Her Russian Billionaires #1 VIKTORBy: Susan Westwood
“Is there a back way? I can take that and find another subway stop to get home,” she said.
“They have probably called for reinforcements at this point. I can’t guarantee your safety once you are out of the club.”
“I’m not asking you to guarantee my safety.”
He laughed. “Why else would you have slipped into my club? I feel you are my responsibility now.”
She stiffened. “I can take care of myself.”
“That may be, but now you are under my protection.”
“I’ll just go.”
She turned to leave. Some part of him didn’t want her to go. His mother always preached that sometimes destiny came to you in odd forms. This might be one of those times.
She stopped, glancing over her shoulder. “Am I being detained?”
He stood then walked around the desk. He sat on the edge of it. “No, but I’m asking you to stay. I can’t let you go, knowing you are in danger. Chivalry may be dead among American men, but in Russia, we take care of our women.”
“I’m not your woman.”
He smiled. “No, but you are under my care. You came under my care when you slipped in that closing door.”
Her shoulders slumped. “What happens now?”
“I offer you a bed to sleep in tonight. It’s late. Or early. Depends on how you look at things. No use trying to furtively make your way home.”
“You’re offering me hospitality? After I entered your club as a non-member?” She crossed her arms. “What’s the catch? I have to sleep with you?”
Viktor found that so funny that he laughed for a full minute. When he finally recovered, he said, “I have no designs on your body, Alia. I’m just being a nice guy, as you Americans say.”
The man finally introduced himself. Viktor, he said his name was. He was one of the most beautiful white men she’d ever seen. Pale with dark hair with a little silver at his temple. He’d stand out in a crowd. His gray eyes could probably pierce steel. She wanted to touch that white skin.
He led her away from the club part of the building, then up a flight of stairs. He unlocked an industrial-looking metal door. “This is my home.”
She blinked as he motioned for her to go through ahead of him. Her instincts didn’t scream for her to run, so she walked past him. He smelled good. Some light cologne and then very much like a man. Odd for her to notice. She wasn’t in the market for a man.
The apartment was decorated in muted tones with some feminine touches. Was that his wife? There was clearly a female influence in his life. Why did it matter? She was going to sleep a few hours, then go home.
Victor turned on a few lamps. “You need food?”
“No, I’m not hungry.”
“You sure? I could eat. I’ll make us something,” he said.
She couldn’t place his accent, but she’d never been very good at picking out those things. “Uh, I guess if you’re making something.”
He turned on the lights to a small, but efficient-looking kitchen. Stainless steel appliances. Dark, granite countertops. Not much bigger than her kitchen, but it looked to have everything one needed. Not that she was much of a cook.
“Sit,” Viktor said.
He motioned to utilitarian-looking stools in steel by a kitchen island. She slid onto one that was more comfortable than it looked.
Victor opened his refrigerator. “What can I make you?”
“You don’t have to make me anything.”
“I’m asking what you want. Just tell me. I can order out if you want.”
His hospitality overwhelmed her. Why was he being so nice?
“I’m not sleeping with you no matter how nice you are to me,” she said.
He slammed the door closed. “I’m not trying to sleep with you. You’re probably scared and hungry and I can take care of the hunger, then we can see about making you feel safe. Just know, that you are safe from me.”
She frowned as he opened the refrigerator again. She’d hurt his feelings. “Sorry.’
“You have nothing to apologize for. Now, I can grill up some steaks, if you’d like.”
At that moment, her stomach chose to betray her and rumbled. Viktor smiled at her and pulled out two pieces of beef that were thicker than Alia had ever seen. Steaks fit for king, probably.
Her mouth watered. She was hungry.
“How about steak and eggs, since it is breakfast?” he asked.
She just nodded, suddenly feeling tired. The gravity of what she’d seen began to weigh on her. Someone had died. She wasn’t one to get involved, but this wasn’t petty crime. This was a life snuffed out.
▶ Also By Susan Westwood
- · Her Russian Billionaires #3 NIKO
- · Her Russian Billionaires #2 SACHA
- · Her Russian Billionaires #1 VIKTOR
- · Amedeo, Her Italian Billionaire
- · Her Russian Billionaire: Niko
- · Her Russian Billionaire: Sacha
- · Her Russian Billionaire: Viktor
- · Dante, Her Italian Billionaire
- · Sacha, Her Russian Billionaire
- · Viktor, Her Russian Billionaire