“Yes, sir.” If he was willing to set up an undercover background for her, Sherwood must understand the magnitude of this mission. She might be in this for days, possibly weeks.
She’d go out to the Armond compound and get Armond and Connor to safety. That is, if someone else didn’t beat her to the place and do harm to both of them.
Josie checked her rearview mirror several times to make sure she wasn’t being followed. Normal Saturday-night traffic streamed along the interstate.
She bumped up her speed, her pulse zooming along with the vehicle’s high speed. Why was she so worried anyway? Connor could handle himself. He knew all the tricks of survival.
But...Connor Randall was almost legendary around the bureau, so maybe Armond considered him more valuable alive than dead right now. If anyone could charm a snake, it’d be Connor Randall. She didn’t want to think about how he could turn a woman’s head, too.
She hadn’t decided if the debonair Mr. Randall had finally mended his ways or if he was just working on one last big con. They’d had several conversations, or as Connor liked to call them—interrogations. She asked questions, and he either answered with a cool disregard or said nothing at all. She’d pulled him in earlier today to get a better handle on tonight’s mission, and the man had waltzed in wearing a custom-made tuxedo and a custom-made smile.
Get that out of your head, she told herself. So he was handsome and debonair and...still a criminal in her mind.
She only wanted to get Armond and him out alive and make sure Armond lived up to his side of this bargain. Her career needed a serious boost. If the Mafia lord was running scared, they’d never get the truth out of him.
Josie made a few turns to check any tails. She got off an exit ramp and looped back around to where she’d started, zooming as fast as she could.
There! She spotted another car behind her, doing the same loop. This time, she stayed on the interstate but zigzagged between other vehicles and took a different exit. When she felt sure she wasn’t being followed, she exited again and took the back roads that followed the Mississippi River.
No other cars were in sight, so she breathed a sigh of relief. Whoever had been behind her was gone now.
Or maybe they were just waiting.
Connor might be right after all. Maybe this went deeper than just someone trying to take down Armond. Maybe someone was also after Connor. The list could be long and far-reaching. Which meant they might be watching her, too.
* * *
Located about forty-five minutes north of New Orleans and set back off a narrow country road near the Mississippi River, the Armond estate consisted of a stunning antebellum house that was well over one hundred and fifty years old and set in the middle of an acreage that rivaled Versailles.
Stately columns surrounded the big stucco house. Massive mushrooming live oaks that had been planted over three hundred years ago lined the long drive leading to the double front doors. A high black iron fence and electronic gate surrounded the whole thing, while armed guards and nasty watchdogs patrolled the perimeters.
Connor paced out on the downstairs gallery, walking from column to column while he waited for Josie Gilbert to arrive. A guard stood near the big double doors, making sure Connor didn’t venture too far. Every now and then Connor would touch a hand to the still-warm eggshell-white patina of the old stucco. This house had good bones and an aged, distinguished history. When he’d first seen what was now called Armond Gardens, Connor thought this was exactly the kind of place he’d always dreamed of owning. But it hadn’t taken him long to realize a mansion didn’t make a home. A lot of criminal activities and nefarious comings and goings went on behind this tranquil, elegant facade. He didn’t want to live here now. But he sure didn’t want to die here, either. Not tonight.
Now he had a reason to live. He hoped to give his sister, Deidre, the kind of home she deserved even if he never lived there with her. His sister, just a few years younger than his thirty-two years, deserved a home of her own, and she deserved some peace of mind. He’d changed his ways for that purpose and he intended to see it through to prove to Deidre that he’d turned back toward the Lord.