The small figure walked down the pier, every other step a skip.

Jack turned toward Farouk, a new determination fueling his senses. His Prospero teammates had been with him all the way. "So let's get to it. Are you going to off me here?"


Farouk licked his lips, his eyes darting from side to side. "Why would I want to cause a commotion? Get on the boat."

Farouk ordered him to start the boat and pull up the moorings while he kept his gun pointed at his back.

As the boat chugged down the channel, Jack asked, "Can I call Lola now?"

"That was the agreement." Farouk tossed him his phone. "Tell her to pick up the brat."

Jack punched in the number for the prepaid phone and Lola answered after the first ring. The sound of her voice, strong and sure, made him smile. It was the same the first time he'd heard her voice over the phone, asking for his help.

"Jack, are you okay?"

"I'm fine and Eddie's fine. He's waiting for you at the bait shop."

"Can Farouk hear us?"

"No."

"They're coming, Jack. Prospero is coming."

Adrenaline coursed through his body. Prospero never failed. "We're still in the channel."

Farouk jabbed him in the back with the barrel of his gun. "She doesn't need to know where we are. End the call."

"I meant it, Lola. I love you."

"And I love you, Jack."

Jack held out the phone to Farouk, who studied him from beneath heavy lids. "The doctor means that much to you? I should've snatched her instead of the kid. I never could get to you through your loved ones, Coburn, because you didn't have any. Always the loner. Hammond had that stupid wife of his. I also took care of Buzz's parents. I couldn't get to Dempsey's wife, but I took out one of his Mountain Ranger buddies. You see, I took a personal interest in Prospero."

And now Prospero has a personal interest in you.

Jack didn't respond, just kept steering the boat through the channel. "Where to?"

"We'll head for open waters and I can dispose of your body over the side of the boat."

They passed a few other boats, and Jack kept his muscles coiled and ready. Had Ian had enough time to get a boat in the water? Had Buzz had enough time to get a helicopter up?

By sea, air or land he knew Prospero would get here.

A big speedboat came chugging into the channel, faster than the speed limit allowed, churning up waves in its wake. Jack gripped the steering wheel of the boat. This was it.

The speedboat rose up and down in the water, heading in their direction.

Farouk swore. "Get away from this idiot."

Jack shifted the boat toward the oncoming powerboat.

"The other way. Move away from him. He's on the wrong side of the channel."

Jack continued to steer the boat toward the other boat, now bearing down on them.

Farouk screamed. "Move, move. He doesn't see us."

Jack released the boat's steering wheel and crouched, ready to spring. The other boat rammed their stern, spinning them in the water.

Jack lunged for Farouk, who had stumbled, his gun waving in the air. He tackled Farouk and pinned his arm back, banging his wrist against the side of the boat until the gun slipped from his weakened grasp.

Jack drove his knee into Farouk's midsection, and the other man coughed and twisted to the side.

"Does he have any other weapons, Jack?"

Jack twisted his head over his shoulder and grinned at Buzz, who was aiming a gun at Farouk. "It's about damned time."

He yanked Farouk up to a sitting position and slammed him against the side of the boat. He patted him down and pulled a knife from his waistband. He tossed it over the side of the boat.

Another pair of boots, belonging to Ian, thumped onto the deck of the boat. "How'd you like Riley's driving skills? Your Lola gave us a pretty good description of the boat."

"That's great. A little help here." Jack grabbed Farouk's pant leg and yanked it up. He had to use two hands to remove the gun secured against Farouk's calf.

With a cry of rage, Farouk wrenched free and twisted his body over the side of the boat. He disappeared beneath the murky water.

"We can't let him get away. Not this time. Riley, can you see him?"

Riley, standing on the deck of the other boat peered at the water. "He's gotta come up for air sometime. Once his head pops up, I'm on it."

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