Ruthless obsession – Excerpts2023-02-23T17:20:10+00:00

Ruthless Obsession Excerpts

Sweet Ferocity: Nsfw Excerpt

For the first time, I glanced around. In addition to the enormous tub there was a glass shower and lots of white and gold marble. Whatever hotel this was, it was swanky. That should definitely raise alarm bells since there was no way in hell my father was paying to put me up in this kind of luxury. Locking that thought in the for later box, I sunk lower in the tub till the bubbles tickled my chin. Reaching for a washcloth, I added even more bath soap and scrubbed every inch of my skin till it glowed.

I closed my eyes and leaned my head back. I was finally feeling human again.

Unbidden, thoughts of Luka crept into my consciousness.

The sight of him without his shirt on. Holy hell the man was big. Like BIG. Like muscles on top of muscles. His chest was covered in super scary-looking tattoos which only seemed to emphasize his toned abs. And then there was the feel of his c@ck against my foot and his hands on my body.

My palm slid along the top of my thigh. I pretended it was Luka again. Closing my eyes tight, I slipped my hand between my thighs. My fingertip slid between the folds of my p@ssy to find my cl!t. Again, I thought of Luka and the er@tic, terrifying thrill I’d felt the moment he’d reached for his belt. Was he serious? Was he the type of man who would actually whip off his belt and punish a girl for being bad? I bit my lip as I pressed my fingertip to my clit. I bet he was. I bet he was the type to growl at you to get on your knees and crawl to him as he pulled out his c@ck.

I circled the tip of my finger around the tiny bud of nerves, alternating between soft and light pressure.
He practically screamed the dirty sex type. He probably liked to spank his women as he fucked them.

I barely stifled a groan as my back arched.

“Don’t stop,” growled Luka.

My eyes flew open. “Oh my God! What are you doing in here?”

Water splashed over the edge of the tub as I scrambled to cover myself.
He placed the plate of cake he had been holding on the bathroom counter and stalked toward me. His hooded brow was low as his gray wolf eyes pierced me. “I said, don’t stop.”

I hunched lower in the water. Spitting out the taste of soap bubbles as I searched the bottom of the tub for the washcloth to cover my breasts. “I locked the door!”

He reached for his belt buckle. “And I unlocked it. I gave you an order.”

My cheeks burned hot. How long had he been watching me? Did he know what I had been doing under the cover of the sudsy water? Of course he knew, I chastised myself.

He whipped his belt free from his jeans and kicked off his shoes. “I’m not going to tell you again, princess. Keep touching yourself.”
I gathered the fading bubbles closer to cover my chest. “Get out!”

With his jeans half-undone, he sat on the edge of the tub. He reached over and grabbed my face, holding me just beneath my jaw. “Tell me you weren’t just thinking about me as you played with that pretty p@ssy of yours” he snarled. “Tell me you weren’t remembering the feel of my hands on your body.”

I whimpered but couldn’t respond.

He caressed my neck then moved his hand further down. He cupped my right bre@st and squeezed. I cried out.

“Do it now,” he commanded.

My hand trembled as I moved it between my legs.

“That’s it, baby. Do as I tell you.”

My inner thighs clenched, locking around my wrist. This was so wrong and yet so f@cking hot. I rubbed my cl!t, harder this time.
He massaged my bre@st before pinching my nipple. The shock of pain sent a lightning bolt of awareness down my spine. My hips started to move. The bathwater undulated in waves, splashing onto the floor.

“Push a finger inside. I want you to get that p@ssy ready for me.”

My mouth opened on a groan as I pushed a finger inside of myself. Then a second one.

This was going too far. I needed to stop this. Luka thought I was someone I wasn’t.

He moved his hand from my bre@st to between my legs. Pushing my hand aside, he replaced it with his own. His fingers were much larger and thicker than mine as they entered me.
My hips shot up. “Oh God!”

Using his free hand, he placed two fingers against my lower lip. He forced my mouth open, then pushed his fingers inside. “Suck my fingers. Show me how you’ll suck my c@ck.”

I had no idea what I was doing. I’d never even come close to sucking a man’s c@ck in my entire sheltered life.

Luka bared his teeth before pushing a third finger inside my mouth, pushing down on my tongue. “Suck it. Hard.”
His fingers thrust in and out of my p@ssy as I swirled my tongue around his fingers, wetting them, drawing them deeper into my mouth. As he pushed hard on his fingers between my thighs, he pushed deeper into my mouth, gagging me. Still I sucked as my hips started to buck.

“Good girl. Come for me.”

My hands grasped the edge of the tub as my torso shot up the moment wave after wave of pleasure hit my body. I crashed back down into the water as I bent my knees and grabbed his wrist, holding his hand in place as my pussy clenched down on his fingers. “Yes! Yes! F@ck!


With what could only be described as a primal roar, Luka pulled his fingers free and lifted me out of the water. A cascade of soapy water flowed over the edge as he carried me to the shower.

May 20, 2022|Excerpts, Ruthless Obsession|0 Comments

Sweet Ferocity: Chapter One


Worthington University, Virginia

If I had known I was going to be kidnapped….

He had looked out of place, that was all I remembered.

I’d passed him on my way to the photography darkroom. On a college campus filled with students wearing shorts and hoodies in the middle of winter, the Japanese man in a long black leather trench coat calmly sitting on a park bench had stood out. He’d had on a pair of reflective sunglasses covering the upper part of his long, pale face and slicked-back, coal-black hair.
It had been the leather gloves that had seemed particularly odd to me.

I couldn’t put my finger on why. They just did.

As I passed him, I had the distinct suspicion he was watching me to the exclusion of all the other students scurrying past, which was crazy. Everyone on campus knew me as Katie Antonova. I’d used my mother’s maiden name on my application. There was no reason why anyone would figure out I was the daughter of the notorious Russian crime boss Egor Novikoff, or the sister of my even more infamous brothers,

Lenin and Leonid. I had buried that life in my past and that was where it was going to stay.

Shaking off the odd feeling, I ducked under a low tree branch and headed toward the two-story brick building that housed the art and culture classes on my campus. Stopping at the bulletin board to see if the test scores for my History of Photography Through Art class were posted, I then headed down the linoleum-covered staircase to the basement. While the upper floors housed dance and art studios, the basement was where they kept the pottery wheels, glazing kilns and photography darkrooms.

This late in the day, I would have the place to myself. I clicked the lights on, squinting when the garish fluorescent lights flicked on one by one, until the entire basement was illuminated. I placed my shortylove blue camo crossbody bag on the table and pulled out my favorite manual Pentax K1000 SLR camera and my hot-pink binder of film negatives, leaving my other favorite digital camera tucked inside my bag.

Tonight I was working with black-and-white film, so I was pretty excited to experiment with different exposure times to get just the right effect. After entering the darkroom, I turned on the overhead light and fan, then put on a pair of safety goggles and gloves as I got ready to mix my chemicals. Setting out my three trays, I prepared the developer, stop bath and fixer. I then grabbed my pink binder and selected a row of negative film. Placing it on the lightbox, I tossed off my goggles and gloves and grabbed a loupe. I leaned down to examine each photo in detail.

Using a red grease pencil, I marked which photos I wanted to make into black-and-white prints. I placed the strip into the negative carrier and isolated one of the photos before raising and lowering the enlarger head to get the projected image to just the right size on the paper. I then used the focusing wheel to sharpen the image. After setting the aperture and my filter, I grabbed the timer. My plan for my test print was to divide the photo into three sections and expose each section by an additional five seconds.

Leaning over, I flicked off the white light and turned on the muted red one. I set my timer and began my test strip. After the allotted time, I used the rubber-tipped tongs to remove the paper from the developer and place it in the stop bath, then the fixer.
As I turned to clip the wet paper to the clothesline we had stretched across the darkroom, I heard a sound outside the darkroom door.

I paused to listen.


No out of the ordinary sounds.

A nervous chill ran up my spine.

Still, I tried to concentrate on my test strip. Each section was darker than the last. I decided the ten second exposure was definitely going to be the best for this particular project. I turned to grab a fresh piece of photo paper when I heard it again.
It almost sounded as if someone was opening and closing each of the darkroom doors.
There were ten darkrooms lined up along the right wall of the basement.

Door number five. Click

Door number six. Click. 

Door number seven. Click. 

Whoever it was, they were getting closer.

I was in the last one, door number ten.

Feeling silly for doing so, I reached over and turned the lock on the doorknob.

It was probably just a security guard checking to see if students were still in the building and nothing more.
Once again, I shook off the strange feeling and focused back on my project. This was due in class tomorrow, so I didn’t have time to be messing around or giving in to nerves. I made a slight adjustment to the enlarger head and set my timer.

That was when the doorknob turned.

The air seized in my lungs as I pivoted my head to stare at it.

I prayed it was my imagination.

Unable to breathe, I waited.

It turned again.

The movement was slight and slow.


If it were just a security guard checking the doors, they would have rattled it more decisively. No, this was the action of someone who didn’t want the person inside to know they were trying to open the door.

There was a long pause.

Then a soft, metallic scrape.

Then another.

I hadn’t spent my early childhood surrounded by some of the most devious criminal masterminds on the East Coast without learning a thing or two. When I was as young as six, I’d had cousins teaching me how to pick a lock. I knew the sound like I knew my own heartbeat.

Another scrape.

Knowing it was pointless, I scanned the small darkroom. There was no other exit. The room was basically a closet with a waist-high counter around its perimeter and a narrow aisle down the center.

I was trapped.

My fingers gripped the edge of the counter as I fixated on the doorknob.

I jumped a foot when my ten-second timer went off.

I slammed my palm down on the timer, shutting it off.

The scraping at the door stopped.

I waited.


Using the counter because I didn’t trust my quivering legs, I carefully stepped toward the door. Holding my breath, I leaned over and placed my ear against it and listened. There was the sound of fabric rustling.

Then another soft metallic scrape.

I covered my mouth to suppress a scream and backed away from the door.

Please God, let me be overreacting. 

Let this be a phantom of my past tainting my new reality. 

Just because I had been raised to see demons in the shadows, didn’t make it so.

What was that saying? The sound of horse’s hooves didn’t mean zebras.

Please God, don’t let this be a fucking zebra. 

The moment I heard the decisive click my body quaked.

Whoever it was, they had unlocked the door.

Once again, the doorknob slowly turned.

The door opened.

No light poured in.

The person must have turned off the basement fluorescent lights. Another really bad sign.
There was just the dark outline of a tall, slender person, but I knew immediately who it was.

It was the man from the park bench. The one wearing the gloves and leather trench coat.

Trying to throw the intruder off, I called out in French. “Qu’est-ce que vous voulez?”

Maybe I would get lucky, and the person wouldn’t expect a supposed Russian mafia princess to speak French.

The man chuckled. “I know it is you, Katia.”

Katia. Only people who knew the Novikoffs knew my true name was Katia not Katie.

I backed up as far as the counter would allow. “What do you want?”

His voice was smooth and calm as if each word was cautiously spoken. “Why don’t we speak outside?”

I shook my head. “I have nothing to do with my family’s business and I don’t know who you are.”

He bowed his head slightly. “How remiss of me. My name is Kiyoshi Tanaka. I am… a business associate of your family.”

I let out a shaky breath. “Well, as I said, I have nothing to do with my family or their business so you can have nothing to say that would interest me. So get the fuck out of my darkroom.”

He took a step inside the small space. “There is no reason why we cannot be civil to one another. Your family has something I want. You are going to help me get it. I promise, if you cooperate, no harm will come to you.”

I didn’t believe him for a second.

I inched my hand toward the tray of chemical developer. “My bodyguard will be back at any moment. He will break you in half if he finds you here.”

The man shook his head. “Tsk tsk tsk. You are a liar, my dear Katia. We both know your family does not care enough about your well-being to guard you. That is their mistake, and my good fortune.”

The truth of his words stung.

Still, I had to try and talk my way out of this. It was my only defense. “If that is true then I can have no value to you.”
Kiyoshi shrugged. “Sometimes the greatest treasures are the ones we miss only when they are gone.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you.”

“I do not wish to make this painful for you… but I will if I have to.”

“I’ll scream. The security guard will hear me.”

Kiyoshi seemed unfazed by my threat. “The security guard is unfortunately no longer in a position to assist you.”

Which meant he had either hurt the poor guard or outright killed him; either way, this had gone from bad to worse.

He took another step closer.

I was out of options.

In one fluid movement, I slipped my fingers under the tray of chemical developer and flipped it over, sending the chemical cascading
down the front of Kiyoshi. He screamed as the chemical hit his eyes and mouth. The developer was heavily diluted and more dangerous to inhale than when exposed to the skin, but it would cause a slight chemical burn if got in his eyes. Hopefully it would be enough to slow him down.

Shoving him aside, I raced out of the darkroom. Snatching my bag as I passed the table, I dove up the stairs. I had a lead of only a few
strides before I heard Kiyoshi in pursuit.

I burst through the outer door. As I inhaled a deep breath of frigid air, getting ready to scream, a hard weight slammed into my back. I was forced to the ground off to the side by the bushes. A hand wrenched me to my feet by my hair. I clawed and scratched but didn’t hit skin because of his leather gloves and coat.

A sweet-smelling cloth was placed over my nose and mouth.



As my eyelids drooped and my knees buckled, I gave up my fight and scrambled to reach into my crossbody bag. Knowing my attacker’s vision would still be compromised, I grabbed my camera and lifted it over my shoulder and took as many photos as I could. I then tossed the camera into the bushes before everything went black.

If the bastard was going to kill me, at least my final justice would be one of my photos damning him to hell for it.

May 20, 2022|Excerpts, Ruthless Obsession|0 Comments

Sweet Brutality: NSFW Excerpt


“Please, why won’t you leave?”

Maxim circled around the chair.

I held the selfie stick up. “Stay back.”

He grabbed the stick and tossed it aside. He then wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me flush against his chest. He placed a hand around my neck and pressed up against my jaw, tilting my head back. “I’m not leaving, and if you were honest with yourself, you’d admit you don’t want me to.”

My lower lip trembled. “You frighten me.”

He gently kissed my cheek, then my lips, then the tip of my nose. “Never be frightened of me, babygirl. I would never harm such a beautiful creature as you.” He ran his tongue over my lower lip. “A beauty like yours is to be treasured, worshipped.”
His mouth teased mine. I breathed in his air, falling deeper under his spell. My eyes half-closed as he lowered his head. At the last possible minute, sanity returned. I pushed him away. “No. I can’t. This is too crazy. You have to leave.”

Maxim rubbed his jaw. Then pierced me with a glare. “I knew it.”

I surveyed him suspiciously. “Knew what?”

Without saying another word, he grabbed me by the back of the head and crushed his mouth to mine. He gave no quarter as his tongue speared inside my mouth, taking ownership. As I struggled in his grasp, he pulled up the hoodie from behind. A cool breeze touched my lower back before the first sharp sting of his slap. The impact drove my hips against him, where I felt the hard outline of his c@ck pressing against his jeans.

He sp@nked me again and again. His mouth swallowed my cries. With each heated sl@p, I was pushed against his hips.
He fisted my hair and deepened the kiss before finally breaking free. “This is what you want. Isn’t it, babygirl? Not sweet words of love, but rough and dirty with a hint of p@in.”

The truth of his words struck at my very soul. Oh, God! “No, no! You’re wrong!”

Using his grip on my hair, he pushed me facedown over the edge of the low chair. For the second time that night, he yanked down my leggings, exposing my @ss. I braced, but wasn’t prepared for the intense, humiliating pain of his palm striking my bare flesh. He sp@nked me again and again. My pussy clenched as the stinging heat pooled between my legs.

He pulled my hair as he pressed his crotch against my ass. The rough denim sent sparks of pain across my tortured skin. He rubbed my right butt cheek, then squeezed it hard. I squealed in pain as I rose up on my toes.

“Tell me you like this,” he commanded.

I buried my face in the back upholstery of the chair. The fabric muffled my response. “I don’t. It hurts.”

“That’s the whole point, babygirl.”

February 14, 2022|Excerpts, Ruthless Obsession|0 Comments

Sweet Savagery: Chapter One


Chicago, Illinois

I sat on the floor of my tiny studio apartment staring at the piles of cash around me.

The boxes arrived a few days ago from Russia, sent by my Uncle Harry. Despite receiving a stern email from him warning me not to open the boxes, I didn’t waste any time tearing into them.

I was the weird one in my family. The only one who had chosen not to pursue a life of crime. I rarely spoke to anyone related to me and hadn’t seen my Uncle Harry since my father’s last parole hearing over ten years ago, when I was still a teenager. So when I received the boxes and a cryptic email from my uncle addressed to his favorite niece I was, of course, suspicious.
And judging from the stacks of cash taking up half my apartment floor, I had every right to be.

Five hundred thousand dollars.


My uncle had sent me five hundred thousand dollars through the freaking mail.

What was strange was, each box only weighed about six pounds. I totally would have thought thousands of hundred-dollar bills would have weighed more. Although, to be honest, that wasn’t the truly strange part. The truly strange part was that I had freaking FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS strewn about on a ten-dollar, slightly stained throw rug I had purchased from the Salvation Army last month.
Once again, I picked up my cell phone and tried to call my Uncle Harry. I had no idea what time it was in Russia, or even why he was there, and I didn’t care. I wanted an explanation. When he didn’t answer, I tried calling my other uncle, Uncle Frank. If anyone else was involved in this mess along with Uncle Harry, it would be my Uncle Frank. They were two petty criminal peas in a pod. Uncle Frank’s cell number was disconnected. Typical. Tossing the phone aside, I sighed as I surveyed the money.

There wasn’t a doubt in my mind this money was dirty, like really, really dirty. Anything anyone in my family touched was always filthy. They wouldn’t know how to make an honest dollar if it slapped them in the face.

What the hell was I going to do?

I glanced at the alarm clock and cried out. Damn, I was late for work. Work, another concept my family was completely unfamiliar with. I was the first in our family to attend community college. Now I was scraping money together for a real estate broker license.
Four thousand three hundred and sixty dollars, that’s how much I was in the hole right now. Between the pre-licensing courses, licensing exam, my basic real estate agent license and now the desk fees at the brokerage where I worked to become a licensed broker, I was in serious credit card debt. It had taken me three years of saving some of my server tips just to scrape enough together to cover costs while I took a huge pay hit launching my new career.

I lifted the edge of my Murphy bed and tucked it back into the wall cabinet so I could open the bathroom door, and turned the knob for my shower. The old pipes rattled and clanked. Rusty water spurted from the faucet. I turned the knob to cold so I wouldn’t be wasting hot water and money as I waited for the water to run clear. I turned on the coffeepot and reached for my toothbrush. One thing about being poor and living in a tiny studio apartment, everything I needed was literally within arm’s reach, especially when the kitchen and bathroom shared the same sink. Swishing the mint foam around my mouth as I brushed, I glanced over my shoulder at the money still lying on the floor.

Forty-one-hundred-dollar bills.

Forty out of five thousand one-hundred-dollar bills.

That’s all I would need.

Forty thin pieces of rectangular paper and most of my problems would be gone.

Disgusted at my thoughts, I spit in the sink and shrugged out of my T-shirt before stepping in the shower. My breath seized in my lungs as the icy water hit my chest. I had forgotten to turn the hot water knob. Sidestepping out of the freezing stream, I frantically turned the knob to add warm water, but it broke off in my hand. With a resigned sigh, I inhaled a deep breath and braced myself for the arctic chill as I flipped my long hair over my head and reached for the shampoo.

As I closed my eyes to avoid the suds, all I could see were the neat stacks of cash lying only a few feet away.

Wouldn’t I be doing a good thing by using just a tiny portion of the money for honest purposes? I wanted to have my own brokerage firm one day. A firm where female real estate agents could safely work without having to worry about getting their asses pinched or being told to fetch coffee. It may be the twenty-first century, but in many ways the real estate industry was still living in the 1950s.
In order to do that, I needed money, way more money than I was currently making. It would be at least ten years before I could afford to start my own business, unless — I peeked around the shower curtain at the money.

With a frustrated huff, I finished scrubbing the suds out of my hair and got out of the shower. Wrapping a slightly scratchy towel around my middle, I poured coffee into my favorite chipped mug and added sugar and powdered cream. No daily Starbucks on the way to work for me. I couldn’t afford such tiny luxuries.

I unplugged the coffee maker and plugged in the hair dryer. As I combed through the tangles in my hair with my fingers, I looked in the mirror and once again saw the cash.

It wasn’t like I would use it all, maybe just fifty thousand dollars’ worth. That would be enough to cover rent for a year, office furniture, equipment, and some splashy colorful marketing brochures. If I borrowed just a few thousand more, I could even get a professional website done instead of a basic do-it-yourself WordPress one. The appearance of wealth in this business was essential in getting the higher-end clients. Money attracted money. It was why I spent my rent money on nice dress suits and real-looking pearl necklaces. I would get nowhere in this business showing up in an ill-fitting thrift store outfit.

I leaned over the sink to apply mascara. My gaze traveled again to the cash. Okay, sixty thousand dollars and not a penny more. I would buy myself a decent wardrobe and maybe lease a nice Lincoln Town Car to shuttle my clients around Chicago to different properties for sale.

Sixty thousand dollars wasn’t that much, only six hundred bills out of five thousand. It probably wouldn’t even be missed. I would then donate the rest to charity or maybe play Santa Claus to the other hard-up residents in my building. I could leave little envelopes of cash for each of them to help cover rent and food. I couldn’t go to hell for using dirty money if I used most of it for good, right?
Going to the police was out of the question. I may have distanced myself from my criminal family, but I still shared their aversion to authority. Besides, with my juvenile record, there was no way they would take me at my word that the cash had just arrived on my doorstep and that I had nothing to do with it. And of course there was the bonus that it had arrived in boxes from Russia. Sure, nothing shady about that. My eyes rolled so hard I gave myself a headache.

I tiptoed between the piles of cash as I crossed the room to my bedroom/hall/linen/pantry closet. I selected a deep cranberry red A-line skirt with white flowers and matching white silk blouse that I had gotten a few weeks ago at the Anne Taylor Factory outlet and got dressed. I completed the outfit with a pair of black ballet flats and my favorite fake-but-real-looking pearl necklace.

I would rather wear four-inch platform heels to make up for my five foot six inch frame, but I had an open house today and would be on my feet for hours. It was smarter to wear the flats. It was a shame. My life was a little easier when I was taller than the men around me. Especially when one of those men was Larry, my boss. Middle-aged, balding and with a pooch of a belly, he somehow thought he was God’s gift to women.

I stared down at the cash at my feet. It was nice to dream, but there was no way I was going to touch one lousy bill of it for myself. That’s how it would start. Compromising my principles once would make it that much easier to compromise them again, then again. I had turned away from that life when I was a teenager. It had taken years to clean up my act and break free of my criminal family’s binds, and I wouldn’t turn back now. Even if abandoning those principles now made my dream of owning my own brokerage firm a reality, I would always know I had purchased it with tainted money. It wouldn’t be truly mine. It wouldn’t be something I had earned through hard work and determination.

With a sigh, I bent down to pick up several piles of crisp one-hundred-dollar bills. I turned and surveyed my apartment. Where the hell could I hide all this money until I figured out what to do with it? I had precious few options in my studio apartment. There were no cabinets under the sink, and I’d already stuffed my closet full of clothes and ramen noodles. I surveyed the Murphy bed. It would have to do.

I pulled the bed back down to the floor, piled the cash on top and then quickly raised the bed frame back into its upright position. I snatched several wayward bills as they floated in the air and shoved them between the mattress and wall.
With one last sip of my now lukewarm coffee, I raced out the door. I would figure out what to do about the dirty money later after I got ahold of one of my uncles. For now the money, and I, were safe enough. Although we weren’t close, there was no way my Uncle Harry would have shipped the cash to me if he thought someone was actively looking for it, or if it would put my life in danger. Family was
still family.

So, it wasn’t like I had to worry about some big Russian thug breaking down my door for it.

October 1, 2021|Excerpts, Ruthless Obsession|0 Comments

Sweet Depravity: Chapter One


I had every intention of murdering whoever was on the other side of that door.

Cold-blooded, heartless murder, and I would get away with it too because anyone who pounded on someone’s door at seven o’clock in the morning deserved to get murdered in the worst way possible.

After flicking open the pathetic excuse for a lock, I snatched at the brass chain secured across the door, further loosening the already wobbly screws. Putting the chain across each night really was a useless endeavor. Basically only good for a false sense of security. An asthmatic eighty-year-old man could cough on this ancient door and it would fall open. Such was the life of a penniless graduate student living in a first-floor apartment in a slightly dodgy neighborhood.

With a huff, I threw the door open. “Who the hell do you think you—?”

My mouth fell open.
In a rather ironic twist, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind. The man standing on my threshold had come to murder me instead of the other way around.

There really was no other reasonable conclusion. The fact that I had done nothing, at least to my knowledge, to warrant someone wanting to murder me was immaterial. I couldn’t imagine this man being anything other than a murderer or at the very least a violent criminal.
This was all incredibly confusing considering he was also the most devastatingly handsome man I’d ever laid eyes on.
He was insanely tall. I mean, really? Was it absolutely necessary to be that much over six feet tall? All those extra inches did was make a girl feel small and vulnerable, and make her wonder what it would feel like if he crowded her against a wall and did that super sexy lean in move.

The darkly inked tattoos on his hands and neck were in stark contrast to the obviously expensive tailored suit he was wearing. His jet-black hair was wet and slicked back as if he had just showered. I could pick up the hints of musk and jasmine from his aftershave.
Scariest of all were his eyes; they were black and hooded, almost like the demon eyes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His head was slightly down as he stared at me, giving him an even more sinister appearance.

My hands shook as I tightened the belt on my leopard print silk robe with the pink trim . Those same demon eyes flashed down to my waist, then slowly rose to my chest, then back to my face to pierce me with a glare. Thankfully, I’d been so tired last night I fell asleep in my bra and panties instead of naked as I usually did. It wasn’t much but at least they were some protection beyond just my flimsy robe.
He twisted his jaw as he gestured to me with his left hand, which seemed weighed down by a heavy silver signet ring. “Is this how you answer the door? Dressed like a woman begging to be fucked?”

It took a moment for my mind to register what he said because of the heavy Russian accent. My eyes widened the moment it did. With an outraged cry, I tried to slam the door in his face. His flattened palm prevented it. I had no choice but to take a step back as he entered the apartment and closed the door. He reached behind him and twisted the lock just above the doorknob. It slid into place with an ominous click.

The air seized in my lungs. Since they’d painted half the windows shut and the other half were rusted shut, there really was no other way out of the apartment. I could scream but I doubted even my next-door neighbor, old Mrs. York, would hear me. The only good thing about the dilapidated brick building my apartment was in was its crazy-thick walls. Well, usually it was a good thing for when you wanted to play your music loud or have a party. When you were being threatened by a possible homicidal criminal, not so much.

My phone!

My phone was in my purse on the sofa.

Keeping my gaze trained on him, I took a few steps back. The sofa was in my peripheral vision. I needed to get to the other end to my Loungefly embossed skulls and Hello Kitty black and pink purse. The man surveyed my apartment with a mixture of disgust and shock on his face. As he turned his attention to the locks on the door behind him, I made my move. I lunged over the back of the sofa and stretched out my arms to grab my purse. My hand slipped inside and grasped the rounded edge of my cellphone. Dragging it out of my purse, I swiped the screen with my finger and moved to tap the emergency button on the lower left-hand corner when a pair of warm
hands wrapped around my hips.

His legs pressed against the back of mine, making me painfully aware of the short length of my robe. With me bent over like this, it barely covered my ass. His entire body leaned over mine as his right hand slid up my outstretched arm and pulled at the phone in my grasp. I clung to it tightly, as if it were my only lifeline. His other hand tightened on my hip, an unmistakable warning.
His breath teased the skin on my neck as he breathed near my ear, “You won’t be needing this.” With his accent, the you sounded like a low purr, and the won’t sounded more like the scary villain von’t. Instead of putting the inflection at the end of the sentence, he put it in the middle, which strangely emphasized the force of his command.

He pulled the phone free and tossed it out of my reach. Not willing to give up so easily, I started screaming, “Hey Siri! Call the police!”

Don’t Stand So Close to Me by The Police played.

Oh great. Hey Siri, please play my Perfect Songs to Get Murdered To playlist.

Shifting my hips, I placed my weight on my left foot and tried to break free of his grasp. I was spun around and pulled flush against his body by a powerful arm wrapped around my waist. My head tilted back to stare up at his uncompromising face. Caught between him and the back of the sofa, my hips ground against his. Something hard and long, really long, pressed against my abdomen.

Oh. My. God.

The handsome criminal quirked an eyebrow, the right corner of his upper lip rising with a satisfied smirk. He had the audacity to not show the least bit of chagrin. Meanwhile, my cheeks flamed scarlet. Grasping at the open neckline of my robe, I scrunched the fabric near my collarbone in my fist as I lowered my head to avoid his arrogant scrutiny.

Raising my chin with a finger, he asked “Is this the apartment of Emma Doyle?”

Once again, his Russian accent was so thick, I had to focus on the words as he rolled his R’s and made my roommate and best friend’s name sound more like Eeema than Emma.

It finally clicked.

He was a big fucking scary Russian dude and my roommate was dating a big fucking scary Russian dude. This could be bad. Either this man was a friend of Dimitri’s — or an enemy. Until I knew which, I couldn’t possibly endanger my best friend.

Twisting my head to break his grasp on my chin, I dug my fingernails into my palms to keep myself from shaking. Inhaling a hesitant breath I said, “I don’t know who that is.”

The tip of his finger traced over my cheekbone, down the side of my face and under my jaw to stop at the base of my throat. “Your beautiful throat flutters, right here, when you lie.”

I licked my lips and watched as his dark gaze zeroed in on my mouth. “I’m… I’m not lying. I’ve never heard of anyone named Emma Doyle.”

His hand moved quickly to grasp me around the throat just under my jaw. Dropping my grip on my robe, I wrapped my fingers around his
wrists and tried to claw at him, but my short red nails did nothing to force him to relent.

He leaned in low, the scent of coffee and peppermint on his breath. “Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Don’t you know it is dangerous to lie to a man like me…


My body jerked as if someone had slapped me.

He knew my name.

I swallowed. “What do you want?” I rasped.

He shifted back slightly and looked down. With his free hand, he slipped two fingers inside the neckline of my robe and pulled it open.

I whimpered, but his grip on my throat held me in place.

His hooded gaze flicked up to mine. “Shhh, krasotka. Ne dvigaysya. YA prosto khochu prikosnut’sya.”
I had absolutely no idea what he was saying, but it sounded both scary and sexy as hell, which was so beyond twisted and wrong that it would take half a bottle of tequila for me to even start analyzing what I was thinking right now. There was just something about his heavy Russian accent. It was so deep and low, a somber purr that was hypnotic.

His fingertip traced the red ribbon which ran in and out of the lace outline of my black bra. “It was wrong for you to open the door dressed like this, krasotka. There are many dangerous men out there who would take advantage of a beautiful woman such as yourself… who’s all alone.”

“Dangerous men, like you?”

He rubbed the pad of his thumb over my lower lip. “Exactly like me.”

I rose on my toes to try to loosen his grip. “I’m not alone. My boyfriend will be back any second now.”

He smiled — and it was terrifying. “I hope for his sake you are lying to me again. I hadn’t planned on killing anyone today, but if a man were to walk through that door and try to claim you as his own, I would shoot him between the eyes.”

Claim me? What was I, a piece of luggage on an airport baggage carousel? Who talks like that? Had he really just said he hadn’t planned on killing anyone — today? Meaning on other days that option was up for grabs?

He released his grip and took a step back. He flicked open the button on his suit jacket and opened the flaps to reveal a shoulder holster with a gun in it. Wrapping his fingers around its handle, he pulled the weapon free. It was gold-plated and massive, like something out of an action movie.

He leveled the gun at the door and pulled back the hammer. “So which is it, krasotka? Are you lying or do I shoot the next person who walks through that door?”

My shocked gaze raced between the gun, his thin-lipped, determined expression, and the closed door. This couldn’t be happening. Of course there was no boyfriend. There hadn’t been a boyfriend in ages, but there was my best friend, and she could return home at any

Raising my arms, I waved my palms. “Stop! Stop! There is no boyfriend. Please put the gun down.”
He uncocked the hammer and set the weapon down on the side table. Curling his hands into fists, he leaned in and rested them on the top of the sofa on either side of my hips, caging me in with his body. “So you were lying to me… again.”

What the hell was I supposed to say? My mind went blank. “I… I….”

He shifted and pressed his lower body against mine.

I stilled at the threatening press of his hard shaft, afraid to even breathe. Everything about this man screamed danger, run away, from his demeanor to his intimidating height, from his arm and chest muscles to his tattoos. He wasn’t tall with lean muscle like someone who worked out at the gym or played sports. He had that bulky, brute strength kind of build. The kind that said gyms were for posers, I’d rather just get into bar fights and flip cars to keep in shape. With his dark looks and arrogant smile, he also screamed bad boy trouble. Which is of course why my nipples were hard and pressing against the scratchy cheap lace of my bra, and my thighs were clenched.
My brain was shrieking homicidal criminal psychopath, run! While my body was ready to lay back and scream take me now, make it hurt!

With a single finger he started to circle one erect nipple through the silk of my robe. His voice was deceptively soft and low. “What kind of punishment do you think you deserve for lying to me?”

My cheeks flamed as he continued to caress the curve of my breast. Humiliated he had even noticed my involuntary response to him, I swallowed past the dry fear in my throat. “I know what you are trying to do and you don’t scare me. I’m not telling you anything.”
He ran the back of his knuckles over my stomach. “Your bravado is admirable but unnecessary. Dimitri Kosgov sent me. We are business partners. He is concerned about the lack of security in your apartment. He wants to make sure you and Emma are safe.”

There was absolutely no reason why I should, but I believed him. It sounded like precisely the type of thing Emma’s new overbearing and overprotective boyfriend would do.

Slipping that single finger into the knot at my waist, he tugged, loosening the belt. As my robe fell open completely, exposing my bra and bare midriff, he continued, “And trust me, krasotka, scaring youis the last thing I want to do to you right now.”

My knees buckled. I reached back to grasp the sofa behind me to stay upright. I had to force myself to breathe, feeling every shaky breath that entered and left my lungs as I tried to focus on his intense gaze. “Who are you?”

“My name is Vasili Lukovich Rostov, but you may call me Vaska.”

“Why are you doing this?” I was no longer referring to why he was in my apartment asking about Emma.

He shrugged. “Because I can. In my world, nothing is off-limits. If I see something I want,” he paused and ran his heated gaze over me, “I take it.”

I blinked. I wasn’t expecting such raw honesty. “In my world, a man asks permission first.”

He chuckled and responded in his heavy Russian accent, “Then I guess it is a good thing we are not in your world.”

“We are in my apartment,” I boldly fired back with more moxie than I felt.

“True, but it is still my world, and in my world, I make the rules and decide the punishments for those who break them.” His fingertip traced the top of my panties.

This had gone way, way too far. There was allowing myself to get lost in a dangerous bad boy fantasy for a moment and then there was the reality of a dangerous man with a gun standing in the middle of my living room threatening to punish me.

My shrieking brain finally won out. I ducked under his arm and desperately ran across the living room. Crossing the threshold to my bedroom, I turned and slammed the door shut, locking it. I backed away and frantically scanned the room looking for something to prop against the door. The room was too small for anything more than a double bed and a rickety vanity with two loose table legs.

I could hear his measured footsteps on the other side of the door.

I backed away as I tightened the dangling robe belt around my waist and braced for his angry shouts or pounding fist.

Vaska did neither.

Without warning, he kicked the door open and stalked into my bedroom.

April 15, 2021|Excerpts, Ruthless Obsession|9 Comments

Sweet Cruelty: Chapter One

A Ruthless Russian Arms Dealer crosses paths with an innocent Librarian student and decides to claim her for his own, despite the consequences.


“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be a heroine.”
– Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey


I had run out of time… and options.

Tuition was due next week.

I had no choice but to beg for the money tonight, or I’d be kicked out of school.

I gripped the cold, wrought iron fence railing and tried to calm my breathing. I reached up to straighten my bangs as I checked to make sure the topknot securing my hair was still in place. Normally, I just threw my hair up in a messy bun with two twists of a scrunchy, but today I had taken the care to smooth it into a tight, elegant bun. I had hoped it would make me look older and studious. The effect was almost worth the headache the tight hair band and bobbypins were giving me. I couldn’t wait for this to be over. The first thing I would do would be to take my hair down.

Giving myself one last inspection, I bent down to wipe a small smudge off the toe of my Doc Marten Mary Janes before straightening my pink plaid skirt.

Hefting my leather backpack onto my shoulder, I swung open the gate. Wincing as it squeaked, I paused, waiting for… I’m not sure what.

The sounds of angry dogs barking? A warning gunshot over my head?

Sliding first one foot along the brick-paved walkway, then the other, I forced myself to walk up the short set of stairs.
Rolling my eyes, I sighed. The house would have an imposing glossy black door with a massive brass lion’s head clasping a heavy ring in its jaws for a door knocker. All I was missing was some misty fog and the sound of the Thames lapping at the shore and I’d be in some

Dicken’s novel with me playing the part of the poor urchin begging for scraps.


I wasn’t the poor urchin.

Squaring my shoulders, I reminded myself I was the heroine of my story. And like most of Austen’s heroines, this particular heroine desperately needed this man’s money! As Lizzie Bennet said to the arrogant Mr. Darcy: My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.

With more boldness than I felt, I raised my arm to grasp the metal ring. Before I could, the door swung open with such force, a blast of air ruffled my bangs.

With a small cry, I took a step back.

In my vivid imagination, the person seemed more beast than man.

With his legs planted wide, his shaved head barely missed hitting the top of the doorway. The black goatee covering his upper lip and chin only highlighted the sharp planes of his jaw and nose. Beneath his right eye there was some sort of slash mark or scar which gave the already pretty freaking scary-looking man an even more ominous appearance. Naked from the waist up, his muscled chest was covered in brightly colored tattoos. Good Lord! Was that an image of a dagger dripping with blood on his neck?

A grim scowl clouded his features as he stared down at me with cold, stormy eyes.

“I… I… I….” My brain froze. My jaw was too stiff to form any words.

“You’re late.”

In reality, I knew he had spoken some normal, English-language words, but all I heard emanating from his lips was the deep, threatening growl of a beast. It didn’t help that he had the distinctive guttural purr of a Russian accent.

This man was definitely not Mr. Linus Fitzgerald III elderly son of my former benefactor!

My tongue felt thick and awkward in my mouth. “I’m so sorry. There’s been a mistake.”

My body jerked off-balance as my heel slid out over the edge of the top step in my effort to back slowly away from the angry, bear-like man.

His giant paw snatched me by the upper arm and dragged me over the threshold. I fell against the hard heat of his body.

“There is no mistake, моя крошка. You’re mine for the night.”

The heavy black door swung shut, cutting me off from the safe sounds of civilization.

“No! Wait!”

It was too late.

I was alone with the Russian beast… inside his lair.

August 22, 2020|Excerpts, Ruthless Obsession|5 Comments
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