Vanishing Point (Circle of Spies Novella) (7 page)

BOOK: Vanishing Point (Circle of Spies Novella)
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The stairs curved round and round. Finally at the top, Marisa slumped to the ground to collect her wits and her breath. Even if she were to find him, what would she say? “Oh gee, I thought you looked like an old college friend. Sorry, guess I was wrong.”
 

Lame. As Savvy would say.

“What a pleasant surprise!”

Marisa didn’t have to look. He’d found her. So much for her smooth and invisible tracking attempts.

He spoke again. “Are you on this floor too?” He hooked his arm under hers and helped her to her feet.

The words flowed smooth and fast as if she were 007. “Down at the bar, I thought you looked so familiar just like my old college friend. We used to bowl every weekend. He had quite the hook shot but I was able to eek out some strikes too. Anyway, your…silver hair is just like his.”
 

Marisa tried not to grimace at the obvious shade of red her face must be turning. She most likely looked quite like a tomato plucked from Stephen’s garden.

The man glanced at the sweat on her brow and her red face. “The elevator does the trick too.” His eyes widened and his gaze traveled down to her chest where the top button had popped off her shirt.
 

Images flashed through Marisa’s head. Did he think that she wanted him? No, no, no. Regardless of a failed mission, she would not go there. She was a married woman. She covered her mouth and coughed violently, a heaving, racking kind of cough. She pointed to the elevator and then pantomimed the act of drinking water.

He immediately pulled her down the hall. “I have got just the thing in my room.”
 

Marisa kept coughing. She tried to pull from the man’s grasp but his grip just tightened. She stumbled along past the fancy red chairs and ornate mirrors on the wall, and under the hanging glass chandeliers and pillars. She looked for a weapon, anything that could be used to knock him out. But nothing.

He swiped the card, unlocked his door then pulled her into his lair. Or that’s what it felt like to Marisa. She entered with another fit of coughing, except it became real. Tears streamed down her face. She normally would have oohed and aahed over the extravagantly decorated room in shades of browns, the sweeping curtains, the table with a three-way mirror attached. But all she noticed was the bed. The humongous bed with a brown canopy over it. How did they fit such a big bed into this room? What about chairs or couches? Or a fancy air mattress?

The man returned with a glass of water from his bathroom and Marisa chugged it.
 

“You feel better?” the man asked, his question laced with suggestion. A grin spread across his face, the grin of a man thinking he’s going to get the girl.
 

Miraculously, her cough went away. “Thank you so much. I best be going now.” She headed to the door, but with her hand on the knob, she stopped. What was she doing? She had him in her sight. She didn’t need to feel like the hunted. No. She was the predator. And she still had a mission to finish.

With suave confident motions, Marisa let go of the doorknob and spun slowly on her heel. This was the point where the lies, the cover story, would slip from her lips like butter on a greased griddle. “Maybe a nightcap would be good. Just in case that tickle in my throat comes back.”

The man grinned and pulled out the mini bar. “What is your pleasure?”

“Gin and tonic.” Stephen often ordered that drink and it seemed a bit more tough and scary than a fruity daiquiri.
 

The man mixed the drinks like an expert, like he knew how this story would end, the climax being her in his bed. She had to keep him talking and his hands off her or she couldn’t be responsible for what would happen.

He placed the drink on the small nightstand he’d dragged in front of the bed. “You will actually have to enter the room to drink it.”
 

“Oh, right.” She giggled, and inched into the room.
 

“How about introductions.” He raised his glass. “I am Bernard.”

Awkward silence ensued while Marisa thought about how fake her cover name would sound. She nodded. “Beatrice DeWilflower.”
 

“You are not French, no?”

“Just visiting this beautiful country. I love the history in the streets and the small shops.” The truth was she hadn’t even a foot on a single cobblestone.

“Are you traveling with someone?”

Marisa stalled and sipped her drink. In the past three months, why hadn’t she created a complete file on Beatrice DeWilflower? Just a name wasn’t enough. She needed family details, favorite ice cream, lovers, a history, a past. What if she said she was traveling alone? He could kill her in this room and get away with it.
 

“Will.” What? Why did she say his name? “My son Will is traveling with me. In fact, he’s back in our room, waiting up for me.”
 

“What? A young boy not out on the town? Surely you jest.”
 

“No, no.” She raced for a plausible story. “We’re exhausted after all the sightseeing we did today. Oh, yes, that’s right.”
 

He poured another drink. Marisa eyed his glass. She had to distract him so she could slip in the pill but this stubborn man seemed bent on finding out every last detail about her. She might have to make a move on him instead of sitting in fear that he would her. Something. Anything!
 

“What did you see today?”
 

“You know, the typical places. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre,” and then her mind blanked. Surely there must be other famous places? She couldn’t think of one. She eased herself onto the bed and the only words running through her mind were oh crap, oh crap, oh crap. “The Eiffel Tower was…extremely tall. And the Louvre filled with…paintings.”
 

He didn’t respond and Marisa debated on how to go about this, the best way to slip the last pill into his drink and leave the room without being scarred for life. He slid back against the headboard and patted the bed next to him.
 

Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap.
 

She hid the tremor in her voice with another cough, shocked at the plan forming in her mind. The heroine in her last romance novel had pulled this move off with ease.
 

“How about a little romantic lighting?” She stumbled across the room except there was no slider control to dim the lights. She certainly didn’t want to follow through with her plan in the bright lights, especially since she didn’t have the heaving bosom and curvy hips of the heroine. What was her name? Lenore?
 

The lights dimmed and cast a soft glow to the room. She hadn’t done a thing.

Bernard held up the control.
 

“Right.” She laughed.
 

In the few seconds she had, she debated the plan. So many choices. What she didn’t want was a long and lingering conversation with this man. She pretended to be Lenore about to steal the important papers from the man’s briefcase, but first, she had to take care of the man.

Slowly, her hands moved to the buttons on her blouse and as she undid each one, she died a bit on the inside. She swayed her hips back and forth and moved to imaginary music. At the last button, she inched closer to the bed and blocked the view of the bedside table upon which sat his drink. On reaching the side, her black lace bra exposed, along with a few rolls, she reached around behind her and while Bernard ogled her breasts, she held the pill over his drink.
 

But before she could drop it in, Bernard wrapped his arms around her waist and drew her close. Her chest pressed against his and she fell forward with a flail of her arms. She felt the heat rise from his body, his breath on her face and she panicked. In a flurry of arms and legs, Marisa extracted herself.

“Playing the tease, are we?” Bernard asked in a bedroom voice, low and sultry.

She rested her hands on the button of her pants. “Isn’t that how men like it?” Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap. Now she sounded like a whore. “In my limited experience.” Then the thought crossed her mind that just possibly he thought she was a whore, a call girl. Why else would she be stripping in his bedroom after barely having a drink together?
 

He nodded for her to continue. Then after he clicked the control, soft music played in the background, violins and flutes.
 

She froze, wanting to dash from the room, run away, and tell Will to go to hell, but no. She turned her back to him as if on cue and swayed a bit again, praying the darkness hid the rolls at her sides. This whole charade didn’t make her feel even a bit sexy, not with a strange disgusting perverted man in the room, on the bed behind her, watching her ass jiggle.
 

She could do this.

With each dip in the music, she ran her hands up and down her sides, tracing each curve and roll. She unbuttoned her pants and as they slipped to the floor, or as she forced them over her hips and then they slipped to the floor, exposing the matching black lace thong, she died a thousand deaths and finally plopped the pill into his drink.
 

Bernard didn’t respond and Marisa feared he was wondering why the hell a woman her age was wearing panties with lace up her ass. But no. Instead, his fingers traced the outline of her hips. The strong and sudden urge to puke churned in her stomach.
 

She grabbed his glass and whipped around. “Here,” she said in a sultry voice that cracked a bit with every word. “Don’t want to waste a good drink.”

Bernard didn’t seem very interested. Marisa sighed. Men. What would Lenore do? She moved forward and made it part of her act. The glass touched his lips and his eyes turned stormy with lust. Marisa cringed inside as she straddled him and poured the drink down his throat, some of it dripping off his chin.
 

Done. Finished. How long until it took effect? With a shaky hand, she returned the glass to the bedside table. Then she could leave the report in the file folder, get the hell out of there, take an extremely long and hot shower and call Stephen and talk dirty. Anything to erase this memory.

In one suave movement, he reached his hand around her and spun her so she was underneath him and he was on top. His body, big and overbearing, ready to crush hers. He smashed his mouth to hers and his roaming hands left nothing to the imagination.

She sucked at this. Beatrice DeWilflower would have dropped the pill in the drink downstairs and never gotten herself into this position. The thought and feel of a man other than Stephen on top of her brought on waves of repulsion.
 

Bernard rolled off her.
 

She closed her eyes, waiting for the verbal onslaught of how she led him on and how she was the one who followed him upstairs.

“What is wrong?” he asked.

“I guess, I guess, I’m just not ready.”
 

He didn’t say anything and when Marisa finally peeked over at him, he shook his head. He rubbed his eyes and tried to focus on her. Understanding registered on his face.

 
“You drugged me?” He scrambled across the bed and stumbled into the bathroom. He returned with a complimentary blow dryer and held it up like a weapon. “I should have known.”

Marisa rolled off the bed. She had no idea what he was talking about.

“When I first received the warning, I should have known.” His words started to slur. “I have let my guard down. But that was what you were waiting for. Why else would a beautiful woman want to enter my bedroom?”

Marisa gasped. Beautiful woman? Was he really seeing her? It had to be the drugs.

He slipped into French and with each accusation thrust the blow dryer in her direction. He continued his rant, his words slowing, his movements becoming more awkward until he fell onto the bed.

She stared at the man lying facedown on the covers. What had he said about a warning? He should have known? Was he a target that Will and his family were investigating?
 

If so, she had to find out. She jumped on the bed and rolled the man over. “Wake up, Bernard!” She slapped his face. “Wake up!”

His one eye opened. He slurred, “Don’t let them kill me.”

She placed her hands on both sides of his face. “Tell me. What did you do?”
 

Before he could mumble out an answer, his eyes closed and his mouth dropped open. He was out. Marisa jumped off the bed and paced the room. The dots connected. He received a warning. They must have found him guilty so they brought her in on their act of judgment to see if she’d intervene and save him.
 

The more she glanced over at the man on the bed and her role in his current state, the angrier she got. She’d vehemently told Will she would play no part in their assassination and she would not stand for it.

She didn’t want to cross Will and his family but she couldn’t leave this man here to die.

She had to save him.

 

Nine

Soon after, Marisa strolled through the lobby of the historic hotel. A couple in the corner of the lounge didn’t look up from their smooching. Several older and distinguished ladies snubbed their nose at her, probably for not wearing Prada. They whispered amongst themselves about her mousy brown hair as they patted perfectly dyed curls.
 

An older man lounged at the bar and didn’t give her a second look. Marisa’s gaze traveled from his fine suit down to his shiny black shoes. Was he connected to Will? She studied his chiseled jaw, his profile. He reminded her of an older version of Will. His father perhaps?

Her fears might be correct. They were almost done with their “research” and the man upstairs was in serious trouble. Marisa strode, not too fast and not too slow, to the front desk. Using her credit card, she paid for a room. Then with the key card in hand, she slid into the nearby elevator. If anyone in the lounge had taken a closer look, they would’ve noticed her trembling arms and her stumbling French.

Back up in the room, Marisa shut the door and leaned against it, breathing heavily. She was quite certain the man would be up after his drink.
 

BOOK: Vanishing Point (Circle of Spies Novella)
6.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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