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Vanquish the xander king.., p.19

Vanquish (The Xander King Series Book 2), page 19

 

Vanquish (The Xander King Series Book 2)
 


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  And Now... I’m Going to Kill Him!

  “Xander, are you okay?”

  “Sarah.” It was all he could manage.

  Xander got to his feet and they walked toward each other with purpose. Xander wrapped his arms around her and squeezed her against his chest.

  “Sarah, I’m sorry about Tuscany—”

  “Don’t.” She pulled back and looked into his eyes. “You’ve been through a lot Xander and—”

  “It’s no excuse. I should have been certain before I accused you of anything.”

  Xander’s emotions were swirling. He felt such affection for her in that moment. It could have been all that was happening around him—his father, his friends in danger, death, embarrassment even for the way he had treated her. The fact that she had once again saved is ass. It could have been any of those things causing him to swell with emotion at the sight of her, the touch of her. But it also could be that he’d managed to develop feelings for her.

  “How did you get here?” He asked.

  Sarah pulled out her cell phone. “I’ll explain later.” Then she spoke into the phone. “Marv? Yes, Xander is okay...Sam?” Sarah looked to Xander.

  Sam. Kyle. Shit!

  Xander turned to Zhanna. “Can you take me to where they might be?”

  Zhanna nodded and started down the hallway. Viktor followed her like a little puppy.

  Sarah went back to the phone. “We aren’t sure, but we’re looking. Marv...” Sarah paused and as she did she gave Xander a weary look. “Dragov fled by car. Martin King was with him.”

  Xander felt like Mike Tyson had just punched him in the gut.

  “I was able to put a tracker on three of the cars. You should be able to monitor them. We will find Sam and company while you find out where they are going. I have a feeling Xander is going to want to know exactly where they are headed.”

  Sarah clicked off the phone. “I’m sorry.”

  “You knew my father was alive?” A rush of anger flooded his face.

  “No! No. Not until we landed here in Moscow. Xander, Mary Hartsfield is now the acting director of the CIA. They took Manning into custody just a little while ago. They promised to go easy if he gave up Dragov. But...”

  “But what, Sarah?”

  “But it was your father he flipped on. Dragov hasn’t been in charge for a long time now. I’m so sorry.”

  A man’s voice startled them all from the end of the hallway. “Jesus H. Christ. If y’all ain’t a sight for sore eyes.”

  Sarah turned on a dime, whipping her gun in the direction of the voice. “Jack?”

  “I’ll be goddamned. Xander King, in the flesh. Last I heard, you dropped backwards out of a cargo plane. Oh, to be young again.”

  Xander dropped the thoughts of his father. It was all too much to comprehend at the moment. He needed to focus on what he did understand, getting his friends to safety, and getting Dragov. In that order. “Sam and Kyle?”

  “Last I saw ‘em, they was okay. Your pilot is here too. Brave son of a bitch. Thought that was where I was goin’ but this place is like a friggin’ hotel.”

  “Were they in a cell?” Zhanna asked.

  “Yep.”

  “Then they are up one floor. We must hurry before my father gets away. If he leaves Moscow, we’ll never find him.”

  “He won’t make it out of Moscow.” Xander assured her. She gave him an unsure look.

  Viktor noticed her doubting him, and couldn’t help himself. “Viktor doesn’t know much, but I believe boss when he say Dragov won’t make it.”

  “Thanks Viktor.” Xander put his arm around Sarah’s waist and nudged her in Zhanna, Jack, and Viktor’s direction.

  “Follow me.” Zhanna said, turning toward the hallway exit, stepping over a mini pile of dead Russian thugs as she went.

  Jack was right, Dragov’s compound was very much like a hotel. They took what resembled an emergency stairwell up to the floor above them. When the five of them walked into the hall it was more like the Overlook Hotel in the movie, The Shining. It seemed just as empty, too. Zhanna walked ahead out into the hallway that was filled with crown molding and tacky hotel carpeting. Xander half expected to see the twin ghost girls waiting for them at the other end. To the right of the hall looked to be a large ballroom. Zhanna walked right past it and all the way to a single closed door at the end of the hallway.

  “Jack Torrance isn’t going to be in there, is he?” Xander asked Zhanna. She didn’t get the movie reference.

  “I LOVED that movie.”

  Sarah got it.

  Zhanna tried the door, but of course it was locked.

  “Viktor will open.” Viktor said, puffing out his chest.

  “You sure about that Viktor? That looks like a heavy door.” Xander smirked.

  “Xander King not only one with muscles.”

  Viktor took three steps back, and one to the side. He reminded Xander of a field goal kicker getting ready to kick an extra point. He was built like one too. Viktor swung his arms a couple of times in preparation, lowered his shoulder, and sprinted for the door.

  Xander took a couple steps forward and leaned down over Viktor as he sprawled out on the floor. “I think you almost had it, buddy.” Of course, he’d barely even shook the door. “You want me to finish it off for you?”

  Viktor groaned. “If you get it, it’s because Viktor loosened for you.”

  Sarah hid her smile and Xander gave her a wink.

  Without stepping back, Xander spun in place, whipping his leg around behind him and struck the door just above the lock. Not surprising to him, the door flew open under the power of his kick. What did surprise him was the blur that came through the door and knocked him flat on his back. Almost before anyone could stop her, Sam had her fist pulled back ready to strike.

  “I’m happy to see you too, Sam, but this is a little embarrassing.” Xander smiled from underneath her.

  “Xander! You made it. I knew it!”

  Xander had never seen such a happy look on Sam’s face. The closest to it was the one he saw when he woke up from his coma of few days ago. Sam threw herself down and gave him a hug.

  “You scared the shit out of me when you fell backwards out of that plane. You really are one crazy bloke.”

  She raised up off of him and Kyle walked up, head shaking in wonder, hand extended. Xander took it with force and Kyle helped him to his feet. They shared their customary handshake, then embraced in a massive man hug.

  “Fuck you for scaring us.”

  “You mean for getting you out of that cell?”

  “Yeah, that too.”

  Xander was holding a smile, but seeing his friends made him think of his father. He needed a minute with Sam and Kyle, alone. Bob walked out of the holding cell and Xander gave him a glad you’re okay nod.

  “Was anyone around Dragov before he took off? Maybe heard where he was going?” Sarah asked the group.

  Jack answered. “Well, if havin’ the man hold his gun to your head after a couple of wallops to the jaw counts as being around him, I guess I was. Didn’t say where they was goin’, but as soon as that alarm went off, they left in a big ol’ hurry.”

  “I’m glad you’re okay Jack.” Sarah told him with the most sincere of looks.

  Something triggered in Xander and he moved toward Sarah, took her cheek in his hand after moving a strand of her blonde hair behind her right ear. “Thank you, Sarah. You saved our ass back there. You’ve been doing a lot of that lately.” She nestled his hand against her cheek with hers as they shared a long stare.

  Kyle and Sam exchanged a glance, Sam raising her brow, and Kyle giving a shoulder-shrugging smirk. Xander let his hand fall to caress Sarah’s arm as he looked over to Zhanna. “Can you do a quick sweep of the place? Make sure no one is left that can give us some clues where they may have gone?”

  “Of course.”

  “Will you take Sarah, Bob, and Viktor with you? We’ll meet you out front in ten.”

&nb
sp; Zhanna nodded. Xander looked back at Sarah. “Will you see if Marv knows where they are headed yet? I need a minute with Kyle and Sam.”

  Sarah knew he wanted to tell them about his father. She didn’t need him to say it. He could feel that she knew. She smiled. “See you soon?”

  “You’re in good hands with Zhanna. Not that you can’t take care of yourself.”

  Sarah glanced at his lips, then back to his eyes. Her desire to kiss him was apparent to everyone. Xander’s desire to do the same surprised him in that moment. For the first time since he met Natalie Rockwell, another woman had caught his attention in a way that was entirely more than sexual.

  “Xander King like pretty blonde haired savior.” Viktor blurted.

  Sarah blushed, Xander dropped his grip from her arm, and everyone had a laugh.

  Zhanna mercifully broke the embarrassing moment. “We had better get moving. We will meet you outside in ten minutes. Better have good plan by then.” She smiled and began walking away from them.

  Sarah mouthed the words be careful to Xander and the four of them were off.

  “Where could Dragov be going?” Sam got right to it.

  “I don’t know, but he isn’t here.” Xander made a face that neither one of them could read. “My dad isn’t either.”

  No sense beating around the bush.

  Kyle’s face scrunched in confusion. “What? Your dad? I don’t get it.”

  “I saw him. Here.”

  Kyle’s face went from confusion to bewilderment. Sam’s followed the same arc.

  “Are you okay, man? Did you hit your head?” Kyle continued. Sam couldn’t speak.

  “My dad is alive. I saw him in a room, right below this one. He wouldn’t even acknowledge me. I was beating on the door and screaming at him, but he ignored me. Come to think of it, he seemed perfectly relaxed....” Xander’s wheels were turning. Sam and Kyle let them turn. “He was...he was smoking a cigar and wearing a suit. Like he wanted to be there. Like he wasn’t being held against his will...” Xander trailed off. Lost in his own thoughts. Trying to make sense of what he’d seen. What seemed like some sort of dream. He remembered Sarah saying that Manning flipped on his father, and that Dragov hadn’t been in charge for a while now, but Xander was having a problem pulling it all together. Mostly because he didn’t want to.

  “Xander,” Sam placed her hand on his shoulder, “let’s just go help them clear the house. Back them up if they need it and then we will go find Dragov.”

  “I know it sounds like I’m losing it, Sam.” Xander looked back and forth between her and Kyle. “But Sarah confirmed it. She said they took Manning apart back at Langley and he confirmed my father was alive...maybe even in charge. We didn’t have time to get into it, but I’m telling you, I saw him downstairs, and then Sarah saw him leave with Dragov.”

  “What the fuck, X? What the shit?” Kyle began to pace the room, freaking out. “This can’t be. There has to be some sort of explanation. He must be drugged, or hypnotized, or—”

  “Or not who I thought he was.” Xander broke in.

  Heartache dominated his face. That hung in the air for a moment. No one knew what to say. Kyle just grabbed his friend and gave him a hug.

  “We’ll figure this out, Xander. I promise.”

  Xander pulled back. “What is there to figure out?”

  The air seemed to change in the hallway. Things suddenly began to become clear for Xander. Crystal clear.

  “He lied to me my entire life. My mother, too. That is probably why she slept with Jack. She was living with a liar. He wasn’t who he said he was. He wasn’t just in the CIA, he was helping to run an illegal underground empire.”

  Xander’s face drained of its color and he staggered backward. Sam and Kyle both caught him and held him up.

  “He faked his death and murdered my mother.”

  Xander’s breathing became heavy as he hung in their arms.

  “He left me and my sister to live alone.”

  Tears welled up in Xander’s eyes.

  “He’s... He’s been trying to kill me!”

  And just like that, the hurt on his face made a visible turn to rage. Just as quickly as the tears had appeared; they were gone. Xander broke loose of Sam and Kyle’s grip and his posture went stiff. The muscles clinched in his jaw. His hands balled into fists.

  “And now... I’m going to kill him.”

  SEAL’d With a Kiss

  “Xander, stop! Just wait a second!” Kyle shouted as they walked—stalked—into the grandiose foyer of the mafia boss’s mansion. It had the same set up of Xander’s foyer in Lexington, only with an overlay of gaudy marble, hideous gold, and loads of tacky. The massively oversized gold and crystal chandelier showered the three of them with a deep yellow glow. “Xander, you don’t even know where you’re going. Stop!”

  Kyle grabbed him by the arm and the face he saw when Xander wheeled around wasn’t the Xander he knew at all. It was blank with ferocious intensity. Sarah and company, minus Viktor, were descending the stairs at that very moment.

  “Is everything okay?” She called from the top of the stairs. Sarah had seen this look on Xander’s face in Tuscany not long ago when he thought she had betrayed him. She shuddered. She immediately knew something was wrong.

  Xander held Kyle’s stair for a moment, and then looked up at Sarah. “Where’s Dragov? Where’s my father?”

  “That’s why we came down.” They all followed Sarah the rest of the way down the stairs. “Marv called, they stopped at an unknown location, now it appears they are on their way to Domodedovo Airport.”

  Bob chimed in. “That’s the same airport where your jet is, Xander.”

  Xander nodded. “Where’s Viktor?”

  Just then the front door jangled and everyone turned and pulled their weapons. Viktor walked in, threw his hands up in the air, and pinned himself against the door. “It’s just Viktor! It’s just Viktor!”

  Everyone lowered their weapon.

  “I had him go and check on the helicopter,” said Sarah.

  Xander looked back to Viktor expectantly.

  “It wouldn’t start, boss.”

  Everyone in the foyer let out a groan.

  “You not let Viktor finish. Stupid old bird always does this. Viktor can fix. Just need five—maybe thirty minutes.”

  “That’s a hell of a wide range, son,” Jack noted.

  “It’s tricky. But just need little bit of time.” Viktor held up his hand and pinched his index finger and thumb together until they were almost touching.

  “I don’t have time. Sarah, were there any other vehicles in the garage?” Xander asked.

  “They took all of the cars.”

  “That wasn’t my question.”

  “There—there was a motorcycle, but obviously that won’t help us,” she said, defensively.

  “No, but it will help me.”

  Sam began to shake her head. “Xander...”

  Xander ignored Sam and spoke once again to Sarah. “Pull up directions to the airport on your phone. I’ll take it with me.”

  Before Sarah could answer, Sam spoke up again. “Xander, this is not the time for your X-Man, solo routine.”

  Xander turned to face Sam. “Take the chopper to the airport when Viktor gets it going.”

  “Xander—”

  “Sam!” he shouted. Then, he managed to ease his tone. “Sam, this is not a debate. Like Zhanna said, if Dragov makes it out of Moscow, we may never find him. That means my dad, too. I have to hit them before they have time to regroup.”

  “You’re not going without me. You can’t do this alone.”

  Xander took a step toward Sam, almost nose to nose now. “Do I have to remind you of what I can do alone? Have you forgotten how I found you in London? How I got you out of there alone, carrying you on my back?”

  Sam’s face hardened. “You know damn well I haven’t forgotten about London. And I know exactly what you are capable of. More than anyone. And you know
damn well what I am capable of. You don’t think they will be watching for you? You plan on shooting back at them while you’re maneuvering a bloody motorbike? No, Xander. You will not be going alone. You have had my back when I’ve needed you most, and I don’t plan on leaving you now.”

  Sam looked to Sarah and Zhanna, then a sweeping look to the rest of the group, and then finally settled on Viktor. “You get that chopper going and get everyone to the airport.” She swept her look back over the rest of them. “Whatever your motivations for being here, for fighting this fight, whether it be personal, or for the love of country, revel in that motivation now. Let it fill you up as it has filled Xander. Let it bring out the best in all of your abilities, because we are going to need every ounce of it tonight. We are either leaving Moscow with our mission accomplished...” Sam turned her head, eyes focused solely on Xander’s now, “...or we will die trying.”

  The last of her words echoed in the open foyer. The weight of her statement settled over them like a led vest before an X-ray. They all looked around the room, not sure who should speak next, or what should be said. Except for Viktor, he apparently wasn’t so good with awkward silence.

  “Oh, Viktor like her. She is badass bitch, boss. Don’t know about rest of you, but Viktor is ready to kick fat Russian dick in!”

  It didn’t take long for everyone else to make up their mind.

  “Fuck it, I’m in.” Jack spoke up.

  “I know a thing or two about helicopters,” said Bob.

  “Brother, you know I’m down,” Kyle joined.

  Zhanna stepped forward. “This ends tonight.”

  Everyone had spoken but Sarah. All eyes turned to her. She finished typing on her phone and walked up to Xander.

  “Make sure you save some for us.” Sarah handed him her phone, the GPS route to the airport already plugged in.

  Xander’s rage faltered momentarily, their selflessness overwhelmed him.

  Jack came forward and handed Xander two pistols, and Sam a pistol and an AK-47. “Found these on the way downstairs. Fully loaded. Might come in handy.”

  They took the weapons from Jack and as Xander tucked his away, Sarah took his face in her hands and gave him a long meaningful look.

 
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