A Russian kingpin wants her dead… the only one who can stop it is the man sent to murder her.
Toni Flores loved her dream job working for a respected US senator until he raped her. She’s determined to bring him to justice, no matter the cost.
For years, Dimitri Valesky, head of a Russian crime family in America, has bought off those in government. Just like the senator responsible for Toni’s assault. When she won’t keep quiet about it and risks Dimitri’s business, he orders his stepson Michael to kill her.
Michael’s a lobbyist not a mafia enforcer. He refuses the insane demand, but Dimitri insists. The power he holds over Michael and his brothers is absolute… or so he believes.
Rather than murder Toni, Michael intends to romance her. Once he convinces her to keep quiet about the Senator, she won’t be a target any longer and Dimitri will back off on the hit. The plan falls apart and now they are dodging mafia enforcers, bullets, and Dimitri’s outrage.
Michael and Toni fight to stay alive and save those dearest to them as they also fall hopelessly in love.
This is book one in the Valesky Crime Family series and has an HEA.
Publisher’s Note: This contemporary dark mafia romance contains elements of mystery, suspense, action, adventure, adult themes, and possible triggers for some readers.
Once outside the capitol, my phone buzzes. The display shows my mother’s picture and name. Worried, I answer. “Mama, are you all right?”
“It’s me,” Dimitri says.
I squeeze the phone, wishing it were his throat. If Mama hadn’t married him… If she hadn’t been desperate about feeding and housing her boys when we were little…
Too late now for regrets. The SOB’s tentacles surround each of us. Unless, or until, I kill him, nothing will change. Before I speak, I make certain to mask my disgust. If I piss him off, he’ll take out his rage on my mother, his nearest and weakest target. “He’s voting your way. This time, he won’t change his mind.”
“Khorosho.” Russian for good. “I knew you’d come through for me, Mikhail.”
Only because he has the proverbial gun to my head. There isn’t one thing I don’t detest about Dimitri, including his guttural voice. Despite having lived in the States since he was fifteen, he still has a thick accent.
Wanting to end this as quickly as possible, I lie. “I have another appointment. When I’m through with it, I’ll send you details of what Cyrus and I discussed.”
“That’s not why I’m calling.”
Despite the warmish spring weather, my skin goes clammy. “Is Mama all—”
“She’s fine, and will stay that way, as long you do what you’re told.”
I long to call him every vile thing imaginable but keep my tongue. Something I learned as a kid. His beatings were always worse if I cried or cursed him. If I was silent, that enraged him further, but he wore himself out faster. A win for me.
He clears his throat, but still coughs, thanks to his three-pack a day cigarette habit. Innocent kids get cancer, but not him. What a screwed-up world.
“I have another project for you, Mikhail.”
Damn. “What bill is it this time?”
“Not a bill. A woman. Toni Flores.”
I’m crossing the street when he says the name. My step pauses. Someone from behind bumps into me.
“She’s causing trouble,” Dimitri says. “You need to get rid of her.”
A different person bumps into me. I cross to the other side. “What are you talking about?”
“She’s causing problems for Stowe.”
Lucian Stowe is another senator Dimitri owns. “What kind of problems?”
“She’s been claiming to the police and anyone else she can that he sexually assaulted her. It’s not true, but she won’t stop lying about it and she never shuts her mouth.”
I hurry down the street to a less crowded area. “How do you know she’s lying?”
“Because I said so!”
In Dimitri’s world that makes perfect sense. “That’s no damn proof.”
“Even if she is telling the truth, it doesn’t matter!” He’s shouting louder than I did. “I need Stowe in my pocket! She has to be eliminated! I want you to do it.”
My stomach falls. “No. I don’t do that kind of work. Ever. Especially to a woman who’s—”
“I don’t care what she is or how you found out about her. I want it done. No arguments.”
Before I can speak, he ends the call.
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About the Author
Tina’s an Amazon and international bestselling novelist who writes passionate romance for every taste – ‘heat with heart’ – for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. She’s won Readers’ Choice Awards, was named a finalist in the EPIC competition, received a Book of the Year award, The Golden Nib Award, awards of merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competitions, and second place in the NEC RWA contests. She’s featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.
On a less serious note: she’s an admitted and unrepentant chocoholic, brakes for Mexican restaurants, and has been known to moan like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally while wolfing down tostadas. She’s flown a single-engine airplane (freaking scary), rewired an old house using an ‘electricity for dummies’ book, and is horribly shy despite the hot romances she writes.
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