Collins stared down the barrel of the Glock. It quivered in Royenko's unsteady hand as he lined along the site with his one good eye. Sasha pressed her body up against Collins. She stared defiantly back at Khalid and Tannikov, but he smelled fear mingled with her perfume.
Suddenly, Paladin entered the room. He seemed jovial, almost jaunty, as he clicked his heels and bowed with a flourish.
"You!" hissed Sasha savagely.
"Yes, my lovely," replied Paladin with a smirk. "Me."
"I knew you'd sell us out," said Collins.
Paladin laughed gaily. "Oh, but my dear Mr. Collins, I have done no such thing!" He put his hand into his jacket pocket and pulled out a battered gray envelope which he tossed at Sasha's feet. "Go ahead. Open it."
"Give me that!"
"It's mine! Give it!"
"It's mine now."
"Mom! Mom! Mom!"
"Mah-yam! Mah-yam! Maah-yam!"
"Both of you stop it right now! Max. Max. Max!"
Max Garter looked up from The Geneva Mandate, the latest Derek Collins novel. "What? What is it?"