The Only Woman to Defy Him

By: Carol Marinelli

The fine line between professional…and personal!

Standing outside legendary playboy Demyan Zukov’s penthouse suite, shy personal assistant Alina Ritchi is shaking with nerves—she should never have agreed to this job. She’s out of her depth, and that’s before she’s met her delicious new boss.

Demyan’s wicked reputation doesn’t disappoint—she might be a virgin, but surely one hot glance from Demyan shouldn’t make her feel so…naked? Exposed, she finds that his gaze ignites her defiance, and soon she’s challenging him every step of the way!

But when every shared touch sizzles, how long can Alina keep saying no when her body wants to scream yes…?

Be appalled, Alina, Demyan thought.

Gather your things now and we’ll head back to the car, he half hoped, for she was innocent and he was far from that.

Instead Alina took another drink of water.

He watched her tongue lick over her lips, and it was not a seductive move, but he felt it in his groin.

“Is that why nothing shocks you?” Alina asked, and he watched as her cheeks turned to fire.

“What do you mean?”

“Well…” Alina didn’t know how to voice it, so she spoke about herself. “Everything shocks me. Maybe I was too sheltered. I mean…”

“We’re taking about sex, yes?” Demyan needlessly checked. He loved that even her throat was red, and then he thought of her breasts.

And whether or not it was convenient, Demyan was turned on at the thought of her shyness giving way to defiance.



Demyan Zukov looked out the window of his private jet as his plane began its final descent into Sydney, Australia.

It truly was a magnificent view and Demyan owned part of the skyline. His dark eyes located his penthouse then he moved his pensive gaze to the numerous inlets that beckoned as temptingly as a sensual finger. The water was a stunning deep blue and was filled with boats, ferries and yachts that streaked their way through the harbour, leaving long white tails behind them. Always the view both exhilarated and excited Demyan. Always there was the prospect of good times ahead as his plane came in to land.

Just not today.

As he gazed down, for once unmoved by the spectacular sight, Demyan recalled the very first time that he had come to Australia. It had been in far less grand style and certainly there had been no press waiting to greet him. He had entered the country unknown, yet quietly determined to make his mark. Demyan had been just thirteen years old when he had left Russia for the first and last time.

He had sat at the back of a commercial jet in economy, beside his aunt, Katia. As he had looked out the window, as he had glimpsed for the first time the land that awaited him, and Katia had spoken about the farm in the Blue Mountains that would soon be his home, Demyan had scarcely known how to hope.

Demyan’s upbringing had been brutal and harsh. He had not known who his father was and Demyan’s single mother had found herself trapped in a downward spiral of poverty and alcohol. The small support she had received from the government had gone towards feeding Annika’s habit.

When Demyan had been five and his mother had lost her spot at the market, it had been Demyan who had taken on the responsibility of providing for them. Demyan had worked hard, and not just at school. At evenings and weekends he’d teamed up with a street boy, Mikael, and cleaned car windows at traffic lights uninvited, as well as begging tourists for spare change.

When necessary he would rummage through the garbage at the back of restaurants and hotels. Somehow, most nights, there had been a meal of sorts for himself and Annika. Not that his mother had bothered with eating near the end of her life—instead it had been vodka and more vodka as she’d grown increasingly paranoid and superstitious and demanded that her son conform to the rituals that she’d felt kept her world safe.

On her death, Demyan had fully expected to join Mikael on the streets but instead his mother’s sister Katia had come from Australia, where she’d lived, to Russia for her sister’s burial.

‘Annika always told me that you were both doing well.’ Katia was appalled when she found out how her sister and nephew had been living. ‘In her letters and phone calls...’ Katia’s voice trailed off as she looked at the sparse living conditions when she entered their flat, and then she looked properly at her desperately thin nephew. His black hair and grey eyes were such a contrast to his waxy pale skin and though Demyan refused to cry, confusion, suspicion and grief were etched on his face—never more so than at Annika’s burial.

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