So, we thought we’d share some free chapters of our first book to let you sample the book. We figured if you had a chance to start reading it, you might want to continue reading. So, without further ado, here is Chapter 1 of Intimate Enemies.
The secret police are everywhere; they invade your dreams like ants at a picnic. You don’t always see them, but you always see the results of their handiwork.
“Run, Aleksandra, run away before the big, bad man comes and takes you away.” I react immediately to the voice screaming at me. It’s my mother, and she is being drug out of our warm home into the street by faceless men in black uniforms. I follow her instructions, narrowly missing one of these black monsters as they swoop down and try to grab me.
The dreamscape shifts and I am outside, watching my father, brothers and my mother lined up in front of the stone wall that surrounds our home. It is cold, blindingly white snow frozen by the arctic winter cold, and they’re wearing only pants and shirts. No shoes, no coats. I shiver with them as the secret police pace up and down screaming at them.
“Where is your girl, Aleksandra,” one of them screams. My mother is weeping softly, and my heart constricts in empathetic pain. My teeth chatter in the freezing chill and my ears hurt; my lips are blue tinged, and the cold seeps into the pockets where I have stuffed my hands against the numbing freeze. The screaming man holds a gun up to my mother’s head. His intent is clear; either produce me or she will die. He starts counting backwards: I can hear him plain as day: десять, девять, восемь…10, 9, 8….
I can’t let my family die.
“семь, шесть . . .7, 6… “
I start running across the field towards my family. I know my mother told me to run away, but if I run, she will die. I can’t let her die. She’s my mother. I can’t let any of them die. They’re my family. I see the bad men, the secret police my mother called them, turn watching me running through the field.
My mother starts screaming, and I realize she’s screaming at me to run away. She sounds frantic, desperate and inconsolable, but for once, I cannot follow her orders. I can’t let them kill my family; no matter what happens to me.
The man in charge laughs, and slaps my mother across the face. I continue coming closer, she keeps screaming and then I hear the shots. They crack into the air like thunder without the storm. My family falls like marionettes whose strings have been cut – slowly, dramatically, one at a time. The shots come again. The noise reverberates in my ears, ringing out across the hills.
My father falls ever so slowly, sinking to his knees, his eyes ablaze looking directly at me, then they soften and like a candle, life is extinguished in them. He sinks the rest of the way to the ground, falling sideways like a sack of potatoes. Except he isn’t a sack of produce. He is, he was my father who loved me and told me stories about happier times in our little village. Now, he is dead, and I scream my agony at them as I close the distance between us.
Again the shots ring out, and my mother falls, then finally, my big brothers, who are so strong, and who have teased me and protected me my whole life, jerk from the impact of the bullets and fall forward, still.
I watch with shocked horror at the blood turning the beautiful white snow dark red, a stark contrast between white and red, against life and death.
I scream. I screech. I wail as I come upon them. I want to kill them, but I am just a girl and they are big, strong men. They slap me, push me and finally carry me fighting blindly to a waiting car, shoving me in the back with laughs and jibes about my now dead family. I rage and scream, and finally, after what seems like a very long time, I sink into silence.
The corpse of my beloved mother is talking to me. “We were dead the day you left, my beloved Aleksandra. Do not believe what they tell you. We were a liability, something for you to hold on to. They killed us as soon as your car disappeared over the horizon. If you have found love, true love, then run, Aleksandra, run like you never have before. Because, you are just as expendable as we are, and when they have what they want, they will kill you, too.”
I hear the voice of my father echoing my mother’s warning, “Run, Aleksandra, run for your life, and don’t look back.”
“This is what happens when you fail in your mission, comrade,” the captain and leader of these monsters is screaming at me, but I know he is lying. “You have fallen in love with an American, and in doing so, you have failed your country, embarrassed your trainers and killed your family.”
As we drive across the countryside, I vow to wreak vengeance on these men. They will pay for what they’ve done to my family. They will all pay one day when they least expect it. They will underestimate me, because I am a girl. And, that will be there undoing.
I have always had visions about the future, and they have always come true. I imagine my captors deaths in a myriad of ways as we drive towards our destination – all of them horrific, all of them vile – just like the men who perpetuated my family’s demise.
All I am is hatred; all I am is rage, and while they plot to get me to do their bidding, I plot to be the instrument of their end. The visions give me cold comfort and fortify me against the pain that sweeps across my soul in waves. I know that when the time is right, I will run, but first I will kill all of those who have destroyed my world.
I wake up in my bed shivering, shaking and frantic. Where am I? What happened? The pain in my chest is gripping; I’m choking with the grief of it. It’s dark, cold and I am alone.
Only I’m not alone.
I am in the bed of one of the most powerful men in American politics, poised to run for president in the coming years. And, he loves me with all of my faults and insecurities.
He wraps his arms around me asking me about my night terrors. I don’t respond. How can I? I am supposed to betray this man, to pass all of his secrets along to my homeland, Mother Russia. It is why they trained me, why they sent me to the United States and into his arms.
There’s only one problem with their plan; they were right in my vision, but they will find out too late. I am head over heels in love with an American, and the thought of betraying him is no longer in my playbook. I will do anything to protect him, even risk certain death and betrayal of my own country. I know the secret they hold over me – I know my family is already dead. There is nothing they can do to me that’s worse than my vision.
He kisses me on the back of my neck, whispering soft reassurances. “I love you, Alex,” he whispers in my ear. “You can tell me anything, you know that don’t you?”
“Yes,” I whisper softly, but I know it’s a lie. If I tell him who I really am and what I’m supposed to be doing, he will leave me faster than I can say ‘hot diggity dog.’ That’s his expression, not mine. “I love you, too.”