Holding Hadleigh, RAPTOR Book Two releases next week and I’m so excited.
In order to give you a little taste, I’ve included the first chapter here.
Donovan pocketed his phone, tucked his 9mm into his waistband holster, and swiped his wallet from his dresser top. Walking from his bedroom, to the door of his apartment inside the RAPTOR complex, he nabbed his keys from the hook hanging by the door and stepped into the hall. Taking long strides to the elevator a door closed at the end of the hall. Turning he nodded when Diego and his therapy dog, Ted, caught up to him.
“On your way to investigate the house you think Marco48 is operating from?”
“Yeah. I’ve been after this guy for months. I can’t believe I’m finally going to make contact.”
“Yeah, but Charly’s coming with me. No offense, but she’s better looking than you are. And Ted takes up the whole backseat.”
Ted barked and Van chuckled. “Sorry bud, but it’s the truth.”
Diego laughed. “Ignore him Ted, he’s not that great of company when he’s on the trail anyway.”
Van laughed. “Fuck off.”
The elevator doors opened and Diego stepped in first with Ted, laughing as he entered. Van stepped in and pushed the button for the lower level where their conference room and offices were located; although calling them offices was a bit formal. It was a large room where they each had a desk set up with short walls around each desk for minimal privacy. Not that they needed it. Everyone here knew what everyone else was working on. Whenever back up or assistance was needed, no one had to be brought up to speed on anything.
Van’s stomach was a bit tense and right now he wished he hadn’t eaten so much for lunch. Since he wasn’t sure how long he’d have to sit in his car today while he watched the house he believed Marco48 operated from, he ate a large breakfast so he wouldn’t get hungry. Now, lunch sat like a rock and he regretted his decision.
Letting out a long slow breath to calm his nerves, he watched the doors to the elevator as if that would speed things up.
Diego nudged him. “It’s all good Van. You’ve got this.”
Van nodded, “Yeah, but just when I let myself think that, something will go wrong. So, I keep running over all the possible scenarios in my mind.”
“That’s because you’re a great operative. And, Charly has an eagle eye, so don’t for one minute doubt yourself on the vision front. Believe in yourself, everyone else here does.”
“I just want this guy. Bad.”
Diego laughed. “You’ll get him.”
“Thanks. I could use your help though. Can you go through the reports Cyber ran on Marco48? Mostly, are there any red flags? Do you see any consistencies in his patterns I haven’t noticed? You’re much better at that stuff than I am.”
“You got it. I’ll message you when I have something.”
The elevator doors opened and they walked to the conference room. In his head, Van often called this room Mission Control. It was the hub of the complex, the place where all the information was disseminated and forwarded. It’s where they met to discuss their missions and where they viewed information. It was the most exciting place to be.
Opening the conference room door, he stepped into the activity and his heartbeat increased. His boss, Emersyn Copeland, sat across the room at her desk, engrossed in whatever she was looking at on her computer while the large printer to her right was in the process of printing something.
To his right was a bank of computers and a plethora of computer monitors hanging on the wall. Someone from their cyber team, Team Bravo, was always manning their computers. They had all sorts of online connections being made, which is how he got hooked up with Marco48. Piper, one of Team Bravo’s computer specialists made contact, pretending to be a little boy looking for a sugar daddy. As soon as Marco48 communicated with her, she handed him off to Donovan, who took it from there while Piper and the others, Caiden and Deacon, continued looking for pervs to make contact with. Sometimes they went out in the field, but other times they handed those guys off to the other teams. Diego, Donovan, and Charlesia, were Team Alpha and Emmy, Falcon, and Creed were Team Charlie. Piper looked over her shoulder, “Hey Van, I’ve got the packet all loaded into the system on Marco48, including the maps to the house.”
She tapped her keyboard and soon a map was shown on the screen in front of her. “This is the house. It’s right in Lynyrd Station, Van.” She pointed. “This is the view across the street. There’s a little coffee shop right here…Neighborhood Café.” She moved the map on the screen and showed him the parking lot. “You should be able to see the house perfectly from the coffee shop parking lot.”
“What are the fucking odds? “
“Yeah.” She tapped a few more times and on another screen a video began playing. Piper zoomed in. “This woman right here,” she pointed to a woman walking up to the house with long dark blonde hair, wearing nude-colored heels, blue jeans, and a white blouse looked around the street suspiciously before knocking. She continued to look around the street until the door opened. Unable to see who opened the door, the woman entered the house and just a few minutes later, exited with a younger boy, no more than five years old.
“Do you know who that is?”
Piper shook her head. “Not yet. I haven’t been able to identify her. But I’m still working on it. My camera is too far away to get enough of her features to be able to set up facial recognition. I’ll have someone go out and move the camera later today, we’re working out the logistics right now.”
“Okay. Did she bring the boy back to the house?”
“Yeah, but here’s what’s weird, she brought him back then left with another child. A girl, who is a little bit older.”
Piper sped up the video and the woman appeared again on camera bringing the little boy back to the house, entering the front door, then exiting a few minutes later with a little girl. By the looks of the girl, she was around eight or nine years old.
“Who are the kids?”
“I don’t know. I’m running the owner of the house right now to see who owns it. Real estate records are shady on this one. Its last three owners have been companies, all LLCs.
“Thanks Piper. As soon as Charly gets down here, we’re off.”
The door opened and Charly entered the room. “I’m right here and raring to go.”
Charly was a vivacious blonde knockout with light blue eyes, perfect teeth, clear complexion, a narrow waist, and a quick wit. She’d been injured during active duty when her unit engaged in fire with insurgents and her left arm was hit with a round of bullets, shattering her bones. The arm had to be amputated from the elbow down, but she had a prosthetic arm in its place and she managed it quite well.
“Okay then, we’re ready here.”
Emmy walked toward them. “We just got the okay for payment on this one. Guess who’s footing the bill?”
Van looked into Emmy’s dark brown eyes. “The smile on your face tells me you’re happy about this, so let me ask, is it something you’ve been working on for a while?”
It was impossible not to return her smile. “Dare I say we’re getting paid by the government on this one?”
“You should dare. Not only just the nameless faceless government but by none other than the Federal Bureau of Protection for Families and Children.”
Charly’s eyes rounded. “That’s the agency that was paying for Operation Live Again.”
“Correct. We finally got our foot in the door. Things are looking up.”
Van chuckled. “I’ll bet if Sergeant Dildo knew this, he’d spit up a lung.”
Emmy laughed. “I hope that asshole does find out.”
Charly clapped her hands together. “Does this mean we have a bigger budget?”
“Yes, it means just that. We’ll be able to get more cameras and more equipment now. It means a lot of good things to come. Not only for this job, but they’ll put us on retainer for three to five years. To get the five-year commitment from them, we need to get Marco48 and anyone else he’s working with. If we can do it under budget, even better. We need to prove to the Bureau this is where their money is better spent.”
Van nodded, “We’re on it.”
Van turned to walk out of Mission Control and looked over at Diego, already pouring through the reports for him. “Thanks Diego.” He called out as they exited. Diego never looked up. He was one of the best.
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