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The Mistress
Cover of The Mistress
The Mistress
A Novel
Borrow Borrow
Incomparable storyteller Danielle Steel illuminates rarely glimpsed precincts of unimaginable wealth and power, where love and freedom are the most dangerous desires of all.

Natasha Leonova's beauty saved her life. Discovered on a freezing Moscow street by a Russian billionaire, she has lived for seven years under his protection, immersed in rarefied luxury, while he pursues his activities in a dark world that she guesses at but never sees. Her home is the world, often on one of Vladimir Stanislas's spectacular yachts manned by scores of heavily armed crew members. Natasha's job is to keep Vladimir happy, ask no questions, and be discreet. She knows her place, and the rules. She feels fortunate to be spoiled and protected, and is careful not to dwell on Vladimir's ruthlessness or the deadly circles he moves in. She experiences only his kindness and generosity and believes he will always keep her safe. She is unfailingly loyal to him in exchange.

Theo Luca is the son of a brilliant, world famous, and difficult artist, Lorenzo Luca, who left his wife and son with a fortune in artwork they refuse to sell. Lorenzo's widow, Maylis, has transformed their home in St. Paul de Vence into a celebrated restaurant decorated with her late husband's paintings, and treats it as a museum. There, on a warm June evening, Theo first encounters Natasha, the most exquisite woman he has ever seen. And there, Vladimir lays eyes on Luca's artwork. Two dangerous obsessions begin.

Theo, a gifted artist in his own right, finds himself feverishly painting Natasha's image for weeks after their first meeting. Vladimir, enraged that Lorenzo's works are not for sale, is determined to secure a painting at any price. And Natasha, who knows that she cannot afford to make even one false move, nevertheless begins to think of a world of freedom she can never experience as Vladimir's mistress. She cannot risk her safety for another man, or even a conversation with him, as Theo longs for a woman he can never have.

From Moscow to the Riviera, Paris, and London, The Mistress is a riveting tale of vast fortune, cruelty, creative genius, and daring courage, as uncompromising individuals chart a course for collision.
From the Hardcover edition.
Incomparable storyteller Danielle Steel illuminates rarely glimpsed precincts of unimaginable wealth and power, where love and freedom are the most dangerous desires of all.

Natasha Leonova's beauty saved her life. Discovered on a freezing Moscow street by a Russian billionaire, she has lived for seven years under his protection, immersed in rarefied luxury, while he pursues his activities in a dark world that she guesses at but never sees. Her home is the world, often on one of Vladimir Stanislas's spectacular yachts manned by scores of heavily armed crew members. Natasha's job is to keep Vladimir happy, ask no questions, and be discreet. She knows her place, and the rules. She feels fortunate to be spoiled and protected, and is careful not to dwell on Vladimir's ruthlessness or the deadly circles he moves in. She experiences only his kindness and generosity and believes he will always keep her safe. She is unfailingly loyal to him in exchange.

Theo Luca is the son of a brilliant, world famous, and difficult artist, Lorenzo Luca, who left his wife and son with a fortune in artwork they refuse to sell. Lorenzo's widow, Maylis, has transformed their home in St. Paul de Vence into a celebrated restaurant decorated with her late husband's paintings, and treats it as a museum. There, on a warm June evening, Theo first encounters Natasha, the most exquisite woman he has ever seen. And there, Vladimir lays eyes on Luca's artwork. Two dangerous obsessions begin.

Theo, a gifted artist in his own right, finds himself feverishly painting Natasha's image for weeks after their first meeting. Vladimir, enraged that Lorenzo's works are not for sale, is determined to secure a painting at any price. And Natasha, who knows that she cannot afford to make even one false move, nevertheless begins to think of a world of freedom she can never experience as Vladimir's mistress. She cannot risk her safety for another man, or even a conversation with him, as Theo longs for a woman he can never have.

From Moscow to the Riviera, Paris, and London, The Mistress is a riveting tale of vast fortune, cruelty, creative genius, and daring courage, as uncompromising individuals chart a course for collision.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Chapter 1

    It was dusk on a warm June day, as the enormous motor yacht Princess Marina lay at anchor off the coast of Antibes in the Mediterranean, not far from the famous Hôtel du Cap. The five-­hundred-­foot yacht was in plain sight for all to see, as deckhands of the seventy-­five-­person crew swabbed down her decks, and washed the saltwater off her as they did every evening. At least a dozen of them were hosing her down. Casual observers could get a sense of just how huge she was when they noticed how tiny the deckhands looked from the distance. You could see lights shining brightly within her, and everyone familiar with that part of the coast knew which boat she was and who owned her, although there were several nearly as large at anchor nearby. The giant superyachts were too large to dock in port, except for ports large enough to handle cruise ships. It was no small thing to dock a boat that size, no matter how large the crew, or how adept they were at maneuvering her.

    Her owner, Vladimir Stanislas, had three more motor yachts of comparable size positioned around the world, and a three-­hundred-­foot sailboat he had bought from an American, which he seldom used. But Princess Marina, named for the mother who had died when he was fourteen, was the yacht that he preferred. She was an exquisite floating island of ostentation and luxury that had cost him a fortune to build. He owned one of the most famous villas on the coast as well, in St. Jean Cap-­Ferrat. He had bought it from a famous movie star, but he never felt quite as safe on land, and robberies and attacks on important villas were common in the South of France. Offshore, with the crew to protect him, most of them trained in high security and antiterrorist measures, and with an arsenal of guns onboard and a specially designed missile system, he felt secure, and able to change locations rapidly at any time.

    Vladimir Stanislas was acknowledged to be one of the richest men in Russia and in the world, with the monopoly of the Russian steel industry accorded him by the government almost twenty years before, due to the remarkable connections he had cultivated with key people since his teens. A great deal of money had changed hands at a crucial time, and more had been made than anyone had thought imaginable or even possible. He had heavy investments in oil now too, and in industries worldwide. The kind of money Vladimir had made and had at his disposal was difficult to conceive of. At forty-­nine, he was estimated to be worth $40 or $50 billion, on the deals and investments that were known. He was an intimate of high-­up government officials all the way to the Russian president, and was known to other heads of state as well. And the fabulous yacht that shimmered like a jewel in the twilight was only a small symbol of his connections and the brilliant abilities in business that had served him well.

    Vladimir was both admired and feared. What he had accomplished in nineteen years as a major player on the Russian industrial scene had won him the admiration and envy of men in business around the world. And those who knew him well and had made deals with him were aware that there was more to the story. He had a reputation for being ruthless, and never forgiving his enemies. There was a gentle side to him as well; his passion for art, his love of all things of beauty, and his knowledge of literature were more recently acquired. He preferred the company of his own kind, the friends he had were Russian, all important industrialists like him. And the women in his life had always been Russian too. Although he had a beautiful house in London, the villa in the South of...
About the Author-
  • Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world's most popular authors, with over 650 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include The Award, Rushing Waters, Magic, The Apartment, Property of a Noblewoman, Blue, Precious Gifts, and other highly acclaimed novels. She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina's life and death; A Gift of Hope, a memoir of her work with the homeless; Pure Joy, about the dogs she and her family have loved; and the children's books Pretty Minnie in Paris and Pretty Minnie in Hollywood.
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2016
    The lovely young mistress of a Russian oligarch learns to think for herself with the help of a famed painter's artist son and his restaurateur mother, once the painter's muse. The setting--London, Paris, and the south of France--cannot be beat.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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