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Chapter XI

Frankie leaned against the walls of the elevator, his heart rate returning to an even thrum. By the time the doors opened, he was back to copacetic, ready to face the world.

Mullihan’s cavernous underground garage was filled with domestic sedans, in the standard browns, blues, and greys. His own vehicle stood in a distant corner, a spot purposely chosen as far from the entering and exiting traffic as possible.

Frankie didn’t drive a sedan. He drove a red Shelby Cobra, with white exhaust pipes nestled low along its frame. He loved this car – considered it one of the truly great masterpieces of human creation. The Cobra could roar from 0 to 60 in the span of a few heart beats and take curves like it was on rails. Put it on a ramp and gun the engine, Frankie figured he had a better than even chance to beat Apollo to the moon.

Even as his footsteps echoed back to him, his smile faded though. A figure stepped from behind a concrete pillar, and even though she wore a white fedora and a long dark trenchcoat, Frankie would recognize her silhouette anywhere.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

“Take the job,” she said without preamble.

“You promised me I’d be out of this chicken shit outfit in a month tops.”

“You were waiting for a particular mission.”

“The one I just got.”

She didn’t bother replying.

Frankie grimaced. “It’s not going to happen.”

“You’re here for a reason.”

“What makes you so sure the target will be on this mission?”

“You need to show me a little faith.”

“Show me a reason.”

She slipped a hand beneath the flap of her coat and for an instant, Frankie flinched, hand twitching by the concealed holster on his hip. What appeared in her hand, though, was a single photograph. She smiled as she handed it over, a silent commentary on his reaction. He glanced down at it, noted the photographer had caught the target in a relatively candid, unguarded moment, her dark hair swept away from her long neck, dark eyes flashing towards the camera.

“When was this taken?”

“A day ago in the LAX boarding area.”

“She made your surveillance.”

“We don’t think so.”

“Trust me,” he said. “She did. What makes you think she’s still heading to Texas?”

“Like I said, show me a little faith.”

“Any chance you’d clue me in on why the Old Hands have it in for her?”

“I wouldn’t concern yourself with that.”

“And the assets they sent after her last time?”

“Also not your concern.”

“Of course not,” Frankie said ruefully. “Afterall, I’m only the one risking his neck.”

His contact raised her head, enough to reveal blue-gray eyes beneath the fedora. “Oh, you’ll have company. Killing Agent D is going to be a team effort.”


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“Frankie, listen to me. You have to pull the trigger.”

Frankie was silent. The rifle rested at his shoulder, just like he had practiced. He had D sighted, the slender cross-hairs pointing to spot just over her right eye. There was a slight Eastern wind which would pull the rifle to the left. He made his calibrations and rested his finger on the trigger. Perhaps a dozen men who could make this shot. He was one of them.

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In the scope, D was going through a strange contortion. Her body shuddered and she threw her head backwards as she rose first to her feet and then straight up into the air, suspended a full foot above the ground. When he had her reacquired, she was looking right at him. This was impossible, but it was plainly and obviously true. The girl knew where they were.

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