Borrowed is coming along nicely. Woohoo! Next week I'll be delving in to some of the criminal aspects of the book. For now, enjoy the snippet below. (Originally posted on my Facebook page--so you may have seen this before)
“Another round, girl.” The old man tapped his dirty shot glass on the bar, not even attempting to hide his leer. “No cheating.”
I poured him another shot of Chopin, filling it to the brim. Before he asked, I pushed the small bowl of pretzels toward him. When he grinned, showing the gaping holes where teeth should have been, I fought to hold back my instinctive shudder. “Going on the tab?”
“Timur always pays his shot, girl.” He tossed the premium vodka back in one gulp. Grabbing a handful of broken pretzels, he shoved them in his mouth, tiny crumbs dropping onto his stained shirt. “I’ll tell Aleski you’re doubting Timur.”
I held my tongue, turning my attention back to the dirty glassware. Aleski Kozlov had even less patience for the washed-up, broken-down bum than I did, which was saying something. On the other hand, Aleski loved me—something he took great pains to remind me of every afternoon after he handed me my meager tips and right before he propositioned me.
If море had ever heard of the concept of sexual harassment, I’d eat my shoe.
Timur tapped the glass on the grimy bar again, exhaling loudly. I poured another shot, noting it down on the dog-eared notebook all the bartenders used to keep track of customer tabs. There were no computer systems, no credit or debit card systems. Море was all about the profit and any of those things would just cut into the bottom line.
There was no question about being cheated. Nobody would cheat Aleski Kozlov.
Almost as if I’d summoned him by thinking too much, Aleski swaggered into the main room. A glance at the clock showed it was close to four. My relief would be here any minute and then the only thing that stood between me and home was thirty minutes of Aleski’s sweaty caresses and poor attempts at seduction.
“Ah, the beautiful Mary!” Aleski’s English was better than Timur’s, his coarse accent all for show. Once or twice I’d caught him speaking with one of the local police and there’d been only the faintest trace of his homeland in his voice. Depending on the company, he could sound like the lowest farmer or a bored ex-pat tooling around in the London slums.
Since I was working under a forged visa and currently wearing color-changing contacts, a wig, and a bra that made me look like a porn star, I didn’t hold the chameleon characteristics against him.