Page 62 of Forced Alliance


She came awake, the sound of his voice calling to her in her dream merging with his gentle whisper.

He was standing over her with coffee and leftover crème brûlée. “I thought you might be hungry.”

Josie sat up and looked for her watch. Seven o’clock on Sunday morning. Had it really been only a few days since this nightmare had begun?

She took the coffee but shook her head at the rich, creamy concoction in the ramekin dish. “Thank you.”

“I can make toast.”

She drank the coffee, willing herself to wake up. “I’m fine. Not hungry.” Setting the cup on the glass side table, she whirled off the bed and stood. “I need to get to work. I want to talk to Louis Armond.”

“I’m going with you.”

She glared up at Connor, shaking her head again. He looked sleep-tossed, too. His dark hair was mushed and messy but his eyes seemed to see everything she needed to hide. “No. You need to stay here and stay out of sight. I have to do this on my own, Connor.”

He shoved the tray onto the bed and followed her as she paced in front of the window. “Why? Because you don’t trust me? Because I withheld information? Josie, that stuff about the other son is just a hunch.”

“We’ve gone out on less,” she retorted. “I wanted to trust you and believe you and cheer you on, but you should have divulged everything up front. Everything. That’s how I do my job. I get all the facts and then I use those facts to make a case. I’ve got nothing, Connor. Nothing.”

He turned her to face him. “It’s too dangerous for you to go anywhere alone. Don’t you see? Whoever this is wants me dead and...because you’ve been seen with me and they know you’re FBI, they want you dead, too.”

“I’m always on someone’s list,” she retorted. “I can get Armond to talk, to tell us what was so urgent the night he called you to meet him. I should have had first crack at him anyway, but I abided by my supervisor’s orders.”

“What makes you think he’ll talk to you?”

“I don’t know. Maybe because I tried to help him. Maybe because deep down, he respects you?”

“And that matters to you?”

She couldn’t deny her feelings but she could put up a wall to protect herself. “Keeping you safe and alive matters to me because it’s my job. But you need to be completely honest with me, weren’t. I can’t get past that.” She set down her empty coffee cup and started toward the bathroom. “I’m going to headquarters to file my reports and then I’m going to call Sherwood to ask him to take me to see Armond.”

“Without me?”

“Yes.” She forced herself to ignore the wounded expression in his eyes. “Yes. You can stay here and think back over everything, maybe do more digging on anything that might trigger a memory regarding Armond and his secrets.”

“How will you get there?”

She certainly wouldn’t hitch a ride in Armond’s souped-up car. “I’ll call an FBI escort. No problem.”

His expression hardened while he stood there staring at her. “Why are you so stubborn?”

“This has nothing to do with me being stubborn,” she replied. “We need some time apart, Connor. This situation has brought us together, but if I can’t count on you, then I need to investigate this for myself.”

“I thought we were a team.”

“You thought wrong.” She hated seeing him like this—defeated, dangerous—but she had to guard her own heart, and her job. “I’m just the person who’s supposed to keep you alive.”

“For information, you mean. For the FBI—at your beck and call?”

“Isn’t that what you signed up for?”

He nodded, stared out the window. “Yep, I guess so. I sure didn’t sign up for this—worrying about you, trying to show you I care, trying to convince you to work with me and not against me.”

“I could say the same about you.”

She waited for him to leave so she could get ready. But before he did, she turned back. “A young girl died. In Dallas. She was one of my informants, and she was terrified about going in wearing a wire. I told her I’d keep her safe. We set up a sting, but we didn’t know that a drug dealer had his own informants in the neighborhood. They found out she’d been spying and they tortured her and murdered her. Her body was there when we raided their meth lab. They were all gone, but they left me a definite message.”

Lenora Worth Books | Suspense Books |