Heart of My Monster (Monster Trilogy #3) by Rina Kent

Anton is the exception, probably because he’s cut from the same authoritarian cloth as she is. He’s never lived his life, never had any form of fun, and he’s always concentrated on either his studies or whatever he does with Papa for ‘work.’


I wince at Mama’s voice, and my bastard of a brother releases me with a small twitch of his lips.

Mama stands in front of me with a hand on her hip. She’s a tall, absolutely stunning woman with dark hair, a round face, and big hazel eyes that she passed down to me.

Her dress for the night is a simple dark green one that stops above her knees, but it hugs her figure in all the right places and makes her look no different than a model. I’ve come to the realization that she might be a vampire, because she hasn’t aged one bit since I was young.

“Hi, Mama.” I play with the belt of my coat.

“Don’t hi me, young lady.” She reaches into her cross-body bag and retrieves a small brush. She always has these little kits and emergency stuff that can be used for everything. “You look like a rat who’s out of the sewer. Didn’t I tell you to be presentable, at least for today?”

“That’s what I said,” Anton adds needlessly. “Apparently, your daughter wants to act like she’s ten forever.”

I glare up at him, and he merely watches me with that stupid blank expression of his. I swear to God, he’s growing up to be a second Babushka—minus the cane.

Maybe one day, he’ll inherit our grandmother’s cane and chase me out of the house with it.

Mama undoes the buttons of my coat and removes it in swift, firm movements. “I guess I should be glad that you didn’t smudge or tear your dress yet. I don’t even know what to do with you anymore, Malyshka.”

She gives the light pink lace a little fluff and adjusts the ribbon at my waist, then brushes my hair.

“I’m okay, Mama. Look.” I pull at my dress. “It’s all good.”

“Your shoes are ruined!” She rushes to the cabinet underneath the stairs and comes back with a second pair that looks exactly like what I’m wearing. Only Mama would buy duplicates of things because she knows I’ll destroy them in no time.

She helps me change my shoes while Anton just shakes his head like a bastard. He could’ve left or something, but he’s leaning against the wall, arms and ankles crossed, looking pristine in his suit and judging me six ways to Sunday.

He's also enjoying watching me being scolded until eternity by our mother.

All I get to do is lower my head and take it with a pout. If I attempt to defend myself, she’ll really give me an earful. Not that I have too many arguments that could work in my favor.

The office door opens, and Papa steps out with Uncle Albert. My papa, Akim Ivanov, is the most handsome, compassionate, and charismatic man I know. I don’t care that those who work for him think he’s as authoritarian as Babushka. He’s not that way with me or with the rest of the family, and that’s all that matters.

Anton takes after him in almost everything except for the dark hair. I’m the opposite, yet I have Papa’s golden hair.

Upon seeing me, he smiles. “Sasha!”

I release myself from Mama’s merciless hold and run into his open arms. He embraces me and kisses the top of my head. “You look so good, my Sashenka.”

“That’s only because I salvaged the situation last minute,” Mama says from behind me with a huff.

“And I prevented a disaster from happening,” my brother supplies.

“Sasha will always be Sasha,” Uncle Albert says with a heartfelt laugh.

“That’s my charm.” I smile coyly at my father. “Right, Papa?”

He caresses my head. “Correct. You’ll be my little girl forever.”


“Don’t encourage her, Akim,” Mama scolds him as well. “You’re the reason she’s like this.”

“I agree.” Anton stands beside our mother. “You’re spoiling her too much, Papa.”

“I don’t care. I want her to stay young for as long as possible.” He hugs me again, and I nuzzle my nose in his chest.

Papa smells like winter. Harsh on the outside but with a warm core on the inside. He feels like an anchor that can never be snatched away.

Mama and Anton—who belong to the tough love club—shake their heads as Papa holds me by the shoulder and leads me to the dining room.

Everyone is already inside, chatting among themselves and starting to take their seats. The dining room is majestically decorated with a Christmas theme. The long table takes up most of the room, overflowing with countless dishes covered with golden cloches. Matching utensils are aesthetically placed in front of every seat.

Erik and Eduard both make a face, and I make one back as I grab onto Papa.

Uncle Anatoly intercepts Papa and Uncle Albert—and me. He’s the youngest of my uncles, and the twins' father. He’s leaner than Papa but is the same height and has similar features. His face is closed off, and he has dark circles beneath his eyes.

Papa is the most handsome, Uncle Albert is the least, so that puts Uncle Anatoly right in the middle. He’s also funny and has made cracking jokes his entire personality.

Not lately, though.

In the past few months, it looks as if life has been sucked out of him and left a soulless skeleton in its wake.