I thought I would share another glimpse of Vanko from my upcoming SSI book. No, it’s not done, I’m still working on it. So, this is an unedited, uncritiqued scene. 🙂 I hope you enjoy this small glimpse into Vanko’s background.
Vanko leaned back in the plushy banquette and smiled at the picture his baby sister, her husband Jean Paul, and their three children made as they ate breakfast and jabbered away in a unique combination of Russian and English.
“Vanko?” His sister Tatanya called to him. “My brother, why so pensive? Is something wrong.”
How could he tell her what was wrong without sounding envious and somewhat pathetic?
He was almost thirty-five years old and alone. Yes, he had a satisfying job that challenged him, but all he had to go home to at the end of the day was an empty modernistic cabin at Sanctuary. Other than Tanya and her family, his only other family were the people he worked with, his SSI family.
Yet he blurted it out anyway.
“I want what you have.” He swept the table with a glance and then stared at his sister’s understanding gaze and sympathetic smile. “I want a wife and children, someone to cherish, love, and protect.”
To fill the holes in his heart and soul.
“You will find her,” Tanya said. “I know this in my heart. Until then you are welcome to share my family.”
Jean Paul nodded his agreement and pulled Tanya into his embrace and gave her a gentle shoulder squeeze. That was what he wanted. The silent understanding and emotional and physical support of a mate who loved him with all her being.
“You are far more optimistic than I am, Tanya.” He ruffled the hair of Tanya’s youngest child who leaned into his uncle for a cuddle. “I love you, little sister.”
Tanya’s eyes filled with tears. “Love you too, big brother.”
Before he could change the subject to lighten the mood, his cell rang. The tone was the one used for SSI emergencies. “Got to take this, sorry.”
He answered the call. “Petriv.”
“Vanko, you some place we can talk?” Tweeter’s voice came over the crystal clear NSA satellite connection.
“Moving to one now. Hold.” He scrambled out of the banquette and found a small conference room off to the side of the hotel dining room. He closed the door. “Okay, I can talk now. What’s up?”
“The Defense traitor just hired another merc to kill Keely and to attempt to take out as many of us as possible.” Tweeter’s voice was cool and clipped. The man was pissed as hell.
“Dermo. Has Ren gone ballistic yet?” Vanko loved Keely and would’ve pursued a relationship with her himself if not for Ren. But the lovely little genius had turned out to be the love of Ren’s life and was now the mother of his son. Ren wouldn’t tolerate threats to Keely lightly.
“He’s dealing, especially because we caught a break. There was an eye witness. Her name is Elana Cruz.”
Finally, they might be able to get the treasonist-bastard-thorn out of SSI’s side. Then a horrible thought hit him and he stiffened. “Is she in protective custody?”
“No, that’s where you come in. We need you to get to Elana and protect her until she can look at our suspect list from Defense and I.D. the son of a bitch.”
“On that. Where do I need to be and when?” Vanko was glad he hadn’t fully unpacked his duffle. He could be checked out and gone in less than fifteen minutes.
“D.C. and as soon as you can get there. We’ll have a DoD Hummer for you at National and intel on where to meet her once Ren and Keely get in touch with her and impress the urgent need for her to have protection.”
Vanko opened the door and strode toward the dining room. “She’s in danger. That asshole has assets everywhere.”
“Yeah.” Tweeter paused and let out a long breath. “I’ve got you on a helicopter to LaGuardia and a private flight to National in D.C. I’ll send all the police reports and the FBI and Homeland reports once those guys finally catch up. We’re working on this for DIA who is ahead of the curve on this one.”
“I pick up the helicopter where?” Vanko stood by his family’s table and held up a finger signaling just another minute?
“On the roof of your hotel. We got clearance from the NY authorities.”
“Got it, Tweeter. Tell Ren I’ll call him once I’m on board the jet and have reviewed the materials.” Vanko shook his head at his sister who’d opened her mouth to speak. “What does this Elana do that got her into all this trouble?”
Tweeter chuckled. “She’s a technical services and research librarian. And she’s not who she seems to be.”
“A librarian? And how is she not who she seems to be?” Vanko watched as his sister mouthed “Elana” and smiled.
“Until twelve years ago, she didn’t exist. I’m working on breaking some really good firewalls. Seems Interpol gave her a new name and new life in the US. I’ll have her real name by the time you land in D.C.”
Interpol? His former employer. Whatever she’d gone under for, it couldn’t have been good. Interpol was not in the business of creating new identities for just anyone.
“I know you will, Tweeter. Later.” He disconnected and looked at his sister and her husband. “I have to go. Break in a case.”
“Who’s Elana?” his sister asked, a twinkle in her eye. “Good Russian name. And a librarian who is not who she seems to be? This sounds like a romantic suspense novel.”
“It’s not fiction, it’s my job, Tanya.” He leaned over the table and gave her a kiss. “Got to go. Love you.”
“Love you, too,” Tanya said as he shook hands with Jean Paul and kissed his nieces and nephew. “Call me. I have a good feeling about this Elana of yours.”
Vanko scowled. “She’s not my Elana. She’s a witness and needs protection.”
Tanya shook her head and smiled. “Vanko, I’ve got a feeling feeling. Call me. I want to talk with her.”
Vanko shuddered as a strange almost electrical sensation shot down his spine and settled in his gut. The last time his sister had one of her feelings she’d saved him from certain death at the hands of a Marseilles sex trafficker and drug lord. He’d left Interpol and joined SSI a month later.
Copyright 2013, Monette Michaels. Material is from an unedited manuscript and is not to be reproduced without express permission of the author.