right, she was very popular, you know what I’m saying?”
“Lena was for sale,” I repeat. I spend another few seconds staring at the photos, caught between skepticism and surprise.
This is admittedly, an angle I hadn’t considered.
I hate Ernest Adams’ guts. I’d love nothing more than to destroy him. Triumph over him once and for all.
But even I can’t imagine him entertaining a prostitute. He’s too holier-than-thou, too pompous and high-and-mighty to ever lower himself by paying a woman for sex. It’s possible he had no clue about Lena’s past when he began an affair with her.
It was over fifteen years later…
I’m undecided on what I believe.
Rhino senses this, because he says, “You’re really fucking around having those out in the first place. If the rumors are to be believed about that night.”
“If what you’re saying is true, who brought her there?”
“Who else? Kozlov. She was an offering. Sort of like how you’d bring a housewarming gift. Regular people bring a houseplant. Mafia guys bring some pussy.” He cracks up at his own off-color joke and guzzles down more whiskey. “But you’ve got to tell me why. Why are you wanting to know about this Lena girl?”
“Ernest Adams,” I answer. “This is his mistress.”
“I thought that’s what it’d lead back to. The girl from the club—the cute one I met all those years ago in my office? The one you vouched for?”
I tilt my head to the side. “What’s she have to do with anything?”
“Well, nothing. Just, it comes back to her a lot. You still trying to destroy her father?”
“I’m trying to prove he’s corrupt,” I snap, stashing away the photos. I rise up from the pool chair. “It’s a black and white situation. Nothing to do with my relationship with her.”
Yet it’s been on my mind for days.
Everything that happened on the night I caught her in Skip Little’s house to the morning after has been thought about ad nauseam.
Delphine said it didn’t matter what she wants. We can’t be together regardless. Our lifestyles would never allow it. Her career and my criminal background. The upperclass society she insists on belonging to and fitting in with.
The fucking life plan.
What she doesn’t realize is that she told me what she wants by refraining from telling me.
It doesn’t matter what I want…
Yet she refuses to take the chance. She’s never truly given herself to me—almost as if she always has one foot on the ground.
She doesn’t trust me. Not completely.
I have broken her heart several times. I’ve kept things from her, like my surveillance of her the years we spent apart. The beginning of our relationship—my original plan to use her against her father—is still a mystery to her to this day.
Delphine’s a smart woman. She chooses to guard her heart. She needs some type of convincing. Proof I mean it when I say she’s mine. The deep shit normal people who aren’t stunted psychos like me can say to each other.
But I can’t tell her how I feel about her. I don’t even understand it myself.
I just know… that she’s mine. More than that, she’s the only woman I’ve ever wanted to be mine.
It’s all of Delphine or nothing at all.
“Anyway,” Rhino says, “I’m sure it’ll work out for you. As much years as you’ve dedicated to it. I was into all those love games when I was younger. Now I just stick to the hot bitches I pay to be on my arm.”