“If you had anything on me, I’d be in handcuffs.”


“You’re one of the only people with access to the original source code.”

“Banksoft has more than ten thousand employees. I’m sure a few of them have access. Why don’t you start there?”

He bent and placed his hands on the table. “Because they don’t have a motive. An election is rigged right in your backyard, guaranteeing your father-in-law the governor’s seat. All signs point to you, a known hacker.”

“Rumored,” I clarified. “And you’re overlooking one minor detail. I wasn’t in the fucking country when it happened.”

“You have a whole team working for you, trained by you, paid to do your bidding. I wouldn’t be surprised if a man of your means decided not to handle a matter of this nature personally.”

He was dead wrong there. If I had done it, I sure as hell would have taken care of it personally. But I hadn’t, and the fact that they could turn their focus on any of the people who worked for me only spiked my growing irritation.

“If you’re so convinced I’m behind this, prove it. Open up that little envelope of yours and let’s see it.”

Picking up the envelope, he straightened. “Trust me, I plan to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re behind this.”

Dean rose beside me. “Sounds like you haven’t yet, so I think we’re finished here.”

* * *

The drive home from the station was long, but somehow not long enough. Not enough road to settle the thoughts blasting through my brain. Dean drove me home in silence. I had no desire to talk after hours of questioning.

My first impression of Agent Evans had proven accurate. He was a pissant of a human, and cocky to boot. He thought a shiny badge and a cheap suit gave him authority. He wielded whatever information he had with nauseating swagger, his only real power built on a foundation of inefficient bureaucracy and a sliver of information that he shouldn’t even have access to. He’d damned me before he’d stepped through the front door.

I remembered men like him, droves of them who’d been brought in to intimidate me and the others in the original M89 group. Now they were demanding that I supply them with a lie that would damn myself. I’d harnessed every ounce of willpower I possessed not to give him an answer that would physically shut him up.

If not for Dean’s reassurances and the fact that I trusted him more than I trusted almost anyone, I would have told Evans to fuck himself, gone home to Erica, and waited for my name to clear on its own.

“They’ll want to talk to your family tomorrow to establish a timeline.”

Dean broke my internal tirade as I stared out the window. They’d involved Erica, and now the rest of my family would be subjected to this goddamn odyssey.

“They’ll cooperate.”

“I figured as much. I’m more concerned with what the feds are going to find on your machines at the office.”

I stared at the man beside me. He was older than me, but had a youthful look about him. It was almost disarming, until you learned firsthand how shrewd he could be.

“Is this time for my confession?”

He let out a short laugh. “Might be a good time for it, so I can be prepared for whatever they throw at us. I would have liked to have talked to you before Evans pounced, but you did well in there. They definitely don’t have anything on you yet, which is promising. He seems determined, however.”

“They’re not going to find anything. I’m always careful.”

We never discussed it at length, but Dean understood. I’d even helped him through a few tough cases by accessing files that he’d never have been able to uncover on his own—legally, anyway. I paid him well, but he owed me. Whatever went down here, he wouldn’t sleep until it was resolved. That much I knew.

“They won’t just be looking for a tie to the voting machines, Blake. They’ll be looking for anything. Any instance of wrongdoing to hold you. Do you understand that?”

I fisted my hand on my lap. Fucking FBI. Even though I’d been creative with my fact-finding on occasion, I’d never truly believed that I would have to face them again. Not like this.

“I guess they’ll find what they find then.”

Dean slowed to a stop behind the Escalade already parked in the driveway. “I need to know if they’re going to find anything that we need to take care of.”

“I’m careful, Dean, all right? I’ve been doing this all my life, and I know how to cover my tracks. Whatever they find will be bullshit. Easy to brush away.”

“I hope you’re right, because if they find a pinch of evidence, they’re going to turn it into a lot more than you might expect.”

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