Mafia Hitman's Daring LoverBy: Leslie North
The Karzhov Crime Family Series Book 2
Grigori Tokarev stepped off the plane, tossing his black leather duffel bag over his shoulder as he followed the other passengers along the concourse of the Tampa International Airport. The airport was in the middle of a massive remodel, based upon the plastic draped walls, open ceilings, and sheetrock dust covering what was once a patterned carpet.
As he turned the corner, he was forced to duck his head to avoid hitting it on the low ceiling. At 6’6” tall, Grigori was used to adjusting based upon his height, but tonight he was tired, irritable, and just wanted to reach his destination.
The flight across the continent had taken far longer than it should have. First, the plane had experienced an electrical problem before even leaving Las Vegas. Then it had experienced a cooling issue before it could leave the Nashville airport. Instead of arriving in the early evening, it was now close to midnight, and he was beyond tired of his fellow passengers.
Several young families had been among those flying from Las Vegas to Tampa, and their small children had lost any ability to be cooperative hours ago. The last hour of the flight had been spent listening to the infants crying their outrage and the toddlers complaining loudly.
Grigori sighed in frustration as he waited for those in front of him to file through the small hallway amid the construction. He just wanted to sleep!
He glanced at his phone, pleased to see that Stefan had gotten his text message about the late arrival. He hoped to see the man waiting for him once they reached baggage claim, and was not disappointed.
Stefan was lounging against one of the columns nearest the doors, and Grigori headed in that direction after grabbing his checked duffel from the slowly moving carousel. His preference would have been to take both bags as carry-ons; however, his collection of carefully concealed and dismantled weapons and other accoutrements of his trade had made that too risky given the current security situation in place for commercial travel.
No words were spoken between the two men, simply a slight nod of greeting, and then Grigori followed Stefan from the building at a discreet distance, giving anyone who might have cared to watch the impression that he was still travelling alone.
Stefan led the way to the parking garage and over to the car, popping the trunk and waiting until Grigori had stowed his bags before starting the engine.
Grigori silently got into the car, and the two men travelled without speaking until they were out of the airport terminal and headed towards the Gandy Bridge.
Once they were on the freeway, Grigori relaxed and sighed. “God, it’s good to be off that plane!”
“Bad flight?” Stefan asked.
“Screaming babies and cranky parents. I hate commercial flights! At least coming trans-Atlantic I fly first class.”
Stefan chuckled. “You could have used Nikolai’s jet.”
Grigori shook his head. “No. Until I have a chance to figure out what’s going on here, the fewer people who know I’m here, the better.”
Stefan nodded. “I appreciate that. Your presence could easily be seen as a threat, and the last thing we need right now is an all-out bloody war.”
“Precisely. So, tell me about the intel you picked up.”
Stefan glanced at him before asking, “Sure you wouldn’t rather discuss this in the morning after you’ve had a good night’s sleep?”
Grigori shook his head. “No, I want to go hunting in the morning. I need to know what I’m looking for before that can happen. Tell me what you’ve found out.”
“Very well. Danil has been talking with Leonid.”
Grigori let that information sink in as he cursed softly under his breath. Leonid Sobolevsky was the current leader of the Ogalla organization, currently operating out of Miami, Florida—the same organization Konstantin Osin had once been a part of. The man had taken his wife and small daughter and fled into anonymity when the violence had threatened his family’s safety.
Leonid’s greed had caused him to align himself closely with the Colombian drug cartels, angering the other Bratva when they had to work directly through the Ogalla group for their merchandise.
A hit had been put out on Konstantin’s entire family, and only recently had it been deemed partially successful. He and his beloved wife, Karina, had been killed, but their daughter had lived. She was now safely ensconced in Las Vegas with Nikolai Tsarkso, the reigning leader of the Las Vegas/Southern California San Moreno Bratva, and a man with little patience for treachery within the American-Russian crime organizations.