Hell on Wheels
been working for the Wilmington School District for over twenty-two years.”
    “No.” She was already shaking her head before he could finish. “I know the difference between black and blue. This vehicle was black, jet black. And the guy behind the wheel was closer to thirty-five than sixty-five.”
    “Yeah,” Dan intoned. “It couldn’t be that easy.”
    “What?” she asked.
    “The first thing any professional operator would do while on a stake-out or doing reconnaissance is switch out license plates.”
    “Oh,” her shoulders hunched. She’d been so proud of getting that picture. And it was all for nothing. “So that’s that then.”
    “Not necessarily,” Frank assured her. “We’ve got a couple of strings we can pull and see what unravels. Now, I know you’re tired, but I need you to concentrate.”
    She dragged herself upright and nodded, using every bit of self-discipline she possessed to keep functioning even though her stomach ached, her sleep-deprived brain operated through a sticky film of tar, and she really, really needed a little privacy to indulge in a good cry. Not to mention the fact that all the Coke made her need to pee like a Russian racehorse.
    “Did Grigg send you anything out of the ordinary? A file, a letter? Perhaps even a package?”
    She chewed on her bottom lip, wracking her sluggish brain. “No,” she finally shook her head. “Nothing.”

Chapter Six
    “I’ve had no opportunity, sir.”
    The impertinent tone coming through the phone made Senator Aldus’s blood pressure threaten to shoot through the roof like Old Faithful.
    His doctor warned him to cut his stress levels. How the hell he was supposed to do that when he was surrounded by imbeciles was anyone’s guess. If he looked in the mirror right now, his face would probably be the same burgundy color as the dress his wife decided—after much hand-twisting and hem-hawing—to wear to tonight’s charity ball.
    His wife…
    He’d married her almost twenty years ago for her political connections and bourgeois status. And he’d grown to hate her more and more each day since.
    Just thinking of her made the thick vein in his forehead pulse in time to the beat of his heart.
    “What the fuck do you mean you’ve had no opportunity? She’s been there nearly twelve hours!” The plastic casing of his cellular phone crackled in warning, and he took a deep breath in order to make himself release the death-grip he had on the device before he crushed it in his hand.
    “Miss Morgan hasn’t left Black Knights Inc.’s premises.”
    “So?” Aldus couldn’t help it; he once more tightened his grip on the phone and wished like hell it was the stupid shit’s neck. What good did it do to hire an ex-spook when the sonofabitch couldn’t do something as simple as a little snatch and grab? Obviously the CIA was losing its touch if this was the caliber of agent it was churning out nowadays.
    “Pardon my saying so, sir, but you’re not paying me enough to break into Black Knights Inc. It might look like nothing more than a high-tech, highly secured custom motorcycle shop from the outside, but I’ve studied the schematics of the place, and it’s a goddamned fort. If all they’re doing is building bikes in there, I’ll eat my jockey shorts for dinner.”
    Aldus’s wife poked her head into his home office, her ice-blond hair arranged to perfection, the diamond clusters he’d bought her for their tenth wedding anniversary—because he had to keep up appearances, even with the missus—glinting in her ears.
    Christ! What now?
    “Sweetheart,” she said in her nasally, upper-crust Boston accent. It screeched down his spine like fingernails on a chalkboard. “Hurry or we’re going to be late.”
    “Just another minute, dear.” He pasted on a smile when he really wanted to throw his lead paperweight at her pretty, insipid face. Just thinking of the snap of those delicate bones and the bright burst of blood had his inauthentic

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