Excerpt: Mafia King - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

One of the first rules they give you when you’re undercover—never fall for the enemy.
I didn’t just fall for the enemy.
I became what I was supposed to hate.
What’s worse: I fell in love with one.
I live a double life, and both sides know it’s only a matter of time before I’m forced to choose.
Rebirth through mafia blood.
Or death at the hands of the very government I swore to protect.
I have one more job before my time’s up.
I just wish it was anything but babysitting a mafia princess who’s half my size but knows how to pack such a brutal punch I worry about my ability to have children.
Tin’s small but terrifying.
And I’m her new bodyguard while we all go on a much-needed vacation.
I just have to stick to the plan.
And remember rule number one.
And stop kissing her.

Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.

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Excerpt: Mafia King
By Rachel Van Dyken

Excerpt: Mafia King

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken comes MAFIA KING—a new story in her Mafia Royals series. This novella is out tomorrow, but you can read a sneak peek now below!

One Year Ago…

I was dancing on my dad’s shoes as if I were still fourteen or younger when, really, I was seventeen going on eighteen. Wow, another year younger, and I’d be in the Sound of Music.

Sigh.

My dad was my everything.

Strong.

Brave.

Compassionate.

Oh, yeah, and he was sort of like a made man, killer, and doctor to the Five Families of Chicago.

Shrug.

But I never really saw him as this evil person; I couldn’t. Not with his gentle smile, his fierce protectiveness, and the way he always looked at me like I was his world.

And every single time, I believed it.

Because my father may kill the bad guys to keep me safe, he may save the assassins by stitching them up, but one thing my father was not was a liar.

“You’re getting too old,” he grumbled, spinning us again as we danced at my cousin’s wedding.

I loved that even in his early fifties, he looked better than Brad Pitt. People always asked me why my dad was so young. Well, folks, he’s not young. He’s just an Abandonato, through and through.

I mean, seriously, what did they put in the water? I giggled as I looked around at all my tatted-up uncles, the bosses, the badasses of the Cosa Nostra.

They were the law.

And it treated them well.

Just like aging.

I sighed as Breaker and Violet came out onto the dance floor. My cousin and her husband were perfect for each other, happy in every way I craved.

As much as I knew what was expected of me in the Family, I also had this small hope that it wouldn’t just be about killing for blood, protecting, dying one day—that it would be about an actual family.

Mine.

I wanted kids.

Not one.

Not two.

I literally wanted a plethora of them—something I was sure would send any sane man screaming into the night. But that was the guy you didn’t want—the screamer. Nah, I wanted the yeller, the one who announced to everyone and everything how much he loved me, how much he loved his kid despite having a continuous trail of ketchup down his designer shirt.

I wanted the warmth.

The love.

What my parents had raised me in.

And what I’d craved growing up—more siblings, despite all the family I already had.

With a sigh, I pulled back from my dad as he leaned down and kissed my forehead. “Are you okay?”

“Dad…” I shrugged. “Are any of us ever just okay?”

His eyes darted from left to right, and then he rolled them. “You’re too smart.”

“I’m your kid.”

“Yes.” His nostrils flared, and his eyes darkened. “You. Are.”

“Dad—”

“Don’t Dad me.” He pulled me close again. “Let them all see how much I love my daughter. Let them know how precious you are, how I would move mountains, oceans, skies—you are mine, and one day, you’ll look at someone with those gorgeous blue eyes and see the world. One day, it won’t be me on the other end of that awestruck look you’ve always worn on your face. One day, I will walk you down an aisle, I will give you to another man, and I will feel lost. So fucking lost, Tiny. Because how does a protector? A man? A father? Trust something so precious in the hands of someone who’s not his own?”

Tears filled my eyes as I smiled up into perfection. The man I would measure everyone against—my daddy. “You can’t, Daddy. That’s why you have the gun and get to pull the trigger if they fail.”

He barked out a laugh. “That’s my bloodthirsty girl.”

“Up top.” I held my hand up for a high-five and earned one from Dad before we both burst into laughter.

“Serg.” The Petrov boss, Andrei, approached in all his golden, godlike beauty—damn, he was fine. “A quick word?”

“Yup.” Dad leaned down and kissed my forehead again, whispering, “Stay out of trouble.”

“Please.” I rolled my eyes. “I’m the epitome of perfection.”

Dad stared.

And Andrei? He shook his head and murmured, “Girls terrify me.”

Dad just laughed. “And yet, you have one.”

Andrei looked heavenward. “My point exactly.”

His little girl wasn’t so little anymore, but she did just turn sixteen. I imagined the fact that she was driving kept him up at night more than all the kills under his belt.

“Stay safe,” Dad reminded me, his full lips pressed into a smile. We both knew that out of my younger sister and me, I was as pure as the newly fallen snow—I lived for his approval.

Gladly.

And he knew it.

God, I’d rather die than disappoint him.

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