“Shit, Scarlet, we’re in over our heads with this. Vartarian ?” he repeated.
“ I am in over my head. You need to steer clear.”
“Like hell. You’re my sister. The Vartarians are powerful, but they’re not killers.” He didn’t sound very convincing.
“I need something on Mercer. To prove he’s responsible for Gina’s murder.” She took a deep breath. “I have an idea. Can you meet me at Dad’s tonight?”
“Dad—good idea.” John visibly relaxed. Their father was a rock. More, he was smart and shrewd and knew far more about LAPD than he talked about.
“I’m going to get Richardson there, too. I need him on board.”
“I should call Matt. He’s close to Bob Vartarian, maybe—”
“No,” she interrupted. “We don’t want to alert the Vartarians.”
“Bob’s a solid prosecutor,” John said. “He has the highest conviction rate, even higher than Matt.”
“I don’t care—he’s part of the family, we can’t risk it. Please, don’t talk to Matt. We need to keep this circle tight.”
“Are you going to bring in your new boyfriend?”
“What?” She was confused. John sounded like he was being critical of her boyfriends, like they were still in high school.
“You were very chummy this morning.”
“Oh, God, I’m not going to talk about my sex life with my brother.”
“He’s a cop.”
John just shook his head and Scarlet ignored his comments. She really didn’t want to discuss her boyfriend with John. She said, “If I bring in Alex, it’s because he has something to offer to the plan. But right now I only need you, Dad, Richardson, Krista and Jason.”
“Jason is in custody.”
“He’s in the hospital. But I’m hoping Richardson will bring him by Dad’s house on his way to lock-up—if they need to lock him up. The problem is he’s not returning my calls.”
“I’ll reach out to him. Just—Sis, you have to be careful here. We still don’t know who tried to kill you three years ago.”
“But I’m closer now than I’ve ever been.” She felt it in her gut. Tony Mercer knew why she’d been targeted. According to John, he knew everything, and he’d been around then. He was a fixer. He would know what was going on in every precinct, not just his. If he was corrupt like Scarlet believed, then he would know not only who shot her, but who put the hit out on her. And why.
Why . That was the million dollar question. She couldn’t think of anything she’d known then that would have gotten her killed. She’d taken out some bad-ass criminals, but no one who had the ability to put out a hit on her and get away with it. Especially not something as elaborate as using her partner’s name to send her to that warehouse.
She simply had to convince Tony Mercer to tell her the truth.
But she wasn’t going to mention that to her brother, not yet.
She looked at her watch. “Seven tonight. Call Dad, give him the heads up for me.”
“Where are you going?”
“It’s better if you don’t know.” She opened the door.
“Scarlet Rose Moreno!”
She froze. “I can not believe you said that out loud. Payback is going to be a bitch, little brother.” Her mother must have been on drugs when she named her. As if Scarlet wasn’t bad enough. But Scarlet Rose? Seriously?
“Seven,” she said and slammed the door.
~ ~ ~
Scarlet was sitting outside Tony Mercer’s precinct, worried about her conversation with Krista. It had been brief.
“You’re out of your fucking mind,” Krista had said after she told her what she planned to do.
“Trust me,” Scarlet said. “Seven o’clock, okay?”
“I’ll be there.” Then she cut off the call.
So, the plan wasn’t really well thought out. But it was a plan, of sorts.
Her cell phone rang two minutes after Krista hung up on her. It was an unknown number.
“It’s Greg Norton. Sykes just got off the phone. I don’t know who he called, but I have the number.”