The Blood Code
Ivanov’s collection, escaped his security goons at the spa, and made it all the way here, bleeding, in a stolen car. What do you think?”
    The side of his mouth quirked. “I think you’re resourceful as well as industrious.”
    Anya couldn’t stop the satisfaction that flooded her. “Exactly. I’m the one person who can get up close and personal with Ivanov. So tell me, Eddie…” She used the code name to make her point. “What do you need me to do?”

Chapter Six
    Twenty-four hours later
    “I want your assurance,” Ambassador Lutz said from behind his massive cherry desk, “that you’re not going to screw up everything we’ve accomplished with Ivanov in the past seven months.”
    Ryan stared out the US Embassy window and absently watched snow pour from the heavens, wishing he could see the Great Kremlin Palace.
    The Palace was an enormous complex, and Anya was one person, all alone, inside. If she’d kept his sweater, he’d have no trouble finding her using the miniature tracking device he’d planted in the seam. The MTD—the size of a pinhead—would only transmit when activated. Ryan just hoped he wouldn’t have to turn it on.
    The nuclear reduction summit was scheduled to start the next day, but his mission would begin tonight, within the hour, at the opening ceremonies.
    If, that was, he could get the US Ambassador off his large backside and into the waiting limo outside. Ryan turned from the window and gave Aldridge Lutz his sincere, you-can-trust-me face. “Of course, sir. My only goal is to assist President Pennington.”
    The ambassador’s heavy jowls worked up and down above the tight collar of his tux as if were chewing over Ryan’s words. “Ivanov is a friend to the United States. Hell, he’s my friend. I want your assurances everything will go smoothly during the summit. If you, or the president’s entourage, step on Ivanov’s toes, you make my life a whole lot more difficult. Understood?”
    Five thousand miles from D.C. and Ryan still couldn’t get away from diplomatic ignorance, or the State Department’s misguided ideas about the way the real world worked. Lutz’s attitude was more dangerous to his mission than being inside the Kremlin surrounded by Ivanov’s secret police. Lutz didn’t know Ryan was the CIA’s director of operations in Europe and Asia, and wouldn’t benefit from knowing the truth about Ryan’s covert mission any more than he’d benefit from Ryan showing him the sixty pages of transcripts, faxes, and eyewitness accounts, including Anya’s, suggesting Ivanov was no friend to the United States. So Ryan lied. “I assure you, sir, I’m only acting on behalf of the president, and we have no intention of stepping on anyone’s toes.”
    “And your two assistants?”
    Lutz said the word assistants like he was talking about a couple of rats.
    Come to think of it, Del and Josh were rat-like in their intelligence and sneakiness, but that’s where the similarities ended. The computer geek and weapons expert were more like Ryan’s left and right hands outside the Kremlin once he went in. They’d outfitted his tux with a button camera, a doped-up optical fiber communication system in his cummerbund, and a smart card reader in the heel of one of his Bruno Magli’s. Since he couldn’t openly carry a weapon, Josh had loaded Ryan up with a few everyday items that would double as such. From the keys on his key chain to the buckle on his belt, he was a walking WMD.
    He hadn’t planned on needing a weapon, since recruiting an asset was tedious work but rarely dangerous. However, this was Russia, and the asset he was targeting was a deputy prime minister in Ivanov’s cabinet. With any undercover op, things could get dicey, and in Ryan’s world, “Be Prepared” wasn’t just the Boy Scout motto. Combined with the accusations Anya had made about Ivanov and his New World Order, Ryan wasn’t taking chances. “You won’t even know they’re here.”

Similar Books

Fire Watch

Connie Willis

2 Pane of Death

Sarah Atwell

Evenings at Five

Gail Godwin

Total Submission

Roxy Sloane

The Vanishing Sculptor

Donita K. Paul

Hell Bent

William G. Tapply


Asha King

Through Wolf's Eyes

Jane Lindskold