The ExPat Returneth

Friday, December 21, 2012

Russian on Ice: Mikhail from INCANDESCENT #CharacterInterview and #Giveaway

Today we welcome Mikhail Petrov, the powerful Russian Tri-Elemental from the paranormal romance, INCANDESCENT (Crimson Romance, 2012), by M.V. Freeman. 

"A formidable Tri-elemental, Mikhail Petrov commands earth, air, and water. He will use anyone or anything to free himself from the oppressive rule of the Mages, including the untrained fire element he discovers, Laurie." 

I'm very excited and, I'll admit, a little scared to interview such brute force. But mostly I feel tingly. I love a Russian accent. Thanks for being here Mikhail! And here's your 5 Questions.

1. $10 bottle of Popov Vodka or $900 bottle of Krug Brut Champagne?

Bah, only Russian Standard. I would not drink that sh** called Popov. Champagne is for women. 

I like your style, man. Myself, I like beer...and you don't seem to care. Moving on.

2. Who would you rather meet in a dark alley? Hungover Ninja or drunk Hun with a sword?

Only two? Amateurs both of them. 

Sorry I laughed. Really. You're quite the comedian. Really sorry...

3. If I had to write a singles ad for you, what would it say?

I already have a woman. But if you insist:  One fire elemental. Female. No Mages or Darks need apply.  

Oh, I always insist. And I don't know any Mages or Darks. Which I hope are sports teams. 

4. You’re invited to a party. When you arrive, the house is dark, the driveway deserted. You know the address and time are correct and when you try to call the host, you realize you’re in a wireless pocket. No bars. What do you do?

I walk in. I am Controller, a Tri-Elemental. They should expect me. If not, I will know why.  

I'm afraid to ask how you'll know or the why part. And is Tri-Elemental like a mixed-martial arts thing? No? Sorry.

5. Dyed redhead or true blonde?

My Laurie, she is a true redhead. There is no other choice for me. 

Wow. I just got the shivers. Okay Mikhail, here's your Madlibs. Keep it fairly clean for the kiddos! 

verb:   Drinking
verb:   Fighting
color:  Red
noun:  Fire
noun:  Water
preposition:  Within

I pulled this sentence from the INCANDESCENT excerpt at the bottom of the page.
He drinking out the cigar smoke and fighting her through the red fire, letting the water stretch within them.

That was fun! At least for me. Stop glowering, Mikhail.

And it gets better. M.V. Freeman is offering one lucky commentator a digital download of Incandescent (limited to only those that can accept it) in either Nook or Kindle. 

Some gifts are unwanted, and Laurie Hudson’s affinity for fire is one she hates. It has destroyed her relationship with her family and she has few friends. She’s fought hard to keep the fire inside suppressed, living a low key life as a bartender, until a brutal and charming man blows into her life.

Around Mikhail Petrov, her careful control disintegrates. She is at once drawn to his urbane, cool demeanor and irritated by his overbearing manner. Her options are taken away when he kidnaps her, forcing her into a fight she wants nothing to do with. 

As she learns to survive, Laurie faces the hardest choice of all, her freedom or the destruction of the frustrating man she’s come to care for.

M.V. Freeman is a native of Minnesota, but calls North Alabama her home. She is a member of RWA, and the chapters Georgia Romance Writers and Southern Magic. By day her mind is filled with medical jargon at the local health clinic, but at night she finds herself exploring alternate worlds within our own. Heavily influenced by Slavic languages and culture, you will find she weaves these elements into her stories. Her award winning story INCANDESCENT is available now. She is currently working on the second book, while plotting another series. When she is not writing, she's reading, cooking, throwing around kettle bells, or making coffee.

You can find her at: 
Twitter: @MVFree
You can find her books at:
Barnes & Noble:

And now...a sneak peek at INCANDESCENT! I loved this excerpt. Gave me the tingles.

A cool breeze floated over Laurie again as she tried to cash out. This time, it smelled of snow and wood smoke. Her skin tingled and she held back a scream of frustration. Instead, she took a deep breath, and looked up, knowing he’d be there.

Petrov sat on a bar stool, his trench coat draped over the stool beside him. He scraped a match along the underside of the counter and the stench of sulfur touched her nose as he lit another of his slim cigars. His strange eyes focused on her, his expression unreadable.

He blew out the cigar smoke and studied her through the blue haze, letting the silence stretch between them. Feeling about as awkward as she’d ever felt in her life and wanting to say something that would give her the upper hand, Laurie started to tell him he couldn’t smoke in here. His lips curled upward into the most wicked and knowing grin, its blatant sexuality left her speechless. For a moment, she stood poised at the edge of a precipice, wanting to leap off and return his smile with a wicked one of her own, to lean across the bar and connect with him on a level she didn’t even have words for. The feeling terrified her.

Instead, she stepped away from the edge and sought refuge in annoyance. What the hell was this guy’s problem, anyway? She was no beauty queen.

“Smoking is a filthy habit and I don’t appreciate you blowing it in my face.”

He was amused. With a teasing lift of his eyebrows he carefully blew his next exhalation away from her but didn’t stub out his cigar. “I am Mikhail Sergeivich Petrov and I humbly apologize for being filthy.” His tone was flirtatious and charming.

Laurie didn’t want to be charmed. “You could be fined for smoking in here.”

“Is this so?” He shrugged. “I think you worry too much about silly things. What is a fine, after all? I pay it and it becomes nothing. The government gets a little money and I do what I want.”

Laurie opened her mouth then closed it. Didn’t he realize they could shut down the restaurant?

“Besides,” he said his voice mischievous. “Are you going to tell me you’ve never smoked inside this restaurant?”

“Of course not.”

“Not even a little … Laurie?” He said her name like he was rolling it around on his tongue to get a better taste. So he already knew her name. Thanks no doubt to Rick or Jorge or whoever had the loose lips.

She pasted a polite smile on her face. “I’m sorry Mr. … ”

“Call me Mikhail or, if you decide you like me better later, Misha.”

“Mr. Petrov, is there something I can assist you with? I’m in the middle of cashing out.” Though still uncomfortably warm, the prickling sensation she felt around him had subsided, making her more confident but no less eager to get away from him.

He waved a dismissive hand. “Please. Do what you have to do.” But he didn’t leave. He leaned back on the stool to watch her with hooded eyes.

Focus. Count. Laurie told herself angrily. Where was Tiffany? She could have at least offered to close out after disappearing most of the night. She completely ignored him. She wouldn’t let him freak her out by staring at her. Damn, she restarted the count again.

“So, Laurie,” he said. “How long have you worked here?”

“Three years.” Her voice was curt. One hundred, one ten …

“Is not too long,” He took another drag of his cigar. “How old are you?”

She gave him a tired look. “Too young for you.” Seriously, didn’t he know not to ask a woman their age? Even young ones.

He gave a small laugh. “Let me be the judge.” His eyes narrowed as he studied her through the smoke. “You know, I’m thinking that a girl as beautiful as you? She should not be working so hard.” Mikhail made a small gesture that somehow encompassed the whole restaurant. “I could make it so much more comfortable for you.”

“Oh?” Laurie glared at him. What a slime ball. “I really can’t imagine what you’re implying would be any less work for me.” Home was becoming more tempting if that was possible. She heard him laugh at her under his breath.

And … enough of this shit. She’d take the money and count it in the back. She spun around and knocked into a busboy holding a tray of dirty glasses. In slow motion, the crystal glasses tumbled toward the tiled floor and shattered in successive bangs, glittering shards flying everywhere.
“Oh fff … ” Just one more damn thing to keep her from going home, she held up her hand and motioned the busboy back because she needed a moment alone more than she needed his help. This night was never going to end.

“Too bad,” Mikhail said without sympathy. “Expensive glass, da?”

“Yes,” she said through gritted teeth, reminding herself to stay calm. With her body so out of whack, it wouldn’t take much to make her ignite.

Rick came out front with the kitchen staff in tow. “Everybody? Everybody? Meeting.” Sighing in resignation, Laurie put down the dustpan and stood, but Mikhail stopped her from joining her co-workers.

“This meeting is not your concern. Stay … please.” He stubbed out his cigar into a dirty glass and indicated the stool next to him. “You will have a drink with me and we’ll get to know each other better.” He nodded toward the glass scattered on the floor. “Forget the glass; someone can do it later.”

Laurie looked over at Rick, but her manager, on some silent signal from Mikhail, motioned for her to stay at the bar. She gave Mikhail a look to curdle milk, then picked up the dust broom to continue cleaning up the glass. She was still crouched on the floor when Rick’s words “reapply this week” made her head snap up like a prairie dog from behind the counter.

She looked at the arrogant Russian accusingly. “What does he mean reapply? You’re firing everybody?”

He gave her a small smile put his hand inside his coat pocket and pulled out a pair of black dice. He stared down at them thoughtfully, rolling them around in his hand like some cliché of a 50s-era gangster. “So now you want to talk to me?” He sighed as if wounded but Laurie was having none of it. She crossed her arms and waited for him to continue. He shrugged. “It’s simple. If they want to work for Colette, they will interview again for the job.”

“Colette?” Laurie was unpleasantly surprised yet again. “Don’t you own this place now?”

He leaned against the back of the stool, studying her expression. “You are worried about this job?”

Not if that Colette’s going to be the boss. She thought sourly. The woman couldn’t even tell when she’d had a big almond in her mouth.

“Don’t worry. I like you.” He smiled. “You, I will keep. As for the others … they are Collette’s problem. I gave this restaurant to her as a gift.” Mikhail pointed to a Gray Goose Vodka bottle on the shelf behind her. “I would have that. Please.”

Laurie jerked the bottle off the back display and handed it to him.

He poured the clear liquid into a shot glass and threw back the alcohol in one gulp. She couldn’t remember if the glass had been clean or not.

“You know, to Russians, vodka is our water, food, and comfort,” he said poetically, then raised the shot glass to her in salute. “Na Zdorovye, little Laurie. To your health.” He downed it, then poured another and offered it to her. “Here, you try. It will cool that fire of yours.”

There was something pointed in his expression when he’d said this last and with a frisson of fear, Laurie suddenly remembered his oblique reference to her “smoking” in the restaurant earlier.
“What do you mean by that?” She struggled to keep her voice neutral.

He smiled a secretive smile and drank another shot. “Red hair always gives a woman fire. Is this not true?” He met her eyes. “Do you think I say something else?”

In answer, she set her jaw, took the till to the back and got her purse. He was still sitting at the bar when she returned and headed for the front door.

“We must go to dinner, you and me,” he said as she passed him. “You don’t like me but you will when you know me.”

She didn’t break her stride. “I don’t date my bosses.” Or two-timing jerks.

“I’m not your boss … yet.” He stood as she passed and a burning, tortuous wave of heat washed over her, nearly bringing her to her knees.

He caught her and put a supporting arm around her. “You are in pain.”

“I’m just tired.” It was hard to form words. She was desperate to escape him, but too focused on dousing the fire in her belly to pull away.

“It will only get worse,” he whispered. “The pressure. You must release it, or balance it.”

She looked at him confused. He couldn’t possibly know.

“Let me help you, Laurie.”

He was too close. No one got this close. She broke free from him and fled, his soft laughter and mocking words floating after her.

“Do you run from everything, Laurie?” 


  1. Hey MV! Thanks so much for sharing Mr. Mikhail with us. Can I just say I LOVE THAT EXCERPT? Wow, it gave me the shivers. I am a sucker for a sexy Russian accent though...

    1. Oh, Mikhail is awesome--I love him. I have to keep him from taking over every scene he is in!

  2. Great interview. You know I adore Mikhail...the hot man. Of course, I have the book and impatiently waiting for the next book. :-)

    1. Thank you Carla!,
      It was hard not to continue writing him. ;) And the second book is evolving, surprising me with some of the twists and turns. :)

  3. There is something dark and different about a Russian accent. It must have been an amazing hero to write.

    1. I let you know via twitter that you won the book. :)
      Just DM me on twitter. I'll give you the full info.

      Thanks a bunch!

  4. This sounds fascinating. Love a Russian hero for sure.

    1. I love Russian heros, too! Thanks so much for sharing M.V.!

    2. Hi Pricess,
      I found his accent very fun---and I've a new love for Russian heros after writing him.

  5. Hi Maria,
    It was fun to write him, but it was also one of the hardest things to do. He was so different, but now I can't get him out of my head--which I am not complaining about. :)

  6. Larissa,
    Thank you so much for hosting me--you are gracious and fun. I truly enjoyed this!

  7. Hello! Maria Perry Mohan has won the copy of Incandescent! :D
    I will try and email you....

    Hope you enjoy!