Authors: Helena Newbury
Tags: #Russian Mafia Romance, #Romantic Suspense, #new adult romance
He put his mouth right at my ear and spoke for the first time. The hot rush of air took me by surprise and then the words melted into my brain:
Come for me.”
A low growl, the vowels drawn out by that heavy accent. Cold steel wrapped around a white-hot core.
I exploded. My back arched, my breasts crushed against his chest. My head ground against the tiles, rolling from side to side, cushioned by my soaked hair. The climax rolled through me in waves and I felt myself spasm and shake around his pumping finger. I drew in big gulps of air as the pleasure carried me like a wave, leaving me floating in warm darkness. It was long seconds before I came back to reality and opened my eyes.
...to find myself on tiptoe, one arm stretched out above me, wrist firmly pressed against the tiles, the other hand down between my thighs. My shoulders and calves ached from holding the position for so long.
I cranked off the water and stepped out, my legs weak and shaky. I’d probably set a new record for the longest shower, even for me. And my brain was swimming with what I’d done. Where had all
come from, all that stuff about being...
and powerless. I wasn’t into that. Was I?
I remembered his eyes.
Him. It had come from him. Or he’d triggered something deep inside me. I had no idea who he was or what he did—hell, he could be an accountant for all I knew. But it didn’t feel like that could be true. He’d had an aura about him, one that was just as vivid in memory as it had been in person. A brutal power. Even as I thought about it, I felt a hot throb go through my groin.
I sighed. He was going to make good, slightly shameful fantasy material for months to come. It wasn’t just the raw sexual attraction, it was that glimpse I’d seen—or thought I’d seen. That tiny hint of light amongst all the darkness. The idea of exploring that was even more enticing than the sex.
It killed me that I’d never see him again.
She came back into the bedroom with just a towel wrapped around her. Her skin looked, if it was possible, even softer now. I could imagine the feel of her, warm and still slightly damp. I wanted to slide my hands under the towel and pry it free, let it fall to the floor and—
I caught my breath as she slowly unwrapped the towel. This time, I had a better view of her. I could see the dark brown hair at her groin, even the briefest hint of pink lips beneath the curls. She looked different, now, with her hair wet and pulled back from her face. Just as gorgeous and fragile, but more sexual. She was flushed and—Jesus, her nipples were hard.
She pulled on a pair of panties. Then a red nightshirt with a cartoon elephant on the front. I groaned because that meant she wasn’t going out again tonight.
Maybe the hacker wouldn’t come home. There’d been no movement at any of the windows the whole time she was in the shower, so I was pretty sure he wasn’t there. Maybe he was away for a few days or maybe he’d just been staying at her place for a few days and had moved on. There was a chance I wouldn’t have to go in there at all.
For the first time, it really hit me how much I didn’t want to burst in there. Not just because I didn’t want to scare her, or take her boyfriend from her. The main reason was selfish: I didn’t want her to see what I was. It wasn’t that I had any illusions that we could be together. I wanted her—
I wanted her—but the thought of her innocence polluted by me—that was unthinkable. Even if, on some level, it was a turn on.
My phone rang. Nikolai.
“Why haven’t you done it?” he asked immediately. He sounded edgy and annoyed, which was unlike him. My boss is a mean son of a bitch, but he’s normally very calm. And how did he know I hadn’t done it?
“The guy’s not home yet,” I said. “I’m waiting for him.”
“Bullshit. That bastard’s been in my computer in the last hour! What the fuck am I paying you for?”
I jumped to my feet.
The guy had been there all the time. He must be in the room with the covered window. I pictured some fat fuck in a stained t-shirt, sitting at a computer—he probably barely moved from day to day. “It’ll be done,” I told Nikolai. “Five minutes.”
In the apartment, the girl was sitting down and turning on the TV. My heart compressed down to a hard little ball of ice. I was going to have to kill him, right in front of her.
I couldn’t imagine anything worse.
On the way to the apartment, I dumped the rifle in the trunk and took out a silenced pistol instead, slipping it under my jacket. When I closed the trunk, Lev had twisted around in his seat and was giving me a
what the fuck?!
gesture through the glass. He tapped his watch meaningfully: I’d been in the office building almost an hour. I shrugged and crossed the street.
But he was right—this was taking too long. Had I really been waiting for the hacker to come home, or had part of it been delaying, putting off the moment when I’d have to show her who I really was? I didn’t know anymore. Just the fact I was second-guessing myself was worrying enough.
I rehearsed it in my mind. Knock on her door. She’d probably put the chain on, but one good kick should snap it. Push her out of the way, three or four strides would take me to the door of the room where the hacker was. Open the door, two shots to the chest, turn, out through the door without even looking at her again. Then walk—don’t run—away.
And then I was going to find the lowest, seediest dive bar I could, drink until I forgot about tonight and fuck until I forgot about her.
She’d be a witness. But a witness wasn’t the worst thing in the world. The only important thing was stopping the hacker. Nikolai had told me, when he’d given me the job, that the bastard was trying to get into our bank accounts and suck us dry. He deserved everything he got.
As I entered the apartment building, I felt the calm descend. The adrenaline can leave you feeling like that, sometimes: sped up but serene, as if you’re floating.
I knocked at the door of 1006 and then listened carefully. I wanted to know if he tried to escape onto the fire escape. But all I could hear were soft footsteps approaching the door.
I’d guessed it would probably be her, because the hacker evidently never got up from his computer. But I’d been hoping against hope that it would be him, and that I could do it at the door without her even seeing me.
I heard an intake of breath. She’d looked through the spy hole and seen me. I had my arms down by my sides, relaxed and unthreatening. I’d even taken a step back from the door—an old salesman trick to set people at ease.
The door opened a crack. I was right: she’d put the chain on. Those huge hazel eyes blinked out at me, uncertain and just a little excited.
She was pleased to see me. God help me, she was pleased to see me.
She was half-hiding behind the door, probably trying to conceal the fact she was in her nightclothes. But that meant I couldn’t just kick the door open to break the chain—not without hurting her.
We looked at each other. I was desperately trying to think of a way to get past the door that didn’t involve cracking it against her skull. I heard myself say, “Can we talk?”
I saw her shoulders lift as she took a long, slow breath. I could see the battle going on inside her, the little looks she was casting at my eyes, my suit, my neck—shit, could she see my tattoos?
Eventually, she bit her lip and nodded. Her eyes said,
don’t let me be wrong about you.
My guts twisted.
She unfastened the chain.
As soon as the door opened, I ran past her. The door to the mystery room was right where I’d imagined it. By the time I reached it, I’d already pulled out my gun.
I heard her give a strangled scream behind me.
I turned the handle and swung the door wide, the pistol coming up to fire—
The room was tiny. Barely room for a desk and a chair. And the chair was empty.
Everything clicked into place and I realized how incredibly fucking stupid I’d been.
I turned around just in time to see the girl running out of the apartment.
This isn’t happening. This can’t be happening.
I was sprinting barefoot down the hallway. I wanted to scream for help but I needed all my air for running. At the same time, my lungs felt as if they were shutting down because I was going into full-on panic mode. For years, the apartment had been the one place I felt safe. Now, all the bad in the world had suddenly broken in.
I’d been forced out of my home and I had nowhere to run for sanctuary. To me, nowhere outside
I heard him behind me, long legs eating up the distance. He’d be on me in seconds.
I tried to go faster. I focused on the door to the stairwell at the end of the hallway—I knew I didn’t have time to wait for the elevator. Another ten steps. Five. Three.
I put my hand on the door handle just as I felt his arm go around my waist.
I opened my mouth to scream and his hand clamped over it.
And then I was being dragged back down the hallway to my apartment.