Authors: Beth Wynne
A Kindred Sons Mafia Romance
Written by Beth Wynne
Copyright: Published in the United Kingdom by Beth Wynne
© Beth Wynne
Published August 2016
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For R: my constant, my rock and my best friend. I love you. xx
I’d really like to say a huge thank you to the patient and kind people who have helped me to get this book released into the world. I’ve met a few authors (online) who have shared advice with me and I have drawn inspiration from. I feel so lucky that our paths have crossed… perhaps I’ll get a chance to thank you in person sometime.
I really want to say a huge thank you to the people who volunteered to read my book and give me feedback. It is you, who are generous with their time, that give newbie authors like myself a glimmer of hope – that maybe, just maybe someone might enjoy the stories that unfold themselves in my head.
Thank you to you, too, for giving me, a new and unknown author a chance! By choosing this book you are supporting an indie author to take a step closer to her dream of becoming a full time writer.
“Thank you once again. I’m really excited to be starting. Yes, I’ll see you on Monday morning.” As I said my goodbyes to my new boss over the phone I made my way through the maze of cardboard boxes in the house we had shared and flicked the switch on the new kettle Toni had bought. Time for a cuppa.
Toni smiled at me as she reached into the cupboard and pulled out two mugs. We had become close in the six months we’d spent together since she had moved in. I only hoped she understood why I needed to leave her in my past when I moved.
“So tell me exactly how you’re going to get all this into my car?” she laughed.
She had a point; even after clearing out everything I could, I’d gathered more things together in the five years I’d lived here than I thought. “It’ll be fine… I think.”
“Yeah, yeah. But where are we going to fit? Are you sure you don’t want me to make two trips – it would be a lot easier? If we only put half in for the journey tomorrow morning, then I can bring the rest down again next weekend? Y’know, just take the essentials this time.” She was trying to be helpful and I honestly appreciated it. Nowhere in Northern Ireland was really further than a three hour drive, but it was bad enough allowing her to make the 200-mile round trip once, never mind twice. Especially as I barely had enough to cover the petrol money once and I still owed her my part of last month’s rent.
I looked around the place I’d called home and felt a pang of sadness to be leaving it behind. I moved here to follow the man I’d loved, and now I was moving back home to lick the wounds that same man had given me as he left.
“Hey, earth to Sarah!” Toni’s manicured hand swept past my face, the red nails catching my eyes and attention. She must have read my thoughts as her face turned serious. “This place was a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Don’t you go for one second thinking about that idiot? He’s not worth one more second of your time, honey.” She knew that this house held more memories for me than I’d like to admit. Some good, but the more recent ones were certainly less so. My hand instinctively reached across my tummy, as if touching it could take away the memories of the bruises he’d put there so many times.
I blinked away tears and was relieved to hear the sharp “click” of the kettle. With my best smile on my face, a single tear managed to betray me as it slipped down my cheek. I didn’t know whether I wiped it away before Toni noticed but as I glanced at her to check she was staring out of our kitchen window intently.
A little while later I made my excuses and went to bed. The room felt so much bigger with everything out of it. Empty and barren. Not that was ironic, I laughed wryly to myself. Seems like this room suited me after all.
I shook myself from my morbid mood and checked the time. It wasn’t too late, she would still be awake. I dialled the number from memory out of habit. I had deleted it when I realised he had started checking my phone and I never really got around to saving it into the phone again.
“Hello?” The old voice wrapped around me, soothing me.
“Hi, Grandma.” I smiled.
“Oh, Sarah. Are you ready for the big move? Do you need anything?” My Grandma was ever the practical woman; I guess it had skipped a generation.
“No, no. Everything’s ready. I just wanted to phone and say hi.”
“Now it’s not too late. Are you sure you want to move back there? You can always get a job wherever you go.”
“Really?” she probed. She was sharper than any seventy-five year old should be.
I shook my head to myself. “Really, Grandma.” I took a deep, steadying breath. “Look, I’ve been thinking. I know I’m going back, but I’m not the same.”
“Sweetheart, you were always beautiful. You’re too skinny now if you ask me.”
“Grandma, listen, please.” I tapped the side of the bed in frustration. “That’s not what I’m getting at… I’ve decided not to call myself Sarah anymore.” I blurted.
Silence loomed over the phone.
“Grandma, the people at my new job and my new flat know my other name, my middle name… Isabelle. I’m calling myself Bella now.”
“But you are called Sarah after your mother…” The hurt in her voice was palpable.
“And I was called Isabelle after you.” And I wanted to channel the strength and grit of my grandmother. I wanted her to see that she was the woman I’d looked up to – ever since she’d taken me and my brother in. Social services would have split us up; hell would have frozen over before she would have allowed that.
“Grandma, I’m going back to be there for Ryan when he gets out… but I need to be strong. I’ve been away for almost ten years. No one is going to recognise me now, especially with my new hair.” I glanced in the mirror, trying to get used to the image that gazed back.
“And what have you done to your hair?” she demanded.
“Well, um…” suddenly I felt very nervous. “It’s not its usual colour.” I squirmed.
“And what have you done to your blonde hair, girl?” I imagined the pictures beside her chair, filled with a chubby girl with blonde hair that flowed down her back and a skinny little boy with freckles.
“It’s not blonde anymore grandma, it’s brown.” I squirmed as I heard the sharp intake of breath over the phone. I couldn’t go back now and tell her I had cut it into a bob too.
“So… my beautiful blonde haired granddaughter, Sarah is gone and Bella, my brunette haired granddaughter has taken her place?” She was thinking. “And would this mean that Bella and Sarah would both be safe and happy?”
“Bella.” She said it like she was trying out the name. “I think I understand now why you’ve done it, Sar… Bella. He won’t find you, you can still be there for Ryan’s parole, and you hope no one will link you with the frightened and angry girl who left Londonderry at 15?” My grandma was smart.
“That’s pretty much it, Grandma,” I confessed.
“Well, why didn’t you say so dear? I’m honoured you chose to keep my name, dear, but did you really have to do that to your hair?” A weight lifted from my shoulders… until I realised I hadn’t told her exactly how short I’d cut my real hair.
“You need to get a fucking grip, Nev! That blonde has you whipped.” and for once, I agreed with Mathew’s taunts. They had been wingmen for each other for years and now that Nevan had started getting serious his latest woman, it had cut into their nightly hookups with anything female that had a pulse.
“Don’t you know I need your ugly face to be beside mine when I go out? You make me look irresistible to women. Will you at least
if you’re allowed to come and play with the boys tonight rather than sit at home playing house?”
“Oh, I don’t think he’ll ask,” I said as I walked into the changing room, smiling inwardly as I noticed they all reacted to my presence. “How can he ask that if he hasn’t been able to ask if he can have his balls back?”
“Hey boss, maybe you could ask for him? I’m sure she’d say yes for you.” Mathew was committed to the cause. I had seen how bad it was at picking up women on his own, so I could understand why he was so desperate. “I’ve never asked a woman if I could go out so why should I ask for him? Besides, Mathew, you’re so shite at getting laid you should ask her yourself. I get enough pussy without needing help.”
A lie: a constant lie that I was never questioned on – but who would dare question me? After Cassie, I swore off ever committing to anyone. For the most part, I could cope without a woman and was content in my existence. Besides, I had too much responsibility now with da wanting to ease up on running things. Every now and then I’d be sure to be seen with someone at one of our events so dad would be happy. As the underboss of the Kindred Sons, they all had dreams of becoming a mafia wife. Never gonna happen. I’d take them home and fuck them raw as a one-time thing. You loved it? Great, fuck off. You hated me? Great, fuck off. I don’t need women in my life to fuck things up.
The others quickly finished dressing and left for the night, whilst I chatted with my two deputies. What started as light hearted banter quickly turned to real business. We all knew that the peace between Kindred Sons and the McCauley’s was fraying – no matter how much dad wanted to believe that we could keep an agreement. Nevan was first to speak honestly. “Do you think the training we’re doing now is enough? I mean, a couple of our guys are too soft. We need the killer instinct to be ready to kick in.” The guy was a deep thinker and honest. When he spoke about things like this it wasn’t to challenge, he was as committed to the Kindred Sons as any who ever took our oath – including me. I’ve seen this guy take bullets for us. He’s killed for our cause.
“Yeah,” I mused. “But getting them hyped up too much won’t help either. I agree with you though, we’ll step up the sessions in here, but it needs to be outside gym hours. I still need this place to front as only an actual gym, not a mafia training camp. The last thing we need is more fucking cops poking around.”
With a preliminary start of what training sessions would be running, I left them to figure out their extra-curricular activities for the night.