She was his biggest mistake. He’s about to be her biggest regret.
Eliodoro “Eli” D’Amato has a busy enough life. His reality show is rate number one in the country, and he has endorsements coming from everywhere to guarantee his children wouldn’t have anything to worry about. But when a mistake from his past comes back, he wonders if this is a storm he can weather.
Faith D’Amato is going to stand by her husband no matter what drama from his supposed baby mama brings. When the paternity of her middle child is brought into question, Faith realizes that she has more questions than answers.
Simone Harris is not going down with a fight. If Eli and Faith want to play dirty, she’s willing to roll around in the mud. She wonders if her fight is a lost cause when it’s not Eli and Faith she’s fighting, but the entire D’Amato clan.
All is fair in love and war, right?
War is the first of three novellas that deals with the aftermath of infidelity, revenge, and if true love can be saved.
She was his everything.
They were destined to be the IT socialite couple in New York. She was small, demure at times, but had a strength he’d never known existed. He towered over her by nearly a foot, wrapping his muscular arms around her lithe body as he pressed her close.
He was tall, muscular, with an intelligence he’d often kept hidden from everyone. He’d often predicted what people were going to do before they did it. It was why his family’s floral shop dominated the city. It was why they went from being considered a joke to serious players in the game.
Together, the couple ruled New York in their own ways. They weren’t considered royalty, but they definitely weren’t just outsiders. They were slowly paving a way from themselves to rule everything.
“Faye,” his baritone rumbled as she pressed her body against his. They acted like they weren’t going to see each other for weeks, or even months. Instead, he was merely dropping her off at cosmetology school.
New York was a city that never slept, competing with Las Vegas on noise, bright lights, and the best (and worst) each city had to offer. As the rumbling of tires over the worn roads, impatient horns, and the early morning smells surrounded them, Eliodoro “Eli” D’Amato was only focused on what was in front of him:
His girlfriend, Faith Sheppard.
Technically speaking, she was his fiancée. He’d proposed to her during their senior year of high school, though she told him she would marry him after she’d finished school. Four years after getting her Communication degree at New York University, she’d enrolled in cosmetology school.
Eli’d paid for all of it.
Whatever his girlfriend wanted, she didn’t have to ask. As a result, she sported the latest trends, had a spending allowance, and her BMW never gave her any problems. If he could, Eli would give her everything.
He inhaled her hair and felt his cock stir as scents of mango, vanilla, and strawberries filled his nostrils. She’d always smelled delicious. She felt even better when she was beneath him, in front of him, or on top of him. Even her sex made him feel like she was sucking the soul out of him with each thrust and pull.
She was his everything. He couldn’t imagine life without her and he didn’t want to.
“I’m going to be late for class, babe,” she murmured.
“I know,” he wrapped his arms around her tighter. They’d briefly split when her attitude and demands became too much for him to bear. She was ridiculously spoiled and maybe a bit selfish. She’d demanded all of his free time and began to suffocate him, effectively pushing him away.
He’d gone on to see other women but none of them could compare to her. She’d prayed for him, for them, and for all. She’d donated her time, money, and resources to many causes.
She also liked to party and frequented a few nightclubs with him. But she knew her limits. She always said no to drugs. She didn’t like to drink (she claimed she didn’t like how it made her feel). She’d never accepted drinks from strangers.
And she always, always went home with Eli.
They would make love at all hours of the night, sometimes three times a day. He’d introduced her to porn. She practiced new blow job techniques on him. They were regulars at the local sex shop.
When their relationship became more serious during her sophomore year at college, Faith decided to go on birth control so there would be no barrier between her and Eli. That decision brought the couple closer together.
It also caused a few closed calls.
When Faith was late one time, she and Eli had a long talk about their options. “I’ll provide for you and our child. I don’t want you to be ashamed.” He promised her. “We’ll get married right away.”
Faith’s cycle returned and she found herself to be disappointed, though the timing of a pregnancy was all wrong. She was incredibly young, only 21, and she couldn’t handle being a mother while she was trying to start a business.
As she wrapped her lithe arms around him, and held Eli for extra warmth in the brisk fall weather, Faith wondered how would they both act as parents?
“My pumpkin spice latte is going to get cold, baby.” She softly moaned.
“Mmm….” He groaned. “…I’ll buy you another one.” He kissed her forehead and stifled another groan. He needed to get to Madre’s. He had a ton of orders that needed to be done. No one was going to be sympathetic because he wanted to hold his girlfriend.
“I’m glad we’re back together,” she rubbed her free hand over his muscular back, “though I’m going to have a difficult time walking today.”
“I had something to prove,” he gently pulled back from her. He stared deep into her eyes and saw the love radiate between them. “And I wanted to prove it to you all night.”
That he did. Faith was grateful they were at Eli’s recently purchased Harlem townhome, where he fucked her brains out the night before. Even when they showered together in the monstrous master bathroom, Eli’s demanding thrusts brought out passionate screams and cries from Faith.
She could still remember how she clawed at his skin, causing deep welts in his back, while he moaned her name with each thrust. “Your pussy feels so good, baby,” he once moaned, “so wonderful, so tight.”
Faith adjusted her stance as moisture began to fill her panties. They’d made love all night long and she still wanted more. She wondered if she would ever get enough of Eli. “You made your point.”
“Maybe,” he softly blinked at her. Eli’s cell phone went off and he growled when he had to check it. “Yep, I’m running late already. Joey’s wondering where the hell I am for the staff meeting. I gotta go, Faye.”
“My parents want me to lead the young woman’s workshop in our church,” Faith began, “they think I’m setting a fine example to every woman who wants to serve God.”
“That’s a great idea,” Eli replied, “I can’t think of a better person to do it.”
“There’s one catch, however,” Faith softly bit her lip and looked away, “my parents don’t know we’re having sex. I don’t want to tell them we are, but I’m afraid they’re going to find out.”
Eli sensed where Faith was going with her concerns. “We can stop having sex if that makes you feel better.”
“I don’t want to. If you were bad in bed, then yes, I wouldn’t mind the break.” Faith admitted as Eli chuckled, “but you’re just so damn good, though. Like you went to sex school or something.”
Eli kissed Faith’s forehead. “Whatever it is you want to do, I’m willing to do. It just means on our honeymoon, you’re only going to see the ceiling and four walls.”
Faith blushed. “You nasty.”
“You love it, though.”
“Yeah, maybe a little bit.” She giggled.
“Yeah, maybe a lot.” He blinked.
“Bye, baby.” She pulled him down for a kiss, sweeping her lips across his. Every time they’d kissed, it became more passionate, more raw than before. Every day Faith loved Eli a bit more. He was the only one that understood her and he tolerated her demands, though she’d sometimes pushed him away.
She was going to become a better woman for him in the future, for their lives, so Eli wouldn’t have a reason to leave her again. “Te amo, Eli.”
“Anima mia,” he purred against her earlobe, “my soul.”
The memory faded into the background as Eli stared out the window. They never did stop having sex, but they never could spend the night with each other. It didn’t help matters that “Song Cry” just happened to play on his Pandora.
He leaned against the hard window and glanced down at the street below. It was crowded as usual. People were in a rush to get somewhere, bundling up against the brisk fall weather. They were happy, sad, angry, or ambivalent.
Eli wished he had their problems.
His stomach knotted into tight balls as he blew out a deep breath. His marriage was in turmoil once again and he could trace it all back to his affair. There were problems in their marriage long before he’d stepped out; something they both admitted in therapy.
She was tired of him working late hours and going to happy hour with his employees. He was tired of her withholding sex and forcing him to sleep in the guest room if she didn’t get her way.
The snowball eventually grew into an avalanche. When it exploded, their marriage crumbled. If Eli wanted to be honest, his marriage to Faith was on its last legs well before Simone re-entered the picture.
If it wasn’t for his affair, Faith wouldn’t have met Darren. If it wasn’t for his affair, Simone wouldn’t have became pregnant. If it wasn’t for his affair, Eli wouldn’t be stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Overwhelming, crippling guilt plagued Eli. The affair happened three years ago. Two more children later, it felt Faith was still punishing him for what he did. Did she truly forgive him? He honestly wondered if she ever would.
Divorce wasn’t an option or even a brief thought, despite their year-long attempt at it. He just wondered if things could ever move forward between them or if he was just wasting his time on a marriage that was beyond its expiration date?
He wondered how Erica was doing.
“You look like you would rather be anywhere but here,” Joey replied as he entered the shared office. He took a seat at his desk and flipped on the computer, “what’s up, little bro?”
“I’m thinking about entering counseling,” Eli focused outside, “I’m not really happy with my life now.”
“Oh? What’s up? Besides the baby mama drama?” Joey asked.
Eli shook his head. “I just don’t think Faith has forgiven me for the affair. She claims she has but I have this feeling in my gut she hasn’t.”
“Well, you knew that was going to be a possibility, right?” Joey countered. “She was willing to work on the marriage and even go to therapy again.”
“That was before the appearance of Elena,” Eli replied, “Elena changed everything.”
“In all fairness, bro, Elena is a permanent reminder that at one point, your dick was more important than your family.”
Joey’s words sent a shockwave to Eli’s system and he visibly shuddered. “Thanks,” Eli deadpanned.
“Hey, no one wants to be called out on their bullshit.” He scrolled through email. “It’s better family does it than a stranger.”
“Well, that’s the reason I’m going to therapy,” Eli laid down on the leather sofa. The pain from his affair and supposed love child ran deep within him. It seared his blood and almost made him sick to his stomach. “I just need to work on this guilt I have. Maybe that’ll help me understand my wife more.”
Joey nodded. “Or maybe your wife is the one that needs to go to therapy and you stay home?”
Faith had always been a tad immature but it was something Eli was used to. The other ninety percent of her was perfect. If he could handle her ten percent immaturity, everything was fine.
The ten percent, however, was slowly growing. Faith had a way of being lowkey petty that while it was humorous at times, Eli grew annoyed with it. He didn’t doubt for a second, she still held a grudge. Now with Elena in the picture, who knew how long that grudge would play out.
“She doesn’t believe in therapy,” Eli replied, “a hardcore Christian like her? She would rather pray it away.”
“She went to therapy with her father?” Joey pointed out.
“Yeah, it’s because it was her dad who was counseling us. Even when her father called her out on her shit, Faith still believed everything was my fault.” Eli sighed. He didn’t want to throw in the towel on his marriage but Faith wasn’t giving him much room to fight for it. “I need to research therapists.”
“You know I support you one hundred percent. Talk to K. He went to therapy after he returned from Iraq.” Joey mentioned.
“Yeah, he told me it helped him out a lot,” Eli agreed, “so that’s what I’m pursuing.”
“And whatever you do, don’t tell mama,” Joey shook his head and pursed his lips, “wait until she’s on her deathbed.”
Their mother, Nicola, prescribed to the same belief system as Faith – just pray for everything. Eli respected his mother’s devout Catholicism but even he could admit sometimes people didn’t need to talk to God; they needed to talk to someone who could prescribe them treatment. “Oh, you don’t got to tell me twice.” Eli’s cell phone went off and he glanced down at it. It was his stepfather, Art, calling him. “Hey Art, what’s up? What? Ah shit…yeah, I’ll be there now.” Eli hung up his phone and grabbed his keys.
“What’s up?” Joey looked up from his computer. “Is everything okay?”
“Faye and Simone got into it over at the salon,” Eli shook his head. He should’ve been surprised by the news but he wasn’t. What did shock him, however, was how long it took for said action to take place. “I’m heading over there before it makes Page Six.”
“Who won?” Joey smiled.
“Who do you think?”
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To read the first few chapters, click here.