Wow. I suck at blogging. Has it really been a month since I've posted? Well, I've hit a major roadblock in the writing. My second WIP is finished, but editing is slow going. Today was going to be All About Editing, but I pulled it up and couldn't find the motivation even on favorite scenes. Sigh.
Instead, a friend has given me a great opening line to play with, so I will shoot from the hip and try to make something out of it to get the juices flowing.
I knew not what they wanted, but I had a terrible feeling it was evil...
My gaze swept around the lush yard under the cover of dark sunglasses. A breeze skittered through the coconut palms and over the dark-bottomed pool, leaving ripples across its surface before creeping up the back of my neck. Shivers ran my spine, despite the sweltering Florida heat.
There were two of them and they hadn't been easy to spot.
Dressed in fashion of the other party goers, Tommy Bahama button downs, khaki shorts and flip-flops, they blended well at first glance. They chatted up a couple of girls in bikinis. Boca girls, with the kind of bodies only the sweetest of sugar daddy's could afford to gift. When the girls' gold-digging giggles died down, that delightful breeze carried the voices of the men my direction . They were trying to hide it, but it was plain to my well trained ear--the vaguest of Russian accents.
Bad news. Very bad.
I looked frantically through the small clumps of people in search of Niki. The girl was hard to spot, being one of the smallest creature I'd ever seen. And she was good at hiding, blending with a crowd. If I was sharp, she was the point of a pin. Likely she'd already caught sight of the men.
Good girl Niki. Keep blending.
I reached into my pocket and stroked the smooth metal barrel reassuringly. My derringer, two shots; all that would fit into the pocket of my small denim shorts paired with a red bikini top. But, there were only two of them and I never missed.
Another look to the men assured me they were still under the spell of the silicone sisters. For now. I began search attempts for the others.
It took no more than ten seconds to spot Isaac Handel, in conversation with a group of men on the far side of the pool. It was everything I could do to not snort out loud at the sight of him. The man wore long brown slacks and a navy button down--to a pool party no less. He had no idea how to relax and the word fun was not in his vocabulary. While the men he stood with spoke to each other, Isaac was having a conversation of sorts with Senator Charles Taylor. Even Charles, my stodgy father-in-law, had worn shorts and short sleeves. The men had been agents and partners a long time.
They now stood twenty feet apart and spoke only through their eyes, but understood every point the other was making. I understood just the same. They'd spotted the Russians as well. Even better, so had Luka. He was on the other side of the patio, alone, and had been waiting for me to make eye contact.
As soon as I did his brows raised in question. I gave a slight nod to my father. I'd seen them, and I had myself covered. Now, I just needed to find Niki and cover her.
Long arms wrapped round my bare midriff from behind and soft lips peppered my neck with kisses. "She's by the shoreline with the group watching dolphins, Kasia," Jake whispered into my ear as his mouth trailed upwards. His warm breath tickled my skin. I wanted nothing more than to turn and let those lips land over my hungry mouth. But he'd seen me looking, and had probably followed my every gaze and nod to the surrounding men.
It took a few minutes for me to spot her even with the direction from my husband. She'd seen the Russians and had placed herself just behind a clump of banana trees, out of their line of view. She stood in the sand, peering out over the vast expanse of blues and greens speckled with the diamond-like rays of sunlight. Two other bikini clad women stood near her, towering over her five foot frame. Her hair had newly been died a chocolate brown, curled and lengthened, and she showed off a golden sprayed on tan.
"You could do with a plump little ass like that, Kasz. But those boobs are ridiculous," Jake snickered. Her naturally gigantic breasts were quite ridiculous over her twenty-two inch waist. He was right, though, her round bottom did even things out a bit.
"It's a good thing you're not a breast man," I said glancing to my little b-lumps that barely filled out my bikini top.
"Leg man, all the way, baby."
Legs I had, I was only four inches shy of his six foot three frame, with a stick like figure. The only thing that saved me was that I had a curve to my waist as well, making things above and below appear at least a little larger.
I reached around and patted his own non-existent rear. "You don't have much right to talk about mine, you know." Sparks glittered through his golden-brown eyes as he smiled down to me and winked. "Get your mother and take her inside," I said calmly, glancing once again to Isaac and Charles, who had moved closer together and closer to where the Russians stood. "This won't take long."
I was surprised when his only reaction was to kiss the top of my head, tell me he loved me and walk away in search of Katherine. He hated this side of my life. Could not stand for me to be in any danger. Despised all thoughts of the FBI, not to mention the Russian mob. But, he was learning not to argue the point. Only took eight years, not too bad, I thought sarcastically.
The Russians made a move now, separating from one another and spreading out in hopes of spotting, what they remembered to be, a pale-skinned, blonde-haired Nikita. It was her height that had me worried. Made it too easy to spot her. Usually that could be remedied with very high heels and long slim fitting pants. But not at a beach/pool party for a record label launch.
After another look to the Russians, I glanced back to Niki. She had edged closer to the banana trees, which were planted on a small incline, and made her appear much closer in height to the other two women. Good girl, now just keep alert.
I wanted to know what my father was thinking, but when I turned to where he'd been, he was no longer there. Well, I'd have to make my own decisions then. Isaac and Charles were stalking the Russian closest to them. They'd have him cornered in no time, well before he could make a move. The other man made my decision easier. He was on his way toward the crowd at the beach. He hadn't spotted her yet, but once down there, it wouldn't take long.
Stuffing my right hand into my pocket, I grabbed a glass of wine off the buffet table with my left as I passed by and hurried into his path. Red liquid soaked his white shirt, seeping into the small blue koi that appeared to be swimming up the sides of the buttons.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, let me take you inside to clean that. I'm sure I can find a new shirt for..."
"Katarzyna, I presume," he said in Russian. "You're even more beautiful than Nikolai described." I hadn't needed the wine after all.
"I guarantee I'm a hell of a lot smarter than he informed you as well," I replied back in my own flawless Russian. I kept a smile on my face and my voice, calm and pleasant. "And if you move that hand one more centimeter you'll be missing a part of your anatomy I assume you prefer to keep." The hand in my pocket held tight to the gun ready to shoot at hip level if he even breathed too deep. But he didn't move, barely breathed, and his smile faded quickly. "And about three seconds after that, you will be missing whatever small amount of brains you have in that fathead of yours."
"And if she misses, I won't," my father said as he stepped directly behind the man. If I was tall, I had inherited it from Luka. He stood six-feet six inches, and broad shoulders gave way to well developed muscles from his arms all the way to his calves. Pretty damn impressive for a man nearing sixty. I got the skinny from my mother without a doubt.
"That's insulting, Daddy," I said playfully, "I never miss."
"Only because you learned from the best." The Russian snarled at the interaction between father and daughter, but didn't dare move. His jig was up and he knew it. "Let's take a nice walk out front," Luka told him. He begrudgingly moved alongside my father and I watched until they were well out of sight.
I immediately spotted Isaac in possession of the other Russian, they were headed the direction my father had taken the first captive.
I took my cell phone from the opposite pocket in which I kept my gun. "Why don't you come outside and join me, Jake. It's a lovely day."
His soft sensual laugh is all I heard. And then, "A safe one too, thanks to my ass-kicking, gun-toting, FBI agent wife."
As I waited for him to join me, I glanced back to where Niki stood. She blew a kiss my way, but didn't dare to come over to me. We could never be seen together in public. But we somehow still managed to be the closest of friends.