Those tempting lips formed an O before she spun around and melted into a crowd of people gathered around a circle of drummers thumping out a Latin beat.
Jack slipped into the park and meandered past tables of old men playing dominoes or chess. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a figure bearing down on him. The stiff, military posture could belong to only one man--Colonel Frank Scripps.
Jack turned to face him. The Colonel nodded once and veered toward a bench that backed up to a swath of dense foliage. Jack swallowed hard and edged toward the bench, facing it and then balancing one foot on its edge.
The Colonel reached him and thrust out a hand. "Good to see you alive, Jack."
"Good to be alive." Jack gripped the older man's long, bony fingers that still vibrated with vitality and action.
"Have a seat." The Colonel gestured toward the green bench scattered with leaves from the overhanging ficus tree.
Jack lowered himself to the bench, wedging his back against the wrought-iron arm curving along the side.
Colonel Scripps scratched his chin. "What the hell happened out there?"
"I rescued the hostage, secured him and went back to collect some intel. A few of Farouk's guys caught me eavesdropping, took offense and forced me over the side of a mountain."
"Farouk?" The Colonel's shaggy, gray brows shot up. "He's involved in this?"
"What did you hear before you went off the cliff? I mean, you already knew terrorists had kidnapped the good doctor because he was working on a formula to combat the virus they'd developed out there." He lifted one shoulder. "I got that from the CIA boys."
"I did know that, only because the doctor told me when I sprang him from his prison cell. That's why I went back. By then I knew Farouk was involved, and I couldn't resist an opportunity to stick it to Prospero's old nemesis."
"And what did you discover when you went back?" The Colonel's steely blue eyes narrowed.
"Nothing." Jack shoved a hand through his hair. "Or at least nothing I can remember. I can't remember where I stashed the doc, either. There are still gaps, holes in my memory."
"Now that we know you didn't steal the formula for yourself, we can help you with those gaps, Jack."
"You know I didn't steal the formula, but what about your cohorts at the Agency?"
"As long as you turn over the formula, you'll be golden."
"And what if I don't have the formula?" Jack clenched his jaw. Would the Colonel believe him only if he coughed up the formula? Did the man have so little faith in him after all these years? What about Ian, Riley and Buzz? Would his Prospero team members vouch for him?
The nostrils on the Colonel's patrician nose flared. "You don't have the formula?"
Jack studied his mentor's face, looking for a sign that the formula didn't matter.
Instead the Colonel's jaw tightened. "What about the girl? The doctor's sister? Did he send the formula to her?"
A chill crept up Jack's spine, clenching the back of his neck. How the hell did Colonel Scripps know about Lola?
Lola skirted the open area of the park where the Cubanos viejos played their games of dominoes and chess. She'd spotted a tall man with a ramrod-straight back wandering through the press of people, out of place among those enjoying an afternoon at the park.
She followed his progress and caught her breath as she noticed something strange. When he passed first one man and then another, the men broke away from the crowd and headed toward the thick foliage that ringed the park.
Had to be a coincidence or her imagination in overdrive. She tracked the two men as they disappeared down separate paths.
The tall man with the gray hair nodded and waved his hand. Jack emerged from the other side of the park and was making his way toward the man, who had to be Colonel Scripps.
Lola crouched behind a table, watching their interaction. Guess these covert ops types didn't hug it out. Jack seemed stiff, the Colonel reserved.
"Hey, Lolita. Humberto, it's Lolita."
Lola jerked her head around and swallowed a curse when she saw a group of men stationed around a dominoes table, men who had been loyal to her father. Men who were still loyal to her and Gabe.