Mafia Prince (Young Irish Rebels #1) - Vi Carter
Sometimes we build them up so high that they take on a life of their own. Sometimes they manifest into beasts that consume us from the inside out. Sometimes life loses its color, and we wait for the harsh reality that is to come.
No one told me it would be this hard.
Sometimes the power of a memory can either destroy us or lift us up.
My beast is a destroyer and wears two faces, one given by Jack O’Reagan and the other by dear old daddy. Yeah, on the same day, these two men seemed to tear me to shreds, and I’ve never been able to put myself back together. I’ve tried. Trust me, I have, but it’s like each time I try to swim, the water rages around my ankles, and its icy fingers tighten painfully as it drags me out to sea until I’m drowning. So, through life, I’ve learned to float.
I try not to think too much or feel too much. So far, I’ve gotten by just fine like that; until more moments build-up, and soon you are looking at a mountain of shit. The shit pile is so high that I can’t see around it anymore. It blocks out all the light and plunges my world into darkness. The sad part is, the one person who might be able to help me is the one who started all this. The one who helped bury me knee-deep in all this pain and suffering.
Fourteen years ago…
“Push me higher.” Dana squeals like a princess on some adventure, and I want to be right there with her, so I push her higher, and her squeals of delight force a smile out of me.
Her long dark hair whooshes towards me, and I turn my head to the side, avoiding the sting to my eyes that her long tendrils would inflict. Instead, it’s a short-lived sting to my face as I push her higher. She soars into the sky, her white dress clinging to her ballerina frame, and she continues to laugh, drawing the attention of her mother.
Immediately, I ease down on my pushes. Svetlana smiles at Dana, with one hand on her hip. “Girls, that’s too high.” Her mother is beautiful, just like Dana. She has black hair and crystal blue eyes, which smile even when her mouth doesn’t move. They both make me feel happy and at ease.
“Sorry, mom.” Dana giggles.
Reaching out, I grip the rope in my hands and pull back until it burns my palms, but it slows Dana down, and her mother steps onto the manicured lawn.
“You girls thirsty?” Svetlana glances from me to her daughter. The red dress she wears doesn’t billow in a breeze as I imagine it should with its long tail. It’s as still as the air.
I lick my lips. The sun is high in the sky, and pushing Dana for so long has tired me out. “Yes, please.”
“Maeve, your manners are wonderful,” Svetlana speaks while staring at her daughter, who jumps off the swing and marches into her mother’s outstretched arms. A pin pricks the back of my neck, and I don’t understand the sensation fully, but it disappears when Dana steps out of her mother’s embrace.
“I’ll be just a minute.” Svetlana smiles. Her words are spoken differently than Dana, and I speak. Dana says her mother is from the Czech Republic and is teaching her how to speak some Czech. I wish my mother taught me another language. I wish she taught me anything.
Dana turns to me with a huge smile on her face. “That was so fun.” She’s grinning as she pulls me into her for a hug. I like Dana’s hugs, they are warm as sunshine, and she always smells of home baking.
“Dana, what has dad told you?”
My stomach curls in on itself, and unlike the pricking on the back of my neck, I understand this sensation. My cheeks heat as I look up at Jack, Dana’s older brother.
Ice-blue eyes narrow on me, and my spine straightens. My stomach squirms as he glares at me, and I’m wondering what I’ve done wrong. Each time he looks at me like that, I want to ask why, but my courage fails me, and I’m sinking my heels into the lawn.
“Go away, Jack.” Dana releases me and folds her arms across her chest. I notice her nails are painted a vibrant blue, and I wonder how I hadn’t noticed that before.
Jack still glares at me, and I’m snared in his gaze. I