Sergei Mikhailova faded into the shadows of the dockside building and lit a cigarette as he waited for the courier with the critical package. He flipped closed the Zippo lighter he had stolen from an American tourist, took a long draw off the rich Marlboro Red and exhaled through his nose, the rising smoke sifting through the light above him. Without his cherished cigarettes and regular shots of vodka, he didn’t know how he would cope with his arduous and demanding job.
It was dead silent out there except for the occasional ship blowing its fog horn in the distance, and because of the late hour, there wasn’t another person in sight. The air was bitterly cold, so the intermittent breeze carrying the ocean’s salty humidity stung his face like sharp needles, and his ears felt like they might fall off. The area also reeked of dead fish, which made his stomach turn, but the strong tobacco was starting to help.
As he waited and smoked, he noticed the huge piles of dirty snow up and down the dock, which had no doubt been plowed in layers from one storm after another. The sight of it made the place seem all that more frigid and revolting.
One thing was for sure. He didn’t want to wait there any longer than absolutely necessary.
Sergei checked his watch. It was ten minutes after midnight, which meant the courier was late or, God forbid, not coming. The thought of the latter possibility turned his stomach again, and he quickly took another drag off his precious smoke.
The item he awaited was essential in paving the way for Alexei Chernikova’s master plan, and Sergei knew the man trusted no one else to ensure its safe delivery to their office in St. Petersburg. It was such a crucial component, in fact, that even the slightest hitch in tonight’s plan made Sergei anxious.
Failure was not an option, and suffering it at the hands of another was totally unacceptable. So, with every minute that passed, Sergei became more and more enraged, and the likelihood of this delinquent courier leaving the docks alive grew less and less.
Finally, the white compact car he was told to expect approached in the distance, and it slowly weaved through containers, barrels and snow piles until it stopped at the far edge of the next warehouse building. It sat there for a moment before backing up, hesitating, and finally turning right.
What is this idiot doing?
Anger swelled inside him as he watched the car disappear behind the structure. And for several minutes thereafter, all he could see were lights dancing this way and that as the driver apparently searched for the drop-off point. The package was so close Sergei could almost taste it, but this buffoon was playing keep away with the damned thing like a sadistic teenager.
Sergei had certainly killed people for less.
He lit another cigarette and continued to wait as the cold started to seep into his bones. His fingers grew stiff, and his feet were so numb he could hardly feel them. And all of it was because of this asinine courier.
Finally, the car rounded the near corner of the building as if the driver had circled the structure’s entire perimeter. But now he was back on track, continuing along the dock.
Sergei was relieved until he saw the vehicle stop again.
The interior light came on, and the car sat there for several minutes as if the driver was reacquainting himself with the directions.
Sergei drew on his cigarette and continued to steam. He fantasized about wrapping his hands around the driver’s neck and feeling the pleasure of snapping it in his grasp. Just the fantasy of doing it made him shiver with satisfaction. Or maybe it was just the goddamn cold.
The car continued ahead, albeit at a snail’s pace, but it eventually pulled up to the designated drop-off point, twenty minutes late.
Not fucking acceptable.
Sergei was tempted to approach the vehicle, snatch the package from the driver, and shoot him in the head. But that simply would not do. Instead, he stepped into the light to reveal his presence, worked the stiffness out of his neck, and waited for the man to emerge from the car. The courier would come to him, not the other way around.
The driver’s door opened, and the man stepped out. He was a small, skinny guy wearing a black overcoat, and he held a small parcel, about the size of a cereal box. He made eye contact and brought it over.
“What took you so fucking long?” Sergei growled as he dropped the cigarette butt to the concrete and crushed it with his shoe.
“Sorry. I had a lot of trouble finding the place. All these warehouse buildings look the same, and I didn’t see any addresses.”
Neither did I, but I still made it here on time.
Sergei took the package and slipped it into his empty attaché case, which sat on the crate next to him. He flipped the latches closed and glared at the little man, fantasizing about how he would best enjoy killing him.
“Where is my payment?” the courier asked.
“Payment?” Sergei belted out a throaty, foul laugh and coughed through it. “Here it is.” He reached inside his coat, pulled the trusty knife from the sheath at his belt and let fury drive him. He swiped the blade and slashed the man’s carotid artery before the bastard even knew what was coming.
The driver clasped his hands around his throat and dropped to his knees as blood seeped through his fingers. Then he fell to his side, coughing and gurgling as Sergei watched over the scene with pleasure.
It was tempting after that to stab the son of a bitch like crazy and work out his frustrations, but it was hardly necessary. Besides, he was having so much fun watching the idiot gasp, flounder and die on the ground beneath him.
The feeling of sheer power was exhilarating.
Satisfied that the courier was finally dead, Sergei dragged him back to his car, opened the door and worked him into in the driver’s seat. He belted him in, turned the key to start the ignition and rolled down the window before closing the door. Then he reached inside, shifted the car into gear and used the steering wheel to direct it off the side of the dock.
He heard the heavy splash as he walked to the edge and watched the vehicle slowly bob and sink into the ocean, thankful that the dock lights were so bright. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to see everything, and could there possibly be a more splendid sight?
The rear end of the car made a sucking sound as it finally disappeared beneath the surface, and the deed was done.
There were no words to describe Sergei’s satisfaction. He finally had the package in his custody, and the bastard who had no respect for the importance of the exchange had been handily eliminated. He had completed the most important step toward Alexei’s glorious new era. And who knew…maybe there would be a place for him in the annals of history.
"James Bond Meets Fifty Shades of Grey"
Immerse yourself in the world class novels that combine action, mystery & suspense with tantalizing and tastefully written erotica. You’ll find all your sensibilities roused at once with Kevin Sterling’s ultra-sexy, action-packed Jack Lazar Series.
In this fourth action-packed thriller, Jack travels to Denmark for a business venture, but what seems to be a textbook transaction turns into a nightmare after he gets involved with Katarina, a vivacious Danish girl who apparently lacks a moral compass, not to mention an off button. After naively believing their liaison was just a random encounter, Jack discovers she’s connected to his business deal, and there’s a dangerous political group with skin in the game, too.
Katarina makes a convincing case of being a victim, not part of the conspiracy, but can Jack really trust her?
The firestorm gets out of control as Jack digs deeper, unearths the convoluted plot behind it all, and discovers that innocent people are being heartlessly killed. He’s not only horrified by the reason why it’s happening, but how it’s being done, and there appears to be no way to stop it from occurring again.
Then the scheme’s real objective emerges, launching Jack into action with intelligence operatives to prevent it. But that’s not so easy with assassins on Jack’s tail, forcing him to struggle for survival while trying to prevent Katarina from getting caught in the crossfire.
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Genre – Action, Mystery, Suspense
Rating – R
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