Russian Dawn (Russian Love Book 3)
After two years, Iosif Drakoniv's patience finally pays off. He and Latasha marry and head off to Costa Rica for a tropical honeymoon. They anticipate nothing more than a carefree time of sun, sand, and sex. Latasha, however, catches the notice of the local drug cartel's kingpin, who orders her abduction. Helpless to stop the kidnapping, Iosif calls Maksim for assistance. Maksim sends Bogdan and Gennady to help and puts them in touch with a local contact who can provide the weapons they'll need to wage war.
They rescue Latasha. Maksim calls upon Gia's grandfather, a mafia kingpin himself, for a favor to get Iosif, Latasha, Bogdan, Gennady, and two more people into the USA without tipping off Border Patrol. Shortly after they return to Cleveland, Giuseppe Maglione calls in that favor for Latasha to pay. If she declines, then she condemns the Cleveland Bratva to bankruptcy and ill will between the two criminal organizations. If she accepts the opportunity, then she'll be at the mafia's beck and call forever. It's a devil's bargain and Latasha must make a choice.
“Send your woman forward or I kill another one,” the man ordered.
Latasha looked up and saw from her husband’s expression that he was prepared to sacrifice every other life on board that vehicle to save hers. She bit her lip and rose, unable to endure the guilt that his decision would dump on her conscience.
“Latasha, nyet,” he whispered, his voice harsh as he recognized the determination in her eyes, the bleak courage of what she was doing. “Don’t, please.”
“I can’t be responsible for killing innocent people, Iosif. I’m a nurse. I save lives.”
He took hold of her hand. “Do you know what they’ll do to you?”
Her whole body trembled in terror, and she felt her bowels liquefy. She nodded once and whispered, “I know.”
“Survive,” Iosif growled through clenched jaws, so he wouldn’t beg. “Stay alive. I will find you.”
A glimmer of trust flared in her eyes. She nodded, unable to speak if only because her abductor had edged forward and grabbed her arm. He leveled his gun at Iosif who began to rise. “No, big man. Say good-bye!” With a high-pitched giggle, he squeezed the trigger.
Iosif anticipated the shot and dodged before the firing pin could send the bullet on its way. He crouched down behind the seats as the man dragged his bride outside and fired a few more shots for good measure. He leaped up and rushed to the front of the van, just as the man shoved Latasha into a car. The car’s engine revved. Smoke shrouded the tires, which screeched as the driver peeled away at high speed.
Iosif turned around to see two of the passengers holding their cell phones aloft, recording the incident. He had no need of their electronics; he’d already memorized the car’s license plate. Knowing the police were likely on their way and not wanting to deal with law enforcement, he disembarked and walked toward the market and melted into the oblivious crowd as lights and sirens congregated around the hotel shuttle, two fresh corpses, and the remaining passengers. With rough purpose, he pulled his own cell phone from his pocket and dialed.
“Iosif, you’re on your honeymoon. Why do you call?” Maksim’s voice boomed across the connection in English.
Speaking in terse Russian, Iosif explained what happened. Maksim wasted no time cursing the situation. “I’ll set Gennady to running the license plate. I do not have a formal agreement with the cartels down there, but I do have a connection with someone who will help. For a fee.”
“Pay it,” Iosif demanded. “I will reimburse you.”
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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