Russian Pride by Holly Bargo #BookHugs #hot #mafia #romance
The fourth and final book in the Russian Love series. Discounted e-book launch price of $0.99 good thru October 15, 2017.
The marriage alliance between the Russians and Italians embroils both organizations in a deadly war with the Chinese Triad. Can love grow in such circumstances?
A victim of domestic violence, Inessa recuperates in the home of mafia captain Giovanni Maglione. Her parents, Bratva chief Maksim Andrupov and his wife Olivia, learn that Inessa’s recently deceased husband double-crossed the Chinese Triad and they’re coming after her for reparation. Thinking to save their daughter, Maksim and Olivia convince Giovanni to marry Inessa, who doesn’t particularly want to marry again and yet finds herself agreeing to the scheme.
The ruse fails and the Chinese pursue their target with bloodthirsty determination. Giovanni draws upon the resources of his own colleagues and rival mobs to engage with the Triad, avoid prison, and save his family, which now includes Inessa. The most dangerous man in Cleveland displays a surprisingly tender and gentle aspect of his character as he engages in terrible violence to protect what’s his… and Inessa is most definitely his.
The following excerpt is suitable for all audiences: G rating.
Marriage to a woman he found himself wanting and who did not want him back promised to punish him for every evil deed he had committed.
Giovanni had committed many.
Hours later and covered in snow, Paolo admitted without rancor that Inessa had built the better snow fort and won the battle with her superior ammunition. The younger boys merely cheered and flopped down in the snow to make snow angels and build snowmen until Bianca called them in for supper.
Gathered around the kitchen table that evening for supper, Bianca held court as usual. Lively conversation and friendly insults flew back and forth in a merry combination of affectionate bickering that Inessa still had not quite gotten used to. These boisterous, openly emotional Italians bewildered her, especially when Paolo flung an insult at his cousin that no one in the Bratva would have dared utter to her father. Yet Giovanni laughed it off and gave the boy a playful swat, while the elderly housekeeper frowned in resigned acceptance that the hooligans at her table might never grow up and act like gentlemen. Giovanni’s sparkling eyes met Inessa’s across the table. She felt a blush rise at the instant transformation of amusement to heated desire.
A hand gently patted hers, distracting her from the man’s intense stare. Looking at Bianca’s soft smile, she smiled back, though her expression held more than a tinge of anxiety. She could not—and would not—deny that Giovanni Maglione was one sexy, beautiful man. But the thought of submitting to a man made her blood run cold. The nightmares of experience doused any answering spark of desire.
Giovanni would want and expect children.
Inessa lowered her gaze to her plate and let the family discussion flow over her.
From the head of the table, Giovanni forced a smile at whatever inanity his young cousin spewed. Paolo, he knew, attempted to show off his wit to impress the shy, lovely woman who would marry into the family and unite Bratva and mafia. He also knew that his adolescent cousin, suffering from surging teenage hormones, had a crush on the quiet Russian woman. He made a mental note to keep a watchful eye on Paolo to ensure the boy didn’t do anything too stupid.
Giovanni also noticed the pretty blush that turned Inessa’s cheeks such a lovely pink. Within his mind, he winced at the sudden fear that flashed in her eyes and surmised her thoughts. Somehow, he had to convince her that hurting women was not his style. He would never hurt her, would never tolerate a hand raised against her.
She was his and he protected what was his with all the considerable resources at his disposal.
The following excerpt has a little heat, but it’s not terribly explicit: PG rating.
“You won’t send us away?”
“I want you where I can protect you.”
When do you expect this to come to a head?”
“Days.” His arms tightened around her and he inhaled the sweet, warm scent of white tea and ginger and woman. If only she were willing.
“How can I help, Giovanni?”
He rubbed his cheek against her hair. It felt like coarse silk against his skin, some of the fiery strands catching on the stubble already shadowing his cheeks. He pressed another kiss to her head and settled a hand over the flare of her hip. She felt warm and soft in his lap and smelled like a woman should. He ran his other hand down her neck and arm, then back up again. Tangling his fingers in her hair, he tilted her head back and lowered his lips to hers. She sighed into his mouth as his lips pressed lightly to hers, a touch of unbearable tenderness.
Inessa didn’t know where the tears came from. Or why, really.
Giovanni tasted warm salt and pulled away. He wiped away a tear with his thumb and apologized, “I am sorry, Inessa. I am a beast to you.”
She shook her head and raised her hand, resting it against his cheek. “No,” she protested, “you are good to me, so good.”
His blood surged. His thumb stroked her cheek again. Lowering his mouth to hers, he brushed his lips over hers and nibbled the corner of her mouth. Her back arched beneath his hand, pushing her soft breasts against his chest. Her hands traveled behind his neck, fingers brushing against the short hair at the nape.
“If we don’t stop, Inessa, I won’t be able to,” he warned her, lips brushing against hers as he spoke.
She pressed her body closer against his and replied, “I like the way you touch me. So gentle. Sweet.”
A shudder rippled through Giovanni, straining his control. He did not want to be gentle and sweet. He wanted to slam into her body and pound his frustrations into oblivion as she screamed his name. His hands tightened on her, then released her as he drew back.
Inessa blinked in surprise, noting the pulse throbbing at the base of his jaw.
“I cannot be gentle. Not now,” he rasped, his voice thick and guttural.
He pressed an index finger over her lips to quiet her. “Do not offer what you do not truly want,” he said. “And I know you want—and need—gentle and sweet. Perhaps some other time when you do not show fear when I walk into the room.”
About the Author
Holly Bargo is the author’s pseudonym and really did exist as a temperamental appaloosa mare fondly remembered for watching over toddler children and grinding a brand new pager into dust. Holly lives on a hobby farm in southwest Ohio with her husband, a clowder of cats, an elderly llama, and an even more ancient horse that looks and acts half her age. Until recently, Holly and her husband’s two children also lived with them, but kids grow up and leave home.
Holly has published 17 fiction books since 2014—many of them steamy romances—and works full-time as a freelance ghostwriter and editor. All her books can be found on Amazon.com.