Dimitri Novikov glanced over at his friend, Moriz, then shook his head as they moved through the massive hunting lodge that was the current home to the European Delegation of Doms and their subs visiting the United States. This was the last part of their journey through the States and a few nights after the Submissive’s Wish Charity Auction, one of the most elite submissive auctions in the world. Dimitri had attended the auction but left early to help his good friend Ivan set up a capture fantasy for Gia, the woman he’d won.
Moriz lowered his voice, slowed his walk to a stroll, then glanced around. “Come on, Dimitri, help me out. This girl, Rya, she is a good woman. I feel like an asshole for how things worked out, but I really like Jean. I want to give whatever it is we have together a chance.”
Scratching at his neatly trimmed beard, Dimitri shook his head again. “If she’s a good woman I do not want anything to do with her, and you certainly do not want her to have anything to do with me.”
“Look, I know you can’t be in a relationship, but that is not what I’m asking of you. I purchased Rya for the rest of the week, then we are done. So maybe she is not like the mistresses you keep, but I promise you’ll like her. She enjoys being watched—she is an exhibitionist—and you love to watch so it is a good fit, especially because you won’t be jealous. And did I mention that she’s hot? There was a lot of competition to win her at the auction.”
For a moment Dimitri considered Moriz’s offer, wondering what it would be like to spend time with a woman he wasn’t paying for her company. His heart ached to have someone in his life who genuinely cared for him, but the risk to her was too great. Especially with Borya, Sovietnik of the Sokolov Bratva family, in attendance. Though technically, Dimitri’s family was allied with the Sokolov family, in the world of the Russian Bratva there were no true friends. If Dimitri paid this Rya too much attention she would be at risk of being seen as a tool to be used against him.
No, it would be better if he just left her alone.
“Moriz, I cannot.”
With a disgruntled huff, Moriz stopped them in the hallway leading to the entertainment wing of the massive lodge. “Come on, there is no one else I trust with her. She’s not here looking for a boyfriend. She’s here looking for a BDSM experience with a strong Master, and I know you can give it to her.”
“Why me? Why not Oleg or Tusya? They are both single and are decent Dominants.”
“Because she rejected them.”
Raising his eyebrows, Dimitri found himself intrigued despite his determination to make Moriz see sense. “What happened?”
“After she arrived and found out that Jean and I have something special she graciously offered to bow out. Rya is a very perceptive woman and even though Jean was trying to be okay with her joining us, it hurt Jean and Rya knew it and she gracefully bowed out. Rather than just send Rya home, I offered her the chance to stay here and view it as a vacation. She agreed, and that night Oleg tried to pick her up. After ten minutes of talking with him, she politely, but firmly, turned him down. Him and six other Doms that night, I might add. It was very entertaining to watch them get sent on their way one by one.”
Trying to imagine the movie-star-handsome Oleg being rejected by any woman made Dimitri’s lips twitch in a rare smile. “And Tusya?”
Rubbing his face, Moriz chuckled. “You know how he just likes to announce to submissives that they’re going to serve him?”
“Yes, and usually they do. Something about finding out he is Russian royalty does that.”
“Not Rya. She actually suggested he might enjoy the feel of her collar for the week.”
Dimitri burst out laughing, imagining the stuffy and proud Tusya’s reaction. “She did not.”
“Oh yes, she did.” Moriz grinned. “She’s a switch, but she usually only tops women. When I asked her what the hell happened with Tusya she said, as calm as you please, ‘You mean you don’t know he longs to serve?’”
Both men laughed and two of the submissives who traveled with the delegation smiled at Dimitri and fluttered their lashes. He gave them both a considering look, the girls were fun to play with and knew he would never give them anything more than sex, but he found his mind going immediately back to this mysterious Rya. He couldn’t remember the last time any woman had turned down Tusya. He had to admit he was intrigued.
Dimitri waited until the submissives were out of earshot, then said, “So you think I would do better with her?”
“Yes. Rya’s fantasies revolve around threesomes and forced seduction scenarios. You’re the only single Master that she has not rejected who would enjoy those things. Plus, you’re a very strong Dominant and you speak English. This will work well for Rya. She’s an honest woman and will tell you what she thinks, even if it’s not what you want to hear. So be ready for a bit of sass.”
Trying to tell himself he wasn’t even considering it, Dimitri looked down at his black button down shirt, checking it for wrinkles and checked his black slacks to make sure they were clean. “What does she look like?”
As if sensing Dimitri’s growing interest, Moriz smiled. “Go and see for yourself.”
Frowning at the other man, Dimitri shook his head. “This is not a good idea. I cannot offer her what she needs.”
“You’re reading more into this than there is. All I am asking you to do is take her on for the remainder of the week. Be her Master and show her a good time. Then, at the end of the week you both go your separate ways. She will be in no danger.” Moriz gave Dimitri a considering look. “If you do this for me I will owe you a favor.”
Considering Moriz was a high-ranking member of the Russian political party currently in power; having him owe Dimitri a favor was worth its weight in gold, and the bastard knew it. “I am not promising anything, but I will meet the girl.”
“Excellent, I will introduce…”
“No. I want to meet her on my own terms. Where is she now?”
“Last I checked, she was in the library.”
Moriz gave him a bemused smirk. “Yes. Unlike the women you usually date, she has a brain and she enjoys reading.”
Dimitri didn’t attempt to defend the women he kept. It was true, he didn’t select his bed partners for their minds and actually avoided entangling himself with anyone he could possibly love. But this was a unique circumstance and Moriz was right; at the end of the week they would go their separate ways, so why not indulge himself with a woman he would normally avoid. Just this once, he could pretend he was a normal man. But he was getting ahead of himself. First, he had to see if this mysterious Rya was indeed compatible with him and if he even found her desirable and vice versa.
“If you will excuse me, I have a submissive to seduce.”
Letting out a sigh of relief, Moriz nodded. “Thank you and good luck.”
“I do not need luck.”
Dimitri didn’t like the way Moriz laughed as he moved quickly to his private rooms at the lodge, but he couldn’t deny the anticipation singing through his blood. He’d never had to actually pursue a woman, and he found himself looking forward to the challenge. Because he was worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and the son of one of the most powerful Bratva Pahkans in Russia, all he had to do was look at a female and she’d be naked on his bed. While his body was sexually satisfied by these women, he’d never actually been in love and planned on keeping it that way.
He checked the door to his room carefully for any sign of disturbance. Paranoia had been bred into Dimitri since birth; he never did anything that would give his enemies a chance to take him out of the game. The hair he’d placed between the door and the frame was still there and the lock showed no signs of tampering. He entered his room, and a quick glance confirmed it remained undisturbed. Not that any assassins were likely to hit him here, he had too many powerful friends surrounding him, but the one moment he let his guard down could be the moment someone ended his life.
He grabbed his laptop, deciding he needed a reason to show up in the library with Rya. If she was as independent as Moriz said, she’d no doubt want to select her own Master. While he secured his room, he wondered what kind of woman she was, what she looked like, and found himself entering dangerous territory with this woman he’d never met. No, this was merely another conquest, another woman that he would spoil, fuck, and move on. He might treat her a little better because she wasn’t a woman who expected to be his mistress, but he would not allow any dangerous emotions to intrude.
He was alone and would remain alone until his father died.
Shaking off those bitter thoughts, he paused outside the library and collected himself. While he would hate to lose the leverage of Moriz owing him a favor, he wouldn’t pretend to be attracted to a woman just to get something out of it. His moral code might be questionable by most standards, but he would never knowingly hurt a woman. Anticipation quickened his pulse and he took a deep breath, the uncharacteristic show of nerves somehow making him feel more alive, more aware.
Some part of his mind tried to warn him that this was perilous, that he should just walk away, but he ignored that voice of caution and opened the door.
The moment he stepped into the spacious, well-appointed library with its floor to ceiling shelves and wide window looking out into the forest the only woman in the room looked up at him curiously from the e-reader in her hand.
Dimitri felt like he’d been punched in the gut when their eyes met.
She was stunning.
Maybe not in a conventional way, her figure was too curvy for the ultra-thin look most women seemed to strive for, but she was intensely feminine even in her casual clothes. Curled up in a large brown leather chair, she wore a pair of white shorts that exposed her lightly tanned legs and beautiful little bare feet. A peach t-shirt with a scooped neck clung to her large breasts and even though her dark chestnut hair was up in a high ponytail, it trailed over her breast to her waist, making him wonder what it would be like to have all that silky hair draped over his body.
With a perfect cupid’s bow mouth and soft cheeks she reminded him of a doll, but when his gaze met her unusual amber gold eyes everything inside of him stilled, and for the first time in his life, he found himself struck dumb by a woman. His brain refused to operate as a deep shiver of electricity washed through his nervous system, flooding him with arousal. Everything inside of him demanded that he take her and make her his. When she spoke to him, the sweet, husky lilt of her voice made him want to growl.
That one simple word and the accompanying amused smile managed to break the hold she had on him.
Clearing his throat, utterly thrown off by his intense reaction, Dimitri gave her what he hoped was a charming smile. “Forgive me, I did not mean to disturb you. I did not know there was anyone here.”
She shrugged. “You didn’t disturb me.”
He held up his laptop case like a fool, scrambling to do anything other than imagine pressing her beautiful lips to his, tasting her, smelling her, rubbing that lush body all over his. “Do you mind if I work in here? I promise will be quiet.”
The smile that curved her mouth stole his breath. “Sure, no problem. I’m just reading. I hope that won’t disturb you.”
Her existence disturbed him. “No, it is fine.”
Without even really being aware of it he moved to the other side of the room to a brown leather couch with deep green throw pillows behind a heavy wood coffee table. It was as if he could feel her gaze on his back, and he had to resist the urge to flex for her. Good god, what the hell was wrong with him? He was acting so irrationally that he briefly wondered if he’d somehow been drugged.
After unzipping his laptop case with slow, deliberate movements meant to help him focus, he set his laptop down on the coffee table and opened it up, scarcely aware of his fingers moving as he tapped in the codes to get through the multiple layers of security followed by the fingerprint scan. There were dozens of emails waiting for him, some he needed to answer right away, but he stared with unseeing eyes at his screen. It took all of his willpower not to look up, to keep from trying to see if she was looking at him. He forced himself to answer an email to one of his avtorityet about an issue with a shipment of guns moving through Serbia before he allowed himself to glance up.
Much to his disappointment she wasn’t looking at him, instead, she went back to reading her book. While he would have liked to have caught her watching him, hoping she was interested, this allowed him to study her further. Her radiant skin had an olive cast to it and he wondered what ancestry gave her complexion that beautiful tone. The clouds parted and sunlight shone through the window, bringing out faint hints of red highlights in her dark hair. Her ears were pierced twice on each side and she wore small diamond studs in those holes. He’d never considered it before, but she had beautiful ears, small and delicate. He wondered if they were sensitive.
She glanced in his direction and a slight flush colored her cheeks as she looked quickly back down at her book. Thrown off by being caught staring, he refocused on his laptop and tried to figure out how to approach her. Something told him his usual charm wouldn’t work and he found himself struggling with what to say. If his brother, Alex, could see him right now he’d be laughing his ass off. Then again, Alex would probably be telling him to get the fuck out of here and leave the girl alone and not endanger her life, to leave now before anyone noticed his fascination with her, but Dimitri couldn’t. This woman had somehow enslaved him with a glance.