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Lucian (Filthy Marcellos #1)(5)


Quickly, he glanced around for Father Peter, as the priest usually stood outside his side of the box to let the members of the congregation know he was there and accepting confession. The man wasn't there in his usual robed attire. The curtains of the confessional were closed on both sides, though.

Lucian assumed, because his mother said herself the priest was making a special exception for him that Sunday afternoon, Father Peter must have already been inside waiting for him. Oddly, he usually would have left the right curtain open for Lucian to enter.

It didn't matter, really. Lucian wanted to get it done and over with to satisfy his mother and that was it. Crossing the short distance to the confessional, he grabbed the curtain and tugged to open it.

And promptly froze right where he stood.

Chapter Three

She was beautiful.

Not in the usual, pretty face, clear skin, and bright eyes kind of way. She had all of that going for her, too, but that wasn't it. No, the woman behind the confessional curtain was beautiful in a heart stopping, stunning, and make-your-lungs-ache kind of way.


Lucian knew instantly she wasn't a fulltime member of their congregation. After years of attending, he would have noticed someone like her at least once, if not a dozen times before. It would have certainly given him something better to stare at other than the goddamned ceiling and walls.

Waves of hair the color of ebony, with a thick streak of deep maroon red behind her right ear trailed in curls down below her shoulders. The knee-length, pale colored curve hugging dress with sleeves that stopped at her elbows and pumps nearly matched the cream tone of her skin. Kneeling like she was didn't hide the curve in her waist or the swell of her breasts beneath the fabric of her dress for a minute. As his gaze flicked over her, taking every inch of her in that he could in what felt like only seconds, he was sure there was ink below her dress. Damn, that mouth  …  Lips that were plump, and pink, forming an O of shock.

A mouth meant for kissing. One he thought might taste like hot candy. Probably as soft as silk. He bet she'd kiss like she owned him. Those lips of hers would take him straight to hell and back. Those thoughts, all of them, were what Lucian's mind ran through almost immediately.

He didn't kiss, ever. Not once with all the dalliances of women he'd had in his twenty-seven years. Sure, he fucked hard. Loved to use his teeth and hands to get a female shaking, sweating, and begging for more. Liked it even better when she used hers, too. Lucian would take a woman however she wanted him to take her, but he wouldn't kiss her.

Kissing was so very intimate. Emotional, even. While sex was carnal, kissing was passionate. It filled in an entirely different way. Lovers kissed. It was almost meant to claim someone, to keep them, taste them, and have them for only you in that private way.

There was an old, Italian proverb Lucian remembered to explain the motions of love: Il bacio sta all'amore come il lampo al tuono. The kiss is to love what lightning is to thunder. Italians called falling in that kind of love the colpo di fulmine-the thunderbolt. The feeling came like a strike of lightning so powerfully swift it would change the unsuspecting man right where he stood. Nothing could ever be the same. There was no preparing for it, either. Appropriate, then, how the two adages could overlap so perfectly to fit something as unattainable and frightening as true love.

But those things, all of those thoughts, trickled away when he stared into her eyes. Blue, like the sea, flecked with green specks that reminded him of emeralds. Clear as day and opened so wide right back at him. Penetrating right through his chest to where his heart suddenly beat like a thousand hooves.

There was something behind that gaze, something he recognized. A lost look, the wanderer's stare. As if maybe she hadn't quite found home yet, or wherever it was she was supposed to be. Or perhaps, she just hadn't found herself and the right people to give that sense of home to her. 

Lucian knew that sight like nothing else because he stared at it every fucking day when he took a good look in the mirror.

It hurt to look at her, he realized. He didn't have a clue why.

Still, Lucian stood there staring at her, the curtain fisted in his clenched hand, and he didn't know what to do. He couldn't help it. The tingling sensation spreading over his lax lips reminded him of his first urge-to kiss her, to know the taste of her and her mouth.

That was completely ridiculous. Absurd, even.

Who in the hell was she?

A name, he wanted her name.

Lucian wouldn't get it. He couldn't.

Women didn't generally have that strong of an effect on him and he wasn't about to let a pretty face start it up now.

"B-bella, scusi," Lucian stuttered, apologising for his intrusion and letting the curtain fall closed as his shaking fist returned to his side. "Merda."

He'd even fumbled over his words for Christ's sake. As confident and cocky of a man as he was, he couldn't manage to get two words of Italian out properly. And he'd called her beautiful, like a cafone.

Turing on his heel, Lucian made a decision to get to the front of the church as quickly as he could and get the hell out.

Fuck confession.

Screw what his mother wanted.

Lucian couldn't do this shit or deal with it today.

"Lucian, son?"

Vaguely, he heard Father Peter calling for him from behind, but Lucian didn't even bother to wave the priest's concern off. He simply continued his near jog until he was out of sight and smelling the air of New York City.


Gio's deep tenor drew Lucian's gaze up from his feet, the bright light of the outside blinding him. Why was his family still standing on the front steps of the church?

"That was too quick," he heard his mother say. "Did something happen?"



"Gio," Lucian said, the strain in his throat turning his youngest brother's name rough and raspy. "Drive me home, yeah?"

"Yeah," Gio agreed, shrugging. "Sure, man."

• • •

Jordyn stood on shaky legs, moving the curtain of the confession box out of the way. The priest who had been taking her confession seconds before was standing outside instead of the handsome intruder who was there moments ago.

His eyes-a hazel swirl of emotions-had caught her like a deer in the headlights.

She barely witnessed a glance of a black suit disappearing fast around a corner before he was gone completely.

What had the priest called him? Lucian, was it?

"Miss Reese, I apologize," the priest said, obviously flustered. "It usually isn't in one of my parishioner's nature to interrupt like that. I'm sure Mr. Marcello-"

"It's okay, I think he apologized," she interrupted quietly.

She was sure that was what he said before the curtain closed. Or something similar, like excuse me.

"And something else," Jordyn added, more for her benefit than the priest's.

Bella, was it?

The man looked at her like he recognized her, then called her Bella.

"Beautiful," the priest said from her side.

"I'm sorry?"

Father Peter, as he'd introduced himself earlier, smiled. "I heard him, and what he said was beautiful before he excused himself."

Oh. He thought she was beautiful?

In her profession, it wasn't unusual. Jordyn was accustomed to men's leers and even their occasional comments. She didn't mind, and usually brushed them off so long as they didn't put their hands on her. She was aware of her good looks, as far as that went, but men mostly described her lewdly as hot, fuckable, or something disgustingly similar.


Not him, though. Beautiful, he said.


"I think you surprised him being behind the curtain. He probably expected it to be empty, given the times I usually reserve for confession."

That was obviously an understatement.

Jordyn waved it all off. "Listen, thank you for offering to speak to me, but I should go."

Father Peter frowned. "We should finish. I'm willing to listen, if you're still willing to speak."

As it was, Jordyn already felt out of place in this house of God. Women like her didn't make a habit of going to church, let alone being seen near one. She wasn't entirely sure what it was that brought her to this particular church, but she chose one far enough away from her Brooklyn apartment that she knew no one would recognize her. That way, it wouldn't get back any of the members of The Sons of Hell.

The last thing she needed was them getting wind of her going to church.

It was only something she did occasionally, whenever her mind was filled with crap she couldn't handle, or stress was eating her alive. Despite the way her mother had lived her life, she always tried to make time for religion, or at the very least, God. There was something entirely freeing about being able to have those kinds of memories of her mother without all the other awfulness surrounding it.

Shaking off those depressing thoughts, Jordyn offered Father Peter a smile, but it didn't feel real even to her. "No, really. I should go."

"These doors are always open, child," Father Peter replied. "Always."