“Why did the mob tell the police Aislinn Cain was coming?” I asked.
“From what I can tell, wishful thinking,” Zeke answered and handed me a picture of a man that had been cut from stem to sternum and turned inside out as far as my eyes could make out. I gagged. I had seen enough blood to last me a lifetime, I didn’t need Aislinn’s life leaking into mine.
“Fine, I will meet with the bosses and then I will call Aislinn Cain and Harry Burns and see what we can do to get them over here, but don’t ever show me another picture like that again or I will have her string you up.” Zeke nodded.
“I saw several of them, be lucky you couldn’t talk to them. They didn’t believe that I wasn’t part of the SCTU. They even tried to give me a gun.” Zeke replied.
“Good lord, I just came over here to get Alex’s sister freedom from them.”
“Hey, the Universe does what it wants with your life,” Zeke said. “I’m just along for the ride.”
“So am I,” I answered a little sadly.
“Let’s get you guys to your hotel, you can relax, have dinner with the family tonight,” Nikolai said. In my head I added that I never wanted to eat again.
As I showered in the hotel room, trying to wash the image out of my brain, I was a little irked that people that had spent my life trying to kill me had somehow confused me with Aislinn Cain. Who did that? Was it possible that Alex’s half-sister could have made such a mistake when talking to the Russians? Or Nickolai for that matter since he had set up part of it. I didn’t think so. And surely the people that had been trying to kill me had not had a momentary memory lapse when my name was repeatedly mentioned, right? I mean had someone poisoned the water with date rape drugs in Moscow and St. Petersburg? Both scenarios seemed unlikely.
“You are going to run the entire hotel out of hot water,” Zeke said, sticking his head in.
“Why does everyone think I’m Aislinn Cain?” I asked my husband reaching for the water and shutting it off. We were not in a chain hotel; we were in a converted Soviet block of apartments that had been turned into a hotel. We had a suite. But Zeke was probably right, the hotel probably didn’t have the huge hot water tanks I was used to in the US.
“Aside from feeling slighted because they were expecting Aislinn Cain and got you instead, have you stopped to really ask yourself why?” Zeke handed me a towel.
“I don’t know what you are getting at, but it seems like a very pointed question meant to damage my fragile ego or make me think about something that I haven’t.”
“Well, it wasn’t a blow to your ego,” Zeke said as I stepped out of the shower, “I know better than to do that. It makes for chilly nights.”
“You always have the dogs to keep you warm.”
“Not the same thing as sleeping next to my wife,” Zeke told me. He had moments when he could be really sweet. He was a great guy and as far as marriage partners went, I could have done much, much worse. “Did you bother to ask anyone what the price of What’s her face’s name?!? was? Maybe bringing Aislinn Cain to Moscow was what you had to do to get her freedom.”
“Well that’s just twisted, nobody tells Aislinn Cain what to do except Gabriel and sometimes, even that is questionable.”
“True, but if you had asked her as a friend, you know she would have been here, besides, there’s nothing she likes more than hunting serial killers besides maybe soda and cigarettes and fajitas.” Zeke answered.
“You can’t knock a girl for loving fajitas,” I told him.
“It wasn’t an insult; it was a statement of fact. Ace might not be the most popular girl in the school yard, but she is loyal to a fault when it comes to her friends and I think she considers you a friend. It’s hard to know for sure with her sometimes, but she did bring her dog over to play, which I think is a big step for her.”
“And she did show up for my Pampered Chef party and bought stuff at it and I didn’t know she cooked,” I answered, feeling bad about not asking. I had expected it to be money, not capturing a serial killer. Zeke was good back up, but for serial killers, one wanted Aislinn Cain. She was more lethal than the Spetznaz.
“I don’t think she does cook; she is almost never home” Zeke commented. “And yes, she showed up to our house for an actual party and bought stuff even knowing your mother was going to be there, so I think you have made her short list of friends. Which means if you had said ‘I need you in Russia to free Alex’s sister from the obligations of her father to the Russian Mob,’ she would have been in the seat of the annoying kid on the plane for ten very long hours. She probably would have agreed even without the serial killer part.”
“And here I thought you were asleep the entire flight that’s why I didn’t get up to go to the bathroom.” I looked at him.
“No dear, it was hard to sleep over him.” Zeke told me.
“What the hell do I do if that was the price?”
“Throw money at them, catch the serial killer, beats the Hell out of me, I’m just the hired help.” Zeke answered.
“I don’t want to catch a serial killer, that is not what I do.” I told Zeke.
“Oh, I am aware, and I don’t really want you chasing after a serial killer anyway, especially not this serial killer. This seems like an Aislinn, Malachi, Gabriel, Caleb kind of thing,” Zeke looked at the floor for a few minutes. “Based on what I saw, I’m not even sure Xavier and Lucas would handle it real well, maybe Xavier, but Lucas I would have questions about his sanity afterwards.”
“Great, just great.” I said to him. “God, I hope that isn’t the price of her freedom from her father’s obligations.”
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This book is a work of fiction. Any names, places, characters, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination and are purely fictitious. Any resemblances to any persons, living or dead, are completely coincidental.
Copyright © Hadena James 2016
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