11. SHADOWS OF TRUTH

Paul went by different names in the industry, but his cover as a respected lawyer and model citizen had served him well over the years. Having been raised in Germany from an early age, he spoke German like a native, with a slight accent from the Rhineland, never betraying his mother tongue or cultural affinity to Eastern Europe. Nobody suspected that he belonged to the Russian mafia that had branched out of the Ukraine and established itself in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Cologne and Hamburg over the years, specialising in kidnapping and trafficking of young Caucasian girls.

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10. THE MESSENGER

Ana glanced quickly over her shoulder before boarding the plane to check whether the man was still following her. She had spotted him at the Oriente station the day before, his observant scowl a dead giveaway as an agent on a mission. She knew her cover was blown and was going to have to come up with something new very fast because things would begin crumbling around her in no time. Word on the street was that he had been following her since Iceland, asking discreetly around but not really gathering any substantial information, until Lisbon. Either she was losing her touch or he was damned good at his job, either way it spelled trouble.

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9. SPINNING AROUND

As Fe stood up and patted her skirt down to look presentable back at work, she watched the large airline carrier dock. It was an unusual occurrence that a foreign vessel would dock in Havana, but that was none of her business. What she did know, what that this meant a flurry of activity back at the hotel and things would be loud and wild for the next 48 hours. These sailors, regardless of nationality, always partied out of control when they were on solid ground, not that she could blame them, considering they were cooped up in a ship all this time.

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8. GOLDEN DAYS

Florence squeezed her husband’s hand tightly as another wave of pain washed over her. The latest radiation treatment was being rejected violently by her body and she was ready to give up, stop fighting, and succumb to the peaceful darkness that kept calling her. But Florence was not a woman who gave up easily, and her husband keenly aware of that. He knew she would fight for more time to hold hands, for another stroll in the woods, going to the market on Saturday mornings and squabble over flowers and sausages along the way, and more importantly, to sail.

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7. CATCH ME

Try as he might, Blake could not open his eyes. The anaesthesia was just beginning to wear off from the surgery, the fourth this year so far, and he could hear all the activity going on around him. The familiar sounds of medical lingo and sharp smell of disinfectant placed him back in the hospital, a place he seemed to be a regular visitor of lately, but this time he really couldn’t remember why he was there, what had been done, or what day of the week it was. In fact, he couldn’t remember much at all and felt as though he was Adrift in a black hole, weightless, lifeless, hollow and faceless.

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