In the Beginning by London Miller Volkov Bratva #1 Publication Date: October 14, 2013 Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Twenty-year-old Lauren Thompson left her small town in Michigan to begin a new life in the Big Apple where no one knows her name or the tragedy that had rocked her family fifteen years prior. With new friends and an intriguing new love interest, starting over is easier than she expected...but Mishca Volkov isn't what he seems. As the son of a Russian Mob boss, he thrives in a world of chaos and fear, earning the title of Bratva Captain through blood and pain. When the two cross paths, lines blur and passions ignite, bringing them closer than they could ever imagine. Until secrets from the past threaten to tear them apart. Can they fight past their demons...or were they doomed by fate before they ever met.
EXCERPT: In the Beginning (Volkov Bratva, #1)
Lauren walked around the barrier—feeling stupid for not having realized it at first—until she could see the entirety of the warehouse.
There was a large octagon ring in the center, rows of punching bags hanging from hooks in the ceiling, and a spot for weightlifting over against the West wall. Most of the floor was covered in green square mats where men, and some women, were grappling on the floor.
She tried to find Mishca amongst the sweaty bodies, but it was hard to see clear faces with the crowd surrounding the octagon. In her brief look around, Lauren hadn’t noticed the two guys inside, circling one another, both wearing knee length shorts.
One had a buzzed head, tattoos covering the majority of his torso and back. His shorts were white with black flames, and the mouthguard protecting his teeth was also white with a word written across it that
Lauren couldn’t make out from her distance.
His opponent, however, was the tiger to his bear. He was tall, his muscles cut and defined like he was specifically molded that way. Tape was wrapped around his ankles and the heels of his feet. Fingerless gloves protected his knuckles, but they hardly looked like they had any padding.
Mishca looked like a born fighter as he wiped the sweat from his brow, pushing the inky black strands of his hair out of his face. His gaze found Lauren’s, his pale eyes brightening as he smiled and winked at her.
She gave a slight wave, walking over to the edge of the cage so she would have a better view of the fight. Up close, she could see the slight sheen of sweat on his chest, some droplets descending down his chest. It was hard not to stare at the perfection he hid beneath his clothes.
Two eight-pointed stars were inked on either side of his chest, just below his collarbone, another set on his knees. Across his forearm was a setting sun, and a line of script on his bicep. There were also two more tattoos on his shoulders, but Lauren couldn’t remember what they were called.
Mishca came over with his usual slow stroll, crouching down until they were eye level. He smiled, revealing the fluorescent green mouthpiece before he removed it, wiping his mouth with the back of a gloved hand.
“I’m glad you could make it for my last fight.”
“Wouldn’t miss it.” She glanced around, noticing they seemed to be the object of everyone’s attention.
“You must be pretty popular around here,” she said jokingly, gesturing around at all the people with a wave of her hands.
Mishca’s eyes shifted from hers to just above her head. He barked something in Russian, his expression turning agitated for only a second before it cleared and he returned to her.“Ignore them. They’re not used to someone so pretty. ”
She rolled her eyes. “They see you everyday.”
He chuckled, touching a hand to his chest. “You flatter me.”
The sudden clamor of the audience clapping made them look to where the referee was climbing into the cage. He was a squat man, who seemed genuinely afraid, although Lauren was sure he was in no danger
of the actual fighters.
“Time to defend my title.”
Before heading to the center of the ring though, Mishca removed one of his gloves, fitting his hands through the fence to draw her forward.
When she was close enough, he pressed a quick kiss to her cheek, tucking a lock of her hair behind her ear.
Lauren felt warm at his touch, wishing that she didn’t blush as much as she did where he was concerned. “Good luck, Mish.”
He strapped on his glove. “Who needs luck when I have you, moya dorogoya?”
With a two finger salute, he stepped forward, his demeanor shifting from cool indifference, to a predator.
Until the End by London Miller
Publication Date: February 2014
Lauren Thompson After learning the truth behind her father's tragic murder, Lauren vowed never to go near another Volkov again, but sometimes matters of the heart are too strong to resist... Mishca Volkov As a Captain in the Volkov Bratva, Mishca has pledged his loyalty to the Vory v Zakone, but he soon finds himself at odds with the life he's always known... Until the End When Mishca and Lauren fight to salvage their relationship, new obstacles present themselves, forcing the pair to make drastic choices that either tear them apart or bring them closer together...
EXCERPT: Until the End (Volkov Bratva, #2)
Outside the precinct, the sun was shining, police cars were parked along every inch of the street, and Mishca Volkov was casually standing at the foot of the stairs.
Lauren stopped where she was, a few feet above him on the top step. It all came flooding back, like it had been yesterday when everything had changed between them instead of almost four months ago.
Same wavy, disheveled hair, same towering relaxed frame, but there was something different about his eyes.
They were still that endless blue, but now they held a haunting knowledge she was all too familiar with.
He looked like he hadn’t slept in days, and Lauren despised herself for caring. Completely ignoring him, she continued down the concrete steps, towards Ross’ old pickup.
Ross made a rude sound below his breath, hobbling down the steps on his crutches. There was no love lost between him and Mishca, and it wasn’t just because Mishca’s uncle decided to send his foot soldiers to attack them in the middle of the night. It was because Mishca was Russian Mafia.
On the surface, Mishca was a law abiding, tax paying citizen like the rest of the country, but to a man like Ross, it was what Mishca was on the inside that he disliked.
Criminal. Mobster. Murderer.
Lauren hadn’t believed it at first, but it was hard to deny it when she had witnessed it first hand.
Ross glared at him as he passed, Susan following soon after, though her expression was far less menacing. She almost looked…sad. Not like the last time the two had crossed paths. Back then, Lauren hadn’t understood her mother’s strange reaction, but now it was more than clear that they had more of a history than she had ever known.
The lawyer spoke softly in Mishca’s ear and after his nod, she was off, never speaking another word to Lauren.
He didn’t come towards her, didn’t crowd her with his presence, just stood there, allowing her to make the decision.
She didn’t think about the consequences of her actions, just held her head high and approached him. Up
close, the effect was worse because now she could smell him. Mishca was just overwhelming in every way possible.
But that wasn’t what today was about. She couldn’t get sucked back in.
“Are you having me followed?” Lauren asked. Her first thought was to ask him why he hired the lawyer, but that was plainly obvious considering where she had come from, but what she didn’t know was where the lawyer had come across the information.
“Not in so many words.”
Classic Mishca evasion. “I’ll take that as a yes. Did you come here to make sure I wouldn’t talk?”
He looked frustrated, like she wasn’t saying what he thought she would. What did he expect? It wasn’t like they had walked away on good terms. In fact, it was better if they didn’t talk about it at all.
“Is that what you think now?” He asked looking down on her. “Is that all you think of me?”
“It’s who you are,” she said back just as fiercely. “You never showed me the monster that hid beneath the pretty surface.”
“I showed you what mattered.”
Like they had done so many times before, they unconsciously drew closer until they were just a whisper apart.
It was almost too easy to get lost in his eyes, the way his lips twitched when he was going to smile, or how he always made it a habit to kiss her knuckles when they saw each other.
Even now, she could feel the ghost of his lips pressing against her skin and had to refrain from reaching for him.
“I’m leaving, Mish.”
His eyes softened when she used that nickname for him. She could practically read his thoughts and knew, despite how much it would hurt, she had to let him go.
“Lauren, about what I said…I didn’t mean—”
“You don’t have to explain.”
He shoved a hand through his hair, the way he did when he was agitated. “I want to, to fix this.”
She squeezed her eyes shut, wishing she could ignore the hopeful look on his face when he said that.
It was hard, staring up at the man who had been such a big part of her life for months, someone she had
grown to love and care for, but there was too much between them, and she didn’t think any of it could be fixed.
Lauren drew away from him, watching the mask fall over his face. This was goodbye.
Turning her back on him, she walked back to the car where Ross and Susan were waiting. With each step, a foolish part of her hoped that he would call her back.
The Final Hour by London Miller
Publication Date: July 2014
Three months pass without incident, leading Mishca and Lauren to believe they can finally move on from the past and build a life together ...but enemies both old and new lurk in the shadows, waiting for the opportunity to strike. When a dangerous threat presents itself, Lauren is forced to turn to the one person that would rather see Mishca dead than live happily ever after ...she now has to step into a role that demands payment in blood. Alliances are formed, one side fighting for survival, and the other for retribution. No one can be trusted. No one is safe. War is coming. ...and not everyone will live to see the end of it.
EXCERPT: The Final Hour (Volkov Bratva, #3)
While Lauren was preoccupied, Mishca took a moment to just watch her. The way she smiled when she spoke softly with Amber, how her eyes would light up with humor when Luka told a joke, and how even when he promised to return shortly, her gaze still sought him through the crowd. Such simple things in retrospect, but more the reason why what he was about to do was more than worth it.
He’d specifically told Vlad and his men working security for the night to stay out there with her, knowing that when he approached Ross, he would probably get punched in the face for what he was going to ask. Mishca liked to think that if he were in Ross' shoes, he would be more understanding if his daughter wanted to be with a known criminal, but then again, if Mishca ever had a daughter, he would be the most overprotective father in the world.
Mishca signaled for the bartender again, needing another shot of Vodka as he waited for Ross to exit the
restrooms. This was the only opportunity all night that he had gotten the detective alone, and while Mishca could have asked his question over the phone where the likelihood of him getting hit was low, but he wasn’t a coward, and he knew he would eventually have to face Ross whether he liked it or not.
Like Mishca’s thoughts had conjured him, Ross came walking out, his eyes intent on the party. Mishca tipped back his drink, swallowing it down without really feeling the burn, clearing his throat to get Ross’ attention.This was the first time in a really long time—besides with Lauren—that Mishca felt nervous.
Ross didn't look too happy, but he did wait as Mishca approached him, his frown deepening when he noticed Mishca touch his breast pocket. It wasn’t the first time Mishca had done it throughout the night, but Ross was one of the few that noticed.
"You've been doing that all night. What the hell are you hiding?" Ross asked suspiciously.
Only he would notice Mishca doing that and actually call him out on it. "I have a question for you."
"Yea? Get on with it."
"I know you don't like me much--"
Mishca almost smiled. "But Lauren and I are serious and I..." Mishca hesitated, clearing his throat again. Ross looked at him expectantly while Mishca tried to covertly remember if he was right-handed or not. Deciding that it didn't matter, since either hand was going to hurt like a bitch, Mishca finally said the words. "I wanted to ask you for Lauren's hand in marriage."
There was a split second of shock on Ross' face as he stared Mishca down like he thought it was a joke. When Mishca didn't laugh, he cocked that left fist back and slugged him so hard, the people observing them gave cries of surprise, drawing the attention of their party outside. Straightening, Mishca raised his hand, a silent stand-down to his men that were already making their way towards them.
He couldn't stop Susan though.
"What the hell is going on with you two?" She asked in a heated whisper, glaring at them both. "You should be glad Lauren didn't see that."
Mishca touched his face, wincing as the pain radiated through his face. Dammit, that was going to bruise.
Ross seemed too angry for words.
"I asked for Lauren's hand."
"I don’t—Oh." She drew out the word, understanding what Mishca was saying. She tried to keep a straight face, but the edges of her mouth were twitching like she was trying to fight a smile. “Thomas, we have talked about this. We agreed not to interfere.”
"Well I'm not going to give my blessing on something I don't agree with, and I definitely will never agree to having a Volkov in the family."
Mishca understood, but that didn't stop his temper from flaring. "I'm not my father."
"The hell if you're not. Look what you've gotten her into since she's been here. Damn Albanians--and hell, she isn't even safe with your lot."
Susan shushed him, noticing that they were still the center of attention despite their lowered voices.
"I didn't take that into consideration then," Mishca said trying to remain calm. If he lost his cool, he would never get them, Ross in particular, to agree. "I would protect her with my life, of that you should have no doubt."
Even if Ross didn't know what that meant, Susan did. Mishca knew he could never win him over, but Susan, Susan was another story entirely. She had never outright told him, but he believed she had a soft spot for him.
"I've met your father," Susan said, "and I met your mother. No matter how brief, I can see a little more of her in you than Mikhail Volkov. More importantly, I know you love Lauren and I know she loves you. If you're what makes her happy, we won't stand in your way.” But she wasn’t done yet, noting his triumphant smile. “But from now on, I want someone with her when you're not around."
"It's already been done," he promised her.
She nodded, looking relieved. Ross only looked a little more pissed off.
"I hate you," he said bitterly.
Mishca looked the man dead in his eyes and said, "That may be true, but your love for her overshadows your hatred for me."
"I want to talk to Lauren first," Ross said, gazing out past the windows. "I'll tell you my decision after."
Mishca had no choice but to stand there with Susan and watch Ross walk off with his fate in his hands.
Also in the Series...
Time Stood Still by London Miller
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Can a love born of violence stand the test of time?
Despite a less than ideal start to their marriage, Mishca and Lauren are finally in a place where they do not have to look over their shoulders at every turn. Now that they are in a secure place, it's time for them to have the one thing Mishca had promised her before they took their vows. A honeymoon... Traveling to the sandy beaches of Sardinia, Italy, the couple will explore what brought them together in the first place, instead of the life that constantly threatens to tear them apart. But as the newly appointed Boss of the Volkov Bratva, is it too late for Mishca to have an even remotely normal life...and is Lauren ready to face another challenge that neither of them saw coming...
About the Author
With a degree in Creative Writing, London Miller has turned pen to paper, creating riveting fictional worlds where the bad guys are sometimes the good guys. Her debut novel, In the Beginning, is the first in the Volkov Bratva Series. She currently resides in southern Georgia where she drinks far too much soda, and spends her nights writing.