Throne of Power (Throne Duet #1) - Rina Kent Page 0,1
him with the tip of the AK4. “Now, take me to your boss.”
He puffs his chest out, and his mustache twitches as if participating in the action. “Why should I?”
“Igor and I have a war to start.”
If power eludes you, then you have nothing.
It’s not only about being at the top. If you’re high enough, no one touches you or those close to you. No one dares to look at you, and when they do, they are blinded by the non-negotiability you project back at them.
That’s why I don’t and will never stop.
The higher I go in the ranks, the more they respect me, and one day, they will all bow down to Grandpa’s family name.
“We’re Sokolovs, Rai,” he told me once. “We don’t bend the knee. Everyone else does.”
With his words engraved deep in my heart, I take the stairs down.
The house is huge, as expected of the Bratva’s compound in New York. The sweeping marble stairs lead to a grand hallway that has light marble flooring. Gold rims the chesterfield sofa in the middle, the pillars, and even the carpet. The ceilings are vaulted, and there’s a painting of angels fighting demons in the middle. That usually gets visitors to stop and stare at the intricate detail put into the image.
On the other hand, that’s also usually the last thing they see before they’re ‘taken care of’. While we invite our associates here, we also invite our enemies.
Heaven and hell. Angels and demons.
Dedushka—Grandpa—was poetic that way, which shouldn’t have been a surprise considering his origins. He was not only the leader of one of the most successful Bratva branches in the States and Russia; his roots go back to the beginning, dating to the end of World War II.
I am part of that bloodline.
In fact, I’m the only one who can protect it anymore.
Today, I opted for black suit pants that give me a sharp edge. My beige coat hangs on my shoulders without me having to wear it. It’s a quirk I learned from Dedushka. My blonde hair is twisted in an elegant bun. My makeup isn’t loud, but it’s a few layers thick, making me look like I’m in my thirties instead of twenty-eight.
Being young is a weakness in the Vory world, and there’s no way I will let them exploit any of my shortcomings.
I’m stopped by a radiant face at the bottom of the stairs. Anastasia, my great-cousin, smiles upon seeing me, revealing perfectly straight—and petite—teeth. In fact, everything about her is, from her nose to her lips and her frame. The only thing that’s big are her huge green eyes. It’s like staring straight into the calm of the tropical ocean.
She’s wearing a modest long-sleeved dress that stops below her knees. Her blonde hair, a few shades lighter than mine, is gathered in a low, neat ponytail by a long ribbon. As usual, no ounce of makeup covers her face. Her smile falters for a second, and my red alert goes up all at once. The bloodthirsty mama bear in me comes out to play.
“What is it, Ana?”
“It’s…” She shakes her head. “Nothing, Rai. Have a nice day.”
“Ana.” I speak in my no-nonsense tone that she knows no one should challenge. “You can either tell me now, or we can stand here all day until you do.”
She bites her bottom lip, peeking up at me from underneath her naturally thick lashes. That should mean she’s close to letting it out.
Ever since I was brought into the Vory world, I always thought I only had Dedushka, and that was enough considering he was the Bratva’s Pakhan.
But then, my great-uncle Sergei, Dedushka’s youngest brother, brought in Anastasia to live with us. The first time I met her, I was thirteen. She was only five years old. Back then, she looked up at me as if she saw the world, as if I were her savior from whatever life she used to live before.
We instantly became best friends—or more like I became her protector, as she’s too fragile to be out there in the world.
Fifteen years later, she still considers me the same way she did before.
I step closer to her, lower my bag to my side, and try to remove the sternness from my tone. Anastasia trusts me, but she also told me I can be scary—not toward her, but scary in general.
That’s the last thing I want my Ana to feel toward me, but if it’s to protect her, I won’t only be scary—I’ll blow