The Risk (Page 12)

That’s a weird thing to say.

“I definitely look for the right man. What do you mean by that?”

“It’s just that…I studied a lot of old cases when I went to college. I took criminology classes. It seemed like a lot of arrests were rushed just to close a case and add another gold star to a stellar reputation. If the killings would stop, people would assume the killers were locked up. If the killings reoccurred, they’d call it a copycat instead of owning the possibility they closed the case with the wrong suspect behind bars.”

I’m not sure what cases she studied. They don’t tarnish the reputation of the FBI in those classes. If anything, they sing praises to our guys.

“So you took criminology? But you didn’t join law enforcement?”

“Decided I didn’t have the stomach for it,” she says dryly. “Blood and guts churn it.”

I definitely don’t picture her as someone who could handle the shit I’ve seen if she has a weak stomach.

“Will you be able to text or call when you’re gone?” she asks hopefully.

“Definitely. I’ll probably text you from the chopper to apologize again.”

“Seriously, don’t apologize. Ever. You make a difference. I’d have to be a selfish bitch to expect you to be at my side when someone needs saving. Go be awesome and text when you can.”

I stop and lean against the wall of the stairwell, smiling at nothing.

“Have I told you lately that you’re perfect?”

She laughs then coughs to smother the laugh. “Trust me when I say I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum from perfection.”

“Oh? Will I see these flaws of yours one day?”

She grows quiet for so long that I check to make sure the line hasn’t gone dead. Finally, she answers.

“I pray that day never comes,” she says quietly. “Now go catch a bad guy. Is it safe to tell me the town so I can watch the news for you? I know you said you were sometimes on the news. If it’s against the rules, then don’t tell me, because I’d never ask you—”

“I’ll be in New York. I’m sure it’ll be on all the major channels if this pans out. It’s rare to get a break this big, but it could all be wrong. I’m going on a profile that I built myself just a few moments ago. For the record, I’m not supposed to tell anyone.”

“Then why did you tell me?” she scolds.

“Because I want you to be someone one day.”

I don’t tell her that I’ve thoroughly checked her out to make sure she wasn’t any type of lawbreaking heathen or anything. Best if this trust thing starts now.

“Well, someday, I hope I am someone. Until then, don’t tell me things you’re not supposed to.”

“Why?” I ask, amused that she’s so angry about this.

“Because I respect you. And I never want you to think I expect more than I should. This is about us. Not your job. Please. Promise me you won’t ever tell me things you’re not supposed to.”

Yeah… Told you she’s fucking perfect.

“Deal, pretty girl. Keep my boxers warm. I’ll text you or call you later.”



“Come back in one piece no matter what you have to do in order to make that happen. That’s the only thing I’ll ever expect. Survive.”

A slow smile tugs at the corners of my mouth. “That I can promise.”

Chapter 10

Truth is what stands the test of experience.

—Albert Einstein


“You’re dating a fucking FBI agent?” Jake blares over the phone, and I groan, pulling it away from my ear as I park at the restaurant across the street from where Tyler is.

I’m starving, and we can’t get a visual inside this office, so I’ll stalk from here, since this is where he has reservations.

Right now, this blonde wig is itching the crap out of me, and this red lipstick is definitely causing me to stick out. Add both in with the dark sunglasses and skin tight dress that I’m wearing, and I look nothing like Lana Myers, just in case.

“I already explained how it happened,” I tell Jake, wishing I had just kept the confession out of it.

“And you’re in New York, where he also happens to be.”

“Tyler is here, which is why I’m here. He took an unscheduled trip up here, so I got worried he was coming to see one of the others, since Lawrence is the next target and he’s also here. He has lunch reservations for two, Jake.”

He blows out a heavy breath. “New York is a long way from West Virginia. What’s he doing there?”

“I don’t know. He went into the same office where Lawrence works.”

“The media hasn’t gotten ahold of the story.”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t heard several of their friends died recently.”

He grows quiet, and I stare out at the restaurant. Tyler has reservations for two here at lunch. That much I found out from the cloned phone. But he hasn’t been texting Lawrence. I’m not sure who he’s texting.

“Jake? You still there?”

“No,” he says, sounding muffled. “I’m right beside you.”

I look out my window to find a guy with a goatee, dark glasses, and a stick… I’m not sure what it’s called, but it looks suspiciously like the stick the seeing impaired would use to feel their way around. His hair has also been bleached blonde.

I guess we’re both incognito.

I climb out of the car, arching an eyebrow at him. “Cowabunga?”

He snorts, but then his lips thin.

“So you decided to come to New York City without telling me?” I ask, crossing my arms over my chest.

He shrugs carelessly. “Same thing you essentially did. I have the same phone you do, remember? I knew you’d be heading out.”

He points a finger at me.

“Don’t think you’re off the hook over this FBI boyfriend thing. That conversation is paused—not over.”

I groan, and he smirks as he holds his arm out for me to take.

He looks all classy in his suit. With the way I’m dressed, I look like his high-paid hooker.

“You look good, by the way,” he whispers as he guides me down the sidewalk.

“High praise coming from a man who’s supposed to be blind,” I say with a sweet smile.

He restrains a smile as we walk inside. “Reservation for Demarco,” I tell the hostess. “We requested the terrace, since it’s so beautiful outside today.”

Just like Tyler requested.

She beams at me, treating me like I don’t resemble a call girl with her John. “Of course. Right this way,” she says, refraining from calling me Mrs. Demarco in case it’s the name of my date.

So I guess they’re used to this sort of thing.

“You’re making me look like a hooker,” I hiss under my breath.

Jake covers a laugh with a forced cough, and I stop myself from kicking him with my stiletto heel.

“Pretty sure you did that all by yourself. Trying to stand out?”

“Trying to look the opposite of me,” I whisper.

“Good job.”

“Ha,” I grumble as the sweet hostess seats us.

She flashes all of her beautifully white teeth at us in the best genuine smile I’ve seen. Maybe she’s just a friendly little perky thing.

“Your waiter will be with you momentarily. Enjoy your lunch,” she says, still not using names.

As she glides away, I turn my attention on Jake. His glasses have tinted sides that cover his eyes completely, allowing him to look wherever he wants without people noticing where his eyes are directed from the side.

“Clever,” I note in a mock, deep southern drawl, and he grins.

“Thought you’d appreciate it,” he says, adjusting his glasses for emphasis.

Our table is private enough to speak without anyone overhearing, but I look around for any cameras that might overhear.

“Two above us,” Jake says, not having to guess about why I’m looking around. “I can hear those birds like I can hear an alarm going off.”

So talk in code or type a text. Got it.

They must have audio if he’s hinting for me to be silent.

“You’re right. Two birds are up there. I’ll never understand how you do that,” I tell him, keeping with the southern accent I’ve accidentally committed to.

“I still love your accent,” he tells me, grinning.


I look over just as Tyler walks in, and my stomach hits my toes when I see Lawrence with him. They get seated two tables over, and Jake hands me something under the table. I feel it and know exactly what it is.

With subtlety, I pretend as though my earring is loose, and lift my hand to pretend to fix it under the long mane of blonde hair that hides my ears perfectly. Instead of touching the earring, I put in the small ear piece that Jake just gave me.

I pet Jake’s hand like an affectionate little hooker, and pretend to devote all my attention to him. “I assume you’ll tell me all about your day after we eat?” he asks, sticking with code-speak.

“You know it, darlin’.”

He barely stops himself from laughing, but my smile falls away when I hear Tyler and Lawrence speaking quietly to each other.