Lace & Lies (Brooklyn Brothers #1) by Melanie Munton
ABOUT THE BOOK
We are the Rossetti’s.
The exiled “sixth family” of the New York mafia. We’re the good guys.
People don’t fear us…much. They respect us.
The five of us? We’re the Brooklyn Brothers.
And we protect what’s ours.
Jasmine Kingston should run from me. I mean, she should literally pick up her dress, toss away her heels, and haul ass in the complete opposite direction. Because for the last few months that she’s been in New York and taking the fashion world by storm, I’ve been watching her. From my ivory tower, from the shadows. Wherever she’s been, I’ve been only feet away, and she hasn’t even realized it.
I can’t stay away and watch one more man take his shot with her. She needs to know what she’s doing to me. Especially since things are heating up with my family’s enemies. I just pray those enemies don’t discover my only weakness.
Maybe it was the wrong way to go. Maybe I should never have touched her. Never treated myself to her addictive taste. But I can’t alleviate this obsession I have with her any more than I can put a bullet between my own eyes.
She’s mine to protect now.
I’ll burn my entire fortune to the ground and take ten of those bullets before I let anything happen to her.
I just hope she doesn’t find out what I’ve done.
I fucking itched to get back to Brooklyn.
Back to my kingdom.
The only reason I was finding myself back in Georgia for the second time in the last three months was because one of my best friends was getting married.
Kade and his woman Sam had wasted no time tying the knot after all the shit that went down with Esposito a few months back. He’d told me he had to finally lock her down, and I could understand why.
Well, not completely understand why.
It’s not like I’d ever been in love before. And do you think that bothered me even one little bit?
Love was messy and complicated. Relationships were time-consuming and demanding, of both your presence and your emotions. I had time for none of it. Not with the businesses I operated on a daily basis, the jobs I had to perform, and the money I had to make. There were people who relied on my mind to stay sharp, not to become muddied in the waters of romance and affection. There was no room for a woman in my life. At least, not beyond dawn.
The nights were for releases and escapes into oblivion.
Days were for domination.
I’ve seen how a woman could tear a man up. I’d known Kade for a long damn time. And throughout the course of our friendship, he’d been totally fucked in the head over one girl. That kind of misery in a man’s eyes was enough to turn the rest of us bachelors off of love—and really anything more than quick-burning, quick-to-snuff-out lust—for eternity.
Don’t get me wrong.
I was thrilled for the guy.
He’d finally attained the one thing in the world he wanted above all else. I’d never seen him so happy. In fact, the joy that had replaced the misery once in his eyes was just as impactful from the outside as his unhappiness had been, but for a whole different reason.
The way he looked at Sam, the way he held her, I’d admit could tempt a man into seeking something similar of his own. A woman to call his own. Someone who would look at him like he hung the damn moon, like Sam looked at Kade. From the outside, it looked almost…nice. My parents had that kind of relationship, too. The kind that was impenetrable, defying time and logic.
But growing up around that, having that to hold up as your template, applied more pressure to your own personal life. It made settling for anything less an impossibility.
And again, my life was precisely organized and carefully orchestrated. There were numbers and schedules and meetings. Hearts and rainbows didn’t fit into that mold.
So why, for the love of God why, could I not stop staring at her?
The maid of honor. Jasmine Kingston.
My eyes hadn’t moved from her since the first second they’d fallen on her petite, feminine form. That chestnut hair, those almond-shaped eyes that beguiled a man while they cast a spell over him. Her entire demeanor was cool and calm as she moved about the crowd, making her practiced smiles that much more mysterious because you knew there was so much more going on underneath the layer of politeness.
We had yet to officially meet since I’d remained on the outskirts of the now thrumming reception party. But in my head, we had done far more than shake hands. Hell, she’d already shaken hands with my dick in my fantasies, and I’d lifted the flowy skirt of her bridesmaid dress to see what she was hiding underneath all that chiffon.
What the fuck is wrong with me?
I never reacted this way around a woman. I was always in control.
I’d had countless numbers of beautiful women in my company—and in my bed—since I was a teenager. One softly spoken sweetheart shouldn’t make my blood pump the way it was.
But goddammit, my gaze kept seeking her out.
It was infuriating.
She’d looked like an angel during the ceremony, standing on that clifftop as the sun set over the sprawling canyon below.
Kade had said something about the chosen location being the place where he and Sam had first kissed. I’d admit the sight of dusk breaking as they recited their vows had been a stunning one. They had wanted something small and intimate, a modest celebration for only family and close friends, so as not to draw the media’s attention.
And damn, had those two certainly had the media’s attention lately.
As fucking pleased as I was that Raphael Esposito’s ass was locked up and probably headed for prison, the events that transpired at the FNN studios and everything that followed had thrown my life into a giant clusterfuck. My family had maintained their distance from the five families of Hell’s Kitchen for decades now. But my involvement with Esposito’s capture threw us right back into the middle of their bullshit.
Not that I regretted any of it.
Sure, I’d taken a bullet. But I’d healed quickly, unlike the Espositos and their businesses. Those wounds would fester for years to come with Raphael’s absence, which made being on their radar once again more than worth the trouble. My family had been wronged by the five families in so many ways, I could give two shits what happened to them all. They could kill each other off, one by one, and I would dance on every single grave.
There was one glaring problem with these new developments, however.
Raphael’s imprisonment meant that his son was already taking the reins. Stefano Esposito, the psychopathic loose cannon of the Espositos, had been all too happy to step into his papá’s shoes and act as the unofficial Boss of his family. Now, there was all kinds of tension and power struggles among the families, along with a rising level of danger. When they were at war with each other, blood was spilled, innocents usually got caught in the crosshairs, and people died. And as much as I’d love to see every one of those fuckers taken out, the Rossettis couldn’t permit that kind of chaos in our city, even if we didn’t claim that particular territory of New York.
My father’s grandfather had separated the Rossettis from his criminal enterprising, fear-mongering counterparts when they all migrated to the US from Sicily in the early 1900s. He’d taken his wife and children, had gone into voluntary exile to live a more peaceful life in Brooklyn, and were forever marked as “the sixth family.”
My family had worked hard to live honest lives, and we always had. But with that, the different generations had also taken on a kind of oath: to protect innocent people from the five families. We couldn’t completely control what the others did, but we fought to ensure their power and influence didn’t become so great that it eclipsed our own. We weren’t perfect, but we also liked to think we weren’t evil like them. We couldn’t let that evil spread like a disease.
And Esposito Jr. was certainly stirring that damn pot.
A war was coming, one I wasn’t entirely sure would end well for all sides.
A melodic feminine laugh reached my ears, drawing my attention to the dance floor. Ms. Kingston was dancing with the flower girl—I think Kade mentioned it was Sam’s niece—twirling her around and sending the girl into a fit of giggles.
The girl’s happiness was infectious.
But the woman’s whose hands she was holding? Her smiles, her laughter… They were fucking addicting.
I felt a presence beside me, joining me in the shadows.
“Having fun, I see,” Kade drawled.
I smirked, though my eyes remained on the woman who had captured my fascination. “You’re talking to the life of the party here.”
He snorted. “Naturally. Look, I appreciate you coming. So does Sam. Means a lot to both of us.”
I turned to look at him. I’d already shaken his hand and offered my congratulations to both of them. But I slapped his shoulder in a kind of half-hug, anyway. “Wouldn’t have missed it, man. She’s a good woman. Perfect for you.”
His eyes sought out his new bride and held. “Yeah, she is.” His gaze swung back to me, turning serious. “I meant what I said about that favor. Anything you need, anytime. You didn’t have to help me get her back, but you did. For that, I’ll be eternally grateful.”
I was about to wave him off and respond with the same rote I had for the last three months about our score being even. But something stopped me. My attention was once again snagged by the gorgeous creature spinning around on the dance floor.
“Actually, I think I’ll take you up on that offer.”
His drink froze halfway to his mouth. “Now? Here?”
I nodded, tipping my head in Ms. Kingston’s direction. “I want you to tell me everything you know about her.”
His head whipped around. “Jasmine?”
I only nodded.
“You want to cash in your favor to get information about Jasmine.” It was a statement, not a question, one of disbelief and confusion.
“What do you want to know?”
My answer was simple and immediate. “Everything.”
I listened intently as he started talking about her friendship with Sam and what she did for a living. But one sentence stood out above all the others, making all my senses flare to life.
“She’s moving to New York next week for her new job.”
In my fucking backyard.
I shouldn’t have even asked. Because instead of leaving this odd attraction behind in Georgia once I left this party tonight—as I’d intended—I had a disturbing feeling that it would follow me all the way back to Brooklyn.
Because I’d know how close she would be.
I didn’t want to accept it, didn’t want to even consider it, but something told me my obsession with Jasmine Kingston might have only just begun.
In true Melanie Munton fashion, she creates a delightful and sexy contemporary romance with a bit of suspense between two very strong, independent and unsuspecting characters.
A very hot, sexy and wealthy financial tycoon has plans for an up-and-coming fashion designer who is unaware of just how far he will go to win her over.
The Rosettis are the exiled and respected sixth family of the New York mafia, and the rich and powerful Christiano “Cris” Rosetti has got it bad. The moment he sees Jasmine Kingston at Sam and Kade’s wedding in Atlanta, he falls hard and fast and swears to make her fall for him, too. However, to Cris’ frustration, Jasmine is too busy for a relationship and wants an honest, on-call sex partner instead. Well, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Will Cris be able to admit his secret to Jasmine before it’s too late?
Jasmine Kingston has just had her first successful fashion show in New York and she needs to relieve some stress. When Cris Rosetti rescues her during a dress malfunction at her after-party, he is her first choice as a stress-reliever. However, his persistence and charm are wearing her down and her feelings are changing. Better late than never. Will his past put her in danger?
I love the interaction between Cris and Jasmine. Cris’ insecurities in wooing Jasmine is so adorable coming from a normally cocky and well-known ladies’ man. At first, Jasmine seems like a cool businesswoman, but when she makes the deal with Cris to become lovers, her fun sassiness comes out to play. The Rosetti family is introduced as well and I enjoyed the family competitiveness and warm family atmosphere.
I am a big fan of Ms. Munton and book 1 of the Brooklyn Brothers series is a fun and sassy start to what appears to be a wonderful kick-off to the 5 Rosetti brothers. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. Recommend highly!
Thank you to Ms. Munton for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melanie grew up in a small town in rural Missouri. After marrying her husband, she decided she wanted to try coastal life because why not? A few months later, they moved to North Carolina where she discovered her passion for writing, and they never looked back. They are now enjoying life with their beautiful daughter in Savannah, GA and loving every minute with their little Georgia peach.
Melanie’s other passion is traveling and seeing the world. With anthropology degrees under their belts, she and her husband have made it their goal in life to see as many archaeological sites around the world as possible.
She has a horrible food addiction to pasta and candy (not together…ew). And she gets sad when her wine rack is empty.
At the end of the day, she is a true romantic at heart. She loves writing the cheesy and corny of romantic comedies, and the sassy and sexy of suspense. She aims to make her readers swoon, laugh out loud, maybe sweat a little, and above all, fall in love