Rich girl Daniella De Luca had plans to spend spring break partying with friends abroad.Instead, she's been kidnapped by the Russian mafia and dragged halfway across the world. Their leader, Alexei Nikolin, is asking for ten million dollars in ten days. Now, Dani has to find a way to get out or stay alive. After all, she was also a mafioso's daughter, and one man couldn't possibly bring her family down. Nevermind that he was dangerously charming. What was the worst one Russian man could do to her anyway?View More
“Don’t forget: Paper on Rousseau’s Social Contract is due Friday. At least five hundred words, okay people? The appendix doesn’t count—and yes, Mr. Morello—I’m looking at you!” Laughter and the shuffling of books filled the room. Students rose from their seats on their way out of the auditorium, while Dani picked up her things and headed for the door with everyone else. Something in her pocket vibrated, and she pulled out her phone from her jeans at the new text. Lunch at Central in 20? She replied with a smile before slipping her books inside her sling bag. She squeezed into a crowded elevator and headed seven floors down to the main exit doors of the SIPA building, where she was met with the full throng of Columbia’s students scattered across camp
Despite the gun aimed at his face, Andrei Nikolin laughed. If there was anything Alexei remotely admired about his father, it was that the man never seemed to fear his own mortality. “You come back from the dead only to face me in the dark like a coward?” Andrei cast a sideways glance at the other man standing at the foot of his bed. “What a shame, Viktor, but I’m not surprised.” Viktor used the tip of his pistol to scratch his head. “It was either my boss or my best mate, and the answer’s obvious. No hard feelings, Mr. Nikolin.” Andrei scoffed. “I hold out this long and for what? For you two idiots to burn everything I’ve worked so hard for to the ground?” “It was us ‘idiots’ who’ve been keeping everything afloat.” Alexei shook his head. “You bark incoherent orders
Dani awoke with a jolt.The floor was cold and hard beneath her, and in the dark it was difficult to make sense of her surroundings.The back of her head throbbed with pain. She winced at the sore, damp spot on her head when she touched it, and blood came away at her fingertips.The sound of a gunshot echoed in her mind, and with it the flashback of Alexei bleeding on the ground. Dani sat up, eyes stinging with fresh tears at the reminder. No, no, no. All of this had to be one bad dream. Alexei couldn’t possibly be dead—A thin sliver of moonlight entered the window in a far corner of the room. Dani’s vision adjusted, where she found herself in an empty bedroom. It ha
The Nikolin estate was an hour’s drive from the city.Buildings from the bustling capital became sparser the farther they drove from the Kremlin, entering suburbia until more greenery dominated the landscape. Well, it was more white than green,
Dani remained wide awake past midnight.Perhaps it was the time difference, but even as fatigue from the jet lag left a heaviness in her body, she couldn’t fall asleep.
Not once in a million years did Dani think she would be on a plane back to Russia.It would’ve been over her dead body, and yet here she was now on a business class flight to Moscow, with Alexei quietly sleeping in the seat next to her.
Dani stepped out of the elevator doors and down the hallway towards her father’s room. Save for the nurses’ station at the center, most lights were already dim at half past ten in the evening. The nurses immediately recognized her, waiving the visiting hours rule with a nod. Her father had just woken up from a long coma. They could look the other way just this once.
It was still snowing when Dani woke up the following morning.Being nestled in the warm, thick sheets of a soft bed on a cold winter day, it was difficult to get up. It wasn’t until the smell of something delicious—pancakes—wafted to
When Dani moved in to Alexei’s apartment, he was already back in Moscow.It was a relief not having to deal with the awkwardness of moving her things in, which Marta was happy to help her with. In truth, she didn’t have much to bring with
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