Home > Filthy Rich

Filthy Rich
Author: Serena Akeroyd

Prologue

 

 

Declan

 

 

I thought I’d loathe her.

She was fucking Bratva, and the Russians were pigs. Violent, trigger-happy dumbasses who wouldn’t know if they were swinging their dicks or someone else’s.

I figured that was down to the leadership. Vasov was a prick, and his sovietnik and obschak, the money man and head of security and enforcement, weren’t much better, but Inessa Vasov? The leader’s daughter? A kid who’d been promised to my brother to seal ties between the Bratva and the Irish Mob?

Nothing like her father.

She was delicate and beautiful. He was a fat fucker with beady eyes. She had the grace of a ballet dancer and spoke like an American Princess Diana. He stomped around, flat-footed, and the only grace he had was what he said over dinner before we ate. His voice? Fuck me, it grated. All guttural and snappy, none of the fluidity of the Irish singsong I was used to.

I wasn’t supposed to be here tonight.

Eoghan was.

This was supposed to be the first time he met his future bride, a year or so after the contracts had been signed, but I was here instead because he’d taken a job, at half price, just to get out of the country, just to avoid his future. Only there was no avoiding this future. What Da wanted, Da got, and that was what went down when you were psychotic, but also when you were the head of the Family.

Yeah, capital F.

The Irish Mob wasn’t a democracy, and Aidan O’Donnelly Sr. had made his decree.

Eoghan was to marry the sixteen-year-old daughter of Antoni Vasov the second she was eighteen.

And when I said ‘second,’ I meant it. The poor bitch wasn’t even going to get a birthday party. She was going to be getting married on her eighteenth.

Vasov was a prick.

Confirmed.

I’d watched her dance down the stairs in a dress that made her look eighteen, nothing flashy or trashy, if anything, she looked like a politician’s wife, and the truth was? I knew Eoghan would get a hard-on for her.

Sure, it was creepy to say that when she wasn’t eighteen, and I was no kid fucker—I’d slay any man in my crew who fucking was too. But I could see the roots of the woman in the girl, and knew she’d wreck my brother.

He was particular—so was she. Just watching her eat, especially after viewing her father’s charming eating habits, was enough to see that. The precise way she snapped out her napkin, the way she handled the silverware. Then, there was how she got to her feet, like a lady. The way she moved, like a lady. I bet she’d taken ballet classes or some shit like that.

Without even moving a muscle, I knew her room would be pristine, and she’d be like living with a doll.

Eoghan thought he needed that, and while he did to a certain extent, he liked to touch more than he liked having things on pedestals.

Although, Inessa had the kind of beauty any man would worship.

And she was smart. Fuck, she was so smart that I almost envied my prick of a brother. The guy who wouldn’t face facts and who had forced me to step in for him.

I’d seen her entire being drop when she’d been introduced to me and she’d realized I wasn’t Eoghan. She’d hidden it well though. Again, more of that grace my brother would get a boner for. She’d been polite, kind, and well-spoken. Everything her father wasn’t.

Eoghan was definitely a lucky man.

After the interminable meal was over, where we’d eaten purple fucking soup, some kind of weird pork dish, and some fucking bright red Jell-O that hadn’t tasted too bad—but who the fuck served Jell-O at a meeting this important?—we retired to a drawing room.

Ma had kept Da contained for the most part, but when Vasov began grace in Russian, the Catholic in my father had bristled. It had reminded me of that scene in The Devil’s Advocate. Where Al Pacino, as the devil, went into church and approached the holy water which fizzed and bubbled at his presence.

Yeah, that had been Da right about then.

My lips twitched at the thought.

Ma had, as usual, been as graceful as Inessa, but considering she had about five decades of dealing with Aidan Sr. under her belt, I figured that wasn’t much of a feat. She’d managed to contain him, especially when Svetlana, Vasov’s much younger wife, decided to ignore anything Ma had asked her about the upcoming wedding. Pretending to speak only Russian, forcing Inessa to translate, had worn on Da’s nerves.

Fast.

Nothing was more dangerous than that.

With her bright blonde curls topping her head in a way that made her look like fucking meringue, Svetlana was lucky they weren’t dripping purple—Da had no issue punishing women who were disrespecting Ma, and tipping the violet borscht over his hostess’ head was the least he was capable of doing.

The meal had been long, but when we retired to a drawing room that looked like something Tsar Alexander could have jacked off in, I was sad we had to continue the charade of getting along.

Robin egg blue walls, all with heavy moldings that were a bright, gaudy gold, lots of paintings of fucking dogs in old frames that screamed money, if not class, in a place like this, with furnishings that made me wonder if they’d break if we took a seat on them. And Inessa? Oddly enough, she suited the place.

She was like a crystal figurine in a crystal palace.

Untouchable.

It was weird. Unnerving. She had none of the recklessness I’d expected, nothing that told me she was actually sixteen.

I moved over from the doorway, tracking her as she took a seat beside the fireplace in a spindly chair that she fit in well. With her tailored dress in a creamy peach color that offset her beautiful hair, and made the green of her eyes pop, she was so fucking still, it creeped me out.

When I was closer, taking the stool at her side and stacking my elbows on my knees, leaning over as I did so, I stared at her shoes, knowing full well that no sixteen-year-old would pick them. They were tall with a small platform. Nude.

Fucking nude.

Who wore that shit unless you were Kate Middleton?

A couple of my crew had kids her age, and they were into neon shit and fucking Snapchat… It made me wonder what they were hiding, and if she was so quiet because her parents had told her to be, which would make sense. She couldn’t be happy about the wedding, could she? No kid wanted to be forced to marry a guy she’d never met.

But when I finally shot her a look—maybe it was the light from the fire that did it—I saw something on her arm.

Something that, when she saw where I was looking, had her reaching over to cover the skin.

Bruises.

Figured.

I sighed heavily. “Oh, girl.”

She swallowed. “Please, don’t say anything.”

What could I say? “I’m sorry.”

“I shouldn’t have talked back.”

The wooden words had me flinching. I knew another kid who’d said that to me once upon a time… It had made me do some stuff I regretted. Had made me want to be a protector when that wasn’t in my nature, and look what happened? I’d wrecked my entire fucking life.

For a second, I felt tongue-tied. Violence was a part of my life, and Inessa’s too, it seemed. But we tended to shield our kids, at least the men did in front of Da. He’d kneecap them if he found out there were kids being beaten in the Family by our crew.

Once they became ‘made men,’ it was different, but until that point? Kids in the Five Points didn’t need the authorities to protect them. Not when they had their very own boogeyman protecting their asses.

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