New Release: Demyan & Ana - The Russian Guns, Book 4 - Read Chapter One
Demyan and Ana have lived in privilege and protection as the children of Anton and Viviana Avdonin. With a Russian mob boss for a father and a mafia queen for a mother, they’ve got big shoes to fill. Love and life are messy games to play, especially when you’re new at it. 

An attack on one Avdonin will leave the family stunned and hurting. Their retribution is brutal, but the repercussions for their revenge will be even more devastating. Because when blood is spilled in their world, more must fall, too. 

No one is safe. They have always been formidable—unstoppable. But they are not bulletproof. 

Giving all of your heart to one person means running the risk of losing it when life comes crashing down. A happily ever after is just beyond their grasps. 

One will get theirs. 

And the other won’t. 

A Russian Guns Novella, Prequel to Shattered 
Warning: Possible triggers and scenes of violence. 
Demyan & Ana can be read as a standalone in the series.

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Chapter One

It’s one thing to have a mob boss for a father. It’s an entirely different thing to have Anton Avdonin for a father.
“Are you ever going to marry that girl?” Anton asked, nodding in Gia’s direction.
Gia laughed with Demyan’s mother. About what, he didn’t know. She looked happy and carefree.
“You’re twenty-five. She’s twenty-six. You’re almost done with school, she already is and working. Not to mention you’re living together. Shit, you might as well be married, son. Just get it done with already.”
Demyan cocked a brow over the top of his beer bottle. “Get it done with?”
“Well, what the fuck else do you want me to say? It’s not like you’re making any damn effort to do it on your own.”
Lifting a single shoulder in response, Demyan tipped the bottle up and swallowed a mouthful of the amber colored, bitter liquid.
“You’ve been in love with her forever. I wish you would make it official.”
Demyan rolled his eyes. “It’s not any less official just because we don’t have rings and a signed marriage license. We’re happy like this. She’s really independent. I don’t know if she will ever want to get married.”
“Have you even proposed?” Anton asked pointedly. “How would you know if you don’t?”
“You assume I haven’t.”
“If you asked Ivan for his daughter’s hand like a good man, I would be the first person he called after.”
Goddamn it. Sometimes it sucked to have his father be such close friends with Gia’s father. Between the two of them, nothing flew under their mutual radars. It had been like this since Gia and Demyan were teenagers.
“You don’t understand. I’m not going to ask Ivan for something Gia doesn’t want yet, Papa.”
Anton’s brow crinkled. “Oh.”
“Yeah. I’d marry her in a heartbeat. Like first thing tomorrow morning at the courthouse if she would let me.”
“Why won’t she?”
Demyan didn’t know.
“Is it the Bratva thing again?” Anton asked.
“No, I don’t think so. We don’t talk about that at all.”
“Nope,” Demyan said simply. “It’s easier this way.”
“So, fact is, that could be precisely why, but you don’t know because you won’t ask.”
Demyan hated when his father made sense. “I love her, Papa.”
“I know you do.”
“Exactly. And if being together like we are is what makes her happy, I don’t need more. I won’t push her for more, either. She doesn’t like that I’m Vor, so I don’t make a point of shoving it in her face. It’s only a small piece of us, but not all. I’m going to keep my focus on the better parts.”
“Fair enough,” Anton said, but his smile didn’t ring true. “And when were you planning on telling me, anyway? Or at least, your mother.”
“Tell you what?”
“That Gia’s pregnant.”
Demyan choked on his second swig of beer. Coughing, he wouldn’t meet Anton’s intense gaze. It was really fucking difficult to have a father so incredibly observant. “Why would you think she’s pregnant?”
“Are you denying it, then?”
Shit. Shit. Shit.
Demyan didn’t lie to his father. He never had.
“You always told me never to answer a question with a question, Papa.”
Deflecting was a plan. A shitty one, maybe, but one.
Anton kept looking at Demyan in that way of his that made his son’s nerves grow. “She likes her red wine. Always has. She refused it three times today.”
“So?” Demyan placed his beer on the side of the barbeque. “She has to work tomorrow. The last thing she needs is to be teaching twenty kindergarteners with a hangover.”
“Point taken,” his father agreed, smirking. “Except, she turned green at the sight of the raw meat earlier and said it smelled awful. The meat was across the damn room. Demyan, since when have you known Gia to hate meat?”
Since she found out she was pregnant eight weeks ago.
Demyan tried to stay quiet. He did. And failed like a fucker. “Please don’t make me tell you just because you have to know everything about everyone or you go insane. Seriously, you should see a fucking therapist about that shit or something. Not everything is your business, Papa.”
“I’m the boss. Everything is my business if I want it to be.”
“This isn’t business; it’s my life.”
“And I’m your father, which makes you my life.”
True enough, Demyan thought. The same way Anton always knew all, the man also just seemed to know everything about his son. For the most part, Demyan was grateful to have the close-knit relationship he did with his father. It was a solid foundation for his sometimes unpredictable and fast-paced life.
“You’ve never had to lie or hide things from me because I’ve always given you the space to be open and honest without fear of judgement,” Anton said softly. “Why start now?”
“I’m not hiding it, Papa.”
“Is there a reason why you two are keeping it quiet? It’s not like your mother and I would be angry. Ivan and Eva already have three grandchildren; Gia’s not a teenager and neither are you. You’re both well-off, you work hard, and you’re more than capable of caring for a child. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Demyan rushed to say, irritation rising.
“Is she considering terminating—”
“Christ, no!” The fifteen or so guests to the afternoon barbeque turned to stare at Demyan’s exclamation. He spun his back to the people and glowered at his father. “Thanks.”
“You’re good at drawing attention if nothing else,” Anton said, tipping up his bourbon to sip. “Showing emotions is the only flaw in your character. It always was.”
“I don’t need the reminder.”
“Somehow, you need to learn how to curb the instinct to react, Demyan. You’ve got everything else going for you—leadership, intelligence, charisma, and you’re cunning as fuck. You can draw fear just as easily as you lull someone into a false sense of comfort. None of those things are worth shit if you can’t control your surface emotions. This is the one thing I can’t teach you. It has to be learned from the habit of beating back the impulse, son.”
“I know,” Demyan said quietly. “I’m working on it.”
“Work harder. There are a lot of eyes on you in the Bratva right now. You’re twenty-five-years-old and just starting to seriously dip your feet into the business. Many of them believe I should have made you forgo college because they think it useless. Time wasted there could have been better spent learning the streets. I wanted you to have choices. Don’t make me regret letting you find your own way, Demyan.”
Demyan nodded tightly. “I’ll get a handle on it, Papa.”
“Do that, and fast. If nothing else, manipulate how you want others to see you. Outbursts are perfectly fine when done correctly and used to motivate something, be it fear or whatever else. Random nonsense like that is nothing more than a sign of weakness someone will use against you. Especially if your outbursts focus on one thing—or rather, someone—in particular.”
Without directly saying it, his father meant Gia. Demyan got the point.
“Do not bring unneeded and unwanted attention on those you care for because of your inability to remain calm,” Anton said. “The harder the exterior, the less likely someone will be to try and make it crack.”
“All right. I get it.”
Anton sighed, eyeing his son from the side. “She is, yeah? Pregnant, I mean.”
“Yes. Fourteen weeks yesterday. We were waiting until the first trimester passed and after that, a good time to sit everyone down. But, you and your fucking freaky perceptiveness had to go and ruin that. So again, thanks. Are you happy, now?”
Anton grinned stupidly. “Very. Huh. Vine will be pleased. Our first grandbaby.”
Demyan stared at the sky, exasperated. This was how most of their conversations went. “You’re ridiculous.”
“Oh, I know. Your mother never fails to remind me.”
“Seriously, go talk to a therapist about that shit,” Demyan muttered.
“No. They wouldn’t understand.”
They probably wouldn’t. His father was the kind of crazy even a therapist couldn’t fix.

• • •

“Is the nausea gone?” Demyan asked.
Gia nodded as she settled into his lap. “Also, I think I want a hamburger. Now that the meat isn’t all gross and bloody, they don’t look so bad.”
Demyan snorted. Pregnancy was insane. He didn’t pretend to understand Gia’s experience. For him, it was off the charts. Anxiousness walked alongside excitement.
He was going to be a father.
A father.
Holy shit. Unbelievable.
Demyan didn’t know how it happened. Well, yeah, he knew why. It was more the when that he couldn’t place. They weren’t safe every time. Gia was the only girl who could muddle up his rationale so he didn’t care about that sort of shit.
“Love you, katyonak.”
Gia would always be his little kitten with claws.
“Love you,” she echoed.
Gia’s soft mouth touched down to the underside of his jaw. She squirmed in his lap. Demyan squeezed her bare thigh playfully. He didn’t bother to hide the pleasure rolling through his bloodstream at her sigh.
“Stop that or I’m taking you home.”
Gia grinned slyly. “Not until I get my hamburger.”
“You better hurry, then. I’m hungry, too.”
“Not for food.”
“Oh, definitely not for food.”
Gia stood from his lap, her pinky finger staying hooked with his until their hands unwittingly broke apart. Not five seconds after Gia left, Demyan’s mother sat down beside him on the bench.
“Happy birthday, baby.”
Demyan gave his mother a look. “Twenty-five and I’m still your baby.”
“Of course, Demyan,” Viviana said, smiling brightly. She patted his jean-clad knee. “You know, I always thought it would be awful to have your birthday the day after Independence Day.”
“My birthday’s always been good, Ma.”
“I know. Anton loves to celebrate your day more than his own, I think. My worries were useless, huh?”
“They usually are where I’m concerned,” Demyan joked.
“Not always. How are your classes at college going?”
Demyan tried not to frown. His mother was prickly about the topic of him finishing school. He worked hard toward his degree as a lawyer focusing on criminal defense. With his efforts in the Bratva piling up, he dropped two classes to free some time. It added another year to his schooling. He also quit football two semesters earlier because he couldn’t keep everything up. The last thing he wanted to do was explain that to his mother. It would only piss her off something fierce.
“Everything is great, Ma,” Demyan half-lied.
Viviana raised a single brow as she stared across the pool to the other side of the yard where cabaƱas were set up for the guests. “Who is that man, Demyan?”
He followed his mother’s gaze. The guy she noticed chatted with a good friend of Demyan’s from college. Well, good was a bit of a stretch. Freddie was an associate who he worked some of his Bratva business through. The two first met on the football field.
Demyan learned quickly while attending private schools that the richer a person was, the darker their secrets. Freddie, like Demyan, was well-connected to the high-society scene, but not in the way someone would expect. Not all drug dealers looked like shady fucks on the street corner.
The guy chatting with Freddie was someone Demyan didn’t know at all. He must have come along with his friend.
“I’m not sure, Ma.”
Viviana’s gaze narrowed. “He was talking to your sister earlier.”
Demyan sighed. “Ana is twenty-one. She’s going to talk to boys.”
And on occasion, be the biggest, raging bitch on the planet, he added silently.
Demyan loved his sister, no doubt about it. Problem was, he and Ana were on two completely different wavelengths. Ana’s focus never diverted from her competition-level swimming and love for literature. She thought Demyan was just a thug playing with guns. They never clicked as siblings, not in a close bond sort of way.
“My problem isn’t her talking with men, Demyan. It’s when she talks to a guy who hangs out with a man like Freddie.”
So, his mother did know why Freddie sometimes chummed around with Demyan.
“Freddie is good. He’s not going to bring trouble to our doorstep. He knows better than that, Ma.”
“He better. And I hope, for that young man’s sake, your father doesn’t see him chatting with Ana like he was earlier.”
Demyan’s brow crinkled in his confusion. “What do you mean like he was?”
His relationship with his sister might be like skating on a patch of thin ice, but Demyan would still lay down his life for her. That’s what family did. Now that he thought about it, he didn’t like Ana messing around with a guy he didn’t know, either.
“Nothing,” Viviana said a little too quickly. “It was nothing. I should go find your father.”
Viviana was gone before Demyan could press his mother for more. Gia caught his eye. She balanced two plates in the palms of her hands. He stood to take a plate from her.
“The quicker we eat, the faster we can get home to dessert.”
Demyan smirked. Christ, he loved his girl. “You could take your plate with you.”
Gia stood on her tip toes to kiss him. “Nope. Half the fun is waiting for your prize, Demyan. Happy birthday.”

• • •

“You,” Demyan barked.
Ana looked away from the guy flirting with her, surprise flitting across her face at Demyan’s intrusion. Really, he wouldn’t be bothered by a guy chatting his sister up, but not knowing who that guy was unsettled him. So, Demyan found Freddie and asked who the fuck his guest was.
Cavan Dolan. Trouble with a capital T and that was something the Avdonin family didn’t need in any shape or form. The guy was well-connected to the Irish mob, considering his uncle was the boss and Cavan was the man’s only heir.
He hailed from Detroit, apparently. All Freddie knew was Cavan had been sent to New York for some chill time. The Irish mob had a small syndicate in the state, so that was likely where he was doing his business.
“Go into the house, Ana.”
Ana lifted a single brow, indignant. “Excuse me?”
“Go into the house.”
Cavan Dolan “Hey, we’re not—”
“You can shut up,” Demyan ordered. “Go, Ana.”
Something in the lilt of his tone must have worked because Ana pushed off the side of the house and disappeared around the corner. Demyan waited until he was sure she was far enough away not to hear the conversation before he rounded on the guy.
“You must have a mighty set of balls to crash my birthday,” Demyan said, getting more pissed off by the second.
“Came with Freddie. We’ve got some business to chat and he invited me along.”
“Good to know. I’ll be sure to find another middleman for that sector if he’s working more than mine. I’m only going to give you one chance to get off my father’s property before I find him and let him know who you are. Understood?”
Cavan’s gaze narrowed. “I wasn’t doing anything wrong, Demyan.”
“Doesn’t fucking matter. We don’t mix with other families. Not in business, and definitely not in play. Stay the fuck away from my family and especially my little sister. Ana isn’t the kind of girl who messes around with guys like you. We don’t need your brand of trouble around here. Leave.”
Cavan smirked. “What if she doesn’t want me to leave her alone?”
Demyan’s blood boiled. “Stay away from my family, asshole.” 
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