Ever since I can remember my life has been controlled and restricted by the men in my family. Betrayed by the one I trusted most and shackled by insurmountable consequences; I was forced into marriage to a man that I didn’t even meet on my wedding day. No girl ever dreams of marrying by proxy. But that was the least of my new husband’s transgressions. No longer trapped by the constraints of my powerful mafia family and blessed with an absentee husband, it turned out that this marriage might not have been what I wanted, but it was exactly what I needed.
I had accepted that lethal predators like me don’t get to experience true happiness, much less true love. But then, my older brother, a predator like me, found his fated-mate after waiting over four hundred years to find her. Perhaps, there was hope for me yet.
Given the hand that fate had already dealt us, it was inconceivable that my family would force me into a marriage that was useless to a being like me. When I finally found my mate, I came to the realisation that my forced marriage may not have been what I wanted, but it was everything that I needed.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
- Charles Darwin
Fear and hatred should have been the emotions that ruled us. Instead, ever since I could remember, we, my brothers and I, had always felt invincible, untouchable.
Family is everything. Blood is thicker than water. Those are just a few throw-away comments people make every day. But to me, family wasn’t just everything; family was the only thing.
From the very beginning, family has been the only thing for us. For my younger brother, Xander, and me, our first words weren’t the usual “da-da” or “ma-ma.” No. Our first word was “Lu.” We couldn’t say his full name, but we knew that we could rely on our older brother, Luka, and he would protect us. Luka was not just our older brother, but he was also our mom and our dad. He protected us, fed us, made sure we were clean and that our naked asses were clothed.
Luka taught us to have each other’s back and to let nothing and no one come between us. In the centuries of our existence, that fact has never changed.
Jimena Broderick, or “our egg donor” as Luka used to call her, was a useless waste of space. She was pure evil, and I tried to stay out of her way, never even addressing her if I didn’t have to. Luka called her Jimena to her face. I simply ignored the bitch unless I needed to feed, of course. Not on her milk but on her blood. After all, she was often the most convenient source.
Jimena was the most popular madam in London in the early 1600s with a reputation of being willing to perform any sexual act, being the most skilled at her craft, and being one of the most beautiful women in the world. In Luka’s words, “She was a fucking World Wonder before that became a thing.”
She had a waiting list that would take her a lifetime to get through even if she provided her services several times a day. Every dent she made in her list was quickly replaced by more men wanting a taste because rumor had it that no man left her bedroom unsatisfied or without multiple orgasms. Hell, according to her satisfied customers, in her time, she was sixteenth century Viagra. Jimena was a true seductress with the self-centered ego, cold-blooded personality, and devastating beauty to go with it. She was a special brand of evil.
Jimena’s popularity meant that she could charge a king’s ransom for admission into her body. And while she did just that, she still had to employ at least a dozen doctors on call at any hour of the day to ensure she remained disease-free. Not only were the men subject to physical examinations before the encounters, she was also known for turning men away who she even suspected of being diseased or unclean.
Despite the precautions and selective process, Jimena still mysteriously fell pregnant three times and gave birth to three sons. In every case, Jimena claimed that she had no idea who had gotten her pregnant. The only clue that it was the same mysterious man was how much Luka and I resembled each other. Our brother Xander, while not dark haired like us, had the same unusual characteristics: inexplicable growth rate and a craving for blood.
Even though Jimena tried to abort us every time she became pregnant, she was unsuccessful. And if any of her legion of doctors tried to help her, our mysterious father protected us by leaving them a very painful message to not try it again. No doctor wanted to mysteriously lose a limb or suddenly be unable to see, hear, or talk. Not only were his retributions painful but they were also permanent.
Jimena swore up and down to anyone who would listen to her that our father had put her under a drug making it impossible to resist or fight him off her. She claimed that he force-fed her the drug in blood-red wine before and after sex. She also claimed that he bit her in the neck with sharp teeth and drank her blood. Unfortunately for Jimena, there was no evidence to support her claims: no bite marks or bruises, no tinted red wine, nor had anyone sighted this mysterious stranger.
Our father had even named us. Luka was his heir, and our father later told us that he was named after our grandfather.
Jimena was enraged that the mystery man impregnated her three times against her will. Our father made her care for us though, even forcing her to breastfeed us from the veins. Although we used Jimena’s wrists and breasts for feeding, Father started teaching Luka how to feed from other hosts and swipe their memories afterward when he was barely three years old. Luka made sure that Xander and I were always fed and taught us as Father taught him.
We are barely a year apart. At three years old, Luka looked as though he was seven. I was two years old and looked much older, and Xander was the baby at only six months old, already walking with a mouth filled with teeth.
Things significantly changed for us when Jimena allowed a surgeon to destroy her reproductive organs and inadvertently almost killed her. Not only did Jimena acquire and enslave more women and girls to her brothel but she also tried adding Luka and me to her inventory. It was our first real exposure to our mother’s evil, depraved character.
Luka became my hero the day Jimena locked us in a bedroom with an obese, smelly man who liked young boys. Luka punched the fat fuck in his temple, his little fist making an impressive imprint as he knocked the fucker out cold. The fat man found out the hard way that we were predators and not prey. Luka and I fed on the vein that Luka opened on the fat man’s wrist, deliberately chewing away his flesh and making a mess to send a message not only to our dear egg donor but also to warn anyone who dared to fuck with us, don’t. We were determined to become the savages that Jimena always accused us of being.
Jimena screamed the place down when she found us a few hours later with the lifeless carcass of the bastard she had hoped would bugger us. Of course, we hid how he had died from everyone other than Jimena. Everyone thought the fucker had died from heart failure during an animal attack. We made sure our dear egg donor knew that we’d killed the fucker. We were the animals.
“Just to be clear,” Luka told her menacingly, “this is what will happen to any perv you try to give us to.”
She was terrified of us after that. Even her security team were afraid of us. We encouraged their fear by staring at them vacantly with cold disinterest or glaring at them with chilling intent.
However, Jimena wasn’t finished with us yet. She had one more evil to inflict on us. The bitch sold us for one penny each to a criminal named Tillerman who used young boys to do anything from chimney sweeping and picking pockets to robberies, prostitution, kidnapping for ransom, and sometimes even murder for hire.
What Jimena and that fucker she sold us to didn’t anticipate was that Luka would protect me and Xander with his life. We stayed two days with the criminal before Luka got us out of there and, by some quirk of fate, found our father.
While we escaped our mother’s and Tillerman’s evil, our father’s world had a whole different level of evil. We have spent the last four hundred years fighting to survive our father’s legacy, fighting to survive the hatred of those who resented and envied who we were. Shit always came down to power and wealth.
“And one has to understand that braveness is not the absence of fear but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.”
- Paulo Coelho
Private Island off Bermuda,
We, my brother Tristan and I, are bastard children of Bruno Falcone. I only came to understand the significance of who we were on my brother Tristan’s sixteenth birthday. I was ten years old and had lived my entire existence thinking our father was a busy banker who only came home on the weekends.
We lived high in the hills on a massive estate our father had built specifically to hide our mother away from the city. Our father’s behavior seemed normal to us. Our family was close. It seemed that nothing and no one could fracture our bond or was more important than us as a family.
We grew up knowing that our mother, born in Bermuda, was of mixed race with a black Bermudian mother and white British father. She was a world-renowned classical ballet dancer and one of the most beautiful women in the world. She wore her dark hair in naturally, curled locs that were incredibly soft to the touch despite their tight dreadlocked strands. Tristan and I inherited her warm expresso eyes and dark-honeyed skin.
She had told us that she had met our father, an Italian banker, on one of her tours when she was twenty years old and had been with him ever since.
Despite our six-year age gap, Tristan and I were close. It was probably because we did almost everything together and had no interaction with other children our age. We had always been surrounded by adults, whether they were our teachers, servants, or bodyguards on the estate. We were home-schooled in not just our education but also in other pursuits. We took ballet lessons from our mother and martial arts fighting from our bodyguards, who were all ex-Turkish soldiers. There were three of them, each tasked as our personal guards. Everything we learned about the world was done through books and movies. Neither Tristan nor I had ever left the island before that day.
I don’t know why I never questioned the necessity for our isolation or such skilled bodyguards until that day. We had known nothing of our father’s other life in Italy. We had no warning of what a dangerous man he was. Hell, he allowed Tristan to study ballet! Who had ever heard of a mobster ballerina?!
However, it did explain why we had to learn martial arts fighting at the same time as ballet. And it turned out that all that training served us well.
While the training helped us that day, my other ability, something I hadn’t told a soul about because I had been afraid of ridicule—my psychic ability—had warned us and saved us. Up until then, I had pretty much been blasé about my ability.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been able to read people. It wasn’t just the typical reading of emotions—anger, happiness, or sadness, or even reading whether someone was telling the truth or not, although I could do all of that too. No, my reading of people came with a full cartoon-like pop-up caricature storybook show-and-tell that bounced off the person. The storybook pop-up reading threw adjectives about the person l was looking at. It appeared as clear dialogue labels popping immediately on my first sighting of someone’s face.
I had long ago learned to turn it off by never looking at a person’s face directly but by staring at a vacant space above their heads. As long as I couldn’t see their face, I couldn’t “read” them. It was a trick I had learned to help me accept our father, whose reading had screamed: evil, liar, killer, brutal, rage, hate, and so on. I had ignored all of it because our father had been nothing but generous, loving, and gentle with us. He had been a loving father and a husband, who treated our mom like a queen. He was my dad and I was his baby girl. I used to love to hear him call me that. Naively, I made my father the exception to my ability for accurately reading people.
However, that night at my brother’s sixteenth birthday party, which was also one of the weekends our father had failed to show, a man came to the party insisting that he was a friend of our father. Our mother, ever the gracious hostess, invited him to join the party that was being attended by the crème de la crème of Bermudian society. Certainly, Tristan and I had no friends outside of the servants’ children, and they would most definitely not be invited.
I sat at the table next to Tristan, both of us gorging ourselves on cake and ice cream. The adults were far more interested in the alcohol and recreational drugs on offer. We were both dressed up in the elegant attire Mom had ordered directly from the designer. Despite his tux, which was customed fit to his body, Tristan’s tightly corded muscular lean physique was impressively evident. With his bulk and height, he certainly looked older than sixteen years.
Thankfully, it had been drummed into us since we were toddlers to always be prepared to protect ourselves.
So, when the man walked into our elegantly appointed dining room beside our mother, the adjectives came fast and urgent: liar, murderer, depraved, evil! Over and over, the pop-ups kept erupting from him.
I turned to Tristan, who was staring at the man intently but wasn’t reacting as appropriately alarmed as I was feeling inside. My skin prickled, goosebumps erupted over my entire body, and a light coating of sweat covered my skin. Although we had bodyguards, father had already instilled in Tristan the need to protect us when he wasn’t around.
“He is a bad man!” I whispered urgently, my gaze swinging manically from Tristan to the advancing man.
“Shush!” Tristan hissed. His expression was guarded but still too relaxed for my frantic nerves.
I gripped Tristan’s arm while our mother and the man were still a few feet away from us. “Tristan, that man is going to hurt us.” My lips were barely moving, but I had to warn my brother. I was confident that, even though I couldn’t see it, my brother was armed.
“What has gotten into you?” He tried to shake my hold off his arm.
I looked at Tristan in confusion, unable to understand why Tristan wasn’t seeing what I was seeing. Obviously, not the pop-ups, but come on, the guy looked like an evil villain. Long pointy nose, beady black eyes, black funeral clothes and shoes, and the most sinister smile I’ve ever seen. How is he not seeing the danger here?
However, while I had been trying to get Tristan’s cooperation, our mother and the man came to a stop beside our seats.
“So, this is Bruno’s little love nest and his bastard mutts,” the man sneered softly, seconds before he gripped our mother by her hair and sliced her neck.
I will never in my life forget my mother’s horrific scream before she was gurgling and choking on her own blood.
Our guests gasped and screamed in shock! A mad scramble started, followed by a stampede as bullets peppered our hundred and something previously seated guests.
Horror and fear gripped me as I stared in shock as my mother’s deep red blood soaked my powder-pink designer dress. Despite the pandemonium erupting around us, I only came back to awareness when the deadly whistle of Tristan’s knife sailing through the air embedded itself between the man’s eyes. The loud thump of the man’s body hitting the ground hard seemed to rise above the already ear-piercing noise around us.
The evil man hadn’t come alone, however.
Tristan and our guards were soon busy fighting off an attack of over twenty men.
I still hadn’t moved, not until one of the men tried to attack Tristan from behind. I pitched forward in a near panic to bury my own knife into the man’s belly, and I palmed my own gun. After that the fighting was on. Brutal. Deadly. Fast paced.
When the dust settled and all was still, only Tristan, I, and a bodyguard, Burak, one of the Turkish ex-soldiers, remained. The house and grounds were littered with the carcasses of our guests, our bodyguards, and attackers. Even our household staff hadn’t been spared in the carnage, as our attackers had used high-powered assault weapons that allowed them to kill many in the short space of time before we could stop them.
Tristan and I had survived because we fought side by side and steadfastly protected each other.
Our father came for us a few days later.
Our mother’s death changed our world drastically. And it was then that our father brought us to live with him in Italy. That was my first lesson on the destructiveness of loving a lethal man.