“Why are we just now hearing they are coming here, Simon?” Lucifer asks before I can.

“Because the Russians are getting restless again. The money flow they previously had is declining. Alexei Rastov is trying to expand his options. My thoughts are he doesn’t know or care of our rules barring slave auctions in our city.”

Nodding my head at Simon, I say, “He’s keeps his cards closer to his chest than the previous guy did. He’s the new wave of boss from Russia. No more of the old, reliable bear.”

“Precisely. He has brought a revolution to the front. He’s connected through the newest methods of criminal enterprises. Cyber warfare, investment terrorism. You name it, he’s willing to try it. But he’s not stopped the old proven methods, either. Slavery of the right flesh brings in a strong flow of money.”

“So, what do we know?” I ask.

“The van drove a long route for a short distance. Whether they were hoping to grab more girls, or worried about being followed, both seem possible. They eventually made their way across the city to their industrial complexes. As far as I can tell, they’ve made one of their unused warehouses the spot for the auction.”

That’s the reason we’re here so early in the fucking morning. Fuck. And fuck. They kidnapped my girl and they are going to try to sell her off to the highest fucking bidder.

For fuck’s sake, when did my mind switch to her being my girl?

Shaking my head to clear the thoughts, I ask, “How is this set up?”

“They have a few methods they use, from what my sources say. And trust me, the information I received about the auctions has been very hard to come by. Squeezing and bribing wasn’t easy. From what I gather, they are very selective about who comes to their auctions, and they are very choosey with who gets to buy.”

That’s probably bad news right now for me.

“Their operation is simple in some aspects. They use websites to advertise their merchandise, but it’s a darknet site that utilizes encryption that rivals most government databases.”

Laughing, Lucifer says, “So it was easy to get into?”

Simon winces slightly. “Perhaps I should rephrase that. They rival databases that I would encrypt. It was not easy in the least.”

“From there, they show pictures of their goods, a sort of what’s up and coming with special details. Whether the goods are virgins or not. What their backgrounds are. Some of the women they snatch are from higher education backgrounds. Political science majors, chemical engineering degrees, computer database architects. They don’t always go for the everyday slob.”

“Do we think they took these women on purpose?” James asks. He’s staring at the whiteboard on the back wall of Simon’s office.

There are four photos of the women that were kidnapped. Beth being at the front of the line. The next three are in order of importance, I would guess, but there’s a red question mark next to each of their pictures.

“Doubtful. They haven’t started the higher profile abductions in the states yet.”

“What do you mean?”

“Over in Europe, South Africa, and the Middle East, they’ve done high profile grabs. Remember the second and third place women from the Miss World pageant last year?” Simon asks as he quickly does something with his mouse and keyboard.

Pictures pop up on his screen of two beautiful women.

There’s an itchy spot in the back of my brain, but I can’t remember where I’ve seen those two women before until Andrew says, “Yeah, they went missing on the tour. Somewhere in Tripoli, right?”

“Correct,” Simon says.

“Wow,” I say. “That’s ballsy.”

“Not according to them. They have a private wish list section where a client can create a list that’s only available to the administrator. There, from what I can tell, is where clients are able to ask for a specific type of woman. Or a specific woman.”

“Hmmm,” comes from Lucifer, and I can’t help but chuckle. He’s seeing dollar signs and power right now, I can guarantee it. Whether it’s to take over something like this, or sell the information out, I have no clue.

Nodding my head, I start to get an idea of just how sophisticated this line of business has become, and I can see in Lucifer’s cold, calculating eyes he’s fully aware of the capabilities something like this has.

“What’s with the question marks?” I ask.

“They’ve listed three new girls as of this morning.”

“But four went missing.”

“Four went missing,” Simon agrees. “That doesn’t mean they will sell them all or can sell them all.”

A new wave of nausea hits me. Beth.

“They’ve listed two as virgins, and one as… how did they put it? I think it’s spirited. No pictures yet.”

Virgins. Fucking bloody hell. Their price will be astronomical.

“What’s the news on the girls missing?” Lucifer asks.

“Nothing public yet. Although, from what I’ve heard, the Police Chief wants to make an announcement. The Police Chief is making serious waves trying to go around Senator Norton, but Norton has him locked down tight.”

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