Wolf at the Door

Erin O'Reilly

© Erin O'Reilly 2009

Part Two


This story features relationships between adult women. If this bothers you, is illegal in the State, Province, or Country where you live or if you are under the age of 18, find something else to read. There are loads of general stories out there.

Please note: There is a brief scene of rape in part one of this story.

Language: There is the use of expletives.

Violence: There is violence in this story.

Hurt/Comfort: There are scenes of heartache to be dealt with by the characters.

E-mail Erin

Chapter Five

Parker caught up to McCrea just as he entered what appeared to be a conference room. She saw a round highly polished table made out of cherry. Six of the eight cherry chairs with high backs and leather seats had people sitting in them. She recognized Ava Dupree and Peter, the man she followed-the rest, all who looked much too young to be DOCO operatives, she didn't know. Remington Wolf, sitting in the chair toward the back of the room glared at her as she took a seat.

"Now that we're all here," she said looking directly at Parker, "we can begin." She nodded in the direction of one of the young operatives and he stood and began handing out file folders to everyone.

Looking around the table at the folders the other operatives got, Parker looked surprised. Her folder had two pages while the others had thick folders. Her eyes went immediately to the Wolf and found the cold green eyes fixed on her. She gulped at the hatred she saw there.

All eyes turned to Wolf-her persona exuded confidence and undeniable power.

"I've received word that the buy will take place in three hours. This move by Castellan isn't unexpected since in the past the buys I made came shortly after my meeting with the man. It would have been to our advantage to conduct our business in the dark of night." She raised her eyebrows. "But, we don't have that luxury. I have revised the plan to accommodate this new twist. You will find the details in your folders." She paused for a moment while each person opened the folders. "We have run through this scenario enough that this minor inconvenience won't hinder the operation. Our informants were correct as to the meeting sight so that too is in our favor. I fully expect the mission to go off just as we planned."

"What plan?" Parker asked.

"McCrea will be with me as we make the buy. Edwards, will be my driver. Javier, Adder, and Covington you know your position and what to do if something goes wrong. Davis, you're with Dupree who is in charge. She's also the back-up shooter. When you get to the sight you will receive the missing components to your weapon."

As Parker rode with Dupree to where they would set up their weapons, she was having a hard time containing her emotions. She was now someone who took orders instead of giving them. Once the Wolf had stopped giving the briefing, she was about to open her mouth and object but the Wolf's words sounded in her head. I don't need you. The briefing gave her the proof she needed. Although everyone else at the briefing knew the details of an elaborate plan to assassinate Carlos Castellan, a major cog in drug trafficking, she was in the dark. All she knew is that she had a prototype long range rifle with a key component missing. It wouldn't be until she was in place that she would receive the part. Other than that, she had no clue about the operation. I don't need you began bellowing in her brain and she felt the onslaught of her constant pain escalate. No one needs me. All bravado slowly ebbed from her being. I don't need you.

Parker and Ava Dupree stood in a room of a five story building that had a direct view to the warehouse where the buy was to occur. "This is all wrong. How do you expect me to make a shot that you say is about a mile away without knowing the wind speeds, elevation, and exact distance? The variables are so numerous I can't even begin to decipher them all in the short amount of time the Wolf's given me. On top of that, if the bullet is to penetrate the wall of the building then I'll need to account for that fact. It doesn't seem to me that anyone has thought this through to its conclusion. "

Ava shook her head and pulled out a small item that looked like some sort of circuit board and didn't look like anything Parker had seen for her long range rifle. "This attaches to the scope," she said pointing to the rifle Parker was setting up. "It will answer all your questions."

Once Parker affixed the missing part of her rifle and inserted the firing pin, she measured and made a hole in three different areas of the wooden floor before settling in the spiked feet that held the rifle in place. Lying on her stomach, programmed in the coordinates of the building then looked through the rifle's scope. To her amazement, she could see through the building's exterior wall. As she began to adjust the knobs for the trajectory, she furrowed her brow when the rifle automatically began making all the necessary adjustments for wind and elevation. The optics was so amazing that she could see the small print on a crate in the building-her trigger finger twitched.

They had earpieces and mics, which relieved some of Parker's annoyance at not knowing completely about the mission. She heard the chatter between the other members until everything went quiet when the Wolf spoke.

"It's a go," the cold impersonal voice said.

Dupree looked through a long range telescope. "They're in there now. Can you see them, Davis?"

Parker moved the rifle and watched through the scope until she had clear vision of the Wolf with McCrea standing opposite Castellan and Vince, the men who raped her. She let out an audible growl. "Yes, I see them all," she said in a low dangerous voice. She moved the rifle slightly and saw Castellan's head in the crosshairs as the rifle set automatically.

"Do you remember the command to take your shot?"

Glaring at the woman, Parker said, "I'm not an idiot." She concentrated her attention on the two men who raped her the night before. It's going to be my pleasure to kill you both. When she heard, give him the money, she squeezed the trigger and then moved the rifle fractionally and squeezed again. Through the scope, she watched as her first bullet penetrated Castellan's head before it exploded followed by the second finding its mark in Vince's crotch. Then she saw the Wolf slump and followed McCrea as he picked her up and ran for their vehicle. All hell seemed to break lose as the men that accompanied Castellan fell to the concrete floor.

"What the fuck just happened," Dupree screamed as she and Parker quickly disassembled their equipment.

"Looked like the Wolf got shot," Parker said as they ran to the service elevator.

Once the elevator started its downward motion, Ava said, "Your orders were to only kill Castellan…why two shots?"

Parker shrugged when she saw the woman glaring at her.

"I told Wolf it was a mistake to bring you on board. What the hell did you think you were doing? Fuck. Who else did you kill?"

"His number two...the man raped me," Parker whispered.

Ava smacked the back of Parker's head. "That doesn't mean you don't have to follow orders. You've done worse. Shit happens, Davis, especially in this job. Get over it."

Their headsets began to crackle. "The Wolf is down. We are under attack."

"Location?" Ava asked in a calm voice.

"The west side of the warehouse."

"How many?

"It's just me and Edwards."

"Team one do you read me?"

The elevator finally stopped and Parker pulled the rope that let the wooden doors part. Picking up their bags, they ran full out to their van.

"Team one," Ava said again. "Shit!" She jammed the keys into the ignition and within seconds, they were roaring down the street toward their entrenched colleagues. Parker took the rifle out, reassembled it, and then slid a Glock into a side pocket of her pants. A few minutes later, the van skidded to a stop next to the dark Town Car that belonged to the Wolf.

Parker scanned the area and saw Edwards crouched behind the trunk of the vehicle firing volleys of bullets toward the other side of the building. In the middle were the bodies of Castellan and Vince along with the money and the cocaine. When she looked to the front of the Town Car, she saw the bodies of the three other operatives lying motionless on the concrete. She turned to Ava and said, "Check on the Wolf," as she approached Edwards-the left arm of his shirt was full of blood.

"There are four of them," Edwards said. "I saw one of them leave right after the bullets started flying. Until their backups come, there's one to the left, one in the middle and two on the right."

Setting up her rifle, Parker set the scope on the two that were in front of her. She rapidly fired two bullets and saw both individuals slumping forward.

Ava scrambled toward Parker. "I've done what I can for Wolf. She's bleeding heavily and needs immediate medical attention."

Parker nodded. "Make your way to the front of the car and see if you can take out the sniper up there on the scaffolding." Once she saw Ava in position, she focused on the sniper in the middle and squeezed the trigger-the body fell. Suddenly, a rapid volley of bullets pummeled her position. Looking toward Ava, she saw the woman lying in a pool of blood. With a sneer, Parker found the last sniper and let loose with her own stream of bullets-silence-then a body plummeted to the concrete.

Edwards said, "I've called clean-up. Get Wolf out of here and to somewhere safe. I saw one of Castellan's men leave right after he was shot so they are sure to be after her." He handed Parker a small square device. "You can contact me with this."

"Will you be ok?" Parker asked.

"Yeah, it looks like they're all dead."

Standing up and taking out her Glock, Parker said, "I'll make sure." She sprinted across the warehouse, stopped at Castellan and Vince's bodies. Castellan was dead but the other man was staring up at her as he tried to speak-her Glock was her voice as she shot him in the head. After making sure the others were dead, Parker went back to the Town Car and opened the door. "I've got to get you out of here," she said to the Wolf.

"Where are the others?" Wolf's ragged voice asked.

"They're all dead but Edwards. He's contacted clean-up and told me to get you to a safe house." She examined the gunshot wound on the upper left quadrant of the Wolf's back. She could see where someone, maybe Ava, had used Quick Clot on the wound-it wasn't bleeding heavily and she took that as a plus. Putting her hand under the Wolf's shoulders, she asked, "Can you walk?"

Swallowing hard, Wolf nodded and with Parker's help got out of the vehicle. Several minutes later, she was lying in the back of the van on a soft pallet before her eyes closed.

Confident that the Wolf was secure, Parker set a small square device on the dashboard of the van and pressed a button-a green light came on. For now, she'd jammed any signals the van might be sending out-DOCO had the penchant for bugging all their vehicles. Shifting the gear into drive, she pressed the gas pedal and quickly left the warehouse for her safe house.

Chapter Six

The van Parker was driving westward, turned off the highway, and stopped. She jumped out and unlocked the padlock on the gate then punched in several numbers on a number pad discretely hidden in the fencing. Once she drove the van to the other side, she returned and pressed the numbers again. The vehicle bumped over ruts and grooves as a cloud of dust followed closely behind it for a mile before the van came to a stop. An old adobe building looking disheveled and neglected stood among a thick stand of cactus, yucca, sage, and Johnson grass.

Parker turned the key and the engine noise no longer competed with the silence of its surroundings. Once she opened the door, oppressing heat assaulted her-she restarted the engine-the heat wouldn't be good for the Wolf. She then walked quickly to the oak front door of the home, unlocked it and pushed the heavy door open that let out a loud groan. The cool of the interior enveloped her as she entered closing the door behind her and stood silently as her eyes and ears searched for signs that anything was amiss-there wasn't. Wasting no time, she went to the bedroom at the back of the home. Days earlier, she had set up the room to use as a makeshift hospital room and, if needed, as a surgery suite. Satisfied that everything was in order, Parker made her way to the van and the injured Wolf.

Remington Wolf opened her eyes, scanned the interior of the van, and then frowned. Trying to get up she felt pain shoot through her upper left chest and back with such force that she immediately returned to the prone position. Her eyes tracked to the van's sliding side door when she heard it sliding open and furrowed her brow when she saw Parker Davis. Gulping back the pain, she cleared her throat and in the strongest voice she could muster, she said, "Where the hell am I?"

Parker leaned into the van. "At a safe house. We need to get you inside and take a look at your gunshot wound." Her eyes locked on the Wolf's eyes. "Do you think you can walk?"

Remington weighed her options-she needed help but Davis was a loose cannon. Can I trust her or will I end up like Olivia? She recalled her friend telling her about Parker Davis abducting her and drugging her. She moved slightly and winced at the pain she felt. "Yeah, I can walk." Struggling to sit up, she vowed not to let Davis see her pain. Ignoring the proffered hand, she scooted to the edge of the van, called on all her strength and willpower, and stood up.

Grabbing the injured woman by the waist, Parker led her into the house and the waiting bedroom. She gently led the Wolf to the bed and said, "Lay down on your side. I need to secure the van then I'll be back and take care of that wound."

Wolf nodded and lowered her body onto the bed. She knew that taking care of her injuries wasn't a priority. Making sure that no one would find them followed by contacting DOCO were the main concerns. She let her eyes travel around the room. In one corner sat a metal table that looked to her like something that she'd seen in the operating room back at the house in Austin. She also saw a monitor for an IV and a pile that looked like disposable scrubs. "Is a doctor coming," she slurred before her eyes closed.

Parker moved the van to a three sided adobe building and then pulled down a large piece of canvas over the opened end. After she'd seen to the Wolf's injury, she'd come back and see if anything in the van was usable.

Standing in the area between the building and the house, she surveyed her surroundings. She could see scrub and cactus for miles but no other house or human being. Parker wasn't foolish enough to think that just because it looked desolate meant she and the Wolf were alone. The words of one of the snipers in the warehouse had her squinting in all directions. We know who you are Stella. You can't hide from us Wolf. Edwards said one of Castellan's men got away which meant that the cartel was aware of what happened. "That means they might be at her house." Parker pursed her lips. "It also could mean there is a mole at DOCO." Satisfied that no one seemed to be in the area, she went toward the house. Inside she'd set up a defense shield after she checked on the Wolf.

Standing in the threshold, Parker saw that the Wolf seemed to be sleeping. She turned away, took several steps, and opened a door to a small closet. Inside, she looked at several blank monitors. Flipping several switches, the monitors came to life. One streamed video from a small camera at the gate by the road and another captured the images that slow moving camouflaged cameras on the roof that kept an eye on the area and the sky near the house. She pressed one more button and lights began to flicker reds and greens indicating the successful jamming of signals that might concentrate on the house and the surrounding area. Taking a deep breath, she blew it out slowly. "Now, on to the Wolf."

With great care, Parker peeled off the Wolf's clothes covering each part as it was exposed. She always took the opportunity to admire a woman's body but for some unknown reason she had no reaction. "When did I stop checking out naked women's bodies?" She considered that it was probably because the night they spent at Barraca Club and the humiliation she felt when the Wolf let the two men rape her. She isn't worth my time.

DOCO made sure that each of its operatives had extensive knowledge in what to do in the field when they were injured. Parker would need all that knowledge if she were going to save the Wolf. As she began examining the wound, she thought back to less than twenty-four hours ago and the cold uncaring look on the Wolf's face. "It would be so easy to let you die," she whispered as she moved to the opposite side of the bed where a tray with Ringer's and an IV setup. For a moment, she stood with the needle for the IV in her hand and looked down at the Wolf. "I won't get back in the Company's good graces if I do." She then gently pushed the needle into the back of the Wolf's hand then hooked up the line to the solution.

With her hand, she felt the woman's forehead and was relieved that she didn't seem excessively warm. Filling a syringe with an antibiotic, she inserted the needle in the line and then filled another syringe with Demerol and injected it into Wolf's backside. Satisfied, she moved to the bathroom where she scrubbed her hands and nails before going back to the Wolf. Cautiously, Parker pulled out the Quick Clot Gauze and was glad to see that there wasn't a gush of blood. After cleaning the wound area with Betadine, she injected lidocaine around the site. Sucking in a deep breath she gradually move forceps deeper into the wound until she felt the bullet. Once she removed the bullet, she quickly stitched the wound and covered it with gauze.

Parker woke with a start and after her eyes adjusted to the lack of light, she saw the Wolf thrashing about in her bed. Walking quickly over to the woman, she pressed back of her hand to a sweat soaked forehead-hot. In no time, she was at the other side of the bed filling a syringe with more antibiotics. Just as she was about to inject the drug into the line a strong hand grasped her wrist.

"I won't let you do to me what you did to Olivia," Remington growled even though her body was shaking.

"Listen," Parker replied, "You can either let go of my hand so I can help you or, you can see if you body can fight off the infection before you die-your choice."

Wolf increased the pressure of her hand around Parker's wrist. "Where's my gun," her gravelly voice asked.

Nodding in the direction of the bedside table, Parker said, "Over there."

Remington's long arm stretched then she secured her gun. Pulling back the slide, and engaged a bullet, she narrowed her eyes. "Don't try anything funny," she said pointing the gun at Parker before she dropped her grip on the woman's wrist.

"Wouldn't think of it." Parker pushed the plunger down and the antibiotics mixed with the bag of hanging fluid. Her eyes took in the Wolf-I can overpower her with one hand tied behind my back. She saw the Wolf's eyelids grow heavy as she struggled to stay awake. "Night night," she whispered as she carefully took the gun and laid it back on the bedside table. No way was she going to let the Wolf die-she was her ticket back to DOCO.

Parker stood in the kitchen looking out the window at a helicopter that passed by the house for the third time. She recognized the search pattern for what it was and didn't panic-she had engaged blocking devices that covered both the house and perimeter for a hundred yards. Still, she was concerned. Her monitoring of the helicopter told her that it was equipped with sophisticated instruments that tried, but failed, to penetrate her defenses. It had come down to a chess game of who had the better strategy.

Once the helicopter moved further away, Parker went to the command center located in a closet in the main hallway. The data from the probes that the helicopter's equipment used to scan the house and surrounding area told her that all the information gathered was that the house was unoccupied-she and the Wolf were safe for the moment.

Chapter Seven

Remington's eyes slowly opened. She saw the IV stand and the bag of liquid attached to it and then turned her head toward the lone chair in the room where she saw Parker Davis every time she opened her eyes. Davis wasn't there and that somehow bothered Remington more that she wanted to admit. Closing her eyes, she tried to recall all the events that brought her to Davis of all people taking care of her.

She recalled the warehouse and seeing the top of Castellan's head explode and as she fell to the ground, a bullet exploded in his bodyguard's groin. It was at that moment that she knew Davis hadn't followed orders, but she didn't have time to dwell on that since bullets seemed to fly all around her. Both she and McCrea kept low as they scrambled for the cover their vehicle would provide. When McCrea screamed, she knew he took a bullet but didn't take the time to look at him as she hit the ground when she felt blazing hot pierce her skin. Doing a belly crawl, she made it to the other side of the Town Car where Edwards met her. She remembered being in the vehicle and Ava taking care of her. Ava is dead…they all are. From the deepest recesses of her mind, she recalled a cool wet cloth on her forehead and the gentle touch to her cheek. Parker Davis's hand had caressed her so softly that she had a hard time reconciling that with the woman who did unspeakable things to Olivia Santos. How can that be?

When she heard the distinctive sounds of a helicopter, Remington's attention turned to the present. What was uppermost in her mind-find out where she was then contact DOCO. Knowing what she did, there was no way she was going to spend any extended amount of time with Parker Davis.

The door opened.

Remington looked at Parker and scowled. "Where the hell am I? How long have I been here?" she demanded.

"I told you," Parker said in a low voice. "You're in a safe house. We've been here for two days."

"This isn't a DOCO safe house…I know them all."

"No, it isn't. This is my safe house. I have them all over the world."

With her eyebrows touching, Remington gave the woman a curious look. "You didn't know in time to get this ready for this operation. As far as I know you never have operated in this area."

"Actually, I did. I was part of a strike force against human traffickers out of Nuevo Laredo."

Remington hated being in a position of weakness especially if the stronger person was Davis. Mustering all her reserves, she said in a low gravelly voice, "Get me to a DOCO safe house now."

"Can't do that."

Her mind scrambled for ways to escape. "Why?" Remington asked as trepidation filled her mind. "Am I your prisoner?"

Parker shook her head and laughed. "No."

"Then why are you holding me captive?"

With her head shaking, Parker said, "I'm not. I heard one of the snipers say we know who you are Stella. You can't hide from us Wolf. There's a mole in DOCO…did you really want me to take you to a known DOCO safe house?"

After considering all the options, Remington looked at Parker Davis with new eyes. "The helicopters…They're looking for us?"

"My information says it is a cartel search. The signals the copter was sending out were not from DOCO. I have a bubble around the house and surrounding area and for now they can't see us but who's to say if they have more sophisticated monitors and will be back."

Remington pushed back the sheet and attempted to get up-her head spun and she lay back down. "I need to check with DOCO, get me a phone," she ordered.

"You are hardly in a position to give me orders, Wolf," Parker said as she turned to leave.

"Stop," Remington barked before softening her voice. "We need to work together if we are going to get out of this alive."

Slowly turning around, Parker let her gaze fall on the Wolf. "Once you're stronger we can discuss the options. For now, you need to get your strength back…the infection has sucked all the strength out of you." Her eyes focused on the IV bag. "I think you turned the corner last night when your fever spiked before it fell to normal. Let me get you something to eat and we can talk about what happened."

Hating to ask for help, Remington nodded. "I need to use the bathroom."

Parker watched as the Wolf drank chicken broth and ate a small container of jello. "Want more?" When she saw Remington nod no, she took the tray and placed it on the floor. Walking around the bed to the IV stand, Parker said, "You don't need this anymore," before she gently removed the needle that was in the back of the Wolf's hand. "I have oral antibiotics for you and Norco if you need it for pain."

"I won't need any pain meds."

"Suit yourself." Parker placed two plastic medicine bottles on the table by the bed. "There's no debate over the antibiotic-you must take it-one tablet every twelve hours." She looked at her watch. "That means you need another one around ten tonight."

"How soon before we can get out of here?"

"Don't know it depends on what you find out from DOCO."

Remington looked surprised. "You're going to let me contact them?"

Parker snorted. "Of course I am." Her eyes narrowed. "You're not my prisoner, Wolf. The way I see it we are in this together, but…when you contact DOCO you will need to be extremely careful. I wasn't kidding about the leak."

With contemplative eyes, Remington focused on Parker. "Do we have the capability to contact them from here or do we need to go elsewhere?"

"A satellite sits almost directly overhead. I can turn the cloak we're under off and you can call them but time is critical-you will have two minutes max."

For a long moment, Remington was silent with her lips bunched and her forehead creased. "Is there an internet connection?"

"Yes, but it is under the same time constraint. Once I've lowered the cloaking device this place will be discoverable." Parker looked directly into the Wolf's eyes and held them. "Number one rule-never underestimate anyone or anything. Castellan's people are hunting you and I don't think they will give up easily…they lost the drugs and the money and that can't be sitting too well with those in the cartel."

"Either way the potential is there for someone to discover where we are," Remington offered. "I know that DOCO is constantly monitoring everything. We have to believe that the cartel is doing the same albeit not with the same sophistication." Her mouth bunched again. "There's a secure number I can call that will give me the information I need."

With a quick nod, Parker said, "I'll get the phone."

Confused by Davis's willingness to let her make the call, Remington watched the woman leave the bedroom. The woman wasn't what she expected. From all that Olivia told me, Parker Davis is a cold sadistic bitch who will do whatever is necessary to see that she got what she wanted. Who the hell is in this house with me? She considered that Olivia, who was in drug rehab, was talking through the effects of drug withdrawal and her perceptions were cloudy. But, I know better. She had read all psych analysis on Parker. It is evident that she is more than capable of doing what Olivia alleged and, if pushed, she will do much more. The question is…how do I handle her with the least fallout.

Remington's main goal was to contact her safe source at DOCO and find out exactly what was going on.

Parker entered the room and handed the Wolf a cell phone. "Once you've punched in the number count to ten the press call. I will lower our defenses and will let you know how much time you have left." Her dark eyes fixed on the Wolf. "You have two minutes and even that is too long."

"I know." Remington closed her eyes for a moment as she contemplated the code she would use before pressing the buttons and nodding at Parker. "Ready." When the woman disappeared, she started counting. "One..two…three…"

After pushing the call button, she heard one ring before a voice said, "Go."

"Seven eight Tango Charlie one nine X-ray seven."

"The wolf is under attack."

"A fox is in the hen house."

"It takes one to know one."

"What's a girl to do?"

"Wait for her wedding day."

"Will the dress be ready in time?"

"Patience is a virtue."

"What if it rains?"

"Use the umbrella."

In the background, she heard ninety seconds.

"Tomorrow is another day."

"Make the best use of your day."

Remington frowned. That isn't right. "Who's to say what will happen."

"Eskimos and seals."

When she heard the last response, Remington quickly closed the phone. "Hurry put the shields back up," she yelled.

A few seconds later, Parker reentered the bedroom. "What's up? You still had forty-five seconds."

Green eyes penetrated dark ones. "I need to think about what just happened," Remington said in a low ominous voice. "You'd better keep a close eye on all the security…something isn't right."

Parker tore her gaze away from the Wolf's eyes. "Like what?"

Remington didn't answer right away. When she did, it was in a whisper. "I need paper and a pen."

With three strides, Parker was at the bedside table and pulling the drawer open. "Everything you need is in here."

Absently Remington reached inside the drawer and took out a notepad and pen. She looked up at Parker and sighed. She's all I've got…I have no choice but to trust her until I'm one hundred percent physically. "Once I decipher the code we'll need to weight our options."

"Ok, I'll watch for any activity," Parker said before she turned and left the room.

Remington had total recall of the conversation and quickly jotted it down on the paper. Next to each question and reply, she wrote a corresponding meaning. The coded conversation with her safe DOCO contact was exactly as it should be-almost. They knew of her injuries, that she was in hiding, and that there wasn't a definitive amount of time schedule yet. What cause alarm was the response to tomorrow is another day. The person on the other end of the phone should have said, no one is counting days. The response, make the best use of your day, alerted her to what she should say next and to pay close attention to the next response. Years before when she first teamed up with her safe contact, Danny Reno, they set up an alert code that only they knew. Danny had changed the standard response to tomorrow is another day from make no one is counting days to make the best use of your day. His response of Eskimos and seals meant we are being monitored contact me in twenty-four hours at their predefined number.

"What's going on?" she wondered as she looked at what she wrote. "I'm in big trouble and the one person I have to rely on is an out of controlled maverick." She closed her eyes and yawned. Exhaustion had taken over her body but not her mind. There would be no rest for her until she solved the puzzle. Once again, she thought of Parker Davis and her conflicting emotions about the woman. What to do about you, she thought before turning her full attention to her current situation.

Chapter Eight

Parker knew she was running on fumes. Drugs had helped stave off the worst of the pain that threatened to bring her to her knees. She knew her relationship with the Wolf was tenuous at best-now she waited to find out if the woman trusted her enough to share what she learned from the DOCO contact. She'd busted her butt to make sure the Wolf didn't die and hoped that she would reward her with a small amount of trust. Otherwise, she would have to decide whether to cut the woman loose or not. In her present condition, she won't last long out in this arid environment.

A small blip on a monitor had her sitting up and taking notice-whatever it was, it was heading in the direction of the house. "Fuck." One blip turned into three then six. She rotated the roof camera in the direction of the oncoming unknown threat and waited. Her face was close to the monitor as she squinted in an attempt to make out what it was-that only made her head to throb even more. With forced patience, she waited then exhaled when she saw the pack of coyotes. Another reason she'll never survive out there.

Two hours later, the Wolf appeared in the hallway, dressed with a look of determination on her face. "Anything?" she asked in a clipped cold voice.

"A pack of coyotes," Parker answered before she added, "Kind of strange really…I usually only see one at a time and this was a pack of six."

"That isn't my concern. Right now, I need to devise a plan of attack. Unless I render the cartel redundant I will always be in the hairs of some assassin's rifle."

Parker fixed her jaw and glared at the Wolf. "I take it you are doing that on your own."

"Look, I didn't ask you to rescue me or bring me here, but here I am so I am forced to work with you."

"Not a problem," Parker said in a tight voice. "The door is right around the corner. Stay or go it doesn't matter to me."

Remington pressed her back gently against the wall and slid down it. Once she was sitting, she focused all her attention on Parker. "The message from DOCO confirmed that there is a infiltrator within the organization." She watched Parker's eyebrows lift. "You were right to bring me here instead of one of their safe houses."

"Anything else?"

"Just to keep up the defense and be patient." She refused to look at Parker-she'd know that there was more. She whispered, "Someone was monitoring the call."

Parker's mouth opened wide. "How do you know that?"

"I don't the person I was speaking with did."

Except for the hum of the monitors, the house was quiet. Parker leaned back in her chair and folded her hand on her chest. "Just because we lobbed of the head the snake still slithers."

"We need to cut off all the heads," Remington said before she looked at Parker. What she saw was thoughtful repose. There was no arguing the fact that the woman was a master of strategy-she had a long line of successful operations. I would be a fool not to use that. "Any thoughts on how to accomplish that?"

Scratching her face, Parker sucked in a breath then blew it out slowly. "Before I left for Texas I researched the cartel. There are four distinct parts all with different commanders. Castellan headed the biggest part-drugs, Miguel Sanchez-prostitution, Hector Diego-arms, Armistead-human trafficking, and that leaves J. H. McMillan who seems to dabble in it all."

She did her homework. "Yes, I know all about them. Castellan needed to be dealt with first-his division made the most money for the cartel." Remington shrugged and eyed Parker. "If you hadn't shot Castellan's right hand man maybe none of this would have happened."

Parker let out a deep laugh that held no humor. "Maybe if you hadn't let those men rape me it wouldn't have happened."

"You knew going in there what the game was."

With a sneer, Parker bent down so she was in the Wolf's face. "You know as well as I do that it had nothing to do with Castellan and everything to do with Olivia Santos. What you let those men do to me was retribution for what you perceived as a wrong I did to Olivia." Sucking in a deep breath, she continued. "What happened in that warehouse had nothing to do with my shooting that bastard and everything to do with the mole at DOCO. So get off my case."

Remington watched as Parker straightened up and pressed her fingers against the scar under her hair. "Have you slept at all?" she asked

Parker's eyes narrowed. "When we are out of this I'll sleep right now I can't risk it."

"What about the pain, have you taken meds for it?"

For a long moment, Parker seemed to be staring at the monitors in front of her. Finally, she said, "That stuff makes me fuzzy. If my mind is muddled I can't keep us safe."

"I can take care of myself," Remington countered.

Malevolent dark eyes fixed on Remington. "Really? Do you see whose sitting on the floor because she can't stand?"

Remington rubbed a hand across her face before she let her eyes rest on the floor. "We need to work together if we are to get out of this alive." She lifted her head, closed her eyes, and gathered her emotions. "I can sit there and watch the monitors while you get some rest. If you are going to keep us safe until I've recovered then you need sleep." She watched as various expressions crossed Parker's face. "Let me at least do that…"

Parker stood up and reached her hand out. "I need to show you how to maneuver the cameras.

Taking Parker's hand, Remington stood up, moved a few steps, and then sat in the chair. Fifteen minutes later, she watched as Parker disappeared into a bedroom. Her eyes flashed back to the monitors and she sighed. What to do about you Davis? You're a conundrum that I thought I'd figured out- now I'm not so sure. Her eyes tracked to the monitor on the right when she saw movement-a hawk was gliding in the sky above the house.

Days went slowly by as the two women developed a routine that seemed to suit them both. Remington was getting stronger by the day and the helicopter that circled the area the first day hadn't returned.

"I need to see some daylight," Remington said as she stood at a darkened window staring at the arid expanse in the back of the house.

Parker stopped mixing a salad and let out a heavy sigh. "We can't risk it especially during the day."

With eyes flashing, Remington turned abruptly. "You can't really think they know where we are? We need to get out of here and find out what is happening."

Dark eyes focused on Remington. "I don't think they know exactly where we are, Wolf. Number one rule-never underestimate your opponent."

"You don't have to tell me about the rules-I know them verse and chapter," Remington growled. "We need a plan of action." Her eyes narrowed. "Do you have one or are you so paranoid that you haven't what it takes to take any action?"

"I might remind you that we are here because you were wounded and needed a safe place to recover," Parker said in a low ominous voice. "I could have been long gone by now enjoying the company of a sensuous woman anywhere in the world I wanted. But, I'm here with you, Wolf-protecting you." She gave the Wolf a once over. "Do you think you're ready to do something more involved?"

Remington stretched her shoulders and rolled her neck. "Yeah, I'm feeling almost a hundred percent," she said in a less confrontational tone. "What intel do you have on the cartel?"

Parker place two plates on the table and then looked at Remington. "I've made lunch-Caesar salad-we can share information while we eat."

Wordlessly, Remington moved to the table and sat down. "All my actual notes are back in Austin."

Parker let out a cynical chuckle. "Won't do you much good here will they?"

Gritting her teeth, Remington's lip curled. "I have a photographic memory so don't think I will approach this problem without resources."

"Then why am I here?" Parker quietly asked.

Remington bit her lip. Pride doesn't have a place now. "I need your help." The words stung her mouth but she knew they needed saying-I need her. "Can I count on you?"

Parker put her fork down and let a smile form on her lips. "That's what I've been doing-helping you-and I will see this through to the end." She reached out and touched the Wolf's hand. "We're in this together," she said and squeezed the hand slightly. "We have to hit the cartel from all sides."

With cold eyes, Remington looked at the hand over hers and slid her hand free. "I agree," she said forcibly. "I think we should start with Miguel Sanchez. He's the most accessible. He has a compound in Juarez where he lives with his family…a wife, two boys, and three girls."

"Sounds like the perfect family man," Parker said as she pushed her plate away and stood up. "Come with me. I think you will find what I have to show you interesting.

Remington followed Parker to the hallway and watched as she pushed a combination of numbers on pad. The door to the closet opened but this time a wider area opened to reveal a hidden room. "A safe room?" she asked.

Parker smiled and took Remington's hand and pulled her into the room. "When I was involved in the Nuevo Laredo assignment, I bought this place for reconnaissance." She pushed a series of buttons on another number pad and the door closed. "If someone manages to get into the house and gets in here they will see nothing but the table, chairs, and gun safe." Once the door is closed completely, the room came to life. Multiple monitors were streaming video and a portion of the wall rolled up revealing a map. Parker's dark eyes fixed on the Wolf. "In here is all the intel collected over the last eighteen months about the cartel."

"Is this DOCO approved?"

The dark eyes moved away from the Wolf and focused on the map. "I had worked the cartel and my informants for nine months when DOCO told me they had another job for me," Parker quietly said.

"To bring Santos back into the fold?" Remington asked in a cold tone.

Ignoring the question, Parker said, "While I was gone my contacts kept up the surveillance which eventually arrived here." Parker shrugged. "When I made the trip here a while ago, I made sure that all the information is current."

"And is it?"

Parker grinned. "Yes, in fact, the last intel I received said that Sanchez, Diego, and Armistead are meeting with McMillan in six days to discuss replacing Castellan. It will be the perfect opportunity to get them all in one fell swoop."

Remington gave Parker a skeptical look. "Show me what you have?"

Chapter Nine

Two days later, Remington and Parker had designed a strategy for getting all the cartel members simultaneously. Considering they only had a small window of opportunity, they worked non-stop until they came to agreement on how to eliminate the cartel.

"It's a doable plan as long as what we need is where you say it is," Remington said as she pushed back from the table. "Are you certain that everything is still in place?"

"Of course they are. How are your sniper skills," Parker asked as she marked an X on a map.

"I'll have no problem," Remington said with her usual cool aplomb.

"We will need to make the incendiary devices here," Parker glanced at the Wolf, "it will take about a dozen of them. Do you agree?"

Remington looked at the map and the distance of the mouth of the canyon. "Yes, that should do it."

"I have them already made." Parker shrugged slightly as she studied the map. "We've covered every base-I don't foresee any problems."

With her green eyes fixed on Parker, Remington said, "As long as the timing is right."

Without a word, Parker went to the gun safe and took out two long rifles. "We only have one of the prototype rifles so it will be incumbent on the shooter to make every shot count." She looked at the Wolf. "I should be the shooter."

All Remington did was nod.

"We need to get our gear together and get it loaded in the Hummer then we should try and get some sleep. We will leave at six-that will put us in Alpine with enough time to make sure there is still a way to get into Mexico from Big Ben."

Together they loaded everything they'd need. "Will we be coming back here afterward?" Remington asked.


Remington held out her hand. "I need to get in touch with my contact at DOCO."

Parker handed the Wolf the cell phone. "I'll lower the security," she said as she took a small device out of her pocket. "Once I push the button you have two minutes before the call disconnects." She looked at the device, said, "go," and then watched the second hand on her watch.

Several hours later, the Hummer had everything the two women would need for their mission. Standing in yard as night closed in on them, Remington and Parker stepped back from the building housing the vehicles.

"What did your contact say?" Parker asked as they began to move toward the house.

"The cartel is still looking for me. I got the go ahead for our mission but they will deny they sanctioned it if it goes wrong." Remington's voice was cool and devoid of emotion as she spoke. "Essentially we are on our own."

Parker chuckled. "Now there's a surprise." She looked at the Wolf and saw a look of sadness cross her face before it disappeared as fast as it appeared. "We won't fail," she said as they entered the house.

"No we won't."

Parker rolled out of her bed at the first sound of the intrusion alarm. She grabbed her Sig Saur off the bedside table and moved silently to the door where she saw the Wolf standing in her bedroom doorway with gun in hand. Parker held one finger to her mouth as she moved to the control for the safe room and opened it before signaling the Wolf to join her. Once the door closed them inside, she activated all the monitors.

"There," she said pointing to the monitor that showed an SUV bumping along the dirt road to the house.

"I doubt they're lost," Remington said. "We need to set a trap for them."

Shaking her head, Parker opened the gun safe and took out a double barrel shotgun, before she looked at the Wolf who was standing by the door. "No, you stay in here until it's safe."

"I don't think so," growled Remington.

"Look," Parker began as she watched the vehicle closing in on the house, "they want the Wolf not me. You are the valuable commodity here, which means you stay in here where it is safe." She loaded two shells in the barrels before she pressed the code for the door to open. "Keep an eye on what happens, if it looks like trouble press the lights button that will distract them so I can get away."

"I won't hide in here," Remington said in a cold tone as she moved toward Parker.

Parker's eyes widened as she moved to within inches of the Wolf's personal space. "Listen, I didn't bring you here and fix you up to die so stay put." Her legs began to eat up the distance between her and the door.

Remington grabbed Parker's arm. "I'm going with you," she said in a tone that brooked no argument.

With a slight acknowledgement of the Wolf's words, Parker handed her the shot gun and an earpiece. She saw the vehicle closing on the house. "You go out the back. I'll be the first to confront them." Taking another shot gun out of the gun safe, Parker nodded at the Wolf. "Let's go."

With the lights out, Parker opened the front door and went out where she stood in the shadows waiting for the approaching SUV. She heard the Wolf say, in place, before she narrowed her eyes-she saw the headlights. "Stay put," she said as the vehicle came to a stop near the house. Parker heard the sounds of what she suspected were high school boys who were drunk. Once they were all standing together, Parker made herself known with the click of the shotgun barrel moving into place.

"You boys are trespassing," Parker said as she moved out of the shadows.

A tall boy with red hair laughed. "You won't use that," his laugh increased in volume as the others joined him, "it probably isn't even loaded."

Another snap of a shotgun barrel broke into the laughter. "Maybe so, but mine is," Remington said from her position at the side of the house.

"What are you doing here?" Parker asked in a threatening voice.

"We turned down the road…we didn't know it went here," the red head said.

"Really?" Parker asked. "The gate is always locked."

"No, no it wasn't," the boy said in a shaky voice. "It was wide open."

Just then, the Wolf appeared from the shadows. "Liar."

"No," another boy who was short and stocky said, "it's like he said, the gate was open."

Remington walked across the dirt ignoring the rocks that cut into her feet. When she reached the four boys, she pulled back both triggers. "Stop fucking with me," she snarled, "why are you here?" She pressed the barrel of the shotgun into the redhead's cheek. "You'll be the first then she'll take care of the others."

Trembling, the redhead said, "No, no, don't…it's the truth…the gate was open."

Parker moved quickly to where the others were standing. "She will kill you."

Sweat was visible on the boys face. "I'm telling you the truth," he cried. "The gate was open."

Leaning into the Wolf, Parker whispered, "This is easy enough to resolve-I'll check the video."

Remington sucked in a breath. "Don't be too long, my trigger finger is itching to kill this jerk."

The tone of the Wolf's voice told Parker it wasn't an idle threat. She moved quickly to the SUV's driver's side, opened the door, and took out the keys "All of you get back in your vehicle," she ordered before turning for the house.

Remington stood by the driver's window and held the gun to the boy's cheek. In a low threatening voice she said, "You don't know how bad I want to kill you."

The boy wet himself.

Moments later, Parker came out of the door and approached the Wolf and the vehicle. She handed the driver the keys. "I don't want to see any of you anywhere near my property again. If the sheriff comes around I won't hesitate telling him the truth that you were trespassing." She narrowed her eyes. "You get me?"

The boy nodded and took the keys that the woman was dangling in front of him. In one fluid movement, he inserted the key, started the vehicle, put the gear in reverse, and pressed the gas pedal. Once turned around he sped away leaving bits of dirt and rock in the SUV's wake.

"The gate was open for how long?" Remington coolly asked as she walked back to the house.

"It was locked when I checked the monitor forty-five minutes ago," Parker said as she hurried to catch the Wolf.

Remington turned in anger. "I thought you said this place was impenetrable."

"It is."

"Then what the fuck happened?"

Parker walked past the Wolf and went into the safe room where she punched several buttons. She watched intently the video of the gate and saw it open automatically. She then scanned the logs and saw that somehow the code was entered at the exact time the gate opened. "What?" She rewound the video again and watched as the gate again opened and thirty minutes later, the SUV turned onto the dirt road. With her hand on her chin, she rubbed fingers over her lips. "Somehow the gate was activated from in here." She turned to the Wolf and searched her face. "You didn't have anything to do with that did you?"

"How could I," Remington countered. "I don't know the code."

Parker lifted her eyebrows. "Huh." She chewed on the inside of her cheek then nodded before she said, "We need to leave now."

Chapter Ten

The Hummer H3 turned from the dirt road to the paved road only to immediately pull onto the shoulder.

"What are you doing?" Wolf demanded.

Parker opened the door. "Watch." She opened the back door, took out a length of heavy chain, and walked toward the gate. . When she returned to the vehicle she said, "If something goes awry with the electronics on the gate again it won't open." She slipped the gear into drive and pulled back on the road.

Remington said nothing as she gave Parker a brief look then stared into the black abyss that held their fate.

Around noon, four days from the planned attack, the black Hummer pulled into the parking lot of a Hampton Inn in Alpine, Texas. Parker turned to the Wolf. "I'll get us a room."

"Two rooms," Remington said.

Parker shook her head and grinned. "No way," she said as she turned and walked quickly into the lobby.

Remington growled before she opened the door and followed Parker. Once inside, she grabbed Parker's arm and spun her around. "Do I need to remind you who's in charge?" she asked in a low ominous tone. "Two rooms."

Taking the Wolf's arm, Parker turned them around and whispered, "They only have one room and I'm not sleeping in the car so get over yourself."

Immediately, Remington's back stiffened.

As Parker was about to reply a young man behind the counter said, "Here you go, Ms. Huntington, you're in room 156. The easiest access is to park in the back. Once you're in the room you can access it through the sliding glass door."

"You only have the one room?" Remington inquired.

"Yes, ma'am."

Remington gave the man a cold stare before she said, "We need two keys." The slim, young man slid a keycard tucked in a paper case across the counter and Remington snatched it up. She turned to Parker. "I'll meet you in the room," she said before squaring her shoulders, turning, and walking quickly away.

The look in the man behind the counter made caused Parker to quip, "She's not a very good traveler," before she too left the registration desk.

Remington was standing in the room looking out the sliding door window when she heard the click of the lock before it opened. She knew who it was. "When this is over I never want to see you again," she said with cool detachment.

"Trust me, I feel the same," Parker said as she threw a small go bag on one of the beds. "I'll be back," she bit out before going out the door and slamming it hard.

Cold green eyes saw Parker slid into the Hummer. The scowl on the woman's face told Remington all she needed to know-she was pissed. But, she saw more-pain. She's in pain. "Must be going to look for a score." As she watched the black vehicle disappear from her sight, she let her shoulders drop-Parker was gone.

Exhausted, she stretched out on one of the beds and closed her eyes. Sleep eluded her as a kaleidoscope of the events, which occurred since Parker Davis came into her life, would not cease. "What am I going to do?" she whispered. She thought of her conversation with her DOCO contact the day before. We cannot condone what you do or recognize that you and Davis are DOCO operatives, but we won't stop you. The message was simple-she and Parker were on their own.

The plan was simple yet complex. La Casa del Canon sat in the middle of a box canyon with one way in and one way out. At the top of either side of the entrance were lookouts that intelligence said reported their status every thirty minutes. The plans was simple-kill the guards, set fire to the dry grasses then take out all the occupants of the house. The trick was to get into position without the lookouts spotting them. Fortunately, Parker had a stockpile of DOCO equipment to make that possible. What worried her the most; the headaches that often debilitate the woman.

"I hope you score enough drugs to see this mission through." She closed her eyes as a vision of Parker floated to the forefront. "What to do about you?" she whispered before sleep finally took over.

Parker pulled into a parking space that had a view of the mountains of Big Ben National Wildlife Refuge. When she'd last been there, she gained the cooperation of one of the park rangers who showed her the way to cross the Rio Grande into Mexico undetected. Recent aerial photos told her that the border was still open. If it weren't-the mission would fail. She considered why she was putting her life on the line to help the Wolf. The woman was a cold hearted bitch but she knew she needed her if she was going to get back her full status with DOCO.

Pulling out her cell, she dialed a number and when the familiar voice said hello she began to tremble. "Mom."

"Parker, is that you," Ruth Davis said with tears in her voice. "Are you ok? I've been so worried about you since you left a month ago."

"Yeah," Parker said softly. "I'm good. I just wanted to hear your voice."

"Baby, tell me what's going on? Are the headaches getting worse?"

"I'm just tired that's all. The headache is a dull ache most of the time." She lied.

"You need to come home, Parker."

Home. Parker rolled the word around in her head. Home is what she needed. Home is where she found love. Despite all she put her family through they still loved her. She knew it wasn't easy for them to all act as if she were dead, but they did. Not because they understood or agreed-it was born out of a deeply held loyalty and love.

"I will soon, Mom. I need to finish with what I'm doing first and then I will come to the farm."

"Are you sure you're ok?" Ruth asked again.

"Mom, I'm good. I was just missing you and had a chance to call so…"

"I miss you too."

"Mom, I've got to go."

"Ok, dear. I love you."

"I love you too, Mom. Bye."

Ending the call, Parker held the phone close to her heart as a single tear rolled down her cheek.

Parker swiped at her face and bit down hard on her lip. "Stop it! I need to pull myself together." She looked at the surroundings. "I need drugs." A smile crossed her face as she remembered exactly where to find what she really needed-a mind blowing orgasm. Pain shot through her head. She rummaged in the glove compartment, pulled out a prescription bottle, opened it, and shook out three pills. Spying what she needed, she got out of the Hummer and sprinted across the grass to a concrete pad holding several tall vending machines. She chose a bottle of water and a package of Lorna Doones-she found eating something with the pills made them work faster. Once she had a modicum of relief, she'd go in search of a willing senorita and a few hours of pleasure.

Continued in part 3

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