Deep cover DEA agent Landon Cross can’t seem to escape his past. First, his cover is blown by a guy he’d busted in another operation. Then, his rescuer is medic Trey Jernigan, his best childhood friend, first love, and a person Landon betrayed as a teenager.
Now Landon’s life is a mess and so is he, physically and emotionally. Incredibly, Trey forgives Landon and allows his former friend back into his life in all kinds of ways Landon would never have thought possible.
But a crucial decision Landon made while undercover comes back to haunt him. Trey also has to deal with very tangible pieces of his own past. Will Trey and Landon be able to solve their problems and build a life together?
There were four of them in the Cadillac Escalade, if you didn’t count the dead body in the back. Landon drove. Gil Fannon, one of his fellow DEA agents, rode up front beside him. Trey and Joe Thompson rode in the back. Landon was dressed expensively, as was his want when he was Landon Hutchinson. The other three wore black jumpsuits, and carried a heavy array of weaponry. Trey also had a gear bag filled with medical supplies.
“When we get there, Gil and Joe, I want you to grab Yuri and toss him in front of the gate,” said Landon.
“Cross, I can’t figure out if you have balls of steel or you ought to be locked in a padded cell,” said Gil.
Trey could see Landon’s brittle smile in the rear view mirror.
It took them another twenty minutes to reach the estate. Landon pulled the Escalade up to the gate that blocked the driveway. He slid out of the SUV, leaving the door open partway and walked slowly toward the camera and intercom. Pressing the button, he said “Tell Sotolongo that Landon Hutchinson is here with a little gift.”
Landon held up a hand and crooked a couple of fingers at the men still in the vehicle. Gil and Joe got out and opened up the tailgate, hauling the body of Yuri Markov out. Trey sat tight, waiting in apprehension. If someone came out shooting, Trey was prepared to lunge out of the SUV and tackle Landon.
Joe and Gil heaved the body at the base of the gate, then lounged against the front of the SUV near Landon. There was no response for several minutes, then two men armed with submachine guns ambled down the driveway, and stood on the other side of the gate.
“Is that Markov?” asked the taller of the two.
“Why yes it is,” said Landon. “You can tell Sotolongo that I don’t take kindly to people who tell lies about me.”
The man stood glaring at Landon for a long moment, then he gestured for the other man to open the gate. “He’ll see you.”
“On the terrace if you please, things have been strained between us,” Landon said. The man nodded. Landon got back in the SUV and drove up the driveway to the house, running the driver’s side tires over of the vehicle over Yuri’s body as he did so.
At the front of the house, Landon and everyone else got out. They followed Landon to a terrace on the left side of the house where there were several tables and chairs. Landon settled in a chair and crossed his legs. Trey, Joe and Gil spread themselves carefully behind him, hands on weapons. Trey wondered if any minute they were going to be under fire.
A stocky Latino man with a moustache and goatee ambled out onto the terrace accompanied by four other men. Trey recognized Sotolongo and Perez from pictures. The other two he had no idea. He still couldn’t believe Landon was pulling this off. It was like the guy had developed another personality, but then he supposed that was what made the undercover thing work.
“I wondered if you were still alive,” said Sotolongo, settling in a chair opposite Landon. “Yuri said you were a cop.”
“Yuri tells interesting tales, or let’s say he used to,” Landon said.
“Who took you out of my warehouse?”
Sotolongo scanned Trey, Joe and Gil. “Mercs?”
“Associates who can be purchased, so, yes.”
“Indeed. What do you want?”
“Purchase of such specialized assistance is not cheap. I have a business deal for you.” Landon folded his hands across his stomach.
“Continue,” said Sotolongo.
“I have a dozen Nemo Omens. Shall we say two thousand each?”
Landon snapped his fingers and gestured at Gil. Gil went back to the SUV and opened the tailgate again. This time he removed a rifle and brought it to Landon. Another gesture and it was laid on the table.
“Traceable?” asked Sotolongo.
“Oh please, you know me better than that,” Landon said.
“Can you get more?”
“Possibly. It’s uncertain at this time.”
“I’ll give you twelve hundred each,” offered Sotolongo.
“No, try again. I do have other buyers available but they’re less ... liquid.”
“Perhaps, but only if you give me Nina.”
Sotolongo frowned. “She’s mine.”
“Enh, in a manner of speaking. I have grown fond of her and I miss her ... Besides she’s carrying my child,” said Landon.
Suddenly there was a gun aimed at Landon’s head.