“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he says, his chins jiggling with the shaking of his round, balding head. “Except with organization leaders, like with Vonnegut. I can’t find a shred of anything on this woman. She’s like a ghost, sir. A-And I gotta say that I feel a little inadequate. I-I’m supposed to be able to find anything on anyone. I’ll understand if you want to f-fire me.”

“No one is going to fire you, Woodard,” Victor says, still looking at the screen, standing tall in front of it in his black suit. “And besides, if I had to relieve you of your duties, it would unfortunately not be with a pink slip.”

Woodard swallows uneasily; anxiety filling his eyes and making them even rounder in his sweating face.

We start brainstorming without Niklas.

“Maybe she is a leader,” I say, going back to what Woodard said earlier. “I don’t see how anyone can not have some kind of trail.”

“And how does she know so much?” Dorian says.

“She is not a leader,” Victor says with a trace of uncertainty. “At least I doubt she is.”

“OK, what do we know about her other than nothing?” I ask, pacing the floor. I stop and look back at them, holding up a hand, gesturing. “I mean let’s just assume that what we think we know about her is true: her father cut off the tip of her finger and it’s a sensitive subject; she has a conscience despite wanting us to think she doesn’t; she’s very skilled not only in fighting and manipulating us into talking, but she got herself out of the cuffs without anyone seeing her—she’s an escape artist.”

Silence fills the room as the gears in our brains begin to churn. But none of us comes up with any theories.

“She had to have been watching us just a few months ago,” Dorian says, “for her to know about what went down with Gustavsson and Seraphina. Unless she’s getting this information from someone on the inside, I honestly don’t see how she’d know about any of that.”

“I agree,” Victor says. “It is believable that she could obtain information about our pasts through many different means over several years. She could have broken into The Order’s files—James Woodard can do that, I don’t see why she couldn’t pull it off. But to know anything about Fredrik and Seraphina—.”

“Then who could be the mole?” I ask. “If there is one.”

“Time will tell,” Victor says and leaves it at that.

We call it a night just before midnight and Victor has men take in a small cot for Nora to sleep on. And a bucket for her to piss in, compliments of me because there’s no way she’s leaving that room to be escorted to a restroom. We watch on the screen as the men go inside, to make sure she doesn’t slip something past us like she did with the cuffs—this time we’re expecting it—and to make sure she doesn’t kill them. She’s cooperative and doesn’t attack anyone or try to escape. But then again, I believe her when she said before that she wouldn’t even be here if she didn’t want to be. It worries Victor too, but he won’t say it aloud.

“What if there are more people like her?” I ask as I undress in our room on the top floor of the building. “It scares me, Victor, I won’t lie.”

Victor’s thumbs and index fingers break apart the last button of his dress shirt and he slips it over his muscle-defined arms, laying it carefully over the back of a chair.

“That will be the only thing keeping her alive after she’s told us where to find Dina Gregory and the others.”

He walks toward the bed, his bare feet moving over the carpet, the ends of his black dress pants hanging loosely over the tops of them.

I’m sitting on the side of the bed, reaching behind me to unclasp my bra.

“So you’re gonna kill her when this is all over?”

“Yes,” he says, breaking apart the button on his pants. “We will need to find out what else she knows first, and who is in on this with her. We will use her the same way she is using us, and once we have what we need, I will eliminate her.”

Eliminate. Victor still, every now and then, talks like he still fills contracts for The Order under Vonnegut. It bothers me sometimes, how he slips back into that cold and calculated man with buried emotions, but I never say anything. I know firsthand how hard it is to strip one’s self completely of their past.

I lay down against the bed wearing only my black lacey panties. Victor steps out of his dress pants and his boxer-briefs and stands naked and fully erect at the foot of the bed. I can’t think about sex right now. I mean…OK, I can think about it, and it’s difficult not to with him looking at me like that, but the timing isn’t right—there’s too much going on. Then again, that’s precisely why he’s all for it—sex is Victor’s escape from everything else. And I’m more than happy to let him take his frustrations out on me.

“And what about Fredrik?” I ask. The bed moves beneath me as he makes his way on top of it.  “Are you sure you can kill him? Or that you’d want to?”

He begins to slip my panties off with both hands. “Yes, I can kill him,” he says, his hands making a trail down the backs of my thighs, breaking my skin out in shivers.

I gasp when I feel his fingers inside of me; every inch of my body is ravaged by a cruel but blissful shiver. Oh my God, I’m gonna die before he makes me come. And then my stomach flutters when he crawls atop me, kissing his way up toward my mouth. His warm lips fall softly on mine and his kiss steals my breath away.

“I don’t want to kill him,” he says breaking the kiss shortly after. My eyes roll into the back of my head as his fingers continue to explore me below. “But I will do what I have to do.”

It never takes Victor long to make me wet. It never takes him much effort to make me ache with need, to make my insides quiver with anticipation, frustration.

My eyelids break apart slowly and with difficulty; my thighs clasp around his chiseled waist.

“What do you think…”—I shudder and my lips part as he pushes his hard length slowly and deeply inside of me—Oh my fucking God—“…think she wants you to…confess, Victor?” My words sound more like breath now. My heart is racing. My thighs tremble around his firm body.

My teeth clamp down on his bottom lip gently as he rocks his hips against me with slow, but aggressive abandon; my hands clutch the sides of his face before I dig my nails into the skin on his back.

Tags: J.A. Redmerski In the Company of Killers Book Series
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