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His Beautiful Ballerina

His Beautiful Ballerina

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I refuse to be his plaything, to be broken and tossed aside. To belong to someone, the way the women in his world always do. But what Viktor Andreyev wants, he gets. And now, he’s decided he wants me.

His Beautiful Ballerina is the second book in the What If? series that imagines a different outcome for our beloved heroines and anti-heroes, with plenty of the action, romance and steam you’ve come to expect from M. James’ mafia universe packaged into novella-length stories for each couple.

Major Tropes

  • Enemies To Lovers
  • Arranged Marriage
  • Billionaire


What if Viktor saw Ana that night at the club with Sofia? What if Franco never got his hands on her? What if she was the one Viktor wanted? What if everything was different?

A night out with my best friend is meant to be only that. A night free of responsibility. A night to let loose. A night of fun

Until he sees me. The Bratva boss who owns the club we’re dancing in.

He’s powerful, wealthy, dangerous. A man that no one refuses.

Until me.

I refuse to be his plaything, to be broken and tossed aside. To belong to someone, the way the women in his world always do.

But what Viktor Andreyev wants, he gets. And now, he’s decided he wants me.

His beautiful ballerina.

His Beautiful Ballerina is the second book in the What If? series that imagines a different outcome for our beloved heroines and anti-heroes, with plenty of the action, romance and steam you’ve come to expect from M. James’ mafia universe packaged into novella-length stories for each couple.

His Beautiful Ballerina features Viktor and Ana. It is a dark romance and may contain some material that sensitive readers may find difficult. You do not need to read the others in M. James’ series to read His Beautiful Ballerina, but if you choose to, the Bridal Trilogy and the first three books of the Irish King series are recommended in conjunction with this standalone novella.

Click Here To Read An Excerpt

Chapter One


“You have practice again? Sofia, it’s Friday night. For fuck’s sake, live a little.”

I know she’s not going to listen to me. Sofia Ferretti is my best friend in the world–and my roommate–which is a combination that’s very hard to come by. Believe me, by this point, as we’re nearing our college graduation, I know. But when it comes to having fun–she can be a little hard to convince.

I glance over to see her gathering her hair up into a ponytail with one hand, digging around in a small pink basket on top of her dresser with the other as she looks for a hair tie. From the determined look on her face, I don’t think I’m going to be able to convince her to budge. Which is a shame.

“Just go out on your own,” Sofia says, glancing over at me as she secures her hair up high on her head. “You’re more likely to pick up a guy that way, anyway. And I know that’s what you really want to do. Just don’t be too loud when you come home, okay? I have–”

Please don’t tell me you have practice again in the morning,” I groan. “Juilliard has one of the most demanding ballet programs in the country, and you don’t see me up at eight a.m. on a Saturday morning to go to practice!”

“That’s because you skip whenever you’re too hungover to go,” Sofia says reprovingly. “Honestly, I don’t know how you’re at the top of your class. And the end of semester showcase is coming up soon, too. You should be practicing.”

What she doesn’t say is what we both know, but Sofia is too good of a friend to rub it in. Part of the reason that I’m capable of holding my own even with my–shall we say–lackadaisical attitude towards attendance–is that the teachers feel sorry for me. They know I’m talented–and they also know I’m on two scholarships, merit and need-based, and that I’m an orphan. 

It’s not the saddest story I’ve ever heard. There’s plenty of people who have sadder ones. But it’s tugged at the heartstrings of my instructors, and they tend to turn a blind eye when I show up late, or miss practice. 

If my performance suffered, I’m sure they wouldn’t be as forgiving. But it never has. So I haven’t seen any reason to change what I’m doing. I just wish Sofia would take a page out of my book. She’s every bit as talented–and her father is a powerful man on top of it. No one would kick the daughter of Giovanni Ferretti, the consigliere to the most powerful mafia boss in New York, out of her program. Hell, her father’s boss, Vitto Rossi, probably pays for most of the school’s funding. I hear he likes to do things like that–contribute to things like the arts, museums, all of that, to make him seem like he’s just a man, and not a tyrant who rules with an iron fist.

Not that I know all that much about that life. Just rumors that Sofia tells me, things she’s heard around the dinner table when she visits home. I find it fascinating–and she wants as little to do with it as possible. 

“You need to get picked up by a guy more than I do,” I tease her. “I’m not the one who’s approaching her twenty-first birthday and still hasn’t gotten laid. You know your father isn’t going to sell you off to some mafia guy, so what are you waiting for? Please don’t say true love, or I might puke.”

Sofia rolls her eyes. “No, I’m waiting to have enough time to find someone who will actually make it good for me. Forgive me if I don’t want to lose my virginity to some frat boy who needs directions on where to put it in.”

“Do you know where to put it in?”

Sofia glares at me from across the room. I’m on her bed, casually propped up against the pillows as I swipe crimson nail polish over my nails, carefully making sure I don’t mess up the edges. “I own a dildo,” she says haughtily. “And a vibrator. Which is all the more reason that I’m willing to wait to find someone who knows how to use it, when I finally decide to encounter a real dick.”

“You make it sound like a deadly predator.” I laugh, shaking my head. “It’s just sex, Sofia. It’s going to suck the first time, no matter what.”

“You know you’re going to have to take that off before class on Monday,” Sofia says, changing the subject as she nods at my nail polish. “Your teachers are going to have a fit, otherwise.”

I roll my eyes at her, exasperated. Sofia is, in every way, wonderful. She’s sweet, genuine, a fantastic friend, and more than generous. I know her father pays for the pre-war building that we rent an apartment in, and she never asks me for rent, just asking for me to chip in for things around the house–cleaning supplies, any shared groceries, things like that. It enables me to save far more of my scholarship money than I would ever have been able to otherwise, and I’ve told her often how appreciative I am of it. It means I don’t have to work part-time teaching classes, the way some other students do, or waiting tables, or bartending.

She should have a boyfriend. She should have guys lining up. Sofia is beautiful, though she’s always claiming she’s too short, too unexciting, too curvy. She compares herself to me–tall, willowy, blonde–but I’d kill to have her figure, her silky dark hair, her olive skin. She’s stunning, and I wish she saw herself the way I see her. 

Going out on a Friday night would be a good first step in that direction.

“I’ll take it off before class,” I tell her, a little exasperatedly. “But I’m not going out with bare nails, or worse, painted some frumpy pale pink.” I swipe the last bit of polish over my pinky nail, recap it, and then set it aside as I wave my hand in the air to dry it. 

“Come on, Sofia.” There’s a note of genuine pleading in my voice–I really want her to come with me. “We never go out. And it’s my birthday month.”

Sofia rolls her eyes, although not entirely unkindly. “You don’t get a whole month, Ana. No one does.” She walks across the room to where her violin is resting on its stand, picking it up gingerly and setting it in its case, laying the bow carefully next to it. “I’ll go out with you for your birthday, though. I promise.”

I sigh, frustrated, and pout at her, though I don’t have any confidence that it will work. I’ve already gotten ready for tonight, and my makeup is all done–a thin cat eye, red lipstick the same color as my nails. “I’d rather you go out with me tonight,” I tell her pleadingly. “Come on. You can borrow something out of my closet.”

“Nothing in your closet would fit me.” Sofia looks at my ballerina-thin figure pointedly. “There’s not a chance, and you know it.”

Now it’s my turn to roll my eyes at her. “You’re still thin,” I tell her. “Just because you have boobs doesn’t mean you can’t fit into anything I have. There’s one dress that I always wear a pushup bra to fill out–”

“Ana, no.” Sofia’s voice is firmer now, and I know I’m not going to win this argument. “I promised my group–”

Her phone goes off, chirping on the nightstand, and Sofia grabs for it before I can catch even a glimpse of the message preview. She reads it, and in the instant before she smooths her expression, I can see the hint of disappointment on her face.

It makes me feel bad, a little. Both because I know I shouldn’t push her to go out if she really doesn’t want to, and because I wish she did want to. It would be fun to help her get ready, go out on the town together, let loose. I want to see what Sofia is like when she does just that.

“They canceled, didn’t they?” I look at her triumphantly, seizing the moment before she can pretend otherwise. “Now you have to go with me.”

I can see her trying to calculate a way out of it in her head. I can almost hear what she’s thinking. We’ve joked about it a hundred times–that Sofia was looking for a quiet, studious roommate who didn’t party, didn’t have boys over, and didn’t disturb her–which was the furthest thing from me that she could have possibly found.

I’ve always been extroverted, someone who loves to meet people, party, drink, dance. I’ve seen how unhappy and short life can be through my mother, and I don’t want that same fate. I don’t want to let a single second of any of it pass me by, if I can help it. And Sofia must have loved something about that energy, because we became fast friends. 

I wave at her, trying to jolt her out of whatever calculations she’s trying to make. “Earth to Sofia. Come on, I know they canceled. Are you really just going to stay in tonight, instead of going out with me and seeing the most eligible bachelors that Manhattan has to offer?”

Sofia glances at me, still clearly lost in thought. “I’m not interested in dating,” she tells me flatly. “You know that.”

“Well, you can be my wingwoman. Drinks are on me.” I jump off of the bed, linking my arm through hers. “Or we can just get roaring drunk together, stumble home, and watch dumb movies until we pass out. Honestly, either sounds good–but I still think you should try to get laid.”

I can feel her hesitating, reconsidering. “Okay,” she finally relents, and I can feel my own face light up as I clap my hands excitedly, thrilled that against all odds, I actually got her to give in to my idea.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for ages,” I tell her eagerly as I pull her out of her room and towards mine. “We’ll dig through my closet and I’ll find that dress for you. I’ll help you with your hair and makeup. It’ll be a blast. I know so many fun places to go–”

I know exactly the dress I want to put her in–a bustier style Gucci dress with lacing up the sides that shows peeks of bare skin through it and ample cleavage. Sofia will look incredible in it, even if I know she’ll be hesitant. 

When she comes out of the bathroom, I can already see the argument forming in her face. “If there’s a stiff wind outside, you’re going to be able to see my nipples. And you can see so much skin–” Sofia smooths her hands down the strips of lacing on either side, shifting as she looks down at how short the skirt is. “I really don’t know about this, Ana. Maybe I should just wear jeans or something. It’s so tight, and you can see my underwear lines.”

“So wear a thong.” I look at her as if the answer is obvious–because it is. 

“I don’t own a thong,” Sofia says plaintively, and I believe her. In fact, I believe every pair of panties she owns is probably full-coverage. Which is a shame, because she has a fantastic ass, and someone should appreciate it.

“Don’t tell me I can borrow one of yours,” she warns, just as I open my mouth. “That’s going too far.”

“So go without,” I say automatically, shrugging, and Sofia turns the same shade of red as my fingernails.

What? I can’t do that!”

“Sure you can.” I grin at her, going to my closet to fish out heels for us both. I bend over to pick them up, knowing I’m flashing her, but wanting to prove a point. The Hermes dress I’m wearing is just as tight, way too much so for me to wear anything other than a thong–or nothing. It’s the same cherry red as my lips and my nails, and I’m itching to go out and enjoy the night.

I hand Sofia a pair of black Louboutin pumps, slipping on a pair of silver sandals for myself, and I see her eyes widen.

“I’m going to break my neck in these,” she says faintly, and I laugh, shaking my head.

“It’s really not that hard to get used to. And every girl should get to wear Louboutins at least once. I know you’re not going to buy them for yourself.”

Sofia lets out a sigh, and takes the shoes. She knows I’m right. For all that her father is filthy rich and spares no expense for his only and favorite daughter, she’s the most frugal person I know. I’ve known broke college students who were more wasteful with money than she is–I’ve even been one of them, from time to time. She wears nice enough clothes, but they’re nothing like what a girl with her family and money would normally wear.

I usher her into the bathroom, and Sofia stands gingerly in front of the sink. “If any guy was half as good at talking me out of my panties as you just were,” she says, a hint of nervousness under the edge of her teasing tone, “I wouldn’t be a virgin anymore.”

“Well, I guess we need to find you some better candidates. But you definitely can’t wear those panties with them, either.” 

Frankly, in my opinion, the black cotton briefs she’d slipped off from underneath her dress needed to be burned.

Sofia looks anxiously at the products spread across my bathroom counter, and I wave a curling iron at her. “Relax,” I tell her firmly. “We’re not going to do anything crazy. Just a little makeover. A teensy one.”

By the time I’m done, I can tell Sofia is impressed. Her thick dark hair is curled and bouncy, and I gave her the same cat eye and red lips that I’m sporting for the night, just a little more. Sofia has huge eyes, like an Italian Barbie doll, and I wanted to show them off. 

“You look gorgeous,” I tell her firmly, turning her to face the mirror so she can see exactly what I’ve done. “You’re going to be the envy of every woman in New York.”

“I’m pretty sure those women have panties on,” Sofia says dryly, but I can tell she’s happy. I even convinced her to let me put faux eyelashes on her, which I’m pretty sure should qualify me for some lifetime achievement award.

“I wouldn’t bet on it,” I tell her with a grin, checking my phone to see if our Uber has arrived as I toss items into my clutch. I hand Sofia one too, giving her the tube of lipstick that I’d used, and I see Sofia glance inside worriedly.

“What about an ID–”

“You’ll be fine,” I tell her confidently. “I know where to go that no one will check. We look like we belong there, so they won’t second-guess us. I’m sure of it.”

I wrap my arm around her waist, pulling her close. “This is going to be the best night we’ve ever had together,” I tell her firmly. “We’re going to have so much fun.”

I can feel Sofia’s nerves as we walk down to meet the Uber, but I don’t understand it. I don’t know what could possibly be so stressful about a night like this–drinks, dancing, going out in a city full of excitement and adventure.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Chapter Two


One hour into the party that Vitto Rossi is throwing at his mansion, and I’m already more than ready to be gone. Bratva parties can be boring and stuffy affairs too, of course, but I’ve never had less of an enjoyable time than when I’m at an event hosted by some Italian mafia family. Their airs and pretenses at sophistication, when in fact they’re every bit as bloodthirsty and violent as the other organizations they look down on, are insufferable.

As insufferable, I expect, as the woman I’m here to see about marrying.

She should have been down already, but Vitto made some excuse about her still getting ready. I know what it actually is–she knows what this is all about, and she doesn’t want me, or the marriage that her father is forcing her into. The Italian princess doesn’t want the Bratva brute. 

I don’t want her either, so at least we’re in agreement on that.

“Andreyev! How are you enjoying yourself?” 

Vitto’s booming voice carries towards me, and I turn to see him approaching, carrying two cut-crystal glasses of some amber liquid. No sooner does he hand it to me than I smell the distinctive scent of cognac, and it takes everything in me not to wrinkle my nose. I prefer vodka, or in a pinch some other clear liquor, but never this.

“Better if your daughter would find her way downstairs, so we could get this over with,” I tell Rossi coolly. “You’re the one so eager for this alliance. I’m in no hurry to marry again. So it would be in your best interests–and hers–to entice me.”

“You know she disapproves of your business.” Rossi takes a deep drink of his cognac. 

“I’m hardly concerned with what she thinks of it. She’ll have nothing to do with it. So long as she turns up on my arm at parties and gives me heirs, she will have done her part.”

“Indeed.” Rossi’s mouth is beginning to look a bit pinched. “Her mother went up a few minutes ago to see what the delay is.” He clears his throat. “I’ll be sure she apologizes for her tardiness.”

I say nothing, glancing towards the stairs again. I know why Rossi is so eager for this alliance. In the past months, my Bratva has been encroaching more and more on territory that was once considered his alone. But I’ve never considered sticking to established boundaries to be good for business, and it’s hardly my fault if his associates are also interested in my sort of business–which is much different from his. But according to the way of the world that we live in–the world that men like us have made–Rossi had two choices in how to respond to it. He could fight back, and risk war between our organizations–which have never been the best of friends in the first place, or really even acquaintances. Or he could offer me his daughter to marry, and make an alliance between our families.

All very archaic, of course, but it suits men like us, so we’ve never attempted to change it. Although, right now, I’m not certain that either option suits me as much as I might have thought.

I married once for love. It ended painfully, and without heirs. There’s the question of who might inherit after me, and I’ve known I would have to address that eventually. But just now, the option seems incredibly distasteful. My men, certainly, expected me to choose violence over wedlock.

But as I’ve grown older, in recent years, nearing my forties now, I’ve started to find that I have less of a taste for blood than I once did. It might be my own mortality becoming more clear, but the idea of sending the men who work for me to fight Rossi’s, to die so I can keep my territory, feels less and less palatable than it used to. 

The chatter in the room stops, and I glance at the stairs once more. This time, I see her at the top of them.

Caterina Rossi. A vision in a silver evening gown, slit up to just above the knee on one side, her dark hair falling over her shoulder, dripping in diamonds and looking every bit the princess that she is. Every eye in the room is on her, and more than one man present wants her, I know that. But I feel nothing as I watch her walk down the stairs.

What would it take, I wonder, to make me want someone again, like I once wanted Vera? 

I’ve seen hundreds of women in my line of work. Young, beautiful, virginal and more experienced, all hand-selected for the men who purchase them. Over the years, it seems to have numbed me to the charm of a beautiful woman. Caterina Rossi is everything a crime boss’s bride should be–lovely, elegant, sophisticated–but watching her pause at the bottom of the stairs, one manicured hand holding the skirt of her dress away from her high heels, I don’t feel even the slightest stirring of desire.

I know what marrying her will entail. A betrothal witnessed by a priest, a contract signed, an engagement of moderate length while she and her mother make the arrangements. A huge wedding, meant to show all in attendance that Rossi’s mafia and Andreyev’s Bratva are at peace with one another, and then a tepid wedding night in which the bride lays down and spreads her legs for me, staring up at the ceiling while I do the necessary thing to make an heir with her. I can imagine it now, the hollow pleasure of it, the way she’d stay on her back afterwards as her mother no doubt taught her, ignoring me as I roll over and go to sleep, dreaming of better pleasures.

Some men enjoy that, I know. A woman mutely taking their cock, lying there like a vessel for their cum while they imagine her growing round with their child. That’s never been my source of pleasure. I like a woman with fire in her–with passion. If she doesn’t want me, I want to know it. I want her to fight back, so I can have the pleasure of subduing her.

Caterina wouldn’t deign to so much as say a word to me from the beginning to the end of the act, I imagine. 

Marriages aren’t for your pleasure any more than they’re for love, I remind myself as she walks towards me, her chin tilted upwards so that she’s practically looking down her nose at me, her dark gaze haughty.

“Mr. Andreyev.” Her voice is cool when she reaches me, emotionless and flat. I know she’s hiding her disdain, and I have to fight back the urge to tell her in no uncertain terms how quickly I could level her father’s empire if I so chose. That the desire to shed less blood has me standing here speaking to her at all, not a desire for her.

“Miss Rossi.” I take her hand, lifting her knuckles to my lips. Her skin is cool and soft, and she doesn’t so much as flinch as my mouth brushes over it. She’s a lovely marble statue in front of me, as cold now as I imagine she will be on our wedding night.

Surely there’s some other solution to this.

“My father is hoping that there will be a betrothal arranged tonight.” She smiles at me, but it doesn’t reach her eyes. “I’m not supposed to say that, of course, or know about it. But I’m more aware of what goes on than he expects.”

I can hear the subtext beneath her words, and it gives me a small flicker of respect for her. She wants me to know that she’s intelligent, that she’s aware of the world around her, that she’s no simpering idiot only good for fucking and breeding. Unfortunately for her, I have no interest in anything else when it comes to her–and only the most necessary interest in that. 

“I’m aware of what your father wants.” I lead her towards the dance floor, the sounds of the string quartet swelling around us as my hand slides to the small of her back, stiff against the textured silver fabric of her dress. She’s very close to me, almost close enough to brush against me as we dance, but I still feel nothing. Not even the slightest twitch of desire. 

“So will we be going to the church tonight?” Caterina smirks at me, her mouth twitching up on one side. “Will Father Donahue be proclaiming us husband-and-wife-to-be?”

“I doubt it will be tonight. I have other places to be, after this is finished.”

“Where is that?” Caterina’s eyes narrow a little, as if she’s offended that there would be anything more important to me than getting her to the church and a betrothal ring on her finger posthaste.

“Now, now.” I smile tightly at her, my hand pressing a little more firmly against the small of her back. “Surely your mother taught you that a good mafia wife never questions where her husband goes at night.”

Her face drops the tiniest bit at that, and I almost laugh. I know she can’t possibly have expected fidelity from me, not truly–every woman born into this life knows that her husband will never be faithful to her. But it’s clear from the momentary crack in her facade that she’d hoped for it, at least a little.

I tried it once, with Vera–but that was a marriage built on love, not organizational politics. I have no intention of keeping to Caterina’s bed and hers alone. Especially not when I can already imagine how cold it will be.

“You’re right, of course,” she says in a low tone, her expression blank once again. “That was rude of me. I apologize.”

“Don’t worry, Caterina.” I feel her flinch, ever so slightly, as I say her name and spin her in a circle, pulling her back to me as the music swells again. “There will be a ring on your finger by next week’s end, no doubt about it. Your father has been very–persuasive.”

She smiles tightly, but says nothing else, resuming the steps of the dance in silence as we move across the floor. I’ve assured her of what she needed to know, and now it seems that there’s nothing else that needs to be said.

Her reaction only confirms what I already felt.

There’s nothing I want to do less than marry Caterina Rossi.

When the party draws to a close, I can’t get my driver to come around fast enough. I say my goodbyes to Caterina, her mother, and to Vitto, speaking to him privately to let him know to arrange the appointment with the priest. There’s no point in putting it off–Caterina will, as I’d said, have a ring on her finger by week’s end…whether I want it there or not.

What I do want is to blow off some steam. There’s any number of ways that a man with my power, connections, and money could do that, but just now I think I want to look in on one of my newest endeavors–an underground nightclub known only as Hell.

A bit on the nose, considering the aesthetic of it, but I enjoy it. These days, those who work for me and those who fear me know me as Ussuri–the Bear–but there was a time, in my younger and more violent days, when those who feared me called me something different.

The Russian Devil.

This felt like a nod to that, to days long gone when I personally oversaw a good bit of the hellish underworld of the Bratva–before my grandfather and father passed on, and I had to leave Moscow to come back to New York and take over the family business. Going to Hell, sitting overlooking the latex-clad dancers and red lighting and deep, throbbing music, reminds me of presiding over a world even darker than the one I inhabit now, when I felt like a dangerous, virile threat instead of an aging crime boss.

Just now, with the looming engagement to a woman I don’t like or desire looming over me, that’s exactly what I wish to return to.

I go in through the back entrance when I arrive, up a set of iron stairs to the top level. A black railing surrounds all of it, looking down onto the lower level of the club, where the dance floor is already choked with men and women in fetish gear, leather, latex, and a few odd members of the crowd who look out of place, as if they’ve stumbled into the wrong club by accident. 

There are cages hanging from the ceiling with dancers in them, gyrating to the music as they strip, and a table is already set up for me overlooking it all, a bottle of premium vodka chilling on ice and two cocktail waitresses in skintight latex dresses–one black and one red–waiting for me to give them instructions. 

I could tell them to pour me a drink, suck my cock, or play with each other while I watch. I could order one to sit on my dick while I licked vodka off the tits of the other. I could tell them both to bend over in front of me while I fucked them back and forth, my cock in one until I tired of her and switched to the other. I could tell them to do anything, and they would obey.

But tonight, I’m not in the mood for blind obedience. I’m in the mood for something else, something darker, and I step towards the railing, surveying the crowd milling over the dance floor as I narrow my eyes, a predator looking for his prey.

At first, I don’t see anyone who catches my eye. Most of the women who come here are the same–goth girls and fetishists–fun for a night, but I’ve had so many by now that the taste for it has worn off. There’s only so many ways a man can tie a girl up or have her on her knees while she calls him daddy before it gets old, only so many ways I can violate a willing girl wanting to take all the pain I can dish out before it loses its thrill. I can imagine, beat for beat, how the night would go with almost every girl I see. 

I might as well fuck one of the silent waitresses standing nearby, and skip the effort of talking to someone new. I’ve done that plenty of times, too. Fuck them raw, leaving them dripping with my cum, and toss them a Plan B for the morning if I chose to fill up their pussy instead of coming on their tits or face. Just thinking about it sounds exhausting.

Maybe I’ve reached the stage of my life where sex just isn’t as exciting anymore. Maybe it is time to settle down after all.

What a fucking depressing thought.

And then, just as the thought crosses my mind–I see her.

There’s two girls, actually. One is dark-haired and looks like a rabbit surrounded by wolves, her eyes so wide that they’re practically popping out of her skull. She’s gorgeous–dressed in a skin-tight black dress with lacing down the sides that shows me a glimpse of smooth olive skin, her hair in thick dark curls, and those impossibly wide eyes outlined darkly. She has curves that could fill up my hands–gorgeous tits and hips made for hanging onto while a man drives his cock into her from behind–but something about her makes me look, and then decide against it. There’s something almost too innocent about her, too fearful. She wouldn’t come willingly to my bed, and if I forced her, she’d scream and cry the entire time. That’s not my kink, either.

But the other girl–

Next to her, standing at the bar, is a tall and willowy blonde in a skin-tight, cherry red dress. She’s slender and lithe, delicate, and as I watch her move, I know instantly that she must be some sort of dancer. A ballerina, probably, from the way she rests her weight on her toes, the way she pivots as I see one of my men come up behind her.

Mikhail. I smirk as I watch him speak to both girls. I hadn’t told him to be on the lookout for me tonight, but he knows me well. And as I watch him address the blonde, I feel something tighten in my gut, a sudden spark of desire jolting through me that I haven’t felt in a very long time.

Even from here, I can see the fire in her. I can see from her stance, the expression on her face, that she’s shooting him down. Not nervously, the way her friend next to her is, but with a sharp defiance. I see her lips move, as cherry red as her dress, and all I can think of is how fucking good they would look wrapped around my cock.

I need her.

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