Home > The Russian's Dangerous Game (Friendship #2)

The Russian's Dangerous Game (Friendship #2)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Elizabeth Lennox - Friendship #2 - The Russian's Dangerous Game

The Russian's Dangerous Game (Friendship #2)
Elizabeth Lennox



Chapter 1

[Brianna Stewart stepped out of the cab while smoothing the embarrassingly clingy fabric down over her hips. She balanced carefully, not used to the four inch heels that were already making her feet ache. She handed the cab driver some money, making sure to not bend over too far. The ridiculously expensive dress she’d bought for tonight’s mission didn’t have a great deal of fabric in the tush area. It was an uncomfortable circumstance, but necessary to capture her prey. “Thank you,” she said sweetly to the driver. “Have a good night.”

At least it wasn’t a cold night, she thought, trying desperately to find a silver lining to her crazy adventure. The late fall weather meant that the humidity had left the air, but it was an abnormally warm autumn this year. Thankfully, the night air still hadn’t cooled down to the point where she’d need a coat. It was coming though. She could smell something in the air, could feel the warmth moving out of Washington, D.C. and wool coats would most likely be coming out very soon.

The cab driver looked into the soft, green eyes of the beautiful woman and hesitated. “Are you sure you’re going to be okay?” he asked, not sure that this gentle lady was prepared for what went on inside this particular nightclub. He’d never been in there himself, but he’d heard rumors. It wasn’t open to the public and only the very elite knew of this place. It was where the wealthy of the world came to play and they partied hard inside the benign looking edifice.

Brianna warily looked up at the building, then back to the cab driver. Was she okay? She could honestly say she’d never been more frightened in her life. But fear was not going to deter her tonight. Turning back to the worried looking driver, she forced herself to smile brightly. “I’ll be fine,” she replied quickly, more to reassure herself than the cab driver. “But thank you for asking.”

With that, she turned around and took a deep breath, not sure what to do next. The building didn’t look like a decadent nightclub patronized by the bored and fabulously wealthy. In fact, it looked like just a normal office complex, although it was very elegant.

“Coeur Tombe?” a tall, previously hidden man asked.

Brianna looked in the direction of the voice, startled to hear anything at all. The darkness seemed to be abnormally quiet tonight. “Yes,” she replied, relieved that she was in the right place after all. She’d been expecting a long line of people trying to get into the club, begging a heavily muscled bouncer for entry. The streets were empty and she’d been wondering if she’d gotten her information wrong.

“This way,” the man said and opened the door, pressing a button that was hidden behind something on the cement wall of the building.

A moment later, a pair of doors opened up and a warmly lit elevator appeared. She stared at the interior for a long moment, her heart racing and her mind telling her to run down the street to a brightly lit diner where it was safe. Instead, Brianna stepped through the door and took a deep breath. Looking around, she noticed only one button instead of the normal series of buttons that would take her to the various floors of the building. The strangely silent man pressed that button and the doors closed. She was startled, not sure what the button might be for. It almost felt like he was signaling someone but that didn’t make sense. Who would he be signaling?

She found out a moment later when the elevator doors opened up again and she tentatively stepped through the next doorway. Instead of the peaceful, hesitant quiet of the night air outside, she found herself enveloped in a pulsating, throbbing darkness interspersed with flashing neon lights and a thick, blue and green mist rising from the floor.

As soon as she took a few steps forward, the mist enveloped her legs, adding a sense of mystery to the eerie atmosphere. She looked down, astonished to discover that she couldn’t see her feet any longer.

So this was the fancy nightclub everyone was talking about, she thought as she stepped through the doors. There wasn’t a cover charge at the door like she was expecting. There wasn’t a big, beefy guard standing sentry. But there were probably hundreds of people, all glammed up and writhing on the dance floor. Several waitresses were walking by with neon colored cocktails held high up in the air and there was a bar on each side at the front with a well-lit backdrop, luring customers to the multiple bartenders where drinks were being served up with astonishing speed.

Her eyes took it all in, her mind whirling at how insane the whole atmosphere seemed to be. She took several steps forward, wishing desperately that her best friends, Nikki and Rachel, were here with her now. It was always terrifying to be alone at a bar, but this was beyond frightening. This was….mind numbing. Nikki would look at all of this insanity and make some joke; Rachel would grab her hand and squeeze it gently to give Bri some encouragement. And then the three of them would find a corner, grab some drinks and make up silly stories about the other patrons. When the three of them were together, Brianna always felt invincible and had since the first time they’d met back in elementary school. They were alike and yet so completely different from one another. Their personalities complimented each other, while their fears, hopes and dreams connected them almost closer than sisters.

But Nikki and Rachel weren’t here, she told herself firmly. So she squared her shoulders, and dug deep inside of her to find some strength. In fact, her friends didn’t even know she was doing this. She’d kept her mission to herself, afraid Nikki would try and talk her out of it or Rachel would demand to come along.

This wasn’t a girls’ night out. Tonight was all about work, about breaking out of her comfort zone. She had a job to do and she had a limited amount of time in which to accomplish her mission. She had to do this on her own. As a reporter, she had been floating along, content with covering weddings and garden parties or any other society piece her editor handed out. If she had any chance of escaping the wedding circuit and being considered a real reporter, she had to take risks. She had to get out of her comfort zone and find some breaking news, something that would stun the newspaper readership and her editor with the incredible impact of her article.

She was tired of the snarky little comments about her work from the other reporters in the newsroom, teasing her about how she wasn’t a real reporter. Her editor wouldn’t give her anything but fluff pieces no matter how much she begged for something more substantial. He repeatedly told her that she was good at those stories and should stick to what she did well.

So if she could just get one story, one fabulous report that would show her editor, as well as everyone else, what she could do, she would never have to report on the billowing folds of a wedding gown or the tantalizing curve of a tulip again!

This was her chance. And she was here tonight to hunt down her prey - none other than the elusive, illustrious and disgustingly wealthy Rocco Antoniv. He was currently in town, and Brianna was determined to reveal the real man behind the charming, suave billionaire. She’d been at his press conference earlier that afternoon, gritting her teeth as she watched him answer questions and charm the more hard core reporters with his wit and jokes. Sure, he might be an astonishingly handsome man with black hair and that scary, dangerous Russian allure complete with a sexy accent that probably sent shivers throughout other women’s senses. Not hers though! She’d been immune to that charm and sex appeal and his accent didn’t do a thing for her!

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