Antonio, Her Italian Millionaire (BWWM Romance Book 1)

By: J A Fielding



Ray shrugged and took a long deep breath. The sigh that he gave made her realize that there was more to it than to just brush the whole thing off. She raised an eyebrow over the other as she looked at him.

“Ray,” she said in a warning tone.

“Zianna?”

“No, this is not some game where we get to call out names for no reason at all. I can see that there is something on your mind. So tell me what it is.”

Ray took a long deep breath and took another sip of his coffee before he put his cup down.

“Okay,” he started. “I don’t want to say who the other buyer is because I am not entirely sure but I can tell you this for sure. The interested party has already bought out four blocks in Edgewood. And buying this last building ensures that he has the whole grid block in the south.”

She took another bite of her bacon and gently drummed her fingers against the counter.

“And are they just going to demolish the buildings and put up a mall or something?” she asked and he shook his head.

“Honestly, I don’t know what they intend on doing. But I really need to close this sale. Soon.”

She took a deep breath and took another bite of her bacon before she leaned forward and rested her elbows on the counter. She was not sure what she was supposed to say at that moment.

“Raise my bid,” she said in a low voice.

“But you said…your budget…” Ray started and she nodded.

“I know. But it is not like I have a choice here. Now, do I?” she asked. “I can always get a loan for the renovations. I had a pretty good credit score last time I checked.”

“Zianna, this other interested party is relentless.”

She shrugged.

“Clearly.”

“Well, then, it goes without saying that he will only raise the bid.”

Zianna nodded.

“I know. But I am not going to go down without a fight.”

*****

It was a little after midday when Antonio drove into his grandfather’s compound. He usually hated being in this place because it served as a constant reminder of what he wanted to be and the life he wanted to escape. He had always wanted to get into business. Become an entrepreneur. That was what he had always wanted ever since he landed in America when he was sixteen years old. But twelve years later, he was yet to be the successful businessman he desired so much to be. He was still serving at the pleasure of his grandfather and his father, people who had chosen an easier path to the American dream. And to make everything worse, they had fulfilled every stereotype there is about Italians. Once they had come to America they all joined some kind of crime family and became mob bosses.

Sometimes, he hated the burden of being born a Ricci. He would have wanted to be born into any other family. Maybe become a humble farmer back in Italy’s countryside or run a restaurant right here in Chicago. He had always been good in the kitchen. Perhaps that was why his mother always prayed for him to take a different direction rather than follow the road every male in the Ricci family had. It did not always end well for most of the people in the family. But unfortunately for Antonio, he had not lived up to his mother’s greatest wish. Her dying wish of protecting him from the life she had lived her entire life hoping to escape.

When he parked his car, he took a long deep breath to calm himself down. He knew just what he was going to be asked once he walked into the house and he was not looking forward to the sit down. He knew more than anything that he was going to be grilled about the apartment block that was holding up their development plans. He slowly made his way to the front door and rang the bell. It seemed to be only seconds before the butler opened the door.

“Mr. Ricci,” he said, smiling. “Welcome.”

“Thank you.”

“The rest of the family is in the den,” the butler said and Antonio nodded. “I’ll take your coat.”

Antonio allowed him to slide his coat off his shoulders before he walked down the long hallway. He noticed his grandmother in the kitchen stirring a pot of what seemed to be a sauce. And judging by the delicious smell, he could tell that she was obviously trying out a new recipe. He walked into the kitchen, stealthily, making sure he made no noise to alert the old woman of his presence there.

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