Mafia Boss's Fearless Lover (The Karzhov Crime Family series Book 1), page 1
Mafia Boss’s Fearless Lover
The Karzhov Crime Family Series
By Leslie North
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Kat listened to the beat of the bass. Her entire body throbbed in time to the deep thump, thump, thump, making her nausea that much worse.
What was I thinking?
Mickey Yosov, a scrawny man with greasy hair and an even greasier goatee, stuck his head around the corner of the small dressing area and gave her what passed for a smile. “Two minutes, girly, and you’re up. Remember, give ‘em a good show or this will be your one and only performance.”
Kat gave him small smile, “Got it.”
Mickey eyed her briefly then nodded and left. Kat sighed in relief. She had only met him yesterday, and already she was dreading any long-term association with him.
She barely forced back another wave of nausea and was glad she hadn’t eaten anything. Puking all over the stage was surely not the way to win points with the new boss. Taking a deep breath Katya Miller looked at her reflection in the mirror. The 23 year-old woman who looked back was above average in height with strawberry blonde hair, hazel eyes, and a pert little nose above a square chin. Her complexion was without blemish, having zealously protected her skin from the sun most of her life so that freckles wouldn’t mar her beauty. Her eyes drifted down her toned body, coming to rest on her plump ass, the only part of her body she wished she could change.
Her outfit for tonight’s performance consisted of a very skimpy black G-string, covered up by a barely-there plaid schoolgirl pleated skirt. She wore a black mesh bra beneath a white fitted shirt unbuttoned and tied above her belly button. Her chest was normally perfectly proportioned to the rest of her body. But the shirt was at least two sizes too small, causing her breasts to bulge against the fabric.
Her hair was done up in two pigtails, each with a coordinating plaid bow on top. To complete the outfit, her lips had been painted with a strawberry lip-gloss that left them shiny and naughty.
She’d spent four grueling hours the day before, and a wad of cash she probably should have held onto, at an upscale spa having her body scrubbed, waxed, and moisturized to perfection. She was polished in every way possible for this debut performance.
If I have to work here long, I’m going to have to come up with my own costumes, Kat thought but had to admit she looked the part she was about to play.
Hearing her song start, she took a deep breath and walked towards the curtain. Straightening her spine, she gave herself a silent lecture to be strong.
Come on, Kat, don’t over think this. Keep your mind on the goal.
As Kat stepped through the blue velvet she paused, letting her eyes adjust to the Zora’s dim lighting and smoky interior. The stage consisted of a long runway fitted with several poles that extended from the floor to the roof above and ended in a wide circle, which served as a bar for the crowding patrons. Above the stage, disco lights spun slowly, casting a shower of glimmering light on the stage.
Located off the strip, the Zora was one of the most notorious clubs in Las Vegas and its whispered ties to organized crime were what had led Kat through its doors for this adventure…
Most of Kat’s 23 years had been uneventful, until her parents’ recent deaths.
The police had quickly determined they had been victims of road rage and the case was left there. After graduating from college Kat had gone to work for a private investigator that specialized in insurance fraud. Her boss wasn’t a strictly by the books type and let her use some of his resources to help settle her parent’s estate after their untimely deaths. His willingness to fudge the rules had enabled her to access all kinds of information about her parents’ holdings, information that would have taken her months to obtain had she gone through normal channels. Everything was as she had expected. Almost.
One of the hardest parts of losing both of her parents was being left alone with no family. Then she had found the safety deposit box containing information that abruptly turned her world upside down. According to the paperwork her mother and father had hidden away, she had a myriad of cousins, aunts, uncles, and possibly even a grandfather still living.
Kat spent three days poring over the documents then spent another day and a half scouring the Internet, disbelieving half of what she had discovered in various newspaper articles and intrigued by the remainder. She’d discovered her parents had belonged to the Ogalla Russkaya mafiya, or Russian-American mafia, which based its operations out of southern Florida.
After her fourth birthday, the violence between her extended family members and the Colombian drug cartels escalated to a point where her parents left the organization and went into hiding. Kat’s mother had detailed their reasoning in one of her letters, and that reason had been her. They had left their family in order to protect their daughter.
But they had done so without the pakhan’s good wishes and a price had been placed upon their heads. According to her research, the pakhan was very much like the godfather of the Bratva and his word was law. Her father had been one of his most loyal and trusted advisors, working as the kassir, or accountant, keeping the organization’s books. As such, he simply knew too much to be allowed to leave. That he was also the pakhan’s grandson hadn’t helped.
The Millers, whose real name was the Osins, had raised their daughter in a variety of nice little suburbs outside major cities, never bemoaning their lack of an extended family. Holidays and birthdays had been celebrated with just the three of them for as far back as Kat could remember.
Throughout her childhood, they had moved every two or three years. Now Kat understood their lack of roots was to prevent having their location discovered. But their last move came during her senior year of high school. Her parents had remained living outside St. Louis for nearly six years, until they became the supposed victims of road rage.
According to the official police report, their SUV had been pushed off the highway, rolling four times before coming to a stop in a ravine. The first responders on the scene had located her mother’s body. She had been thrown from the vehicle and impaled on a piece of rebar sticking out on the damaged guardrail. She’d been pronounced dead at the scene. Her father was found inside the vehicle, h
The detectives let her know there wasn’t much they could do to find the guilty party. The area of the highway where the accident had occurred did not have any video surveillance nor had there been any witnesses. Four days after the accident, Kat buried the only two people in the world that mattered to her, surrounded by a few neighbors and some acquaintances.
She mourned her parents then began adjusting to her solitary life. Then she discovered her parents’ secrets and her unknown family. Despite her curiosity, Kat planned to file the paperwork away and ignore it—until she realized she was being followed. One night she had gone into the bathroom without turning the light on and heard two men talking underneath her bathroom window, speaking Russian. Kat hadn’t known she had a Russian heritage when she’d decided to take Russian as her foreign language in high school. She’d taken it because she had hoped to one day travel to Moscow and dance with the Russian Ballet and had wanted to be able to communicate with her fellow dancers. She couldn’t make out much of their whispered conversation but clearly heard them mention the names of her parents.
When two FBI agents showed up on her doorstep the next morning, she had assumed it was because they had discovered her parents’ true identities. But it was more than just a fishing expedition. They expressed concern for her welfare. What they told her both chilled her to the bone and angered her. Apparently the FBI had her under surveillance and discovered she was being followed by two men who worked for a rival Bratva very friendly with the Ogalla crime family that her parents had run from. The feds had reason to believe that as a show of good faith to the current Ogalla leader, these two men had taken her parents out because they had offered to be informants in exchange for witness protection. It seemed her parents had grown tired of having to move and were ready to settle down; once and for all.
The new leadership of the Ogalla mafia controlled the import of drugs from their Colombian contacts forcing the other mafia groups to pay almost double for their merchandise. This had angered many of them. Several attempts had been made to assassinate the pakhan, but none had been successful. Kat’s parents had apparently kept abreast of the situation and their loyalties were no longer with the Ogalla mafia.
Kat told the FBI agents she had no knowledge of her parents’ former life or the Ogalla mafia and couldn’t be of any help. She waited until they drove off then went to work, packed up her desk, and quit her job.
Her mother’s letters had stated that Danil Yakimov was her uncle and if she should ever find herself in need of protection, she should find him. Danil was part of the San Moreno group, operating for the most part in California and Nevada. Kat researched her uncle, finding several recent photos of him on the Internet taken in Las Vegas casinos and at the Zora. It seemed her uncle liked his pleasures!
She wanted revenge for her parents’ murders, but she didn’t want to give up her own life in the process. She had in her possession a sealed letter her mother had written to Danil, and while she had been tempted to open it, she also realized there was most likely a good reason her mother had sealed it with wax. Perhaps it was some signal her uncle would recognize.
Kat closed up her parent’s house, purchased a one-way ticket to Las Vegas, and went hunting. Having learned all she could about the Russian mafia operating in the US, she had decided to try to locate her uncle without broadcasting her identity to everyone...
The harsh whisper brought Kat out of her daydream. She turned to see Mickey scowling at her from the bar area.
“What’s the problem?” he asked, looking ready to climb up on the stage. “They’re getting ready to start your music—again!”
“Nothing. Just getting my bearings,” she offered with a wan smile.
“Well then…” he said with a wide sweep of his arm towards the empty stage.
Kat looked out on the audience as the music increased in volume. Steeling her resolve, she walked forward, putting a little shimmy in her stance and plastering a come-hither smile on her face. If her intel was correct, Danil should be in the club and her plan was to look for him during her performance.
Kat grabbed the first pole she came to, turning her back to the audience and then letting her body slide down the pole as she bent her head back; giving those seated closest a glimpse down her shirt.
At the next pole, she did a sexy twist and turn around the pole before lowering her torso so that her back was parallel to the stage floor, giving anyone seated behind her a sneak preview of what lie beneath her skirt.
Listening to the crowd respond, Kat immediately shut off the part of her brain that wanted to blush in embarrassment, focusing on why she was here.
She walked around the edge of the stage, untying the shirt to let it hang open. She boldly looked out at the men gathered around the tables and in the booths, making brief eye contact with each.
Kat strutted around the stage swinging her hips and finally let the shirt drop off her shoulders to drag behind her, held only by the fingertips of her left hand. The sheer mesh of the bra hid little so her breasts were on full display. She moved to the far side of the stage to look over the only booth she’d yet to check out. It was situated at the very back of the bar, surrounded on two sides by walls and on the other two by big hulking men.
She swore under her breath. She assumed that must be Danil’s booth but his bodyguards prevented her from seeing for sure. Swallowing her disappointment, Kat realized her set was almost over. She quickly unzipped the skirt, let it fall to her ankles, and suggestively stepped out of it. She glanced out of the corner of her eye to see Mickey leering at her with a big smile.
She bent at the waist to pick the shirt up, her backside to the eager audience, inwardly cringing at the rude suggestions shouted by some patrons. But she straightened up, turned, and approached the men who were eager to tuck the money they held high into the straps of her G-string. This was the part of the job she had been most hesitant about; having strange men putting their hands upon her in such close proximity to her private areas.
Pulling the ponytail holders from her hair, Kat shook her head to loosen her long hair then tossed it back over her shoulders. Having her hair brushing against her back and partially covering her exposed breasts provided Kat enough security to continue her charade.
With her best smile pasted on her face, she approach one of the men waving cash and squatted down in front of him. Somehow she managed not to when his stubby fingers touched her left hip and tucked a $20 bill beneath the thin elastic. The smell of onions and sweat wafted off his body and it took everything in her not to gag.
She nodded her head in thanks, stood back up, and shimmied to the next patron, repeating the process several more times until her song was almost over. She was about to sashay herself backstage when a waving bill caught her attention and she looked into the grey-blue eyes of the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen. Kat tried to turn away, but his enigmatic gaze held her fast. Waving the bill, he used his index finger to beckon her closer.
Kat felt her breath catch just beneath her ribs and she made her way across the stage until she was standing right in front of him. His dark hair had just enough wave and length that it fell slightly over his forehead, causing her finger to itch with the need to reach out and straighten it. He had a very thin beard and mustache, almost as if he’d simply forgotten to shave for a few days. Kat had never like facial hair on a man before, but on him it was perfect.
As she stood there watching him, the song came to an end, replaced by catcalls and rude comments that finally enabled her to look away and regain her composure. As she turned to leave the stage, the man her reached out and tucked the bill into the front of her G-string, which was strictly
The touch of his fingertips sent a shot of heat through her loins and caused her step to falter. He reached out a hand to steady her, but she quickly stepped back and beat a hasty retreat behind the curtain.
“Dayum, girl! You sure do know how to snag’em!”
Kat looked up to see Jewel, a tall African-American princess with ebony hair braided down her back, smiling at her.
“What do you mean?” Kat asked absently, still trying to recover from her encounter with Mr. Gorgeous.
“Nikolai Tsarsko!” When Kat just continued to give her a blank stare, Jewel continued, “That beautiful man giving you money? He’s like a god around here. Girl, where are you from?”
“Well, for a girl from the Midwest, you sure got Nikolai’s attention. Did you happen to see that booth in the back, surrounded by the overly large men in black suits?”
Kat nodded. “Were those bodyguards of some sort?”
“You could say that. There are quite a few people who would just love to see him dead.”
“Nikolai, huh?” Kat smiled in the mirror. “He’s really good looking.”
Jewel barked out a laugh. “That man is waaaay beyond good looking. Admit it, your panties got wet just having him look at you.”
Kat blushed deep red and before she could reply, Mickey came rushing in from the bar area. “Kat, that was amazing! Now, stow your money and then come out here. Nikolai has asked you to join him for a drink.”
When Kat just sat there dumbfounded, he strode over and pulled her up from the chair. When he reached for the money tucked into her G-string, Kat slapped his hands away. “I can do it!” She quickly pulled the bills out and gasped when she saw Nikolai had tipped her a hundred dollar bill! Mickey and Jewel both laughed at her shock.
LESLIE NORTH SERIES:
Other author's books:
- Grant Brothers Series: The Complete SeriesHer Ruthless Russian (Karev Brothers Book 1)The Sheikh's Furious PrisonerThe Russian's Stubborn Lover (The Fedosov Family Series Book 1)Safe and Sound (The Safe House Series Book 3)SEAL Guardian (Brothers In Arms Book 3)Ride with the SEAL_Norse Security [Book One]The Sheikh's Christmas BabyThe Sheikh's Captive American (Zahkim Sheikhs Series Book 1)
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