Jack copied the file to the disc and the flash drive, and Lola secured the disc in the safe along with Gabe's letter. Jack shoved the flash drive into his pocket.

Lola slumped against the deep cushions of the couch. "Now what?"

"Now we get some lunch and wait for Colonel Scripps's call."

They didn't have to wait much longer. Lola had taken one bite of her sandwich when her cell phone vibrated. She swallowed and answered on the third buzz.


"I need to speak to Jack."

Lola held out the phone to Jack with a slightly trembling hand. As he took it from her he pressed the speaker button, and a zing of pleasure shot to her toes. He really did want her to be a part of this thing.


"Jack, it's me, Colonel Scripps. I made it to Miami. Let's bring you in."

"I'm ready."

"And you have the formula for the vaccine?"

Jack's fingers traced the outline of the flash drive in his pocket. "We'll discuss it."

"Where do you want to meet?"

Lola gestured at the floor with both index fingers. They'd been secure enough at this house, but Jack shook his head back and forth briskly.

He mouthed the words in public.

These spies sure played it close to the vest. She snatched an envelope from the coffee table and scribbled, Maximo Gomez Domino Park, Calle Ocho, surprising herself. Her father and his associates--associates he didn't trust--had often met in this location to discuss business.

Jack repeated the location over the phone to Colonel Scripps. "Meet me there at three o'clock this afternoon."

"We'll take care of you, Jack."

Jack ended the call and checked the time on the display. "It's one-thirty. How long does it take to get to Calle Ocho?"

"Not long, about a half an hour."

"Give me directions or punch the location into the GPS."

Lola braced her feet against the edge of the coffee table. "I'm coming with you."

"No. What if someone's following the Colonel? What if someone follows us? This is a dangerous meeting, Lola, and I don't want you anywhere near it."

"I won't be there with you and the Colonel, but I want to be nearby. I deserve to be nearby. Gabe's my brother, and if Colonel Scripps has any information about him, I want to hear it as soon as possible. Besides, what if..."

She dropped her gaze to her clasped hands, fingers twisting nervously.

"What if?"

"What if the Colonel whisks you away somewhere to deprogram you? What if I never see you again?"

He scooped up her hands in his, cradling them. "I don't think that's going to happen."

"Please, Jack. I need to be there, even if it's in the background. We can go early and I can find an inconspicuous spot in the park. The Colonel doesn't know what I look like, anyway."

"Yeah, but the bad guys do, and they don't know yet that we've already retrieved the formula."

"Believe me. I'm at home in that park, among those people. Nothing's going to happen to me there."

His taut muscles seemed to relax, and she knew she'd convinced him. She disentangled her fingers from his and grabbed her sandwich. "Let's eat."

JACK PATTED THE WEAPON in the waistband of his jeans beneath his loose-fitting shirt. "If anything goes down, get out of the park, hop in your car and drive out of here. And don't look back."

"I can handle myself."

"I know you can." Jack's gaze darted across the street and down the sidewalk, tripping over the bold, bright mural painted on the side of a building. Uneasiness simmered beneath his skin, like a pot on the verge of boiling over the edge.

Why had Lola envisioned a scenario where Colonel Scripps would haul him away for deprogramming? Was it that far-fetched? The U.S. military and the CIA would want a handle on any information he'd picked up in Afghanistan. He'd gone out there to secure the release of a hostage, but had stumbled upon something much greater, much more vital to the interests of the U.S. government.

And he could remember only about eighty percent of it. The powers that be in Washington would want that remaining twenty percent...and their methods wouldn't be as benign as Lesley's.

He grabbed Lola by the shoulders and landed a hard kiss against her soft mouth. "Stay out of sight. And be careful."

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