Dear Mr. Pavlovich,
I am pleased to inform you that we have selected a bride who matches perfectly the extremely detailed list of requirements you sent. As per your letter, your bride is an attorney, works in Chicago, is of Latin-American heritage, comes from an impoverished family, and is exactly 27 years old.
Though she was hesitant to agree to your desire for anonymity, after taking a total of eight days to review the contract, she has signed it. Because we at Diamond Bridal Agency take our business and your privacy seriously, we ask that you destroy this letter once you have read it.
Your bride, Miss Mariana Sanchez, will arrive in Moscow via private jet at Vnukovo Airport on Saturday of this week, 5:00PM GMT. Please, be advised that any marriage performed in Russia must be followed up, within the month, by an American ceremony—as per Miss Sanchez’s personal requirements.
Congratulations and best wishes,
Ms. Alveda Creed, Diamond Bridal Agency
Vitali stared down at the letter in his hand and felt the slow burn of victory scorch his blood.
Finally…she would be his.
Tossing the letter into the fireplace, to destroy it as the extremely strict woman commanded, he turned and made his way to his desk—a large, ornate, black oak antique that he’d won at auction ten years before. It was one of his most prized possessions, something he’d coveted since seeing it in the home of his greatest business rival. And now, it was his.
Just as Mariana Sanchez was his.
Sliding his hand over the top of the desk, he moved toward the windows set into the south side of his immense mansion—one of five. Looking out over the sprawling grounds of his Russian estate, pride filled his chest and a smile cracked his lips.
It was Thursday afternoon, which meant he had less time than he thought before coming face to face with the woman he’d been fantasizing about for two years. But that didn’t matter. Once Mariana was in his home, beneath his protection…beneath him…he could take all the time in the world. And he would. He’d already waited two years for her, watching her, hungering for her, but keeping his distance. At first, he’d thought his desire for her was a fluke—she wasn’t his usual type: tall, shapely but toned, and usually fair-skinned. And, he had been without a woman for a month at that point. But, when he’d started dreaming about her, waking up hard and desperate, he knew she was more than just an object of momentary lust. She’d burrowed deep into his blood, become such a necessary part of him, a part it was becoming ever more difficult to live without. And he didn’t want to.
He dreamt about her, woke up aching for her, spent all day wondering about her, and then, once night returned, he’d both dread and anticipate going back to sleep. Because that’s where he could have her, where he could lay her down on their bed and make slow, agonizingly sensual love to her.
But it wasn’t just her body he craved. When he’d ordered Oleg to do a search on her, he’d known there was no coming back from that, and he was right. Because once he’d learned about the true Mariana Sanchez, the woman beneath the curve hugging suits, the snapping brown eyes and razor-sharp intelligence, he was hooked. Not only had she struggled and fought her way up from a poor neighborhood in Miami to a penthouse in Chicago, she’d grown her law practice from two clients with barely $200,000 between them, to a handful of clients worth $2 billion. She was hardworking, charitable—she gave 30% of her yearly income to women’s causes and cancer research—and brilliant. When he’d first seen her, standing before the judge’s bench, staring down the defense, he knew there was something in her he had to have for himself. He had to know her. She had an intelligence and confidence he didn’t often see in such a scrumptious package.
There would be no other woman for him.
And there would be no other man for her.
Too bad he couldn’t have claimed her sooner…before she’d sought to move out of his reach. Anger slowly rose to brush against his elation. At first, he’d been able to keep his distance from her, watch over her, tell himself that once he was done with his business in Moscow, he’d head back to the US and finally claim her. Perhaps slowly seduce her with flowers and sumptuous dinners, and then seduce her with touches and kisses—nice and slow, as a woman of her beauty and passion deserved. But…a month of business turned into a shit storm of legal and financial complications—fuck his brother, Dmitri, for screwing up and making things so goddamn difficult. Thank God for Oleg Teleten, black hat “internet spelunker” extraordinaire. With Oleg’s skill, Vitali had been able to “keep tabs” on Mariana. Certainly, it was less than legal, but he didn’t care. She was his, and it was his duty to make sure she was safe…and that no man ever touched her. If Vitali hadn’t been stuck in Moscow cleaning up his brother’s mess, he could have already tasted the delights of his woman. Instead, she’d applied to a fucking bridal agency—like it was a fucking job—to find herself a husband.
Burning from within, Vitali began pacing his large office, from windows to windows.
Mariana had offered herself up to some stranger, willingly signing up to be some other man’s woman, to allow some other man to have all that Vitali had been waiting so patiently for.
Sucking in a deep breath, he closed his eyes, and images of Mariana flashed through his mind. Long, thick black hair, curvy hips, plump ass, tits big enough to satiate even the most voracious appetite, lips made of pillows and fantasies, and a fiery passion he could see even in the courtroom—where he’d first spied her, tearing apart his company’s claim to farmland in Nebraska. He’d hated that she’d won that case—it had cost him $300 million dollars, but he didn’t care about that, not after watching her.
And now, all that curvy, sexy, fiery passion was his.
His cock thickened, growing to press against his trousers. He groaned, palming the monster to help alleviate some of the ache, but it did little good. Nothing had, not since that day in court.
A knock at his office door made him call, “Come.”
The door opened and Lyuba entered. Lyuba Malikov was his lead attorney, his best legal counsel, and his one-time lover. Tall, red-haired, pouty lips, and chilling blue eyes, Lyuba could have made a career out of killing it in magazine spreads instead of the courtroom. She was lethal, bold, cold, calculating…the perfect attorney. And one of his greatest relationship mistakes. Where she was icy in the courtroom, she was flames in the bedroom, and he’d enjoyed the dichotomy more than once over the five years she’d been in his employ. But no more. After their last encounter in Paris in 2015, where they’d fucked for two days, she’d become more…complicated.
During a meeting with Parisian investors, she’d pulled him aside and asked, “When can I tell people about us?”
About us? That had been the last thing he’d wanted to hear from her mouth. He wasn’t the marrying type, at least not then. And he couldn’t imagine himself building a life with Lyuba. She didn’t have that…spark, that one thing that lit all of him on fire, not just his cock. That night, he’d ended their love affair, letting her know that she was to remain his lawyer, but any further extracurricular activities were off the table.
Lyuba had looked hurt and fit to murder, but she’d hadn’t said a word about it since.
“What is it, Lyuba?” he asked, still vibrating with unspent frustration.
She came to a stop before his desk and crossed her arms, eying him contemplatively.
“You are making a trip into Moscow?” she asked, her blue eyes analyzing him. Then, her gaze dropped to his cock, which was still prominent and throbbing. A flicker of excitement appeared on her face before it was quickly hidden behind her cool façade once again.
He ignored her reaction to him. “Yes, I have business there.” He turned away from her and went to sit at his desk, hiding both his now dwindling erection and his agitation with her. What did it matter to her if he were going to Moscow?
She arched an eyebrow. “Business?” she repeated, a question on her pale face.
He nodded then reached for the last stack of paperwork he needed to finish before leaving that evening.
She uncrossed her arms, leaning against his desk, and giving him more than a glimpse down the front of her blouse. “I can clear my schedule, then—”
“No need,” he said, interrupting her obvious attempt to reignite the affair that had died a fiery death. “This is personal business.” He refused to explain further. Again, this was none of her concern. The last thing he wanted to do before meeting Mariana face to face was to deal with Lyuba. Besides that, he didn’t want any interruptions. Once Mariana stepped off that plane, he’d whisk her to the priest and put a ring on it, finally claiming what has been his for two years. He wouldn’t waste another minute.
He had much planned for his bride…