(The Ivankov Brotherhood, #1)
Published by: Oliver Heber Books
Publication date: June 28th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mafia, Romance
I wasn’t prepared for her…
She just got me to pay three times as much as I wanted for a company I’ll buy and destroy.
She knows who I am. The bratva doesn’t scare her.
Intelligent, brave, and unstoppable.
I’ll make her mine.
She doesn’t know it yet, but we’re soulmates.
I’ll take her to her limits. Then give her all her heart desires.
The Bratva Darling is an interconnecting, standalone Dark Mafia Romance with a HEA and no cliffhanger. It contains extra-steamy scenes that will make your toes curl and your granny blush. This is book one in The Ivankov Brotherhood, a six-book series that’ll keep you warm at night.
As I sit across from the four Kutsenko brothers, I press my lips together to keep from drooling. No four men should be so strikingly handsome. Not all from the same family, anyway. I fight a valiant battle against letting my gaze drift toward the eldest, Maksim, whose ice-blue eyes bore into me. After years of negotiating billion-dollar investment contracts while facing countless ruthless businessmen, I’ve learned to keep my expression studiously blank. But it’s a true struggle today. Instead, I focus my attention on the squirrelly lawyer sitting across the conference table. While he’s disingenuous with each comment, he’s a good negotiator. But I’m better. How cliché am I?
While I feel Maksim watching me, I focus on Dmitry Yakovitch as he continues to argue the merits of the venture capitalist company I represent, RK Capital Group, merging with Kutsenko Partners. What he means is the merits of Kutsenko Partners acquiring RK Capital Group, then stripping it and making it another money-laundering shell corporation. While most people in New York have little awareness of the Russian mafia, I do. The Kutsenko brothers’ names appear on no titles or deeds anywhere in New York City, but it wasn’t difficult to determine which shell companies likely belong to them. Their assumption that I’m unfamiliar with them is proving beneficial to me as they continue to whisper amongst themselves in Russian. I think they may even believe they’re convincing me that they don’t speak much English.
The senior partners of RK Capital Group know who I’m negotiating with, though they may not know I’m aware of these Russians’ more nefarious operations. They’ve given me the go-ahead to agree to a merger with an eventual acquisition, but only for the right price. A price to the tune of twenty billion dollars. Considering an investment firm like Goldman Sachs is worth nearly one-hundred-and-twenty billion dollars, my clients’ asking price appears reasonable.
“Mr. Yakovitch, I shall stop you now.” I raise my left hand, pen caught between my index and middle fingers. When I have his attention, I lean back in my chair and casually twirl the pen over my index finger and thumb. “Fifty billion is my clients’ asking price. You know that. Your clients know that. RK doesn’t oppose the merger. What they oppose is the insulting offer you’ve made. It’s nearly noon, and I’m hungry, Mr. Yakovitch. I have a delicious ham sandwich waiting for me. I even have three chocolate chip cookies waiting for me. If we aren’t going to make any progress, I shall let you go, so I can move onto my eagerly anticipated lunch.”
I cant my head just enough for me to appear as though my gaze rests solely on the opposing attorney’s face, but I can see each Kutsenko brothers’ reaction. My face battles yet again against showing my emotions as I fight not to smirk. Their muted but surprised expressions confirm what I already know.
“Please tell your clients to make a reasonable counteroffer, or I will conclude this meeting and enjoy my ham sandwich and cookies.”
Dmitry glares at me before turning to Maksim and his three brothers. In rapid Russian, he doesn’t interpret my suggestion. Oh no. There’s no need for that. I can’t catch every word because his voice is too low. But I catch something along the lines of “The bitch refuses to budge. What now? A f*cking ham sandwich. More like a stick up her *ss.”
Maksim swivels his chair to look at his brothers. In Russian, he says, “Fifty billion is ridiculous. She’s not so stupid or naïve not to know that. My guess is they’ll settle for twenty billion. We offer fifteen.”
“That’s barely better than what we already offered,” Aleksei, the second-oldest brother, argues. “She’ll be eating the f*cking sandwich and dipping her cookies in milk before we walk out the door. We need the buildings.”
“We offer twenty, Maks,” Bogdan, the youngest, insists.
As I watch the brothers discuss, their voices barely lowered, I pull my lunch sack from the black leather satchel by my feet and set it beside my laptop. It’s a ridiculously pink floral bag with an embroidered monogram, the L and D overlapping. It’s an empty prop, but they don’t know that. I watch as five sets of eyes narrow. I offer a smile that would appear innocent in any setting other than this meeting. It’s patronizing, and I know it.
Sabine Barclay, a nom de plume also writing Historical Romance as Celeste Barclay, lives near the Southern California coast with her husband and sons. Growing up in the Midwest, Sabine enjoyed spending as much time in and on the water as she could. Now she lives near the beach. She's an avid swimmer, a hopeful future surfer, and a former rower. Before becoming a full-time author, Sabine was a Social Studies and English teacher. She holds degrees in International Affairs (BA), Secondary Social Science (MAT), and Political Management (MPS). She channels that knowledge into creating engrossing contemporary romances that will make your toes curl and your granny blush.