It’s only business, nothing personal. Business that pays well. Government money, Insurance money and the mob skims the cream from the top. She really has no choice and Kostya is very persuasive.

From my recently released novel, SIDE SLIP:

Leverage. Information was leverage. An advantage for The Boss in his business. Tonight Kostya was finishing a project on a doctor from New Jersey. A woman who liked kinky things and expensive shoes. She also was selling prescription drugs out of her very shiny Mercedes coupe. The New Jersey narcs were close to her. Kostya was reading the cops’ latest supplemental reports online trying to time his offer to the lady doctor to just before she became a named suspect. The Boss wanted to open another “clinic” in the suburbs across the river and needed the goofy lady doctor’s license and signature at a very affordable price. She would be happy to come to work for them after a visit from Kostya. The report slipped out of his printer and he tucked it into a folder.


Life sucked. Nothing had turned out like it was supposed to. Her high school guidance counselor gushed over her and had written a powerful recommendation to the best school in California. College was much harder than she’d ever imagined and then there had been all the distractions. Medical school weeded out most of the goofballs but somehow she managed to hang on and finish. But now life sucked. Her erratic mental behavior bounced her out of the good hospitals and fellowships so she now had to peer down the smelly throats of immigrants and lowlifes with bad teeth. The clinic that finally hired her paid for shit and she was going nowhere. Her therapist listened to her whine and excuse and wasn’t helping her deal with her failure at all. Gin was her drug of choice now and after her second drunk driving arrest, her lawyer scooped up big chunks of her savings and, well, life sucked.

Not quite pretty but not ugly, she wore her dark hair long and she still had her early 20s figure but the lines around her eyes and the bags under them told another story. It was after dark by the time she stepped out of the elevator to the hall that led to her condo door and shuffled in her bare feet fumbling in her purse for the key. The shocked look on her face did not surprise Kostya as he opened the door to let her in.

“Shit! What the hell ‘er you doing in my apartment?” the lady doctor stammered out and threw her high heels at him. Kostya moved his right hand up and in a quick motion batted the shoes aside and then reached out and gripped her by her slim throat, pulling her into the dark room, slamming the door behind her.

“Welcome home, my dear,” Kostya said as he whipped her past him and lifting her off her feet, deposited her onto the leather couch in the living room, “I see you need another drink so we will dispense with the social part of my visit.” His cold blue eyes caught hers and the tears began to run down through her mascara.

“I, I told you I don’t, I can’t do it,” she coughed out and put her hand to her neck where he’d just released his grip, “I told you before…”

Kostya slid a short cocktail tumbler toward her across the top of the glass coffee table and unscrewed the top of a half full bottle of gin. As he poured her a generous drink, he said, “I know, my dear. But times and circumstances change. And now is the time for your decision. You have such a wonderful future, it would be a shame for you to grow old and fat in prison.”

Her eyes flickered as she swallowed the clear liquid in one fiery gulp. Trying not to look into his eyes, she said, “Screw you.”

Kostya smiled and slid onto the couch next to her, “It’s not difficult. We will pay you well. It will not be as much as you earn at that filthy clinic but you can live modestly on it, and you will be so much happier. No more patients to ask you silly questions. Just your pretty hands and a pen.”

He lifted her left hand off the couch with his right and twisted the thumb back toward her wrist rather hard, causing her to wince and let out a high pitched yelp. With his left hand, he produced a sleek silver dagger and slid the razor sharp blade up under her chin, letting her get a good look at it as it came up to her.

“This is not a negotiation. You are within an inch of going to jail or if you insist, to your grave, painfully,” he released her thumb and now that he had her full attention, slid the printed page out of the folder on the coffee table and handed it to her. He let the dagger disappear into his coat pocket and nodded toward the paper, “Read it, my dear. You will recognize who the nice young detective is writing about.”

She hesitated, trying to breathe, pushing back the panic. The gin helped and Kostya poured her another as she tried to focus on the words.

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