The Gun Runner (Mafia Made)

By: Scott Hildreth

Chapter One

Terra

When a relationship fails, it seems one person is always more accepting of the change than the other.

I was that person. The accepting one.

“I told you about coming here,” he seethed. “Grab your stuff. You’re leaving.”

“Leave me alone, Vincent. Jesus. It’s over. Go away. People are staring.”

His lips went thin. “Do I look like I give a fuck if people stare?”

I pulled away, yanking my wrist free from his grasp. “Go. Away.”

“Stand up,” he demanded. “I don’t want to make a scene.”

“Testa di cazzo. You already have. Go away.”

“You little bitch. Stand up,” he growled.

As far as I was concerned, the coffee shop was my place of refuge. Although we had been apart for almost six months, there were times when Vincent didn’t seem to quite understand that our separation was permanent. Italian men were extremely prideful, and my ending the relationship against his will made it far more difficult for him to accept.

The muscles in his jaw went tight. “I mean it. Get up. You’re fuckin’ leaving.”

I turned away. Seeing him turned my stomach and having him touch me was worse. His abusive behavior and his size were the two biggest problems facing me, and my size—or lack thereof—was another.

I reached for my cup of coffee. My shaking hand was a reminder of my fear of his violent temper. I wrapped my fingers around the cup of coffee and tried to convince myself I wasn’t as scared as I really was.

I raised the cup to my lips. “No. Leave me alone.”

One hand firmly grabbed my jacket, and the other got a fistful of my hair. Before I had a chance to object, my cup of coffee was on the floor and I was being dragged through the door and toward the parking lot.

Fear shot through me like an electric shock. This type of thing had happened with Vincent enough that I knew what was next. During our entire relationship I used makeup and scarves to hide the bruises left on me by his fits of anger.

He dragged me along the sidewalk. “You wanna disrespect me in public?”

I fought to free myself from his grasp. “Let me go. My purse. My purse is...”

His grip on my hair tightened. “Shut up.”

I tried to dig my heels into the pavement and pull free of his grasp. Instead of making any progress on escaping, I simply lost one of my beloved Louboutins. Through all of the commotion and my feeble attempts to get away, my eyes caught a glimpse of the coffee shop’s glass entrance, only to see the two dozen patrons watching us wide-eyed. No one seemed willing to do anything to help.

I had no interest in being beaten by him again.

Two years of it was enough.

As he dragged me off of the sidewalk and into the parking lot, a shrill whistle caused me to shift my attention toward the sound. Vincent stopped and did the same. An extremely handsome man in a well-fitted gray suit stood twenty feet away. Very methodically, he approached us. His gait included a distinct element of confidence.

He had an undeniable swagger.

And steel-blue eyes that I couldn’t seem to pry mine away from. It seemed he could speak with his eyes, and if I was understanding him correctly—and I hoped I was—he was telling me not to worry.

The stranger continued to walk toward us, each step expressing his confidence. My mouth fell open. Not out of surprise. Or hope for that matter. It was more a strange out-of-place lustful desire.

He was so good-looking that Vincent’s abduction of me became secondary.

The handsome stranger took another step toward us, stopped, and spread his feet apart slightly.

“Let. Her. Go.” His voice was distinct and commanding.

Vincent released my hair and slid his arm around my waist. “Mind your own business.”

The stranger reached up and loosened his tie. “I watched you drag her across the parking lot. Hell, one of her shoes is over there on the sidewalk. It is my business. I’m not going to tell you again. Let. Her. Go.”

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