The women’s eyes widened.

Perfect, they thought in unison.

And all of them let out a little squeal, the shrill sound breaking Misha’s concentration.

Misha blinked, suddenly realizing that the women around him had a rather hungry look in their eyes. Behind them, he caught sight of his younger brother smirking and knew right away that whatever had just happened, it was Vassi’s doing.

Mentally cursing Vassi, he carefully removed himself from the circle of female predators and was relieved when the host called out their names a moment after. As he and Vassi walked on stage, he said under his breath, “Otva ‘li.” Fuck off.

He glanced over his shoulder, saw the women on their phones, tweeting or stealing photos of him, and suppressed an irritable sigh. This was why he hated public events, Misha thought. And if not for Fyodor’s golden rule of having the family present a unified front in every occasion, he would have gladly skipped every chance to stand in the limelight.

But then if one of them did, tongues could start to wag, and as Fyodor had warned them, such gossip could eventually harm the most precious member of their family.

With the thought uppermost in his mind, Misha forced himself to smile and speak a few words even as boredom tempted him to kill himself. Beside him, Vassi appeared to have no problems at all dealing with all the attention. As soon as the award ceremony ended, they were immediately inundated with requests, all of which Vassi handled with ease while Misha dealt with it as he always did, which was to ignore what could be ignored and let his bodyguards take care of the rest.

Although the audience for the prestigious award ceremony mostly consisted of Fortune 500 executives, the appearance of the Grachyov brothers had reduced everyone into obsessed fans. Men in expensive tuxes were eager to shake hands with them, knowing that such an experience gave them bragging rights over their friends. The women, on the other hand, acted more like well-dressed fangirls than the powerful executives they were, with the way they fought against each other for the chance to get close to the two brothers, hoping to either steal a kiss or – if their guardian angels were smiling at them – then perhaps even the most fleeting touch of a Grachyov cock?

It was unlikely, considering the bulk of security surrounding the Grachyov brothers, but not impossible, and even this tiny chance was enough to send the females into a frenzy.

It was both a hilarious and incredible sight, and the paparazzi present smirked among themselves even as they furiously took photos and live-tweeted the event. The Grachyov effect, the reporters thought in wry amusement. There was just nothing like it since the Kennedys.

Vassi shook hands with an ambassador and his wife. “Thank you for the invitation. We would love to join you for luncheon, but I’m afraid both my brother and I already have other commitments scheduled after this.”

He moved forward and was blocked by a society matron cooing for his attention. A smile still pinned to his lips, he thanked the woman for the support while slightly turning his body sideways. The movement was barely imperceptible, but it was sufficient for dodging the woman’s straying hand as she expressed her admiration for him while trying to cop a feel.

Another woman attempted to do the same thing to Misha while waiting for him to finish autographing her luncheon card, but instead of stepping back, he only nodded to security. By the time he finished scrawling his signature, the woman’s face was beet red, with Misha’s guards having quietly but sternly warned her of the legal consequences for attempted sexual harassment.

Unfortunately, the minor fracas didn’t deter the other guests from clamoring for their attention, and Misha’s patience started to wear thin. He glanced at his younger brother.

“A photo would be fine, yes.” Vassi smiled as he posed next to an elderly gentleman.

“It’s our privilege to be a part of this.” Vassi bowed respectfully to the event’s special guests from Japan.

“Of course, a handshake is the least we can do.”

There was not a single sign of discomfort on Vassi’s too-pretty face, even though Misha was certain his brother found the way people kept fawning over them both tedious and bizarre.

It was, Misha thought pensively, pretty amazing, when one considered Vassi’s attitude as a child. Even though Vassi had been the youngest, he had still been the first to swear among his brothers, the first to be sent to detention for troublemaking in school, the first one to take a girl to bed. In fact, Vassi had been the rowdiest little kid, violent and aggressive—-

But here was his little brother now, the very epitome of grace and charm, Vassi’s smile unfaltering as he skillfully evaded answering questions about his rumored hiatus from acting.


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