by London Miller
Publication Date: June 18, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mafia, Organized Crime, Romance
They met under summer showers …
Vera Markovic only wanted a vacation away from New York where everyone knows her as a Russian Mafiya printsessa of the Markovic Bratva. She didn’t expect to find something worth remembering. And definitely not a man like Alfie Shelby.
They fell in love when the leaves changed colors …
As New York City’s notorious fixer, Alfie Shelby always gets what he wants—and when he sets his eyes on Vera, he’ll do anything to keep her … even if she’s not sure she wants to be kept.
And they nearly lost it all when the snow started to fall …
She wants nothing to do with a gangster. A life of crime is all he knows. But neither can deny what they have, even when forces beyond their control try to keep them apart.
Venturing down the hallway until she found the vacant office he had stepped out of, Vera walked inside and whirled around to lay into him, but the door had barely closed behind him before he was crossing the room to her, tugging her forward into his embrace by the nape of her neck and slanted his mouth over hers.
A moment of resistance was all she could manage before she was kissing him back, forgetting all about the reasons why she shouldn't.
How could she not kiss him? How could she not get swept up in the intoxicating promise his lips offered?
No one had ever kissed her the way Alfie did—as if he were starving and her mouth was the only thing that would satisfy him.
He made her forget just that easily why she had brought him back here at all, but reality settled back in quickly when something crashed outside the room door, making her jolt and push him away, trying to get her bearings.
"Can't say I didn't miss that, love," he said with a smile that made her heart race.
It was just so blatantly arrogant.
But as easy as it was to get lost in him, she wasn't going to bend that easily. "You could have said this was your restaurant."
He made a low noise in the back of his throat, his expression growing serious. "Would you have come if I did?"
Maybe. "Why wouldn't I?"
He shrugged, resting both hands on top of the cane she was only just now noticing he held. "You're here now, and that's what I wanted."
"I can't work for you," she said quickly, remembering why they were both here.
"I don't take on clients I've slept with."
It muddied the waters.
Vera had always been very careful to keep a distinct line between her business life and her personal one—and not just because of her family's connections.
"That should make it easier, shouldn't it?" Alfie asked. "You, more than anyone, know what I like."
He would not make her blush. "That has nothing to do with this."
"What's so different?"
Before she could get another word out, he was kissing her again. His tongue stroking over hers, his gloved hands tangled in her hair. And for a moment—one sweet, electrifying moment—she got swept up in it with him, kissing him back for all she was worth, clutching his shirt to keep him exactly where he was.
This time, it was Alfie that stopped the kiss. "I've missed that fucking mouth of yours, Vera. I have."
He was far too addictive. "Why didn't you tell me you lived here?"
"It wasn't important."
"Yet, you're here now hiring me for what?"
"Now it's important."
He was impossible. "You asked me here, Alfie, what do you want?"
"Beyond getting this place ready for the soft opening in a couple months?" Alfie asked with a cock of his brow. "I thought we could pick up where we left off."
"Oh, don't say it wasn't good between us," he said with a tit of his head.
No, she couldn't say that at all. She couldn't even bring herself to entertain the thought. Even if they had only spent less than three days in each other's presence, it had still been the most amazing three days of her life.
"That's not the point."
"No? Enlighten me."
"I can't work for you and sleep with you."
His expression changed so quickly, she almost laughed. "Why the hell not?"
"Because I don't mix business and pleasure. So, if you want me to work for you, then that's all it's going to be. Work."
He looked as if the last thing he wanted was to agree, but eventually he said, "Fine."
"Glad we understand each other."
Alfie leaned in close to her, resting one hand on each side of her hips. "But after ... you're mine."
"You're awfully confident."
"As if I don't have a reason to be, but don't worry," he said, tracing the pad of his thumb over her bottom lip. "I'll keep my hands to myself ... unless you ask for it."
"Not going to happen." Again.
"Come now, love. Let's not say things we don't mean."
Arrogant and infuriating. Of course the first man that had interested her in years had to be a combination of the two. "If we're going to do this—"
"We are," he said cutting her off.
"If we are, then there needs to be some sort of ground rules."
His smile was placating. "Right, let's hear them."
"No kissing me."
"Unless you ask."
"You have a lovely mouth, Vera. What kind of man would I be to deny myself?"
Moving on. "And no attempting to seduce me."
He scoffed. "During working hours."
Vera threw her hands up, realizing that there was no way she would win in this argument against him. "What's the point of the rules if you're just going to ignore them."
"I hear you quite fine, love. Quite fine. I'm even willing to play this little game of yours because I know how it'll end."
She knew better than to ask—knew even that whatever he was going to say, she wasn't going to like—but she couldn't help herself. "How's that?"
"In my bed."
"I wouldn't count on it."
"Have you thought about it?" he asked out of the blue, catching her off guard.
"Thought about what?"
"Punta de Mita."
Her cheeks bloomed with heat as she thought of that last night they shared together. "Sparingly."
His smile said he didn't believe her. "I think about it often because once wasn't nearly enough."
"We're going to keep this professional, Alfie. That's the only way this can work."
"And when you beg for it, know that I'm going to give you exactly what your eyes are asking for right now."
The smart decision would have been to end it there, to just tell him she couldn't work for him and walk away. She didn't believe, mostly, that he would try to stop her, but the rational side of her seemed to turn off where Alfie was concerned.
So instead of walking away, she knew she would take the job.
Consequences be damned.
ABOUT LONDON MILLER
With a degree in Creative Writing, London Miller has turned pen to paper, creating riveting fictional worlds where the bad guys are sometimes the good guys. Her debut novel, In the Beginning, is the first in the Volkov Bratva Series.
She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two puppies, where she drinks far too much Sprite, and spends her nights writing.