Her Russian Billionaire: Viktor

By: Susan Westwood

Chapter One





Alia Jefferson walked out the back door of the bar she where worked. She turned back to wave to her co-worker, her best friend, Jess. “Have a good rest of your day,” she said.

Jess was short with red hair. A fireplug of energy and enthusiasm, even at three in the morning. “You, too, Alia. Text me when you get home so I know you’re safe.”

Alia laughed. “Yeah, if my phone works. It’s been giving me fits and I can’t afford a new one until payday.”

Jess frowned. “Then call me from your landline. I worry about your route home.”

Alia waved off her concern. She’d been walking these streets since she was still single digits. The only difference was the time of day. No one bothered her. Unlike the pale, little Jess, Alia was taller, with mocha skin. It gave her a little bit of cache in this neighborhood of many ethnicities.

The Hispanics thought her one of them, as did the African Americans. Having some white blood in her made her appearance not truly black, but not truly white, either. She shrugged. It just was.

She put her purse strap over her head so it would sit across her body. That way any purse-snatchers would have a harder time stealing it. She strode out of the alley as if she owned the place.

The other reason no one bothered her.

There were only a handful of people on the street in this part of town She recognized none of them. Often patrons of the bar who had hooked up at last call were still in the alley doing the nasty. The thought made Alia shudder.

Not that she was a prude, but sex among the dumpsters did not appeal to her.

Her footsteps echoed in the street as she left those people behind. Two more blocks to the subway station. Two more dangerous blocks. But her heart didn’t race. This was where she worked.

Well, she grew up in the Bronx and she didn’t back down.

She dared anyone to mess with her and her bag, which held a small brick in it, just in case she had to swing it at someone. No one had found out yet.

Noises came from an alley up ahead. She sighed. Should she tiptoe past it? She didn’t want to get involved. That was the other reason, no one touched her. She minded her own business.

She crossed the street to avoid the alley, but something drew her attention. A dim light shone into the small space. She saw a man on his knees, a gun to his head. He looked to be begging to a man in front of him.

She quickly averted her gaze. This was none of her business.

Then she heard the shot. She jumped and looked down the alley. The man who had been on his knees, was now writhing on the ground. The man with the gun turned his gaze to her.

Shit.

She spun away and ran halfway down the block. They would catch up with her. If she kept running, she might not make it to the subway. Even if she did, they might follow her onto it. What the hell?

There wouldn’t be enough people on it to make it safe. They would kill her and probably dump her body somewhere. Her brother would never know what happened to her.

Damn. She turned at the next corner, still in a full sprint. She noticed music coming out of a door someone had just opened. She slipped into that building before the door closed. She leaned on the door, her chest heaving.

Someone yelled at her, and for a moment, she thought the men from the alley had found her.

She looked around to see a plush red-carpeted hallway. The lights were dim and a large man was coming towards her. He spoke to her in another language. She had no idea what he was saying, but she bet she had a better chance with this mammoth then the two men who were chasing her.

She caught her breath finally as the man came to stand in front of her.

“English?”

“This is a private club. You need to leave.”

He sounded a little like those Russian bad guys in the James Bond movies she’d seen. “Please. There are men chasing me.”

“Why are they chasing you?”

He looked her up and down as if she were a piece of meat. Charming. I’m in danger and you’re looking to get laid. She pulled herself to her full height. She still only reaching his large neck.

“I saw a murder. Someone was shot. The guys who did it are after me.”

He frowned and appeared to be making a decision.

“Let me talk to Yuri,” he said. “You stay put.”

She nodded. She had no intention of going outside. The two men must have figured out where she had gotten inside. They could easily have seen her turn that corner. She waited for them to bang on the door that she figured out how to lock.

Probably illegal in Manhattan to lock the door, but she wasn’t going to chance them getting inside. She’d be dead.

The man came back. “Follow me.”

She did, knowing her luck was better with him. “Thank you.”

He grunted as if her apology was not necessary or wanted. Once again, she couldn’t get past his charm. Guess when you were that big, you didn’t need charm.

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