Dance With The Devil (60)

So here we are, the sixtieth and final excerpt of Dance With The Devil. To all those who have read it, thank you very much and if you would like to continue then please download the Kindle version hereIt is also available to download in various formats from most other online book stores.

From tomorrow, I will be posting excerpts from my latest novel, Perfect Day, which is a fast-paced, action adventure.

Please keep reading my blog and feel free to like, share and spread the word as every little helps.

In the meantime, as promised, here is the last instalment of Dance With The Devil. Enjoy!


Excerpt 60 of 60

Forty-five minutes after his murderous rampage, Carlo Liuzzi was standing under the hot, almost scolding jets of his shower, washing off the blood of his victims.

Bobby and Wyatt had been killed in the same monstrous way as Armando Calabrese; chained up naked in the garden store under the tennis courts, their manhoods severed and their stomach’s sliced open so that their intestines spilled out over the floor.

Their bodies, together with those of Donnie and Ira would be driven out to the desert and buried before the sun came up. Salvatore and Vito would see to it. The library would be cleaned and re-decorated by a specialist crew who would leave no trace of the horrors that had taken place there.

As for Mildred, she had passed out moments after Edmund’s murder and had awoken to find herself locked in a soundproof room deep under the mansion.

This was to be her new home. A life of imprisonment and solitude with time enough to think about how she had wronged her husband.

When Carlo designed the mansion many years earlier, he had included a ‘safe room’ in the plans, thinking it only prudent after making so many enemies during his time as a mobster in New York.

However, until that night only he and Salvatore knew of its existence.

The room was accessed via a narrow staircase which was concealed behind a sliding bookcase in the study. The steel stairway led down two storeys under the house with the safe room sitting at the end of a slender corridor on the lowest level.

The room itself was fully air-conditioned and contained a double bed, a television, a small shower enclosure and a toilet. There was also a large larder and a substantial refrigerator – both presently empty. The near impregnable walls and door were made from ten-inch steel – the extreme thickness guaranteeing that no one would hear Mildred’s screams. Ever.

As Carlo lathered his powerful, hairy body, the blood running in rivers down his naked legs and into the drain, he thought only of Ava and how he was going to regain her trust.

She had witnessed some hideous things that night and he was somehow going to have to explain them away. His plan was to tell her that the three Texan boys were attacking her mommy and he had only acted as he had to save her. It would be hard for her to swallow at first but time was a great healer and he felt confident he could win her over eventually. He would tell her that her mother had gone away somewhere safe to recuperate.

He could look Ava in the eyes and legitimately tell her that Mildred was not dead and the girl would be able to see the truth of it.

Edmund, however, was a different matter. Ava was much closer to him than Carlo would have liked, much closer than she was with Mildred and the little girl would feel his loss keenly.

It had not been Liuzzi’s intention to kill Edmund but the man just charged forward straight onto the knife and there was nothing Carlo could do about it. Indeed, with the red haze of madness still burning he had just reacted instinctively.

However, mean it or not, he had to deal with the consequences but he could not, under any circumstances, let Ava think that he had killed her father.

So he would have to convince her of a different scenario.

Unfortunately, this would mean temporarily upsetting the little girl even more but he would be there to comfort her and help her through it.

After all, he would be her only father now.

He would be her daddy, not merely her ‘Daddy Carlo’.

Nevertheless, he would arrange for Ava to find Edmund hanging in the apartment above the garage, a typewritten suicide note close by, explaining that he could no longer go on living life as a failure. The note would also instruct Ava to put her trust in her step-father, to rely on him and to love him.

Edmund’s wounds would be bound and concealed and he would be dressed in his spare chauffeur’s uniform, so Ava would not suspect Liuzzi’s part in his death.

Carlo knew it was cruel, that the little girl would be grief-stricken and traumatised all the more after what she had seen in the library, but he could see no other way of explaining away Edmund’s death without implicating himself. Ava had to see it with her own eyes. But she was a strong child and with his help she would make it through.


When he was thoroughly clean and impeccably dressed once more, looking, as always, like an Italian Clark Gable, Carlo went down to the kitchen to talk to Ava who he found asleep on Frankie DeLuca’s lap. Frankie was sitting on the stool by the back door, his arms wrapped around the girl protectively. They had been waiting there over two hours and when Edmund failed to return Ava had cried herself to sleep in her bodyguard’s arms.

Carlo studied the little girl. She looked like a sleeping angel and rather than wake her he instructed Frankie to carry her up to bed. Liuzzi followed at a slight distance as his underling did as asked, watching as DeLuca gently lay her head on the pillow and pulled the blankets up over her.

There was a look on Frankie’s face that Carlo had not seen  before; a caring, almost fatherly expression and a twinge of jealousy stirred in Liuzzi’s gut. But he let it go, the girl had already been through enough and tomorrow she was going to have to go through a whole lot more. She would need all the support and understanding she could get and maybe Frankie could prove useful in that regard.

As Carlo closed her bedroom door, his thoughts again turned to the Oscars and he felt a little frisson of excitement at the prospect of picking up his very first Academy Award.

But he would not win.

To read on, please download the complete novel here

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Dance With The Devil (59)

Edmund entered the room, full of intention, full of courage but as soon as he took in the macabre scene that was laid out before him, it all evaporated. It was as if he had walked into hell and Carlo Liuzzi was presiding proudly over it – the very picture of Lucifer himself.

Ava’s words suddenly came rushing back to Edmund, ‘I think Daddy Carlo’s the devil’, she had said, and now he did not doubt her for a second.

Edmund’s face drained of colour as he looked about him. A young man’s corpse lay close to where he stood, one side of his face blown completely off. Another body lay further away, mutilated and ruined beyond all recognition. Blood was everywhere, masses of it, in pools and in spatters.

He then saw Mildred; dishevelled, tear-stained and clearly in pain. Blood was pouring from her hand and he was convinced that she, too, was about to die. She looked at him, imploringly, begging him to save her, clinging to the slightest hope that Edmund, the good man she had once loved yet so readily discarded, would come to her rescue.

As Edmund stared at her; filthy, bedraggled and desperate, suddenly the years of resentment melted away. He saw once again the beautiful girl from Iowa he had married and the mother of his darling daughter. Any ill feeling he had towards her vanished, instantly replaced by pity and compassion. She needed him now again. More so than she ever had before and he had to save her.

Without thought or care for himself he rushed forward, focused only on her and blind to Liuzzi who had turned to face him, the curved dagger in his hand.

Edmund did not feel the knife enter his stomach, only Liuzzi’s arm upon him as he tried to prevent him from reaching his wife. He heard Mildred scream and briefly registered the utter shock on her face as his body went cold and he sank to his knees. He could not comprehend why his legs and arms would not respond as he desperately tried to struggle forward to save Mildred.

Only when he was laying on his back, looking up at the blurred image of Carlo Liuzzi standing over him, the dagger dripping blood in his hand and the sound of Mildred crying in the background did Edmund finally understand.

“Oh, my poor Ava,” he whispered with his last dying breath.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Dance With The Devil (58)

When Salvatore, Vito and the two doomed Bodene brothers had left them, Carlo and Mildred stood in the library alone, amongst the blood and gore of what had so brutally transpired there.

Mildred felt certain that she was going to die at any moment. Indeed, she had scarcely felt more sure of anything in her life. She was terrified, yet almost resigned to it. Carlo was an evil, vicious man; a murderous, sadistic maniac – the extent of which she had not truly realised until now. She had known him to be quick tempered, volatile and passionate – a man she should have known better than to cross. But it was too late now and she was destined to pay the ultimate price for disrespecting him.

She felt her husband’s gaze burn into her, but was too afraid to face him, standing there, as she was, dishevelled, caked in the blood of the dead boy lying at her feet. She knew that he had died as a result of her own selfish, extremely foolish actions but she was numb to the guilt and feared only for herself, knowing that she would be joining the boy in the afterlife very shortly.

Carlo stepped closer her to her now, so that his mouth was just inches from her ear as he spoke. “You are the mother of an angel,” he said, which took Mildred somewhat by surprise and she turned her head very slightly to look at him. He then picked up her left hand gently, almost tenderly. “Were you not – or should I say, had I not been reminded of that so horribly tonight, then you would now be dead. Please be certain of that.”

Unexpectedly, Mildred felt a glimmer of hope – would the little girl be her salvation again? Could she really be that lucky?

“After what Ava saw here I cannot in good conscience kill you,” he continued, “God knows I want to, but she must be traumatised enough after seeing you rutting like a slut with all those men – and after I—” he paused momentarily to phrase it properly, “—after I put an end to it so permanently.”

Mildred felt relief wash over her and very nearly passed out, her legs almost giving way beneath her, but she held steady. Carlo was still holding onto her hand, turning the heavy gold wedding band that he, himself, had placed on her finger seven years earlier. Till death do us part.

“It would be too cruel. Too much for her to take.” He went on. “How could I ever look into Ava’s little eyes again knowing that I had killed her mother?”

Mildred whimpered slightly and a tear trickled down her cheek, almost overcome with emotion after this unexpected reprieve.

“No. You cannot die. You must go somewhere safe from harm, where you can live out your life free from any further temptation – somewhere that allows me to look into your daughter’s eyes with a clear conscience and tell her that you’re alive and well, but where you’ll never be able to hurt her again.”

A chill ran through Mildred now. What did this mean? Where must she go – surely not to a nunnery where he supposedly sent his real daughter? Mildred remembered the day, shortly after she and Edmund arrived, when Maria left the mansion escorted by Salvatore. She had also heard the staff whispering about it, although she had never discussed it with Carlo directly as it had not concerned her. On the contrary, having Maria out of the way had worked extremely well in her favour.

But it concerned her now. “Carlo, please— I can’t go to a convent – I won’t survive, I’ll die—” she pleaded.

Liuzzi chuckled, a cold, mirthless laugh. “Don’t worry, my dear, I won’t be sending you away anywhere. You have my word. I have got something much more appropriate lined up for you.”

Mildred felt her bowels shift as she saw the malicious glint in her husband’s evil eyes.

“But, I digress,” he said. “Naturally, we can no longer remain married. It would not be fair to me. I am a man with needs after all and I may wish to re-marry once this whole sordid affair is behind us. And I refuse to be married to a whore – I’m sure you understand. It would not befit my status.”

Mildred’s head was spinning. What was going on, what did he have in mind for her, where on earth was she going to end up? With her mind awash with panic, she did not notice as Carlo stretched out her ring finger. Neither did she feel him place the curved blade of the bejewelled dagger beneath it, between the ring and the knuckle.

“So, I’m afraid,” he said, with a menacing rasp, I must declare us ‘divorced’”. With that he violently pushed the blade upwards, slicing it effortlessly through her flesh and sinew, cutting easily through the delicate bone. Mildred screamed out in agony and struggled to free herself but Carlo held fast until the slim digit was finally detached, blood spurting from the ugly stump that remained. He looked at the severed finger victoriously, which was still encircled by the solid gold wedding band, delighting in Mildred’s anguish, as he held it in front of her face as if it was some macabre trophy that he had won.

“Now I am free of you,” he said, as the door behind him opened and Edmund walked in.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Dance With The Devil (57)

Edmund and Frankie heard the gunshot from the kitchen, both recognising it for what it was. Ava heard it too, the loud ‘crack’ startling her, making her jump. “What was that?” She cried through floods of tears, her head still buried in her father’s chest.

“Nothing, baby. Just a champagne cork popping – just people enjoying the party, that’s all,” Edmund assured her.

But as he said it an icy chill ran down his spine. What in the hell was going on? He had no idea but whatever it was, for his daughter’s sake, it had to stop. Ava was already scared out of her wits, convinced that her step-father was the devil and probably traumatised by whatever it was she had witnessed that night for the rest of her life.

Well enough was enough. Edmund was going to have it out with Liuzzi. Now.

Delicately, he peeled Ava’s arms away from his neck and gently placed her back down on the stool by the door. “Stay here, sweetie,” he said, “Daddy will be back in just a moment.”

“No, Daddy! Don’t leave me, please don’t leave me!” Begged the little girl.

“It’s okay, honey,” he said, kissing her gently on the forehead, “I’ll be back before you know it, just you wait and see. I promise.”

Ava snivelled, tears still streaming down her face. “You swear?”

“I swear.”

As Edmund made to leave, Frankie stood in his way.

“Really?” Edmund said incredulously. “Here? In front of my daughter – after what she’s been through already?”

“Just following orders.”

“I don’t give a damn about your orders, I care about my daughter and I’m gonna see Liuzzi whether you like it or not.” Edmund made to barge past but Frankie grabbed his arm.

Edmund glared at him, anger burning in his face. “Take your hand off me,” he snarled, “or so help me I’ll lay you out.”

Frankie stared back and after looking into the chauffeur’s eyes he did not doubt it. Frankie had a daughter too, back in New York, and he understood how Edmund felt, even sympathised. However, he still did not let go.

Sensing the other man’s empathy, Edmund said, “Look, stay here with my daughter. Do your job. Take care of her like you were told to by Liuzzi. I won’t be but a minute. You have my word.”

Against his better judgement, Frankie released his grip allowing Edmund to snatch his arm away. He then marched down the length of the huge kitchen heading determinedly for the library.

However, as he reached the kitchen door, he spotted Salvatore and Vito approaching. He stopped abruptly and pressed his back against the wall to the side of the doorway, hoping not to be seen. He did not need a run-in with Falcone, too, as he would not be as understanding as Frankie.

Salvatore and Vito were escorting two other men, rather roughly, and for a moment Edmund thought they were heading for the kitchen but, instead, Falcone opened the French doors that led through to the morning room and out onto the sun deck by the pool. Unbeknownst to Edmund, who remained unseen, they were on their way to the tennis courts that were situated to the west of the enormous garden, far away from the fairy lights and Parisian street lamps that still illuminated the eastern lawn.

Nevertheless, when they were gone, Edmund continued down the hall and, with considerable trepidation, silently opened the library door to confront Carlo Liuzzi once and for all.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Dance With The Devil (56)

Salvatore watched all the guests leave and bade them a heartfelt goodnight, passing on his employer’s apologies in the most sincerest way he could without actually meaning a word. When the driveway was clear, he barked his instructions to Edmund and then went back inside to do one more sweep of the house; there could be no stragglers, no witnesses. No loose ends.

When he was certain the house was clear, he crossed the now deserted lobby and knocked lightly on the library door. “It’s me,” he called.

A second later, Vito cracked open the door and peered out. “It’s okay,” said Salvatore, “everyone’s gone.”

Vito nodded and let him in.

“Ah,” said Carlo Liuzzi, as if greeting the arrival of the port and cigars after a leisurely banquet, “just in time.” He then looked at Falcone and asked, “We are alone, I assume?”

“Si, Capo.”

“Good. Then, Salvatore, kill the Jew, would you? It’s high time we got things started.”

Suddenly Ira Levenson looked absolutely panic-stricken. He let out a fearful high-pitched whinny and pleaded, “No, no, please–” as his bowels voided.

Even Vito, who had been holding his gun on the chubby, curly-haired boy for sometime looked quite taken aback and lowered his weapon, not quite sure if he had heard Liuzzi correctly. But in the time it took him to do this, Salvatore had pulled out his own Colt 9mm and pushed it against Ira’s temple. Swift, precise and deadly.

Then he fired.

The sound was like the crack of a bullwhip, although much louder. The bullet exited the opposite side of Ira’s head and buried itself deep within a bookcase several feet away. Chunks of skull, flesh and brain matter, sprayed out across the room like the discarded bark and sawdust from an industrial wood chipper as the boy’s lifeless corpse dropped to the floor and bled out on the carpet.

Bobby fell to his knees and wept. Mildred leant over and vomited on the carpet and Wyatt just looked on incredulously, utterly stunned by the abhorrent act he had just witnessed.

“I think my library may be in need of some re-decoration, don’t you?” Carlo Liuzzi said to nobody in particular, his manner light, almost jovial. “But my apologies, gentlemen,” he added, now addressing Bobby and Wyatt specifically, “I have kept you waiting long enough and now that we’ve ridden ourselves of the dead wood – I’m afraid your chubby little Jew friend was not worth my attentions – we can now get onto the main event of the evening.”

Both the Bodene brothers, these two proud Texans, who had come to Hollywood seeking fame and fortune in the movies, looked up and stared into Carlo’s cold, black eyes and knew, with absolute certainty, that they would never see Texas again.

Liuzzi smiled, almost sympathetically, then said, “Salvo, Vito, please escort these fine young men out to the garden store, underneath the tennis courts, would you? I would like a few moments alone with my wife.”

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Dance With The Devil (55)

Chapter Ten

When Edmund had finished his coffee, he wandered around to the front of the mansion and stood alongside his boss’ immaculately maintained Fleetwood limousine, which had been brought out this evening specifically for the use of any guests who may require it.

To keep himself amused and to preserve the Caddy’s perfect shine, Edmund had taken a rag from the glove compartment and was busy polishing out any blemishes that may previously have escaped his notice. His fastidiousness and attention to detail had been one of the reasons Liuzzi had kept him on after marrying Mildred as no one had ever looked after his fleet of automobiles with as much care. Not even Nathaniel.

As Edmund worked he noticed people gathering on the driveway as they swarmed through the grand front doors of the mansion. He glanced up and saw limousines driven by the chauffeurs who had previously been with him at the back of the house now queueing in a line around the curve of the drive, their owners pouring out and into the waiting vehicles.

Edmund was confused as it was way too early for the party to be over. Yet hordes of guests were suddenly leaving and he could not understand why. He spotted Salvatore Falcone amongst the gaggle and heard him apologising for the ‘unforeseen circumstances’. He also overheard many of the guests wishing Mildred a ‘speedy recovery’.

Had his ex-wife been taken ill? Edmund wondered. It seemed clear to him that the party was now over and gradually, as he looked on, the driveway slowly cleared. He thought maybe his services might be needed, so he put on his cap and stood to attention by the driver’s door of the Caddy but everyone seemed to be well catered for. The sparkling limo would not be required after all.

It took maybe half an hour for all the guests to leave until the only people remaining were Falcone and Edmund. Salvatore looked over at him and shouted, “Go to bed, Peyton, you’re not needed tonight. Make it quick, man – or else Mr Liuzzi will have something to say about it.”

Edmund despised Salvatore. He did not trust him and did not like the way he looked at Ava. There was something rotten about the man which he could not quite put his finger on, but he always felt uneasy when Ava was alone in Falcone’s company.

Nevertheless, Edmund nodded his compliance and turned towards the Caddy. He would put the car away then get a well deserved early night. However, several minutes later, as Edmund shut and locked the garage door, he felt a niggling sensation that told him that something was not quite right. So rather than go up to his apartment above the garage, as ordered, he went back around to the kitchen instead.

He could tell something was wrong immediately. As he looked through the window he could see the kitchen was now deserted and the army of staff that had been there just a short while before had all gone. Furthermore, there were dirty pans, pots and plates everywhere. None of the work surfaces had been wiped down and the dishes had just been left piled up in the sink.

Making his way to the back door, which he could see had been left open in the staff’s apparent eagerness to leave, he heard the sound of voices.

“Hey, be quiet kid,” a voice, which Edmund recognised as Frankie DeLuca’s, said. “You gotta wait here, the boss says so. It ain’t no good bawling, there ain’t nothing I can do about it.”

As Edmund stepped into the light of the open doorway, he saw Ava sitting on a stool by the door and sobbing her heart out as Frankie stood helplessly over her, a handkerchief held pathetically in his hand as he tried to stop her from crying.

“I want my daddy!” She wailed. “I want my daddy, now!”

“Your daddy’s busy honey, busy with his guests in the library,” replied Frankie helplessly.

“Not him!” Ava scowled through gritted teeth and streaming eyes, “my real daddy.”

Edmund felt as though his heart was going to break as he burst through the doorway and into the kitchen. “It’s okay baby, I’m here. Daddy’s here. Everything’s going to be alright now.”

Ava turned and flew off the chair into his embrace, flinging her arms around his neck and gripping him tightly as if she never wanted to let him go.

“Hey, Peyton!” Frankie yelled, “This ain’t your place, you ain’t supposed to be here. Boss says the house has gotta be cleared.” Frankie DeLuca was not usually an unreasonable man, and was normally quite affable, but he had been given the directive by Salvatore, himself. The house had to be vacated as quickly as possible. And that meant everyone.

Summoning his courage from God knows where, Edmund glared at Frankie and said, “Go to hell! Can’t you see my daughter’s upset?”

Frankie was temporarily stunned. Edmund was usually so meek and mild. A real pushover.

“What is it, baby?” Edmund asked Ava softly. “What’s happened?”

The little girl was trembling, her whole body aquiver, something was obviously deeply wrong. “It’s Mommy,” she started, “she and three men, they were doing… they were doing bad things—”

“What kind of things, sweetie? Tell me.”

“Bad things. Very bad. They all got undressed and… and—”

“And what, Ava, what is it you saw?” Edmund pressed, although he could make a good guess.

“Daddy Carlo, he—”

“Okay, kid! That’s enough,” said Frankie cutting her off. “No more, alright. You didn’t see nothing, okay?”

“Be quiet, man!” Edmund barked. “Let the girl speak!”

Frankie DeLuca was a tough Italian New Yorker and a former member of the Carboni crime syndicate. Very few people spoke to him as Edmund just had but the chauffeur was the girl’s real father so Frankie was inclined to let it go and promptly shut up.

“Sorry, sweetie. What was it you were saying?” Edmund continued, “what happened with your Daddy Carlo?” Even now, when his daughter was in so much distress, he could barely bring himself to utter the words ‘Daddy Carlo’, but he had to find out what had happened as she was evidently traumatised by what she had seen.

Ava, sniffed and wiped her tears on Edmund’s jacket. “He killed one of the men,” she sobbed, “I think Daddy Carlo’s the devil!”

Edmund was stunned. He did not question what his daughter had said as she wept into his chest, her shoulders heaving with deep, breathless sobs. Mildred had always been flighty, always very promiscuous. Some of the guys back in Iowa used to rib him about it, saying what a good lay she was, but he ignored them and put it to the back of his mind. But he knew they were not lying. Knew they had all been with her.

Furthermore, he knew it was only a matter of time before her licentious nature got her into trouble in Los Angeles too.

As for Carlo Liuzzi being the devil, Edmund did not doubt it for a moment. There was a thick streak of evil running through that man and tonight he had obviously shown it. But Edmund did not care about him or Mildred, he only cared about protecting Ava and a passion burned within him now that he had never felt before.

Tonight he was strong, tonight he was invincible and God help anyone who got in his way.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Dance With The Devil (54)

Carlo Liuzzi stood with his back to the room, all eyes on him. There was silence for a long moment, as the gears whirred in his brain. After maybe a minute or so, he walked through to his study and retrieved something from his desk drawer. With the mystery object concealed behind his back, he returned to the library and said in a voice only slightly louder than a whisper, “Salvo, ask all of my party guests to leave would you? Tell them that my wife has been taken ill and that I cannot leave her side. Get them out as quickly as you can but do not alarm anyone. Get the staff out, too.”

“Of course, capo,” replied Salvatore, addressing Liuzzi as he would have back in New York when the movie mogul was Carmine Carboni’s consigliere.

“Vito?” Said Carlo.

“Boss?”

“Watch the Jew.”

“Si, capo,” replied Vito, also using the same Italian form of address whilst pulling out a .38 from the back of his pants. He aimed it at Ira’s head whilst Salvatore returned his own 9mm to its shoulder holster and exited the library.

Carlo then smiled genially and addressed the room, seemingly unconcerned that he was caked in blood and the brutally disfigured body of the boy he had just murdered was lying at his feet. “Whilst we wait for the house to empty, so that we might be afforded a little more privacy,” he said, licking away a stray dribble of Donnie’s blood which had run down onto his lips, “I’d like to tell you a story, if you would permit me.”

No one uttered a word in reply. The three remaining boys were all weeping silently, grieving for their dead friend and seriously fearing for their own lives. Mildred had stopped crying now and was just staring glassy-eyed at the mutilated mush that used to be Donnie’s face. She had begun to shiver uncontrollably as the shock of what she had just witnessed fully hit her. Nothing that she said, nothing that she did, would ever change what had transpired or, indeed, what was still yet to happen, as that was already a forgone conclusion. So why not let her husband talk – there was nothing she could do to stop him anyway.

Taking his cue from the silence, Carlo started to speak. “When I was a small boy I lived with my father in a tiny fishing village in the south of Sicily.” He began. “My mother died in childbirth so I lacked a woman’s guiding hand. We were very poor and my father, a fisherman by trade, was often away for many days at a time trying to earn enough to put food on the table, whilst I was left alone to fend for myself.

“Well, as you can imagine, I grew up wild and undisciplined, but I was tough, too. Very tough indeed. I fought for any extra scraps that I could find and stole whatever else that I needed. It was a very… how do you say?” He searched for the right phrase for a moment and when he found it he smiled. “Ah, yes – it was a very hand to mouth existence. But I hated being poor and hated my father for not being a wealthy man. What can I say, I was an ungrateful child, but such is life. I am not proud of it, but I simply believed I deserved more.

“One day, a man of considerable affluence came to the village – an Arab; a Turk, in fact. He was dressed in brightly coloured robes of green and orange silk and wore a red turban on his head. He had a deeply tanned face and a black pointed beard that smelled of perfumed oils, I recall. Tied around his waist was a thick silken sash, also bright red, and tucked into it was a long curved dagger in a jewel encrusted scabbard.

“I remember watching the Turk showing the dagger to my father as they drank wine together, with many of the other men in the village, on that sunny afternoon. As he pulled it from the sheath, there was an audible gasp from the assembled crowd. My father was particularly impressed and the Turk allowed him to hold it.

“The dagger had a carved gold handle, which had clearly been decorated and finely worked by a master craftsman. It sparkled in the sunlight and appeared to be embedded with tiny diamonds and larger emeralds and rubies. The long blade was forged from Damascus steel, as I learned later, sharpened on both edges and lovingly oiled and polished to a bright, gleaming shine.

“It was the most magnificent thing I had ever laid eyes on and I wanted it immediately. More than that, I knew I absolutely had to possess it. In my mind, it already belonged to me.

“The Turk was a trader, en-route to Genoa or Florence or some other such place to do business and was staying in our village, at the local taverna, for a few days rest.

“Nonetheless, that night, when the whole village was sleeping, I snuck into the Turk’s room and took the dagger. Elated, I ran home in the darkness and hid it, wrapped in an old cloth, at the back of our wood pile where I was convinced no one would find it.”

Briefly, Carlo paused in his monologue and grinned broadly, the whiteness of his teeth contrasting brightly with the deep red of his gruesome, bloodied face. “Hey, I was young and stupid, what can I say?” He said, before continuing. “Anyway, I hid the dagger but next morning the Turk and many of the villagers came knocking at my father’s door, remembering his keen interest in the weapon. He denied everything of course but after the most rudimentary of searches the dagger was soon found.

“My father was— what’s the word that you Americans use?” Again, he thought for a moment, then said, “Yes. ‘Flabbergasted’. My father was flabbergasted and loudly and violently protested his innocence. But no one believed him – he had been caught, as they say, red-handed.

“They took my father and bound him to a tree in the village square and then sent for the capofamiglia – the head of the local Cosa Nostra which you Americans might better understand as the Mafia.”

Upon hearing that word both Bobby and Wyatt looked up at Liuzzi, their eyes still wet with tears and their faces ashen with terror. But as Carlo met their gaze they quickly looked away.

“Ah, gentlemen, I see you recognise the term, so you know what weight this man carried amongst the people of our village. As for myself, I remember Don Pio Allegretti, for that was his name, as a fat, pompous man who wore a white fedora and a red, silk cravat. He was a bloated, flabby peacock who I certainly didn’t respect. Nevertheless, this self-important oaf passed judgement on my father – there was no trial, no hearing, no opportunity for him to defend himself. He was simply pronounced ‘guilty,’ just like that—” Carlo snapped his fingers to demonstrate. “What was the sentence Don Allegretti deemed suitable for this most heinous of crimes, you might wonder? Well, the answer to that, gentlemen, is stoning.

“That very afternoon, as I watched amongst the amassed crowd, my father was stoned to death in front of my eyes. However, my thoughts were not with him, but with the Turk – or more specifically, with the dagger. All I cared about was getting it back.

“After the stoning, the crowd dispersed and I was left alone. No one cared about me – to them I was just a wild, untamed animal. I didn’t blame them as I had given them no reason to like me but the fact remained that I was now on my own and I had to make a future for myself.

“That night, I visited the Turk again. He had not learnt his lesson from the night before and the dagger was in full view on his bedside table, unguarded as he slept. As the Turk snored soundly, my father’s death of no consequence to a man such as he, I knew that I had to make the dagger mine permanently and could not risk losing it again. The Turk would surely come looking for it when he awoke and this time it could be me tied to the tree. So I slid the blade out of the scabbard and admired it as it shone in the moonlight. Then I held it against the Turk’s neck and slit his throat.”

Carlo paused here for dramatic effect, before adding, “I was eight years old.”

At this point Mildred turned and looked at him, stunned. She knew very little of her husband’s past and had never heard this tale before. It shocked her – on a night when she thought she had experienced all the shock a person could take.

Carlo continued, “It was my first ever kill and it felt strangely good. The Turk had taken what I knew rightfully belonged to me and he paid the ultimate price.

“After that, however, I had one more person to visit. Using only the light of the moon, I left the village and took the mountain path high up into the hills where Don Allegretti’s spectacular villa looked out over the bay. The guards were all asleep and it was simple for a small boy to slip into the grounds unobserved. Quickly I was inside the villa itself, my bare feet silent on the tiles as I searched for Don Allegretti’s bedroom. I found it soon enough and approached the huge four-poster bed where the fat fool slept. There was no guard, no security, it was easy.

“I took the dagger from my pocket and carefully climbed up onto the bed – I was just skin and bone, so weighed not enough for him to notice. Nevertheless, as I pulled the dagger from it’s sheath it made just the tiniest sound of metal on metal and Don Allegretti’s eyes flew open. He saw me there, over him, with the dagger raised but, as he opened his mouth to scream, I stabbed down into it, pushing the curved blade down his throat, silencing him for ever.

“The man had killed my father, whom I hated, but he was my father, he belonged to me and nobody was going to take what belonged to me ever again.”

Carlo looked at the three boys before him, the significance of what he had just said not lost on any of them. “I see you understand me, gentlemen,” he said. “But let me finish my story, I owe you that much at least.

“I left Don Allegretti’s villa as silently as I’d entered it, not disturbing a soul, and again took to the mountain path. I walked all night and most of the next morning until I reached another villa in a neighbouring territory that was governed by yet another wealthy capofamiglia whose family had been locked in a bitter feud with the Allegretti family for many years.

“This man, however, was much more honourable than his adversary, with a widely respected reputation. His name was Don Caseareo Liuzzi—” Mildred shot him a glance. “—Ah, I see, Mildred, you recognise the name.

“Well, as I say, I went to Don Caseareo and told him all that I’d done. Can you imagine it? An eight year old boy who had just killed two men – one of them a capo? My God, I must have had balls of steel! Anyway, I told Don Caseareo everything and said that if he wished to take over Allegretti’s territory then now was the time to do it.

“He laughed at me and asked me what I required in payment for this information and for this service I had done for him.

“I told him simply that I wanted two things; the dagger and a home. He granted me both and in the years that followed he gave me much more than I could ever have hoped for – his guidance, an education, even enough money to buy my passage to America when the time came for me to leave him.

And when I did, I took his name also.

“Don Caseareo became the father I always wanted; the father I deserved.

“And all of this because I fought for what was mine.”

Carlo then showed them all what was concealed behind his back and held it out to show them.

“Because I fought for this dagger,” he said proudly.

It was just as he had described; truly magnificent with a jewel encrusted handle and a long curved blade. Bobby, Wyatt and Ira all felt compelled to look and even through their terror, they could not fail to be impressed. “It is my most prized possession and I cherish it above anything else. More than my house, more than my fine automobiles and certainly more than my wife – which I’m sure you young gentlemen can now understand. With it, I have killed many men, most recently my daughter’s lover, who tried to steal her from me, and his unfortunate friend.”

Carlo paused again, admiring the dagger with an almost insane reverence – as if it was the Holy Grail itself, before adding, “Tonight I will use it again.”

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Dance With The Devil (53)

“Oh God! Cried Bobby, panic running through him as he watched his best friend being butchered by a mad man.

“No, no, no,” Wyatt kept repeating, unable to comprehend the horror of what he was witnessing.

Mildred said nothing as Donnie’s blood spattered over her, soaking her skin and staining it red. She merely wept, knowing the same fate almost certainly awaited her.

Finally, Carlo stood. He was panting from exhaustion, his shoulders heaving. He was covered almost entirely in the dead boy’s blood. But his temper had not yet abated and he turned his attention on Mildred who stood cowering just feet away. Carlo raised the bloodied shard above his head and prepared to thrust it deeply into his wife’s treacherous heart, when suddenly she screamed out. “Carlo, please – Ava!”

“How dare you speak that angel’s name you filthy goddamn whore!” He snarled, mere seconds from striking her down with his makeshift dagger.

“No! I mean, Ava— she’s watching,” Mildred pointed shakily to the study door, “Please don’t let her see you kill me,” she pleaded. She had momentarily forgotten about the child when her husband burst into the room, thinking only of herself, but as she stood awaiting her imminent death, she suddenly remembered – desperately hoping that somehow, the daughter she cared so little for, would turn out to be her last hope of salvation.

Carlo was stunned, the rage vanishing from his eyes as he span towards the door.

And there she stood. Little Ava.

The door was now open and she was standing on the threshold of the library with her dark hair in glossy ringlets and tied with powder blue ribbons. She was wearing a pure white party dress with frilly lace petticoats underneath. The dress was speckled with tiny red droplets; fresh and wet from the bloody shower that had sprayed down upon her from the gash in Donnie’s neck.

Her face was blank, completely without expression, but as her ‘Daddy Carlo’ glared at her, the whites of his eyes shining evilly in a face smothered with blood, he could have been the devil himself. The terrifying vision before her was the final horror. She could not bear any more after all she had witnessed, and all of a sudden she was light-headed. The room began to spin wildly before she passed out, slumping unconsciously to the ground.

Carlo threw the shard aside and ran over to her. He very nearly picked her up but was suddenly aware of the blood that soaked him from head to foot.

“Frankie!” He barked. “Quickly! Pick her up and take her somewhere safe – not up the stairs, there’s too many people. To the kitchen – that’ll be the closest. Stay with her until she wakes – I’ll be there as soon as I can. Is that clear?”

“Yes, Boss.” Frankie said with certainty. Quickly he crossed to where the little girl lay and scooped her up in his arms. Carlo turned away, he could not look at her, not like this, not whilst he was covered in blood and not when there was still more to be spilled. He would not set eyes on her again, would not allow her to see him again, until he was clean and washed and finished with all the murderous work he had yet to carry out that night.

Vito cracked open the door to check that it was safe and nodded to Frankie who carried the little girl across the room and out of the door, which was immediately shut again behind them.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Dance With The Devil (52)

Chapter Nine

“Hey!” Donnie yelled, turning towards the door half-naked, his trousers around his ankles. “This room’s occupied, okay?”

“Yeah, buddy,” Bobby chimed in, “Give us break would ya? We’re kinda using the room if you get my drift.” He hurriedly buttoned his pants and zipped up his fly, clearly annoyed at being robbed of a second turn on Mildred.

Liuzzi had entered the room accompanied by three other men as well as Ira Levenson who was looking decidedly sheepish and most uncomfortable.

Bobby glared at him, “Thanks for keeping a look out, man – I mean, good job!”  He said sarcastically.

Mildred slipped quickly off the table, her naked body slick with sweat and her dress like a screwed up rag as she tried desperately to pull it back on. Somehow, even without looking back, she knew it was her husband who had entered the room and dread flooded through her body.

Guiltily, she turned, shaking with fear. Carlo was standing there his expression as black as thunder. Salvatore, Frankie and Vito were positioned behind him. Vito had closed the door and was standing guard in front of it to prevent anyone else from entering or leaving. Salvatore was holding Ira’s arm; he was not going anywhere.

“Carlo, please! It’s not how it looks,” Mildred begged pathetically, “They forced me, honestly they did, I swear it – it’s not my fault. I couldn’t stop them, please, please, don’t hurt me—”

Her eyes were filling with tears as she struggled to shrug on her dress and cover her nakedness but she was sticky and wet and it was proving to be a difficult task.

“Hey! That ain’t true,” protested Donnie.

“Yeah! Whoa, there! Hold on a minute, lady!” Yelled Wyatt, busily pulling up his pants. “What do you mean we forced you? You damn near dragged us in here, remember? And who is this guy anyway, your old man?”

Strangely, Carlo Liuzzi seemed to calm. His body became visibly more relaxed and the thunderous expression suddenly vanished. Indeed, he was almost genial as he spoke, his voice not much louder than a whisper.

“Yes. She is my wife and I trust you enjoyed her—”

“Carlo, please!” Whimpered Mildred, tears now running in rivers down her cheeks, mingling with the perspiration.

“Ssh.” Carlo said softly to his wife as he walked towards Donnie.

“Hey, man – I’m sorry,” said Donnie, pulling up his trousers and tucking in his shirt, “We didn’t know she was your wife – we don’t know anyone here. We’re just good ol’ boys from Texas out for a good time – hell, we don’t even know whose party this is!”

Donnie was well-practiced in the homespun charm and it had got him out of more than a few scrapes in the past. Maybe it would work again tonight. Yet the sheer terror on Mildred’s face was infectious and Donnie’s stomach stirred with dread.

In fact, she was distressed in the extreme and this made him very uneasy.

Nevertheless, Carlo waved a hand dismissively. “Why would you know whose party it is?” He said. “But I can tell you this. It is mine. And my house.” He then looked Donnie straight in the eyes, the malevolence undisguised, “And the things in it belong to me.”

“Like I said, man – we’re really sorry, we didn’t—” Donnie stammered.

Again Carlo held up a hand, instantly silencing the boy as he bent down and picked up a jagged shard of the broken flower vase.

As he straightened back up to his full imposing height, he studied the broken piece lovingly, as if it was some precious gem he had just uncovered.

He regarded it for a moment longer as he tightened his thick fingers carefully around it. Then he looked up once more and moved closer to Donnie.

Mildred, her nakedness now covered, was behind the young Texan, pinned against the table, paralysed with fear.

“This was a party for me,” Carlo said, his tone still calm and convivial, “to celebrate all I have achieved in Hollywood. It was supposed to be one of the biggest nights of my life. Can you imagine that?”

Donnie nodded meekly. He, too, now feeling extremely scared. He was a big, strong guy but not in the same ballpark as the powerful, brooding presence that stood close to him now. There was also something chilling about the man, something dark and dangerous. The men with him were also extremely sinister and Donnie’s bowels shifted as the horrific notion struck him that he might not live to see the end of this night.

Everyone could sense that something was about to happen, the atmosphere thick with menace and the tension palpable.

“Hey, buddy!” said Bobby, trying to defuse the situation and deflect focus from his friend. “He said we were sorry. We didn’t know.”

“Yeah, it was your wife, man,” added Wyatt, “she started it—”

“Silence!” Liuzzi roared. His voice suddenly angry and incredibly loud as he pointed behind him to quieten the two other boys whilst his focus remained unswervingly on Donnie. “Keep quiet or I’ll silence you myself – understand!”

Neither Bobby or Wyatt dare answer as they watched Donnie, their best friend since childhood, the bravest and toughest of the three of them, trembling with fear; tears flooding his eyes.

“Salvo,” Liuzzi continued, “If either of them interrupt me again, shoot the Jew would you?”

“Glad to,” replied Falcone, releasing his grip on Ira before reaching into his jacket and pulling out a shiny Browning 9mm. He pressed the muzzle hard against Ira’s temple, pushing his head to a tilt. The boy whimpered with fear, like a scolded dog, but he did not utter a word, knowing for certain that if he did it would be his last.

“Now where was I?” Carlo continued. His voice immediately calm again. “Oh, yes. I was telling you how this was my party – my very special party. And how this is my house – it’s wonderful isn’t it? I own all the amazing things in it, including the woman you have just screwed and the rather nice, very expensive vase that now lies in pieces on my carpet.” He briefly regarded the broken shard in his hand once more to illustrate the point.

“Please, I, I, I’m sorry, mister…” snivelled Donnie, his bladder involuntarily emptying and its contents running down his leg to form a puddle at his feet.

“You come into my house uninvited and you’re sorry?” Carlo said with incredulity, his voice rising by an octave. “You ruin my party and fuck my wife and you’re sorry?” He was louder still now as he laughed, looking round at the others in the room for them to share the ‘joke’, but there was no humour in it and everyone stayed resolutely silent, no trace of a smile on any of their faces.

He turned back to Donnie with his face transforming into an ugly, hateful grimace as he shouted, “You break my goddamn vase – this fucking vase—” Carlo showed him the large jagged piece of pottery in his hand, “—and you’re sorry?”

Donnie was crying now, weeping openly, tears streaming down his face, knowing for certain that he was about to die.

“Well I don’t accept your fucking apology you piece of shit,” Liuzzi hollered, “and as for this goddamn vase you can keep it as a reminder of my generous hospitality!”

With that, Carlo stabbed the shard violently into Donnie’s neck, slicing through his jugular like a knife through butter. A tall fountain of bright red blood erupted from the hideous wound, spraying everything within the immediate vicinity – including Carlo and Mildred.

Yet Donnie’s face did not show any sign of pain, merely a questioning expression, as if asking ‘why?’ But then his eyes rolled upwards, his lips parted and a thick stream of blood gurgled up his throat and spilled out of his mouth.

As Carlo pulled out the shard Donnie dropped to the floor, his body convulsing grotesquely in the last throes of death. Liuzzi growled like an animal and threw himself down onto the boy, stabbing him again and again repeatedly in the face.

Quickly Donnie’s handsome features turned to mush but by then the young Texan was way past caring.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Dance With The Devil (51)

Mildred had been enjoying the attentions of the four young men surrounding her. Three were extremely handsome and very sexy, each clearly as attracted to her as she was to them. However, the fourth man, the little Jewish one, did not interest her in the least. After all, she had been in Hollywood long enough to recognise a homosexual when she saw one. But his particular preferences were none of her concern as she had her mind firmly set on the three Texan studs who could not keep their eyes, nor indeed their hands off her.

Her conversation with them had started off innocuously enough, just casual chit-chat about nothing in particular, but as their youthful naivety fed her drunken desire for male attention the dialogue had quickly deteriorated into something far more suggestive and entirely more slutty.

She had been flirting with them outrageously for over half an hour and leading them on by rubbing herself up against them at every given opportunity. Each provocative move signalling her brazen intent.

Furthermore, in the course of their salacious small talk Mildred had successfully managed to steer them all into a secluded little spot within the foyer where their sexual overtones could not easily be overheard.

She had learned that the tall one was Bobby, whilst Wyatt was the youngest and the dark, brooding one was Donnie. To Mildred, however, all of them looked absolutely delicious regardless of their names or ages and to stir things up she purposely let slip that she was not wearing a stitch of underwear.

Upon hearing that tantalising snippet of information, all of them became visibly more aroused and Bobby, unable to stop himself, reached out and grabbed Mildred’s curvaceous behind.

Nonetheless, intoxicated as she was, she knew that she was positioned with her back to the party and someone could easily notice Bobby’s hand upon her, even though she relished the touch. Deftly, she removed his hand, although the salacious glint in her eyes did little to discourage him.

Indeed, she then stepped between the four boys and repositioned herself so that her back now rested against the library door where she could no longer be seen by a casual observer. Once there, she took Bobby’s hand again and placed it back on her rear end, her excitement building as his fingers explored her shapely derrière.

Taking their cue from this, Wyatt and Donnie were keen to join in the fun. Wyatt slipped his hand under one of her breasts and squeezed it firmly, whilst Donnie pushed his fingers into the ‘V’ at the top of her legs, making Mildred gasp with delight.

For a moment she was lost; her whole body consumed with desire, then with a jolt of fear, she snapped back to her rightful senses. Somebody might see her. Moreover, Carlo might see her and she could not risk that. Not if she valued her life.

Nevertheless, she now wanted these men desperately and could not bear to wait a moment longer.

Swiftly Mildred reached behind her and turned the door handle to the library. The room had been declared off-limits for the night so no one would disturb them. As for Carlo, he was off schmoozing with his high-powered guests so there would be no danger of him accidentally stumbling in on proceedings.

Bobby, seeing Mildred’s intention, turned to Ira and said, “Watch this door. Make sure no one comes in, okay?”

“Sure, Bobby, yeah,” said Ira, “no problem.” However, he could not help but feel a little sad. If only Bobby would look at him the way he looked at that woman. But he knew it was never to be.

Nonetheless, as Ira watched, Mildred and all three of his friends slipped silently into the library and closed the door behind them.

Once inside, Mildred snapped on the light to reveal a magnificently appointed library with high shelves that ran floor to ceiling, all crammed with sumptuously bound books. An ornate rolling ladder stood at one end to enable readers to reach the uppermost shelves whilst several comfortable armchairs were scattered about for them to settle themselves into once they had found the tome they were looking for.

But no one cared about any of those things tonight and now Mildred was finally alone with her admirers, she cast all caution aside, allowing herself to be pawed and fondled and caressed by the eager young bucks who were suddenly all over her.

As a group they moved further into the middle of the spacious room where a large, polished oak table stood pride of place. Several books were scattered on it and a vase of white lilies made a pretty centrepiece.

Mildred obligingly lay back on the table, impetuously sweeping away the books and knocking the vase of flowers onto the floor in her lustful haste, smashing it into large jagged pieces.

The crash was loud but no one would hear it above the din of the party. Besides the four people in the library were oblivious to the noise, seemingly deafened by their wanton desire as Mildred hungrily pulled Wyatt towards her. Hoisting up her dress, she kissed him deeply and wrapped her long naked legs around his waist.

Then, as the other two boys looked on, impatiently waiting their turn, Wyatt took her.

Mildred, however, merely closed her eyes and willingly submitted to his masterful technique, eagerly anticipating all that was yet to come.


After Wyatt had done with her, it was Bobby’s turn who seemed even more practiced than his brother. Mildred was now glowing with perspiration; her dress draped loosely around her waist as she gave herself up to him.

Bobby was hard, rough – almost crazed but Mildred found it even more thrilling and bucked and writhed beneath him like a wild mustang.

When Bobby was finished Donnie eagerly took over; his dark, brooding presence looming over her as the other boys watched with carnal delight.

They had saved the best for last as Donnie was an expert lover and utterly insatiable but Mildred was more than up to the challenge.

However, as a wave of incredible pleasure rattled through her fabulous body, her eyes fell upon the gap in the door that led through to the study.

Kneeling at the bottom of the gap was Ava, a horrified look on her innocent little face.

For a second Mildred could not compute what she was seeing, still lost in a haze of sexual delirium.

But then, as Donnie let out a triumphant growl; his passion finally spent, Mildred’s head at last cleared.

“Oh, God no. Ava—” she whispered, as she looked straight into her daughter’s terror filled eyes.

But her voice was drowned out by the sound of the library door as Carlo Liuzzi burst violently into the room.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here