The Beast of Moscow, #1
Tropes: Anti-hero, saga that spans generations, slow burn
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mafia, Organized Crime
Tucked away deep in the hills of Dubna lives a man hiding from a past that’s as grisly as the scar on his face. Reclusive. Paranoid. Violent. His trek to the top has been a bloody game—with a deadly end for anyone who loses.
And it’s not over yet.
Vera Avdonin stumbled into the life of Vaslav Pashkov entirely by accident, and it should have stopped there, too. Just a broken ballerina who helped a beautifully tortured stranger.
But she’ll soon learn that like the mafiya he controls, once he brings you in, there is no way out.
They don’t call him The Beast of Moscow for nothing.
The Beast of Moscow is a slow burn, contemporary romance saga told over the course of several parts and encompassing more than one generation from start to finish. Only part of this is a love story; everything else hurts. TBOM—taking readers from Moscow to Paris while peeling back the beginning layers of Vaslav Pashkov—is part one.
“Are we dancing?” he asked quietly.
A part of him wished she would say no. The part of him, beyond the cracked veneer of coldness and malfeasance, that had seen the way her breaths picked up and how she responded physically to being touched by him.
Say no, he wanted to say, and let me take you anywhere; let me taste you everywhere.
He couldn’t get the words out.
Or she nodded before he could and caught his wrist to pull his arm back around her body. She still let him lead their steps, their waltz creating a circle around the outer edge of the tower’s leg. Just far enough from the larger part of the crowd where they weren’t drawing any significant attention.
Although he kept a featherlight touch where his palm and fingertips graced Vera’s skin and spine at her back, he swore he could still feel the heat soaking from her body to his. Like electricity shooting straight through his fingertips, keeping them connected even if his hand barely put any pressure down.
“Who taught you to dance?” she asked.
“They offered a class in prison. I took exactly one.”
Vera didn’t bat an eye at his mention of serving time, but it wasn’t the first, either. “Was that all you needed?”
“The basics are just that—basic.”
“Can’t really argue with that,” she returned.
His dark chuckles accompanied the tempo of the song picking up slightly. He led their steps accordingly, and Vera, unsurprisingly, never missed a beat. She might not be on the stage dancing anymore in full traditional costume, but once a dancer … always a dancer.
Even if only to waltz under the Eiffel Tower.
She was all straight lines, grace on her toes, and a wide smile with every step and twirl. He couldn’t look away.
To ignore the rush of lust that kept washing through his gut every time he met Vera’s gaze, making him want to lean in and taste the red lipstick painted on her lips, Vaslav asked, “Are you letting your hair grow out again—it used to be long, no?”
“I haven’t actually made time for a cut, that’s all,” she explained, “but maybe I’ll let it grow again. I could do more with it when it was long, that’s for sure.”
“The bob fits your face, too.”
And her pixie-like features.
Vera laughed. “Believe it or not, but it used to be curly when I was little. I had a whole headful of black ringlets until I started straightening the hell out of it.”
Somehow, the picture of a young Vera in her childhood, with a head of wild, unruly curls, made him smile. He bet she had been a curious and precocious child—clearly talented and driven, as well. The way his muscles pulled upward on the scarred side of his face was so unusual that for a second, it felt strange.
He knew the way it made the crevices of his scar more prominent; how the jagged ridges became even more prominent. And yet, Vera just smiled back.
She didn’t look away from his face, but it was like she didn’t see anything but his eyes. Unaccustomed to someone holding his stare so blatantly for so long, Vaslav took the chance to let Vera swing away from him again, spinning under their raised hands before she drew closer. With his hand at her back, he kept his gaze locked over her shoulder as she held on to the side of his neck with her soft palm.
“You could have just said what you wanted to,” he heard her whisper.
“Instead of asking about my hair. You could have asked what you really wanted to ask.”
He cleared his throat, keeping her close enough that she had to turn her head to look at him, but he didn’t look back.
“What do you think I wanted, then?”
She didn’t even think about it before saying, “To kiss me.”
He almost missed a step.
But not quite.
Captivating! This author creates stunning heroes and antiheroes but this beast creation is beyond anything she’s giving us so far. Cruel doesn’t even cover it. Vaslav is a brutal beast with tons of venom and coldness. Maybe he has his reasons but some of his harshness toward the lovely ballerina Vera was so heartless. I was crushed right along with her while Vas was spewing his cruel words and vileness. But she not a pushover. Vera is used to men like him having grown up in the Bravta world. Even if the Russians are a different bred from her NYC family it’s close enough that she knows what’s going on and handles it better than an average woman. I loved when she spat back at him. This first story deals with the backstories of Vera and Vaslav. Vera with her life after a fateful accident that ends her dancing days. She’s down but not out. And Vas as he struggles with his illness and his deteriorating condition. Also, his horrible childhood and painful past. So sad! Yeah, he’s the beast for a reason. This picture of a man isolated because of his status and his need for privacy is stunning. A weakness could end his life and everything he’s fought for. I got the feeling that at any moment a causal incident could take him down. What a way to live his life. He doesn’t let anyone in. So why Vera? Well, it’s not only attraction even though that turns scorching hot. I was melting when Vas turns all alpha on Vera and she was a submissive kitten. Hotness aside….mostly she’s useful. The revelation at the end was mind blowing. I can only imagine how Vera’s father is going to react. I can’t wait for that explosion. This is a stellar addition to this fabulous author’s outstanding collection of mafia romances. Dark, dirty and sensual. Loads danger and intrigue along with a passionate couple in this must read page turner. Bring on the next installment!
The author of too many novels to count, Bethany-Kris is a Canadian, lover of much, and mother to four sons, a glaring of cats, and a pack of dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, a snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a spouse calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.