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Saturday, June 29, 2013
I'm a huge fan of dark TV dramas with tons of suspense and action and anti-heroes like Sons of Anarchy. When it was time to start plotting NIKOLAI's book, I knew that this story would have a darker, more intense feel than the first three in the series.
As the Russian mob boss of city, Nikolai has his fingers on the pulse of Houston's underworld. He feels something new coming and knows that things are about to change. There are big power plays on the horizon—and Vivian, the budding artist he considers his ward, is right at the center of it.
Her notorious criminal father has just been popped from pen by the Feds and rumors of his plans to flip on a cartel and outlaw motorcycle gang are whirling around Houston. The men he threatens will stop at nothing to draw her father out of hiding—even going so far as to take on Nikolai himself.
At the last possible second, he noticed the bright headlights rushing toward them as they crossed the intersection. Thinking only of Vivian, he thrust out his arm to hold her back against the seat. The crushing impact of the SUV that slammed into the front edge of the car spun them around violently. Amid the splintering metal and bursting glass, he heard Vivian's terrified scream. The sound chilled him to the very bone.
When the car finally lurched to a stop, he blinked and tried to clear his dazed mind. He put a hand to his aching temple and felt the blood trickling along his skin. Vivian's low moan of pain drew his attention. He'd locked his elbow trying to hold her in place. Now it throbbed terribly. Bending his arm proved nearly impossible.
Vaguely, he was aware of other cars rushing onto the scene, their tires squealing as they stopped, but he was focused solely on Vivian. She grimaced with discomfort but looked wholly uninjured. His bleary gaze raked her body for any hint of blood but he found none.
"Angel moy." He reached for her hand. "Are you all right?"
"I think so," she answered in a whisper. She blinked a few times and turned her gaze toward his faze. Her eyes widened with sudden panic. Her hand flew out and snatched the front of his shirt. As she jerked him toward her, she screamed, "Nikolai!"
A second later, something very hard hit the window behind his head. A hammer? A crow bar? He wasn’t sure.
Someone tried to open her car door but the impact of the SUV had crunched and crimped the metal. Heavy footfalls sounded on the roof and hood of the car. A sledge hammer wielded by a man in black slammed against the windshield. Glass shards exploded all around them as the sledgehammer broke through the safety glass.
He reached for Vivian and dragged her into his protective embrace. He wrapped his battered arms around her in a desperate attempt to keep the flying glass from cutting her face and neck. She flicked off her seatbelt and burrowed into the safety of his embrace, burying her face against chest and whimpering with fear.
As a crowd of men descended on the car, Nikolai heard gunshots in the distance. Kostya and Sergei? He hoped they would reach the car in time to help them fend off this blitz attack.
As the men outside the car started to rip the windshield free, he reached under his jacket and retrieved his loaded gun. "Cover your ears."
Vivian hurried to comply with his order, placing her small hands against her ears. The moment the windshield was ripped free he fired at the first man who came into view. Staggering backward and clutching at his chest, the man fell onto the hood and tumbled onto the pavement. Another man took his place, and Nikolai fired again, carefully conserving his rounds until help arrived.
But it wasn't enough.
The window behind him was ripped free. A series of blows to the back of his head stunned him. Four hands grasped his shoulders and arms. In the melee, the gun was knocked from his grasp. Vivian's scream echoed in the night as he was torn through the window. Jagged edges of glass ripped through his clothing and into his skin.
He watched in horror as three men tried to grab Vivian. Somehow she'd managed to grab the pepper spray from her purse. Judging by the screams of pain and the sounds of coughing that erupted, he figured she'd gotten at least two of them.
Refusing to be taken down so easily, Nikolai twisted and kicked until he managed to free himself from the clutches of the men who had dragged him through the door. With one swift movement, he yanked out the knife he kept holstered in his boot and wielded it menacingly.
He'd been in enough prison brawls, armed only with hastily crafted shivs, to know how this fight against five men would end. He'd be lucky to survive it but he'd do whatever it took to buy enough time for Kostya and Sergei to reach Vivian and get her to safety.
Two of the men rushed him. Relying on instinct and adrenaline, Nikolai stabbed and ducked to evade them. He caught one in the hand, driving his blade through the man's palm, and wrenching a guttural cry from the attacker's throat. Ripping the blade free, he turned his attention to the other man. The injured one fell away but another quickly took his place, this one carrying a length of pipe.
Bracing for the painful impact, Nikolai refused to back down. In the background, he heard Vivian shouting and fighting off the men trying to pull her from the car. The pipe connected with his arm and shoulder just as he witnessed Vivian being hauled out through the gaping hole where the windshield had been. Her panicked shriek broke his concentration, giving his assailants the opening they needed.
The man brandishing the pipe cracked Nikolai along the side of his head. The blinding pain sent him to his knees. A boot caught him in the jaw and flipped him onto his stomach. Clawing at the pavement, he tried to force his battered body to move but the jarring impact of the pipe and boot rendered him worthless.
As blood dripped into his eyes and clouded his vision, he watched helplessly as two men dragged Vivian toward an idling SUV. She kicked and bit and shrieked but she couldn't get free. Their gazes met across the impossible distance now between them. Rolling onto his side, he lifted his hand in a final desperate but futile attempt to reach her.
Her terrified scream was suddenly muffled as her kidnappers managed to get her into the SUV. The vehicle raced away from the scene, taking the woman he loved more than anything in the world.
An angry kick to his gut tore a pained groan from his throat. Another blow to his shoulder knocked him onto his back again. One of the assailants bent down and slammed the full-length of Nikolai's own knife into his shoulder. He gasped, but the pain of the blade slicing through muscle was nothing compared to the soul-crushing agony he experienced at the knowledge he'd failed Vivian.
"Jesus, we weren't supposed to kill him." One of the masked men dragged away the man who had stabbed Nikolai. "Let's go."
The attackers and his people started to trade gunfire. The assailants piled into the remaining SUV, leaving behind the crashed vehicle but taking their injured comrades with them. Kostya and Sergei finally made it to his side.
Dropping to his knees, Kostya grabbed Nikolai around the waist and dragged him out of the roadway. Men were shouting all around him but he couldn't understand anything they said. His battered brain couldn't compute a single word after the nasty blows he'd taken.
Gripping Kostya's hand, he growled, "They took her. They took my Vivian."
"We'll get her back."
As Kostya shouted at Sergei to get a fucking ambulance, Nikolai fought to remain conscious. Blood seeped out of his body and soaked into his jacket and pooled around Kostya's legs. Nikolai relished the excruciating pain accompanying each and every breath. It reminded him that he was still alive—and if he was alive, he could get her back. He had to get her back.
And the men who had taken his beautiful, precious Vivian would know true agony.
Her Russian Protector, #1
Desperate to find her sister, Erin goes to the only man in Houston who can help her: Ivan Markovic. The intimidating, tattooed Russian operates one of the most elite mixed-martial arts training centers in the world but it’s his shadowy past and reputed connections with Houston’s underworld that interest her most.
To find her sister, she’ll need the help of her big, scary Russian protector—but asking for help from a man like Ivan carries a steep price, one that might just include her heart.
Read Anna's 5 Star Review HERE
Her Russian Protector, #2
Refusing to lose her brother to the violent Hermanos street gang, Benny turns to Dimitri, the dead sexy Russian who lives in the apartment above her family’s bakery. He’s the only man tough enough to get through to Johnny and save him from a life in prison—or worse.There’s nothing Dimitri won’t do for Benny, even if it means dealing with her troublemaking brother. He quickly realizes that it’s not just Johnny and his thug friends that pose a threat to Benny. A shady real estate developer needs to buy her bakery to secure a multi-million dollar deal and he’ll stop at nothing to make her sell.
Threatened from all sides, Benny finds safety in Dimitri’s strong arms — and in his bed. Her big, sexy Russian has no intention of ever letting her go—and he’ll brave the fires of hell before he lets anyone harm her.
Reader’s Note: Dimitri is an incredibly passionate man with a dominant streak—and Benny is only too happy to indulge his need for a little…restraint.
Read Anna's 4 Star Review HERE
Her Russian Protector, Book 3
While clawing her way out of Houston’s worst neighborhood, Lena vowed to never let any man have power over her. After a lifetime of broken promises from her criminal father and a mother who abandoned her, Lena believes that love makes you vulnerable. She’s never been tempted to test that belief…until Yuri.
Sexy as sin and with a dark reputation, Russian billionaire Yuri Novakovsky survived a miserable childhood of poverty and neglect to ascend the pinnacle of success. He enjoys the perks of his massive wealth without much thought to the consequences…until Lena.
When Lena’s father and cousin blunder into an international art theft operation, Yuri seizes his chance to be her protector. But when past misdeeds catch up with him and threaten Lena’s safety, Yuri puts her love and trust in him to the test.
He’ll prove he’s the man she needs—a man she can trust and depend upon—one sensual, wicked kiss at a time.
***YURI is a full-length novel, clocking in at 90,000 words and 300+ pages.***
Her Russian Protector, Book 4
After a brush with death as a juvenile delinquent, Vivian swore she'd never stray across that line again—but there's just one problem with her plan to stay on the right side of the law. She's completely, irrevocably and unabashedly in love with Nikolai, the Russian mob boss who saved her life.
From the moment Vivian appeared in his life on that tragic April night, Nikolai felt himself inextricably bonded to her. She's the bright light in his dark world and the only thing that keeps him from sliding deeper into a life of crime and violence—a mobbed-up life he can't escape no matter how hard he tries.
After Vivian is ripped from his arms in a brazen blitz attack, Nikolai will stop at nothing to get her back—but rescuing her and keeping her safe in his arms isn't enough. Suddenly, Nikolai's only chance to keep her safe is to do the one thing he vowed never to do—he'll drag her deeper into his shadowy world and bind her to him forever.
Because their tangled pasts are about to collide and the shockwave threatens to bring Houston's criminal underbelly to its knees…
Reader Advisory: This story contains scenes of violence against women and frank descriptions of trafficking.
Available at: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords.
Read Anna's 5 Star Review HERE
When I’m not chasing after my wild preschooler, I like to write super sexy romances and scorching hot erotica. I live in Texas with a husband who could easily snag a job as an extra on History Channel’s new Viking series, a sweet but rowdy three-year-old with Tetralogy of Fallot, and Bosley, our Great Dane with major mommy issues.
I also have another dirty-book writing alter ego, Lolita Lopez, who writes deliciously steamy tales for Ellora’s Cave, Forever Yours/Grand Central, Mischief/Harper Collins UK, Siren Publishing and Cleis Press.
YURI & NIKOLAI Tour Schedule
June 17 - June 30
6/17- Books, Books & More Books (series spotlight & review)
6/17- Reading Between The Wines (guest post)
6/18- Nina's Literary Escape (series spotlight)
6/18 Flirting with Romance (interview)
6/20- The Reading Café (series spotlight & review)
6/20- United by Books (interview)
6/21- Book Monster Reviews (guest post)
6/22- Night Owl Reviews (guest post & review)
6/23- Romance Junkies (series spotlight & review)
6/24- My Reading Obsession (series spotlight & review)
6/25- Offbeat Vagabond (series spotlight & review)
6/26- Cocktails and Books (series spotlight)
6/27- Salacious Reads (series spotlight)
6/27- Riverina Romantics (guest post)
6/29- Book Lovin Mamas (guest post)
Roxie is giving away the following prizes on her tour:
GRAND PRIZE: US/CANADA ONLY
Signed set of all four HER RUSSIAN PROTECTOR print books in a tote with swag
RUNNERS UP: US/CANADA ONLY
TWO (2) runners-up will receive a signed copy of IVAN and swag..a Rafflecopter giveaway
Labels:4 Star Reviews,5 Star Reviews,Anna's Faves,Her Russian Protector,Review by Anna,Romantic Suspense,Roxie Rivera