Hostile Intent (Danger Never Sleeps #4) - Lynette Eason Page 0,1
suspicions were confirmed. “You’re Nicolai, aren’t you?”
“How did you find me?”
“It’s a long story. And not one I have time to tell. I have one question, and if you know the answer, you will live.”
Maksim’s eyes lifted to meet his. “Let me guess, you want to know who the man is.”
“No. I know who he is. I want to know who the child is.”
The woman had gone completely still, with only an occasional tremor shuddering through her.
Maksim stood still, studying the picture. When he looked up, his fear was written in his blue eyes. “Why?”
“It doesn’t matter why,” Nicolai snapped. “Who is it?” He dug the suppressor harder into the woman’s head. She shrieked, the sound grating against his eardrums.
Her husband stepped forward, hand outstretched. “Please!”
“Who. Is. The. Child?” Nicolai asked, his voice low. Calm, controlled. “Don’t make me ask again.”
A thrill like nothing he’d ever experienced lit up everything inside him. His enemy had a daughter.
“Well, well,” he murmured.
His original plan immediately shifted. He had a lot of thinking to do, but he’d stick with the beginning of it. It was the end that would change.
In the end, the daughter would be the last to die. “What’s her name?”
“I don’t know and that’s the truth.” He held up a hand. “I don’t know. He never mentioned her. Ever. The only reason I know he has a daughter is because I overheard him say something to his boss about protecting her.”
The desperation in Maksim’s eyes said that he was telling the truth. That was okay. He’d find out who she was.
Nicolai fired the first shot and the woman slumped, dead before she hit the floor.
The husband screamed. “You promised!”
“Exactly. I made a promise, and now, I’m keeping it.” He aimed the weapon at Maksim.
“How did you find me?”
The wobble in his voice did much for Nicolai’s disposition. “Some people just can’t throw anything away.”
Maksim swallowed. “The files?”
“The files, the pictures, copies of those old floppy disks with your handiwork on them. Everything. Now, it’s just you and me, and we have a lot to talk about before you die.”
“A death that will be slow and painful, no doubt?”
“The slowest and the most painful.” He quirked a smile at the man. “I learned from the videos on those disks.”
Maksim bolted into the hallway.
Nicolai blinked. Okay, he hadn’t expected that, but he knew this house as well as its owners, thanks to the blueprints he’d acquired. He followed his target to the closed office door. He might try to call for help, but no calls would go through. He’d made sure of that.
Nicolai didn’t bother trying the knob. He simply lifted his foot and kicked the door in on the first attempt.
Maksim sat behind his desk, pistol to his chin, blue eyes teary, yet determined. And resigned.
“No! Don’t you dare!” He lunged.
Maksim pulled the trigger. A red mist coated the window behind him. Nicolai screamed his fury before he grabbed the nearest bookcase and shoved it to the floor. Then the next and the next and the next.
Until he slumped to the floor amidst the chaos to catch his breath and reconfigure the plan. Visions of torturing the man now staring at the ceiling with sightless eyes were shattered, and his blood pounded from the rage of being robbed of that dream. But—he drew in a steadying breath, ordering his pulse to slow—there was the daughter. That fact brought him a peace he’d not known since his childhood.
He had a new target. He’d find her and make sure she suffered greatly before she died.
SIX WEEKS LATER
SUNDAY MORNING, MAY 15
GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA
FBI Special Agent Caden Denning stood outside the home in the upper-middle-class neighborhood with his phone pressed to his ear. “There’s a security system, Annie. This is a very nice neighborhood with a lot of cameras, but first see if you can get anything on the home system.” Annie’s skills at the Bureau were legendary. Hacking into an alarm system that recorded footage would be child’s play for her. Sheriff Jay Nichols had called the Bureau when he recognized the similarities of the case to the killing of the Bailey family in Houston, Texas. “Officers are going house to house asking for footage,” he said to Annie, “but I want inside the home cameras now. I don’t want to have to wait for the alarm system powers that be to give it to me.”
“Of course,” she said. “And I know it’s early and missing a lot of data since