Hidden away, p.23
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       Hidden Away, p.23

         Part #3 of KGI series by Maya Banks
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Page 23


  She sighed.

  He opened the door at the end of the hall and stood in the entryway for a few moments before motioning her in. It was the smaller of the two bedrooms with only a twin bed, but at the moment, she didn’t care. There was only one window, a small square situated at the top of the wall just under the ceiling. Just right to let sunlight pour into the room but not large enough for a human to get in or out of.

  He turned and nearly bumped into her. He grasped her shoulders to steady her and then guided her toward the bed.

  “I want you to sleep. I’ll wake you in a few hours and we’ll get on the road. I’d rather not stay in Mexico a minute longer than I have to. ”

  “We’ll talk first,” she said softly. “And then I’ll decide whether or not I’m leaving with you. Marcus said I’d be safe here. I only just got here. Why would I leave?”

  He gave her a look that suggested she wasn’t going to get a choice in the matter. She glared back and curled her lip to show him her irritation. He merely winked at her and her mouth fell open in shock. He’d winked at her? Such a playful action was in direct contradiction to every opinion she’d formed about him. Then she scowled because she realized he was just messing with her.

  “All yours,” he said, gesturing grandly toward the bed. “I’ll mosey on out—unless, of course, you need my help undressing. ”

  “Don’t push your luck,” she muttered as she shoved by him to sit on the bed. “I’m too tired to get undressed anyway. ”

  She flopped back onto the mattress and closed her eyes. The bed dipped, and alarmed, she opened her eyes only to find herself staring up at Garrett as he loomed over her.

  He had both hands planted on either side of her shoulders and his knees were straddling her. He leaned down and brushed his lips across hers. This time he didn’t linger. Didn’t wade into a long, hot exchange as he had before. He touched his finger to the spot he’d kissed and then murmured, “Sweet dreams, Sarah. You’re safe now. ”

  Then he backed off the bed and left the room without a backward glance. She lay there, stunned by her reaction to him. More stunned by the yearning that kicked through her soul with enough force to make her heart ache.

  She needed to email Marcus and ask him about Garrett, but her laptop was in the living room shoved under one of the cushions of the couch. As soon as she got up, she’d take care of contacting Marcus. Maybe by then she’d be able to think. Perhaps Garrett was the solution. She could accept Marcus’s protection—through Garrett—without having to be in close proximity to Marcus. They’d both be safe.


  GARRETT let himself back into the house with his bag and rifle. He did a quick run-through and secured most of his equipment to his belt. He slipped two knives into loops on either side of his pants and made damn sure his grenade was secure. He still hadn’t lived down Sophie lifting a grenade from him when all the shit had gone down with her father.

  He made the rounds again, securing the broken back door in the process. He rigged a nice little surprise for anyone who decided to make an unexpected entrance. He prowled down the hall and nudged Sarah’s door open so he could peek inside. Not that she had an escape route. And not that he even expected to find her awake. She’d been dead on her feet, and the deep shadows under her eyes had lent a bruised, defeated look that hadn’t improved his mood one iota.

  No, he liked watching her sleep. There was something infinitely fragile—and angelic—about her. Delicate eyelashes rested on her cheeks and the soft, even rise of her chest signaled that she was deep under. He watched her for a long moment, still perplexed by the hold she seemed to have on him.

  When he should have been motivated to grab her ass and beat a path out of the country as fast as he could, instead he’d kissed her and acted like an asshole on the make.

  But she hadn’t been pissed. She’d laughed—and lord but she had a beautiful laugh, even when she was laughing at his damn hard-on. He’d grumbled, but the truth was, he’d have stood there all day, dick flapping in the wind to bring such merriment to her eyes.

  He backed out of her room and went into the kitchen to set up the sat phone and the small laptop he carried with him. Then he began a meticulous search of the house. He needed to find that laptop. There weren’t many computers Donovan couldn’t woo like a lover.

  It didn’t take too long to find, wedged underneath one of the cushions on the sofa. He needed to work fast because he wasn’t sure how long Sarah would sleep even though she was completely dead on her feet.

  He opened her laptop next to his equipment on the kitchen table and placed the call to Donovan. Donovan answered on the third ring. He sounded distracted though, and there were odd noises in the background that sounded like a cat in distress.

  “What the hell is going on there?” Garrett demanded.

  “Give me a minute. Charlotte isn’t happy. ”

  “You’re holding the baby?”

  “Well, yeah, Sophie needed a nap and Sam has been up all night. I think Charlotte needs a diaper change. ”

  “By all means, don’t let me interrupt all that domestic bliss,” Garrett said dryly. “Never mind I’m on a tight schedule over here and need this done like yesterday. ”

  “You ever try changing a baby’s diaper while trying to save the world? It ain’t easy. These things need to come with instruction manuals. ”

  Garrett listened and cringed when he heard what sounded suspiciously like baby goo-goo nonsense coming from Donovan.

  “You have lost your damn mind,” Garrett muttered. Several moments later, the noise died down and Donovan spoke back into the phone. “Miss Charlotte is all happy. Now, what can I do for you?”

  “I’ve got my hands on Sarah’s laptop. I was hoping to get you dialed in so you could poke around and eavesdrop on her conversations with Lattimer. ”

  Donovan immediately went into a series of directions that made Garrett’s eyes roll back in his head. Garrett followed them to a T and listened to Donovan’s satisfied exclamations as he “got in. ”

  As Donovan continued to talk to himself and to the computer in question, Garrett glanced over to see a folded piece of paper that had fallen out of the laptop when he opened it. Idly, he picked it up and opened it up to see a bunch of stuff that didn’t make a lot of sense to him. But he guaranteed it would mean something to Donovan.

  “Hey Van, this might be something. ” He started reading off the list of what looked to be instructions and Donovan broke in excitedly.

  “Wait, go back. From the beginning. Let me get all this down. ”

  Garrett repeated everything on the piece of paper and periodically cocked his head in the direction of Sarah’s bedroom, but all remained quiet.

  “Give me a sec to get back to my desk. I think you just gave me access to her email account. I also have some other info for you. ”

  Garrett sighed and waited for his brother to get his act together. Although he couldn’t say much because of all the Kellys, Donovan was the most organized. It bordered on some obsessive-compulsive disorder that the rest of them damn sure didn’t suffer from. Sam was probably the closest to being an anal bastard as Donovan.

  “Okay, while I’m getting into this account, I’ll tell what else I’ve found. I’ve been doing some digging. I’ve called in some huge favors—the kind that could get people in some deep shit, if you know what I mean. ”

  Garrett perked up at that. “What kind of favors?”

  “I wanted to know if Resnick has been feeding us a line of bullshit. I also wanted to see if I could figure out Lattimer’s last known location. And what his connection to Allen Cross was.

  “Resnick’s already started squawking. He doesn’t buy for a minute that you bailed on the mission. He’s pissed and raising hell. Threatening Sam and KGI and making all sorts of threats against humanity. ”

  Garrett rolled his eyes. “I’m sure that breaks Sam’s heart. ”

nyway, no luck on running Lattimer down. Resnick doesn’t have a clue, which isn’t making him happy, especially now that you’ve gone off the radar with Sarah. He’s seeing his chance to nail Lattimer sliding down the toilet, and he wants Lattimer at any cost. ”

  “That makes two of us,” Garrett muttered. Although he wasn’t as willing to throw Sarah to the wolves as Resnick was. Garrett wasn’t a half-measure kind of guy. He figured there was no good reason why he couldn’t nail Lattimer and also keep Sarah safe in the process.

  “We’ve got an unknown in the equation here, Van. Lattimer wouldn’t have someone break into her cottage and scare the shit out of her. Neither would Resnick. Resnick’s going to sit back and bait the trap. Sarah was spooked enough that she hauled ass off the island. She had an escape route planned from the time she set foot there. ”

  “There’s two actually. Unless your guy on the island is the same lead I have. ”

  Garrett shook his head. Of course there was. Donovan did love to tell a good story. Garrett was more of a get-to-the-point sort of guy. Donovan liked to drag shit out for maximum effect.

  “Who now?” he asked wearily.

  “Stanley Cross. Allen’s brother. In my digging, I found out Resnick uncovered the fact that Cross has hired a private recovery firm to bring Sarah in. Interesting that Resnick didn’t see fit to share that little tidbit with us. Stanley is throwing a lot of money around. He seems pretty desperate. ”

  “Oh Jesus, that’s all I need. Some mercenary wannabe wading in to throw Sarah over his shoulder and haul her home like a Neanderthal. He’d probably get her killed inside of an hour. ”

  “And you’re not planning to go all Neanderthal on her?” Donovan asked mildly.

  “I won’t get her killed. ”

  Donovan chuckled and then his laughter trailed off. “Resnick doesn’t know I know. And don’t ask how I found out. Let’s just say if I’m ever asked to donate a kidney, I won’t have a choice but to say yes. He’s holding out on us, which is why I haven’t busted your chops for holding out on him. I figure you’re in the situation, you know it better than anyone, so the call is yours. ”

  “Thanks for that,” Garrett said dryly. “I want to get the hell out of here with Sarah. What do you have for me? I don’t want to lure Lattimer on his own turf. I want him where we have the advantage. ”

  “I’ve got a place. I didn’t want to use any of the KGI usual haunts. Resnick would look there first. It’ll be a little tricky getting there, but you’ve got to ditch her current digs quick. ”

  “I hate when you use words like that. It’s usually a gross understatement. Just how bad am I going to hate this?”

  “Afognak Island, off the coast of Alaska. Logging camp and an out-of-commission lodge are all that’s there and no one’s on the island right now. They shut down operations last year. I have a contact with the tribe that owns the island and the lodge. The best part is that it will be virtually impossible for Lattimer to get on that island without our team knowing. ”

  “Alaska? Could you have picked anywhere farther?”

  “Yeah well, just wait until I tell you the roundabout way you’re getting there. ”

  “Fuck me. You’re enjoying this way too much. ”

  “No. I’m worried, Garrett. This is a complete clusterfuck. I have Steele and part of his team en route. They’re going to completely secure the island before you and Sarah get there. ”

  “Okay. ”

  “Okay? You’re not going to argue and tell me to fuck off and give me a line about how you’re going out on your own?”

  “Oh fuck you, Van. ”

  “I feel the love. You’re such a sensitive soul. I bet you read poetry to Sarah. ”

  Garrett scowled. He may not have read poetry but leaving a basket of wine, books and chocolate on her porch came damn close.

  “Can we get back to the matter at hand? What arrangements have you made?”

  “You’ll travel to Belize City. Guy at Pedro Air, a private charter service, fly-by-night operation, will take you to Jamaica. From there you’ll hook up with Rio, who has a friend with a jet who’ll fly you to Kodiak Island. From there you’ll take a sea plane to Afognak Island. ”

  “My eyes are crossing thinking about it. And what’s Rio doing in Jamaica?”

  “I’ve called in everyone I can on this, Garrett. This seemingly innocuous mission is a hell of a lot more complicated than we thought. I have a bad feeling about this one. At no point are we going to let our guard down. ”

  “Thanks. I appreciate the backup. ”

  “I’m sending you GPS coordinates so you know exactly where you’re going, and I’m sending you all the contacts and their information. The charters are cargo based and there’ll be no passenger manifest, so that you and Sarah can’t easily be traced. Plus these guys aren’t exactly known for their up-and-up business practices. ”

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