As a post, I am not going to say a word. Instead, one of my characters from the Ivanovich series has opted to speak. Please allow me to introduce to you Teresa Mancini, daughter of mob boss Carlo Mancini and girlfriend to the FBI agent who took Carlo down.
“I’m definitely honored my creator asked me to speak to her audience. But I’m not surprised that she thought of me. Who else would be better to relay their regal existence? My creator—I am instructed to call her that, by the way, and it isn’t my first choice of names—told me to tell you about my life.
“My life wasn’t always glamorous and definitely had its ups and downs. You would think growing up in a powerful Italian family that you would have it all. It’s not true. ‘Family’ was supposed to mean something, but all that it meant to my father—Carlo Mancini—was how much power he could yield and how many lives he could destroy. He didn’t care that in the end, it was his own family he shattered.
“When I was young, I thought I was the luckiest girl alive. Even though my father was busy building his empire, my mother Madeline, was always there. She did everything with me. She made me feel like a princess. But when I got a little older, she began to mold me into the young lady I was expected to be in an influential Italian family. At six, she began teaching me the proper clothing to wear, how to walk and even what to eat. Salads? Honestly! At that young age? I wanted junk food, but that was never an option in our house.
“I loved my mother, adored her, then she was ripped from my life when I was ten. I don’t know what happened, only what my father told me . . . she died. He never elaborated, but I recall sitting in church at her service holding my father’s hand. I started to cry, but he quickly shushed me, telling me that crying in public was not allowed. It made us appear weak. It was the last time my father touched me, let alone held my hand.
“It was very difficult after my mother was gone. I lost the smile I used to have, I lost the interest in being the perfect Mancini princess. My father showed less interest in me than he did before. I was pretty much raised by staff members. Our mansion was cold and completely loveless. It’s a wonder I’m as amazing as I am now.
“I came to understand what my father did. Let’s say it as it is: he killed people for a living. He was a drug runner and gun trader. If anyone dare come up against him for any reason, he had him killed.
“My father informed, he did not discuss. When he said something, it was as if Moses himself wrote it on the stone tablet. It wasn’t going to be changed. At least, that’s what Father told himself.
“I was pretty much treated like I didn’t exist in my own home. I grew up in that hateful mansion. You would think that because I had everything money could buy, I would have been happy. But money and power couldn’t bring my mother to me. I acted the part of the perfect daughter when I was called upon to do so. I was invisible when I needed to be. I was a good Italian daughter of a mob boss.
“That’s what I had everyone thinking. What I really did was listen to everything, paid attention to what deals were happening and when. I tucked everything away in my mind, knowing it would be useful later. And it was.
“When my father was finally arrested for years of criminal activities, I sang like a canary. I knew what he’d done, who he was. I gave the FBI information that would hang the bastard. And yes, I enjoyed every moment of it, just as he relished the power he exerted over so many people for so many years. I hoped the bastardo rotted in jail.
“Now though, I am my own person. No one controls me or tells me what to do. I’m still sort of lacking in the friend department, but I have Pavel Ivanovich. He’s enough. And I know that I’m certainly enough for him. Have you seen me? Pavel can’t keep his eyes off of me. I can’t say as I blame him.
“My creator made Pavel the FBI agent, but I think she made a mistake. I honestly believe that I should have been the agent. I would have been so good. Don’t you agree?
“It was nice to meet you, but I’m sure the pleasure was all yours.”