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Stolen Hearts Series
Copyright © 2021 by Carina Blake
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“Your father has to be handled.” I raise my brows, staring at my right-hand man, Fernando, waiting for him to elaborate on such a bold statement. If he was anyone else, I’d bust his face in. Besides, he does have a point.
It’s merely six in the morning, and I have a fucking headache building in my temples. I roll my hand, ushering him into speaking before my temper worsens.
“He’s cost us three shipments of product to the Italians. They’re moving guns along with the drugs and easily stole our merchandise without consequence. Soon they’ll take over, killing everyone—including your family—because they know you’re not going to fall in line,” he finishes. My fist contracts and releases against the leather armrest of my chair, flexing as my anger amplifies.
I’ve only just arrived from Oxford a week ago after getting my business degree. My intentions were to continue growing my family vineyard and winery while leaving my crimes in the past, but it seems the old bastard would rather chase tail than handle the business. So, now I’m in the middle of a crumbling empire, failing both the legal and illegal sides of our businesses with the looming threat of the Italians sweeping in.
Despite having grown up on the family estate, I’m forced to use the manager’s office at the winery and restaurant to get shit done because my father can’t be trusted. I can’t just walk away from the family like I thought I could because there are too many lives depending on me, which I’m sure is what Fernando’s trying to get at.
Ten years my senior, he’s my best friend and my personal guard, making sure I’m kept in the loop about as much as possible—even the fact that my father’s habits have put us in a perilous situation. It’s either we let the Sicilians control and wipe out my family and all those loyal to me, or we take back control. There’s no fucking middle ground with these assholes.
Slamming my hands on the armrests, I bolt upright, standing in one smooth motion. I tug on my suit pants to straighten them out and adjust my suit jacket, looking like the leader I’m meant to be. I’m not a sloppy fucker like my father; my body’s taut and strong and my suits are impeccably made by my tailor in London. I will command respect. There can be no other way.
“Fuck, yeah, I’m not. I’ll destroy each and every one of them if they cross me. I’ll deal with my father, but I need our men to be ready. We’re going to run these babasos out of our country. They’re too weak to take their country, so they come here to start shit. Well, I’m not having it. I’m the new head of the Serrano Family. I want a meeting with my men before we take our shit back and then some. Get the word out.” I don’t need this fucking shit, but as the future king of the Serrano empire, I must wrest control away from the jester on my throne.
“I’ll set it up now. What about your mother and brother?” My weakness. My kryptonite. I’d do anything for them and my father knows it, which means I need to act wisely and not in haste.
“Move them into hiding. She left him last week, taking Hector with her. I’m sure he’s itching to get back at her—and me for helping her escape his grips.” As soon as my feet touched Spanish soil, my mother fled my father’s hold for good. It’s for the best, but he probably doesn’t see it that way. After all, no one leaves the great Victor Serrano Jr. I am the third and last Victor Serrano. If I do have children, that name is out the window.
Fernando nods, understanding how much my family means to me. “He was hoping to get your brother to do the cocaine run last week, but you stopped that shit by coming home.” That pisses me off more than anything because I asked my father to leave my brother out of it and to not get his hands dirty. I kept tabs on Hector and so far he’s been clean, but it’s not for my father’s lack of trying, since now Hector is considered a man.
I’m almost twenty-two and have seen more shit than most men will ever see, and I don’t want that for him. My little brother is supposed to go away to college now like I had and choose his path. I want him to go to college in the States, but I can’t let him go unprotected while my father has made us targets. After Hector returns and should he want to follow beside me and the organization, I won’t stop him. However, not until he’s had a life free from this shit will I demand that of him.
“Hector’s only seventeen. He doesn’t need to be mixed up in that shit. I want them protected at all costs. The old man could be blown to smithereens, and I wouldn’t give two fucks. He deserves his fate over and over. Whether he chooses to step down peacefully or have power snatched from him will be his choice. My loyalty has never been to him but to my mother, brother, and my ancestors who built the empire he’s tearing asunder.”
“I’m by your side, Victor.” I pull him in for a one-armed hug and then step back. “I know I can always count on you. It’s time to pay my father a visit.” I