The Professional (Part 1) by Kresley Cole
ORDER A COPY: The Professional: Part 1
Publisher: Pocket Star/Simon & Schuster Digital
Publishing Date: December 16, 2013
eBook: 150 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Mafiya enforcer Aleksandr “The Siberian” Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss is unwavering, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, tantalizing redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Sevastyan will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.
Rules are made to be broken . . .
PhD student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the breathtakingly gorgeous Sevastyan before the professional hit man whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. With every day she spends under his protection, she falls deeper under his masterful spell.
Are you ready to play?
Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Aleksandr spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true.
Natalie Porter is a hard-working, conscientious student working towards her doctorate. She was raised as a simple Nebraska farm girl, but she was adopted as a baby from a Russian orphanage. She has always wanted to know about her birth parents and she has been working three jobs for the last six years to earn money to hire an investigator to find them. What she doesn’t know yet is that the investigator has found her birth father and that knowledge will soon be changing her life forever.
Natalie’s father is Pavel Kovalev, a vor v zakone, head of the Bratva, the Brotherhood, the Russkaya Mafiya, and he has sent his most trusted enforcer first to verify that Natalie is his daughter and then to protect her. Except the investigator has been paid by more than just Kovalev for this information. He has also informed Ivan Travkin, Kovelov’s biggest rival of his newest weakness. Travkin has sent enforcers of his own to kidnap Natalie and use her as a bargaining chip in a Russian turf war.
Aleksandr “The Siberian” Sevastyan has been watching over Natalie for several weeks now. He was here first to make sure she wasn’t some gold-digging scam artist like all the others, and then to protect the daughter of the man he admires most. But no matter how much Sevastyan is concerned about protecting Natalie from outside threats, he needs to protect her from himself as well. He knows that the desires he harbors for his boss’s daughter are dark and he craves to have her in his bed and under his control. It is the type of desires that could get even the loyalest of men killed. Yet with killers coming for her, he has no choice but to grab Natalie and bring her to Russia where she can be kept safe in Kovalev’s compound.
But is he strong enough to keep her safe from himself?
I have been a big fan of Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series for some years now and have turned all my PNR friends on to her work. I have always found her characters to be likeable and her stories to be captivating and exciting. When I heard that she was writing an erotica, I wondered how it could be more stimulating that some of her very memorable IAD scenes, including my personal favorite–the bath scene from Demon the Dark. Just thinking about that one could warm me up on the coldest night.
The characters in The Professional drew me in from the beginning with Natalie and her friends out drinking and Natalie using her “manalyst” powers to I.D. the losers in the bar until a gorgeous and clearly dangerous, cross between cage fighter and GQ model walks in and takes her breath away. I, along with Natalie, was drawn in by Sevastyan’s penetrating stare and cool demeanor. While his eyes eat her up, he coldly turns her down and walks away. From that moment, I was hooked. I have to know what’s behind the mind and heart of the very intense Sevastyan. It seemed to me to be a case where Sevastyan has put Natalie on a pedestal since she is smart and kind and caring and so unlike the women he usually spends his time with. He desires her, but his sexual preferences are toward domination, etc. which are too base for the likes of Natalie. He fantasizes about having her fulfill his dark desires, but is offended when she is willing to submit to him, since in his mind he has made her too good and too pure for such things.
In the last few IAD books, Lothaire and especially MacRieve, there was a very dark sexual overtone to the story that I disliked intensely. Wherein our hero was disgusted by the heroine (in Lothaire she was just a human and in MacRieve she was a succubus) his body and his instincts craved her and he couldn’t stop himself from having sex with her. Although the scenes were always erotic and titillating, they always ended up with the hero then tossing her aside in disgust after he climaxed, and in MacRieve he actually ran away and vomited since he was so disgusted that he had sex with her. I was happy and relieved in this book that when Sevastyan went icy whenever Natalie expressed interest in being with him, it was more that he felt she was too good to be with someone as evil as him. He was a killer, an enforcer for the mob, and his sexual preferences were towards bondage and pain. He wanted her, but he didn’t want her to want him.
Natalie is like all Kresley’s heroines: intelligent, strong-willed and smart-mouthed, and you know that there is no way for Sevastyan to resist her charms. Natalie is even more surprised by how intensely she wants this man whose very presence screams danger. She will do whatever she needs to do to convince him that this boss’s daughter isn’t forbidden.
The only thing I truly hated was the fact that this was Part I of a serial story. I avoid anything written in serial form since nothing is more frustrating than being left hanging in the middle of a story and having to wait months for all the parts to be released. Worse, not only does Kresley leave you hanging in the middle of story, she leaves you in the middle of a scene. I had to re-read it again from the beginning just to make sure, and sure enough, she leaves us as frustrated as Natalie in her bathtub. The next two parts can’t be released soon enough for me.
If you aren’t a fan of paranormal romance and want to know what all the hub-bub is about when we keep talking about Kresley Cole, now’s your chance to find out how she can add hot, sensual tension to the simplest scene. You won’t be disappointed.
Received an ARC courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
**** WARNING: RACY SCENE! ****
His hooded eyes flicked over my face, then lower. “What were you dreaming of to make these so hard?”
I followed his glance down. My nipples were stiff against the fabric of the shirt I wore.
“Tell me, pet, why were you on the verge of a wet dream?”
I couldn’t resist him before; now, on this bed, hearing his rumbling, seductive voice, I feared I was defenseless. No! Be strong, Nat. “Why do you insist on calling me pet?”
“Maybe because you make a man want to collar and keep you.”
“Right.” I knew he was just being a smart-ass, but the idea gave me shivers.
“Tell me about your dream.”
“Why should I? You’ll just give me that disgusted look and go all icy again.”
“Icy? That’s the last thing I feel right now.”
I swallowed when he began to unfasten the buttons on the shirt, spreading the lapels just shy of baring my breasts.
“What are you doing?” I demanded. But I wanted them bared, wanted him to see them and desire me.
Hey, I was on vacation from my life, right? So why couldn’t this man be my fall holiday fling?
He took the starched edge of the shirt and lightly scraped it over my left nipple. Oh, God, oh God…
“I caught just a glimpse of your nipples when you were in the bath. Do you know that my mouth watered to suck them?” He’d wanted to put his mouth on them. Picturing that scrambled my thoughts.
“Y–you need to stop that.” I hadn’t thought the tips could get harder. They tightened almost painfully.
“Yes, tell me to stop and to leave you alone.” Scrape. “Tell me that I frighten you, and I’m not to touch you.” Scrape.
I choked back a moan. “You don’t frighten me. And the only reason I don’t want to you touch me is because you won’t follow through, and I’ve been sexually tortured enough tonight.”
Including now, I’d been on the verge of orgasm three times—all because of this man.
He gave a low, sexy laugh. “You think I’ve tortured you? Maybe I should show you what real torture is.” His tone was forbidding; so why was my pussy clenching with anticipation?
“Then perhaps you would rail at me to find me in your bed.”
“Is that what you want?”
“It’s what I would have expected from you. And if you tell me to leave you, I will.”
“Answer my, Sevastyan. Is that what you want?”
He didn’t say a word; scrape.
“Ahhh!” I licked my bottom lip, struggling for words. “You confuse me so much! Since you refuse to tell me anything, I’m going to tell you everything. I find you extremely attractive. When your eyes are like this, all gold and smoldering, you are pretty much irresistible to me. I think you were right; I did approach you in the bar because I wanted to have sex with you.”
His firm lips parted. Then he shook his head hard, as if to dislodge whatever idea had just taken hold. “You wouldn’t have done so if you knew me better. I am an enforcer, a contract killer, and I pity you for piquing the lusts of a man like me.”
In a soft voice, I said, “But you piqued mine too. So what do we do now?”
“If you knew the thoughts in my head, you would not be so welcoming. You wouldn’t like it in my bed. I have particular interests, and I demand obedience.”
“Obedience.” What that my titillated tone? “Like my doing whatever you command?”
He nodded, eyes alight at the prospect.
Why did that sound so unbearably erotic? I’d never relished being ordered around at my jobs. But in this context—in bed with a domineering man—the idea excited me. “Why do you demand it?”
“I don’t like surprises. If you do as I say, there will be none.”
I nibbled my lips, giving this some thought. “What kind of interests?”
“I need to do filthy things to your body, Natalya. And I know I never can.” His voice was almost…forlorn.
Filthy? That sounded so freaking hot. “Why can’t you?”
“You are taboo to me. No woman is more so.”
Because I was the boss’s daughter? Was this why Sevastyan had been running hot and cold with me? “We’re in this cabin alone. No one ever has to know what goes on between us. Maybe we should try to get this out of our systems before we land.”
He looked like he was actually considering my proposal. “Have you ever relinquished control of your body to a man?”
Breathless I shook my head. I’d wondered what it’d be like to be dominated; this man could relieve my curiosity. And that was the great thing about vacation flings: you could go crazy, do things you never would otherwise, and suffer zero consequences.
Did I have the nerve to try this? I recalled when I was twelve, the neighboring farm boy had dared me to jump off a train trestle into the creek below. Atop the tracks, I’d been terrified, shaking like a fledgling. But I’d force myself to step off that ledge into nothing.
Into a free fall.
I remembered screaming with fear all the way down. Then I remembered kicking up through the water and breaking the surface, triumphant, to cast that boy a suck it grin.
All the terror had been worth it, just for that reward. Would the same prove true tonight?
“Could you give me absolute obedience, Natalie?”
Gut check. Could I step off the ledge once more? My honest answer: “I won’t know until we try.” I reached for his chest, stroking over a tattoo. His muscles rippled to my touch.
When my thumb brushed his flat nipple, he inhaled sharply. “I’ve warmed you of what I’ll expect, I’ve warned you about what kind of man I am. And you still push? I’ll give you a taste that will send you fleeing from me. This will be out of your system—because you will fear me…”