Wicked Boss (Bratva Brothers 2) - Page 38



Picking Bay up from preschool is easier than I imagined. I drive her back to the compound and bring her into the study with the box of toys.

I have one of the guards, Anton, help unload my car with Hannah's possessions. Most of it is brought up to her room, except for one of the bags of toys. I request that Anton bring that into the study for Bay.

The overhead light is harsh, and I dim the lights and sit on the sofa while keeping an eye on Bay.

I can't expect Mikhail or any other guards to babysit Bay, nor would I want them to. She is my daughter. I want to take the time to get to know her.

Bay plops down by the fireplace. The hearth is off, but she doesn't care much either way. Grabbing the fire engine and police cruiser from the box, she rolls them around on the floor.

An entire box of toys and the kid has latched onto two items.

They must be her favorite.

Or she likes toy cars.

It feels like forever since tiny feet were pitter-pattering through the compound. It wasn't that long ago that Aleksandra resided under Mikhail's roof with the twins, Sophia and Liam.

I was supposed to marry Aleksandra, protect her, move to Russia to keep her and the twins safe. It had all been under Mikhail's orders, and while we had been well acquainted with one another, I never desired Aleksandra.

I follow orders—specifically, Mikhail Barinov's.

Strolling down memory lane isn't for the weak.

My stomach tenses, remembering what I did to Aleksandra, the pain that I caused her. She betrayed the family and ended up marrying an Italian Don. It probably was to spite Mikhail, and it worked.

I hope she's happy now that she has the life she always wanted.

If I had married her, I'd have never known about my daughter, Bay. I'd have been in Russia commanding the bratva, giving orders to our men.

Strange how fate has a way of revealing itself. Marrying her would have hurt both of us, but I'd have done it for Mikhail.

I'm a prince of darkness, not a hero.

Hannah has no idea of the underworld or what we dabble in daily. She's kept blind from the laundering that happens under our roof to the assassins and smugglers. Our men, the soldiers who work for Mikhail, handle everything, from illegal papers to cleaning up the bodies of our enemies.

"Daddy," Bay's sweet voice jars my attention.

My mouth is dry at her simple word. "Yes, tiger?" I ask and lean forward, my hands clasped together on my lap.

She stands and approaches me on the couch. "Hungry. Snack time."

Hannah hadn't mentioned giving her a snack or feeding her. Although Bay will have to eat dinner, Hannah won't be back until near bedtime.

"What do you like to eat?" I ask.

Why do I feel that everything she will list off we don't have in the pantry or fridge?

"Chocolate pudding, chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream."

"I'm noticing a theme," I say and pull Bay into my lap. "Let me guess, your favorite food is chocolate?"

Bay nods enthusiastically. Her blue eyes shine brightly up at me.

"Does your mom let you eat all those things before dinner?"

The little tyke scrunches her nose and giggles. "Please?"

If she weren't my kid, I probably wouldn't give in so quickly, but damn, that smile and those wide baby blues. "Come on, let's see what we can find in the kitchen," I say.

I lift her from the sofa and carry her on my hip out of the study and into the kitchen.

"Daddy, chocolate."

Bay isn't the least bit shy about saying what she wants. I’ll bet she gets that from her mother.

"And your mom won't get mad if you have chocolate before dinner?" I ask.

It's almost four in the afternoon, and soon we'll have to figure out what to eat for dinner. I'm not sure what the kid eats, but I'm sure she'll tell me what she doesn't eat.

It's not just the resemblance to Hannah that is uncanny. Everything from her expressions and mannerisms to the baby blue eyes and brunette hair. I swear Hannah could have been cloned.

But the longer I stare at Bay, I see pieces of me in her, specifically her determination. It's not that I'm a picky eater, but I do know what I want, and I don't let anyone stand in my way. I get the sense Bay will grow up and become a lot like me.

I'm not sure if that's good or bad if I'm to be honest with myself.

We scrounge through the kitchen, and I find a half dozen chocolate chip cookies in the pantry. I allow Bay to have one and hope that will suffice until dinner.

I have her seated at the edge of the counter as I stand in front of her to make sure that she doesn't fall.

"Milk," she says as she waves the cookie in my face.

"Don't move," I warn and turn my back to grab the gallon of milk from the fridge.

She doesn't budge. At least the kid is a good listener.

I pour her a glass of milk and bring it to the counter. She dunks the cookie into the milk before taking a bite, leaving crumbs everywhere.

"You're supposed to do that with Oreos," I say.

Her eyes light up, and her mouth opens. I can already sense her next question.

"We're fresh out of stock."

Bay's shoulders slump as she nibbles on her cookie, dunking it into the glass of milk before taking another bite.

"There you are!" Mikhail blazes into the kitchen with Madisyn right on his heel. Those two have been inseparable since she forced her way into the compound.

"What's going on?" I ask, glancing between them as Madisyn comes to stand beside Mikhail, her arms folded across her chest.

"Mark decided to show up this afternoon at work."

Heat rages through me. "What?" I grab Bay and place her feet onto the floor.

She reaches above her for the counter, wanting her glass of milk.

"Here," I say and hand her the glass as she finishes the last of her cookie.

Tags: Willow Fox Bratva Brothers Crime
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