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Home / Samples / Savored Innocence: A Dark Mafia Romance by Measha Stone – Sample

Savored Innocence: A Dark Mafia Romance by Measha Stone – Sample

Chapter One

Billie

“What is he doing here?” I tighten my grip on my phone as a dark figure passes by my open office door.

“Who?” Hanna asks. I stand up at my desk, bringing my cell with me, as I hurry to the door.

“Roman,” I whisper into the phone, in case the man has bionic hearing. I peek my head into the hallway. “Why would Roman be meeting with the head of Masters Property Management?” I shut the door while waiting for Hanna to answer.

“Well…” The guilt fills in the dead air left after her voice trails off.

“Oh, my God, Hanna. Why didn’t you tell me he’d be back in Boston?” Even with my door shut, I keep my voice hushed.

“I did tell you. Last month when you were here in New York for Julianna’s birthday party. I told you Roman was moving to Boston permanently.”

“You did?” I sink back into my chair behind my desk. “I don’t remember you saying anything about it.”

“Well, I think I told you. I meant to tell you.”

“You didn’t.” I would remember if she did. The fact would have ingrained itself into my mind.

“Well, I meant to. Don’t blame me, it’s the pregnancy brain.”

“Fine, I’ll blame Gregor. He’s the one who did this to you anyway.” I can’t even pretend to scold her about it though. This pregnancy hasn’t been as smooth sailing as when she was pregnant with Julianna.

She laughs. “I doubt he’ll be regretful. But yes, Roman is there permanently, so he’s probably meeting with your company because he needs management for one of his buildings.”

It’s not my company. Far from it. I’ve worked here for the last year, working my ass off to move up quickly, but I’m nowhere near close to any sort of partnership in the firm.

“Why would he need a property management company? Doesn’t he have people to do that sort of thing?” Hell, they should have men who deal with the things those men need.

“I don’t know. Gregor put distance between himself and any of the Romanov businesses that aren’t completely legal.”

“I’m sure he’ll do fine with Jamison. He’ll give Roman the royal treatment, and I’ll just keep out of his way.” Once they sign the paperwork for the new accounts, Roman won’t have to be in the office for anything. If I can get through today without being seen, it will be smooth sailing.

“You two have been circling each other for two years now, Billie. Maybe get in his way this time?”

“No. There’s a reason nothing’s ever happened between us, Hanna.”

“Oh? And what is that?”

“One. He’s not interested. And two, he’s… he’s Roman fucking Romanov!” I clench my eyes for a long moment.

She laughs. “Neither of those are reasons. Remember when you were here for Julianna’s christening? He looked ready to kill Brian.”

“Well, he’s a better judge of character than me. Brian was a bad choice.” I frown at my own stupidity. I wasted too many months on that toxic asshole. “He’s also older than me, Hanna. Like fifteen years older, right?” I do the math in my head, I’m almost twenty-five, and he just had his fortieth birthday; Hanna had mentioned going to a family dinner for his big day. The information just stuck.

“So what? Gregor’s older than me.” She says this like she doesn’t tease him about it whenever she gets the chance.

“That’s different.” It’s not, but what else can I say?

“Whatever.” I can practically hear her eyes rolling through my cell phone. “You might not even see him. And if you do, just go with it. Don’t hide.” She sounds more like her husband the longer she’s married to him, bossy to a fault.

“I’m not hiding.” I look at my closed door; maybe I should have locked it in case he sees my name on the plaque outside my door and decides to be civil and say hello.

“Of course you are,” she says. “Look, worst case, he asks you to lunch.”

“No.” There are worse things Roman could do to me. He could get all overprotective of me in front of my boss, making me look like a little girl who can’t take care of herself. He could lecture me about something trivial like he’s done in the past when we’ve bumped into each other. He could… he could not think about me at all.

“Just—” she tries to continue, but I cut her off.

“Hanna, the last time I bumped into him, he was rude. Overly rude, and arrogant.” I clench my hand on my desk.

“At Julianna’s christening?”

“No. I saw him a few months ago, here in Boston. I was on a date, and he completely ruined it.” It had been the first and last date with Logan, the contractor I’d met through a co-worker. “It was embarrassing.”

“What did he do?”

“Scared the hell out of my date. I mean, Logan held his own pretty well considering how terrifying Roman can look when he’s irritated. And he was irritated.”

“Why?”

“How should I know? I didn’t bother asking. I got him to go away, but not before Logan got cold feet about being involved with me.” I’m not sure if it was Roman’s knack for taking up all the space in the room when he’s in it, or the black and red tattoos sprawled across his hands and knuckles. Either way, it was a quick date—and the last.

“When you first met him, you thought he was nice enough.”

“Because he was then. He let me stay at his condo while you and Gregor were figuring things out. And when you left Boston, he helped me get moved into a new apartment. He was nice.” He even made sure I had his number in case I needed anything, and he took mine. Then he never called.

“I haven’t seen him much over the past two years, but I know there’s been trouble with his father. Igor moved back to Russia a while ago.”

“Roman’s the oldest of his brothers, right? Doesn’t that mean he’s in charge now?”

“Roman wouldn’t do anything to put you in danger,” she says firmly before I can even take us down the road of what it means for Roman to be the head of the Romanov family here in the States.

“It’s just another reason for me to keep my distance.” It’s the right thing to do. Roman would never be able to give me the sort of relationship I crave. No matter how desperately handsome he is, or how insanely attracted I am to him. I don’t do well in the sort of relationship I’m sure he’s used to.

“Damn. Julianna’s up from her nap. I’m gonna cut this short. Call me tomorrow, though? Let me know if you’ve talked with him.”

“Why would I talk with him, Hanna?” My alarm bells go off. “Hanna. Did you tell him I work here?”

“I might have mentioned something. I really do have to go, love you, bye!” She hangs up before I can threaten her life for putting the bug in his ear.

Growling, I drop my phone onto my desk. If he knows I work here, he’ll probably stop to say hello. And I’m not sure I can handle a conversation with him. All it will do is stir up my own attraction to him and leave me wanting and annoyed the rest of the day because Roman Romanov is not for me.

I need a place to hide, and I could use a cup of coffee, so I grab my empty mug thinking to stash myself in the staff lounge. There wouldn’t be any reason for him to go in there, and I’ll keep my door shut so he’ll think I’m just not in the office today. It could work.

If he decides to come looking for me. Which he might not anyway. Because, even if he did get all protective and arrogant when he saw me on my date with Logan, that doesn’t mean he wants me for himself. It just meant he was looking out for his cousin’s wife’s best friend.

A completely normal thing for a Russian mobster to do.

Sure that I’m in the clear, I swing open my office door ready to march down to the lounge only to find Jamison Masters with his hand raised ready to either knock or open the door.

“Oh! Good. You’re here.” Jamison grins. His pencil-thin mustache flickers when he speaks. “I thought maybe you weren’t in today; your door is never closed.”

“No. I’m here.” My gaze flips behind him and my insides freeze. Roman stands there, an arrogant smile firmly planted on his lips. He’s dressed in a full business suit, but even with the professional garb, I can see the tattoos peeking out of his collar and climbing up his neck. Even with his hair slicked back and his beard neatly trimmed, he oozes danger.

“Well, good. Let’s go in your office. I have a new account for you. This is Roman Romanov, but I think you’ve met him before?” He steps forward, making me move out of his way so he can enter my office, leaving me to stand right in front of Roman.

I steel my gaze and meet his dark stare.

“Yes, we’ve met,” I manage to say.

Roman lifts his eyebrow. “Let’s have a talk, Billie.” He gestures for me to follow my boss into my office. “It seems we’re going to be working together.”

“Over my dead body,” I mutter beneath my breath, but from the arch of his brow, I’m sure he heard me.

I can’t work with him.

I won’t work with him.

Chapter Two

Roman

She’s prettier than I remember. It’s only been six weeks since I’ve witnessed the frustrated blush on her cheeks, but it feels much longer. If she’s this flustered just by my presence, she’s really going to fume when she realizes she’s about to be mine. It’s going to be a beautiful sight.

“Here, have a seat.” I pull out the chair behind her desk for her. Jamison looked ready to sit in her seat, but this is her office. Even if he does own it, this is her territory, and I won’t let him push his weight around.

Unless it benefits me.

She glances at Jamison, who takes stiff steps away from the chair I’m holding for her. Once she’s seated, I gently push her in, then move around the desk and take one of the chairs facing her. With a quick look at Jamison, he does the same.

“Roman here has been a busy man. He’s purchased several condominiums and industrial offices, not to mention a few storage facilities along the harbor that were fought for.” Jamison gives me another appreciative grin. If the man tries any harder, I’ll have to have his lips surgically removed from my ass.

“Impressive,” she says, putting her coffee mug down on the desk and forcing herself to remain professional. She keeps her focus on Jamison while he continues.

“He’s contracted with us to manage two of his condominium buildings. Possibly a third, but he’s still working on that purchase.” Jamison rubs his greedy hands together, probably already mentally spending all the money he’s going to make on my account.

“Three condominium buildings? In addition to the ones you already own?” She points her question at me, but her eyes barely reach my chin.

“Now that I’m here in Boston permanently, I decided to increase my investments.” I keep my voice even, professional. This is just a business meeting, at least until I can get rid of Jamison. Then a better conversation can be had.

“Permanently.” The word sounds foreign the way she says it, like she’s trying to remind herself of the meaning.

“Yes, and I’m putting you on the account.” Jamison stands up, like he can’t get out of here fast enough. Now that he’s passing me off on her, he can escape back into his corner office, cheap liquor, and stale cigars.

“What? Me?” She pushes up to her feet, rounding her desk, following him to the door. “Mr. Masters, these are high-end buildings. Wouldn’t Geoffrey be better suited? He usually takes these sorts of accounts.”

Jamison glances over her shoulder at me then back at her. He made the same argument when I demanded she be my point of contact. The only fucking reason I’m using this damn firm is because of Billie. I won’t have some other asshole poking around my business. I want Billie.

In more ways than one.

And I won’t be denying myself anymore.

Two years is long enough to do the decent thing and try to keep my distance. I’m done with that. I played the noble cousin taking care of a friend of Gregor’s wife, making sure she was moved into a new apartment after Gregor whisked Hanna away from Boston. But enough of that bullshit. I shouldn’t have put that distance between us and I’m correcting my error now.

“Geoffrey has his plate full, and you can handle this.” Jamison gives a nod. “You’ll do fine. I have a meeting to get to.” He leans slightly to the side to give me his attention. “I leave you in Billie’s competent hands, but if you should need anything, my door is always open to you.”

With a small wave, I dismiss the bastard.

I’m barely to my feet after Jamison walks off down the hall before the door slams and Billie turns her frustrated frown on me.

“Why did you do that?” The pink on her cheeks deepens, making my cock lengthen in my trousers.

“Do what?” I slide my hands into my pockets.

“Roman.” She blows out a breath. “You need someone else for this. I’ve only been working here a little over a year. I’ve never managed a building as big as what you own, and there’s two? No.” She shakes her head. “You need to tell him to give the account to someone else.”

“No,” I say firmly.

She flicks her gaze up to mine. “Why not?” It’s almost a whine; my cock gets even harder. If she fists her hands and stomps her foot, I’ll be a lost cause.

“Because I want you.” I lift my shoulder.

“Roman.” She pulls in a breath, like she’s trying to calm herself before having a full on fit. I wish she wouldn’t. I want to see what her temper tantrum looks like. I’ll stomp it out right away, I don’t tolerate tantrums. But I’d love to see one first.

“Billie.” I’m not playing fair here, nudging her annoyance, but I’m not in the business of fair.

“I won’t be part of anything having to do with your… family.” She says the last word softly, like she’s treading lightly not to insult me.

“Romanov Enterprises owns the buildings, but that’s as ‘family’ as it gets,” I assure her. I can understand her hesitation. Billie’s been exposed to some of the inner workings of my world.

She stares at me for a long moment, worrying her bottom lip between two fingers.

“I don’t care. You need to let him put Geoffrey on your account. You’ll like him. He’s really good at his job, he’s been at it a long time, and he can handle multiple large accounts like this without a problem.”

“I don’t want Geoffrey. I want you.” I remain steadfast. There will be no budging me. I’m actually a little surprised she thinks she can.

“No, you don’t. You’re just being nice.”

“Nice?” The word tastes bitter. “You think I’m nice?”

She screws her lips to the side. “No. I mean, no, you’re not a nice guy to other people, but to your family, you’re loyal. And I’m not family, but Hanna is, and she told you I work here, so of course you’re doing this because of that.”

“No, I’m not.” I pause a beat. “Hanna has nothing to do with this, or anyone else. It’s you. I want you. Your boss has given his blessing and I won’t work with anyone else. So, if you don’t take my business, your boss loses a big account. I don’t think he’d like that.”

A drawn-out silence fills the space between us.

“Fine,” she huffs. “I’ll take the account because Jamison won’t let me off of it if you’ve muscled your way in here. Which I assume you did because that’s what you do.”

She’s not wrong.

“I don’t like your tone.” I take a step toward her.

“You don’t like my tone?” She shakes her head. “Let’s get this worked out right now, Roman. I will manage your buildings as best I can, and I will deal with you in a professional manner. But that’s it.”

“That’s it?” I tilt my head.

“Yes. That’s it.” She’s edible when she thrusts her chin out like this, trying to keep control of things that are far out of her reach.

“So, if I asked you to dinner tonight?” I feel every bit the cat inching my claws toward the mouse. She’s much stronger than she was the first time I met her; I bet her own claws are sharp.

“I have plans.” She lifts her chin a fraction higher.

The little liar.

“Do you?” I fold my arms. “What are they?”

“I’m… I don’t discuss personal things with clients.” She stalks around me, making her way back to her chair. Leaning forward, she presses the tips of her fingers into her desk. If she wasn’t wearing such a ridiculous blouse, I would be able to see the gentle swell of her breasts. But she’s buttoned the light blue shirt all the way up to her damn neck.

“I’m not really your client, though, am I?” I lean over her desk, lining up our stares. “I’m more like your boss now, aren’t I? You work for me now, Billie.”

Her breath washes over my cheeks when she huffs. “I have other clients, Roman, not just you.”

“Jamison forgot to mention. Your only accounts are mine from here on out.” I stare into her eyes, watching the storm swirl in her expression. Her lips pinch together so tight, they go white.

“You had me pulled off my other accounts just so you could… of all the controlling, asshole things to do—”

“Watch your tone and your language.” I touch the tip of my forefinger to the tip of her nose. “Understand me?”

As my words seep in, her pupils enlarge, her lips part. Even through the blouse, her nipples tighten.

And there she is.

My little girl.

No matter how angry she may be trying to be with me, underneath it, I can see her secret. She’s buried it pretty deep, but I see through her, have always seen it. The timing was just always wrong.

But not now.

The timing is all right.

She clears her throat and tries to shake off her obvious arousal.

“Whatever.” She pushes up to her full height. “I assume you’ve given all the important information to Jamison. I’ll get it from him.”

“I had everything you need to start with emailed to you.” I stand back up and slip my hands back into my pockets. “I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning for a tour of the buildings.”

“You don’t need to do that. I’ll meet you, or whoever you send, at the first location.” She folds her arms over her chest, but I don’t think it’s because she’s trying to show force. No, I think she’s trying to hide how hard her nipples are.

“I’ll pick you up, eight o’clock,” I say. “Get a good night’s sleep, malyshka, I don’t want you crabby when I come get you.”

Her shoulders fall.

“Roman. Seriously, why are you messing with me like this?” She follows me to the door.

I grab the handle before she can reach for it. “I’m not messing with you, Billie. I’ve denied myself for too long. I’m not going to do it anymore. And I don’t think you want me to deny you either. I think you want everything that I do, you just need a little more time.” I open the door. “But I’ll warn you, once I’ve decided something, I’m not a patient man willing to wait for it to happen.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” If she would look me in the eye for longer than a few seconds at a time, I might believe her. As it is, she keeps flicking her attention over my shoulder.

I lean down until my mouth is only an inch from her ear.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about, baby girl.” Reminding myself I wasn’t going to deny myself anything when it comes to her, I press my lips to her cheek. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

I’m two offices away when her door slams shut.

My little girl has a temper.

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