Dark Goddess introduces us to Billi's new beau, the Russian prince (or tsarevich as they say over there) Ivan Romanov.
I hope I'm not putting in a spoiler here by saying Billi's early attempts at relationships in Devil's Kiss didn't turn out well, and as a result, has become emotionally cold.
She's worried about being close to another person, because it's dangerous for them and she's not sure she's strong enough to take the pain of losing someone, again.
Ivan's very different from Kay and Mike, he had to be. Kay wasn't a warrior, and Mike, well, Mike was just wrong on so many levels.
Ivan's from old, old nobility. He's extremely wealthy, not a little arrogance (that happens when everyone you meets bows to you) and was born to command. But he doubts himself. He carries a lot of responsibilty and everyone looks to him for the answer. That's what being a leader is all about. Below is Billi's first sight of Ivan. They're up on Sparrow Hills, where the rich and beautiful of Moscow gather.
The passenger door opened and a young man jumped out. He had short-cropped dark hair, wide cheekbones and a broken nose that only enhanced the icy look of his aristocratic face. He swept his hand across a non-existent crease on his black coat, a coat that probably cost more than most of the cars on the street. He spotted one of the posing girls and smile flickered over his lips, easy, charming and arrogant. The boyfriend moved instinctively in front of the girl, glowering back. Billi half-expected them to start beating their chests at one another, the rivalry was animal. Instead he touched the diamond stud in his left ear and turned away, dismissing them both. He had the confidence of a person who’d found life way, way too easy. Gorgeous and didn’t he just know it. His driver leaned against the door, lighting up a smoke. Tough and nasty. Definitely a bodyguard. The young man gazed around the crowds like he owned them. Like he owned Moscow.
Their eyes met and he stopped. Billi was something new.
The guy’s attention was uncomfortably intense. But Billi wasn’t going to flinch either. She watched him spread his gloved hand out and he lowered his head to give the slightest of bows, but his eyes near left hers. There wasn’t even a hint of a smile, like that would be too much. Billi’s heartbeat went double time as she watched him straighten, hand still out.
The YA genre has enough bad boys. Rough, crude, sullen and with chips on their shoulders. That's great, but that's been done. Ivan's almost old-fashioned. Elegant, highly educated and extremely deadly. After all, he's been taught by the best. Like I said before in an earlier blog, he is old school royalty and knows that thrones, power, privilege are claimed through blood, sweat and tears.
There will be plenty of that in Dark Goddess.