Hi there! Today I’m sharing a contemporary romance from author Storm Chase featuring some landscape I’d never read before–Moscow! I’ve read a few of Storm’s sexy shorts, but this is the first novel I got my hands on. WILDCAT IN MOSCOW is a fast-paced tale about a down-on-her-luck gal and her unlikely hero.
About the book:
Chelsea is a 21 y/o British national who has traveled the world fighting for environmental and human rights. She’s returned home to London to claim her inheritance to learn that her criminal stepfather, George McAllister, has frittered it all away on “bad investments.” Destitute, Chelsea takes up camping in her mother’s empty, and about to be repossessed, flat while plotting her next steps.
Not only is Chelsea broke, but the police think she has colluded in a financial swindle. Worse, loan shark Carlos Santiago is after her too, determined to make her pay up for her stepfather’s debts.
Then Vladimir Voyeykov, rumoured to be a member of the Red Mafia, enters the mix. He whisks Chelsea to Moscow where she is catapulted into a world filled with intrigue – and passion.
This is a contemporary romance with some explicit sexual content. Adults only, please.
The bouncer at the door wasn’t too pleased at the sight of Chelsea’s parka or her Save The Rainforest t-shirt, but when she smiled sweetly and mentioned George’s name, he reconsidered and let her in.
The club was loud, crowded with groups of half-drunk rowdy men and very, very pink. The walls, tables and even the bar stools were a uniform creamy rose that exactly matched the skin tones of half a dozen scantily clad girls dancing on a stage. From a distance it looked as though six sets of tiny bikinis were gyrating to the beat of the music.
“Surreal,” Chelsea said out loud. Still laughing, she turned and bumped
up against someone.
“Surreal?” a voice repeated with amusement. “That’s not an expression I’ve heard used here before.”
“Sorry,” Chelsea said automatically. “I didn’t see you.” She looked up and stepped back instinctively.
His short cropped blond hair and lean aquiline features were classic but the hard grey eyes and deadpan expression screamed danger. I shouldn’t have come here, Chelsea thought.
As if sensing her thoughts, he smiled slightly. “No problem.” He looked her over critically. He spoke fluently but with a rough inflection that was definitely foreign. “You don’t belong here,” he said bluntly. “Why are you here?”
“I’ve come to look for someone,” Chelsea stammered.
Chelsea wanted to tell him to mind his own business but realised that he might be able to help her. “I’m looking for friends of George McAllister.”
He frowned down at her. “But not for McAllister himself,” he noted.
“Do you know him?” Chelsea asked. “He comes in here pretty often, two or three times a week I think.”
He said nothing and Chelsea could read nothing from his expression.
“If you know him, maybe you can help me,” Chelsea pleaded. “It won’t take long and I have money.” He frowned at her. “I mean, I can buy you a drink,” Chelsea faltered.
The hard grey eyes looked her over again, resting on her hair, her t-shirt and her jeans. Despite the thick parka, Chelsea suddenly felt naked. Resisting the impulse to run away, she stood her ground determinedly.
“I’ve met him,” he finally conceded.
“Then can we talk?”
“He’s bad news. Not the sort of person you should be hanging out with.”
“You don’t understand. I’m in real trouble. Please, I just need a few minutes of your time.”
“Vlad, are you coming?” A tall blonde in a sequined black cocktail dress appeared at his side. She looked at Chelsea and seeing the thick parka dismissed her instantly. “I’m thirsty,” the blonde said while taking his arm possessively.
Vlad, Chelsea thought. Short for Vladimir. Russian. And by the look of his dark blue silk shirt and slim gold watch, a rich one too. One of those business moguls, she thought to herself, vaguely remembering stories in the newspapers of Russian oil and telecommunication billionaires.
Vladimir shrugged the girl off. “Go sit. I’ll be there in a moment,” he said.
“But the others have just arrived,” the blonde pouted. “They’ll be expecting you to join them.”
“So they’ll wait a bit,” Vladimir said coldly. “Go on. I want to talk to this girl here.” With a malevolent glance at Chelsea the girl flounced off.
“Thanks,” Chelsea said gratefully. “I really appreciate your helping me.”
“I haven’t said I will yet,” he answered.
Poor Chelsea! Her only family is long dead, and she’s a crusader for fair trade, fair treatment of animals, and ecological awareness. She has traveled far and wide, helping wherever she goes, and collecting precious stones and tusks (ethically!) to build into one-of-a-kind jewelry. She returns home to claim her inheritance, and learns that her philandering step-father George has spent her fortune–seemingly, anyhow.
Her only remaining asset seems to be a box of receipts and collections notices. Trying to unravel the financial disaster, Chelsea goes to one of the clubs she finds on numerous receipts–there she meets Vlad. He’s more than just big, Russian and scary. He takes a moment to hear her tale of woe and gives her the best advice he can: run, for your life.
Vlad knows how ruthlessly Chelsea would be treated if she gets caught up in her stepfather’s bad debts—some of those creditors wouldn’t hesitate to prostitute, or even kill, her. They are, after all Vlad’s business associates. See, he’s a Russian “businessman” (read: mobster) and he greases the wheels in ten countries to make sure his construction projects get finished, early.
Before Chelsea can take Vlad’s advice, she’s taken in by the police–who want to pin her down for George’s fraudulent scams– and later the nefarious Carlos Santiago, who plans to sell her into prostitution to cover George’s debt. Chelsea attempts a daring escape, humiliating Carlos and earning Vlad’s admiration. Knowing Chelsea’s life hangs in the balance, Vlad buys out her debt and whisks her off to Moscow.
Isolated within Vlad’s inner circle, Chelsea finds that Vlad isn’t the cold enforcer she’d first suspected. He is generous and kind, lavishing her with affection, new clothes and art. If only Chelsea could get over his harem of highly paid prostitutes and his new ventures in drug running…
LOL. All is not what it seems with Vlad and his merry band of vodka swilling comrades. As Chelsea and Vlad spend more time together, a real affection grows, and Chelsea finds the one thing she’d longed for more than her fortune: a home.
There’s lots of twists and turns in this fast-paced romance. We’re kept very much in the dark regarding Vlad’s alter ego, until the end–which felt a little rushed. There’s a bit of smexytimes, but lots of fade-to-black scenes which keep the focus on the emotional development between Vlad and his “Wildcat”, not that Chelsea is a huge fan of all Vlad’s ‘possessives’! Still, their arrangement, which is more out of convenience at first, turns into a tender romance. It’s a bit PRETTY WOMAN with a Russian twist.
And, I liked the Russian scene. The pragmatic nature of Vlad and his friends was very different, and (I felt) in keeping with the post-Soviet culture. The seemy underbelly of this world is on constant display, with real issues like human trafficking, prostitution, drug running and corruption being center stage. Still, there was a lot of heart packed into this romance. Vlad is a tender man who’d been missing a companion, and Chelsea’s pure heart and indomitable spirit both captivates and challenges him. I had a bit of trouble with the head-hopping POV of the narrative, bit that’s my biggest peeve. Some typos, and the British English spellings, didn’t throw me off my read.
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Storm Chase was born September 2012. Her alter ego is Ellen Whyte, a syndicated author who has published roughly 3000 articles and 10 print books. The alter ego is the steady type; Storm is the tearaway who’s dedicated to making it work with e-publishing. Since November 2013 Storm also acquired alter ego, AJ Adams who writes cartel and mob
Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!