One Month Ago.
Leaning against the railing of the Potemkin Stairs as the sun sets on the horizon, I turn as I hear laughter so lyrical that shivers race up and down my spine. I’ve never heard anything like it before. My eyes search for the source of the sound, and even though the person is no longer laughing, I find her.
Light blonde hair, not tall but not short, round hips, and a sense of confidence that I find refreshing as she talks animatedly to the group of children in front of her.
“She’s beautiful, isn’t she?” I growl at the interruption when I see Artem Smirnov slide next to me. The man is a snake if I’ve ever met one. He owes anyone stupid enough to loan him money because of his gambling addiction, and now that he’s got his eyes on the girl I want to claim as my own, I’d like to rip his skull from his body.
“How much do you want, Artem?” I don’t bother to acknowledge the woman. She could become a weakness before I’m able to protect her.
From the way his eyes slither from the woman and he turns his body away as she faces our way, I get the feeling he knows her. “One thousand hryvnia.”
My bark of laughter catches her attention, and for a second, our eyes meet. When her focus slides to my companion, a frown mars her beautiful face, and I know she knows him. “Can you afford to pay that back, Artem?” I know he can’t.
But my plans involve something a little more sinister to ensure I get what I want.
If my suspicions are correct.