"No! You're not taking another dose. We don't know what kind of damage it might do."
"I would heal during my sleep. I have to do this, Shanna. As soon as Petrovsky wakes up, he could kill Laszlo. And if we attack his house, he'll kill Laszlo for sure. Come on." He gave a nudge. "Quickly, before I pass out."
She crawled out of bed and began to dress. "We have to think this out. How will you get to Petrovsky's house?"
"I'll teleport in, find Laszlo, and teleport back home. It'll be easy. I should have thought of this before."
"Well, you were a bit distracted." Shanna tied her shoelaces.
"Hurry." Roman sat on the edge of the bed.
"I will." She unlocked the door. "I'll leave this open slightly so I can get back in."
He nodded. "Good."
She ran to the nearest stairwell and darted up the stairs. She wasn't sure she approved of this idea. Who knew what another dose of that formula might do to Roman? The ground floor was crowded with people, and she weaved around them as quickly as she could. And what if there were guards in Petrovsky's house? Roman shouldn't go in there alone. In the lab, she found the beaker of green liquid on the table. She picked it up, then noted her purse. What a shame her Beretta was gone.
She grabbed her purse and headed back to the silver room. Maybe she could borrow another gun. One thing was for sure. Roman was not doing this mission alone.
"Are you sure you want to go in there alone?" Phil asked as he parked down the street from Petrovsky's house.
"I won't be alone for long." Shanna checked her purse. It was stuffed with lengths of rope for tying up prisoners. She pulled out the cell phone she'd borrowed from Howard Barr and punched in the newly memorized phone number for Roman's house.
"Barr," the head of Roman's daytime security answered.
"We're in place. I'm going in."
"Good. Keep the line open," Howard warned her in his nasal voice. "Here. Roman wants to talk to you."
"Be careful," Roman warned her.
"I'll be fine. Phil's here if I need him." Shanna opened the car door. "I'm setting the phone in my purse now. See you soon." She propped the open phone on top of everything in her purse.
Phil gave her an encouraging nod. She climbed from the car and walked toward Petrovsky's house.
At Romatech, she'd given Roman another dose of the formula before they teleported to his house. There, with Howard Barr's advice, they'd made their plan for Laszlo's rescue. She'd been opposed to Roman's theory that he could simply call Petrovsky's house and teleport there. He might accidentally arrive in a room full of sunlight. So, with Howard's support, she'd talked Roman into letting her participate.
She stopped in front of Petrovsky's duplex and glanced back. Phil was still in the black sedan, watching. Another vehicle caught her eye, a black SUV parked across the street. It looked just like the one that had followed her before. But they all looked alike. The city was full of them.
She hugged her purse to her chest. The phone was close by, with Roman listening in. She climbed the steps to the front door and rang the bell.
The door opened. A heavy-set man with a shaved head and graying goatee glared at her. "What do you want?"
"I'm Shanna Whelan. I believe you've been looking for me?"
His eyes widened. He grabbed her arm and pulled her in the house. "You must be one stupid bitch," he growled with a thick accent as he shut the door.
She backed away. There was too much light coming in from a window above the door. She saw an open doorway to the side and slipped inside a small parlor. The carpet was threadbare, the furniture old and sagging. Light filtered in through dusty, yellowed blinds.
The Russian followed her into the room. "This is too strange. You either have a death wish or this is some kind of trick." He opened his jacket to reveal a shoulder holster.
She moved toward the window. "No trick. I'm just tired of running."
The man removed his pistol. "You know Petrovksy will kill you."
"I was hoping to make a deal with him." She inched closer to the window. "You see, I've been in Draganesti's house, and I know a lot about his security."
The Russian narrowed his eyes. "You wish to trade your life for information."
"That's the plan." Shanna eased back the curtains.
"Give me your purse. I must check it."
She set it down in a nearby chair. While the Russian moved forward, she quickly closed the blinds. "There," she announced in a loud voice. "It's nice and dark in here now."
The Russian peered inside her purse and pulled out her cell phone. "What is this?" He closed the phone, breaking the connection.
But Roman had heard her cue and was already materializing in the room. With vampire speed, he wrenched the gun from the Russian's hand and punched the man in the jaw. The Russian crumpled to the floor.
Shanna removed the rope from her purse and handed it to Roman. Quickly he tied the Russian's hands and feet.
"So far, so good," she whispered. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine." Roman handed her the Russian's gun. "Use this if you have to."
"I'll be back as soon as I can." Roman sped away in a blur.
Shanna knew if there were any more guards in the house, they'd never see him coming. He'd knock them flat, tie them up, then continue his search until he found Laszlo.
She picked up the phone and once again dialed Roman's house. "Howard? Are you still there?"
"Yes. How's it going?"
"Fine. We should be coming back soon." She set the phone down next to her purse.
Suddenly the front door burst open. With a gasp, Shanna raised the Russian's pistol. Footsteps raced across the foyer, then stopped in the doorway to the parlor. Two men in black suits faced her, their pistols drawn.
Shanna's mouth fell open. She blinked. "Dad?"
Sean Dermot Whelan looked much the same as he had a year ago when she'd last seen him. There was a little more gray in his reddish-gold hair, but his blue eyes were as sharp as ever. He lowered his pistol. "Shanna, are you all right?" He entered the parlor, looking about the room. He frowned at the unconscious man on the floor.
"Dad!" Shanna dropped her borrowed gun next to her purse. She ran to him and threw her arms around his neck.
"Sweetheart." He held his gun to the side while he hugged her with his free arm. "You scared me to death when I saw you coming into this house. What the hell are you doing here?"
She pulled back. "I could ask the same thing about you. I thought you were in Lithuania."
"I've been back awhile." He touched her face. "Thank God you're all right. I've been so worried about you."
"I'm fine." She hugged him again. "I thought I'd never see you again. How is Mom and - "
"Later," he cut her off. "We need to get out of here." He nodded toward her purse. "Get your stuff."
The second man in black entered the room. He was young with wavy, dark hair. "The foyer's clear." He inched toward a doorway across the room.
Shanna glanced at her purse. The phone was still sitting beside it on the chair cushion. How could she leave without Roman? How could she explain to her father what she was doing here? She was thrilled to see him again, but she had to wonder why he was here. "You saw me come here?"
"We've been watching Petrovsky's house for weeks. Draganesti's place, too." He tilted his head toward his companion. "This is Garrett."
"Hi," Shanna greeted the other man, then turned back to her father with a sudden realization. "You were in the black SUV I saw across the street."
"Yes." Sean motioned impatiently. "Come on. There could be a dozen mafia goons in this house. We can't stay and chat."
"I - I'm not here alone."
Sean narrowed his blue eyes. "You were alone when you came into this house. But you did have a driver - "
"Drop it!" Phil jumped into the parlor entry way, pointing his gun at Sean and Garrett.
They swung around, aiming their pistols at Phil.
Shanna gasped. "Don't shoot."
Phil held his gun steady while he glared at the men in black. "Are you all right, Shanna? You can come with me now."
Sean stepped in front of her. "She's not going anywhere with you. Who the hell are you?"