Authors: Drew Sinclair
His Strict Requirement
The Billionaire Secrets Series - Volume Five
Copyright © 2014 by Drew Sinclair
First Printing, 2014
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without the written permission of the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Published in the United States of America.
Table of Contents
I bow down before those who have gone before me. I thank my discerning readership who make all of this craziness possible.
"You don't have to do this Lindsay. It sounds dangerous to me. And expensive too." Marco Friedlander barked at his fired up investigative reporter on the other end of the line. He gripped his phone tightly in his hand. He was worried about the risks involved in the plan that Lindsay Day had outlined to him and it was more than just professional concern. Why he had ever hired her was a mystery to him now. With the history they shared together and the feelings he had for her it was a crazy idea.
"Stop being such a mom Marco." Lindsay insisted, playing down the risks involved in her latest venture. "This is what I do. I'm an investigative journalist, it's in the job description."
"Not the one I gave you. And what about Nena? Doesn't she figure in any of this?"
Nena was Lindsay's eight year old niece. She had taken legal guardianship of the little girl after her sister tragically passed away just one year earlier. It was a low blow from Marco to bring her into it, but then again, he did have a point.
"This has nothing to do with her and besides, nothing is going to happen to me. I'm onto something really big here that could be huge for AltNews.Org. We could be in for a Goldsmith Prize for investigative journalism with this one."
"Is a Goldsmith Prize worth your life? Or Nena's for that matter?"
"It's not that big a deal."
"It's the Russian mob. It doesn't get much more big a deal than that."
"Jesus Marco, I'm not parachuting into a war zone. This is all old history. No-one who really matters gives a damn about Mikhail Boyevik, but I'm telling you I can feel that there's a massive human interest story in there somewhere. I just know it."
"What is it with you and Boyevik? Look, the guy only went off the radar a week ago. He's probably just living it up with strippers and cocaine in some Black Sea Mafia holiday resort. You don’t need to go anywhere looking for him. Just sit tight and he'll show up stateside again in a week or two."
"It's way more than that Marco. He was up to something. He was ready to make a comeback and now suddenly he's gone. I've been getting closer to him for months, and now 'puff', he disappears into thin air. If we let this one go then AltNews deserves to die."
One low blow deserves another.
She thought. She liked Marco but their relationship had always been so strange, even when they had been back in college together.
He knew all too well who and what he was up against. Lindsay had always been this way - all passionate determination and no forethought. It was in her DNA. It made her a fearless reporter and then when her sister had passed away she had reacted with the same unstoppable instinct, taking on the guardianship of her young niece without a second thought, but he knew it would eventually get her into trouble one day.
On the other hand, he had to admit that despite the added responsibilities of guardianship, Lindsay hadn't once dropped the ball professionally. Now she wanted him to pay for a trip to Australia to follow up on the disappearance of notorious Russian mobster Mikhail Boyevik. Couldn't she just stick to local political and show biz scandals or general human interest stories? But if she did that she wouldn't be Lindsay Day and as yet she had never let him down. Even though they were both young and yet to make their names in journalism, still Marco believed that if anyone had it in them it was her. Hell, maybe she would land that Goldsmith Prize after all
do it without getting herself killed.
"So why Australia?" He asked.
Lindsay's face lit up at the other end of the line.
"Oh God, thank you, thank you , thank you Marco, you won’t regret this."
"I didn’t say I was paying for anything yet, I just want to understand why you need to go so damned far to--"
"It's Mitch Albstrom - Boyevik's right hand man - he's booked a flight to Australia and so have two of the other guys allegedly involved in the boss's disappearance. Something is up."
"How do you even know this?"
"Contacts Marco, how else? "
"Who are these contacts? How do you know you can trust them?"
"They sent me a scanned copy of the plane ticket. He's due to fly out tomorrow so I'm thinking if I can get on that flight as well…"
"No way. No way in hell. And what about Nena? Who's going to take care of her?"
"Don’t worry about her, I'll make sure she's taken care of."
He sighed deeply again. She had it all sewn up.
"There is no risk Marco. Really - none at all. Albstrom has never laid eyes on me, never heard of me and I'm not threatening anyone. It's an easy gig. I just tag along, maybe even get to know them on the plane--"
"No way. That's it. Forget about it. I won't pay for you to get yourself killed."
A silent, phone stand-off ensued.
"I'll sell my car Marco. I'll get those tickets. One way or the other, with or without or without your help."
"You just watch me. If you don’t the story there's plenty of others who will."
Her boss cursed silently. He would cave and he had known from the very beginning that he would. He always did. The reality was that his online breaking and alternative news website was struggling. A complex legal case taken out against them by the subject of one of their stories was draining the fledgling company's resources and if they could break another big story soon then revenue streams from clicks would flow in and help keep them in business for another few months. He couldn't afford to lose Lindsay or this story.
He looked at his phone and pictured that face he knew so well. She would be tense, focused, ready to fight to the bitter end. If she said she would sell her car to get there then she absolutely meant it.
"Okay." He said with a deep sigh. "Put in on the company card." Better he have at least some control over her actions than lose her altogether, he reasoned.
"Marco, do you know how much I love you right now?"
The words excited and saddened him equally. Those were words he would have preferred to hear from her in bed if he could ever figure out a way to get her there that didn't involve a potential human resources and professional etiquette nightmare.
"You are so, so, so the very best damn boss in the whole damn world."
Yeah. I'm your boss. Just great.
"Don't go crazy with expenses, do you hear me?" He said, sounding like a grumpy father to a teenage child.
"Call me Frugal Fanny from now on."
"Whatever. Just make sure this isn't a wild goose chase or it'll be your last one. Your last one here anyway."
"You have my personal guarantee."
"Whatever. Just one more thing before you go Frugal Fanny."
This is a good moment man, come on.
He struggled with himself.
A good moment to screw up a perfectly functioning professional relationship you idiot.
"What is it Marco?"
"Stay safe Fanny. Just remember to stay safe. I'm not paying you for Gonzo journalism here, have you got that?
are not the story, you are reporting
the story, do you understand?"
"I love you, I love you, I love you." She sent a series of kisses down the phone that stretched his cock out in his pants and made him feel awkwardly uncomfortable. Lucky they were on the phone and not face to face. He looked guiltily around the open plan office he was taking the call in and then whispered softly into the phone.
"I love you too baby, now stay safe and let me know if you need anything. Day or night." He put the phone down quickly before she could respond.
"Fuck it." He hissed at the mass of papers on his disorganized desk.
"You okay boss?" A young reporter asked him.
"No. Yes. Just fine. What do you want? In fact - no, go away. Whatever it is, we can talk about it later."
She would always baffle and confound him, but this time it was real. She needed to produce or it was curtains for the whole organization.
"Well, well, well. Ruben fuckin' Mayweather." Mitch Albstrom was far more loathsome in real life than he had appeared in the video footage that Lindsay had seen of him. She had spotted him quickly on the connecting flight from Bangkok to Sydney and exchanged a word or two with him as they stretched their legs in the galley. He was a bit rough around the edges but seemed friendly enough.
When they were leaving the airport he had walked up to her and offered a lift.
She knew instantly that something wrong and that it was already too late to do anything. In seconds they had been bundled into a car. An icy fear gripped Lindsay as she looked down at Nena. This had to be the greatest mistake of her life. At the last minute her arrangements for the little girl had fallen through and there was no-one she could ask or trusted enough to leave her with. When it turned out there was a seat available next to hers on the plane she had made the decision to bring her and then arrange for her to be cared for when they arrived.
But now that was all just a big pile of good intentions gone wrong.
She drew Nena close to her and shut her eyes tightly. She was a survivor and prided herself on always getting through things, no matter how tough, and coming out all the stronger for it on the other side. She hadn't hesitated to take on the responsibility of raising the little girl, it had never even entered her mind to say no, but now she felt the trembling little body next to her and she doubted.
She was in deep this time. Way, way over her head.
That was yesterday. Now they were somewhere in the middle of nowhere having flown for hours over bleak, deserted ocean to eventually land on a dot of an island in the middle of it all.
At least she would have her story if they did make it out of this alive.
She looked at the gloating Mitch Albstrom.
"Do you know Mayweather, just how fuckin' easy it was for me to find your rich prick island and then turn it into mine?"
She had no idea who Ruben Mayweather was but she had an idea that he was central to everything she had been investigating for the last two months. He was certainly an impressive man, whoever he was. He was tall, strikingly good-looking and immaculately groomed. He also didn't seem to be in the least bit intimidated by Albstrom, so she reasoned that either he was government or he was another mobster every bit as cold as Mitch himself.
When he turned his head and nodded to her with a look that said 'don’t worry, everything is going to be fine' on his incredibly handsome face she was surprised at how reassured it made her feel. She decided he must be government.
"What do you want?" He said he said to Mitch.
"Someone put cuffs on this rich prick." The mobster said by way of response and two men sprang to the task, twisting Mayweather's arms behind him and clicking on the cuffs. Despite this, the tall man still took time to look down at poor little Nena and gave her a reassuring wink accompanied by the most beautiful, captivating smile. For just a moment the little girl stopped whimpering, mesmerized by the big bear of a man who had focused his attention on her. He then made a ridiculous cartoon face of being in pain and at last the child couldn't help but laugh.
Lindsay was amazed. This guy was something else, and in a good way.
She sent him a silent thank you with her eyes and stroked Nena's hair to keep the little girl calm.
"Good." Mitch said and then delivered a sickening blow into Ruben's stomach. Lindsay immediately covered Nena's eyes and ear.
" Whoo! God that feels good!" Mitch hooted. "Mayweather, is that a salami in my pocket or am I just that fuckin' happy to see
Lindsay wanted to hurt Albstrom like she'd never hurt anyone before. She had years of kickboxing training behind her and could easily have knocked him unconscious with a single unexpected blow to the head, but there were Mafiosi pointing guns at them from all directions.
She watched helplessly as the man struggled to stand up tall again from the blow and then a woman's voice came from the door of the jet that had just landed.
"Don't you touch him again you. Don’t you dare."
Was that his girlfriend? Maybe his wife? Whoever she was, the beautiful, intelligent looking woman was incredibly upset.
"Shut up Suzy. You have no idea who that guy is." An equally attractive and smart looking woman standing next to her said.
"I don’t care who he is. He's hurting Ruben."
"Don’t worry about him honey." An older woman standing behind them said. "He's not who you think he is anyway. Come with me." She said giving them a push and then stepping in front of them to lead them down the air-stairs. "I've got this under control."
The women seemed dumbstruck while Ruben Mayweather, by contrast, despite his cuffs and beating, still looked calm, collected and in control of himself.
I need to know who you are.
Lindsay thought, staring at Ruben. Despite everything, she was still thinking like a reporter. Make it out of here alive and she would have the Gonzo journalism story of the year.
"Hey Mitch." the old woman said. "You've been getting my messages then?"
"Sure have Louise. Now who's this you brought with you." Mitch looked at Mayweather's girlfriend and licked his lips. "Me likey, likey." He put out a hand to pull her to him but the Louise pushed him back..
"She's not yours you fuckin' asshole."
Mitch's hand sliced across the woman's face and Lindsay covered Nena's eyes again. How could she ever make it up to her niece for putting her into the middle of all this?
"You little prick. Mike will slice you open for that."
"For a little slap on old Louise?" Mitch sneered. "I don't think so. Now come here cupcake." He grabbed the woman's arm again and began pulling her to him while her friend struggled to pull her back.
girl is Boyevik's." Ruben Mayweather said very calmly, very distinctly.
So this impressive man
involved with Boyevik somehow. But surely he couldn’t be one of them?
"Fuck off rich prick." Mitch responded.
"Do you remember the last victim Boyevik dispatched with his bare hands Mitch?"
Mitch stopped pulling on the woman and looked up at Ruben.
"Do you want me to remind you? It was a disagreement over one of his prostitutes. He found out that someone else had--"
Ruben doubled over with another punch to the stomach.
"I know what he did because of that whore. He won’t mind me beating the crap out of you though."
Mitch aimed another blow down onto Ruben's shoulders that bent him down on to one knee and then he raised his arm again to finish the job and batter him to the ground.
"Do that again," His girlfriend said stepping forward, "and when I'm finished sucking Boyevik's dick I'll ask him for yours next - in a ziplock bag."
Were these guys mafia or not? Whoever they were they had plenty of spunk. Talk about a power couple.
Mitch took a deep breath and sighed.
"Fuckin' hostages. Come on you assholes, let's get going. Boyevik is waiting for his daughter."
Daughter? Boyevik's here and he has a daughter!
This was going to be on helluva story. As long as she could keep herself and Nena alive this could all pay off big time.
Mitch extended his hand to the woman. "Nadia?"
"Fuck you." She said. "Just take me to my father."
He retracted his hand. "Whatever you say mamacita. Great ass by the way." He said, looking at Nadia's behind and then winking at the older woman just to wind her up.
His men set to rounding up the crew.
"Someone check the plane as well." He said. "Make sure we don’t have any Mayweather heroes hiding in there. You come with me Nadia but remember, you badmouth me with your old man and I will fuckin' kill you
him. I'm here because that scumbag owes me big time and when I get my cut and my back pay I don’t give a fuck what you do with him."
"Sure." She said, following him. "It'll all end right here with a couple of bullets to the head because mom and I never did let any of our friends in Moscow know where my father was being held." Her voice oozed sarcasm. "I'm sure they won’t care if you shoot him and his daughter and leave them without any way of collecting their own cuts and back pay. I'm sure they won’t come looking for Mitch Albstrom, his right hand man in Brighton Beach."
The whole story was coming out without Lindsay having to ask a single question, it was an investigative journalist's dream.
Mitch looked like he wanted to shoot the woman there and then.
"You mouthy egghead bitch." He said. "Come on get movin'. You better keep praying I don’t change my mind and end this shit here and now on that island."
"She comes with us." Mayweather's girlfriend grabbed the other girl's hand. These women certainly had character. Lindsay couldn't wait to get them to agree to interviews. Their stories would be even more fascinating than the men's, especially with the kind of fearlessness and attitude they were displaying.
"Whatever." Mitch said. They certainly had some power over him despite the circumstances.
"Hurt Mayweather again, any member of his flight crew or any of these people," Boyevik's daughter turned to Lindsay and Nena, "and they'll bury you and everyone you share blood with in frozen wasteland a thousand miles East of Moscow."
A mafia girl with a heart? Lindsay felt some measure of relief that she might be protected by this incredible woman, but God, the story was just getting better and better.
"Jesus Christ Nadia," Mitch feigned hurt, "it was enough with just the death threat already. Frozen wastelands? For cryin' out loud. Come on. Mayweather stays here. He won't be hurt if your old man pays up."
Mitch was obviously on the back-foot now, intimidated by these two sharp and courageous women.
Nadia Boyevik, daughter of the Russian mob, beautiful, smart and unafraid of any man in the fierce hierarchy of organized crime.
Lindsay was relishing every moment.
She watched as Mayweather looked towards the woman who had risked her own death by crying out in his defense. She looked back at him and Lindsay felt tears well up inside her out of nowhere. This couple were clearly out of this world, head over heels, love conquers all, crazy in love. She would mourn them if they didn't make it out of this alive, even though she hardly knew them.
A shadow passed over her as she watched them. What if she and Nena didn't make it out of this alive either? Who would cry any tears for them?
Lindsay tried to play games with Nena to keep her calm but time seemed to stretch endlessly in the hostage area where upwards of thirty people were being held in captivity. There were three people guarding them on the inside but she had unable to count how many there were on the outside. Not that it really mattered; it wasn't like she could make a break for it with an eight year old child in tow anyway, but still she tried to stay alert. She watched the guards' every movement and kept an eye on the members of the island security staff who were hostage with them just in case anything went down. She would be ready to play her part if she could.
A harsh voice crackled over the radio of the guard who was closest to her.
"This is Mitch. The mission is complete. We have Boyevik. Time to get the fuck out of here boys."
Boyevik. Looked like he would slip through her fingers. She would have given anything to see and speak to this man who she had learned so much about and who was such a paradox; the ruthless Mafioso who was also an ex-college professor and engineering genius.
"Don’t waste fuckin' time you moron, get the fuck out of there now. These rich pricks have back up on the way. We need to get Boyevik off this rock. I'm on the runway outside, now just fuckin' do it."
"What about hostages?"
"Fuck 'em. We got all we need. Over and fuckin' out."
She watched as the three guards made ready to leave and positioned herself and Nena near to them. As soon as they left the room she followed behind, pulling Nena with her. It was a bold and ridiculously daring move, but she was determined to get a glimpse of Boyevik for herself. Once the island security staff took charge of things her chance to get away and nail this story would be gone.
She followed unseen at a distance and soon they were back out again on the runway. Leaving the guards to continue on she took shelter with Nena behind a stack of cargo crates. The Mafia soldiers regrouped on the runway. She counted seven in total. She hadn't been able to keep an exact count of them but this seemed too few.
Something was definitely up.
"Get down Nena, stay out of sight. We're nearly at the end of this game, you just have to be really quiet a little while longer. Nena sucked in her lips and shut her mouth tightly.
"Good girl." Lindsay smiled but her heart was wrenched with guilt and fear. Nena had no-one else in the whole world to care for her. If anything happened to her then the little girl would be completely alone.