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Falling In Love With The Devil

Episode 56

We moved to the dance floor, arm in arm. My dad danced with my mom, sweeping her off her feet. Pops took the lead, and I smiled up at him as we danced to the slow song. Most of the room was on the floor with us, laughing and smiling. It was the perfect event, exactly how the Belles had planned.

My father yelled, “Scarlett.”

I turned in time to see my mom’s head fall backward. Her body went limp as her long blonde hair draped over my father’s arm. What the hell? I slid out of Pops’ grasp, approaching my parents with caution.

“Someone call 911,” my dad yelled.

The crowd erupted into chaos as people produced their cell phones. A woman called out that an ambulance was on its way. Pops pushed his way through the crowd to get to my mother.

I rushed to his side. “What’s wrong with her?”

“I don’t know,” he choked out with tears in his eyes. He pressed his fingers to my mom's neck to check her pulse.

My heart hammered against my ribcage, ready to escape from my chest. Dad was in shock, so Pops yanked her from his arms. We moved through the ballroom in a hurry.

Sirens blared from a distance, approaching the marina as we stepped outside. The ambulance pulled up at the curb. Pops rushed forward, cradling my mother against his chest. He exchanged a few words with the paramedics. Then they took her body from him and laid her on a stretcher.

Pops climbed into the back of the ambulance. The crowd moved outside, surrounding us. A police car pulled up at the curb. Then came the fire truck.

Tears streamed down my face, my mascara staining my cheeks. I didn’t even realize I was crying until Luca moved behind me, the scent of sandalwood and the sea filling my nostrils. He wrapped his strong arms around my middle.

He rested his chin on my shoulder. “I want you to pretend you’re sitting at the edge of the cliff with me,” he whispered in my ear and hugged me so tight I couldn’t move. “You’re safe. I got you. Just close your eyes, Drea. Everything will be okay.”

Aiden appeared at my side and rested his hand on my shoulder. “Mom’s dead.”

Somehow, he knew before we got the phone call that my mother’s heart had stopped beating before they reached the hospital.

Someone murdered her.

And I knew who was responsible.


I stared at the bouquets surrounding my mother’s casket, desperate for the funeral to end. How do you honor the life of a woman you hated? Not even my grandfather had a kind word to say about his daughter. He stood at the pulpit and gave a bullshit speech after assisting the Salvatores with the murder of his daughter. Pops had supplied the Salvatores with the drug my mother used to kill Evangeline Franco.

Mommy Dearest had it coming to her. She killed a legend, ruined the lives of the Salvatores. All so she could satiate her jealousy and greed. My mom deserved to rot in Hell.

Arlo had insisted on a Catholic funeral mass, even though none of us ever went to church. I hadn’t been inside a church since I’d received Communion. It surprised me the place didn’t burst into flames with so many sinners gathered under one roof.

Before the funeral ended, I shot up from the front pew, sick of wearing these heels, this dress, tired of pretending to give a shit. I rushed through a side door on the right of the church. Of course, Luca followed me.

I snapped my head in his direction. “I’m relieved.” I blew out a deep breath. “Does that make me a shitty person?”

“No.” He sat beside me on the steps. “She was a horrible person. Your mother deserved worse than what she got.”

I nodded. “My dad’s going back to Haven after the funeral. At least I won’t have to see him again.”

Luca held me in his strong arms, wrapping me in his heavenly scent. I rested my head on his chest and sighed.

“Thank you,” I whispered.

“For what?”

I glanced up at him. “I know you did this.”

“You are a part of me, Alexandrea Wellington.” He slipped his fingers through my hair. “When someone hurts you, they hurt me.”

“My mother hurt you, too.”

“She hurt many people,” he whispered.

“I love you, Luca.”

He smiled, and then he kissed me.

* * *

A few days after the funeral, I walked through the front doors at Wellington Architecture and Design with Marcello at my side. The company now belonged to Aiden and me, which was my grandfather’s plan from the start.

The front desk was vacant. Even the waiting area was empty. Aiden was meeting me at the office to learn about the business. It didn’t thrill him to take over for our parents. But I wouldn’t have much time after the wedding when I planned to assume my new position at the Franco Foundation.


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