The Kiss Thief by L. J. Shen Read Online (FREE)
The Kiss Thief by L. J. Shen
Originally published: January 6, 2019
Author: L. J. Shen
Genres: New adult fiction, Contemporary romance
WHAT SUCKED THE MOST WAS that I, Francesca Rossi, had my entire future locked inside an unremarkable old wooden box.
Since the day I’d been made aware of it—at six years old—I knew that whatever waited for me inside was going to either kill or save me. So it was no wonder that yesterday at dawn, when the sun kissed the sky, I decided to rush fate and open it.
I wasn’t supposed to know where my mother kept the key.
I wasn’t supposed to know where my father kept the box.
But the thing about sitting at home all day and grooming yourself to death so you could meet your parents’ next-to-impossible standards? You have time—in spades.
“Hold still, Francesca, or I’ll prick you with the needle,” Veronica whined underneath me.
My eyes ran across the yellow note for the hundredth time as my mother’s stylist helped me get into my dress as if I was an invalid. I inked the words to memory, locking them in a drawer in my brain no one else had access to.
Excitement blasted through my veins like a jazzy tune, my eyes zinging with determination in the mirror in front of me. I folded the piece of paper with shaky fingers and shoved it into the cleavage under my unlaced corset.
I started pacing in the room again, too animated to stand still, making Mama’s hairdresser and stylist bark at me as they chased me around the dressing room comically.
I am Groucho Marx in Duck Soup. Catch me if you can.
Veronica tugged at the end of my corset, pulling me back to the mirror as if I were on a leash.
“Hey, ouch.” I winced.
“Stand still, I said!”
It was not uncommon for my parents’ employees to treat me like a glorified, well-bred poodle. Not that it mattered. I was going to kiss Angelo Bandini tonight. More specifically—I was going to let him kiss me .
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about kissing Angelo every night since I returned a year ago from the Swiss boarding school my parents threw me in. At nineteen, Arthur and Sofia Rossi had officially decided to introduce me to the Chicagoan society and let me have my pick of a future husband from the hundreds of eligible Italian-American men who were affiliated with The Outfit. Tonight was going to kick-start a chain of events and social calls, but I already knew whom I wanted to marry.
Papa and Mama had informed me that college wasn’t in the cards for me. I needed to attend to the task of finding the perfect husband, seeing as I was an only child and the sole heir to the Rossi businesses. Being the first woman in my family to ever earn a degree had been a dream of mine, but I was nowhere near dumb enough to defy them. Our maid, Clara, often said, “You don’t need to meet a husband, Frankie. You need to meet your parents’ expectations.”