Owned by the Badman (Russian Bratva #1)By: Hayley Faiman
To my Mom—
Your favorite Russian bad-boy in print. Enjoy.
Thank you for always being there for me. Always being a sounding board and thank you for being wonderful in every single way. Thank you for showing me how to be a mother and wife, for giving me the best example ever.
RUSSIAN BRATVA STRUCTURE
Pakhan – The Boss: Controls everything.
Sovietnik – Councilor: Advisor and most close trusted individuals to the Pakhan.
Obshchak – The Bookmaker: Collects all money from Brigadiers and bribes from the government.
Brigadier – Authority: Captain in charge of a small group of men.
Boyevik – Warrior: Soldier, works for a Brigadier.
Kryshas – Covers: Extremely violent enforcers.
Torpedo – Contract Killers
Byki – Bulls: Bodyguards
Shestyorka – Associate: Errand boys. Lowest rank in the Russian Mafia.
HALEIGH WALKED OUT ON the stage and she could feel the rush of adrenaline hit her like a two-ton sack of bricks. It was heavy, thick, and it almost made her stumble. If she fell, her life and her career would be over. She stood, tall and proud, stretching out her body as she began to dance. Ballet—it was the reason she breathed. It had been shoved down her throat since she was just two years old. Ballet—it was all that Haleigh knew. It was why she was on this earth. Her purpose was to live out a dream her mother had never fulfilled.
Jacques, her partner, lifted her body high in the air while she arched over his head. Her arms draped down, hanging at his back. She could grab his ass if she chose to, but that would be unbecoming and something she would never, ever dream of doing. Tonight, she was Cinderella and Jacques the handsome prince. He probably wished she were a stable boy instead. He hated Haleigh and called her a fat cow half of the time.
Haleigh was talented. She was born and bred in the ballet studio; even homeschooled because school itself was merely a distraction to her craft, as her mother had put it. At twenty years old, she had never been out on a date, kissed a boy, or even held hands with one. She had no friends, male or female. Haleigh was alone. She felt like a prized animal, only for show, never to live her own life. Her life consisted of practice, conditioning, practice, rehearsals, and shows.
When the curtain closed, Jacques practically dropped Haleigh on her ass before leaving her to get a water. Haleigh stood back, away from the dancers, and prepared for the curtain call. She wondered if this was how her life was going to be forever—alone and pitiful.
Smiling and bowing for the audience left her feeling hollow. They appreciated her beautiful technique—and it was beautiful—because that breathtaking technique had been beaten into her. What they didn’t know was how utterly depressing and lonely the rest of her life was.
Changing into her yoga pants and an oversized sweatshirt, Haleigh left the theater. It was drab and drizzling outside and she was alone once again. All of the cast had gone to a party—one she had not been invited to. She looked up to see her driver waiting for her. Torrent would take her home, and he would make sure she was safely inside her building before he left the street. He was the only person who ever smiled at Haleigh. It was a sad, pitiful smile, but it was a smile nonetheless.
“Good evening, Miss Haleigh,” he said softly as she slid into the back of the black sedan.
“Hello, Torrent,” she muttered sadly, resting her head on the back of the seat. The fifteen minutes to her apartment building would be just enough time for her to relax from the adrenaline coursing through her veins from the performance.
“I am sorry, Miss, but I was told that your mother wanted you to meet her in the formal living area as soon as you arrived home this evening.” Haleigh’s eyes popped open in surprise. She didn’t see her parents often, and they never requested to meet with her, unless something was off about a performance or tryout.
Haleigh lived her life for the ballet, and when she wasn’t dancing, she was sleeping until the next rehearsal or performance. Her parents had their own lives, social and business engagements taking up the majority of their time.
“All right,” she said softly, the nervous energy gathering around her.
Once inside the apartment, Haleigh saw spots in her vision. She was on the verge having a panic attack. She willed herself to take deep, calm breaths and, luckily, this worked in her favor. The panic subsided and she braced herself for whatever her parents had for her.