Authors: Sapphire Knight
Copyright © 2016 by Sapphire Knight
Cover Image by
Cover Design by
Sara Eirew Photography
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the author.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
This novel includes graphic language and adult situations. It may be offensive to some readers and includes situations that may be hotspots for certain individuals. This book is intended for adults 18 and older. This work is fictional. The story is meant to entertain the reader and may not always be completely accurate. Any reproduction of these works without Author Sapphire Knight’s written consent is pirating and will be punished to the fullest extent.
MaryAnn Comer Christopherson
Patti Novia West
You both have been there to build me up and push me through the hard times and also to experience my happiness. Thank you for the pick-me-ups and being truly wonderful women whom I’ve been so lucky to get to know over the past year. You bring a smile to my face and happy tears with your kindness.
You each have a special place in my heart.
My husband -
I love you more with each book I write. You were so mellow with me writing this book and I appreciate it immensely!
My boys -
You are my whole world. I love you both.
The lovely beta readers, thank you -
Abbey Neil-Clark, Kelly Emery, Sarah Rogers, Lindsay Lupher, Wendi Stacilaucki-Hunsicker, Tamra Simmons and Patti Novia West. Thank you for continually supporting me and putting up with my randomness along with my tantrums when something freaks me out. You have become my friends—a group of women I know I can count on and I love you for it. You ladies are my rocks!
Photographer Eric Battershell –
Thank you so much for the amazing support and friendship you have been kind enough to give me. I feel very lucky to have you in my book world!
Model Bailey Lee
– As soon as I saw you, I knew you were my Niko! Thank you for being such a great person to work with and a good sport about being ‘a mafia guy.’ You’re awesome!
Cover Designer Sara Eirew
– Thank you for such a beautiful cover design. I’m grateful for your friendship and willingness to always help me out in a tight time frame!
Editor Mitzi Carroll –
Thank you tremendously! My books wouldn’t be possible without your hard work, and I appreciate it tons. Once I receive the approved seal from you, I breathe easier.
My Formatter Max Henry –
Thank you for making my work look beautiful. You rock!
My gorgeous PA Abbey Neil-Clark
– I would be lost without you and I look forward to the day I can finally hug you in person! Love you! #MyBestestBookFriend
Sapphire’s Naughty Princesses –
Thank you ladies for everything you do to help promote my work and for all of your support and encouragement. You make me want to write even more!
My blogger friends
–YOU ARE AMAZING! I LOVE YOU!
I’ve been so lucky to have met some genuinely great Authors who have been very welcoming and amazing, such as: Anne Mercier, Lila Rose, Kira Johns and Bijou Hunter. These ladies have been supportive and kind since the first time I ever spoke to them, they not only share and help me, I know I can always send them a message (and vice versa) and it’s like we haven’t skipped a beat. Oh, and they write some smoking hot books, too, so please check them out if you haven’t already!
My readers –
Thank you tons for making this possible. I’m so grateful for your continued love and support you give with each new book! Hopefully, I’ll get to meet many of you at the signings I have planned for 2016.
Russian words utilized throughout
Thanks/Thank you - Spaa see ba
No - Nine/Nyet
Brother - Brat
Princess - Printyessa
Mine - Moy
Sister - Say straa
Young Lady - Dye voosh ka
As I gaze into
the mirror secured to the old, wooden bedroom door, I concentrate on the reflection in front of me. My body is fairly large, toned to what some may think of as perfection. My blond hair is cropped short so I don’t have to mess with it. I have tiny scars decorating different parts of my body; but they’re small, so not bad. For the most part, I’d say I look pretty good.
My chest swells as I think of how my mother’s kind eyes would look at me if she were here. I know she’d be very pleased with me—her strong boy. I’m no longer a small, scared little one, but a solid man.
Yes, she would be proud of her Nikoli.
Nodding to myself, my gaze travels lower, fixating on the dark grey weapon secured in the holster at my waist. My mother would
be delighted with that, however.
“Blondie?” My self-assessment is interrupted by the quiet, sweet voice coming from a little pixie of a woman, Sabrina.
We’ve been friends for many years, and I’ve always cared for her. At first, it was in a big brother, protective sort of way, but over the years as I’ve watched her grow into a stunning young woman, my feelings for her have changed into something much more than a sibling or boyhood crush. Now, she encompasses my every thought it seems. Well, besides the times when I’m remembering my mother and sisters—may their souls rest in peace.
Sabrina grew up in a very strict lifestyle, completely opposite of me. However, her family traveled in the same circles as mine. They’ve always been wealthy, too, where I wasn’t; at least, not until I became a valuable asset to the Mafiya.
After years of knowing her in passing, her family packed up and brought her to America. I believed back then that I would never get to see her again and was pretty upset about it. I hadn’t exactly made a move to stake my claim on her, so I just tried to get past it.
I lost sight of her for a period of time, but when my best friend, Tate, asked me to come to America with him to get away from his controlling father, I practically leapt at the chance knowing I might be able to find Sabrina again.
Before they moved away her father, Kristof, was always scouting around looking to buy up pieces of land in Russia, but Tate and his father, Gizya, along with his Uncle Victor pretty much owned all of the property around any docks there so it made sense for them to move away.
I’m assuming it would have been easier for Kristof to keep the women he sold on water versus on land. The lake kept them invisible and helplessly secured. With the winters in Russia, the women never would have survived if they escaped off the nasty boats; not to mention, they were malnourished and nearly beaten to death until they were sold.
Even though I didn’t want to, I had made myself stay out of it all, always keeping my eye on the prize. I hated not helping all the women I saw being traded, raped, and beaten by the Bratva and their associates, but I had to find the person responsible for killing my mother and sisters. At least I tell myself they were killed. I still pray they were killed quickly and not subjected to what I’ve seen other women go through now that I’m older.
When my family was stolen away, I was only a child. I still remember the night it happened—the loud pounding as my mother’s shack of a door was kicked down and the men tearing through our small place until they had my mother and the girls. I had watched as the men drug them through the doorway, my mother sobbing and pleading as my sisters screamed in fear. I held my teddy tightly as I was partially hidden under the blanket my mother had knitted for me.
My eyes were wide with fear, and I clenched my legs together tightly to not wet my pants. I had wept large alligator tears as silently as possible. I wanted to help. I wanted to yell out to save her, to rescue them all. With each scream from my sisters’ mouths, I heard my mother’s strong Russian voice inside my mind, “Nyet! Nikoli! You stay. Shush, Nikoli! You nyet make nyet sound, be good boy and stay put.”
Those words never really left her mouth but they didn’t have to. I knew in my heart she would have wanted my silence, my strength. She would always tell me it was a man’s job to be strong and love their family; but I was no man, only a boy. Being terrified and confused, I had no way to really help them, and I had no idea who to turn to for guidance.