Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Valerie J. Long
Word Count :71180
Publication Date :2022-07-08
Series : Lioness Tracks#5
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-3593-6
Humiliation and abuse cannot make Monique’s determination and dedication falter.
Monique is on a mission only she alone can complete to protect mankind from great evil. But this mission is also dangerous for those who are most dear to her—should she pursue or abandon it?
While Johanna, as supreme commander of the United Nations Space Forces, prepares for her departure to the stars, Mamba Monique and her partner, Elodie, venture on a solitary mission that no one else could accomplish. To track down the terrorists that repeatedly launch assaults on Johanna and her team, she presents herself as an irresistible bait. However, once the enemy takes the bait, she’s separated from her teammate. How can she persevere in this environment without blowing her cover and thus dooming her mission to fail?
From the lamp posts at the curbside, I could tell that I’d finally reached the outskirts of greater Zurich. From their missing lights as well as the debris in the gutter, I could tell that the path back to civilization was still long.
My feet were hurting from the long hike. On this day, I had covered another ten-hour-leg, the fifth in sequence, wherever possible via forest roads and hiking trails, avoiding any contact that could lead to critical questions.
The worn-out canvas shoes weren’t made for such abuse, just as my padded winter jacket smelled humid outside and inside. My pants’ legs were soaked, and my tee shirt and undies were sweaty. Moreover, I was hungry—I couldn’t live off of a couple of stolen apples alone.
Without money there was no food. Without a job, there was no money, without ID, no legal job, and I had no ID. In this situation, it wasn’t advisable to fall into the police’s hands. At best, I, as non-Swiss, would face expulsion. But I didn’t want to learn how kind and professional the Swiss police would be toward a lone girl without money, ID, and contacts.
That was neither my biggest nor my most urgent problem at that moment—before me, two guys stepped from a dark alcove into the street and assumed a threatening position.
“No one will come to your aid here, darling,” one guy said.
No, of course not. The next moment, I turned around, fighting for balance on the wet pavement, and ran. The surprise gained me a small head start before the two decided to follow their allegedly easy prey.
It didn’t take long for the first to catch up with me and grab one sleeve. I tore myself free and dodged to the side, glancing back. The second one wielded a knife.
Once again, I scored a surprise—sudden stop, a high knee into the privates, and number one faded away.
Number two had to evade his falling friend to reach me. That provided me with the necessary time to gain safe footing, dodge his first knife attack, and then ram my fingers into his throat.
While he was wriggling on the ground, fighting for his breath, I took the knife away from him and searched his pockets. His friend didn’t dare protest while I was showing him the knife.
“Don’t follow me,” I advised them, rose, and left the battle scene, one knife and a few francs richer.
Another shadow was following me. A few roads later, I stopped and let the slender shape catch up.
All okay? Elodie’s fingers asked.
All okay, I replied as wordlessly.
My partner quickly disappeared back into the dark of night, leaving me alone with my problems. We had agreed on that—as long as there were no undesired events, she stayed out of it all, only occasionally letting me know that she was still there. She could appear in public even less than me. If someone asked systematically, there should only be one foreign woman newly arrived in town. She remained invisible, inaudible, and untraceable while I placed the bait.
The road ended in a small square. Light and laughter came out of a door on the opposite side—a bar, an opportunity to buy some food for my freshly stolen money.
Instead, I searched for a way in at the rear of the building. Left or right? I guessed wrong and had to walk three-quarters around the block before I found the passageway that smelled like wet kitchen waste.
Inside the passageway, I wrung some wetness from my hair, combed it back with my fingers, arranged my clothing, then hurried over to the back door and knocked.
The door swung inside. I took that as an invitation to make at least the first step out of the rain. “Hello?”
A short corridor led deeper into the building, bathed in dim light by a single lamp. Two doors each led left or right, a fifth straight ahead was labeled Guest Room.
Right from the start, I disliked the older man in the stained white apron, who was looking out of the second door to the left and sulked. “Yes?”
Only I couldn’t consider that in the current situation. “I need a job. Cleaning, dishwashing, whatever.”
“Stop,” he commanded when I was three steps away and turned up his nose at me. “You stink.”
I shrugged. “I can wash myself.”
“Show your fingers.”
I held out my hands and showed my palms.
“Yes, okay. Turn them—okay. Well. What’s your name?”
“Monique. Show me your ID.”
“I don’t have one.”
I spread my arms. “My guy took it away years ago. Now that I’m rid of him, a new chip’s on the bottom of my list.”
“Well—but not of mine. I don’t want trouble. Without ID, I can’t give you a job. Sorry.”
“Ey—what use is an ID for me if I die of starvation first?”
“Oh, you’re hungry? Why don’t you say so?”
“Because I want to work for my food.”
Now he smiled. “I understand. Well, I can’t let you work, but perhaps you can do me a little favor?”