When Anette’s car breaks down, she knows asking her ex-boyfriend for help isn’t the best idea. Sadly, it’s still the only idea she has. She doesn’t expect the encounter to go smoothly, but she also doesn’t expect him to drop the car off with a Russian gangster. The chop shop boys don’t even bother with picking it apart for parts – they dump it in the junkyard. 

Valentin Abarnikov has problems of his own, millions of dollars’ worth of them. An old lost Impala isn’t high on his list of things to deal with, but the crying woman in his garage is definitely more interesting than his business partners. It doesn’t take long until the people chasing him takes interest in her, and suddenly, finding a way out has become urgent. 
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“What’s the problem?”

The man also had a thick Russian accent. Of course he did.


“I’m looking for my car. You were supposed to replace the transmission.”


He made an innocent gesture. “I don’t know. What car? We fix cars. Maybe it’s stolen, it happens.”


“What do you mean stolen? You guys were supposed to replace the transmission, not lose it.”


Valentin gazed into her eyes, clearly trying to make himself irresistible. She crossed her arms over her chest and glared. Playing nice would probably get her further than being angry, but she was barely able to keep her voice in check.


“I need it. Please try to find it.”


 He stared at her a moment longer and shrugged.


“Mikhail! Have you seen this lady’s car?”


A man, if possible even more in need of a bath, came out from behind a minivan, drying his oily hands on a rag. Valentin was tall, but this man must be part giant. 


“I don’t know. What kind of car?”


“It’s an…” He waved his hand towards her.


“It’s an Impala.”


The giant said, “No.” 


Anette drew a deep breath and forced herself to relax her shoulders.


“You will find my car, and you will fix my car, or I will return with a friendly police officer who will investigate what happened to my car.”


Valentin said, “No.”

She said, “Yes.”


He frowned and glanced over his shoulder. 

“Mikhail, find her car.”


She shook her head and headed towards the outside. Outside held sunshine and a real world populated by real people.


“I’ll be back tomorrow.”


She didn’t expect the Russian drunk to follow her, but he did. Thank goodness she’d asked the taxi to wait for her, or she might have been stuck with this chop-shop caricature.


He opened the car door for her and held it open. 


“I like your spirit. You come work for me.”




“Yes. I can get you new car, good pay, other… job.”


“I have no idea what you’re talking about, but it’s still no.”