The Vetrov name comes with expectation.
My role in this world is simple: do as Father asks and live my life how he planned it.
My future is already written: run the empire.
Old Values. Old Rule. Old Money.
Everything I do lacks purpose.
Everything I do is empty.
Women. Money. Power. It meant nothing.
When the Volkov rose showed up at my home a disgraced package, hand-delivered by a Vasiliev prince, I began paving my own path.
I vowed to make her bloom once more.
She consumed me.
Her. Her. Her.
But you can"t love a rose and expect not to be damaged by her thorns.
She cut me too deep.
And I bled out.
My soul fled.
All that"s left is a cold, calculating monster.
I am Veniamin.
Volcanic. Victorious. Valiant. Vetrov.
When you enter my world to play games, prepare to lose.
In the end, I always find the thorn in my side, and I pluck it right out.Books in Series:The V Games Series by Ker DukeyBooks by Author:Ker Dukey BooksK. Webster Books
I"m being stalked.
Brown hair. Golden eyes. Devious little diva. Vika fucking Vasiliev.
I groan as I walk into the Volkov house to escape the critter trying to get me to play chase. It"s like she has a homing beacon for whenever I"m around. It used to be cute when she was a toddler, but now it"s just irritating.
I hear Yuri Vasiliev"s voice in the sitting room as I approach, so I slow my pace to eavesdrop. Little footfalls sound from somewhere behind me, forcing me to sidle up to the wall and hide in the shadows from the tiny stalker searching me out. Yuri"s voice gains volume, coming from the open door a few feet away. He"s talking to my father, Yegor Vetrov, and another First Family head, Leonid Volkov, about the betrayal of one of their associates, Alfred Baskin. It"s the topic of most conversations as of late. Alfred was a Second Family head involved with the Vasilievs" business affairs, therefore our business affairs. He got himself in trouble with the law for unrelated drunk driving offenses, and instead of being a man and taking his punishment, he turned rat. There"s nothing my father despises more than a traitor. In our world, traitors need to be cut out like cancer. You take out every part of it to stop the disease from spreading. If you show weakness, others will think they have these options. His entire family will pay the price for his deceit.
"There"s been no new information for weeks," Leonid barks, his voice carrying down the corridor and bouncing off the walls. Tension is so palpable, I can feel it, and I haven"t even entered the room yet.
Alfred broke all the rules that kept him in wealth, safety, and good standing with the First Families. In return for no prison time, he fed the law information on one of my father"s shipments"a shipment he was only privy to because Yuri Vasiliev and my father agreed Alfred could pick the women Vasiliev would want from the arrivals. The shipment was seized, women taken into protective custody, and five of my father"s men were arrested and charged. But unlike Alfred, these men knew where to place their loyalty. It helps that there"s never a paper trail back to us from these arrivals. My father hasn"t gotten to where he is by making juvenile mistakes.
Getting no big arrest had the law applying more pressure on Alfred for more information, more secrets"they wanted an arrest that could crumble empires.
"We need to make an example out of this bastard," Leonid growls, and a hum of agreements ring out.
Alfred gave them intelligence about all First Families, but without solid proof, all they could do was tail us any time we left our property in hopes we would lead them to something they could use against our kingdoms to destroy us.
They underestimated who they were playing with.
We don"t quake and falter. We don"t run and hide. We don"t lose.
I smile with that thought as my father announces what a mockery the cabinet office is, and a rapturous chorus of laughter seeps from the room.
The government combed over every part of our legit businesses to find fault or clues to our not so legit affairs. Unfortunately for them, with money comes power, and the First Families reach is far up the food chain. After some favors and bribes were made, it was all swept under the rug, disappearing like fog in the sunlight, thanks mainly to Vasiliev contacts within the federal cabinet.
Once it all blew over, Alfred had already fled with his wife, Monica, and daughter, Kira. Kira is around the same age as Diana, and someone we"ve grown up with, but it hasn"t stopped our father from talking about the death that will befall her once she"s within their grip. I know the darker sides of this business"hell, I"ve lived it"but kid killing isn"t something that sits well with me. In that respect, I"m glad Kira is in hiding with her traitorous father. Why should she pay for the sins of her father" If we live by that motto, all of us are fucked.
"I want him once we have him in custody," Father grumbles.
"Absolutely not," Yuri sneers. "I"ll take him to my estate where he can be properly dealt with."
They continue to argue over who will get to kill Alfred once he"s found"because what else is new""but that"s not what has me on edge. No, I know in about three seconds, a ten-year-old girl is going to find me. All family business will be cast aside while she harasses the hell out of me until Yuri packs her into his car and takes her home.
She"s annoying and evil. Her cute fa"ade doesn"t fool me, but it does trick her older brother, Vlad, who will learn in time that his little princess sister is more of a Lolita many years ahead of her ten on this earth.