The Russian was a natural Dominant. The woman he took as his bride would honor, love, obey and submit. There would be no room for negotiation.
Ariana is summoned to the office of the handsome Russian billionaire Nikolai Antonovich. If she does not agree to become his submissive wife to enable him to close an important deal with a traditional Japanese businessman who believes in marriage, he will expose her sister’s theft from his company to the police and have her put in prison.
After a bad experience with her first marriage to a violent man, Ariana is reluctant. But the Russian’s strong dominance is a potent aphrodisiac. Promising to protect her from her stalking husband, the billionaire vows she will want for nothing as his wife, including a child. Greatly tempted after experiencing life as a struggle, Ariana submits to his terms.
Nikolai is determined to guide Ariana to accepting her natural sexually submissive nature in his bed and into trusting him. He finds a bruised and emotionally scarred woman underneath her strength and he begins to fall in love with her. He hopes she will eventually let her guard down and allow herself to reciprocate his love in their marriage of convenience. The billionaire shields her from her ex-husband and his dangerous friends in the Russian mafia who want to settle a score from the billionaire’s past.
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of public sex and the discussion of history and threat of rape. This is Daddy Dom BDSM, which includes terminology specific to this relationship and displays of extreme dominance.
Publisher's Note: This book has previously been released elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release with Totally Bound Publishing.
General Release Date: 20th June 2017
The attractive, young secretary showed Ariana to the office. She was nervous inside but she fought hard to project an air of confidence. She was there because of her sister and yet another mistake her sibling had made. Bailing Louisa out of trouble was fast becoming a full-time occupation.
Nikolai Antonovich stood up from his high-backed leather chair the moment she entered the large room flooded with sunlight. He fastened the button on his black suit jacket and oozed money, power and masculinity as he moved around the desk toward her, holding out his hand in greeting. She shook it, feeling intimidated and annoyed at being unable to stop herself from casting her gaze over his tall, athletic form, clearly defined in the well-fitting designer suit. Perturbed, she quickly sat down on the chair he pulled out in front of the long glass desk for her. She was determined to get down to business and leave as soon as she could.
The room was uncluttered and contained only a minimal amount of furniture for its large size. Sweeping views over London were visible from the tall sheet-glass windows running along the side of the room. It was more than fitting for the enigmatic billionaire who’d found his fortune providing energy for the world.
“Can I get you any refreshment?” he asked, with only a small trace of a Russian accent.
“No. Nothing, thank you,” she said quietly.
Ariana’s work as a successful corporate lawyer had brought her into contact with many wealthy male clients, but none of them had affected her like Nikolai Antonovich. None were that handsome. They were usually old and balding. Nikolai was something else with his Paul Newman blue eyes, short black hair and light, but neatly groomed, facial hair around his mouth and jaw.
Everything about the thirty-five-year-old man said style, sophistication, experience and, more importantly, dominance. Rolled into one man, the traits were a potent aphrodisiac to a woman—even one like Ariana who had vowed never to trust a man again as long as she lived.
The small voice in her head spoke up. Focus. I am here to get Louisa out of trouble. What can he possibly want from me? I am surprised he hasn’t just called the police. She stole from him. You have really done it this time, Louisa. I am not sure I’m going to be able to get you out of this one.
“Mr. Antonovich, why have you asked me to come here today? I am at a loss as to how I can help Louisa in this situation, apart from ensuring she has good legal representation.”
“Nikolai, please. I asked you here because I have a proposal for you and a way for your sister to escape a prison sentence.”
Ariana’s eyes widened.
“Are you willing to do anything to help your sister, Ms. Deering? It appears so from what I have learned about her previous run-ins with the law. You are always on hand to get her out of trouble. But I am curious as to how far you would go to ensure her safety?” he questioned her with a smile, sitting back down on the throne behind his desk.
Ariana frowned, wondering what game he was playing.
“Within reason and the boundaries of the law,” she answered firmly. “Louisa has been in trouble many times before. I am not sure what I can do for her this time and why you want me here to discuss it. What do you want from me?” She faltered, a strange idea suddenly entering her head. “Are you propositioning me, Mr. Antonovich?” she blurted out in a stutter.
“In a manner of speaking, yes, I am.” Nikolai wore a devilish grin. “In return for not involving the police in your sister’s million-dollar fraud and theft of funds in the London office, I want you to agree to marry me.”
Adriana laughed. It was with shock, not humor. He couldn’t be serious. And marriage? No way. She was never doing that again. This was absurd. Adrenaline made her stand and move toward the door, shaking her head in disbelief.
“It is out of the question and a ridiculous request. This conversation is over, Mr. Antonovich. I suggest you involve the police, and I will help Louisa with her defense.”
The suggestion had provoked disturbing memories of her previous marriage to an abusive husband to rise from their burial place at the back of her mind and force their way to the front. She wanted to forget again.
“You haven’t heard me out.” Nikolai was on his feet, following her.
“I don’t want to. I can’t help you,” she mumbled at the door, reaching to open it.
Nikolai raised his hand above her head as she opened the door and he pushed it away from her to close it again.
“I really need you to hear me out before you decide to walk away and leave your sister to her fate,” he said softly, his hand still above her head, holding the door closed.
“Marry? You are insane. And why me, for heaven’s sake? I am sure you can have any woman you like. You don’t need anyone insignificant like me,” she told him, trying the door once more then fuming at his hand continuing to keep it pressed closed. She shook the handle and started to call out for help, prompting the billionaire to take hold of her and swing her around to face him.
“Because I can help you. Because I can protect you from him,” Nikolai informed her. “You can’t keep running from your ex-husband, and I assure you that you are more than adequate for my needs as a wife. I want to close a business deal that will help keep a lot of people out of the poverty trap in Russia, but the man I am working with is a Japanese traditionalist and eccentric. He can pick and choose whom he forms business relationships with. He won’t engage with any man or woman in business who isn’t conforming to the marriage tradition. I need this to work, and you are the only woman I would even trust to entertain the idea of marrying.”
He spoke with such conviction that Ariana couldn’t deny the truth behind his words. He must have researched her in detail. She hated admitting it, but the idea of being protected and safe was tempting. But how could she allow herself to ever trust a man again? They had a nasty habit of turning into Jekyll and Hyde. She still wore some of the bruises and scars to prove it.
“You can’t protect me from my ex-husband. No one can, not even you with all of your wealth,” she said quietly, with heavy resignation in her voice. “He killed the last man who tried to help me.”
“I am not afraid of your ex-husband, Ms. Deering. I have more than enough resources to ensure your protection, I assure you.”
Temptation increased its hold on Ariana. To be able to live without looking over her shoulder would be heaven… To not have to wonder if Andrew wasn’t watching her every move day and night while he waited for the right time to snatch her back… There had been so many instances when she’d had to get up and run in the middle of the night. The last time had been a year ago when he’d tracked her down. She’d been hiding with Louisa in London for a while now and she knew her time of safety was running out. He would come for her soon.
Just yesterday, she’d received red roses. Andrew always sent them when he wanted her to know he knew where she was hiding. After that, it was a matter of time before her ex-husband came to claim her again. Andrew was a wealthy, violent man who liked to play games and terrorize her before he took his prize, and the game was on again. A small voice in her head begged her to take Nikolai’s offer. So what if his proposition was dangerous and even controlling? Antonovich was a handsome man who would be able to shelter her from Andrew. Wasn’t marriage worth the price to pay to stop Andrew from beating and raping her again? Last time, she’d had to fight for her life in the hospital. No more.
“I can keep you warm and safe.” Nikolai’s voice was gentle and seductive. He moved closer to her but kept his arm above her, holding the door closed and ensuring she could not escape.
Normally, if a man had been that close to Ariana, she would have panicked, but there was something reassuring about Nikolai’s nearness. There was no threat in it. In fact, for the first time in a while, it was more than pleasant being next to a handsome man. Unexpected tears gathered and filled her eyes as her heart urged her to say ‘yes’ and accept the security he was offering to surround her with.
“I know you are tired of running,” Nikolai continued in a velvet voice. “The arrangement will be to our mutual benefit.” His speech was lowering to a whisper and his gentle but firm words were leading her right into his trap.
He was right, of course, but the whole idea was preposterous.
“But you don’t know me. How can you marry a stranger? Even if it is for convenience?” she demanded. “I can’t. It would be putting your life at risk.” To her frustration, there was a tremble in her voice.
Nikolai frowned. Heavy concern for her filled his dark-brown eyes.
“Always protecting others,” he said, stroking his fingers along her cheek. She wanted to flinch away, but his touch was featherlight, warm and soothing, inducing her to keep still.
“It is time you allowed someone to protect you. I will be a good husband. I will never hurt you, and I will always ensure all your needs are met. You will want for nothing as my wife.”
“Except for love,” she challenged, looking directly into his eyes.
Nikolai paused then a soft smile played on his lips. His tone was serious when he cupped the side of her face and told her, “I am very sure that will be cultivated in time. Now, what do you say? Perhaps you want me to go down on one knee?” He grinned.
Ariana gave a small laugh and shook her head while she wiped away a stray tear dampening the skin just beneath her eye, embarrassed she had shed one without being aware of it.
“Would I be allowed to live separately? Separate bed? You said it would be a marriage of convenience. Would I be able to leave if I wanted to?”
Nikolai brushed her cheek with his fingertips once more. She briefly closed her eyes, captivated, then opened them quickly, reasserting her guard and afraid because she had let it down so easily with the billionaire.
He gave a sigh. “When I marry, I intend to fully commit to my wife and our relationship in the traditional sense of the word. I do not believe in divorce unless all other options at resolving a situation have been exhausted,” he informed her. “I expect the same from my wife, so, no, there will be no separate beds. We will share one, and, yes, I expect you to be beneath me when I make love to you.”
“You can’t expect me to have sex with you. We don’t even know each other. It can’t function like a normal marriage. This is blackmail.”
Ariana couldn’t possibly agree to those terms. He’d had her so close to taking a chance with him. Now she had no choice but to back away. Disappointment crushed her. Andrew could pounce at any moment, and safety was something she craved. She turned back to the door and shook the handle again, but Nikolai wasn’t letting her go anywhere.
“You are a very beautiful woman, Ariana. I would be a fool not to want to make love to you, especially if you are my wife. What man would deny himself that pleasure?”
He had his hand on her arm now, forcing her to face him again.
“You make love to me? Huh. Why would a man like you want a woman like me in his bed?” she asked, disbelieving his statement about her beauty. Andrew had always said she was fit for no man but him. He continuously called her ugly, neurotic and unlovable. He wanted her to be grateful he loved her. Her ex-husband’s ideas were now ingrained in her and the thought of another man finding her attractive was ridiculous.