SCS: Day 2

Let the torture continue. The stabbing pain I was occasionally feeling has become constant. I can only sit up for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. I was prescribed 10mg Valium yesterday, it might as well be Pez, it does nothing. It doesn’t even help me sleep.

I am exhausted. And god forbid something touch my back like a pillow because that makes the stabbing pain even worse.

I’m done with this damn thing.

Spinal Cord Stimulator Day 1

Yesterday, we put in the spinal cord stimulator. While you read this, I will be on the phone with my doctor because Day 1 didn’t go well. My pain levels were outrageous. Now, I expected some pain and discomfort. I was not prepared for what I got. And since I’m sure my best friend is reading this and about to roll her eyes…. Let me explain.

The electrodes are small enough they can be put in with a large needle and that’s how we did mine. No problems there. Programing also went fine. I cried on the table it hurt so bad. I’m not a huge crier when it comes to pain, so that surprised me.

But the pain got worse. By the time I arrived home after the 20 minute ride from the doctor to the house, it felt like an iron rod had been inserted in my back and attached to my lumbar spine. When I try to sit up, it shoots pain up my back. So, I spent 6 hours laying mostly on my stomach. Around 6:30 pm, I had to get out of bed. I was getting sore from laying in it.

So, I decided to try sitting in a recliner with a pillow behind me. The pillow made me cry. I spent 2 hours sitting up. I took a pain pill at 6 pm. At 7:15 pm, I took a second because it didn’t even feel like I’d taken the first pill. The second took the edge off my pain. When I got out of the chair (with some help), the pills instantly wore off and I began to cry again. Even J was asking if I thought I needed to go to the ER. And by 9 pm, I was beginning to wonder when I could safely take another pill, even though I was lying down again on my belly.

At midnight, I was still awake, despite taking a couple Benadryl and having taken 2 – 5 hydrocodone by 7:30pm. And at that point, I decided to dictate this into my phone for publishing today. I intend to be on the phone with my doctor’s office first thing tomorrow morning. Sometimes, it even hurts under my right rib when I take a deep breath.

I suspect I won’t be getting much if any sleep tonight. I don’t have a fever and the titanium electrodes are coated in something, so I shouldn’t be having a reaction to them. But something is weird. I talked to a handful of people who have them to see what they experienced after their electrodes were inserted and all of them said the same thing, I had some pain and some discomfort, but nothing like what I’m describing. I even fiddled with the settings on it increasing and decreasing the strength of the stimulation and it had no effect. The tech I spoke to at 9 pm, had me turn it down to just above “off” for the night to see if that helped… so far it hasn’t.

Needless to say, I am miserable tonight. Really, really miserable.

Today is the Day

By the time most of you read this, I will be having outpatient surgery. Today, we implant the spinal cord stimulator for a 7 day test. The spinal cord stimulator works to lower daily pain levels by flooding the central nervous system with excess stimulation (basically electronic white noise).

Some people have had great success with it. I won’t know if I’m “some people” for a few more days. I also won’t know if it’s going to be a problem for a few more days. I didn’t go into anaphylaxis when I pierced my ears with titanium studs. It took a couple of days before my earlobes turned red, became warm to the touch, and began oozing pus, and hurt. They hurt.

It is considered a non-standard allergic reaction, but is still an allergic reaction. We’ve just never figured out what exactly triggers it. I have a silver amalgam filling and it’s never bothered me. But titanium stud earrings did bother me, so I figure I’ll spend these seven days worrying about whether pus is starting to surround my spinal column.

I also won’t be working this week or in my office much at all for the next seven days. I’m not supposed to be left alone, someone is supposed to follow me everywhere (just in case). I suspect my mom is going to be a basket case while my anxiety eats away at me. I’ve got some marathons planned (Die Hard, Transformers, and Jeeves & Wooster) and I have a stack of scarves that need to be crocheted. And there is my plan for this week…. curl up in a comfy chair and crochet while marathoning movie & TV series(es).

Now, to save the battery on my phone, I’ve removed social media from it. This means I probably won’t be on social media much. You’ll be happy to know though that Krissy is working on Anonymous Dreams. Once she finishes, it will go to Cindy for the second round of edits. And I’m hoping to publish it in mid to late January.

OneNote & Books

Over the summer, I started organizing book plots in OneNote for later use. Once I write the book, I delete the note. It is about as organized as I’ve managed to get as a writer (I’m not a huge plotter). Here’s the plots I have sorted out and in the program: 4 Dreams novels, 1 Reality collection, Nephilim Narrative 4, Dysfunctional 8, and a random plot that doesn’t fit in anywhere.

I’ve already mentioned that I have 6 books written and just need to be prepped for publication in 2020. And I have these other 8 book plots. This means in 2020, I’ll be writing for 2021 and apparently, I have the plots for it.

So, I got to thinking…. In 2021, I’ll be publishing books in the 20s for the D&R series. This blows my mind. I didn’t expect the series to last this long. What are we looking at going forward? I took a MasterClass in Mystery Writing. As such, starting with Buried Dreams, there’s more mystery in Dreams books.

D&R books up to this point and going forward in 2020:

  1. Anonymous Dreams (publishing in 2020) – SCTU Alpha is trying to capture a serial killer making snuff films and distributing them on the dark web.
  2. Buried Dreams (publishing in 2020) – SCTU Alpha heads to Nashville to see if 17 missing persons’ cases could be the work of a serial killer and what he’s doing with the bodies.
  3. Avenging Reality (publishing in 2020) – A collection of short stories centering around vigilantism.
  4. Innocent Dreams (publishing in 2020) – SCTU Alpha is in KC doing the first round of interviews for the new SCT Unit Charlie, when troubled teens start disappearing from a local detention center.
  5. Dreams Novel 20 – SCTU Alpha go to Juarez Mexico (2021 publication)
  6. Dreams Novel 21 – SCTU Alpha stay in KC to finalize interviews for SCTU Team Charlie and track down a serial killer hunting mobsters (2021 publication)
  7. Dreams Novel 22 – SCTU Alpha are asked to assist INTERPOL with a case in Berlin, Germany (2021 publication)
  8. Dreams Novel 23 – SCTU Alpha go to NYC to capture a cold case (2021 publication)
  9. Reality Collection 3 – A collection of stories revolving around the theme of getting even (2021 publication) (Avenging centers around vigilantism)

Nephilim Narrative 4: As a fully licensed PI and Exorcist Soleil takes on her first missing persons case when one of Jerome’s friends from school goes missing after a sleepover in which the boys called forth a demon using a ouija board (publishing 2021).

The Dysfunctional Expansion: Nadine and Zeke head to Mexico to scope out real estate for their new Daniels’ Security office in Mexico. However, Nadine finds her passport has been revoked at the border and she returns home to figure out why and ends up helping Alex: who has been hired to investigate a UFO sighting and the Men In Black who show up afterwards to get the footage.

Dysfunctional Novella 9: Nadine has decided to investigate who keeps sending her poisons in the mail after two of her security agents are exposed to anthrax sent through the mail and intended for her.

And that is my major plan for the next two years.

Coming in 2020

Well, it’s December. I have 6 books written. And the day after I finished Innocent Dreams (yes, it’s finally written!), I came up with the plot for yet another Dreams novel. As such, I can tell you what will publish in 2020 with rough ideas of times – these may change due to factors outside my control.

Anonymous Dreams – January

Avenging Reality – April

The Dysfunctional Expansion – June

Buried Dreams – August

The Demon’s in the Details (working title for Nephilim Narrative 3) – September

Innocent Dreams – October (Halloween is my goal)

Five Dreams novels are plotted, but not written. And I’m still hopeful that the trilogy I’m writing with C. Patt will be finished in 2020.

The plot for the next Dysfunctional Chronicle is also mapped out. As is the 4th Nephilim Narrative.

The Dysfunctional Mob – Part 38

“He actually isn’t that bad, just not good enough for our daughters,” Myrna said.  “And yes, without Malachi, I wouldn’t have started to hire Daniels’ Security, and wouldn’t have met you and things have a way of working out.”

“One day, when we are both old, we will sit in a nursing home, telling each other stories from our days as spies,” my mother commented.

“Your logic is flawed,” Myrna said.  “It works on the supposition we are both going to get old, which I refuse to accept.”

“Good point,” My mom said.  The two women chatted for a few moments longer.  Aislinn stubbed out her cigarette very quietly on the bottom of her shoe.  Neither of us moved, I was afraid to be discovered.  I didn’t know if Aislinn felt the same way.

After we heard the utility room door close, Aislinn lit another cigarette.

“Are you okay?”  She asked me.

“That was a lot to process and what did your mom do with Josef Borisovich?”

“I do not know,” Aislinn answered.

“Are you okay?”  I asked Aislinn.

“Yeah,” she shrugged, and I realized her mom was right.  Learning my mom stole a chemical weapon formula was life altering.  Learning Aislinn’s mom killed people was no big deal to her. 

“I never realized how much alike our mothers are.”  I told her, trying to steer the conversation away from the path I was worried it would take.

“It is a touch creepy,” Aislinn agreed. “Remind me to tell Malachi if anything happens to Vlad on his watch, he is liable to have to face both our mothers.”

“I’m just going to go ahead and apologize now in case any Russian mobsters show up in your life.”

“Why?”  Aislinn asked me.

“They are a little violent.”

“Seriously?”  Aislinn smiled at me, a creepy haunting smile, that would probably cause more nightmares.  In the grand scheme of things, it did seem silly that I was worried Russian mobsters might show up in Ace’s life.  I should have felt sorry for the mobsters stupid enough to do such a thing.

“Point taken,” I admitted.

“Do you feel better knowing that your mother didn’t have your father murdered?”

“Meh,” it was my turn to shrug.  I was still fairly sure that someone had arranged my father’s murder.  “Is it bad that I don’t really care?”

“You might be asking the wrong person, Nadine,” Ace said my name like a Russian said it, which was slightly different than Americans said it.

 “Fine, I feel better knowing the reason my mom put up with my father for all those years was because it was her job.”

“You might be spending too much time with psychopaths,” Ace told me.

“The whole the ends justify the means thing?”  I asked.

“The acceptance seems overly rational, and since psychopaths can rationalize anything,” Ace shrugged.

“The world is far more complicated than that,” I told her.

“On that, you and I agree, completely, which should terrify you,” Ace told me.

“Did any part of that conversation bother you?”  I prodded, trying to get some reaction out of her.

“Not really.  I know my mother believes she is doing what is best for me, most of the time, even if it is sometimes misguided.”  Ace shrugged and flicked cigarette ashes into the little dirt circle.  “I think all mothers keep secrets, but some mothers have bigger secrets to keep.  Mine and yours seem to be prime examples of the mothers with bigger secrets to keep.”

“What about the mess with Apex?”

“You mean am I mad that she didn’t tell me sooner?  Not really, disappointed I think is the better emotion to place on it.  It makes me feel like she didn’t think she could trust me with that information.  I have always trusted my mother, even when I knew she was lying, because I have always trusted that if she was lying, then to her, there was a good reason for the lie.  Remember, neither of my parents ever hid the fact that my father was a psychopath and that his father was a psychopath, or that we came from a long line of psychopaths and sociopaths.  So, for whatever reason, in my mother’s mind, when she doesn’t tell me the truth or when she tries to hide something from me, it is done to protect me from something I don’t want to deal with or protect me from things she doesn’t think I should have to deal with.” 

“How do I apply that to my own mother?”

“Beats me,” Aislinn said.  “I don’t think your mother lies to hurt you, I think she is like my mother.  However, your mother is a meddler, look at your wedding.  She had to know that you guys weren’t really married when the wedding planning began and yet, she still insisted on following that with more denials.  Now, in the long run, I think it was a wise choice by her, because you do have terrible taste in men from what I have seen, and Zeke is good for you, in all ways that count, including the fact that he cooks, puts up with your family and friends, and is willing to have your back with everything.”

“Your mom wouldn’t do something like that,” I told her.

“No, because my mom knows I’m liable to kill a man if I have to live with him and perform marital duties.  It would not be in my best interest.”  Ace told me.  “You can’t always compare yourself to someone else, especially not me.”

“What do you mean?”  I asked her.

“I have known you for a while now, and you have always compared yourself to Alex or me or some of Malachi’s other ex-girlfriends, at some point, you have to realize you are a woman of merit on your own, not just in relation to others.”

“You think I have low self-esteem?”  I asked her.

“No, I think you lack a sense of self sometimes.”  Ace told me.  “You fail to realize that you are a strong willed, independent woman, capable of being a strong willed, independent woman.  I am not friends with you just because you are Malachi’s ex.”  She looked at me for a moment and then continued.  “At least, I believe we are friends.  I met you because of Malachi, but that certainly isn’t why I have continued to talk to you, exactly the opposite if you must know.  And one thing I have noticed is that you struggle with trying to figure out who you are most of the time.  And until you figure it out, no one else can either.”

“Oh,” I nodded.  “This is kind of like my revelation that I am not really Russian because I have chosen not to be Russian.”

“Mostly, yes.”  Ace agreed.

All rights reserved.  Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author.

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

All Rights Reserved

The Dysfunctional Mob – Part 37

“To some degree yes, does she know I was a killer for the Agency?  No.  I haven’t gotten around to telling her I wasn’t just an analyst.  Eventually, she’ll figure it out herself and when she does, I’ll try to have some answers for her.”

“Just like eventually, I will have to tell Nadine that I stole chemical weapons formulas and turned them over the US government to gain passage for me and any of my relatives that wanted to come with me.”

“Exactly.”  Myrna answered.  “We all have secrets, especially those of us who have done what needed to be done.  If she ever finds out and asks you about it, remember you did what you had to do to keep your family alive.  I have come to realize that you wouldn’t have done it, if the Soviet government hadn’t been about ready to jail your father for being an underground orthodox priest.  The gulags were a death sentence for a lot of men and probably would have been for your father.”

“But will she understand?”  My mom asked, and I wiped at a tear that had sprung up at the corner of my eye.  I had always known my mother had been a traitor against the Soviet Union, but I hadn’t known the extent of her treachery or even fully understood why she had done it or why so many of her siblings had come with her.  Now, I understood, and I realized it made me think better of my mother.

“That’s the great thing about daughters, they usually do.  I know Aislinn wasn’t happy with the answers I gave her about Apex, but I also know that she won’t hold it against me that I kept it a secret.  Just like I know if she ever finds out I was a killer, she will just be Aislinn.  She might shrug, but other than that, it will get no real response, because as my daughter, she will understand that I did what I had to do and that when I had the opportunity to stop doing it, I did.  Sometimes, I miss being in the thick of it, but not very often and usually when I do start to miss it, something happens in the lives of my children or grandchildren that reminds me why I walked away from it all.”

“The thing I worry about most is Nadine realizing why I stayed with her father as long as I did.”

“Why?”  Myrna asked.

“I’m not sure she will understand that as a former KGB scientist turned traitor, the government gave me a job to do once I was here and that job was watching her father for the possibility that he was a terrorist.”

“Yes, but her father turned out to be a dirty cop, which is almost as bad.”  Myrna said.

“That is true.”

“And you had five wonderful children together who have overcome his alcoholic binges and bizarre behavior.  It also gave Nadine, Kenzie.  I think she would overlook a great many sins because of her affection for her cousin.”

“I’m not so sure.”  Melina sighed after the statement.  “Your husband might have been a psychopath, but he didn’t beat you up.”

“True, but not all psychopaths are abusive, just like not all abusive men are psychopaths.  Some people are just bad people.”

“I suppose.”  My mom sounded sad.  “I just know that part of Nadine’s dating problem before Zeke was due to her father.”

“Nadine has grown up to be a wonderful woman regardless of her paternal parentage.  Besides, you can’t be completely sure that Nadine’s bad taste in men was entirely based on your willingness to stay with your abusive husband.  She might just be one of those women that has bad taste in men.  Like your sister.”

“And she never dated anyone that was physically abusive, they were just all assholes,” my mother said.

“That is why I am somewhat grateful that Aislinn doesn’t date.  I’m kind of sad she doesn’t like Caleb like he likes her, that could be a good relationship, but she is who she is even if Caleb is to my liking but not hers.  However, aside from Caleb, I can’t imagine the stream of yahoos she would have brought home.”

“Like Malachi,” my mom said.

“Exactly, she could have a bunch of little Aislinn/Malachi hybrid children that would drive us all to drink more copiously.”  Myrna gave a quick giggle.  “Good lord, I can’t even imagine that.  Nadine did good with Zeke.”

“Yes, she did, I almost feel bad that I had to shanghai her into it though.”

“Well, between you and me, it was a good thing you did.  They are perfect together.”  Myrna gave a short giggle again.  “Without Zeke there could have been more Malachi’s in Nadine’s future.”

“For all his bad qualities, I got another sestra out of Nadine dating Malachi, a kindred soul so to speak.”

All rights reserved.  Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author.

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

All Rights Reserved

The Dysfunctional Mob – Part 36

Mothers

I was outside, sitting in a camping chair inside a circle of area where grass refused to grow.  Aislinn was sitting a chair next to me, a cigarette pinched between her index finger and middle finger, the ash on it growing long, she took a puff every couple of minutes, mainly to keep it lit.  We had been discussing my misadventure in Russia when she had suddenly grown very quiet and started to pretend to smoke her cigarette.  I wasn’t sure what was going through her brain and her face gave me no clues.

Perhaps for the first time, I realized how old Aislinn Cain seemed to be.  She didn’t look old, unless you counted scars against age, she didn’t have an abnormally high amount of frown lines or wrinkles, there were no liver spots on her hands or arms, but her presence just seemed old.  She was a woman who had seen too much over the course of her life. 

If I hadn’t known she was four years younger than me, I would have guessed she was quite a bit older.  I had never understood what people meant when they said other people had old souls until I was sitting quietly next to Aislinn Cain.  Her quite demeanor and possible introspective thought, didn’t make her seem any younger either. 

Her dog, Badger, was running through the woods with my Great Danes and adopted bobcats.  I kept expecting them to all come bounding out and knock me and Aislinn both over into the dirt below our feet. 

She had refused to discuss her time in Maine.  Obviously, whatever had happened had shaken her core being.   I had gotten a jumbled run down of events from Gabriel before we had left France.  Mostly because I had been worried about both of them.  I had called him, just to see how he was doing, after the kidnapping.  He had spilled on what had happened without any provocation from me.

As we sat quietly, listening the dogs run through the woods, their massive paws hitting the ground with enough force that it could be heard.  Occasionally, one would bark and then the running would resume. 

I heard my mother’s voice from around the side of the house, one moment it was just us and the dogs, the next my mother had appeared. 

“Our girls will never truly understand what we, as mothers, will do to protect them,” Melina said. 

“I know,” Myrna, Aislinn’s mom answered. 

“Now, I understand more of what you go through with Aislinn,” my mom said.  “Vladik being an SCTU member has me up at nights.  I know Malachi will be committed to keeping him alive, but Malachi can’t do everything.”

“I’ll talk to Malachi,” Myrna said. 

“Thank you for handling Josef Borisovich.”  My mom told her.

“He should know by now that he shouldn’t mess with mothers and their children.”

“I feel like you are doing more for my family than you are getting in return,” My mom said glumly.

“Nonsense,” Myrna replied enthusiastically.  “I don’t keep score.  Besides, Ivan was a prince when there was a dead body pinned to Aislinn’s car via sword.  He could have arrested her and taken her to be booked, instead he chooses to go with the flow of insanity that is Aislinn’s life and trust that she would never be that stupid.”

Aislinn was now paying attention to the conversation we could overhear.  I felt a little guilty eavesdropping on my mom and Aislinn’s mom.  If it bothered Ace, it didn’t show, but she rarely showed any emotions, good or bad.

“You and I aren’t that much different,” my mom said.

“I know.”  Myrna replied.  “Except for the lack of serial killers in your family.”

“I have a few,” Melina responded.

“The thing is Melina, our children, for better or worse are entwined, whether that’s Vladik working for the SCTU or Aislinn and Nadine being friends.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a thing, but you and I can and will do what we need to do to make sure that all of our kids are safe and grandkids.”  Myrna told my mom.

“Have you lied to your children to protect them?”

“Hasn’t every mother?  Aislinn only just found out that Apex is my younger brother.  Eventually, I figure I will have to pay the piper for what I have kept from Aislinn, but my one hope is that she will always know that I did it to protect her from men like Josef Borisovich and the serial killers she has to deal with.”

“I admit I am concerned about you getting involved in this mess with Josef Borisovich,” my mom said.

“That is a big if, and if it does happen in some way, I am a big girl.”  Myrna answered.

“I just don’t want the mob coming after you or Aislinn or Elle, or your grandchildren.”

“Would you come after Aislinn Cain or any of the Clachan family?”  Myrna asked.

“Pride and arrogance run deep with Josef.”

“Pride and arrogance have already cost him a bit this month, he’ll keep it in check for a little while and if he does start creating problems, I’ll just get back in contact with my friends at the CIA and have the problems stopped.”

“Again, thank you, Myrna, I wasn’t sure who to turn to once the head of the FSB told me he couldn’t help me.”

“No problem, Melina,” Myrna said.  “This is what friends are for.  Besides, I have been out of the loop for so long, it was kind of nice to get back in and get my hands a little dirty.”

“Does Aislinn know you were CIA?”  Melina asked.

All rights reserved.  Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author.

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

All Rights Reserved

The Dysfunctional Mob – Part 35

Getting Home

The news was reporting that an American had been involved in a drug deal with a group of organized crime members and that she had shot all of them.  It was wildly inaccurate.  Josef Borisovich was in custody, and according to Nikolai, he was pinning all the murders on me. 

“Ready?”  Apex asked Zeke and me.  I was limping and had a makeshift dressing on my bullet hole, which hurt like crazy.  I had been shot in the past, but I’d always been able to relax for a few days afterwards.  Not this time.  This time, they were searching airports and train stations for me and bullet hole or not, I had to get the heck out of Russia.

Vasilli and Apex had made a lot of phone calls in the last hour and had somehow managed to secure transport to Belarus, there was no love lost between Belarus and Russia.  Despite being neighbors, the two countries did things specifically to irritate each other.

I was a wanted fugitive, not from mobsters like I was used to, but from an actual law enforcement agency.  It was a new thing for me and I wasn’t entirely sure what was going to happen to me.  I tried not to think about it, because it made me feel sick.  However, we had stopped a serial killer, supposedly gotten protection from the Russian mob, which I wasn’t going to put a lot of faith in, and I had realized exactly why I needed to expand into Russia and Mexico.

Apex came with Zeke and me.  We stopped at a bank still inside Russia and Apex went inside and did something that involved a stack of Rubles when he came out and we headed west, towards Europe. 

At the border of Belarus and Russia, Apex paid some guy the stack of Rubles and our car, driven by the Chechen that spoke the best English proceeded to cross the border into Belarus.  I wasn’t taken to a hospital; I was taking to an automotive garage where some guy poured vodka on my leg and dug the bullet out of it before stitching it back up and telling me to watch for infection. 

After a few very tense hours, Zeke, Apex, and I boarded a plane in Minsk, Belarus and headed to Germany.  Once in Germany, Zeke and I parted ways with Apex.  He flew on to the US and we flew to France, back to Zeke’s relatives, who had been alerted to what had happened in Russia and were waiting to receive us with open arms. 

I had been in France for six hours when Zeke’s uncle, the person we were staying with, came into the room where I had my leg propped up and stabbed the bullet hole with what appeared to be a tire iron.  I screamed and was loaded up into a car and driven to a hospital.  Since I didn’t speak French, I didn’t understand a lot of what was said at check in.  I just knew that I had supposedly been changing a flat tire, when something went wrong, and the car fell off the jack sending a tire iron into my leg.

No one questioned the physics of this improbable accident, my wound was cleaned, my leg X-rayed, and antibiotics were prescribed.  By the time we left France, two days later, I was no longer a fugitive from Russia.  I didn’t know how, but Nikolai had managed to convince Interpol and the FSB that I was a hapless bystander that had been kidnapped by the Russian mob because they knew I had money and had been held hostage during the raid to recover me, led by Nikolai, because I was his niece.

When Zeke and I arrived home, we found a house full of people.  Not just the people living with us, but my mother, my brothers, Zeke’s mom, Aislinn, Nyleena, Aislinn’s mom, even Malachi was there.  If I had to name it, I would call it a “welcome home and glad you weren’t arrested in Russia” party. 

All rights reserved.  Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author.

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

All Rights Reserved

The Dysfunctional Mob – Part 34

“You realize I have a sniper outside and a communications unit in my ear, right?”  I asked.  “Meaning everything you say; my sniper can hear, and he speaks fluent Russian.”

“Yes, but my men will find him before it’s a problem,” he told me. 

“I do not have a shot, Nadine.”

“Hold on,” I told Apex, reaching down into my boot, and pulling out a small fob that looked like it should unlock a car.  I held it up.

“That’s the trigger for a bomb,” I told him, hoping that was exactly what it was since I didn’t have a clue why my aunt would have someone slip it in my boot. 

“You brought a sniper and a bomb, I’m impressed.” He told me.

“Yes well, that isn’t the impressive part,” I answered. 

“Please continue to impress me,” he told me.

“Sure,” I answered, stepping forward and stabbing one of the goons in the abdomen.  His eyebrows drew together and raised as he realized what had happened to him, frown lines appeared at the corners of his mouth and eyes.  The mobster I had originally been set to meet with, stepped forward.  Apex fired a shot and before anyone could react, he crumpled into a ball on the floor as blood leaked out from where his skull was missing.  I had to give it to Aislinn, being around this all the time, would be awful.  I was ready for my nice comfortable bed and my Great Danes and a movie about aliens or something to stop me from having nightmares, if I was ever able to sleep again.

“Now, I am impressed,” one of the remaining two guys with expensive suits said to me.

“I’m not really here to impress anyone,” I told him, taking a step backwards towards the door.  I tripped over my other foot and my butt impacted the ground rather hard with a squelch.  I put my hands down and used them to get myself standing.  Something warm and wet had seeped into my jeans.  My hands were already drying, covered in sticky burgundy goo that I refused to let myself think of as blood.

“I think we can agree that your US relatives and yourself will be safe from us,” the man told me.  He was incredibly polite.  He took a step forward.  “May I take the money?”

“I don’t even know your name,” I told him.

“Josef,” he answered.  “Oleg Borisovich is my brother, however, I never agreed with his desire to make your mother pay for wanting a better life for herself, away from the Soviet Union.”

“Do you trust this guy?”  Apex asked me. I wanted to tell him no, but I didn’t. 

“You may take the money, as long as you promise to leave me alone and consolidate this mess so that it stops leaking over into my life.”

“I am not my brother Dama Nadine, I will not promise that I can unite all the factions, what I can promise is that if I don’t, I will keep my ears to the ground and let you know if one of them decides to get revenge for the capture of Oleg Borisovich.” 

“Did you send the serial killers Bec to my house?”  I asked him.

“No,” he answered.  “I did not agree with my brother’s desire for revenge and I kept telling him it was going to end badly for him.  Although, I expected your mother to kill him, not for him to be captured by law enforcement in the US.  Bec was sent to remind you that Oleg Borisovich was not your only enemy, and he wasn’t sent by me or anyone under me.”

“I thought he had been sent to capture my cousin.”  I told him.

“I would not send a maniac like Bec to recover my niece, think what you will of me, but I am not a monster.”  Josef told me.  “Bec was sent because you were protecting her from her enemies, which made them your enemies.”

“Why does she even have enemies?”  I asked.

“Because almost everyone thought she would take over for her father, but she didn’t.  They fear me more than Oleg and Tatyana.”

“That is not a ringing endorsement for you,” I told him.

“Dama Nadine, I am not in the business of revenge for such ridiculousness as breaking up with me, as Americans say it.  If I want revenge, it will be for a real reason.”

“That I understand,” I admitted.  “So, take the money and do what you can with this brood.  I just want out of it.  I won’t even hire people to figure out who sent Bec if you can keep the organization off my doorsteps.”

“I will do my best,” Josef told me.  I nodded, deciding that was the best I was going to get. 

“Now, may I leave?”  I asked.

“Yes,” he told me.  I didn’t want to turn my back on Josef, but I also didn’t want to fall in anymore blood.  Vasilli came to my rescue, he moved in front of me, walking backwards with a grace and poise I didn’t have.  His gun was trained on Josef.  Zeke also began to move, shadowing my movements to ensure that no one suddenly shot me in the head or worse.  I stepped over the dead body that I had fallen in his blood earlier and walked to the door.  Tatyana came with me.

“It isn’t over,” she whispered.

“Good lord,” I muttered. 

From behind the closed door there were suddenly lots of gunshots.  One pierced the flimsy wall and entered my calf.  It burned like I had been set on fire.  Blood began to soak through my jeans. 

“If you can run, you should do so,” Apex told me in my ear.  That was all Zeke needed to hear.  He swept me up in his arms and began to take the steps three at a time.  Zeke was taller than me by a significant amount, more than a foot.  I didn’t know why I liked tall men, but I did.

Our rag tag group ran down three flights of stairs.  My aunt took the key fob from me and held it at arm’s length. 

“We should definitely keep moving,” she told us.  I nodded, feeling bad for Zeke and my Chechen friends.  Zeke had pretty much signed up for this when he didn’t back out of the wedding by telling my mom we hadn’t eloped, but the Chechens had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing.  I would have to give them a bonus before we left.

“Go, go now,” Apex sounded frantic. 

“You realize Zeke is carrying me because I was shot, right?”  I shouted at my ear piece.

Then I heard the sirens.  The police were coming, and I was in a building full of dead mobsters, and I was shot and covered in blood, and there was a bomb and a sniper.  This was not going to be good for me, it didn’t matter who Nikolai was. 

“Hurry,” Nikolai shouted from somewhere below us. 

“We’re hurrying,” I shouted at my uncle.  Vasilli reached over and grabbed me from Zeke.  Vasilli was bigger than Zeke.  He was bigger than anyone I knew except maybe my brothers Ivan or Liam.  Vladik and Devlin had gotten our father’s short gene, whereas my older brothers had gotten my mother’s tall gene.  Vladik and Devlin looked more Irish and Liam and Ivan, looked like scary Russians.

Vasilli moved faster carrying me than Zeke had.  His long stride didn’t seem to notice my weight at all as we bounded down the stairs.  My aunt, who was also taller than me, was running to keep up.  When we hit the lobby, my aunt hit a button on the key fob.  There was a noise that sounded like bricks breaking and then we were running out the front doors to the cars that were parked in front of the building.

“Why did you do that?”  I asked Tatyana.

“Destroying evidence,” she answered.  I nodded looking at my hands. 

“We should definitely discuss this later,” Apex said, sounding about normal, but standing at Nikolai’s car.  I was put into the backseat, squeezed in between Apex and Zeke.  Vasilli was in the front seat.  Tatyana and the Chechens got in her car and everyone left. 

All rights reserved.  Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author.

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

All Rights Reserved

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