Mercenary Princess (Mercenary Socialites Book 1)By: Setta Jay
First off a giant thank you to my editors and proofreader, Jennifer Wadsworth, Neila Forssberg and Pauline Nolet, for helping make this book the best it could possibly be. You’re all incredible!
I also want to send big hugs to Tracey Band, Lana Kart and Rene Hurt for beta reading.
Thank you to Richard Thill for helping me brainstorm my way out of a block and adding your fantastic tech and military input.
Thank you to Sarah Ferguson with Social Butterfly PR for all your hard work promoting this release.
A shout out to Graceley Knox for helping come up with a name for the book AND series. There is a chance I would have wavered on names for another month if left on my own. :D
Thanks so much, Eva LeNoir, for your brilliance in helping with the French aspect of the book and coming up with great names for the fictional places.
As always, thank you to all the Book Bloggers who have given me immeasurable love and support. I truly appreciate all your help.
I also want to thank those of you in the Setta’s Sexies fan groups on Facebook and Goodreads. You make me smile every day! I love you all!
A huge shout out to my amazing husband, Kevin, for calming my crazy like only he can.
And last, but definitely not least, a MASSIVE thank you to all of the readers out there. I wouldn’t be able to do what I love without your support.
If I left anyone out I’m truly sorry, I blame sleep deprivation caused by writing this book.
Why is he here?
He’d never once shown up at any of the exclusive nightclubs Sophia had been in. Why now? Her head ached from the heavy bass and the whirlwind of thoughts vying for her attention.
The flashing lights and simulated fog filtering up from two stories below wasn’t helping anything either. Excès was the hottest nightclub in Paris at the moment. Crystal chandeliers dripped from the ceilings, catching the lights of the DJ’s show. Models in glittery, barely there dresses danced with moguls or lounged in the darkened private balconies, the beat of the music drowning out illicit conversations. If only she were focused on any of that.
Sophia gritted her teeth. She had a job to do, one that required her to get her mind off the damned Russian currently staring at her from his own private balcony, or she’d risk losing the chance to uncover the secrets of her elusive prey. The loud, thumping beat pulsed in her gut.
Taking a deep breath, she ran a shaky hand under the back of her hair, lifting the thick dark mass away from her hot nape. In that instant, she stilled, her breath frozen for a moment before she slid her hand away, shocked at the realization the man had her fidgeting like an awkward teenager.
Get it together, Sophia. You’re a damned princess. You were raised in the public eye.
At twenty-four, a crowd of flashing cameras no longer had the ability to shake her, yet one man’s bold perusal seemed to have the power to dismantle her entire serene persona. No other man had ever had such an effect on her. But Viktor Petrovich Popov had never been like other men. The dangerous billionaire had been her obsession for nearly a decade, which had been fine, harmless even, when he’d paid her no attention.
With great effort, she eased her biting grip on the delicate stem of her champagne flute, trying not to look at him again. Focusing on him wasn’t going to stifle either the arousal or the agitation twisting in her stomach.
“More champagne?” Tiffany’s exuberant shout rang out over the heavy beat of the music, jolting Sophia from her thoughts. The other woman brandished a bottle in Sophia’s face.
Sophia managed a smile for the blond socialite while waving away her offer. “No more for now, thanks.”
Tiffany nodded with a wink and a grin before angling back to the other girls. The women smiled and laughed as they spoke, their words mostly lost in the hum of the music. Sophia made every effort to give the right responses, and judging from their expressions, they were either too buzzed to notice or Sophia was hiding her emotions well.
Sophia pushed back a pang of guilt for using the women as props.
Tiffany and the others held coveted spots on her mother’s list of acceptable companions of appropriate breeding and desirable behavior. As far as Sophia’s options went, they were the easiest of her set to be around, and they were always eager and available for a photo op. It was a win-win situation, considering Sophia’s real friends had been stricken from that approved list over two years ago—only two weeks before she would have graduated from university.
The instant her brother, the cold and unwavering king of Porenza, had learned that Sophia’s childhood friends, Irina and Riot, had posed for the cover of a famous rock magazine, he’d ordered her home from university. He’d refused to listen to reason, as she’d known he would. It hadn’t mattered that Sophia hadn’t even been near the photo shoot, nor had she starred in the sexy image that was splayed all over the internet, having been leaked to the media before the magazine was actually published.
Sophia and her friends had known what would happen when the scandalous magazine cover—showing the two friends clad in skimpy bikinis and licking dripping ice cream cones—was released. Overnight, her friends had cemented a spot in the party-girl socialite set, perfect covers for their covert work. But it had also made it impossible for Sophia to be seen with them.