Thin Lives by Bethany-Kris
Donati Bloodlines #3
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Genres: Adult, Mafia Romance, Contemporary, Romance
Some days, it felt like Emma had just imagined it all.
Like maybe everything she had been with Calisto was just a dream.
Emma knew it was crazy—it was impossible to forget what she had shared with Calisto Donati. All their love, the stolen moments, their foulness together, and the beauty underneath it all were real.
They were real.
But he didn’t know.
He didn’t know any of it.
And little by little, with every day that passed her by, Emma found she was losing those pieces that reminded her they had existed once.
Just like the rosary.
All too soon, Emma knew … there would be nothing left.
Emma hadn’t given him a choice.
Her, not him.
Yeah, that’s what Calisto was going to keep telling himself. He refused to feed into the strange curiosity he had about Emma Donati. It had been building from the moment he’d first seen her face after he’d awakened. He wouldn’t admit that for longer than he cared to admit, he thought there was more behind her false smile, polite words, and the distance she put between her and him—that there might be more to them.
Except … he was feeding into it.
Calisto just wasn’t sure what it was.
But tonight he was going to find out.
Whether she wanted to tell him or not.
The final Bloodlines novel.
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“Wait,” he said, reaching out to grab her arm.
His fingers encircled her wrist, stopping her entirely. She froze on the spot, and it was impossible to ignore the heat that seemed to siphon straight from her skin into his palms, never mind the shiver that raced over her arm.
Calisto watched Emma as her gaze flicked between his hand on her wrist, and back up to his face.
“Just … wait a second,” he said quieter.
Emma swallowed hard, gaze darting to the open doorway. “Can you make it fast? I’m supposed to be resting. Doctor’s orders and all.”
Yes, Calisto was aware of that.
He just didn’t know the extent of the problems with her pregnancy, or why she had them at all. None of that had been explained very well to him except for the fact that Affonso made it clear the issues were personal business, and not for public consumption. Calisto had enough respect for both his uncle, and Emma as a woman, not to ask for more details.
But he was curious.
“I’ll make it fast,” he said.
Emma smiled a little. “Okay. Ask whatever is on your mind.”
“I called you Emmy.”
“I already said that, Calisto.”
“But no one else around here does,” he pressed.
She shook her head. “Affonso doesn’t like it.”
“Yet I call you it.”
“You used to,” she corrected gently.
Calisto took that in slowly. “Before my accident.”
“So … we were friends,” he said, catching her eyes with his own. “Or, friendly enough that I called you by a nickname your husband doesn’t approve of.”
Emma’s lips pressed together, like she was trying to hold back words. He saw the slight clench of her jaw, and how her hand balled into a fist around Midnight’s unmoving form. “I suppose you could say that.”
Calisto glanced down at her dog. He’d given her that puppy, too. None of this seemed right to him the longer he thought about it. It would never be acceptable for a made man to treat another made man’s wife with things like affection and gifts.
It would never be appropriate for Calisto to do something like that with any married woman, let alone his uncle’s wife.
“How close were we that I gave you a puppy and—”
“Friends,” she interrupted quickly. “We were just friends, Cal.”
She would no longer meet his stare.
“Emma,” Calisto said, squeezing her wrist a little firmer. “If we were friendly enough before that I did these sorts of things with you, then why haven’t you told me? Or tried to sit down with me more just to chat? I would have appreciated the effort. Just because I don’t remember you and how you came about in this family doesn’t mean I don’t want to.”
She wet her lips, shooting another look at the doorway.
Why did she keep doing that?
“Hey, I’m right here,” he said.
Emma’s gaze snapped to his instantly. “I’m very aware of where you are.”
And she sounded frightened about that fact.
Scared that he was anywhere near her.
“Is there something wrong with me being here with you?” he asked.
“No, of course not.”
“You’re acting like there is, like you might get in trouble for just talking with me.”
Had something happened—had someone said something—that made her afraid to be near him?
Emma openly frowned, and briefly, Calisto was positive he saw a sheen of wetness in her green eyes before she was blinking the tears away. “I should go.”
“I have to rest,” she said, repeating her earlier statement.
Not wanting to, but knowing he had no right to force Emma to stay and explain his confusion about their friendship before his accident, Calisto let her go. He took a step back, a wide step. It gave her lots of room to pass him by.
But at the doorway, she paused, glancing back over her shoulder at him. Her mouth opened to speak, like she was going to say something, but the loud, raucous laughter muffled from behind the closed door of Affonso’s office across the hall stopped her.
“What is it?” Calisto asked.
Emma tore her stare away from his, and she did it in such a way that told him it hurt her to do so. “I keep hoping …”
He tipped his head to the side, unsure and wary. “For what?”
“For something impossible.”
Calisto smiled. “Nothing is impossible, Emma.”
CALISTO AND EMMA AREN’T STAR-CROSSED. THEY ARE IMPOSSIBLE. READ WHERE IT ALL STARTED IN THE FIRST 2 BOOKS IN THE DONATI BLOODLINES SERIES!
She was just a woman. That’s what Calisto wanted to tell himself; that’s what he wanted to believe. Emma was nothing more than a woman. There were other women for him to want. To obsess over.
It couldn’t be Emma Sorrento.
Not for Calisto.
She was taken.
She was claimed.
She was not his.
In a few days, Calisto would hand her off, and that would be that. He wondered why it wouldn’t be that easy to let her go.
What good had saving her done?
He had simply taken her from one monster to give her to another.
Emma slid on her mask. All someone would need to do was look close enough to see what was really beneath the sheer falseness of her smile.
At the other end of the table, Emma found her lies staring her right in the face.
Calisto Donati was her worst mistake, her greatest shame, and the one thing she still wanted more than anything. Emma could still feel him all over her, long after his touch and kiss was gone. In thirty days, her entire world had changed—he had changed her.
Emma had a feeling that if she played another game with Calisto, she would surely lose.
She had already lost once.
Wasn’t it enough?
WARNING: The first two books in the Donati Bloodlines Trilogy end on a cliffhanger, the third is a HEA.
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It was a high that couldn’t compete with anything else he experienced. That was why he fought bare-knuckled, why he drove fast, despite knowing he might crash, and why he still enjoyed looking at Emma Donati—no matter her current status.
Pain felt good.
He might have been a fool for doing so, but as long as he got what he wanted from it, he didn’t really care.
When he fought, he was given release. When he drove, he was given freedom. When he looked at Emma, he was given memories.
All of them brought a certain level of pain. All three might kill him someday.
Calisto glanced at Emma, taking her in again when she didn’t know he was looking.
He realized then that only one might actually be worth dying for.
Emma kept her gaze on the book in her lap, pretending like there wasn’t an argument going on across the room. She had become terribly good at acting like she didn’t hear.
Calisto watched her out of the corner of his eye while he argued on with Affonso.
She was too focused on Calisto to care about their fight.
His anger. The tightness of his jaw. Searing soul-black eyes.
The two men were not the same. They might have shared blood, but their hearts were entirely different. One man never let her out of his sight when he was nearby. The other acted like she didn’t exist.
This was what it was like, she realized, to be in love with someone she couldn’t have.
Calisto Donati would never be hers.
This wasn’t a fairy tale that would end happily.
They weren’t star-crossed. They were impossible.
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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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