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Vanquish the xander king.., p.14

Vanquish (The Xander King Series Book 2), page 14

 

Vanquish (The Xander King Series Book 2)
 


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  “Oh my god!” Sarah said in realization as she pulled away from Mary. “I never called Kyle back. He must think I have abandoned them completely!”

  The satellite phone in Xander’s airplane rang, pulling Kyle, Jack, and Zhanna from their plotting positions on the couch. Kyle shrugged his shoulders at Jack and Zhanna and then walked over to the opposite side of the jet, sat down, and answered the phone.

  “Hello?”

  “Kyle! It’s Sarah.”

  “Sarah? Are you okay? We looked everywhere for you but—”

  “I know, I’m sorry. I panicked when Xander...listen, I know about Xander and Sam.”

  “You do? How?”

  “Marv.”

  Kyle had only met Marv once, but he remembered Jack mentioning that he had him looking into things. He also remembered that Xander called him the smartest guy he’d ever met.

  “Yeah, okay, I know of him. We are on our way to Moscow now to get Xander back.”

  “So are we. Listen, Kyle, I just got an email from Xander—”

  “What?” Kyle stood up, his heart leapt into his throat.

  “I know! He got away!”

  “He got away?” Kyle repeated her, but mostly to let Jack and Zhanna in on the news. The both of them jumped to their feet.

  “Yeah! Haha! Can you believe it?” She screamed.

  “How did—”

  “I don’t know how, but I know where. The Ukraine. We have someone on their way now to try and find him.”

  Kyle could hardly process her words. His nerve endings had fried hours ago when he knew his friend was in trouble. But, he got away. Of course he did.

  “What about Sam?”

  “All he said was that she was still a prisoner, and still on her way to Moscow.”

  “Goddamnit. I’m gonna kill that motherfucker Pavlovich as soon as I see him.” Kyle pounded the back of a chair with his fist.

  “I’ve got to go Kyle. How far out are you?”

  “Only about an hour now.”

  “You?”

  “Shit, still about five or so.”

  “Jesus, where are you coming from?”

  “I know. I’m sorry. Virginia. Hey, Marv wants to talk with Jack and Zhanna to help coordinate. He says if Zhanna can tell him where Dragov will be, he can get online and work up a blueprint.”

  “Of course, let me put you on speaker.”

  The six of them came together like they had been working with each other for years. Kyle didn’t understand a lot of the lingo, but he’d been around Xander and Sam long enough to get the gist of it. It didn’t take long for an extraction plan to come together. The last piece, of course, was Xander and whether or not he would be involved. They would have to make their plans without him. That thought brought Kyle a sense of emptiness like he had never felt before. No Sam, and no Xander. They had to have Xander. But, if they didn’t, Kyle was ready to do whatever it took to get Sam out safely. That was his only goal. Get Sam out safely. When Xander made it to Moscow, and Xander will make it to Moscow, he would let him deal with Dragov and Pavlovich.

  For now, this was a rescue mission.

  The rescue Sam mission.

  Belly of the Beast

  Vitalii Dragov slammed his fist against his oversized, cherry wood desk. The globe with the golden accents that sat on its corner toppled and crashed against the floor, and Dragov followed that up with a violent sweep of his arm, raking all of the papers off the desk, and they fluttered violently through the air. His face was red, his mouth slobbering, like a pit bull going for the neck. He stood from his chair and waddled over to the window. Then he turned back to Melania.

  “What the fuck you mean he just jumped? How was he ever unshackled? How you manage to fuck this up?”

  “Nicoli jumped after him, sir. I am sure by now, Xander is dead.” Melania’s voice held zero confidence, and Dragov could sense it.

  “Oh, you’re sure, are you? Just like Nicoli got him last time?”

  One of the three men standing behind Melania stepped forward. He was still dressed in his all black tactical gear from the plane ride from Tuscany. “Boss, it’s not Melania’s fault. Xander tricked Boris.”

  Dragov shifted his eyes to this man. A man he did not know. Without a word he picked up a letter opener, took two steps forward, and jammed the blade into the side of the man’s neck. Hot blood shot out onto Melania’s face and the soldier went down writhing to the floor. No one moved. Dragov pulled out a handkerchief and wiped the spatters of blood from his face and hands. His eyes were black as coals. An evil aura surrounded him. A chill ran down Melania’s back.

  “I want to see her.” Dragov finally spoke.

  “She is in basement cell. May I speak?”

  “Speak,” he growled.

  “Sam is Xander’s closest friend. He will do anything to save her. If Xander does make it back here, which I assure you he will not, but if he does, we can use her as bait.”

  “Bring her to me.”

  A few moments later, after a couple of cigarettes and a few fingers of ultra rare, forty-year-old Balvenie scotch, Dragov’s fire had reduced to a simmer. As he waited for Melania to bring Sam in for a chat, he stared out the window of his fortified mansion at the south end of the richest subdivision in all of Russia. He bought the surrounding lots, giving him many acres all to himself and his business. He took another sip of scotch and lit another cigarette as he contemplated the empire he had grown. The media calls it the largest organized crime ring in the world. Dragov chuckled to himself. They didn’t know the half of it. His empire, built on the blood of lesser men, was double the size of the six billion dollars they all said it was worth. He took a long drag off of his cigarette, arched his back, and puffed smoke into the air, the way a man does when he is on top of the world. All of a sudden he became very relaxed. Why was he worrying about this pissant, Xander King? Of all the men Dragov had dealt with in his life, of all the kingpins and drug lords, he couldn’t figure for the life of him why he had let this one American ruffle his feathers.

  “Dragov is real king. Not this Xander King.” He said to the walls of his office.

  He was impressed with what Xander had done in Syria. He was impressed with the way he dispatched of the men he’d sent to his home in Lexington, and he was impressed with the way his team, headed by this, Sam, had been able to bail Xander out not once, but twice this week. But Dragov had defeated entire gangs. Rival organizations that had hundreds of associates, not just one man and his measly two or three. Dragov knew he had fought wars, and he decided right then not to waste another second worrying about this Xander. If Pavlovich hadn’t already disposed of him, his men would easily do so when he showed up here to save his precious Sam.

  “Mr. Dragov. We have Sam in the hallway. Shall we bring her in?” Melania interrupted Dragov’s train of thought from the doorway.

  “Dah.” Dragov nodded, ashed his cigarette, took his scotch over behind his desk, and remained standing as he lit a cigar this time. Chimneys had nothing on Dragov.

  Melania stepped back out into the hallway.

  “Sam, I suggest you keep mouth shut unless Dragov expects answer. Then give answer and nothing more.”

  Sam was still a bit taken aback by Melania’s Russian accent, she had disguised it well while inside her company.

  “Melanie,” Sam was sure to not use Melania’s real name, “I suggest you pull a one-eighty and join the correct side. Before it’s too late.”

  Melania gave a short but mocking laugh. “I suppose you would rather I be the nerdy and submissive woman, you like me better in this role, yes? Before it’s too late,” she made air quotes. “Ha! You are delusional. Too late for what, Sam?” Melania held an arrogant smile. The smile someone wears when they believe themselves untouchable.

  Sam looked dead into Melania’s eyes, unwavering, cold as ice. “Before I squeeze your neck so hard you won’t even have the chance to beg for your life.”

  Melania punched Sam in the face. Th
en spit at her. Just the reaction Sam was hoping for. Stupid bitch hit just like a toddler. The three men that had shuffled her up four floors, not so gently nudged her into the room where a huge fat ass stood behind an oversized desk. Sam observed the walls that were covered in books—books she knew were all for show, she’d be surprised if this blob could even read—and took in the stench of the smoke smothered space. The men continued to nudge her up to the desk where Dragov stood, smugly continuing to further fill the room with cancer clouds. Sam, was the stark opposite of Dragov. To him, she reminded him of Kate Beckinsale in one of his favorite movies, Underworld. To her, Dragov reminded her of the dad in one of her least favorite movies, Shallow Hal. Pock marked face, three chins, and a waistline the size of the Equator; disgusting.

  Dragov spoke first.

  “So...this is famous Sam? You don’t look so special to Vitalii Dragov. Though, you are more beautiful than I imagined.” His lazy Russian accent almost hypnotized Sam to sleep. Dragov ashed his cigarette, tabled his scotch, and slithered around the corner of his desk with the grace of an anaconda that just swallowed a human. Two men held Sam in place as Dragov walked right up to her. His mouth smelled like a whisky and smoke toilette, his face uglier the closer he came, and his eyes, dark and gray. Lifeless. Sam held those eyes, unafraid, as he ran his fat fingered hand down the soft skin of her left cheek. Though revolted by his touch, she didn’t dare flinch.

  “Yes, very beautiful.” He continued to slide his hand down her neck, then down around her black leather covered breast, and he finished by cupping it over her crotch. Again, Sam didn’t flinch. However, her mind did flash back to the basement of Sanharib Khatib’s compound, his urine running down her naked back as one of his men raped her from behind. Still, Sam didn’t as much as shudder. “This,” Dragov pushed up with his hand on her vagina, “this is all you are good for now. Your precious Xander can not save you here. You will be mine, over and over again until I tire of you. Which, I am sure will not take long.”

  It took everything in Sam’s will to keep from snap-kicking that pudgy mound of sleaze in his tiny little balls. It also took everything she had to keep from vomiting. The thought of that fat shit, naked, and sweating over top of her almost triggered a gag reflex she didn’t even know she had. He removed his hand from her crotch and forcefully wrapped it around her neck. His face scrunched in anger as he continued to clamp tighter around her throat.

  “Listen to me, cunt. As soon as Pavlovich returns with Xander, I am going to gut him right in front of you,” Dragov spat as he released his grip.

  Sam cleared her throat and spoke evenly through the pain. “You are? Or do you mean you will have someone do your dirty work for you?”

  “I will personally end him. Just for you. Would you like that?”

  “What I would like is for you to consider popping a mint. I recommend Altoids, curiously strong little buggers.”

  Dragov backhanded Sam in the face, almost twisting her head in the opposite direction. She snapped her head back, taking his eyes, slowly letting a smile grow across her face. Blood trickled from her bottom lip. Dragov nodded to the two men holding her and they kicked the back of her legs, forcing her down to her knees. He stepped forward, his crotch now directly in front of her face.

  “You have very smart mouth. Let Dragov see if that mouth is good for anything else.” Dragov reached for his zipper and pulled it all the way down. Just as he reached in his pants, Melania’s phone chirped.

  “It is text from Pavlovich.” She unlocked her phone. Dragov’s attention moved to Melania and he zipped his pants. “He says he has Xander cornered. He has already called for helicopter to escort them back after his capture. He says, three hours maximum.”

  Before Dragov can react to Melania’s words, Sam responds: “That is the last time you will ever hear from Nicoli Pavlovich.”

  Dragov let a slow and guttural laugh roll from his big round belly. He shook his finger at Sam in a tsk-tsk fashion. “You must not know about skill of Nicoli Pavlovich.”

  “Don’t need to, I know about skill of Xander King.”

  Welcome to the Jungle

  “I must admit, Xander, I am impressed. You’ve got balls. You’re stupid, but you’ve got balls.” Pavlovich shouted through the rows of pine trees. He motioned to his men on the left and right of him to fan out and flank around. He had a good view of Xander floating from his parachute into the tree line, and there was still plenty of sunlight to see into the shadows, which direction he ran. “Unfortunately for you, I am going to cut those balls off. You didn’t actually think you could get away from me did you? I am not like other men you have faced in past. I am greatest assassin in the world.” Nicoli’s voice echoed through the trees and up the mountain that lay just beyond them. His men had fully loaded AK-47s, and Nicoli himself had two nine-millimeter pistols and a backup clip.

  Xander was outnumbered three to one. His enemies had ninety-six bullets, he had only one Ninety-six to two if you counted his trusty knife, Rambo, that he as always kept tucked against his right calf muscle. These aren’t the worst odds he had faced, not by a long shot. As he leaned his back against the sturdy pine and listened to Pavlovich stroke his own ego, a flashback to Syria ran through his mind when he killed eight men with a smoke bomb and a knife. However, according to Sam, Pavlovich is definitely a far more competent killer then all of those men would have been, combined.

  Overhead he heard the scream of a hawk, and now on his left and right he could hear the crunching of twigs and pine cones. They were surrounding him. With one bullet and a knife, Xander’s options were limited. Ahead of him, he could just barely make out the edge of the trees where it met the mountain range. It would do him no good to run there, he would be even more exposed than he was at the moment. Plus, the hole in his leg was really starting to ache.

  “Come out, come out wherever you are.” Pavlovich shouted.

  Real original.

  Pavlovich must have learned his trash talk from old JeanClaude Van Damme movies. Wait, maybe that was Steven Seagal. Either way, this guy was a total cliché. Even though it seemed so dismal, Xander couldn’t help but smile. It was in these moments that he felt most alive. It must be the reason he seems to always end up in them. He could feel his adrenaline leaking into his veins, and at that moment he just couldn’t imagine a life without this. How fucking boring? Most people get off on other things, normal things, like business. And while horse racing definitely got Xander going, it wasn’t the same. Most people would feel at the pinnacle of their lives when they are told that their bourbon brand just got picked up in ten more states. That made Xander happy, proud even, but this—being out there in the middle of nowhere, outnumbered, outgunned, nowhere to hide, and death knocking at the door—this was living.

  Like a lion outnumbered by elephants, Xander had to thin the herd. It was the only way he was going to get out of there alive, and get back to Sam. There was a branch above him, so he pulled himself up into the tree. A couple of branches farther up and he was semi-hidden, and had a decent view of what was around him. The footfalls of his enemies grew closer. He strained his eyes to his left and through the branches he finally saw movement coming his way. He crouched on the branch, freeing his hands. He took his gun in his right, and reached across with his left and slowly slid Rambo from its sheath. The man to his left was heading directly under his position. As he prepared for the drop, he saw movement to his right. The second gunman had turned toward them, walking directly for his comrade. The man coming from the left was only steps from being under him now.

  “Come on, Xander, give it up. I could beat you alone, but it’s even worse for you, it is three against one.”

  Xander dropped from the branch and, as he landed, with his left hand he drove the razor sharp blade of Rambo into the gunman’s neck, and with his right hand he shot the other gunman walking toward him in the forehead, before he could fire off a single round.

  “I demand a recount.” Xander announced, bef
ore the echo of his gunshot had even made it out of the trees.

  The herd was thinned.

  “Admit it,” Xander said loud enough for Pavlovich to hear as he pulled his knife from the man’s neck and wiped the blade clean of blood on his white linen pants. “Your butthole puckered a little bit just now.”

  From only a few yards behind him, Pavlovich answered: “What this mean, butthole pucker? You think Nicoli Pavlovich is scared?”

  “Enough with the third person, who do you think you are, Elmo?”

  “Elmo?”

  “Yeah, you know, Sesame Street. Elmo want to play. Come on man, don’t you have a TV in douche-bag-ville? My niece loves Elmo.”

  “You talk, Xander King, because you are nervous.”

  Xander re-sheathed Rambo and traded his empty nine-millimeter for the dead man’s AK-47. A pool of the dead man’s blood gathered around Xander’s feet as he threw the gun’s strap over his head and shucked the lock on the machine gun, making a loud click-clack.

  “You hear that, Pavlov? Does that sound like I’m nervous?”

  “Name is Pavlovich, and any coward can shoot gun. Real man fight with hands.”

  Xander took a quick glance around the trunk of the tree and saw Pavlovich standing behind a tree of his own, a pistol in each of his outstretched hands. “Then why don’t you drop those pistols and fight like a real man?”

  With the quickness of a deadly cat, Pavlovich dove out from behind the tree and sent bullets whizzing past Xander’s head. He was barely able to get back behind his own tree. Bullet stung bark scattered around his head. Pavlovich was quicker than Xander expected. It was time to stop underestimating him. Xander was ready to retaliate when he heard a familiar thump coming out of the sky from off in the distance.

  “You hear that King? That is your ride back to Dragov. Question is, will you be dead or alive on way back? Makes no difference to me. You are a dead man in the end, either way.”

 
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