Waste of Worth: The DeLuca Duet, Part One
by Bethany-Kris DeLuca Duet #1
Publication Date: January 9, 2017
Genres: Adult, Mafia, Romance, Organized Crime
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2iOapQG
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2iKnojZ
Synopsis: DeLuca Duet, Part One
Ask anyone and they will all say the same thing about just who Dino DeLuca is. A criminal, the son of a traitor, and a mafia Capo who can’t be trusted. His past has shaped his life, creating demons he can’t escape from that live in his mind day and night. He is all too aware of just how people see him. Closed off. Cold. Different. He doesn’t care—keeping people out means no one can get close enough to hurt him again, and he already has one too many monsters with their claws stuck in his back that he’s still fighting off. His walls are so high, no one is climbing over them. Or so he thinks … Karen came into his life like a spring shower, her light shining through the darkness and making him see something other than the hell that surrounded him for so long. She doesn’t know who he is or what he has done to become the man he is today. If he can help it, she’ll never know, and his monsters will never hurt her. She sees his differences as beauty. She never asks for more. She is perfect. The problem with happiness for Dino DeLuca is that his monsters don’t mind taking away what makes him happy. After all, what isn’t given cannot be kept. These lessons will be the hardest he has ever learned.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The DeLuca Duet is a two book tale following the same couple through their journey. It is a standalone Duet that can be read independently with a HEA ending.
Dino’s head popped up at Karen’s soft voice. Leaning against the brick wall of the restaurant’s alleyway, he’d found a quiet place to think. He took a final drag from his cigarette, and then tossed it to the wet pavement, giving Karen a fleeting smile.
“Fine. Aren’t you supposed to be working?”
Karen cocked a brow at him. “I do get breaks, don’t I?”
Dino chuckled. “You know you do.”
“Well, I’m using this one to check on you. You’ve been quiet today.”
“I’m always quiet, Karen.”
“True, but you talk to me.”
She had him there.
Dino didn’t want her worrying over him, though, so he deflected her questions in the best way he could. “Something was off in the Accounts Receivable for last month. The numbers didn’t add up. I need you to go back over the ledgers again before the numbers get logged in.”
Karen sighed. “You know my numbers are good, Dino.”
She was damn good at keeping the books.
Or cooking them to hide shit, for that matter.
Still, he was the boss.
Her lover, sure, but the boss just the same.
“Look over them again,” he said with a shrug. “Maybe it was just my eyes that saw something that wasn’t there.”
Karen gave him another one of her looks, then finally nodded. “All right.”
Dino checked his watch, noting the time. He had been trying to stay away from this particular restaurant as much as possible this week, just in case, but that hadn’t worked out very well for him that morning when he woke up with an ache in his chest. An ache he couldn’t really explain, but left him feeling cold and lonely in a way he hadn’t experienced before.
He knew instantly what it was.
He missed Karen.
It was almost too easy for him to get in his car and decide he’d work out of the restaurant where she worked for the day. It was almost strange the way the ache calmed the very second he was driving in her direction, knowing he was just minutes from seeing her.
Dino had a pretty good grasp on how messed up he was, but when he put Karen into the picture, it was almost as if all of that craziness went away for a time. He didn’t have to be the Outfit man, the no nonsense Capo, or the brother trying to keep his siblings safe and clear of pain and manipulation.
He just had to be him.
That was all Karen knew.
It was all she asked for.
Dino liked that a lot.
Problem was, he didn’t know how to deal with the way it left him feeling.
Like maybe he was going to have to end whatever he had going on with her because getting too close could be dangerous—but he wasn’t sure if it was too dangerous for her, or him.
He was just a mess.
“Do you want to do dinner later?” Karen asked, still hanging out the back exit door.
Dino didn’t think on that offer for long, because despite how much he wanted to agree to it, he knew that he couldn’t. Not with Ben in a fit and liable to send someone after Dino. Thankfully, no one had ever gotten in the way of one of Ben’s lessons, as far as Dino knew, and he didn’t want to start now.
Especially not with Karen.
“Raincheck,” Dino said, glancing away from Karen’s crestfallen face.
He didn’t want to see her sadness.
He didn’t want her to see his lies.
“Soon, though,” he added.
Dino forced back the stinging sensation prickling at his throat, the words trying to take back what he had said and grab onto what she was offering. It wasn’t a good time.
“Soon,” Dino repeated.
He frowned at the sight of Karen’s back as she disappeared inside the restaurant.
She hadn’t even said goodbye.
Dino couldn’t blame her, really. How fun could it be to find yourself stuck in a relationship with someone like him who took a great deal from you, but rarely offered the same in return? It wasn’t that he meant to be like he was—distant and seemingly selfish—but he didn’t know how to be anything else.
And hadn’t he told her once that all she needed to do was tell him to leave and he would go?
Karen still hadn’t told him that yet.
Somewhere deep inside, covered by years of old scar tissue and buried beneath the memories of those wounds, Dino knew the truth was beating hard in his heart.
He seriously hoped she never told him that.
Even if it ended up killing him.
Dino considered going back inside the restaurant and apologizing to Karen before leaving for the strip club to finish business for the day, but he decided against it.
Because he was a fucking coward.
No other explanation was needed.
Strolling down the alleyway toward the mouth of the parking lot, Dino fished in his pocket for the car keys that should be in there. He pulled the keyring out, the jangling keys clamped tightly in his fist as he walked out of the alley.
And looked up to find the butt of a handgun coming straight for his face.
Dino didn’t even have time to react before the hard butt of the gun cracked him straight in the mouth, sending him sprawling to the ground with a shout. The taste of blood—tangy and metallic—bloomed in his mouth, making him gag.
It always did.
Having read and loved The Chicago War series, I was so curious about how this story would play out. His story was central in that series yet he was always on the periphery. And after it wrapped up with book 4, I assumed I knew everything there was to know about Dino. How wrong I was. This is Dino and Karen's story from the very beginning and I am hooked.
Finally a grown adult, Dino is the head of his family but yet still has to follow the direction of The Family. Mob life isn't easy and that's been proven over and over to Dino. Tasked with watching over his two younger siblings and his job as Capo, he has a load on his shoulders and it only gets worse when his uncle proves he still as bad as he was when Dino was younger. And just when he thinks he has his life planned out, a curve ball of massive proportions gets thrown his way.
Karen has no connection to the mob and Dino wants to keep it that way. But he is drawn to her and can't seem to stay away. His life is dangerous though and he doesn't want to add any problems to hers. But best laid plans always seem to go awry. With mounting pressure on all sides, Dino once again has to choose to keep something for himself or risk losing it all.
I need book 2 asap! The build up of this story left me flipping pages and wanting more. It can be read as a standalone but if you've read The Chicago Wars series, you'll see some of your beloved characters again from a different angle giving a more fuller picture of what you already thought you knew. And with her ability to paint a vivid picture of the mafia, Bethany-Kris adds another winner to her long line of fantastic romances.
Reviewed by Paige
★★☆ 4 "Wasted" Stars ☆★★
#PREORDER YOUR COPY OF WORTH OF WASTE, DELUCA DUET: PART TWO, AVAILABLE FEBRUARY 6th!
Worth of Waste: The DeLuca Duet, Part Two
Synopsis: DeLuca Duet, Part Two
The Chicago Mob is the same as it has always been—violent, greedy, and excessive. The Outfit families have turned their backs when they were needed the most one too many times, but Dino DeLuca didn’t expect anything different. His whole life has been lived for the Outfit—for his family. He has a whole new set of reasons to live and fight now. Karen Martin makes Dino change all the rules. He’s finally ready to show everyone just how much waste is truly worth in the mafia, and just how far one will go for freedom from it all. He’s learned these lessons well. Too well. Author’s Note: The DeLuca Duet is a standalone duet with a HEA ending that can be read independently.
Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to three young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.
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