Page 3 of His Hostage

“If you go inside get me a lollipop,” Walsh says over our intercom and I shake my head. “What? They give those out to the kids. Why not the adults too?”

“Define ‘adult,’” Jonas chimes in, and I laugh.

“How’s the view?” I ask, trying to get everyone back on task. I know the tension is tight right now and they’re looking for a way to cut it, but we need to stay sharp.

“Easy breezy.” Levi’s voice comes in cool and ready and I know we all are.

“Heads up, I see a van rolling in.” Track flashes his lights once just as a van passes in front of him.

The vehicle has the logo we’re looking for, but I don’t recognize the driver. “It’s not Joe,” I say and realize Monte must have changed the plan and gotten someone else to do the drop for him.

I can’t make out who it is as the van turns the corner and circles into the parking lot. It’s facing away from me, but Levi and Walsh should have a good look at it.

“Give me something,” I call out as I try to be patient.

“It’s a girl,” I hear Walsh say and Levi confirms.

“Shit.” I curse because I don’t know any female that works for Monte and we need this drop to be clean as fuck.

We’re here today to take back what Monte has stolen from our town. A few years ago Monte and his gang showed up with a big development the city invested in. But it turns out he ended up using it as a front to funnel in his cash from illegal gambling and drug shipments he brought with him. The city couldn’t prove anything or get enough evidence to go for a conviction because Monte was slick and kept his nose clean. A couple of people that worked for him went down and for the most part he operated a legitimate business with his ink company. But no one could ever get what went on behind the scenes to stick, and we’re tired of it.

He’s brought this plague into our city and we’re looking to correct what he’s done by taking the money he’s made on the blood of our friends and neighbors and give it back to the city. We want to take control of the chaos he’s caused.

We know what he’s capable of even if he’s got this town snowed, and we’re ready to expose him for what he truly is. He’s taken the life out of where we grew up and we’ve watched crime take over. It’s time to put a stop to it and this is where it begins.

“Relax, Coop. We stick to the plan.” I look out my window to Walsh in the diner and he nods at me.

“Right,” I agree as I pull down my balaclava. “But I’m going in silent.”

There are protests in my ear as I put the gun I was going to use on Joe in the glove box and grab the knife off the seat next to me. I step out of the black SUV and make my way to the van, gripping it. There’s still a sheath on it because I don’t want to hurt anyone. It’s only meant to intimidate the person doing the drop and I’m not prepared to point a gun at someone in broad daylight.

As I walk slowly I see the woman get out of the van and go to the side to open the sliding door. When she steps out I’m struck by how small she is and how young she looks. Her blonde hair is braided over one shoulder and she’s wearing a pencil skirt and heels. She’s dressed like she works in an office and not Monte’s warehouse. For a second I wonder if we’ve got the wrong van, but then I catch sight of the two large bags in the back.

I speed up my steps until I’m right behind her and place the knife at her waist as I pull her tight against me.

“Don’t move or I’ll cut you in half,” I growl deep, holding the covered knife to her stomach.

“Please don’t hurt me,” she whispers, and I’m surprised she’s not shouting. “Let me just walk away. You can have the money, I don’t care, but let me leave here.”

Her words stun me and I don’t know how to reply. She’s all but limp in my arms and now I’m wondering why in the fuck Monte sent this woman to make the drop if she’s so eager to give it up. Is this a setup?

“Eyes all around,” I say into my intercom and the guys all check in with the perimeter clear.

“What?” Now she’s the one that’s confused.

“Who sent you to make this drop?” Something isn’t right and I need to know now.

“Speed it up, Coop,” Jonas says, and I see his light flash from across the street.