Sofia: My wedding day. I should be elated. I’ll become Sofia Semenov, wife to Maxim Semenov, the Pakhan of the Semenov Bratva. But Maxim’s a complete stranger to me. He’s not a prince on a white horse. Maxim’s the ruthless devil in disguise. Hating him should be easy but when Maxim’s able to consume me with one lethal kiss, it's hard not to fall for the devil.
Maxim: A simple business transaction. That was all Sofia equated to. Her father promised me a different daughter but after a tragic shooting, I had to settle for Sofia instead. Sofia Bianchi is nothing what I expected. She’s beautiful and fierce, and it doesn’t take long for me to realize she’s fit to be my queen.
One of Maxim’s men opened the heavy wooden doors. Sofia couldn’t see the crowd gathered there, given she was at the back of the line.
Someone handed her a bouquet of blood-red roses. The veil got in Sofia’s face once again, and she was tempted to take it off along with the ridiculous diamond tiara.
Only a little more, Sofia told herself. After this charade of a wedding was over, things would be easier, or so she hoped.
“Breathe,” Sofia whispered to herself.
The procession began. Since looking at the guests unnerved her, she decided on one focal point—the altar and the simple wooden cross looming above everything else in the church.
A wizened priest stood on the steps, and next to him stood Sofia’s future husband.
Maxim looked perfect in a tuxedo, just like he did in a suit and tie. His steel-colored gaze met hers, and Sofia’s breath hitched. Her heart hammered. Lorenzo soon took his place by Sofia’s side, but she hardly noticed his presence. He would drag Sofia to the altar if need be, Sofia knew, but she walked out of her accord.
Then it was only Maxim and Sofia standing in front of the priest.
Most of the time, Maxim’s expression was difficult to read, but standing this close, Sofia could see the vicious hunger in his eyes, and something else. A hint of cruelty.
Sofia’s pulse quickened. No man had ever looked at her the way he did. Most men Sofia passed on the street barely gave her another glance, but Maxim looked upon her like a feast.
Sofia shuddered. Her nipples tightened under her lace bra, and she felt moisture gather between her legs.
The veil got in her face again, and she desperately blew at the fabric. As the priest continued in his monotone voice, Maxim reached out and ripped the veil away, somehow keeping the tiara still poised on her head.
“Much better,” Maxim said, smiling.
Sofia shivered, and what little courage she’d managed to summon disappeared completely.