The Russian Problem
The Russian Problem
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With his success as a telecom consultant to organized crime, Darby Stansfield turns his attention to his personal life. But his unconventional methods for finding love land him in the middle of a war between the Ukrainian government and a dangerous sex trafficking ring.
In exchange for his safety, he offers to cooperate with the authorities. What he receives in return is the attention of Russia’s most feared criminal.
Read An Excerpt
Read An Excerpt
The gray, windowless van chugged along the single-lane road, occasionally braking only to speed up again. Inside, four men avoided conversation—it was not needed. As they headed into the concrete valley, their eyes focused on the colorless apartment blocks that stood side by side, lining both sides of the road. Each building had a number as an identifier; building 14 was their destination. When the Ukrainian government first issued these apartments to its citizens, it was widely known that preferential treatment was given to young couples with at least one child. Most of those young children were now teenagers, making this district the perfect hunting grounds.
The van slid to a stop in the slushy mix of icy-dirt and road. The diesel engine gave up a few smoky coughs before it went silent. The passenger door creaked open and a burly man dressed in bulky black clothing, complete with a skullcap, exited the vehicle with a toothy grin.
“Privet,” he called out with a wave.
The couple standing near the entrance to the building waved back. Their teenage daughter was much more excited to see the man than they were; her giggling was proof of that. She was finally leaving for a work-abroad program that many of her friends had already enjoyed.
“Be careful, Oksana.”
“Papa, I’ll be working at a hotel in Greece, not a factory. Don’t worry,” she said as she kissed his cheek. “I’ll miss you, Mama,” she said, turning to the woman. “I promise to call once a week. It’s only for three months and then I’ll be home.”
Her mother gave her another long embrace and showered her with kisses.
The man from the van held out his hand. “My name is Sergei. I’m from the International Work & Travel program. Your daughter will be fine. She’ll have a good time.”
Smiles finally appeared on the parents’ faces. Yuri turned to his wife. “Don’t worry, Galina. This will be good for her. It’s worth the expense.” A tearful Galina nodded as she grabbed a hold of his arm. The cost of the program required most of their savings and that they borrow from relatives, but it was worth it for their daughter to have this experience.
Sergei picked up the teenager’s luggage. “Come, Oksana. It’s time.”
Oksana gave each of her parents one last hug and then hurried to catch up with her chaperone. “Sergei, where are we going now? Are there others or is it just me?” She couldn’t believe her journey was about to begin.
Sergei looked back at the teen trailing him. She was looking off into the distance, her eyes already dreaming big adventures. “There are other girls. You will meet them soon.”
Oksana focused back on the big man. “I’ve been wishing and hoping to go on a work abroad program for years now. Do a lot of people do it more than once?”
“Very rarely. Once is enough.”
“Not for me. The chance to see other countries and meet people from the west; how could anyone get enough of that?” Oksana fell behind again as she drifted away.
“Oksana,” Sergei called out, snapping her out of La La Land. “It’s easier to enter the van from the door at the back,” he said, motioning to the rear of the van.
When she knocked on the back door of the van, the thin metal slabs squeaked open and a friendly face appeared with an extended hand to help her inside. Sergei tossed her belongings into the van behind her and slammed the doors shut.
Right away Oksana noticed things were not right and started to back up, but one of the men grabbed her coat and yanked her towards him, slamming his hand over her mouth at the same time. Their faces were now inches apart and his sour breath was unavoidable. Oksana twisted her body from side to side hoping to loosen his grip, but he was stronger. The sudden screech of duct tape near her face caught her attention. Before she could react, her mouth was sealed shut. That alone would be enough to frighten anybody, but that’s not what had Oksana trembling, unable to let out a quick scream while she had the chance.
Lying on the floor of the van, partly covered with a tarp, she saw two other girls whom she recognized from the neighborhood. Their mouths were sealed and she could see that one had her hands tied behind her back. Their bulging eyes screamed one word: Run!
The travel brochure promised hundreds of gorgeous women. What Darby got instead was the attention of a ruthless assassin.
Continue the misadventures of Darby Stansfield in The Russian Problem. It's a fast-paced, action-packed thrill ride through the former Soviet Union.
"The murderer is vicious, cunning and ruthless. Yet in the way of the Pink Panther, Darby stumbles himself out of danger time and again." — BlogCritics
"This is a fun series, with crazy antics that leave you shaking your head and rooting." ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ — Reader Review
Series: Darby Stansfield Thriller #2
Ebook: 356 pages