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Fractured Souls: Chapter 6


“Is that girl still at your place?” Roman asks as soon as I enter his office.

“Yes.” I nod and take a seat next to Maxim.

“Good. You need to ask her how she got the drugs. Yuri still can’t locate the guy who supplied the pills, so your girl is our only lead.”

I meet my pakhan’s gaze and shake my head. “No.”

“No?” He widens his eyes at me.

“If she tells me something herself, I’ll let you know. But I’m not making her talk unless she wants to.”

“Why wouldn’t she?”

“Doc hasn’t told you?” I ask.

“Told me what? He said you found the girl, she overdosed, and you took her home.”

“She was sexually abused, Roman. I think the people who had her were running a prostitution ring.”

Roman stares at me, a muscle ticking in his jaw. The pen in his hands snaps in two. The topic of abused women has always been a sensitive subject where he’s concerned.

“Is the girl okay?” he asks through clenched teeth.

“She’s better.”

“Good. Don’t ask her anything.” He nods and turns his attention to Maxim. “What’s the issue with the Albanians you wanted to discuss?”

Maxim takes off his glasses and crosses his arms over his chest. “It seems like they have suddenly obtained a huge amount of money. One of Anton’s guys reported that he saw Dushku’s son-in-law spending an insane sum at one of the Cosa Nostra casinos.”

“How much?”

“Tens of thousands per night. Several nights in a row.”

“Julian is an idiot who never earned a cent himself. He’s been milking money off Dushku for years.”

“Well, it looks like he suddenly has more than he can spend,” Maxim says. “Could he be involved in this new drug thing?”

“He better not be. Because if anyone from the Albanian crime organization dared to bring their drugs into my territory, they won’t be liking the consequences of their decision. I made things very clear to Dushku when we had our little chat a few months ago after the fuckup with the Irish.”

“What happened with the Irish?” I ask. Since I’m mostly focused on running the clubs, I’m not always up-to-date on other business issues. The latest thing concerning the Irish I remember is that they tried to wipe out the Bratva a few years back and almost killed Kostya. Sergei eliminated their leader and several other top-tier men, and Roman threw the rest out of Chicago.

“They’ve set up base in New York,” Roman says. “Don Ajello sent me a message a few months ago, saying that Dushku started collaborating with the Irish and delivered a large shipment of guns to them. Dushku did this despite knowing very well my stance on the Irish.”

“Was it only one shipment?” I ask. “Or does Dushku still work with them?”

“Just one. Shortly after that, Ajello took care of the Irish because the idiot Fitzgerald kidnapped his wife. Ajello went ballistic.”

“He killed Fitzgerald?”

“Filleted him with a knife himself.” Roman grins. “I don’t know the man, but I like him already.”

“What do you plan on doing with the Albanians, Roman?” Maxim throws in.

“Do we have anyone inside who can keep an eye on what they are doing? We need to know where that money came from.”

“One of the Baykal waitresses visits Dushku regularly,” I say. “Maybe she can persuade him to talk about his business.”

“Let’s try that for now.” He nods. “If it does end up that Dushku is behind this, I’m going to personally gut him.”


* * *


As I exit my car, heading to the front of my apartment building, I notice a familiar vehicle parked outside the entrance. Yuri is sitting behind the wheel of his white SUV, waving me over.

“What’s going on?” I ask as I slide onto the passenger seat.

He leans his elbows on the steering wheel and pins me with his gaze. “I don’t know. You tell me.”

“Nothing. Why?”

He shakes his head and looks toward the street beyond the windshield. “I’ve known you for ten years, Pasha, so don’t give me this shit. Are you planning to leave the Bratva?”

“No. Why would you think that?”

“You let Kostya take over your clubs. You’ve practically lived at Ural and wouldn’t let anyone cover for you, ever. When I tried convincing you to take a break a few months back, you said you can’t function unless you’re working.”

“Well, I’ve decided to take that break now.”

“So, you’re coming back?”

I slouch back in the seat and look up at my building. It’s been about three hours since I left for the meeting with Roman, and I’ve spent every single second of that time thinking about Asya. Is she okay? Has she eaten? What if she’s hungry and can’t decide what to make? Is she scared having been left alone? What if I come home and she won’t be there?

“I’ll come back, Yuri. Don’t worry.”


“When she leaves,” I say, looking up toward the windows on the third floor. I can’t see the lights inside because the blinds are closed. What if she got scared again? I hate leaving her alone.

“She? The girl you have at your place?”


“Are you two . . . in a relationship?”


“I don’t understand.”

I glance at my friend. His jaw is clenched tight and there is a concern in his eyes. At sixty-five, Yuri is the oldest in the Bratva’s inner circle. He has become a father figure to the soldiers who work under him, but he’s also fiercely protective of the rest of the Bratva’s men, regardless of their position. I’ve always found it strange, how he can care so greatly about the guys who aren’t his family, while there are people in the world who don’t give a fuck about their own flesh and blood.

“Have you ever met someone who feels like they are a missing piece of you?” I ask. “A piece you didn’t even know you were missing until they stumbled into your life?”

“No, not really. You think that girl is yours?”

“I’ve known her for a week.”

“That’s not what I asked.”

“I know. But it doesn’t really matter. She’ll be leaving soon, anyway.” I grab the door handle. “I’m coming back to work as soon as she does.”

“Maybe she won’t want to leave.”

“Yeah, sure,” I say and exit the car.



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