Something About You
Page 14

 Julie James

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“I’m sorry,” she said woodenly. “I know how much you put into this investigation. Unfortunately, there’s nothing more I can tell you.”
“Sure there is. You can tell me who the hell Martino paid off in the U.S. attorney’s office to make this miracle happen. If Briggs didn’t make this decision, then . . .” Jack paused to give Cameron a scrutinizing once-over. “What do you think, Joe, should we do a little digging into Ms. Lynde’s accounts? See if she’s had any unusually large deposits lately?”
Cameron walked over and stared him dead in the eyes. “You are way out of line with that, Agent Pallas.”
Joe moved between them. “Okay, I think we all need to take a step back for a moment and cool down.”
Jack ignored him. “I want an explanation,” he said again to Cameron.
She stood her ground, holding his gaze angrily. “Fine. You blew your cover too early. I hope that explanation satisfies you, because it’s the only one I can give you.”
A wave of fury washed over him. And guilt. Her words struck a nerve—although he’d had no choice, he still blamed himself every day for the fact that his cover had been blown.
Jack’s voice was ice-cold. “Get out of my office.”
“I was just leaving,” Cameron said. “But one last thing—if you ever have any concerns about where my loyalties lie, or regarding my dedication to my job, you can just ask me yourself, Agent Pallas. But if you poke around in my bank accounts, you better have either a court order or one hell of a defense attorney.” She nodded at Joe in good-bye. “Agent Dobbs.” Then she turned and left without further word.
Joe watched her go. “I know you’re angry, Jack, and I’m mad as hell, too, but be careful. Cameron Lynde might be new to the office, but she’s still an assistant U.S. attorney. Probably not such a good idea to accuse her of corruption.”
Barely listening, Jack said nothing. All he could think about was one thing.
Two years of his life down the f**king drain.
Joe sprang into action. “All right—I’m going to talk to Davis,” he said, referring to their boss, the special agent in charge. “I’ll see if I can find out what’s really going on.” He walked over and put his hand on Jack’s shoulder. “In the meantime, you need to calm the hell down. Go home, go get drunk, whatever—just get out of this office before you say anything else you’ll regret.”
Jack nodded.
Two years.
In the elevator on his way out, he stared numbly at the doors, wondering if Cameron Lynde had any clue what he’d gone through to get all that evidence that she had just rendered meaningless. Yes, his cover had been blown, but only because—in a move that was two parts plain stupid and one part a piss-fight over jurisdiction—the DEA had sent in their own undercover agent to make contact with Martino. Jack had figured out who the guy was in all of about five seconds. It took Martino ten.
He’d ordered Jack to kill him.
Now Jack had done a lot of not-so-nice things in order to maintain his cover while working for Martino, but up to that point he’d always managed to avoid actually killing anyone. But this time Martino wanted the agent’s body brought back to him—he planned to send a message to the DEA—and no amount of craftiness could get Jack out of having to produce an actual corpse. So he stalled. He was on his way to meet the DEA agent, warn him, and get them both the hell out of Dodge, when Martino’s men grabbed them.
They killed the DEA agent immediately. Martino stuck to his plan and had his men dump the body on the Chicago DEA office’s doorstep that night.
With Jack, he was less forgiving.
Enough said.
On the second day of Jack’s captivity, however, Martino’s men made a fatal mistake.
Actually, it was one man in particular who made the mistake: Vincent, one of Martino’s interrogators, wanted to take his questioning up a notch and decided to untie Jack’s hands. Sure, he immediately re-disabled one of those hands by ramming a nine-inch carving knife all the way through Jack’s forearm, pinning it to the chair. But he momentarily left his other hand free.
For such stupidity, Martino surely would’ve killed Vincent himself. That is, if Jack hadn’t choked the guy with his free hand, slid the knife back out of his forearm, and beaten him to it.
Luckily for Jack, Vincent had been carrying a gun along with his knife. Also lucky for Jack was the fact that he had been trained in Special Forces to skillfully handle a gun with either hand.
These things, however, were not as fortuitous for Martino’s men. True, one of them was lucky enough to shoot Jack in the middle of the gunfight that ensued, but he certainly didn’t live long enough to brag about it.
But unlike his men, Martino himself seemed to have all the luck in the world. Not only was he not among the eight dead bodies FBI backup collected when they finally showed up at the warehouse, but apparently, Lady Luck was smiling down on him a second time when she steered his case into the inexperienced hands of Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde.
Two years of his life down the drain.
Jack didn’t want to believe it. But she said that the decision not to prosecute was hers. And if that was true, then . . . the hell with her.
The elevator hit the ground floor and the doors sprang open. Jack stepped out and was immediately accosted by a throng of reporters. Unfortunately, this was not an unusual occurrence; he unwittingly had become the focus of media attention after the shoot-out at the warehouse—eight dead gangsters tended to pique people’s interests—and ever since, reporters had come calling whenever Martino’s name popped up in the news.