I am making steady on the sequel to The Evergreen Gambit. The working title is Counterplay. I still have some scenes to work out, but the outline is done and the (never ending) editing process has begun.
I’ve changed the cover and title several times already. Hopefully, this is the final cover edition. Still, thank goodness for Photoshop if I do change my mind again. It makes life so much easier for writers.
This sequel addresses some questions that were left as unfinished mysteries in the first novel. Why was it so important for Eliot to be at the Sochi Olympics? Why was Eliot spending so much time communicating with his ex-wife, Alyona Hubba? Why did it all have to do with Russian politics?
I will update my progress from time to time. In the meantime, here’s the first page:
February 14, 2015
The light was quickly fading on a brutally cold day as a woman emerged from a side door of an office building onto a side street in Kiev, Ukraine. She covered the hundred feet to the main thoroughfare as quickly as she could. Once out of the protective cover of the buildings, the wind seemed to blast through her and the bitter sting of hail began to pelt down on her exposed skin. She pulled on a wool scarf of bright orange and red flowers and lifted it up to cover her mouth and nose. Hailing a cab, she climbed in and settled back in its warmth and tried to relax.
She glanced out the window to her left. Someone was following her now. She could not see him yet, but she felt it.
Ten minutes later, she paid the cab driver and stepped out onto the street outside her apartment. As she did so, her phone began to vibrate. Pulling it out of her coat pocket her heart sank as she recognized the caller.
“Da,” she answered. “What is wrong?”
A deep male voice resonated in her ear. “I’m done,” he said.
“Where are you?”
“I am at the river. It won’t be long now.”
“Let me come to you,” she insisted.
“No,” he said. “It’s too late.” Then clearing his throat, he added, “We knew it would end like this. Remember our time together.”’
Then he was gone.
Leaning on the railing which led up to her front door for support, she closed her eyes. The phone nearly slipped out of her hands.
I must be getting old and sentimental, she thought. This is no time to give in to raw emotion.
She had been waiting for this call for nearly two weeks, but it hit her harder than she expected. Boris had managed his time well, she reminded herself, which meant she needed to do the same. Gripping the phone firmly, she straightened up and typed a number she had memorized into the phone. A voice mail system answered and a recorded voice began its greeting. She immediately ended the call. That one call would send the CIA scrambling, aware that their asset was compromised.
She next opened the contact list on her phone and clicked on the entry for the Randall Foundation headquarters in Washington, D.C.
A moment later a familiar voice answered.
“Hello, Emily?” Alyona Hubba asked in English in her husky Ukrainian accent. “Is he in? Put me through.”