May 25th, Castle Bilhorod on the Black Sea, Ukraine
“Everything is set then?” Victor Petrichenko asked.
Zarco placed the phone on its cradle and reclined into the cool leather chair. Victor’s villa overlooking the Black Sea was pompously decorated, in his estimation, though the reds and golds were too overwhelming. Obviously baroque, but poorly overdone. For Zarco, it screamed of power without a proper understanding of how to use it. The more he got to know the president’s son, the more he realized he didn’t possess the sophistication or share the political competence of his father, at least not yet.
“Yes. It’s taken care of,” said Zarco warmly. “Dr. Lewis will convene a panel of experts to comb the document. Rest assured, if there’s a cross to be found, we will find it. Meanwhile, we must keep this under wraps.”
Petrichenko rolled his knuckles rhythmically on the marble desktop. “News travels, Vladimir. Keeping this quiet shouldn’t be our concern. It’s time that I’m worried about. My wife grows worse by the day.”
And you grow more desperate and foolish, thought Zarco. “You haven’t told her anything, have you?”
The sound of knuckles rolling on marble stopped. “Do you wish to make the conversations between my wife and me your business?”
“You should not get her hopes up, that’s all.”
“Hope? Hope is all she has keeping her alive. And don’t pretend to pass off such a comment as caring about her ever again. I know your only concern is the election and how the arrangements we’ve made will benefit you. But let me tell you something—when I am president, you had better show a little more faith in me, or those arrangements won’t mean a thing. If I put trust in my wife, so should you. You need not fear her telling someone about your map to the Cross.”
“It’s not a map, it’s a letter!” growled Zarco.
Petrichenko fell quiet for some time, and then the rhythmic tapping began again. “Vladimir, let me remind you that with a single phone call I could ruin your arms business, not to mention the other illegal enterprises you’re engaged in. However, I see the value of maintaining these sources of revenue, and want them to continue, but the cost is your cooperation. As I’ve made clear before, do not worry about the election, worry about getting the Cross. Finding it in time is crucial. Make that known to your experts.”Zarco swallowed his pride, a bitter pill going down. One day, he promised himself, he would never do it again. “Yes, of course.”
And that's where I'm cutting it off. Check back later for sneak peek part 3. And you can order the pre-release of the novel HERE at the publishers website.