"What?" She grabbed his shirt. "Of course they want the formula. That's the whole point, isn't it?"
"Think about it." He spoke slowly and deliberately. "Even if we turn over the formula, do you think they're going to believe that we're turning over the only copy?"
She rubbed her temples, his words not piercing through the fog yet.
"They'll never believe that, so what would be the point of releasing Eddie? We give them the formula, they release Eddie and then we turn over our copy of the formula to the CIA, implicating Colonel Scripps in the bargain."
"Th-then why did they take Eddie? What do they want?"
He took a breath, clasping his hands in front of him. "They want me."
She jerked, her shoulder banging his. "You?"
"My life for Eddie's."
"No." She jumped from the couch and grabbed his shoulders. "What good would that do them? I'll still have the formula and all the copies. Their plan is finished and they know it."
"Exactly." He rose beside her and encircled his hands around her waist. "Thanks to you and Gabe, the formula is out. They're done, which gives Farouk even more of an incentive to see me dead. I ruined his plans."
"More of an incentive? He has other reasons for, for wanting you...?"
"Farouk hates me. This isn't the only plan of his I've disrupted, but it may be the biggest. He wants me dead."
She buried her face in his shoulder. "A child? He's using a child?"
"He'd use any means to get to me."
"How does he know you're not going to just walk away?"
Jack stroked her hair. "I'm not going to endanger a child and Farouk knows that."
"Eddie must be terrified. He probably thinks this has to do with his mother's boyfriend." She clutched his shirt. "What are we going to do?"
"We wait for their instructions, and then we go get Eddie."
"You're just going to give yourself up to Farouk?"
He held her away from him and pinched her chin. "After knowing me for a week, do you think I'm the kind of man who's going to give up?"
"No. Do you have a plan?"
"Not yet, but I'll think of something. I'll get Eddie and bring him back to you myself."
A tremble snaked through her body, and he held her close. He'd always figured Farouk would use Lola to get to him, but he never imagined he'd snatch Eddie. The man must've known more about Lola's life than he'd suspected.
They didn't have to wait long for the call, and it came on Lola's prepaid phone. So Scripps was enmeshed with Farouk to the very end.
When the call came, Lola had recovered herself. She wasn't one to fall apart and get hysterical. Green sparks flew from her eyes. "Where's Eddie, you SOB?"
Farouk's slightly accented voice flowed across the line with oily confidence. Jack locked his jaw. That was another voice he'd never forget.
"The boy is safe, Dr. Famosa."
"Tell me where to bring my brother's formula. I'll give it to you in exchange for Eddie."
Farouk laughed. "I don't want the formula anymore, Lola. For all I know, you have fifty copies of that formula floating around. No, my dream of controlling a biological weapon of mass destruction is over--thanks to Coburn and the other members of Prospero."
"What is it you want? Money? I have a lot of money."
"I know you do...your father's money. You see, Lola, your father and I are not so different. Men will go to great lengths for money and power--ask Colonel Scripps."
Jack gritted his teeth. How had Farouk gotten around Scripps?
"Then I'll give it to you. How much in exchange for Eddie?"
Farouk growled. "I don't want your money. I want Coburn. Now put him on the phone. I know he's listening."
Jack spoke up. "I'm here, Farouk."
"Had a few problems, didn't you, Coburn? When my men told me you'd jumped off that cliff, I thought I'd seen the end of you."
Jack snorted. "You should know by now it's not that easy to get rid of me."
"If you harm that boy, you're dead."
"Eddie? I'm not going to harm him. We're old friends."
Lola yanked the phone toward her. "What does that mean?"
Farouk chuckled. "How do you think I knew so much about you, Lola? Your schedule? Your special relationship with Eddie? I've been working at Miami Hope for the past few weeks as a janitor."