Forced Alliance(7)

By: Lenora Worth

Connor cleared his throat and whispered close, “But we’ve got him right where we want him. He believes you’re here to help us. And...he’s kind of holding this over my head, if you get my drift.”

“How did you get involved, anyway?” she asked while she did another visual of the well-lit gardens and the too-dark tree line. Even with guard dogs, someone with criminal intent could get in here. “He and you should have been inside, finishing up with what we hope is the information we’ve all been waiting for.”

“I was on my way in when this happened. I’d just turned into the parking garage.” He glanced back at the double front doors. “I saw Armond standing there with his mistress. Which was so not like Armond. Then I saw the woman fall to the ground. I backed out of the garage and floored it to Armond. He was leaning over her in shock, a gun in his hand.”

“You saw him shoot her?”

“No. I saw him leaning over her with a gun. But when he looked around and glanced up to the rooftop above them, I figured a sniper had done it.”

“So you stopped to chat?”

“I stopped and called out to him to get in my car. His guards hurried to surround him, but he turned and came around my car and jumped inside. Told me to drive.”

“Why did you take that chance?” she asked, wondering if he’d thought this through. “You should have called me right away.”

“He seemed especially grateful to have a getaway car, and his guards scattered, so I had to do something. Then he held a gun to my head,” Connor replied. He shrugged as if this whole affair was nothing much. “Two thoughts entered my mind. One, he wanted me to get him out of there, and two, he was so erratic, he might decide to shoot me if I didn’t do his bidding.”

Ignoring his cool explanation, she asked, “And you didn’t think to call this in to 911?”

“Look, I’ve been tailing him when I could. I know I’m supposed to stay out of sight but I was so close to getting him for good last year. And tonight, well, I thought this would finally be over. This was supposed to be the last time I had to deal with the man.”

He put a hand against one of the colossal columns and gave her a blue-eyed stare. “I didn’t think. I just went after him before he got shot, too. If he gets himself killed, we’ll never get the information and evidence we need to get to the real power behind his empire.”

“Great. So now I’m an unofficial accomplice to two of my informants leaving the scene of a murder?”

“He didn’t kill her,” Connor replied. “He was with her, but he didn’t kill her. The kill shot hit her clean and right between the eyes, and I didn’t hear the shot. That means it came from a distance and it was silenced. He did pull out his gun, so someone could have seen that and misinterpreted it.”

She doubted him already. She wasn’t confident in the plan to come out here, since Connor had been the one to mastermind it. Josie liked to be in control, so her first few weeks on the job at her new assignment were not going as she’d planned. She couldn’t afford to mess up another big case with a wanted suspect. And yet, she’d gone way beyond the call of duty by convincing her boss that she needed to see this through. Now, why was that?

Maybe it had been the hard-edged request from Connor over the phone, or it could now be the serious glint in Connor’s storm-blue eyes. Why did they seem so much darker in the moonlight? And why in the world should she trust this man?

Well, the higher-ups—excluding Sherwood, of course—seemed to dote on him and praised his services, assuring her that Connor Randall had turned over a new leaf. Since she didn’t always believe in second chances or quick change-of-heart turnovers, she found that hard to swallow. She was about to test that theory.

Could she be sure? Lord, grant me wisdom.

“What do you expect me to do, besides haul you both in?”

Connor gave her that steady, level stare that worked on most other women. “I expect you to do your job. We have one of the most notorious mobsters in this country in there waiting for us to help him out of a sticky situation. And we don’t have much of a choice, the way I see it.” He leaned close, his smile as enticing as the moonlight. “And we could both use a break, don’t you think?”

Josie pushed at her hair, rattled that he knew her history about as well as she knew his. Okay, so they both had trust issues. And the need to clear a few bad marks. “Yeah, there is that.”

He must have sensed her doubts. “Look, I appreciate this. You’re with me. You’re safe.”

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