Vasilli grabbed my arms and pulled me very unceremoniously into the kitchen. Zeke followed behind him. Since I hadn’t been able to follow the conversation, I had no idea what was happening or why I was being brought into the kitchen.
“You’ll be safe in here,” Vasilli told me.
“Safe from what?” I asked.
“Those guys, for one,” Zeke answered as Nikolai came into the kitchen.
“And the sniper on the roof across the street Abram told me.”
“Why is there a sniper on the roof across the street?” I asked.
“Probably there to make sure you didn’t get kidnapped or at least, not by these guys,” Vasilli answered.
“This is supposed to be a diplomatic mission, why are people trying to kidnap me,” I asked.
“You are of great value, always have been.”
“I’m supposed to be getting Alex’s sister her freedom, what on earth is going on?”
“You really need to learn Russian,” Nikolai scolded me.
“I was thinking that exact same thing,” I told my uncle.
“You have value as a kidnap victim because they can get a ransom for you and because you know where Alex’s sister is hiding and because you are friends with Aislinn Cain.”
“She’s not even here and I’m in danger because I know her?” I looked at Zeke.
“It is my understanding that there are people who would pay a great deal for a face to face with her for many different reasons and I don’t think any of them end favorably for the people who want to talk to her, except maybe Nikolai.” Zeke answered.
“I am so confused,” I told Zeke.
“I know, I’ll explain later. With a little luck, that’s Apex out there and we won’t get shot by a random sniper when we try to leave.”
“And if we aren’t lucky?” I asked.
“This kitchen is meant to withstand a bomb blast, Abram told me. When your father makes his career busting organized crime figures, you get a lot of death threats, plus there is a Chechen night club a block away and sometimes when they get drunk, they get rowdy.
“When you do interviews for potential employees do you disclose that they might get killed because your family is involved in some seriously insane things?” I asked him.
“Yes,” he answered. “It is also why I prefer to hire former FSB members. They can handle it and they like the excitement.” Interestingly, this meant Abram ran a restaurant using the same hiring practices as my security agency. That was something to consider and yet, still made a mean fajita. I couldn’t even make toast very well. The Great Danes got about half the toast I attempted to fix for myself. It seemed like I was doing something wrong with my life. Right now, it involved lying on the floor of a kitchen in a Russia trying not to get kidnapped because I wasn’t Aislinn Cain. Although, I admitted that was weird, even for me.
“Why do people think I brought Aislinn Cain to Russia?” I asked everyone in the room.
“Because we had to tell them something to get them to agree to meet with you,” Vasilli told me and bringing Aislinn Cain was the best bait we could come up with on short notice.
“Why do they want Aislinn Cain?”
“Well, those two wanted her because they are related to Bec and Aislinn arrested Bec.” Zeke said.
“The others want her because the serial killer we have is targeting high ranking mob members and then flaying them alive and leaving them in very public places. So, we told the heads that you would bring Aislinn Cain if they would meet with you.” Nikolai told me.
“So, Aislinn Cain is the price of Alex’s sister’s freedom?” I asked.
“No, they want money for that. They agreed to meet with you on the understanding that you would bring Aislinn Cain.” Nikolai said.
“Since you didn’t bring her, they will probably attempt to kidnap you to get more money out of you.” Vasilli said.
“Seriously?” I asked him.
“No plan is ever perfect,” Zeke answered for him. “We can keep you safe from kidnappers, if we can figure out who has the sniper rifle.”
“I tried to convince the heads that they did not want to meet Aislinn Cain since most of them have probably committed murder on multiple occasions,” Vasilli told me.
“Sad when you can’t reason with the heads of organized crime,” I tutted at him and realized I was turning into my mother because the snark was lost with the tut.
Nikolai’s wife came into the kitchen and for the first time I realized I was the only girl hiding out in it. I felt like I had lost some of my macho posturing by not hanging out with the women.
“They have both gone, or rather, they are both dead, the shooting has stopped, and no one has set the place on fire, so I think we are safe.” She said to me.
“Oh good,” I answered trying not to infuse it with sarcasm and failing miserably.
Vasilli and I will get Nadine out of here, “Zeke stood up.
“Would it be wrong to ask if I could take the leftover fajitas?” Leftovers weren’t really a thing in Russia, but I hadn’t gotten to finish them.
“I’ll bring you some later,” Abram said to me. “At your hotel.”
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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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