Mo held her breath as she raced toward the exit, but she could see behind her, from one of the many mirrors on the wall, that Pozza was following her.
She burst through the back door and back into the tunneled hallway. The strip club had been built in an abandoned, underground tunnel in Moscow. Whereas other parts of the country had intricate, glamorous underground tunnels for subways and other forms of transport, this one looked as derelict as its history.
The area that had been paved for a railway was partially constructed before the rest of the effort was abandoned. Torches and lanterns on the walls acted as lighting, placed there to light the way for patrons seeking illicit activities. Farther down the tunnel were other establishments that dealt in things she did not want to be privy to.
The loose dirt and brick was warm beneath the silicone still attached to her feet. It took only a moment for Mo to orient herself. Then, she headed down the dim tunnelway toward where she’d stashed a change of clothes and a firearm. Behind her, still coming, was Pozza.
She didn’t look back. This wasn’t a movie and the last thing she would let herself do was get distracted and trip over anything, allowing him to catch her. Her head start was the only thing she had against him. Had she taken a few seconds longer than that to run, he would have already caught up to her.
Mo increased her speed, bent to scoop some dirt up into her hands, and then leapt and tossed the dirt toward one of the candles. The loose dirt effectively smothered the candle, pulling some light away from the tunnel.
She did the same thing with the next two, and the darkness gave her just enough cover to slip into the alcove where a duffel bag lay in wait.
She quickly dug into one of the side pockets, grabbed the Glock, and crouched down. Pozza’s footsteps slowed into a stop, too close for comfort. In the harshness of the dark, they could hear each other’s breaths. She could hear his steps. She didn’t doubt he’d seen where she’d gone, but that didn’t mean he knew she was now packing heat.
There was that accent again, like the barbs on the surface of a cat’s tongue.
Mo pulled in a deep breath, stood, and stepped from the shadows, Glock extended. Pozza’s eyes didn’t search; they found her the minute she appeared in the thin stream of light that cradled them. Her chest was heaving more so from anxiety than the run. This man was dangerous. Even some of the most notorious hunters she’d read about were afraid of him. If she didn’t put a bullet in him, he would kill her.
Yet, there was another reason her breaths were pushing her chest high, nearly into her chin. Another reason her nipples were pushing against those triangles of fabric, and why it felt like sunlight had broken through the thick layers of rock above them and directed a warm ray right between her legs.
It was because she was batshit crazy.
Pozza took a step toward her.
“Stop.” She tightened her grip on the gun. “Don’t come any closer.”
He didn’t listen. She didn’t lower the gun, but she didn’t shoot. All she did was stand there, tremors of lust running through her at the most inopportune time, watching death slowly approach until it was just an arm’s length away. His eyes were so dark, they made the unlit space around them looked gray. His hair fell about his face, hanging in thick strands just below his chin, gracing the tops of his shoulders. A slit in his brow was perfectly aligned with a scar on his eyelid and the top of his cheekbone.
“Please.” She sounded like a baby kitten. “Don’t.”
He lifted his hands. She closed her eyes. Her index finger graced the trigger. Then, she heard the sound of something tearing.
When she reopened her eyes, Pozza’s dark shirt was gone. Before her stood a beautiful mural disguised as a hard, male body. The shirt lay in pieces at his feet.
He moved the gun away, pulling it from her fingers in the process, and removed the safety to let the piece fall to the floor, kicking it away from where they stood. His hand then went to the string holding the triangles together and whisked it away, allowing her breasts to breathe and expand, bare, between them.