He shot a look at the sky. It might be “summer”, but Seattle was hiding under its rain cloak. The precip had held off for most of the day, but the dark clouds loomed with the inherent threat. He’d caught sight of a Sucker Hole – a pocket of blue sky suckering people out to go hiking – while driving north on I-5, but it had since been swallowed by the gray.
Straightening his sports jacket over his crew-necked shirt, he stepped into the building housing the ATF office. He noted security with a full body scanner and an X-ray machine for bags and pocket crap. The security officers appeared vigilant and on-task rather than cheap rent-a-cops. That’s a good sign.
He let them scan his coat and the items in his pockets, watching to see how they conducted their searches. They appeared professional and vigilant without being cold. He approved. Just enough interaction to make them less forbidding without losing their edge of awareness. Ray found the directory and took the elevator up to the third floor housing the ATF offices.
Stepping onto the floor, the energy in the space changed dramatically. Though the receptionist remained composed and greeted him, the lines around her eyes and mouth were taut and her responses clipped. Ray shot a look around. While the room remained empty, sounds of people moving fast slipped from behind the doors and walls. Something’s up.
The receptionist returned her phone to the cradle. “Agent Jeffries will be right out, Mr. Jorgensen.”
Despite her pointed look, he remained standing while he waited, the energy of the office winding him tighter and tighter. He resisted the urge to pace while standing at parade-rest, his old training coming in handy to hide his agitation.
The rich, smooth-as-brandy voice had him focusing his attention on the woman standing at the doorway. She had a halo of tightly curled black hair around her head and full lips with the edges turned up. Chocolate brown eyes surveyed him beneath fine brows over impossibly smooth, mocha skin. Full hips and breasts filled out her suit and his mouth watered.
“Yes?” He hoped she didn’t notice he cleared his throat.
“I’m Agent Jeffries. Can you follow me please? There’s been a development.”
She turned on her heel and headed back through the door without another word. Ray mentally rolled his tongue back into his mouth and followed, trying to recover his composure. He’d been felled by a goddess of generous curves and sharp intelligence. And her ass swaying in front of him as she strode wasn’t helping him remember his cool. He had the unreasoning urge to have that ass pillow his groin as he encouraged her screams of pleasure with his cock.
Damn, the woman’s sexy.
“Come in and have a seat. We have a problem.” Agent Jeffries settled into her chair behind the desk and pulled the keyboard to her.
Oh, I definitely have a problem. With focus. He forced himself to sit in one of her visitor’s chairs, though they almost didn’t fit his big frame.
“What kind of problem?” He was proud of his ability to get a coherent sentence out.
“We were tracking a shipment of weapons over Snoqualmie Pass this morning, but the semi hauling the freight trailer turned of I-90 onto a forest road.” She grimaced as she turned her monitor to him. “The agents trailing them sent back this image before they went dark. From what we got back from them and the drones, the smugglers offloaded into several smaller ATVs and headed down this road into the woods.”
The image of an empty snow-covered road along a fence line glowing in the early morning light showed on the screen.
“What happened to the agents following them?” Ray met Jeffries’ gaze.
“I don’t know. When the drones returned along the road track, the images weren’t promising.” She scowled and rubbed the back of her neck. “Nothing but blood splotches in the disturbed snow. No sign of the agents.” She sighed before she squared her shoulders. “I pray to everything that’s holy that they were abducted rather than killed.” But her voice said she didn’t believe that.
He didn’t believe it, either. When dealing with the Casa de Catequil Cartel, the survival rate wasn’t high for anyone who got captured. May the Freyja’s Valkyries bring them to the halls of Valhalla.
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