Page 12

 Kristen Ashley

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“She the jealous type?” he asked.
“Don’t know and seriously do not want to find out. There’s even the barest possibility of losing that, Knight will lose me. I got two people who mean something to me, Creed, and he’s one of them. You take half of my world away from me, for sixteen years, you were a memory for me and that’s what I’ll make you for your kids too, except you’ll never stroll back into their bedrooms while they’re sleeping. You still with me?”
He was silent a beat before, “Two people in your life who mean something to you?”
“That’s it?”
“He’s not the other one. We’re tight but not that tight.” He was silent again and this lasted more than a beat so I prompted, “Did you get me?”
“I got you, Sylvie,” he answered quietly.
I flipped the left turn signal on, slowed, stopped, waiting for my opening and pulled into the parking lot of The Retreat. I found my spot and reversed expertly in it. I switched off the ignition then I reached behind Creed’s seat to grab my camera. I rested it on my thigh, grabbed my coffee, threw back a slug, returned it then yanked out my cell, found the number and hit go.
It rang twice in my ear before I heard, “You’re killin’ me.”
I grinned into the phone as I stared at the building. “C’mon, buddy, what would you do without my incentives?”
“They find out I’m giving you info, they’ll find other places for their rendezvous.”
“There are no other places in Denver who rent for an afternoon and have rubber mattresses, Clyde,” I reminded him then continued. “Looking for a guy, five ten, salt and pepper, glasses, paunch, suit, drives a Chevy mini-van.”
“No mini-van,” Clyde stated.
“He been in before?”
“Fuck,” Clyde muttered.
He had.
“Wednesday’s his day, yeah?” I asked.
“Fuck,” Clyde muttered.
“Crisp bill, Clyde.”
“They usually get here around one.”
I looked at my watch. Five minutes.
“Right,” I said into the phone. “I’ll be in the office with your money after they check in and get to their room.”
“Fuck. You’re killin’ me.” Clyde was still muttering.
“They ever quit coming?” I asked.
He didn’t answer my question because they didn’t. They always kept coming in more ways than one.
Instead, he said, “See you in ten minutes.”
I grinned again and flipped my phone shut.
“Clyde the day clerk?” Creed asked as I shoved my phone back in my back pocket, grabbed my coffee and the camera. I took a sip of it as I switched the camera on.
“Yup,” I answered as I shoved the coffee back between my thighs then I looked to him. “So, the last month, Drake Nair on radar but nothing, Nick Sebring on radar but nothing and you ascertained that Rhash and I would never f**k Knight. You get anything else?”
“Lively did the full check on your girl’s client last night,” he replied. “I followed him through it even though he didn’t know it. When you hit that house last night, I was as surprised to see the for sale sign in the yard as you were.”
This was good to know.
“So Live isn’t falling down on the job,” I surmised.
“That’s still up for debate. I just know none of the team has deposited anything unusual in their accounts. They’ve also not purchased anything unusual, high ticket items or even medium range toys. Half-assed tails, they aren’t off the beaten path or normal routines. Phone records show nothin’ either. So if there’s a mole, he’s playin’ it smart and that means we dig deep.”
“There’s no mole,” I told him firmly.
“We still gotta look, Sylvie,” he returned, his eyes holding mine.
“Yeah, and that sucks for me because these are my boys. If they ever find out I did this shit, I’m a rat. They’ll get over it, the loyalty they have to Knight but it’ll take a while and I may never have their trust like I’ve got it now.”
“But you’ll do that for Knight.”
I nodded. “I’ll do it for Knight.”
He kept his eyes locked with mine as he said softly, “And the girls.”
I nodded again and didn’t speak softly when I agreed, “And the girls.”
He didn’t look away and he didn’t speak for long moments. I knew what he was thinking as he looked at me.
He knew why I’d risk a rap sheet for those girls.
Then he spoke.
“New deal.”
I rolled my eyes and when I stopped rolling them, I stated, “Jesus, partner, I can’t keep up.”
He didn’t reply to my comment.
Instead, he said, “I work the team. You work Nick and Nair.”
I didn’t suck in breath but I held it because that was cool. Way cool.
Creed kept talking. “We stay tight, meet often, talk often, debrief and you need me, I’m there. I need you, you come when I call. But I look into the boys. That way, you’re not a rat. If they find out you worked this, they’ll find out you didn’t work them. Even if I turn up nothin’, I’ll undoubtedly turn up somethin’. Everyone has secrets. I uncover them and they don’t pertain to this investigation, you’re none the wiser. They haven’t shared with you, when this is over, they’ll know you don’t know. They can trust you got nothin’ on them. They can trust you didn’t turn traitor. Keeps you solid with the team.”
Yeah, that was cool and that was huge because it stated firmly he was cool. He got it. He got the team. He got the importance of the team. And he got me.
“Deal,” I whispered.
His eyes moved over my face then over my shoulder and he muttered, “Mini-van.”
I looked over my shoulder and watched the mini-van drive into the lot and past my car. It parked two spots down. My target got out the driver’s side door as a Nissan sedan drove in and passed my ‘Vette to park just beyond the mini-van. My target waited for his piece and, thinking quickly, I moved my travel mug to the floor.
When they began walking toward reception, they’d have to walk in front of my car.
This meant they might see us and wonder why we were sitting in the car and not going at it on a rubber mattress covered in fake silk sheets, all this accessible only feet away.