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Published by EVERNIGHT PUBLISHING ® at Smashwords


www.evernightpublishing.com




Copyright© 2017 Winter Sloane



ISBN: 978-1-77339-482-4


Cover Artist: Jay Aheer


Editor: Karyn White



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.


This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


CAPTIVE PRINCESS


Romance on the Go ®


Winter Sloane


Copyright © 2017


Prologue


Five Years Ago

Eve Valentin fidgeted in her new dress. She smoothed the creases with her fingers because what else did she have to do? No one asked her to dance. None of the boys at school ever did, and even amongst her underworld kin, she knew no one would ask her at her sister’s wedding.

Oh, she heard a few boys sniggering behind her back, making bets. Who would ask the fat pig disguised as a mafia princess to dance? Eve pretended not to hear them, throwing a glass of water at the first boy who so much approached the table. He shuffled off after she threatened to tell her father.

“This chair taken, princess?” asked a deep voice. A man’s voice.

Suddenly wary, she lifted her head and sucked in a breath. A broad-shouldered man dressed in a charcoal gray suit took the empty seat next to her without waiting for her response. Eve wasn’t surprised. Her mother and aunts warned her and her sister often enough about men like Vadim Solonik all their lives. Her sister mostly, because no one noticed invisible chubby girls like Eve. All that mattered was the family name she came with.

Unnerved by Vadim’s stare, she met his gaze, feeling a mixture of foolish and brave. She could have excused herself, found the nearest exit route. Rumors said everyone who tangled with the contract killer, always ended up dead.

Her heart beat so hard, it ached, like the wings of a clipped bird struggling to get free. With shaky hands, she took a sip of the wine glass in front of her. The plain taste of water didn’t help her nerves.

“More wine?”

Why did Eve feel like Vadim had started taking silent stock of her, leaving her feeling bared, stripped down, despite her new modest dress? Unlike her sister or her sister’s friends, Eve didn’t like showing much skin or anything that constricted movement. Her mother always commented she looked like stuffed sausage in anything she wore anyway. Why bother?

“I don’t drink.”

Vadim’s chuckle annoyed her.

Vadim was a guest, and as the daughter of Charles Valentin, Eve had been expected to be polite and charming, just like her sister, except everyone knew the truth, including Eve. All she’d ever amount to was a poor copy of Clarissa.

“What’s so funny?” she demanded, sitting up to her full height, which amounted to five-foot-one. “That I don’t drink?”

“What are you now, fourteen, thirteen?”

“Fifteen actually.” She lifted her chin, dared him to say otherwise.

“Shouldn’t you be getting drunk and finding some nice boy to fuck?”

His language didn’t shock her. She grew up among rough men after all, mafiosi who spoke their mind and preferred violence instead of words.

“What’s it to you?” She crossed her arms over her ample breasts that seemed to stretch the fabric of her dress.

Why couldn’t she have small breasts like Clarissa or her mother? No. If Eve started thinking along those lines, then she’d want to scrap everything that made up Eve Valentin and be left with nothing. Eve liked nothing about herself, never fit in with her family anyway.

Wait, why was she suddenly feeling so self-conscious in the presence of a killer who would likely soon forget her?

Vadim motioned for a waiter and let the man fill her glass with wine. Before she could argue her point again, he lifted it and took a sip. She blushed, unable to help it. An indirect kiss. Not that it mattered to a man like Vadim. Even now, she noticed the looks the other women, both single and attached, lingering on Vadim.

“You sure you don’t want a sip? You look like you need it,” Vadim drawled.

Eve firmly shook her head.

“Aren’t you a good little girl?”

“Does it get your rocks off, to tease poor little fat girls?”

Vadim set the glass down, saying nothing. The silence unnerved her.

Eve should have found a way to stay home instead of enduring this awful wedding. The boys made bets who’d dance with her. She ignored them and they eventually lost interest, but as for Vadim? Eve couldn’t get rid of him easily. Vadim did occasional wet work for her father. She knew that, had seen him exit her father’s private office many times.

Eve focused her attention on the star of the wedding instead.

True, she and Clarissa had never gotten along. Clarissa had bullied and berated Eve her entire life, not anything new since Clarissa learnt it from the woman who’d borne them. Eve spotted her sister and her husband on the dance floor, the perfect golden-haired couple.

As she watched them sway against each other, blind to the rest of the world, as if only the two of them existed, hope flickered inside of Eve. Raul Santos didn’t have any connections to any of the families, wasn’t one of them, and yet the accountant made Clarissa happy. Eve knew, because she’d never seen her sister smile like that, not for any of the hopeful boys in the Valentin family or their allies.

Charles accepting Clarissa’s choice of husband created bad blood between the Valentins and the Petrovichs, a family they’d had turf wars with in the past. Gustav Petrovich, the family head, had made a deal with her father to become allies, if his son and Clarissa married when Clarissa turned eighteen. That deal had gone south when Clarissa met Raul.

Given Eve spotted a few of the Petrovichs milling around, drinking and joking with a few Valentin men, maybe her father had settled the matter with them.

“It wasn’t wise of your father, allowing your sister to marry a nobody.”

Vadim’s comment made her glare at him.

“What do you know?”

“Me? I’ve worked for Gustav, know him a lot better than a little girl.”

“Don’t call me that. I’m fifteen now, and in three years I’ll be an adult,” she declared. Few men had the balls to call the head of the Petrovich family by his first name, but Vadim referred to Gustav as if they were close.

“Is that so?”

Amusement flickered across Vadim’s face. She didn’t know what she wanted to do, wipe that smug look off his face or kiss him. The latter option stumped her. Eve had been kissed by clumsy boys before, guys from school who only wanted her big breasts and nothing else. She imagined a man like Vadim knew what he was doing. It would be a wet press of lips or teeth banging against each other. A real man like Vadim—

Eve killed the thought before it could take root. What was she thinking? Oh, she knew once Clarissa married, her father cast his eyes on her, but who would look at Eve and think she was the most desirable woman in the world?


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