The Game

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Book: The Game by Tom Wood Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tom Wood
Tags: Espionage & spy thriller
strength without adding excess bulk to his lean muscle mass. It took him an hour to do the circuit and he paused to refuel on protein and carbohydrates from a supplement shake before beginning the second part of his workout with cardiovascular exercises.
    He rowed for thirty minutes, creating intense fatigue in his upper body already weakened from the circuit training. His workout gear now soaked in sweat, he moved to a cycling machine. He kept his heart rate at ninety per cent of maximum for half an hour and moved to the treadmill as the first light of dawn began to brighten the city outside.
    The cardio machines all faced windows that ran along one wall beneath rows of TV screens. Normally, Victor would not have remained exposed before an unarmoured window for any length of time, but to protect the privacy of the hotel’s guests, the fitness suite’s windows were one way. In addition, he used machines adjacent to or behind pillars to provide cover and limit line of sight for any marksman across the street.
    Midway through his run on the treadmill he heard the echoing clink of metal striking a hard surface. The sound was quiet compared to the whine of the treadmill’s machinery and the thump of his feet on the belt, but Victor had chosen a machine close to the door to make sure he heard it.
    He glanced over his shoulder to see a woman enter. She was in her mid twenties, dressed in workout gear, with blonde hair pulled back into a tight ponytail. She was slim and toned and he didn’t have to look at her longer than a half a second to know for certain there could be no hidden weapon on her person. Victor dismissed her as a threat and continued his run.
    Her fragrance would have informed him of her approach even if the mirrors had not let him keep track of her movements. He was on the end of the row of treadmills. There were another five to his right. She chose the one next to him.
    He glanced again in case he had missed something the first time, but there wasn’t room to hide a pencil in her clothes, let alone a gun. She was looking his way and saw his eyes flick in her direction.
    ‘Hey,’ she said.
    He nodded to acknowledge the greeting, but didn’t say anything in return.
    In his peripheral vision he saw the young woman tap the screen of her machine to set up her workout and began at a quick walk. She looked across at his readout.
    ‘Wow,’ she said, ‘that’s an impressive time.’
    He nodded again, and smiled briefly – polite but distracted. ‘Thanks.’
    ‘Where are you from?’
    ‘Sorry,’ he said, speaking between inhales, ‘I’m in training for a race. I need to concentrate.’
    ‘Sure, no problem,’ she said. ‘Oh, by the way, did you drop this coin?’
    Victor found Muir waiting outside his room. She didn’t see him straightaway, because she was looking left in the direction of the elevators as Victor rounded the corner from the stairwell. She didn’t hear him approach because his footsteps were quiet even without athletic shoes and carpet to further muffle the sound, only facing him as he entered her peripheral vision. Her shoulder blades came away from the wall next to his door, her legs straightened and she arched her back. She’d been waiting there a long time. She had a key card between her fingers.
    ‘I took a wild guess that you wouldn’t like it if you found me inside your hotel room,’ she said, waving the card for emphasis.
    ‘Not as much as you wouldn’t.’
    She wore grey trousers and a blue blouse underneath a smart leather jacket that was tapered at the waist and flared out around her hips. It made her look less thin than she had the day before but could do nothing for the sunken cheekbones. Her boots had a two-inch heel. Her dark hair was loose and wavy. Behind her glasses her eyes looked tired, but she had applied extra makeup to try and hide the dark circles and bags.
    ‘My body clock is still all over the place,’ she explained, ‘and I figured you would be an

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