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Sold to the Hitman: A Bad Boy Mafia Romance Novel(5)

By:Alexis Abbott

She was married to my father when she was eighteen and he was thirty, and despite the fact that they did not know each other until the day of their wedding, they have made a lovely life together. My mother is very subservient and very good at maintaining a beautiful house. Our two-story craftsman home is furnished with refurbished antique furniture and hand-sewn linens, and my mother keeps it perfectly spotless at all times. “A woman’s home is reflective of her soul,” she always tells me, “So keep it clean.”

Once all the food is cooked, we place portions on each plate and fill the glasses with freshly-squeezed orange juice, just in time for my father and Isaiah to come down the stairs, rough-housing playfully. Standing primly by his chair to pull it out for him, I greet my father.

“Good morning, Daddy,” I say, smiling widely.

He is a tall, broad-shouldered man with a thick mustache and beard, once brown and now gray peppered with white. He’s dressed in a dark business suit and tie, everything perfectly polished and ironed smooth, from his slacks to his cuff links. He is an investment banker, and from what I have gathered, a very powerful man in our community. All the time, women at church tell my mother how lucky she is to have landed such a prestigious man. But all of her thanks go to God, of course.

“Good morning, and happy birthday,” he says, his voice deep and resonant.

Isaiah’s face lights up. “It’s your birthday?” he asks excitedly.

I nod. “Yes! I’m eighteen today.”

He gasps and bolts toward me, flinging his arms around my waist and hugging me tightly. I laugh and ruffle his fluffy brown hair. He is a handful, to be sure, but he is never dull. In fact, some days I shudder to think how boring and quiet my life would be without him running around. I’m going to miss him terribly when I get married. But I’m sure I will still see him all the time, especially since my husband is almost certainly going to be a part of our established community here.

“Eighteen? That’s so old!” Isaiah bursts out, peering up at me with a wrinkled nose.

I kiss the top of his head. “I know. I’m ancient now.”

“Does this mean Cassie’s gonna go away?” he asks, turning to my father with a suddenly worried expression. He clings to my hand, pressing his chubby little cheek into my palm.

My heart tightens in my chest at how panicked he sounds. My parents are wonderful, of course, but it hurts me to think of my little brother being all alone in the house without me there to entertain and take care of him. My mother is home all the time, and she looks after him, but she doesn’t play with him like I do. Apart from a couple neighborhood boys, I am Isaiah’s best friend in the world. I hope he won’t be too lonely without me.

My parents exchange concerned glances. Then my mother takes Isaiah by the hand and takes him to his seat quietly.

“Perhaps we will discuss this over breakfast,” Daddy says, scratching at his beard. Suddenly, I feel a little fearful. They’re acting a little peculiar.

“I won’t be going too far, I’m sure,” I tell Isaiah with a wink as I take my seat across from him at the table. My parents sit down and we all eat in silence for a couple minutes, waiting for my father to speak.

Finally, he sets his fork and knife down and announces, “We have selected a husband for you, Cassandra.”

I nearly choke on my biscuit.

“Already?” I ask, my eyes going wide. I hadn’t expected an announcement quite this big this morning. I thought they would take a lot longer to pick a candidate, and I had hoped — a very small, quiet hope — that they would include me in the decision to some extent. I know it isn’t my place to choose; my parents know what is best for me, anyway. But I don’t know if I am ready to be anyone’s wife. Not quite yet.

“No!” shouts Isaiah.

“Hush, sweetheart,” my mother tells him softly, shaking her head at him.

But my brother slams down his fork and crosses his arms. “I don’t want Cassie to go!”

“It is nothing to fear,” my father tells Isaiah firmly. “And it is none of your business. It is an arrangement between your sister and… God.”

“Could you tell me his name?” I ask, my hands starting to tremble. I look back and forth between my parents as they give each other knowing looks.

“Um, no. We… we can’t,” my mother says.

“Don’t worry about it,” says my father.

Now my stomach is turning in knots. Why are they acting so strangely? Why is my future husband’s name such a big secret? I have probably already heard his name in passing — our community is very exclusive, and everyone knows everybody else.