Under the Radar (MM)
Life for Lou Travis changed drastically when, as Carlo Farro, he turned state's evidence on the two mobsters he worked for. He didn't know, when he was put into the WITSEC program, that he would end up falling in love with the marshal tasked with protecting him.
Walter Brooks certainly didn't expect love to come into his life in the form of a small-time drug trafficker. But it did. Now, under the name Wayne Bourke, he, his adopted daughter Rae, and Lou own a protection business -- and have for the last seventeen years.
Suddenly their lives change when Regotti, one of the mobsters Lou testified against, is released from prison. The man wants Lou dead. Can Lou, Wayne, and Rae stop him from finding them and putting his deadly plan into motion?
“I am not ruling your lives, but damn it, we have to find out who broke in, and soon.” Rae stood in the middle of her living room, practically glaring at her fathers.
Lou shot a look at Wayne and grinned, mouthing, “Told you so.”
“Seventeen years ago, and you were right.”
“About what?” Rae asked.
“Nothing, Rae,” Lou said innocently. “And yes, we do need figure out who it was. The question is, how?”
“We’ll know if they try again,” Wayne pointed out, “Which might or might not happen, depending on why he was there.”
“My feeling is, if it was Goretti’s people, they’d have been at your house as well,” Rae said. “If they know about the business, then they have to know everything.”
“Not necessarily,” Wayne said. “If they did, they’d have come after Lou long before this. As Lou pointed out, it could have been a fishing expedition, probably by someone sent by Regotti. With him getting out on parole for good behavior --" he snorted, "-- just over a month ago, he could finally be putting some real effort into searching for Lou. The kind he couldn’t do from behind bars. We know, at least according to our sources, that Goretti has had more important things on his platter the last few years. Yeah, he was out for Lou's blood when Regotti and DeMarco were convicted, and their parts of his organization were busted up -- until he realized he had to rebuild them. Then he had to hold onto his empire in the face of competition from the Mexican drug cartels. At that point, searching for Lou undoubtedly became a non-issue. Then Regotti was released.”
Rae nodded, finally sitting down. “If that’s the case, what could have tipped Regotti off that Lou might be here?”
“That, my dear, is the big question, and the reason I’m not buying into it’s being me they were looking for.” Lou held up a hand when it seemed as if she was going to protest. “I’m not counting it out, but I think we have to look at our clients first. Every one of them either has someone who wants to know where they are, or who would like to know when they’d be most vulnerable to attack.”
Wayne nodded. “We need to bait a trap somehow to get our intruder to come back. Rae, you said there’ve been hacking attempts on Lou’s computer. Which files in particular, do you remember?”
She closed her eyes for a moment then nodded. “There have been three attempts in the last two days to get into the Macintosh files, and a very concerted effort by someone to get their hands on information about Mr. Smith.”
“All right.” Wayne tapped his fingers together. “What could we put out there that would make our man return?” He turned to Lou. “What’s wrong?”
Lou was staring off into space, frowning deeply. Now he said, “The thumbprint pads.”
“Yeah, and ... oh hell!”
“Yep. The rest was just a ruse. He, whoever it was Regotti used -- and I'd bet my bottom dollar it was one of his people -- wanted to find proof that I’m, that I was Carlo Farro. All he had to do was lift our prints off the pads. Faster and easier than dusting the room for them, and it wouldn't have left any suggestion that that's what he was after."
"True," Wayne agreed. "Since logically you and I are the only ones who touch them -- and just our own."
"Exactly. He gets our prints, Regotti will check them out, and end up with the proof he was looking for. His punk trashed the waiting room to throw us off and keep us running around in circles trying to figure out what he was after.”
Wayne was on his feet even before Lou finished talking. “Rae, pack a bag, we’re all getting out of here, now.”
“And going where?” she asked as she headed to her bedroom.
“We’ll figure that out once we’re on the move -- as well as how they homed in on us in the first place. That should not have happened, even as conjecture.”
Rae was back five minutes later, telling them, “We’re not using your car, so we’ll go out the back way.”
“You think?” Lou said with a tight smile.
She chuckled. “Sometimes, Pop, sometimes.”
The back exit led directly to the building’s parking garage. After making certain they were the only ones there at the moment, they got into Rae’s car and took off.