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A/N – Previous chapters will be found in the following:
Chapter 1-10: Incest/Taboo
Chapters 11, 13-15: Erotic Coupling
Chapter 12: Interracial Love
Stepping off the plane, I had been expecting the blast of heat, glad I’d already taken off my suit jacket, though I knew sweat stains would likely appear within a matter of minutes unless I got myself inside something with air-conditioning. Glancing up, there wasn’t a cloud to be seen, nothing but endless blue sky and glorious sunshine.
Following the other passengers towards the terminal, I joined the line for EU passengers, passing through the border control quickly before heading straight to the luggage collection. My small bag appeared after fifteen minutes, walking out through the last-minute duty-free shops before stepping out to where the usual crowds were waiting to greet friends and loved one’s.
I walked outside to see a line of cars waiting. A nearby Skoda Fabia flashed its lights three times. After dumping my bag on the backseat, I opened the passenger door and slid inside, grateful the interior was already nice and cool.
“Good to see you, Nick. Welcome to Croatia.”
I offered my hand. “How are things, Paul?”
“We’ve been prepping for your arrival.” He offered me a folder. “You have the details. This is just any last-minute things you need, plus the basic outline of the operation.”
“Okay. Get us underway. I can read while you’re driving.”
“How was the flight?”
“I’d have rather come by private jet, but I understand coming in incognito.”
As he drove us out of the airport and eventually towards the coastal road that would lead all the way south, I reviewed the details of the operation. I’d been tasked with leading the protection detail of a vital witness in regard to an ongoing court case at the International Criminal Court.
The name of the woman I’d be protecting was Marta Hrubcova. She was a Croatian national, currently under the protection of various intelligence services, though now under my care once we arrived at the villa she was called home. She would be providing evidence against her ex-husband, a Serbian ultranationalist named Zoltan Zlatkadlovic. Quite the mouthful, but the guy was a fucking scumbag. His list of crimes during the Yugoslavian Wars made names like Mladic and Karadzic look like boy scouts.
The problem was that Zoltan had hundreds of thousands of supporters across not only his homeland but the diaspora across Europe and the globe. He might be under lock and key in Den Haag (The Hague) as he was put on trial for war crimes, but he was still a dangerous man. And the information I had from the Director suggested that the threats against his ex-wife were very real. She knew many of his secrets. Too many for his own good, which is why her life was under threat.
My task was to keep Marta Hrubcova safe and sound for the next three months. We would be moving at least twice until it was time for her to give evidence. She had insisted on being at the ICC to face down her ex-husband. It was the evidence she’d managed to retrieve that had helped build the case against her ex-husband. I reviewed all the documents at hand before closing the folder and placing it in my bag behind me.
“She knows you’re coming, Nick,” Paul said, “She’s looking forward to meeting you.”
“I think she’s had word in her ear about your reputation from your people.”
I guess I could understand what he meant. Since being activated and receiving my codename, I’d been working across Europe, either as a ‘lone wolf’ or assisting other intelligence services. I quickly learned I didn’t just worry about terrorists as the Director had me dealing with all manner of crimes and criminals. We’d ripped apart a human trafficking ring being run by an assortment group of scumbags, a sex trafficking ring operated by Albanians, and had taken down a white-collar criminal of French extraction, who had been embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars, funnelling them to the sort of people we didn’t really want having access to that sort of cash. The body count had slowly been building at the same time. Some were arrested, many more ended up face down in the gutter with a bullet in the head.
Throughout it all, Jennifer was never more than a phone call away. She had her finger on the pulse, her eyes adding to mine, her ears always picking up rumours and secrets that I needed to hear. She always remained back in London while I was away working. She was still in London now as I was being driven south along the Croatian coast. I sent her a text, letting her know I’d arrived and made contact, with a further update once we arrived at the villa.
“It is beautiful,” I muttered as the road skirted the edge of the Adriatic.
“Haven’t found a reason to complain about this posting yet,” he replied, “Warm sun nearly every day. The people are friendly. Food is excellent. Ms Hrubcova is almanbahis rather private but that doesn’t matter. Our job is keeping her alive, not being her friend.” He glanced my way. “Though we know the man who was leading the operation before you… He was friendly enough.”
“No. He was professional to the end but there was no doubt he was at least a little distracted by her.”
“Any reason why he was replaced?”
“We were never told. Different agencies. I assumed it was just a new assignment.”
He drove us a good couple of hours before we passed through a coastal town, turning off the main road and, within a couple of minutes, we drove through the gates, following the driveway towards a villa on the hillside, a spectacular view of the coastline on display once I was out of the car. Whistling my appreciation, I grabbed my bag and followed Paul inside.
After a quick tour of the place, including the room where we had our surveillance equipment, he showed me the small room I would be sleeping. Dumping my bag, I was pleased to see my weapon was already in a small box waiting for me, having sent it before my flight. Placing it in my shoulder holster, I told Paul I was going to take a look around the perimeter, learn the lay of the land. I would trust they had everything secure, but a new set of eyes could always find possible weak spots.
But they’d done a good job, heading back to the villa with the sun still high in the sky. Thankfully, the villa had air conditioning, finding the kitchen where a maid was busy preparing lunch. She spoke English, asking if I would like a drink, finding an ice-cold bottle of water in my hand within seconds.
“Hvala,” I said. It was one of a few local words and phrases I’d managed to learn, being told everyone would be speak English.
“Molim” she replied with a grin, “Ms Hrubcova is in the garden. She’s waiting for you to introduce yourself.”
“I’ll go do that right now.”
I knew all about her already, of course, as I had all her information, her picture, her entire history. The garden was only a few steps outside the back door. The two other guards in addition to Paul were watching the perimeter. She was on her knees, digging into the dirt with a small shovel. She had a red blouse on and tan shorts. She was slim, no more than five-four. Fantastic arse for a woman over fifty. Clearing my throat, she sat up and turned to face me, her blue eyes hidden by sunglasses, her brunette hair covered by a hat. She stood up and smiled, taking a couple of steps towards me.
“You are Nick Stevens?”
“That I am, ma’am.”
She offered her hand. “I’m Marta.”
“Pleased to meet you, ma’am. Are you well?”
She glanced around. “Well, apart from the three other strange men in the house with me, none of whom speak a lot of Croatian, I’m just fine.” She grinned. “Well, you are now the fourth.”
“Dao sam sve od sebe da naučim malo.” I paused before adding, “Though I probably wouldn’t understand what you said back to me.”
Still, she smiled. “Pa, jako ste zgodni.”
“Yep, you’ve lost me.”
She took off her hat, revealing her brunette hair, only flecks of grey at either side, before gesturing with her head to the house. I followed her as we ended up in the kitchen, Marta saying something to the maid that made her laugh. Taking a bottle of water from the fridge for herself, she led me into the living room, taking a seat on the couch. I sat nearby, sipping at the bottle. When she removed her glasses, I had to stop myself gazing into her eyes. They were… gorgeous. The sort of blue that reminded me of the ocean. She was 53 years old, her skin a wonderful, tanned colour, her face with slight lines of aging but I would have easily put her as ten years younger. A small bust, great body from what I could judge… fantastic legs, wearing sandals that showed off very pretty and painted toes, a colour of a deep red. There was no doubting she was attractive now and would have been a heartbreaker 25 years ago.
In fact, she’d still break hearts now.
“I assume you know all about me, Agent…”
“Nick. Call me Nick. We’re going to be spending a lot of time together, ma’am.”
“Please, call me Marta in that case.”
I smiled. “Fair enough. Yes, I have your file. We can talk about anything you want, or we can simply sit in contented silence. I won’t ask any questions. I’m here to keep you alive until your presence is request in Den Haag.”
“Do you have any questions for me?”
“No. And no instructions either. You will be secure here in the villa. If we leave, I will never not be by your side.” That made her smile. “From the information I’ve received, anyone who might be after you doesn’t know you’re here. False information has you elsewhere. Very elsewhere. Like the other side of Europe.”
“Are you aware of my itinerary?”
“Yes. I know you have things you like to do and that you still enjoy your almanbahis giriş work. That’s what I meant by always being by your side. Wherever you are here at the villa, I will never be more than five steps away. If we’re away from the villa, I will be by your side at all times.”
She smiled. “Thank you. I know I am important in a certain way, but it’s nice being able to live a normal life, or as normal as possible considering the circumstances.” She took a sip of her drink. “Would you be joining us for meals every day?”
“I see no reason why that isn’t possible. It will depend on circumstances, plus I do have the other three guards to keep busy.”
“They usually keep to themselves. It’s very strange.”
“It’s about keeping distance.”
“But you’re not worried about that?”
“I intend on ensuring you make it to the ICC safe and sound, Marta. That means I will be remaining very close the entire time.”
“Thank you,” she whispered.
“You ever have questions; all you need do is ask.”
Settling in wasn’t a problem. Marta and her maid, Mia, made me feel welcome, Mia approaching me at least every couple of hours, asking if I was hungry or thirsty. She was around the same age as Marta and quite pretty herself, dark hair a little greyer than Marta, and a fuller figure that she wore with pride, and certainly liked to flaunt at times. She was a divorcee, her husband living in the capital, Zagreb, with his new, younger wife. I learned very quickly she could talk at length about anything, helping the hours fly by.
Marta learned I was true to my word. Whenever she was in the villa, I was always close by. I’m sure she must have thought I was bored out of my brain, but after a few days of warming to each other, she had no problem engaging me in conversation. The three other guards rotated around the perimeter or bunkering down in the room where we had surveillance cameras and otherwise staying in contact with the intelligence services.
I kept in touch with Jennifer at the same time, and it came as absolutely no surprise when she teased me about the woman I was protecting.
“Try not to fuck her, Nick.”
“I’m a professional, Jen. Come on!”
“She’s an attractive, single, mature woman. Probably looks at you and thinks ‘Damn, I’d like him by my side in bed for snuggles and sex’. She seen you without a shirt yet?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Well, once she does, expect her to throw some very wet panties in your direction.”
“Women aren’t like… Actually, I won’t finish that. You were very upfront with me.”
“Nick, I wanted to fuck you the entire time we were in Montana. It’s a good idea they had Angie in your room, otherwise I think you’d have gone insane with lust for anyone. That makes me wonder, did you find Emily attractive?”
I remembered her well. Always liked redheads. And she had a pair of green eyes that were just fantastic. She was incredibly pale and petite. “Being completely honest, Jen, I’d have ruined her as much as I ruined Angie.”
I heard her laughter. “I thought so. Miss me?”
“Good. Just what I wanted to hear. But if she gives you the green light, go and show her a good time.”
“You’re actually ordering me to sleep with her?”
“I’m just saying I won’t have a problem with it. You end up working in the U.S again and maybe with Rebecca, you’ll fuck her again, right?”
“Honestly, in a heartbeat. What about you?”
“I’m busy with this job and my other one. I’ve made some friends though. Keeps me occupied.”
“Feeling the urge to hook up with anyone?”
“Nope. I’ve got a couple of toys that’ll get me through until you get back. Just know you’re fucking me for a good couple of weeks solid when you get home.”
“Nate…” I knew when she used my old name, she was being serious. “If she needs you, be with her. I know how she feels. If she needs love, show her.” She paused a moment. “I love you, but show her… Show her love if that’s what needs…”
“Jen…” I whispered.
“Nate, trust me on this. I know how she’ll feel. She’s going to convince herself, but trust me, she’s going to need you in the end.”
“And you?” I whispered.
“I’ll be here when you get home.”
“I love you,” I breathed.
“I know, Nate. Nothing you do beyond these borders matters. We know how this will work. You love me. I know that. I love you. You know that. But this is the world we live in. Please, don’t feel guilty. Just reading her file… She needs love. Give it to her if she needs it.”
“What have I done to deserve you, Jules?”
“You love me. That’s all I ever wanted. I fell in love with the man in the file, then when I met you, that was it. It just confirmed my feelings. I loved you, Nate. Now, go to sleep, try not to forget me, but show her all the affection she needs and wants.”
I’ll admit, I’d missed her from the moment I’d landed in Croatia, but I kept my mind busy with almanbahis yeni giriş the job I was meant to be doing. I’ll admit further, though, that Marta Hrubcova was a nice distraction. I didn’t have much to do with women over fifty years old, but there was no doubting Marta was as confident at 53 as she likely was at 23. She was delightful to be around.
“Nick, I want to go south to Dubrovnik,” she announced around three weeks after I’d arrived.
“Because I’ve been here for months and the only place I’ve been to in all that time is the small town nearby. I’m bored. I need to get away. You can protect me.”
I discussed the idea with Paul and the others. I was surprised when they answered that it wasn’t a bad idea. We’d had no problems the entire time I’d been there, and they’d had no issues the two months before I arrived. Though we wouldn’t lower our guard, it seemed that no-one knew she was there. “She deserves a day and night away,” Paul added, “Might as well take the opportunity before we have to move north.”
That Saturday, I had the car waiting to take us further south. It would only take a couple of hours to drive, but as I didn’t want to drive back later that evening in the dusk, I’d already booked a hotel so she could sleep. Paul approached me as I was ready to get behind the wheel.
“You’ll be fine, Nick.”
“Are you sure we’ve had no word?”
“Nick, the only people who know she’s here are our friends. Trust me, she’s going to be fine.”
I took a deep breath. “If you get a word…”
“I’ll call. Now, go and ensure she has a good time.”
The car was a BMW M5. I loved it immediately. It was a four-door sedan, with an enormous V10, 5-litre engine, ridiculously powerful but I made Marta giggle when I turned the ignition and the car rumbled to life, my face lighting up as I revved the engine more than once.
“Marta, I have an erection,” I whispered. That caused her to laugh even louder before she rested her hand on my forearm.
“Is it the car?”
I met her eyes. “Only partly.”
She was old enough not to blush at the insinuation. Her fingers tightened around my forearm. “Are we away longer than just today?”
“Yes. I’ve booked a room in a hotel nearby.”
“Will you be staying with me?”
“Yes. Sort of… But yes…”
She smiled as I drove the car to the gates of the villa, edging out until I could see the traffic heading north or south. Once I had a space to pull out into, I had the car in the lane heading south. The car was automatic, so I wasn’t surprised she held my hand immediately, concentrating on the coastal rode while she had the window down, gazing out over the Adriatic. I glanced occasionally to take in the view. Breath-taking? I’d scoff at the word. I simply didn’t have the vocabulary to describe how utterly beautiful it all was.
“Thank you,” Marta whispered as I drove along.
“No problem. Happy to do this,” I whispered back.
The drive south only took a couple of hours, the only halt having to cross the border into Bosnia Herzegovina, and then crossing back into Croatia, reaching the outskirts of Dubrovnik by the early afternoon. The hotel I had booked was only a few hundred metres away from the old city walls, and after we’d checked in, Marta practically dragged me into the old city.
It was romantic. I’d admit that straight away. We were in time to take in one of those walking tours that seemed to take place in most cities across the continent. I think it was more for my benefit than hers. With a couple of hours to stroll around, Marta took my hand in hers, noticing her fingers interlacing with mine, as she was happy to walk around without a care in the world.
I eventually had to ask, “Marta, what’s going on?”
“What do you think?”
“I could suggest more than one thing.”
She glanced at me and smiled. “I enjoy your company.”
It was a simple response but spoke volumes at the same time. We walked around until the city was lit by torches and illuminations. We found a little restaurant and it helped she spoke the local lingo so I hoped we wouldn’t be ripped off. But she smiled, laughed, and blushed during our dinner together. She was wearing a simple yellow summer dress, her arms and legs on display. She wore open-toed shoes on her feet. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail. Though clearly warm, remnants of make-up still on her face.
Taking her hand, I led us back the hotel I’d booked, ending up sitting by the pool, the Adriatic only a couple of hundred metres away, both of us sipping at cocktails.
“Nick, may I be blunt for a second?”
“I want you in my room tonight.”
She glanced at me and smiled. “Is it going to be that simple?”
“I haven’t said anything except I’ll be in your room, Marta.”
She stood up and pulled her seat closer so she was touching me once comfortable again. “Nick, maybe I ask you another question?” she whispered.
“I’m fifty-three years old. Do you find me attractive?”
“Yes, Marta. You are absolutely fucking gorgeous.”
She moved her chair and leaned into me. “You’re the first man to say that in a long time,” she whispered.
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