Hidden away, p.40
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       Hidden Away, p.40

         Part #3 of KGI series by Maya Banks
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Page 40


  “Do what you feel is best,” Garrett murmured. “My priority is Sarah. Your job is to make damn sure we’re both safe. If you need to call Steele in, then do it. ”

  Rio gave a short nod as Sarah walked over to put two plates in front of him and Terrence.

  “What about the rest?” Sarah asked. “Aren’t they hungry?”

  “They can’t leave their posts,” Rio explained. “Terrence and I won’t be long. We just wanted to check in on you two and make sure everything was all right. ”

  “Oh, we’re fine,” Sarah said breathlessly and gave Garrett a shy look that made him smile.

  She sat back down, fiddled with her now-cold food some more and then looked up first at Garrett and then the others, and she frowned. “Do you really think they’ll find me here?”

  Rio shot Garrett a look that clearly told him he wasn’t sure who the “they” were that she was referring to and furthermore, he wasn’t going to venture onto shaky ground.

  “Cross. Or the people he hired, I mean,” she amended when no one immediately answered her.

  Garrett reached over and squeezed her hand. “It’s not impossible. But probable? It would take time to pick up our trail from Mexico and a lot of resources to track us here. I’m not saying it couldn’t be done. We didn’t have the cleanest exit in the world, and my brothers hauling ass to Corozal didn’t help I’m sure. But regardless of whether they know where you are, what you need to realize is that we’re not going to let those bastards take you. ”

  Garrett glanced over at Rio. No, it wasn’t Cross and company who concerned them. But make no mistake, once Lattimer was taken care of, Cross was definitely next on their list.


  THE slight bulge in Marcus Lattimer’s jaw was the only indication of his mounting fury. He stared coolly at the email from Sarah he’d just opened and leaned back in his chair, eyes narrowed in concentration.

  It shouldn’t surprise him that someone had gotten to Sarah. She hadn’t done the best job in disappearing. He’d tried to persuade her to come to him, but he’d understood her reasons why. Sarah had become a target from the moment Marcus had killed her rapist. It was one of the few times he’d lost control in his life. It was one of the few mistakes he’d made.

  Not that he regretted killing Allen Cross even for a moment. But he’d handled it all wrong. He’d allowed his rage to rule his actions. Stupid. What he should have done was get Sarah away from Boston and settled. Somewhere she’d be happy and taken care of. Then he could have dealt with Cross. Sarah would be none the wiser and he could have returned to her. They could have been a family.

  Damn Culpepper. Another of Marcus’s recent mistakes. He was growing careless. Culpepper must have gotten information to the U. S. government before Marcus dispensed of him a few days earlier. He’d lasted longer than Marcus had thought he would. But no one could last forever under such horrific conditions.

  Now Marcus wanted to kill him all over again for selling out Marcus’s only family. Sarah, who’d never hurt anyone. Who’d already been dealt enough misfortune in her life. He’d been so determined to make it up to her, and in the end he’d only caused her more pain.

  It was all too pat. Too easy. Marcus doubted that Sarah even composed the email staring him in the face. She was too careful. She’d never blab such explicit details through an email. The question was whether Sarah was even in Belize as the email stated. It was a trap. No doubt there. But were they using her for actual bait or were they just trying to get Marcus to walk blindly into capture?

  They weren’t the first to underestimate him. They wouldn’t be the last.

  He leaned forward and punched the button on the desk to summon his head of security. He needed as much information on Sarah’s actual location as possible. If she wasn’t in Belize, he could go in, destroy the sons of bitches who bent low enough to use a woman in their war. If she was in Belize . . . then he was going to have to be extremely careful. He wasn’t going to give himself up, but neither would he allow Sarah to be sacrificed on his behalf.

  It was time to call in a few favors.


  RIO wasn’t happy when Garrett informed him Steele and his team were coming in hot. The team leader’s lips thinned and his jaw went taut.

  “Should have just hung up some balloons and announced a fucking party,” Rio muttered.

  Garrett gave him a look of sympathy. Rio was a loner and it had probably been hard enough to open up his private sanctuary to Garrett and Sarah but now he had to play host to Steele and his entire team and there wasn’t much love lost between the two team leaders.

  “Tell him this is my show. He’s not barging onto my turf and taking over. ”

  “He knows,” Garrett said. “Van was clear. You’re on point. You know this area. You have all the escape routes. Steele and his team are here to provide cover and support. ”

  Rio nodded but he still looked pissed.

  “Look on the bright side,” Garrett said. “Van sent them to fucking Alaska first. Steele’s probably not any happier that he’s had to haul ass to Central America from Alaska. ”

  Rio grinned. “Alaska, huh. Ouch. ”

  Garrett rolled his eyes at how delighted Rio was over Steele’s inconvenience.

  “I’ll stick Steele and his team on the perimeter. They can sleep in the trees. They’ll have a bird’s-eye view of the valley and the river. If someone comes after us, they’ll come from the air or the river. Either way we’ll nail them before they get here. ”

  Garrett nodded. “I want Lattimer taken down the first time he shows his face. And Rio, tell your men to be careful. Lattimer is a ruthless bastard. He has no compunction about killing those he perceives as a threat. I don’t want to lose a single man. ”

  Rio’s eyes went flat. “I already lost one man. I’m not losing another. ”

  Months earlier, one of Rio’s men had been killed when Garrett’s mom had been abducted from the hospital where Garrett’s dad had been taken after suffering a heart attack. It had been hard on the team leader. He’d felt enormous guilt over his man’s death and Marlene Kelly’s abduction.

  Garrett put a hand on Rio’s shoulder. “I know this sucks for you man, but I appreciate it. ”

  “What’s their ETA?”

  “Two hours. ”

  Rio nodded. “I’ll meet them at the river and show them their posts. ”

  Garrett stifled a smile. Anytime Rio rolled out the welcome mat, it was guaranteed to be interesting.

  After leaving Rio, Garrett went in search of Sarah only to find her curled on a couch in Rio’s library with a book in hand. It still amazed him that Rio had such refined tastes. In addition to the well-stocked library, the man had a wine cellar that would make royalty green with envy. It was obvious that Rio had spent a lifetime stocking his house in all the things he loved the most. Sarah had called it right when she’d suggested that this was Rio’s refuge. His home. Something he kept away from the rest of his life. It made Garrett look at his team leader in a whole new light. It also made him realize how little he knew about the men—and the woman—that KGI employed.

  “Hey,” he said from the doorway.

  She looked up, setting her book down on her lap. “Hi. ”

  A broad smile spread across her face, and her cheeks bloomed with color. It gave him a kick in the gut that she was obviously glad to see him.

  “Enjoying yourself?”

  She patted the spot on the couch beside her in invitation and he ambled over to settle beside her.

  “It’s weird in a way. I feel almost guilty to be eating good food and enjoying good books. I keep thinking I should be looking over my shoulder and worrying. ”

  “That’s my job,” he pointed out. “Yours is to relax and not worry. ”

  She snuggled into his arms and lay her head on his shoulder. “You’re spoiling me, Garrett. ”

  He stroked a hand down her hair and
kissed the top of her head. “Being spoiled isn’t a bad thing, surely. ”

  She sighed and rubbed her cheek over his chest. “No, it isn’t. ” Then she raised her head up so sharply she almost butted him in the chin. “Hey, I never got a caramel num num. ”

  He chuckled. “They haven’t gone anywhere. Well, not unless Rio and his men found them. ”

  She scrambled out of his arms and hurried toward the door. “I’ll fight Rio for them. ”

  Garrett pushed up to follow her, grinning the whole way. In the kitchen, Sarah jerked open the fridge and stared inside, her brow furrowed in concentration. Then her eyes lit up and she reached in and pulled out the pie dish.

  Garrett took it from her, turned the dish upside down onto a glass platter and tapped until the whole thing came out. Then he tossed the dish into the sink and began cutting the dessert into little pieces. Sarah hung impatiently at his side until he offered her a bite.

  She pounced on it and nibbled at the treat. She closed her eyes and groaned. “Oh my God. This is wonderful, Garrett. Give me more. ”

  She shoved him aside and picked out several of the larger pieces. He chuckled as she viewed him suspiciously, like she was an animal guarding her food.

  “They’re all yours,” he said, putting his hands up in defense. He watched as she put another bite into her mouth and closed her eyes with a soft groan.

  “Rio has an enclosed pool off the left wing of this house. Wanna go for a swim?” he asked.

  She lowered the candy and scrunched up her brow. “Is it safe?”

  “I wouldn’t have suggested it if it wasn’t. Rio is a paranoid bastard. He’s made this place virtually impenetrable. ”

  “I’d like that. ”

  Garrett pushed in closer to her, swaggering as he said the next. “Skinny-dipping?”

  Color rose in her cheeks. “Garrett! I don’t want anyone seeing me. ”

  “Did I mention this pool is completely enclosed? No one will see you but me, honey, and I’m going to end up seeing you whether you wear a suit or not. I just figure it’ll make my job easier if you forego a suit from the start. ”

  She laughed. “Incorrigible!”

  “Yes ma’am, I am,” he said. “My mama has said so many a time. ”

  She shook her head. “Okay. Skinny-dipping it is. But if anyone else sees me, I’ll kill you. ”

  He lowered his mouth to hers with a growl. “If anyone else sees you, I’ll kill them. ”

  “YOU ever think we spend most of our time in transit?” P. J. asked as she hopped into the boat beside Cole. Behind her, Dolphin, Renshaw and Baker piled into the next boat while Steele stood on the dock coolly surveying the river.

  “I’d say we spend most of our time getting jerked around,” Cole muttered. “First it’s fucking Alaska. Now it’s the damn jungle. I hate the fucking jungle. ”

  “You only say that because you got shot the last time we ventured into the jungle. ”

  “It was a ricochet,” Cole pointed out.

  P. J. shrugged. “You still took a bullet and had to be carried out. ”

  Cole scowled as he stared at the smaller woman who serenely stared over the water. Steele climbed aboard and gave the motion to shove off. Damn woman was yanking his chain again and, as always, he rose to the bait beautifully.

  “I wonder what we’ll have here,” she said as she turned. “In Alaska, it was BAFB. I guess here it’s BAFS. ”

  “BAFS?” Cole asked cautiously. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to know.

  “Big-ass fucking snakes,” she said cheerfully. “They have anacondas here. They can swallow a man whole. ”

  “Great. Just fucking great. ”

  “You’re way too easy Coletraine,” Steele said, a hint of amusement in his voice.

  “I hate snakes. They freak me the fuck out. ”

  P. J. patted him on the arm. “I’ll protect you, Cole. I won’t let the big bad snakes get you. ”

  “I’m tempted to feed you to them. ”

  Steele chuckled and turned his attention back to the river as the boats glided soundlessly through the water.

  “I hope wherever we’re going, we get some sleep,” P. J. said with a yawn.

  “The accommodations will be up to Rio,” Steele said through his teeth.

  “Great,” Cole said glumly. “I think the man’s idea of first-class accommodations is having a rock for a pillow. ”

  “Rio has a nice place here,” P. J. piped up.

  Steele raised an eyebrow while Cole turned sharply. “How the hell do you know what Rio has?”

  P. J. shrugged. “He told me about it. Sounds like a nice place. He worked on it for years. Pretty high-tech too. ”

  “You had an actual conversation with Rio?” Cole asked in disbelief.

  “Yeah, he’s cool. ”

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