The Witness

The Witness by Nora Roberts Read Free Book Online

Book: The Witness by Nora Roberts Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nora Roberts
T THE TABLE , Ilya lifted his beer. “If these girls are twenty-one, I’m sixty.”
    Alex only laughed, shrugged. “They’re close enough. And mine’s in heat, believe me.”
    “She’s drunk, Alexi.”
    “So what? I didn’t pour the drinks down her throat. I’m up for some fresh meat, and I’m fucking getting laid tonight. Don’t tell me you’re not planning to nail down the hot brunette, bro.”
    “She’s sweet.” A smile tugged at Ilya’s mouth. “And just a little underripe. She’s not so drunk as yours. If she’s willing, I’ll take her to bed. I like her mind.”
    Alex’s lips twisted. “Give me a fucking break.”
    “No, I do. It adds something.” He glanced around. Too much the same, he thought of the women who passed by, too much predictable. “Refreshing—this is the word.”
    “The blonde’s setting it up so we’ll go to my place. All of us. She said she won’t go unless her friend goes. You can have the spare room.”
    “I prefer my own place.”
    “Look, it’s both of them or neither. I didn’t put in over two hoursgetting her primed to have her walk her fine ass out of here because you can’t close the deal with the friend.”
    Ilya’s eyes went hard over his beer. “I can close the deal,
dvojurodny brat
    “And which do you think will close it tight,
? The crap apartment you’re still living in, or my house on the lake?”
    Ilya jerked a shoulder. “I prefer my simpler place, but all right. We’ll go to yours. No drugs, Alexi.”
    “Oh, for Christ’s sake.”
    “No drugs.” Ilya leaned forward, stabbed a finger on the table. “You keep it legal. We don’t know them, but mine, I think, would not approve. She says she wants to be FBI.”
    “You’re shitting me.”
    “No. No drugs, Alexi, or I don’t go—and you don’t get laid.”
    “Fine. Here they come.”
    “Stand up.” Ilya kicked Alex under the table. “Pretend you’re a gentleman.”
    He rose, held out a hand to Liz.
    “We’d love to get out of here,” Julie announced, wrapping herself around Alex. “We’d love to see your house.”
    “Then that’s what we’ll do. Nothing beats a private party.”
    “This is okay with you?” Ilya murmured as they started out.
    “Yes. Julie really wants to, and we’re together, so—”
    “No, I don’t ask what Julie wants. I ask if you want.”
    She looked at him, felt a sigh and a tingle. It mattered to him, what she wanted. “Yes. I want to go with you.”
    “This is good.” He took her hand, pressed it to his heart as they wove through the crowd. “I want to be with you. And you can tell me more about Liz. I want to know everything about you.”
    “Julie said boys—men—only want to talk about themselves.”
    He laughed, tucked his arm around her waist. “Then how do they learn about fascinating women?”
    As they got to the door, a man in a suit came up, tapped Ilya on the shoulder.
    “One moment,” Ilya said to Liz as he stepped aside.
    She couldn’t hear much, and that was in Russian. But she could see by her glimpse of Ilya’s profile that he wasn’t pleased with what he heard.
    But she was reasonably sure his snarled
chyort voz’mi
was a curse. He signaled the man to wait, then guided Liz outside, where Alex and Julie waited.
    “There’s something I must take care of. I’m sorry.”
    “It’s all right. I understand.”
    “Bullshit, Ilya, let somebody else handle it.”
    “It’s work,” Ilya said shortly. “It shouldn’t take long—no more than an hour. You go, with Alexi and your friend. I’ll come as soon as I finish.”
    “Oh, but—”
    “Come on, Liz, it’ll be all right. You can wait for Ilya at Alex’s. He’s got all kinds of music—and a flat-screen TV.”
    “You wait.” Ilya leaned down, kissed Elizabeth long and deep. “I’ll come soon. Drive carefully, Alexi. You have precious cargo.”
    “So now I have two beautiful women.” Unwilling to lose the momentum, Alex took both girls by the

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