Venedikt’s brow winged up. “And yet your call had the opposite effect.”

Jessa’s heart pounded madly, banging against its cage. An insane prisoner desperate for escape. Sanyet’s cold, grim visage made the prisoner bang harder. Terrified of execution.

Venedikt continued over the loud, raucous beating. “It alarmed the good officers so much that I left my surveillance on a high target asset. To deliver the information to my brothers personally. A phone call would not do. Not after Officer Brendan Young placed an illegal warrantless wiretap on my brother’s phones. All his phones. Even the ones no one knows about. No one.” He shrugged. “I do not like this man. But I like this man. A worthy opponent.”

Rurik interrupted. His voice was flat but at least it wasn’t as cold as she’d expected. “Jessalyn, is there anything you want to tell us?”

She snatched the opportunity from his words. Maybe it wasn’t too late. “It’s not what you think. The officers are family.”

“You didn’t think you should have mentioned your family to us?” Sanyet’s snarled words blasted her. Pushing her back into the banister.

“Sanyet, let her explain.” Rurik’s eyes lasered into hers. His look crowding her as much as his brother’s body. “I told you protecting this family… Protecting my brother took precedence over everything else. Even your life.”

“I only wanted to reassure them.”

“By sending them coded messages?” Venedikt asked.

“No, no, of course not.”

“Fuck this. We’re wasting time. Let’s ask them what they know about my wife and what they thought they could do about it.”

The banging prison stopped when her breath froze. “Ask them?”

Sanyet strode to the door of his library office. The door swung wide, revealing a laptop sitting on his desk. On the screen, three men sat with their hands in handcuffs behind their backs in a holding cell. “No, oh my God, no.” She rushed towards the computer, but Sanyet’s icicle fingers stopped her mad dash.

“Nyet. Your position is only slightly better than theirs. They are merely being detained by airport security, until we have them released.”

“Sit down.” Rurik gestured to the chair facing the desk. The hot seat.

She sat. Hands wringing. “What have you done? Please, Sanyet. This is my family. Family. The same as yours.”

Sanyet said nothing as he sat in his chair. Instead, Venedikt responded. “But not quite the same. Distinguished service awards and even letters of commendations for their hard work and service…”

“Fighting crime.” Rurik‘s lips curled up with his words. “So, not the same at all.”

“It seems we have a problem.” Venedikt stuck his hands in his pockets and paced behind the desk where Sanyet glowered over her uncles. Her eyes watered and she touched the screen. What had she done? “We are very serious about family. We value that above all others. But we’ve never had family members committed to ending us and our way of life. It presents a dangerous dilemma. Especially when these men came here with such un-familial intentions. You should have heard their plots and plans.”

“Please, Rurik. Please, I’m begging you.”

Sanyet slammed his hands on the desk. Standing up and roaring. “You dare? You dare to beg him? I’m the one you should plead with. The one you lied to. The man who will decide your fate. Your husband. Beg like you did last night. When you begged me to let you come.“

Heat filled her face, matching the temperature rising in the air. “Is that what you want? You want me to beg? I’ll do it. I’ll do anything. Stay with you for a thousand years. Be your wife. Have your children. Anything. Just let them go. Unharmed.”

Sanyet shook his head. “You are negotiating by offering me things I already have. Give me something else.”

“What else do you want?” Her brows drew together as he curled his hands into fists and sat back down. He didn’t know. Oh, God. He didn’t know what he wanted or what he wanted to do. Did he? He wanted her to beg, but he didn’t even know what she was supposed to ask for. And if he didn’t know, then how could she? She wanted to scream. Scream so loud it rose through the house and ripped the ceiling off. Damn him. She beat her fists on the armrests. “What can I do?”

“You could start by telling us why these men who are not your uncles would risk their lives to help you.” Rurik’s controlled words drifted from where he stood, looking out over the gardens, through the floor to ceiling windows. His hands crossed behind his back. He added. “And tell us why your life should be spared as well.”

Her eyes watered when she looked at Sanyet. Meeting the face that had killed Petur. He was not this man. No, she wouldn’t believe it. No matter how long and hard his face seemed. Carved like the stone features of Mt. Rushmore. He wasn’t that man.

He was the man who’d cradled her in his arms as if she were a baby bird. Cupping her hands and guiding her pleasure.

He was the man who’d been broken by his mother’s attack. But wasn’t so damaged that he would hurt another in the same way. There was softness in him.

Why was he hiding it? Was it because of his brothers? Did he have to hide who he was to save face? No, he didn’t hide who he was. But maybe he didn’t know who he was. The reason didn’t matter. There had to be a way to bring the other Sanyet back. Her Sanyet. Even if he was only that Sanyet for her. Water welled in her eyes again. And if he were only that person for her. Had she lost him forever with her call?

“Please Sanyet.” Her eyes tried to capture his, but he eluded their snare. Staring off into the distance, again.

Tags: Jailaa West Crime
Articles you may like