Seizing on the opportunity to put the situation into perspective, I let my gaze move between Leighton and Mike. “We don’t know if this is anything to worry about just yet.”

“They’re here,” Mike growls, rising slightly in his seat. “They know I’m in Vegas. By this time tomorrow, there will be dozens of their men combing this city.”

“Which is why you won’t be galivanting around it,” I reply, giving him a pointed look. “But you’re safe here. I believe you’re going to be safe at my house as well. There’s nothing tying us together.”

Well, there is, but I don’t want to worry them. Hypothetically, I suppose a determined mob family hell-bent on revenge could hire the best investigator out there. If they were able to make Leighton’s car and get her license plate number, they’d track her to Denver. They’d find out about Mike. When they talked to neighbors, they’d ultimately learn about Sam.

That he has cancer and the family went to Vegas for treatment. Some deep digging might turn up people who—for the right amount of money—would give up my name as being the father who came to the hospital every damn day.

It’s conceivable they could find me. Not something that will happen today, but it could eventually.

“Let’s see what Kynan’s contacts at DOJ have to say,” I reassure them. “We’ve got a guy in the Pittsburgh office who can even run risk assessments once we get the information in.”

Mike gives a stiff nod as Leighton’s bleary-eyed gaze moves out the window. When the door opens, Rachel comes in carrying a laptop. “I have some good news.”

Leighton and Mike sit straight in their chairs. Rachel puts the laptop before them, and I move up behind her to see what she has.

“The security office at the Grande Casino sent us over the relevant camera feeds,” she says over her shoulder. “Got a friend of a friend who works there.”

She leans over, taps a few buttons on the keyboard, and a black-and-white video pops up. It’s grainy, but I can clearly see Mike and Leighton walking through the casino, their arms hooked. The camera is pointed on their back and facing a blackjack table as they approach it.

We quietly watch it unfurl. The men are clearly surprised to see Mike, who moves with incredible speed to pull Leighton away. Both men jump up from the table to give chase. Mike quite brilliantly cuts to the right, maneuvering through slot machines, and then we lose sight of them.

Rachel taps another button. A feed comes up. “This is Mike and Leighton leaving the casino. Those men don’t follow them out the door.”

Once again, she hits another key, so yet another feed pops up. “The outside street view camera.”

We watch as Mike and Leighton hurry across the street, then disappear into the parking garage. We wait for several moments before the men finally fly out the door, both running a few paces in opposite directions. Both scan all around, clearly frustrated not to have caught up with their prey.

They come together, talking animatedly with waving hands. One of the men pulls out a cell phone and calls someone, presumably to report their sighting. Then they both return to the casino.

“The exit for the parking garage is on a different street,” Mike says. “It would appear they didn’t get our license plate.”

“Appears that way,” Rachel says with a smile. “Doesn’t mean they’re not coming to Vegas to search for you, but, at least for now, it doesn’t look like they’re going to get your current identity.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Leighton says, a tinge of hysteria in her voice. “We can’t take any chances. We need to leave. Figure out a way to get new identities.”

Frantically, she implores me. “Surely you have some contacts, right? Even black market. We’ll do whatever it takes.”

I hold my hands up, trying to calm her with my tone. “Not so fast, Leighton. We don’t even know how serious they are about pursuing y’all. It’s been a long time, and it would be like finding a needle in a haystack. They may not dedicate the resources.”

“But they may send an army,” she counters.

“Regardless,” I soothe. “For the time being, I think you’re still very safe at my house. I won’t ever let anything happen to you, Sam, or Mike. Let’s just head to my place. When we hear from the DOJ, we can further assess the situation.”

Leighton and Mike exchange a look. Thankfully, Mike seems to be the more trusting of the two. He merely nods, indicating it’s fine for a short-term plan.



I stare at Sam as he peacefully sleeps, so oblivious to the calamity surrounding us. Resisting the urge to move to the bed to kiss his head one more time, I back out and shut the door.

Padding down the hallway, I find everyone in the living room. Brian and Lori sit close to each other on the couch, holding hands. My dad is in one of the swivel chairs perpendicular to them. August leans against the doorway that separates the kitchen and living areas.