He makes the rules…
Mafiya enforcer Aleksei "The Siberian" Sevastyan"s loyalty to his boss knows no bounds, until he meets the boss"s long-lost daughter, a curvy, feisty redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Aleksei will do anything to possess her as well"on his own wicked terms.
Rules are made to be broken"
Grad student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the dark and breathtaking Sevastyan before the professional enforcer whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. Every day under his protection leads her deeper under his masterful spell.
Are you ready to play"
Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy"s reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest"and most forbidden"fantasies can come true…Books in Series:The Game Maker Series by Kresley ColeBooks by Author:Kresley Cole Books
From: [email protected]
Sent: Saturday 2:51 PM
Subject: Don"t keep me in suspense. . . .
Dear Mr. Zironoff,
Sorry to e-mail you yet again, but I was so excited to learn of the potential DNA match you discovered last month. After six years of searching for my biological parents, I"d love to hear back from you, even if the lead didn"t pan out. I"ve tried calling, but your voice mailbox is full. I don"t have enough money to start over with a new investigator, so could you please respond"
* * *
From: [email protected]
Sent: Thursday 1:14 AM
Subject: Response needed!
Dear Mr. Zironoff,
I"m starting to get worried, so please write me back. You gave me such hope that I would soon find my mother and father. I can wire the last of my savings to you. Anything.
But I need you to respond.
* * *
Sent: Thursday 1:15 AM
Subject: Mail delivery failed
The following address(es) failed: [email protected]
Mailbox is FULL
"Mommy issues. Serial cheater. Humor void. Two-pump chump." With each guy who entered the campus bar, I ticked off my initial impression to my drunken friends.
I had an uncanny knack for sizing up males"I was a regular "manalyst." My secret" I always went negative, and the guys, well, they always accommodated.
The girls at the table"several of my roommate"s friends and a couple of mine"looked at me like I was a fun sideshow act, their carny pal. Drinks were perpetually free.
After the week I"d had, my dinner of salt, tequila, and lime was hitting the spot.
My best friend Jessica murmured at my ear, "You better be careful, you picky prude, or else you"ll take your hymen to your grave. Like a skin tag."
She alone knew that I"d never given it up"and why. "Low blow, Jess," I said without any heat. Like her, it took a lot to get me ruffled, which was one of the reasons we made such great roommates.
Other than that, we were as different as we could be. Whereas she was leggy and tan with twinkling blue eyes and cropped black hair, I was short and top-heavy, with long red hair and pale-as-a-porcelain-sink skin.
I was a workaholic studyaholic, pursuing my history PhD. After years" worth of incompletes, Jess had finally dipped a toe into the core courses of her major"leisure studies"and decided college was "a racket" for "wretched fucks." Though it was midsemester, she was heading out tomorrow for a tour of the Greek Isles with her wealthy family.
Another round of tequila shooters arrived, sent by a trio of frat boys a few tables away. We raised our glasses, then dutifully licked, pounded, and sucked. The tequila, not the boys.
While other women might look at these superficially attractive guys and see potential mates or even fun one-night stands, I saw impending headaches. Other girls got hot and bothered by their lines and pickups; I just got bothered.
But I hadn"t always been that way.
"Do the frat boys, Nat!" our friend Polly cried. She was a sturdy corn-fed Nebraska girl"her family"s farm was in a small town outside Lincoln, just a few miles away from ours. Well, not ours anymore, since Mom had sold out last year.
"Too easy," I said, having already sized up the trio. The first guy had been constantly checking sports scores on TV while his leg jogged. The second was a bleary mess whose own friends rolled their eyes at his drunkenness. The third one"s grooming and clothing were fanatically perfect, and he kept checking his appearance in the mirror behind the bar.
"From left to right, then"" I said. "Inveterate gambler, habitual drunk, and"how should I put this""the third is ill-equipped."
I sighed. Yep, those guys were too easy to read. Where was the excitement" Here I was at the same Lincoln bar I always went to, with the same crowd I always hung around. I had an early work shift tomorrow at one restaurant, a late one at the other, and classes to take and to teach on Monday. I"d been averaging five hours of sleep a night for the last few weeks. What was I even doing here"
I guessed I could sleep when I was dead.
"I"ve chosen my quarry for the evening," beautiful Jess said. "Ill-equipped is mine." As per her usual, she would pick up another conquest and take him back to his place"so she could leave when finished with him. "His type," she continued blithely, "usually make up for any shortcomings with their mouths. True story."
I told her, "And you better be careful, Jessebel, or else you"ll collect another admirer who clings like lichen."
"I can"t help it that this is the Bermuda Triangle""she pointed at her crotch""when guys venture there, they tend to stay."
I tapped my chin. "Oh, I thought you called it that because it"s sucked in lots of seamen."
Between guffaws, she said, "That"s a completely fair statement!"
We could laugh about it now, but I"d lived with the aftermath of her affairs: the desperate gifts, the late-night phone calls, the stalking.
What was the point of all the drama" Of all that angst" Dating, love, and sex were all overrated"as I"d repeatedly tried to explain to Jess. She would get this secretive smile and say, "You"re gonna get blindsided one day. I only hope I"m there to see it. . . ."
When the laughter died down, Polly said, "Do him," with a wave at the door.
"Fine." Exhaling with boredom"earn your booze, carny"I turned toward the entrance. And saw the baddest-looking man I"d ever encountered.
His eyes were a vivid gold, stark against his thick black hair. He wore it longish, the ends brushing his collar. He had a roman nose that had likely been broken and a razor-thin scar that sliced down across both lips. A fighter"
Yet that didn"t fit with his expensive clothing: a tailored black coat and dress shirt, dark gray slacks, black leather shoes and belt. Through Jess, I"d learned enough about fashion to recognize fine threads. His outfit probably cost more than my entire wardrobe.
When he stood at the bar and ordered a drink, I saw that he had three rings on one hand, a ring on his other thumb, and a wicked-looking tattoo peeking out from his starch-stiff collar. His style was a mix of privileged and street.