Excerpt of The Informationist by Taylor Stevens
(Page 2 of 9)
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Multistoried glass buildings reflected neon onto broad streets still
alive with late- evening pedestrian traffic. Bodies brushed past, seemingly
unaware of her presence or of how her eyes tracked movement in
She glanced at her watch.
A Mercedes pulled to a stop across the way, and she straightened
as the solitary figure stepped from the backseat. He walked casually
toward the entrance, and when he was fully out of sight, she followed,
down the stairwell to the Anatolia: private of all private clubs, Ankara's
holy of holies, where together the wealthy and powerful fattened the
cogs of democracy.
At the door she flashed the business card that had taken two weeks
of greased palms and clandestine meetings to acquire.
In acknowledgment the doorman nodded and said, "Sir."
Munroe replied with a nod, slipped a knot of cash into his hand, and
entered into the din of smoke and music. She moved beyond the hive of
secluded booths, past the bar with its half-filled line of stools, through
the corridor that led to the restrooms and, finally, the "staff only" door.
Inside was not much more than a closet, and here she shed the
Armani suit, the Italian shoes, and the trappings of the male persona.
It was unfortunate that she was known as a man to the contact she'd
used to gain access, when tonight of all nights she needed to be a hundred
percent woman. From her chest she shrugged down the sheath that
would function as a figure-hugging dress and slid thin lacy sandals from
the lining of the jacket onto her feet. She pulled a mini clutch from the
suit pocket and then, checking that the hallway was empty, stepped into
the restroom to finish the transformation with makeup and hair.
Back in the main room, the motorcade's bodyguards stood as homing
beacons, and she walked, with long and languid strides, in their
direction. Time slowed. Four seconds. Four seconds of direct eye contact
with the mark and then the slightest hint of a smile as she averted her
eyes and continued past.
She placed herself at the end of the bar, alone, face turned away,
body turned toward him. Ordered a drink. And demurely toying with
the chained medallion at her throat, she waited.
This final step and the job would be complete.
She'd estimated ten minutes, but the invitation to join the party came
within three. The bodyguard who delivered the message escorted her to
the table, and there, with only the briefest round of introductions, coy
smiles, and furtive glances, she slipped into the evening's role - seeking,
hunting, prodding, all in the guise of the bimbo's game.
The charade lasted into the early morning, when, having gotten what
she wanted, she pleaded exhaustion and excused herself from the group.
The mark followed her from the club to the street and, in the glow of
the neon lights, offered a ride that she declined with a smile.
He called for his car, and as she began to walk away, he came after
her, fingers gripping her arm.
She pulled away. His grip tightened, and she inhaled deeply, forcing
a veneer of calm. Her vision shifted to gray. Her eyes moved from
his face to the veins on his neck, so easily slit, to his throat, so easily
crushed, and back again. With blood pounding in her ears, she fought
down the urge to kill him.
Against instinct she maintained the smile and sweetly said, "Let's
have another drink."
The Mercedes pulled to the curb. The mark opened the rear door
and, before the chauffeur had a chance to step out, shoved Munroe into
the backseat. He climbed in after her and slammed the door. Ordered
the chauffeur to drive and then pointed in a brisk movement toward the
minibar. "Have your drink," he said.
With a flirtatious smile, she looked over her shoulder, seeing but
not seeing. It was the smile of death and destruction, a disguise to the fire
of bloodlust now coursing through her veins. She struggled to maintain
reason. Focus. Subduing the urge, she reached for the bottle of Jack with
one hand, her clutch with the other, and said, "Drink with me."
Excerpted from The Informationist
by Taylor Stevens. Copyright © 2011 by Taylor Stevens.
Excerpted by permission of Crown. All rights
reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted
without permission in writing from the publisher.