The world knows the notorious Kevlar Killer, but few have ever seen what lies beneath his armor. The abused child. The neglected teenager. The broken man. He always did whatever he had to do in order to survive.
It's kill or be killed.
Throughout his life, he has been there in the shadows, a witness to everything from beginning to end. Bound by loyalty and honor, there's only one thing he would sacrifice it all for: family.
Never get close. Never get attached. It's a lesson that has been brutally pounded into him since childhood, but they're words the DeMarcos make it difficult for him to follow. Through them he finds love and grieves loss, realizing the world isn't quite as black and white as it's made out to be.
The low groan on the first floor roused Corrado from sleep. His eyes snapped open, suddenly alert, as the relentless noise seemed to echo through the house. A window. He often slept with them open a crack to let the air circulate, but someone shoved one open the whole way.
His heart thumped wildly in his chest as he reached onto his bedside stand and grabbed his gun. He habitually checked it, ensuring it was still loaded, and jumped out of bed. There was no time to waste getting dressed; he crept down the hallway in his plaid boxers, his bare feet lightly touching the floor, making not a sound.
The second he made it downstairs, a breeze struck him from the living room. A few steps later he appeared in the doorway, pointing his gun at the form halfway through the window. He flipped off the safety as his finger lightly touched the trigger. Two seconds. Two seconds were all it would take to blow them away.
A pair of wide brown eyes instantly met Corrado’s. “Whoa, there, big guy.”
Just as fast as he’d aimed, prepared to kill whoever was breaking into his house, he lowered the gun. “Dammit, Celia!”
“Nice to see you, too.” She swung both legs inside but remained perched on the windowsill. “You weren’t really going to shoot me, were you?”
“Yes,” he said, no hesitation. “I was.”
“Well, I’m lucky you didn’t.”
“Lucky?” Corrado stared at her with disbelief. “I would’ve shot you, Celia. Two more seconds and I would’ve killed you. And then your father… your father would’ve killed me.”
“Yeah, he probably would’ve.”
“There’s no probably about it. He would’ve mutilated me. You… you wouldn’t have felt a thing. But me…” He shuddered just thinking about it. “What are you doing here? Are you in some kind of trouble?”
“I wanted to talk to you.”
Corrado gaped at her. “You broke into my house to talk?”
“Well, I would’ve called, but I don’t have your number.” Celia stood and strolled around the darkened living room, glancing at his belongings. “Besides, something tells me you’re not the talking-on-the-phone type.”
One wrong choice.
That was all it took to destroy a friendship.
Takes place before Sempre
With a three year old.
Takes place after Sempre: Redemption