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Ryan Rule (New York Ruthless #1)
Author:Sadie Kincaid

Ryan Rule (New York Ruthless #1)

Sadie Kincaid





Jessie





My lips curl into a smile as Nikolai runs the pad of his thumb down my cheekbone and along my jawline until it’s resting on my lower lip. He pulls southwards, opening my mouth slightly. The smell of him – of whisky and cigars, assaults my senses, making my eyes water. Leaning forward, he towers over me. “You did good,” he smiles.

“Thank you,” I whisper with a flutter of my lashes.

“Moya Kroshka, I will give you your reward later.” My little one. His pet name for me.

I smile at him because I can’t trust myself to speak. Grabbing hold of my wrist, he bends his head lower, pressing a soft kiss against my temple. He is so close that I can see the vein pulsing in his neck. I imagine slicing a cold steel blade across it and how I would stand over him and smile as he clutched at his throat, desperately trying to stop his life from slipping away from him.

I hate Nikolai Semenov with every fiber of my being.

Suddenly, the sound of an explosion rocks the whole room, making my ears ring in my head. It’s quickly followed by rapid gunfire and it makes us both look up to the door. My heart races in my chest and my pulse thrums with energy as I try to wrench myself from Nikolai’s grip.

“Ivan!” he hisses to his bodyguard who nods solemnly as he draws his own weapon.

I can only stand and stare at them in shock until the adrenaline kicks in and I manage to wrench my wrist from Nikolai’s hand. The action unfolds as though I’m watching a movie and I’m not really a part of it. Before Ivan can even reach for the door handle, it blows off his hinges with a deafening boom. Shit, Jessie. This is no movie!

Instinctively, I cover my ears and dive beneath the desk. The room fills with flying splinters of wood, and smoke that catches the back of my throat. I cough into my hand as Nikolai barks orders in Russian, and then my heart almost stops when I look up from my hiding place. They walk into the room like the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Each of them fills the doorframe as they pass through it. Two of them hold semi-automatic weapons aloft as they scan the room for any signs of life.

Everything that follows happens so fast, but despite that, I see it as if in slow motion. Nikolai takes the first bullet. It flies straight through his neck and he drops to the floor, coughing and spluttering as the blood gushes out of the wound. Ivan takes the next two in his chest and stomach and he slides down the wall he was standing beside, leaving a trail of blood on the expensive damask wallpaper.

I crouch further behind the desk, covering my mouth to stop me from coughing, and praying that whoever those men are, they don’t see me through the dust and smoke-filled air.

The one who is so obviously in charge walks straight towards my hiding place. All that’s visible are two black shoes and black suit pants. He crouches down until he is looking directly at me with the greenest eyes I have ever seen. “You missed one, brother,” he says in a voice that makes me think of rich velvet. I detect the hint of an Irish accent and realize that Nikolai has far more enemies than I had been aware of.

One of the men who is holding a semi-automatic approaches and aims the gun at me. I can’t see the face of the gunman, only the muzzle of his weapon.

“Please. I’m not one of them,” I protest.

The one crouching in front of me cocks an eyebrow. “You weren’t working for the Semenovs?”

I swallow hard. I’m here in Nikolai Semenov’s inner sanctum, dressed in jeans and a hooded sweatshirt, so I am clearly not one of his many whores. Not to mention, I’m sitting under a desk that has half a dozen computers on it.

“I was working for him, yes,” I say, running my tongue over my lip. “But not exactly by choice. I have no allegiance to the Semenovs. I swear.”

“You understand that we can’t just let you walk out of here? You’ve just seen us kill your boss and his bodyguard,” he says with a nod to his brother, who moves his gun closer to me.

“Wait!” I shriek. “I can help you.”

He narrows those incredible green eyes at me. “And how exactly do you think you can help us?” he asks with a smirk.

“I’m a hacker. That’s what I did for Nikolai,” I say as I edge forward and climb out from under the desk. I will not cower or hide away any longer. That’s never been my style. I’m damn sure I’m as strong as any man in this room.

He stands too and steps back, allowing me some space. I pull my shoulders back, craning my neck so I can look him in the eye. “And I’m the best.”

He laughs out loud as his brother beside us repositions his gun. “You think?”

“I know,” I snap back at him. “Let me prove it.”

“How?” he runs a hand across his jaw and then nods to his brother, who lowers his weapon.

“Whatever you need. I can hack into any security system anywhere. Banks. Casinos. I can access personal records. There is nothing I can’t find out as long as I have enough time. Take me with you and if I don’t prove my worth in two weeks, then you can do whatever you want with me.”

“Why do you assume that taking you with us is a better outcome than ending your suffering right now?” he narrows his eyes at me again.

I tilt my chin and glare at him. “I’ll take my chances.”

“So? Two weeks? You just allow me and my brothers to keep you hostage for two weeks?”

“I’m not exactly a hostage if I’m not being held against my will, am I?”

He frowns at me. “Don’t you have any family who might be looking for you, Little Hacker?”

“No. I have no-one.”

He looks behind him at the men I now know to be his brothers. They are the biggest men I’ve ever seen in my life and they are clearly identical twins. The sight of them makes my heart hammer in my chest as they bring so many buried memories rushing to the surface of my brain. I take a deep breath. They are not them, Jessie!

“She wouldn’t be the worst house guest we’ve ever had,” one of them says with a shrug and the other nods his agreement.

“She might come in useful, Shane.” The one beside me with the gun adds.

Shane scowls and turns to the one who just spoke his name. “Or she might turn into a massive pain in our asses, Conor. And we could save ourselves a lot of trouble by ending this right now.”

I look at the man he called Conor, who sucks in a breath before he responds. “It’s your call. But it can’t hurt to see what she’s made of. If Nikolai had her working for him, she must be good.”