Natasha Leonova lives a life that could be envied by many. As mistress to Vladimir Stanislas, Russia’s wealthiest man, Natasha is clothed in haute couture and dazzling gems; she spends her life aboard one of three yachts or in one of Vladimir’s homes located strategically around the globe. Regardless of where she finds herself, shopping along the Riviera, dining in elegant restaurants or admiring works of art that will soon find their way into the possession of her mentor, Natasha is protected by heavily armed security guards. Within this bubble of protection, her only duties are to provide intelligent conversation about art and to project the look of success by Vladimir. She is to be seen (and admired) but not heard by others. In short she is his trophy and has outlasted several others who have come before her. Natasha is happy to live this way since it was Vladimir who saw through her squalid life as an orphan on the streets of Moscow and rescued her, recognizing her latent beauty. She is loyal to him and never oversteps her bounds. Until she meets Theo.
Theo Luca, himself an artist, is the son of a temperamental artist, now deceased, whose works are coveted by collectors due to their scarcity on the market. Almost all of Lorenzo Luca’s works are owned by either his widow or his son Theo and they are on display in a restaurant/museum but they are not for sale. It is Vladimir Stanislas’s goal to purchase one of the coveted paintings and he proves the point that ‘everyone has a price’. He doesn’t expect that Theo will be the one to crack Natasha’s reserve and provide her with a momentary excursion into the world outside of Vladimir’s.
I found the characters to be extremely interesting, especially Natasha. All are finely developed with subtle nuances to round them out. An interesting tale of life at the top and what is behind the facade of beauty and wealth that most people covet. And proof once again that love conquers all. Great read for the beach, a relaxing vacation, or sitting under a cozy blanket. Ms. Steele does not disappoint.
Rating: M M M M