Page 66 of Forced Alliance

She watched the roads. She’d been in New Orleans long enough to know they were headed east on I-10. Where had Sherwood hidden Louis Armond?

“Where is Armond?” she asked again.

“You’ll know when we get there.”

What kind of answer was that? So Sherwood had reconsidered after all, but he still wouldn’t disclose the location.

This man whom she’d trusted as her superior had been holding out on her just like Connor. Did they both think she was such a ninny that she couldn’t handle the truth that was staring her in the eyes?

“You don’t trust me, do you?”

Sherwood shrugged. “You’re new and...damaged, Gilbert. This is a big case. I’ve been trying to pin down Louis Armond for most of my career. I’m not about to let a rookie or a known criminal take credit for what I’ve been trying to do for years.”

Josie refused to show any fear or dread. And she couldn’t let him see her suspicions, either. “That’s your call, sir.”

“Yes, it is. Good of you to remember that.”

This man wasn’t going to tell her anything, so she started memorizing the road signs. They were headed east toward the Lake Pontchartrain Bridge. But they didn’t take the bridge exit.

Josie’s stomach roiled again. Sherwood didn’t say anything more. The silence allowed her to make a mental chart of the man she’d so blindly followed. The man who was nothing short of a control freak. Was Sherwood bitter because Louis Armond had bonded with Connor and then turned to her for help? Because she and Connor had grown close? Did he think she’d purposely tried to take over this case?

Did she dare call Connor?

No. If she got him involved, Sherwood might not let her see Armond. Pushing away her concerns, she tried to engage Sherwood once again. “Remind me of how long you’ve been after Armond?”

“You don’t need to worry about that.”

Josie’s gut burned with the certain knowledge that Armond might not be waiting for her at the end of this trip. But who would be there? Lou? The alleged other son? Or maybe the silent partner they were all trying to find? Or was Sherwood taking her someplace where she’d never be found? She prepared herself for a long ride. And she prepared herself for a good fight.

* * *

Connor took the trolley as far as he could go, then grabbed a cab to the FBI building. After he’d asked the driver to stop a block away, he’d walked by the building twice. Finally, he backtracked down the street and did a zigzag walk back to the building, making sure no one had followed him. He went to the back entrance. When his key card didn’t work, he stood there staring up at the door.

No way he could break in.

So he tried calling Josie. When she didn’t answer, Connor got concerned. He remembered she was supposed to text him that she’d made it here okay.

He tried texting her. But after a couple of minutes had passed and she hadn’t answered, he turned to leave. Then he tried calling Sherwood.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” Sherwood said after the first ring. “Or should I say we’ve been waiting for you?”

“Waiting? For what?” Connor didn’t like the man’s cool, smug tone.

“Actually, I’ve been waiting for this day for years now,” Sherwood replied. “I need you to do me a favor, Randall.”

Sure now that Sherwood had Josie, Connor went into his own survival mode. He remembered Josie telling him to think like a criminal. He’d start with a little negotiating. “What do you want, Sherwood?”

Sherwood’s laughter sounded with an eerie echo in his ear. “I want you to turn yourself in to the FBI, of course. I want you to confess you’ve been working with Armond for close to two years now.”

“You know I have.”

“I know you’ve pretended to be gathering evidence, and you did manage to give us a nibble here and there, but I want you to confess that you set up that bomb and you planted that evidence in Louis Armond’s safe.”

Connor closed his eyes, his heart beat pumping a warning throughout his system. “I didn’t do that, and I’m pretty sure you know who did.”

“But you’ll confess that you did.”

Lenora Worth Books | Suspense Books |