Iva’s story is done. For those of you who have patiently waited, thank you for your support. Jackie and I are putting the finishing touches and polishing the last little bits of Iva’s story and we sincerely hope you are not disappointed.
Here’s a tiny preview. Please keep in mind we haven’t completed all our edits, so please forgive misspellings.
Prologue: From Vegas With Love (Iva’s story)
Luka Vadim tried not to fidget. Being in the presence of the matriarch of the most powerful werewolf clan in the world would make anyone nervous though he worked hard to keep his face impassive and not to show his feelings. His father had once whipped him for smiling when he shouldn’t have. Luka had only needed the one lesson. Being stoic was part of being Russian.
Esther Temple faced him from behind her massive desk. Her grey hair was piled on top of her head accenting her high cheekbones and the smooth caramel coloring of her strong-featured face. The desk was abnormally neat, cleared of all clutter, ready for the next occupant. The bookshelves showed empty spaces where a book had once been and was now gone, probably packed ready for Esther and her husband, Julius’s move to Alaska.
“Please,” Luka said holding up one hand. From the look on her face he could already tell she’d made her decision. Surely she wouldn’t begrudge him one last effort to change her mind. “Before you give me your final decision, let me add that I know Siberia is a long way away, but it does rival Alaska for snow.” Though why they wanted to go to Alaska when he was offering them something so much better was beyond him. “With you and your husband as my partners, you will have exclusive right to run in our forest, a percentage of the oil and diamond production to further enhance the wealth of your pack, and the isolation you have stated you are looking for.” He needed her and her husband. He needed the strength of their name, their position as the past leaders of the Temple werewolf pack. He needed so much from her and he had put so much into his offer even as he saw she was unmoved by his final appeal.
“You wrap it all up in a pretty package, sweetie,” Esther said with a slight tilt of her head. Her gaze drifted over to her husband. Julius stood with his back to the window, a slight frown on his handsome face. Like her his hair had gone grey even though they were middle-aged in werewolf years. “But your pack is small and your father made a lot of enemies.”
Including you, Luka thought almost sad at the thought of his father’s stupidity. “My father is dead and I am not my father.” His father had made more enemies than any one person should, but his father had been of the old school and the tactics that worked to keep the pack together a hundred years ago, a thousand years ago would no longer work in the new world order of computers, iPads, iPhones and internet.
She gave him a long, considering look. “And that’s why Iva had to pull you off a cocktail waitress on my craps table?”
“She smelled nice,” he said with a touch of bravado, “but she wasn’t what I was looking for.”
Esther’s eyes narrowed. “What are you looking for?”
What was more important, he asked himself, his pride or his legacy? “My father was not so much your enemy as he was with others. Consider this an olive branch.”
“Do you intend to make peace with all of your father’s old enemies?”
“No,” he replied. “I don’t mind if some people continue to be my enemies, but you I would like as an ally.”
“Why us?” Julius asked.
“Just the mention of you as my allies will keep my enemies at bay.”
“So you don’t want us as friends?” Esther asked.
“Friendship comes later when you get to know me.”
“At least you’re not asking to be family,” Julius said.
The memory of Iva filled his mind. He wouldn’t mind having Iva as family. “You have many beautiful women, who knows what will happen in the future if we are allies.”
Esther folded her hands together. “That’s not going to happen, Luka. My husband and I have decided to turn down your proposal.”
“I see,” Luka said doing his best to hide his disappointment.
“You don’t sound terribly disappointed,” Esther said.
“I’m Russian I try not to hope.” Luka stood sensing the meeting was at an end. “Congratulations on your new daughter-in-law. Enjoy your retirement. If you find Alaska boring, come visit me.”
Esther’s eyebrows arched up in surprise. “Thank you.”
Luka bowed to both Esther and Julius. He turned on his heel he left the room and found his younger brothers waiting outside the door. Mischa leaned against a wall and Pavel stood in the very enter of the hall, feet spread and hands clasped in front of him.
Luka said. “Get the plane ready. We’re leaving in two hours. You’ll find me in the bar.”