Cameron Andrews of the Baltimore PD went to prison as part of a deep undercover sting. Having exposed the drug cabal in the prison, she has been released on parole. But before Cam has time to pick up the pieces of her life, the drug ring recruits her to join their operation on the outside.
Since Cam and her handlers don't know who runs the drug operation, this is a welcome, if unexpected, windfall. The team leaps into action, and soon Cam is learning about the people involved, the manufacturing of the drugs, and the delivery routes.
But things are perilous. Her parole officer starts asking uncomfortable questions, and her relationship with Michael is difficult because, though they are deeply committed to one another, they live in different cities. And when the ring is busted and Cam escapes capture, the suspicions of the gang leaders zero in on Cam.
Can she manage to deflect suspicion and stay undercover before she ends up back in prison ... or dead?
Wednesday night right at six, Cam walked into the little Italian family restaurant. It was on the corner of the block and took up most of the ground floor of the entire structure. She scanned the clientele as she approached the hostess.
The hostess guided her to a small table where a young man was seated with his back to the wall. He looked to be in his late twenties, early thirties, close to Cam’s age. He had dark brown hair perfectly groomed. His suit looked like designer quality.
“Ms. Andrews,” he said, standing to offer his hand. Cam shook it and sat opposite him. “I’m Blake Alexander. I’m very happy to meet you.” His style was very smooth. You could tell he knew how to get what he wanted. “I’ve taken the liberty of ordering a bottle of Merlot. It goes quite well with all Italian food.”
“A nice wine,” she complimented him as he poured some into her glass. Cam took a sip.
“It’s nice to finally meet you, Ms. Andrews,” Blake started to say. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Not everything, I hope.” Cam looked at him warily.
“I’m sure not everything,” he answered, “but enough to make me interested in your abilities.”
“My abilities?” Cam asked.
“I understand you used to work for the BPD.”
“Where did you hear that?” Cam still wasn’t sure what she should admit to.
Blake grinned. “The internet has quite a bit about you,” he said with a satisfied smile on his face.
“Oh, that,” Cam murmured with disgust.
“I’ve also been told a lot about you.”
A waiter walked up to their table.
“Are you ready to order?” he asked.
“Yes,” Cam answered without opening a menu. “I’d like the clams casino and the chicken louis.”
Blake smiled. “I see you’ve been here before.”
“Yes, it’s my best friend’s favorite restaurant.”
Blake seemed happy with that. Then he turned to the waiter. “I’ll start with the calamari, then the veal marsala.”
“Excellent choices,” the waiter said as he walked away.
Blake looked at her. “Ms. Andrews ... may I call you Cameron?”
Cam nodded with a smile. “May I call you Blake?”
Blake smiled. “It’s a lot easier to start as friends, isn’t it?”
“As long as it stays that way,” was Cam’s response. “I expected Dave to be here, too.”
“No, it’s better we talk privately.”
Cam waited. What was so secret?
Blake took a device out of his pocket. “I hope you don’t mind if I scan you for weapons or wires.”
“Not at all,” Cam responded. “I’m not allowed to carry anymore.”
Blake surreptitiously pointed the device at her. When it didn’t respond, he put it back in his pocket.
“We seem to have a mutual friend who thinks we’d be advantageous to each other,” he stated as he adjusted his suit coat.
“And who is that?”
“Someone you impressed these past few months.”
“Really? I hope I impressed more than one.”
“I’m sure you did, but one of them is much more important than the others. She’s very powerful outside the prison.”
Hmm, thought Cam. Is this something I can use? “And who might that be?”
Blake smiled. “Ruth Tarlow.”
“Ruth?” she asked as she looked up.
“Yes, she said you were tough and smart; probably too smart.”
Cam chuckled. Ruth Tarlow was the head, the daddy, of the prison family that handled the cocaine traffic that ran through the prison. For a short while, Cam had been one of her lieutenants. Cam had been the one to oversee the shipments that hid the cocaine being sold outside the prison.
Cam nodded. “Where is she now?” she asked. Ruth had gotten caught in the DEA sting that had stopped the drugs from going into and out of the prison. All the women that had been there that day had been transferred to more secure prisons and several years added to their sentences.
“At a max in Oregon, doing ten more.”
Cam shook her head. “I’m sorry about that. It would have been me. If I hadn’t been in the hospital, I’d be doing at least ten more, too.”
“Yes, she told me about that,” Blake said quietly. “How are you feeling now?”
“It still hurts from time to time, but there wasn’t any permanent damage.” Cam had been attacked in the rest room by a woman she had arrested and put in prison. She had surprised Cam with a knife into her ribcage. Cam had spent a couple weeks first in the city hospital and then in the prison infirmary.
“Ruth said you killed her.”
Cam nodded. “I had to. It was her or me.” She glanced at him. Obviously he was waiting for her to continue. “She was going to slit my throat,” Cam continued. “She’d been challenging me the entire time I was there. She wouldn’t leave me alone.”
“Do you always kill those who challenge you?”
Cam smiled at him, sardonically. “Not the first time they try it.”
“That’s good to know.” Blake laughed heartily. “Had you killed before that?”
Cam took a deep breath. “Why? Is that the job I’m interviewing for?”
“No, no, no,” Blake said. “I wondered how squeamish you were.”
“I spent six years with the BPD and almost another in Hagerville. I’ve been shot twice and stabbed. I’ve had to kill when I was on the force and again in prison. I didn’t like it but it was necessary. I don’t think there’s anyone who could last that long if they were squeamish. I may not have seen it all, but I’ve seen most of it.”
“Yes, Ruth was right about you. I think you’ll fit in quite well.”
“Fit in well, where?” Cam was still a little leery about this whole thing.