The Cardinal (The Holy Trinity Duet #2) - M.E. Clayton



I didn’t feel a goddamn thing.


Standing next to my two brothers, you think there’d be shock, resignation, regret, hurt, remorse, but I couldn’t say I felt a damn thing.

Anger had come and gone swiftly after we’d found out about Gio’s betrayal but that’s probably the only emotion I could attach to the dead body lying at our feet.

Giovanni Benetti was dead, and while he’d taken the coward’s way out, we all knew it would have only been a matter of time before Luca had put him in the ground himself.

As the firstborn, Luca had endured some sick shit at the hands of our father, whereas me and Leo had gotten by unscathed for the most part. Our mother, Carlita, had doted on us, but she had left Luca to be raised by Gio and he hadn’t had an easy time of it. However, it had made him the man he was today, and that man was the fucking Benetti Family Boss.

Luca was finally sitting on the throne of all we were about.

I never envied my brother’s place in the family. Not anything I ever wanted, I never coveted anything that either my brothers had. We all had our place in the family, and I was happy with mine. My place let me color outside the lines. My place allowed me to feed my demons. My place let me be me.

Where Luca was the leader, and Leo was the analytical one, I was the bloodthirsty one. Even with as badly as Gio had treated Luca, he never lost himself to his demons. Always in control and always one step ahead, Luca was the epitome of control.

Leo was the youngest and the softest, thought soft wasn’t a word I’d use to describe him, really. Leo didn’t have a problem putting someone down, he just preferred not to. Leo was more comfortable dealing in the management side of things.


I lived for the blood of our enemies.

If I could bathe in that shit, I would.

And Giovanni had turned enemy the second he started keeping a cop as his mistress.

“Good riddance,” I spat at the dead body on the ground.

“Ditto,” Leo agreed, and that surprised me a little.

Luca slapped us both on the back before turning to deal with the second traitor and my dick almost got hard at the thought of what we were going to do to that bastard.

Patting Leo on the back, I said, “I’ll clean up Gio’s body. Do you want to be the one to tell Mom?”

Leo nodded. “I’ll go talk to her as soon as we leave here. I’ll join you guys at The Funhouse tomorrow.”

I smirked. “It’s a new era, little brother.”

“I know,” he replied. Then he nudged Gio’s body with his foot. “I feel nothing.”

“That’s because for all your desk work and clean hands, you’re still a Benetti, little brother,” I told him. “And your demons are as dark as mine and Luca’s.”

He looked over at me. “How dark can Luca be when he was ready to kill his own father for love?”

I stared into the same green eyes that mirrored mine. “Do you really think it’s money and power that bring out the worst in men, Leo?” I asked. “Because let me tell you something, the lure of money and power are nothing compared to what a man will do for the woman he loves.” Leo didn’t comment, but then he didn’t need to.

Even if Gio hadn’t been caught betraying his own, Luca would never stand for someone threatening the woman he loved, and my brother loved the fuck out of Remy Christian.

Glancing around the barn, I knew there were Capos who were going to balk at Luca naming me Underboss, but there’s no way it could be anyone else. Leo didn’t have the stomach for it and the position had to go to a blood-born Benetti.

However, what nobody in this room knew was that my wavering loyalty ended the second Gio put a bullet in his head. With Luca now at the helm, my loyalty was unquestionable. With Gio, I’d never follow a man I didn’t trust into battle. But with Luca, things were different.

It was a different Benetti Reign, and it was one I wanted to be a part of.

It was one I completely trusted.

Chapter 1

Salvatore – 2020~

Motherfuckers never learn.

But then that’s what sickness did to a person. It erased all common sense and need for self-preservation. Whether the sickness was alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, or the home shopping channel, it didn’t matter. If addictions