Chapter 27

"No. I don’t like it, Jameson. Not a chance."

"I dinna see how ya have a damned choice, Knight. Do ya?"

There was silence for a moment on the other end of the phone.

"What exactly do you mean by that?"

"Exactly? That without me, ya probably willna be able ta reel in Reynoso. And since I refuse ta play the game on your terms, I guess ya are stuck with playing by my rules." T.J. knew the agent was pissed. But, she also knew if she was going to put her ass on the line, she wanted it done her way this time — she was leaving nothing to chance.

"I’m not in the habit of negotiating with people, Ms. Jameson. I could just bring you in for obstruction of justice and force you into witness protection." It was mostly an idle threat, but his only trump card at the moment.

T.J. laughed. "We both know ya are bluffin’, Agent. Theoretically, ya could bring me in…but the catch is, ya’d have ta find me first." T.J. knew that Agent Knight was well versed on her background. Taylor Jameson was a woman who could go so far underground you couldn’t find her with a map and a backhoe.

"All right, Jameson. If you want to risk your own neck, I am obviously in no position to stop you."

"Agent Knight, I believe that we are not understanding each other here. I do not intend ta bring in Reynoso myself. I won’t steal your ‘collar’. I told ya that he would see me on Friday. And when the timin’ is right, ya will get a phone call with nothing more than an address. I’m expectin’ that ya will know what ta do with that information."

He contemplated that for a moment. "So you are going to go play with the big boys, and you expect Federal Agents to come and bail you out when the shit goes down."

T.J. laughed again. "Why Agent Jameson, I do believe that is the first time I’ve ever heard ya use such a strong swear word." She chuckled again. "No. I’m tellin’ ya that I am goin’ ta see Reynoso on Friday night. When I feel I can get out of the way safely, I will have someone call ya and ya can come in and arrest him…that is, if ya still want ta arrest the bastard."

"Interesting plan, Jameson." Knight paused before finally committing himself. "So, I’ll expect my call from Ms. Wells on Friday night. I’ll have a team standing by — helicopters and the works."

It was Taylor’s turn to be a bit surprised. "I never said who would be callin’ ya, Agent."

"You didn’t have to."

Taylor digested that. "I see. Well then, Friday night."

"Oh, Jameson? I know you don’t want to tip your hand. But, it would speed up the process tremendously if your …um…contact could call us beforehand with a five-mile radius. It will make our response time faster."

He has a point. "Done. But, I don’t want ta see anyone poking around in that five miles until ya get the call with the exact location. Deal?"


"Later, Knight."

"Hey, Taylor?"


"Watch your back."

He couldn’t see it, but T.J. smiled broadly. "I already got someone ta do that for me." And with a click, she disconnected her cell phone.

Cami had entered the room just in time to hear the tail end of the conversation. "Everything okay?"

"Aye. The Feds are in. Surprisingly, on my terms. Although, I guess it is not so surprisin’ if ya consider that I dinna leave him much of a choice."

"Good, honey." Cami hesitated, before adding. "I brought you a surprise." Cami mentioned gleefully as she plopped her package down on the table next to T.J.

"Really?" Taylor’s face was a study in childlike anticipation, and it caused Cami’s heart to skip a beat in wonder at how much she truly loved this woman.

"Yup. There is a Ben & Jerry’s down on the corner."

T.J.’s smile lit the room. "God, but I do love ya, woman." T.J. leapt up from the table, grabbing the bag in one hand and a squealing Cami in the other. "Fun with ice cream!" She shouted, dragging them towards the bed.

And then she proceeded to show Cami just how much fun they could have with the frozen treat.


The remainder of the week passed by in a blur. They made love, ordered room service and walked along the beach each night, reveling in each other’s presence. Despite the fact that T.J. felt secure that Reynoso had no idea where they were, they seldom ventured out in public during the day, just in case someone spotted them.

Cami called Jo and Vicki and let them know she would be out of touch for a few days. Her friends were clearly puzzled, until she explained that the job was on hold until the following Monday, as the team was in town on a home stand. They left Monday for a lengthy road trip to Atlanta and St. Louis. Cami tried not to think about what she would do then. Will T.J. come with me if I ask? But before she crossed that particular bridge, Cami knew she had Friday night to worry about.

She was also worried about her lack of self-defense skills. For two nights in a row, T.J. had taken her to a shooting range before their peaceful stroll on the beach. She had quickly taught the blonde to safely handle and fire a weapon. Although Cami was a quick study, she hoped it wouldn’t come down to her having to actually shoot someone. My aim sucks - I couldn’t hit water if I fell out of a fucking boat. T.J. was patient with her student, and Cami was slightly comforted by some of the tactics that T.J. taught her, but next to her tall, dark companion, Camryn couldn’t help but feel inferior.

T.J. was amazing. Cami knew she hadn’t been far off when she quipped that T.J. was James Bond. The woman had deadly accuracy, no matter what weapon she used. And her self-defense and martial arts skills would have made Bruce Lee proud.

Friday dawned clear and hot, and neither woman wanted to get out of bed to face the day. They held each other for an extra half hour past the alarm; each battling her own demons about what the night might have in store for them. But face the day they must, as preparations needed to be made.

Jake knew a bit of their plan, and although he insisted on being back up for Taylor, she would only allow him a slightly better advantage than she gave Knight. Jake would be in the approximate vicinity and he gave Cami a direct radio to connect them.

T.J. would be wearing a wire, and had prearranged verbal signals with Cami, who would be waiting in the car with a radio and a cell phone. When the first signal came, Cami would radio Jake to move in for back up, start the car for a fast getaway, and then at a second signal would make the phone call to Agent Knight with the exact address. Everything was perfectly mapped out. Except that they had no clue where they were going.

Reynoso was playing things very cautiously. Although he seemed to believe that T.J. had nothing to do with the failed sting operation, he was also not giving her the chance to set him up, by not telling her where to meet him until the very last minute. She had tried playing coy — asking him what she should be wearing for dinner, and other leading questions, but he simply told her to dress casually and pack an overnight bag.

T.J. was slightly bothered by the fact that her phone messages to Frank had gone unanswered. But, she hoped that he had gotten her first message and bailed out of town before Reynoso had a chance to pick him up. Although she blamed Frank for the mess they were all in, she also wasn’t cold-blooded enough to just hand him over to Reynoso like the proverbial sacrificial lamb.


T.J. and Camryn had a sunset dinner served on their balcony. It was a picture perfect summer evening, with a slight breeze coming off of the Pacific that cooled them after the blazing heat of the day.

Cami was too nervous to eat, so she just picked at her food, trying to simply enjoy her time with T.J. and willing herself not to think morbid, horrible thoughts. This might be our last meal together…I was allowed just a few days in paradise and now it will be taken away from me…

Her thoughts turned, however, from morbid to fierce when T.J.’s cell phone rang. It was Reynoso, and while she got directions from him, Cami put on her steely mask of resolve. No way…no fucking way I’m going to lose this — to lose her. Not now. Not after I’ve waited my whole damned life for her. That son of a bitch will have to take us both out first, before I’d let him hurt her.

"You get the address?" She asked as T.J. rejoined her on the balcony.

"Aye. But the street is unfamiliar. Do ya know where 32nd Street meets Bayside Drive?"

Cami froze for a second and took a deep breath. "Yeah. Uh…that’s…that’s the warehouse district down by the docks." It was a dirty, dingy part of town; the place where they loaded and unloaded cargo ships and stored goods. It was primarily known for the rotten conditions of the warehouses, and for the fact that no one in their right mind would wander around that part of town at night - much less take a date there. "Why does he want you to meet him there?"

T.J. merely shrugged, being unfamiliar with the place. "I dunno. I suppose he must have a business there, or a boat moored nearby if ya say it is near the docks."

Cami reached across the table and took T.J.’s wrist. "No way he has a boat there, sweetheart, unless it is a cargo ship. That is down near where the Navy anchors their ships and they don’t allow anything that far into the harbor unless they are loading or off-loading cargo — all private craft have to moor on the North side of the Coronado Bridge. I don’t like this, T.J. I don’t like it at all!" Cami was nervous enough as it was, and even more so now that she knew their destination.

T.J. patted Cami’s hand, but pondered the information. "Well, from his directions, it sounds like we’ll be going to some sort of a warehouse, not a boat. So at least I won’t have ta worry about him takin’ me out ta sea." Although she had thought of a back up plan for that possibility as well, considering her little midnight ‘visit’ to Reynoso’s boat a few weeks before. "It will be fine, darlin’. Just relax."

But that was easier said than done — for both of them.


Taylor guided the little sports car towards their gloomy destination. Both women were quiet, content to just hold each other’s hand for their last few minutes of peace together. The silence was only broken by Cami’s occasional direction on which way Taylor should turn, as the barkeep had no idea how to get to the address that Reynoso had given her.

As they approached the location, T.J. stopped the car just around the corner and turned out the lights. She had skillfully positioned the car so that the corner of the warehouse was just visible, but no one inside should be able to see Cami waiting in the car.

T.J. turned to face Cami before she began to whisper. "Remember, no matter what ya hear on the wire do not make any calls until ya get my signal." Cami nodded. "Promise me, Camryn. Ya are watching my back here, and I need ta know that ya will follow my orders, no matter what." T.J.’s voice wasn’t harsh, but she was deadly serious.

"I promise, T.J., I swear I do. I will not call anyone until I hear the signal from you." As T.J. would be wearing a wire, Cami was fully prepared that she might hear some things that would upset her, even make her want to call the whole plan off and call in the cavalry. But, she also knew that T.J. could handle herself, and Cami jumping the gun might get T.J. hurt, even killed. "You can count on me, T.J."

"I know, darlin’. But I also know how damned hard it is ta listen ta things that ya can’t do anything about." She put her hand under Cami’s chin and lifted her gaze. "Leave the safety on your gun, unless ya see someone approaching ya, and just remember, whatever I say in there, I’m just acting — don’t believe a word of it."

"I know…..T.J.?"

"Aye, darlin’?"

"I love you. Bring yourself back in one piece, ok? I’m kinda fond of having all of your body parts in the correct place."

"I promise, Cami." T.J. reached over and tipped back the bill of Cami’s baseball cap, sealing her promise with a long, deep kiss. When she broke away she took an extra minute to stare into Cami’s eyes before whispering. "I told ya — now ya are stuck with me, ya ain’t getting rid of me that easy." With a jaunty wink, she slipped from the car and Cami watched her lithe form move silently into the blackness towards the meeting place.

The little blonde slid over into the driver’s seat of the Miata, eased the gun T.J. gave her from the glove compartment and set it on her lap, and settled back in her seat, eyes alert and heart pounding harder than she could ever remember. Breathe, Cam…just breathe.


T.J. eased up towards the door of the appointed place. She felt the presence of a man in the shadows nearby, and figured he must be one of Reynoso’s chumps. Likewise, she had spotted an armed figure patrolling the roof. Her instincts told her that there was likely one more guard around — a wildcard that could be just about anywhere. She just hoped he was more interested in watching the building than he was in checking out her car. From her position near the door, she could just see the fender of the bright red car, but not Cami. Good.

"I’m goin’ in, darlin’. Remember. I love ya." She whispered quietly into the wire she was wearing, knowing her words were small comfort to Cami, but needing to say them nonetheless.

She straightened her jacket and reached for the grubby dark handle of the door, only to have it open for her. T.J. managed not to be startled that Reynoso’s guards were so efficient. "Thanks, mate." She drawled to the swarthy looking man who sported a huge sidearm attached to his belt. "Miguel around?"

The man looked her up and down, and for a brief moment of panic, T.J. feared he would search her and find her gun. But luck was on her side, as Miguel Reynoso chose that moment to appear, interrupting the guard’s inspection before he could pat her down.

"Buenos noches, Senora Jameson. Welcome." He was smiling, but Taylor noticed it didn’t quite reach his eyes. In fact, he looks rather… menacing tonight. As she pondered that fact, she began to take a subtle inventory of their surroundings. Where in the hell have ya brought me, asshole?

The entry way was dark, and only led into an even darker hallway with a dimly lit doorway at the other end. From the desks and file cabinets, T.J. judged that the room they were in was likely an office at one time, but she noticed no doors or windows nearby, and every last inch of the place was covered in a layer of filth and cobwebs. It smelled like a combination of rotten fish, musty wood, and backed up sewer. She fought down the nausea and donned her attitude. "Evenin’, Miguel. Uh…nice place ya have brought me ta. Ya surely know how ta charm a woman." She smiled her best seductive smile and held out her hand for Reynoso to kiss.

He accepted her hand, but did not offer the kiss on the hand she expected. Instead, he smoothly pulled her close and kissed her soundly on the lips. T.J. ignored her first instinct, which was to bite his lip, and instead concentrated on not throwing up on his shoes. "I have been waiting for this all week, querida." He growled, their faces still mere inches from each other.

"Have ya? I have been filled with…anticipation myself." She answered smoothly. "But, I had expected something a little more …um…classy. And a lot more private." She slightly lifted an elegant eyebrow and cocked her head at the two bodyguards who stood behind Miguel. She had noticed that Carlos was nowhere to be seen, and she idly wondered if he was off eating a side of beef, or if Miguel had finally gotten rid of his idiot brother.

"Si. Si. We will get to the…what did you say? Classy place? Later. And we will most assuredly be alone when we do." He had released his vice-grip on T.J.’s waist, but he still held her hand in both of his clammy ones. "But first. A surprise." His eyes sparkled with something a bit more than mischief, and T.J. began to inwardly curse.

Fuck, fuck, fuck! I hate surprises! "A surprise? Well since we are here, I can only guess that the surprise isn’t reservations at a gourmet restaurant." She answered dryly, continuing to smile at him and loathing herself more with every passing second.

"No. But I have a feeling you, of all people, will like this surprise." He began to lead her along the dark hallway, towards the door at the other end. T.J. still could see no other possible exits, except the one she came in.

Ah shit. Now what? She inwardly sighed, not liking the way things were going one bit.

"Actually, Miguel. If ya really knew me, ya would know I absolutely hate surprises." T.J. deliberately kept her voice low and husky, completely masking the rush of adrenaline that was coursing through her body.

They stepped through the doorway, followed closely by the two guards, and entered a large, dark, warehouse. The smell T.J. had noted before was even stronger here and she felt, rather than saw, cockroaches scuttling across the floor away from their feet. Great. Not sure which is worse — having cockroaches run across my feet, or being kissed by one. She resisted the temptation to pull her hand away from Reynoso’s sweaty one, and stopped where he bid her to, in what appeared to be the center of the room.

Two skylights, one door on my right — but it looks chained, one large sliding delivery door straight ahead, and a set of stairs ta my left. If she had to run for it, she figured she would never make it to the sliding door, as there was no good, visible cover between her and it. The side door did not look promising, as she could see something that glinted like a chain wrapped around it. Skylights are kinda high, unless I find a rope. That leaves the doorway behind me and out the front, or those stairs that lead to fuck knows where. She sighed inwardly, not liking her options. "Charming, Miguel. Did ya buy the place with the smell and all, or did ya add that later — for the ambiance?"

He released her hand and waved to a man who was positioned at the foot of the stairs. The man quickly disappeared up the rickety stairs, and T.J. could see that there was a door at the top that led to something that resembled yet another office. "Relax, querida. We will soon be leaving here. Just be patient."

Leaving? Fuck! T.J. knew that if they left the vicinity, her plan would have to be modified or scrapped, which only left her two options: go with Reynoso - which would likely prove fatal, or get the hell out before they left. Bloody hell. Why can’t things ever go like I friggin’ plan?!

"Leave? But I was just startin’ ta like it here." She drawled, making one more sweep of the room with her eyes. I make six men in here, besides Miguel. Two behind me, one by the sliding door, two to my right, and one up the stairs. But where the fuck is Carlos?

Her question was answered in moments, as the giant man came out of the office at the top of the stairs, carrying something large over his shoulder in a fireman’s style carry, and followed close by the guard who had been sent to fetch him.

"Ah. Here is my surprise. A little gift for you, querida. Hopefully, in this way I can make up for the trouble you were caused by the FBI the other night." Miguel whispered close to her ear. He had never left her side, but T.J. couldn’t figure out if he had been trying to intimidate her with his presence, or if he was just really damned horny.

As Carlos neared, it became apparent to T.J. that the package he was carrying was not a package after all. Ah, fuck me! He didn’t!

But. He had. Miguel had found Frank and he now presented him to T.J., by having Carlos drop him unceremoniously onto the concrete floor with a thud. Frank’s hands were bound behind him with a pair of rusty looking handcuffs, and his legs were tied with thick rope. He was filthy, his mouth taped shut with duct tape, and he sported a giant welt on his forehead, a black eye, as well as various scrapes on his face. Fucking shit!

T.J. looked blandly at Miguel. "This is your present? Dinna your ma teach ya that should bring a lady flowers on a first date, not a piece of shit? What in the holy fuck would I want with him?" She kept her tone playful, never betraying her inner turmoil. She had a pretty damned good idea what Miguel planned for her to do with Frank. And she also knew that her careful plan had just taken a huge turn for the worse.

"Taylor, this is the man who called the FBI on us. I thought you might like to show your…appreciation to him." Miguel’s voice was low and steady, with a slight hint of glee.

"And how do you propose I do that?" She turned to face Miguel now, running her hands up his chest, hoping to distract him.

But he caught both of her hands and stopped the seductive move. "You tell me, querida. I figured a woman with your background would know just what to do with traitors." He leered at her, releasing her hands and running a finger down the lapel of her black silk blouse, his fingers stopping as they caressed the top of her breast.

"Aye. In Ireland we would have just shot the son of a bitch and been done with it. But ya dinna do that yet. So, I’ll ask again — how do ya propose I pay him back?" She smiled up at Miguel, a charming smile full of promise and anticipation — one that had the drug lord licking his lips. Men. T.J. snorted. So fuckin’ easy when ya get them thinkin’ with their dicks.

"Oh, we shoot traitors as well. And the reason I haven’t shot him yet is that I was waiting for you to do it." He purred to T.J., stroking her jet-black hair with his right hand and using his left hand to draw his own gun and hand it to her. T.J. managed to not look surprised, and she also ignored her first impulse, which was to just shoot Miguel on the spot and get it over with. But with seven other armed men in the room and several more outside, ya’d never make it outta here alive, old girl.

Instead she felt the cold steel of the weapon as it hit the over-heated skin of her palm. She checked the gun, realized the safety was off, and with a deft movement found out that a round was already in the chamber. Safety off and a chambered round while ya wore it on a shoulder holster? Ya really are a dumb fuck, Reynoso. Wish ya had shot yourself, ya bleedin’ idiot.

Miguel noted the expert way in which T.J. handled the weapon, pointing it at the ground since it was ready to fire. He also noted that she did not take the golden opportunity he had given her — a chance to take him out. He still held out hope that the fact that she hadn’t just killed him outright meant that she really was on his side. But he had to know.

"Nice gun, Reynoso. But do ya think I’m a bleedin’ fool? I kill Silva, and all ya have ta do ta get rid of me is turn the weapon over ta the Feds with my prints on it. No way, mate." She chuckled and used her blouse to clean off her prints, then carefully turned the handle of the weapon towards Miguel for him to take.

But Miguel’s face had darkened, and she knew her bluff was failing. "I don’t think you understand, Senora Jameson. I was not offering you the chance to kill Silva. I was ordering you to."

"Excuse me?" She raised her eyebrows in mock surprise, continuing the playful tone she had started. "Is this how ya entertain all of your dates? A nice murder and then dinner?"

She continued to carefully hold the weapon out for Miguel to pick up, and although the drug lord took a step closer to her, he didn’t reach for the gun.

"I am not playing, Senora. Consider it a sign of good faith. You show I can trust you by doing what I tell you to do, and I’ll show you that you can trust me by allowing you to wipe your prints from the gun before you return it. I assure you that it is not my intention to frame you — merely to prove your loyalty."

Fuck! T.J. was rapidly running out of cards to play. She wracked her brain for another stalling technique and briefly toyed with the idea of giving Cami the verbal signal to call in the cavalry. But the Feds would take five minutes or more to get here, and she didn’t think she could stall Reynoso that long before he forced the issue of Frank. And she also knew that even if the FBI arrived in time, she would have a very slim chance of getting out of here alive. The Feds arrive now and this place becomes another friggin’ war zone. No, wait ta call until ya are on your wait out, Jameson.

She took one last long look at Miguel and knew she was left with only one option. Taking a deep breath for composure, T.J. turned the gun in her hand and for the first time since he had been dumped before her, she looked down directly into Frank’s eyes. His pale eyes shone with tears and he silently pleaded with T.J. for mercy. In an instant she was transported back to another warehouse — another place and time, another set of eyes pleading for life. The boy! I canna just commit cold-blooded murder. T.J. swallowed hard and shook her head.

"Problem, Senora?" Somewhere in the back of her brain she registered that it was Miguel speaking. It seemed like time slowed to a crawl, and although it could have only been seconds that she stood motionless, to T.J. it felt like a lifetime.

Slowly she raised the weapon towards Frank’s head, licking her suddenly dry lips, and trying to ignore the ghostly voices that were echoing through her mind. Do it, Jamie. Do it for Colin! She glanced down at her raised hand and noticed that it was trembling, and her heart pounded so hard that it was causing pain in chest. Wait! This isn’t the boy. This is a grown man, responsible for his own idiotic actions. Go on, Jameson. It willna be the first time ya have killed someone, now will it? Ya have killed so many before, one more will not make a difference. A blackened soul, is a blackened soul…a dead rose by any other name…

The gunshot almost made her jump. The explosive sound echoed through the warehouse. T.J.’s brain registered that she had pulled the trigger, and her street smarts kicked her body into motion, even though it took her conscious brain a moment to catch up with her instincts.

She executed a perfect diving roll behind a crate nearby and with two neat pops of the weapon in her hand she took out two of the guards that were aiming at her, by shots to each of their upper thighs — wounds intended to bring them down, not to kill.

The bullet T.J. had fired had neatly broken the chain holding Frank’s handcuffs together. The idiot had jumped and yelled for help for an instant before he realized that she hadn’t actually shot him, but helped him. In a flash he rolled away from the hail of bullets that swept the center of the warehouse and used his now free hands to remove the tape from his mouth and ropes from his legs. But now he found himself pinned down in a corner of the room, weaponless and cut off from the only escape routes.

T.J. fired the last few rounds in the gun that Reynoso had handed her, before tucking it into her belt and smoothly pulling her Sig out her holster. "Cami. I’m all right." She whispered into the wire, her eyes intently searching the warehouse for a way out. "Cami. Plan C umm…Capulet. I repeat, execute Plan Capulet." The two women had decided to use Shakespearean names for their code words, that way they could be sure that the passwords would not just randomly come up in the conversation. Cami had wanted to use something like "baseball," but T.J. patiently explained that common words like that were no good, as it was too easy for them to accidently slip into everyday dialogue. Shakespeare had been T.J.’s idea — one taken from their impromptu balcony scene a few nights earlier.

Out in the car, Cami had been trying really hard to follow her orders. When Reynoso had first brought Frank out for T.J. to kill, Cami nearly panicked and called Jake in. But she took deep breaths and concentrated on the words T.J. was saying. The dark woman had sounded calm, almost playful and Cami realized if T.J. was not panicking, then neither should she. Yet, anyway.

But Plan C, or Capulet as they had dubbed it, told her to skip the call to Jake and go straight for the cell phone to bring in Agent Knight and his men. Oh shit! She’s calling in the proverbial air strike and she is still in there…in danger! Cami knew the contingency plans by heart. Plans Arden and Benvolio were the two easiest, both meaning that she was on her way out and safe. But the remainder of the plans were meant to cover the possibility that she might get stuck, trapped in the building. Fuck! T.J.!


A bullet sailed past T.J.’s ear and slammed with a solid thud into the wood of the crate behind her. Bloody hell! She dropped to her stomach and crawled to the other end of her hiding place, hazarding a look around the corner and seeing nothing but a clear shot to the hallway that led to the door she had come in from. But right now I’ll bet there are at least two or three guns trained on the open area between that damned hallway and me. She calculated that she had between five to ten minutes before Agent Knight and his crew arrived. She also knew that the last place she wanted to be was in the warehouse when all hell broke loose.

Crawling back to her previous position, she saw movement to her right. The man who had been firing on her position was on the move - heading closer to this side of the crate. Sliding her gun back into the holster, she crawled backwards, around a second set of crates and disappeared into the shadows, patiently waiting for the man to approach.

It took him only a few moments to cautiously make his way to the end of the crate where he thought she was. Just as T.J. was about to pounce on the man, she heard a loud crash and groan from the other side of the warehouse. Frank. Now what?

But, as fortune would have it the man who had been stalking her turned around quickly at the sound of the crash, leaving her the perfect opportunity to smack the guard in the head with the butt of her gun. As he slumped to the ground, she caught the man under both arms and slid him gently down to keep him from making a sound as he fell. T.J. stripped him of his weapon and slung the modified Uzi across her shoulders. I probably won’t use the damned thing, but why give him the chance ta use it if he wakes up? She hated Uzi’s — they were light, with good balance, but she found her aim was horribly impaired with them. Of course, when ya pump out that many damned bullets at a time, who in the hell needs ta aim?

T.J. briefly contemplated finding Frank and helping him to get out, but two things stopped her. One, she had her hands full with getting herself out alive; and two, the man who had just groaned sounded distinctly like Frank, which meant he might be unconscious, unable to move, or possibly even dead, and therefore she might be risking her own life for nothing. The Feds will be here soon to help him. Besides, ya already did your part by sparing his ass earlier. He’s on his own now.

Sticking to the shadows in the far reaches of the warehouse, T.J. crept along the walls, behind crates and various large machines, always listening intently for the sound of someone nearby. She was sweating in the steamy confines of the warehouse, and it briefly tickled her sense of humor that perhaps she would be able to smell one of Reynoso’s men before she could see him.

She inched along towards the hallway and freedom, still not seeing anyone guarding the doorway. But she knew he was there — only a complete fool would fail to block the most obvious means of escape, and Reynoso may have been many things, but T.J. would not underestimate him enough to call him a complete fool — nor was she willing to bet her life on it. So she crouched down in the shadows for a moment, to watch and evaluate.


"Goddammit, T.J. Say something! Let me know you are alive!" Cami whispered into the darkness of the car. But her plea remained unanswered and she strained her ears against the crackle of the connection to hear just one sound of life. It had been a full two minutes since she had heard a distant crash, followed almost immediately by a scuffle and rustle of clothing. But since then, nothing.

After she had called Agent Knight, she sent the word out to Jake and informed him of the situation and what her present location was. He promised Cami that he and his men would come in quietly and make sure that the Feds got T.J. out of the warehouse. But Jake will take longer to get here — he’s not using a helicopter.

Cami felt utterly helpless. The love of her life was just around the corner and inside the building that Cami could see the corner of from where she was sitting. As she willed Agent Knight to hurry, Cami glanced up and caught sight of a man climbing down the outside stairs of the building and heading towards what she presumed was the front entrance. Fuck! It was too soon for Agent Knight to have gotten there, although he had informed her they were choppering in a special unit. Jake’s men would have been coming from behind her, as the Miata was sitting on the only surface street route to the warehouse. Nope. That’s trouble…

Without hesitating, Cami snagged her gun, secured the cell phone in her pocket and eased her way out of the car, closing the door as quietly as she could. She headed towards the other side of the street from where she was parked so that she could get a better view of the warehouse door, and hide in the shadow of the building that was across the road. She had promised T.J. to follow her orders to the letter; which she was technically doing, since the barkeep had never ordered her to stay in the car — it had just been assumed.

The gun felt heavy and foreign in her hand, but the adrenaline she felt was somehow making her bold. What am I, one of Charlie’s friggin’ Angels all of a sudden? She scoffed at herself, unsure why she suddenly felt like this was not the first time she had headed into danger behind T.J. That’s one damned weird sense of déjà vu, you’re developing woman. Where are these images of epic battles coming from? With a shrug she stuck to the shadows of the building, sure she was fairly invisible in the all-black get up that T.J. had insisted she wear. She was even sporting a black baseball cap to hide her light blonde hair.

As her vision of the warehouse cleared the corner, she could see that the man who had climbed from the roof was waiting just outside the front door of the warehouse, his gun up and aimed to take out whoever happened to come outside. Anyone leaving from that exit was a sitting duck; they would be dead before they knew what hit them.

Cami didn’t think - she simply reacted. She knew that it was possible T.J. would try and get out of that exit before the Feds arrived, and Cami also knew that there was no way to warn her lover about the man guarding the door. So she continued to stick to the shadows and quickly make her way around towards the warehouse door.

Before she could analyze what she was doing, she flipped off the safety of her weapon, silently eased up behind the man and raised the gun towards the back of his head. But she was apparently not as quiet as she thought, for as she got within two feet of the man, he turned suddenly and both he and Cami nearly jumped from the surprise of coming face to face.

Instead of panicking, which up until a few minutes ago Camryn had feared would happen to her in a crisis, she simply continued the motion of her arm forward and cold-cocked the guard by slamming her gun into his jaw. He dropped like a lead weight.

The pain in her hand was instantaneous, as her fingers and wrist took the force of the blow from her end. But what really made her wince was the clattering of the man’s gun to the ground that sounded to Camryn’s ears as loud as the gun shot might have been, and the fact that she shouted "Shit!" fairly loud when she felt the impact of the gun on her hand. She glanced quickly around, but if the noise had drawn the attention of other guards she sure didn’t see any. But she also wouldn’t stand around and just wait for them to arrive either.

Gathering up her courage, she put her back to the wall of the warehouse and eased her head around the doorframe like she had seen the police do on television. Great. Life and death situation and I’m using what I’ve seen on TV to try and keep myself alive. Terrific. Next time I think I’ll just buy ‘Urban Warfare for Dummies’; it would probably be more helpful. Then realizing how silly her brain was working at the moment, she shook her head again and began to silently creep around the door and into the warehouse itself.

The stench was the first thing to hit her. But it was the sound coming over her radio earpiece that froze the blood in her veins.

Miguel Reynoso’s clear, resonant baritone voice intoned, "Going home so soon, Senora Jameson?"


part 19

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