Tuesday’s Teaser! Slow Burn from the “Lawmen Box Set”
It was all so crazy. Christie’s heart pounded as the next ordeal started. She hadn’t fully grasped the trouble she was in or the mess she had caused until now. She had never realized that her ex-husband could be as powerful and well connected as he apparently was.
According to Agent Stillwater and Trace, Salvatore’s ties with the Jimenez Cartel were significant, and he’d been, and still was, a valued part of their organization. The cartel apparently didn’t plan on letting him go to prison if it could be prevented.
Now it was time to leave to go to what would hopefully be a safe location.
Christie had been told that agents had cleared the way, making sure no employees or guests were nearby as Christie, Trace, the decoy agents, and the protection detail left the room. The weight of the body armor seemed to grow as they went. Her whole body felt heavy, which had little to do with the vest. It had more to do with a frozen feeling that had sunk into her bones.
They went down in the service elevators. Christie stood beside Trace, having to look up at him as always because he was so tall and she was so petite. “If the cartel knows we’re here, are you sure no one can follow us?”
“The FBI has secured the area.” Trace sounded confident, but she wondered if he was as confident as his tone would lead her to believe. “No one is getting near you.”
Christie bit the inside of her lip. Her skin prickled, an uneasy feeling making the Chinese food not sit so well with her any longer.
“Reservations have been made at multiple hotels under various names.” Trace looked thoughtful. “We’re hoping that will throw off the cartel.”
Everything became a blur as agents escorted Christie through the back of the hotel and out to one of three waiting vans. Each van looked different—none of them were black like agency cars or SUVs.
On the older-looking vans were different decals. One had “Harper’s Plumbing,” on it, another had “Professional One Day Dry Cleaning,” and the third advertised “Valley Landscaping Services.” Each vehicle could easily get lost in Phoenix, unnoticed, which was obviously the idea.
Christie was glad they had dressed her like the agents. She blended in well, especially since the decoy female agents were close to her size and weight, and all three of them wore matching sunglasses.
Trace was at her side every step of the way. She met his gaze as they reached the white paneled van with “Harper’s Plumbing” on it. The door was open. She noticed that Trace didn’t help her into the vehicle, as was his normal habit. It was probably to keep from making her stand out from other agents who would not be receiving the same treatment.
She climbed inside the dim interior of the almost empty windowless van and saw that there were no seats. The only thing in the van was a big wooden box, the size of a coffin.
The floor was cool beneath her as she settled herself on the ridged metal.
“Not much for comfort.” A man sitting in the driver’s seat looked over his shoulder at them. “But we’ll get you to your next location safely, Ms. Simpson.” He, too, wore sunglasses and a jumpsuit, and he also wore a Bluetooth earpiece.
“Thank you.” Christie shifted so she was closer to Trace who had sat down beside her. His presence was a comfort even when she didn’t feel like she deserved it.
She wanted to apologize for putting everyone in so much danger, but she held her tongue. What good would apologies do? She’d screwed up and good. Trace had told her not to play the blame game, and that this was all on Salvatore. No matter what Trace had said, she did blame herself.
After a few moments, the agent put the van into gear and pulled away from the building. “On the move,” he said as the van jostled them while it went down the back alley. She guessed he was talking to whoever was on the other end of the Bluetooth.
Downtown Phoenix was full of one-way streets. The only time Christie had come to this area she had gotten totally turned around and almost went the wrong direction on a street. She was glad she wasn’t the one driving.
She and Trace swayed as the van turned a corner.
A metallic sound startled her.
Trace threw himself on her, slamming her onto the van’s floor. “Down!”
Her skull struck the ridged metal floor. The sunglasses skittered away. Pain shot through her head and her mind spun.
In a flash she realized that what she heard was the sound of bullets piercing the side of the van.
Terror ripped through her like knives flaying her skin.
“We’re under fire!” the driver shouted as he gunned the engine. Despite the terror, Christie registered that he had to be shouting the information over his Bluetooth.
The van’s tires squealed.
Another vehicle’s tires echoed the sound.
Light came through round perforations in the white panels.
Christie and Trace were thrown around the back of the van as the driver took tight turns.
The driver shouted for backup as he drove.
A pause in the rapid-fire.
Trace started toward the coffin-sized wooden box.
The metallic pings started again and Christie wanted to scream to Trace to get down, too.
Oh, God. They were all going to die.
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Hope you enjoyed this week’s teaser!