Author: Nancy Haviland
Series: Wanted Men #3
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US
Purchase: Barnes & Noble
Purchase: Amazon UK
Purchase: Amazon CA
Maksim Kirov is a mobster who gets what he wants, both at his posh gentleman’s club in Hell’s Kitchen and in the bedroom. Sexy, dangerous, and obsessed with control, he’s risen through the ranks to become a highly respected leader in the tight-knit Tarasov crime syndicate. He rules with an iron fist…until he meets Sydney Martin.
The Australian-born Sydney is determined to refuse Maks’s advances, despite their electrifying chemistry. The owner of a neighboring nightclub, Sydney rules her own domain. But when a deal with a Mexican drug cartel goes terribly wrong, she has no choice but to turn to Maksim and the Tarasov organization for protection. Could giving in to their intense attraction be what saves both Maks and Sydney? Or will their all-consuming passion—and her shocking secret—destroy their lives?
An Obsession with Vengeance
by Nancy Haviland
Wanted Men #3
Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Organize
d Crime, Romance
Walking through the gates of Akademiya, or the Executioner’s Domicile, as the students privately called it, Maksim Kirov squinted his eyes against the glare of the late May sunshine and took in the five vehicles parked, noses facing the only way out of the lot. He felt something try to rise in his throat, emotion he was sure, but swallowed it with a little help from his autonomic nervous system. It had been expected, so he wouldn’t feel bad that his father hadn’t come for him. Fucking refused, actually. He’d finally accepted the man didn’t deserve the sentiment. Therefore, he wouldn’t give it.
Slinging the heavy bag that held two years of his life over his shoulder, he started for the road.
“Let us drive you.”
He paused, turning back to see Micha Zaretsky looking at him, pale-green eyes as solemn as usual. Even at their age, Micha’s voice was low, their mother tongue, Russian, coming out a pleasant tenor. But then Maksim’s was the same, and he’d turned fourteen only three weeks ago.
Shaking his head, he looked down to make sure his boots were tied well. But of course they were. Had they not been, he most likely would have been bleeding from somewhere around his muzzle area by now. The few guards that had stuck their heads into the hallway to offer their moody “Good luck, boys” would have made sure of it.
“Thanks,” Maksim said, “but I think the walk will do me good. Clear my head of . . . all of this.” He waved a hand to encompass the tall concrete wall and training center that had once been a jail. But how could he clear his head of all he’d learned in this place? Where did you put information like the quickest and easiest way to kill a man? In the deepest, darkest parts of your mind, he supposed. Taken out only when needed. Then again, when would you need to know the most effective forms of torture, ones that would guarantee your target gave up whatever information was asked for in the shortest period of time possible?
Why had his father brought him to this underground training facility? he wondered again with that one sliver of remaining interest. Had Boris Kirov, two-bit criminal that he was, thought Maksim had an interest in a military career? Had he thought his son would somehow thrive in a place where the boys were forced to practice many of their lessons on each other? From torture to sparring, and everything in between. They all had the scars to show for it. Some of them even had headstones.
Or maybe, as Maks knew deep down, his father had simply wanted him out of the way so he could start his life over again.
“Will you go home?” Micha asked, his tone careful because he knew Maksim’s story.
He shrugged. “Maybe.”
“Your father was aware today was graduation, yes?”
“He was aware.”
Micha’s lips thinned, his gaze growing cold. Colder. “If my mother hadn’t had to miss work to make this trip, I would walk with you.” Micha’s mother was picking him up after grad all normal-like because her son was one of the few who’d actually volunteered to be there. Others had been placed by parents who thought to control their sons’ futures by deciding the military—or a form of it—was what was best.
“I know you would, brother.” He stepped forward, and they clasped hands before embracing. “I’ll try to stay in touch,” he said, but they both knew he wouldn’t.
They parted ways, and Maksim began his journey, feeling adrift as thoughts of fathers and sons continued through his mind. Micha’s father had abandoned him through death. Something a guy could understand. Maksim’s had simply turned his back on him, his first born. Why? He still wasn’t sure. But the day Maks’s mother had been buried when he was eight, things had changed. Not that Boris had ever been the type to call him out for a game of catch, but he’d at least been civil.
Until his wife died.
Maks remembered his mother. She’d been soft-hearted and beautiful, statuesque. Like a supermodel, but nice. He wasn’t surprised things had changed when cervical cancer had taken her from them so swiftly. His father had fucked off for weeks afterwards, leaving Maksim with the neighbor. When he’d come back reeking of booze and women, he’d been a different man. Completely closed off. Had Maksim been a rebellious asshole, he’d have understood better. Sort of. But he hadn’t been. His mother had raised him to be loving and respectful and good. And the Academy hadn’t taken that away from him either. Just because he’d kept them hidden in the presence of his instructors didn’t mean those qualities weren’t still in him. Really. They were there somewhere. He just had to find them again. For her. To remain loyal to the one person who’d loved him, he would find them again, no matter how long it took.
Five cars passed him by, one after another, the sound of the engines fading as they disappeared from sight. The sound of a sixth vehicle met his ears, and he turned to see an unmarked delivery truck slowing behind him. He could see two men in the cab, and the look on their faces had him stiffening. The monsters that now kept him company in his head stirred. His hand went to the small of his back. He was reassured when he felt the shank he’d made for protection—and named Angelina, after his mother—ready for action.
“Need something?” he called, and only then did they close the fifteen feet remaining between them. The truck drew up next to him, engine idling, fumes slowly surrounding them.
“Yeah. Sorry, man,” the middle-aged passenger said, offering a weak-chinned smile. Obviously he’d judged Maksim to be older than he was because of his size. Being five-foot-nine at fourteen made that a common occurrence. “Didn’t want to spook you into reacting. Just got released from the Academy , huh?”
Maks ignored the question. One never offered information. Ever. “You lost?” He took their measure in seconds.
The driver still didn’t speak; he was too busy playing with what looked to be some sort of wooden flute.
“We are,” the passenger replied. “You know off hand how much further to Noginsk? We’re turned around, and it seems like we’ve been driving in circles for hours.”
They were on the outskirts of Balashikha, between Moscow and Noginsk—
The driver brought the flute to his mouth, turned toward Maksim, and pushed out a sharp breath. Maks felt a prick in his neck and reached up to feel a small, sharp object embedded in his skin. A dart. He quickly yanked it out even as his vision warped and the world tilted on its side. Didn’t stop him from reaching out to grab the passenger by the throat and squeeze. Or he tried to squeeze.
“Sorry, buddy.” The guy’s unapologetic face clouded, disappearing fast. “Boris always was an asshole.”
Sydney was trying her hardest not to cry. She blinked the burn from behind her lids, hoping the moisture she was looking through wouldn’t spill over. She gave up trying to swallow around Maksim’s hand pressed into her throat.
“I would never betray you that way, Maksim,” she promised. Her hands tentatively came to rest on his waist, and she was surprised when he allowed that. There was a wild look about him that she’d never seen before. “You have my word. I’ll never repeat anything you tell me.”
Some of the steel left his massive body. She’d never been more aware of his size than she was just then. He could break her in half. Yet she wasn’t afraid. Aware but not afraid. Not even of the rage simmering in the back of those beautiful silver eyes of his. What he’d been through . . . The burn came back, and she had to shove the newfound knowledge—understanding—of him from her mind again. She intuitively knew he wouldn’t appreciate her tears, not even when they were for him.
His expression darkened more, if that were possible, and she actually heard him swallow. “Everyone talks when given the right incentive. All I ask is that you do the best you can to keep my past to yourself.” His voice was so flat and emotionless it made her nape tingle. He released her. “Go to bed, Sydney.”
Loath to leave him like this, she reached for his hand, but he jerked back as though she were a disease. She brushed off the hurt that poked her in the chest and clasped her hands in front of her, watching as he gave her his back and walked over to pick up the TV remote. Clicking much slower than she had earlier, he turned the volume on and repeated more firmly, “Go to your room, Sydney.”
Before he said anything more, knowing some people got cruel when backed into a corner—Maksim’s shots would be brutal—she picked her phone up off the floor where it had fallen during their mind-blowing tryst and turned to leave.
But not soon enough to miss his coldly added, “I’m done with you for now.”
And there it was. Wincing, she left him alone and went down the hall to close herself into the bedroom she’d been given. Leaning against the door, she imagined she wasn’t the first woman to hear those words from him. He’d probably said them too many times to count, to too many women to remember. No doubt after having had sex with them. Sex that could possibly be his outlet, his way of dealing with what had happened to him.
Did he use the meaningless hookups as a way to make a connection with someone without having to actually connect?
His trust issues must be monstrous.
Once the most feared member of an Italian Mafia crime family, Gabriel Moretti returns to New York at the request of his mentor, Russian crime boss Vasily Tarasov. Vasily needs someone he can trust in Seattle to protect his estranged daughter, Eva Jacobs, while he avenges the murder of the young woman’s mother. Gabriel is unstoppable in a fight, whether he’s using fists, blades, or bullets; but innocent, onyx-haired Eva may just be the most dangerous—and beautiful—thing he’s come up against.
Intense sparks fly between the two, tempting Gabriel to mix business with pleasure while in the Emerald City. But once word gets around that Gabriel has shown up in New York, Stefano—his vengeful brother and the de facto head of the family—decides that Eva is the key to ending the feud between them…permanently.
In this pulse-pounding romantic thriller set against the backdrop of New York City’s storied underworld, loyalties will be tested, secrets will be told, and mob justice will be served.
Only something as important as her best friend’s wedding to mob boss Gabriel Moretti could allow Nika Paynne a reprieve from captivity. Her abusive husband has kept her under his thumb with footage of her beloved brother, Caleb, killing another man. But the respite from her violent life isn’t the only draw. Vincente Romani—Gabriel’s deadliest guardian—will be one of the best men at the wedding, and Nika has lingering thoughts about the fascinating mobster…covetous thoughts that may put her life in danger.
With the heartbreak he’s suffered and the brutality he effortlessly delivers, Vincente knows he’s the last person who can offer Nika a happily-ever-after. But his vow remains. He will do everything in his power to free his redhead from her violent prison—even if that means losing her forever.
In the second thrilling and passionate Wanted Men book, a dangerous line is drawn between loyalty to the mob and loyalty to one’s heart.