CITESTE GRATUIT cartea online a Gatekeeper in engleza | Toate capitolele

J

ake Riley se lasa pe spate pe scaunul sau, incrucisandu-si picioarele deasupra noului sau birou. Era stejar solid si, in conformitate cu dealerul de antichitati, apartinea candva lui George Steinbrenner. Chiar daca asta era o prostie, a fost un birou dragut, a decis el. Si povestea Steinbrenner ar impresiona probabil potentialii clienti.

Biroul sau era inca plin de cutii. A fost nevoie de mai mult decat se astepta pentru a gasi un spatiu adecvat, chiriile comerciale din New York erau prin acoperis. Chiar si cu pachetul de separare exorbitant de la angajatorul anterior al lui Jake, noua companie va trebui sa asigure cateva contracte in curand. Dar au facut alegerea potrivita, se gandi el, privind pe podea pana la geamurile de tavan. Dupa ce au cautat in intregul oras pentru un birou cu spatiu care sa se extinda, in cele din urma s-ar fi asezat intr-unul dintre noii zgarie-nori care se ridica in jurul lui Columbus Circle. Central Park se afla peste drum, iar Jake astepta cu nerabdare sa manance pranzul acolo, poate sa-si balbaie pantofii de alergare pentru un jog in zilele lente. Desi speram ca nu vor fi multi dintre acestia.

El a ignorat vocea cu ace care a pus sub semnul intrebarii

decizia de a se imparti de unul singur. Sigur, Dmitri Christou il platise bine, dar pentru prima data in viata a fost propriul sau sef. Si naiba, vor face treaba buna pe parcurs. Au hotarat sa numeasca compania The Longhorn Group, din capul faptului ca atat el, cat si partenerul sau proveneau initial din Texas. Daca Jake si-ar fi spus cuvantul, Grupul Longhorn ar deveni rapid compania de acces la asiguratorii K&R.

K&R a

fost scurt pentru „Rapire si Ransom”. In ultimii ani, s-a inregistrat o ridicare brusca a numarului de rapiri ale executivilor americani in strainatate, unele cifre fiind estimate la douazeci la suta. Pentru a asigura eliberarea angajatilor rapiti, multe companii au angajat firme private pentru a negocia cu rapitorii sau, in caz contrar, pentru a incerca o salvare. Tarile din America de Sud, in special Columbia, au fost cele mai cunoscute pentru rapiri, dar o multime a avut loc in partea de stat. Pur si simplu nu au fost mediatizate pe scara larga, deoarece nici o corporatie nu a dorit sa puna idei in capul cuiva. Si in ciuda numarului crescut de companii care s-au inscris pentru asigurarea K&R, majoritatea operatorilor instruiti in negocieri si recuperare erau ocupati cu detalii privind securitatea in Orientul Mijlociu. Jake spera ca Grupul Longhorn va umple acest gol.

In cele din urma, Kelly ar putea veni la bord si ar putea sa lucreze din nou impreuna. A fost un gand frumos. Jake ridica singurul articol de pe biroul sau, o fotografie inramata cu ea si o privi.

Array

O arata in profil, stand pe o plaja, parul rosu reflectand soarele apus. Mereu se prindea de unghiul, dar apoi ura fiecare fotografie cu ea insasi. El a crezut ca a capturat o parte a ei, care era de obicei ascunsa – exista o vulnerabilitate in felul in care ea isi tinea genunchii, care il prindeau intotdeauna. A asezat poza pe birou. Acum erau angajati oficial, erau de luni intregi, dar nu fixasera o data. Ea a spus ca munca

o tine prea ocupata, dar el stia mai bine. Totusi, nu s-a deranjat. Merita sa astepte.

Arunca o privire spre o bataie la usa. Noul sau partener, Syd, statea ranjind la el. Privind-o, compacta, cu un costum bleumarin bine adaptat, cu fiecare par blond din loc, nu ai ghici niciodata ca ar fi doborat singura una dintre cele mai periculoase celule teroriste din Yemen cu cativa ani in urma. Chiar daca era doar la jumatatea treizeci de ani, ea a fost unul dintre cei mai buni operatori ai CIA. Din fericire pentru el, incat a devenit atat de dezamagita de aspectele amorale ale lucrarilor agentiei, a sarit la oferta sa de a se asocia.

– Cred ca avem ceva, a spus ea. Ca si el, de-a lungul anilor reusise sa-si verse capatul.

„Serios?” Abia incepusera sa se intalneasca cu asiguratorii pentru a asigura contracte. „Grozav! Tennant Risk Services a revenit la noi? ”

Syd coborase pe scaunul cu aripi, vizavi de birou. „Nu, nu inca. Acesta este un client privat. ” A intrerupt o bataie inainte de a continua. „De fapt, este un fel de favoare pentru un prieten.”

„Uh-oh. Am vorbit despre asta. ”

Syd ofta si infasura un fir de par in jurul degetului. „Stiu, stiu. Insa acesta ar putea fi un caz bun pentru a continua.

Este fizician pentru un laborator care lucreaza la Departamentul Apararii. Oricum, merita luat in considerare. ”

„Asta suna banuitor ca un job pro bono.”

„Ne va plati ce isi poate permite. Probabil ca nu prea mult, dar va fi ceva. In plus, ne va oferi sansa de a verifica dublu operatiunile noastre. Un fel de deschidere moale a unui restaurant. „

„Uh-huh.“ Jake a examinat-o indeaproape. „Cat de bun este un prieten cu acest tip?”

„Aceasta este o poveste lunga.” Syd i-a dat jos calcaiele si si-a asezat picioarele goale pe biroul din fata lui, asezandu-se inapoi pe scaun.

– Niloni? a tachinat el.

Ea ii arunca o agrafa de hartie. „Acesta este motivul principal pentru care fac asta, asa ca nu va mai trebui sa-mi bag picioarele in coji de carnati.”

„Beneficiaza de a fi seful”, a spus Jake. In ciuda lui, ochii lui se indreptau pana unde tivul maritim se plimba deasupra genunchilor. El a fortat sa se concentreze inapoi sa o gaseasca zambind.

Syd isi infipse degetele de la picioare. – Vedeti ceva care va place?

„Nu eram constient ca avem un cod vestimentar”, a spus el facand un gest catre costumul ei. Chiar si-a putut spune ca este scump, Chanel sau ceva de genul.

„Unul dintre noi trebuie sa ne imbracam ca un adult, cu sansa ca un client sa apeleze.”

„Tu glumesti? Acestea sunt blugii mei buni. Si am autoritatea ca Bono poarta acelasi tricou. ”

„Voi paria. Dar atunci, Bono nu este tocmai primul tip pe care il chemi atunci cand un om iubit lipseste. „

„Vorbind despre care”. Jake baga degetul pe birou. „Care este povestea cu acest tip?”

„Se numeste Randall Grant. Ne-am intalnit la o conferinta inainte de a parasi agentia. ”

Jake se incrunta. – Il intalnesti?

„Intalnirea

este un cuvant puternic. Sa spunem, ne vedem cand putem. Oricum, copilul sau a fost luat.

„Copilul lui? Mi se pare un caz FBI. ”

„Nu poate apela FBI-ul. Cine a luat-o doreste informatii despre munca sa. „

„Ce face ea?”

„Nu stiu in mod special, o autorizare foarte mare. Lucruri nucleare. ”

Jake scoase un fluier scazut.

– Exact, spuse Syd. „Deci, puteti vedea de ce nu vrea ca FBI sa calareasca si sa insurneze lucrurile, in stilul lui Ruby Ridge.”

Jake raised an eyebrow at her last comment. She

waved it off. “No offense. I’m sure your fiancee is great at her job. But you worked for the Bureau, you know how ass-backwards they can be. Bottom line, they care more about the secrets than the kid. And Randall doesn’t trust them with her life.”

“But he trusts us?”

Syd shrugged. “He trusts me.”

Jake examined the ceiling, considering. His gut was saying this was a bad idea, and he knew better than to question that. Getting involved in a case where you had personal ties was always a mistake. Still, it was a job, and after months of inactivity he was itching to do something besides choosing office furniture.

“Get him on the phone,” Jake finally responded.

“You sure?”

“Let’s hear what he has to say. But he’s got to give us more information, security clearance or not,” he warned her. “And the minute I get a bad feeling, we pull out. Deal?”

“Deal,” Syd said, tucking her feet back in her pumps. “You’re a prince, Jake.”

“Don’t I know it.” He grinned back at her. “Now let’s call your boyfriend.”

Kelly frowned as she took in the scene. Directly in front of her was a memorial to Arizona peace officers lost in the line of duty. The artist had made some interesting choices. The kneeling figure was straight out of a spaghetti western: neckerchief in place of a tie, hat in one hand, revolver at his side. The metal base he perched on jutted out into the points of a star. And on each point rested a different piece of Senator Duke Morris.

A few smears of blood marred the base, but other than that it was clean. Police tape cordoned off the area. Stairs

led from the small platform to the State Capitol building, which currently housed a museum. A sign described it as neoclassical with Spanish influences, which explained the shade of salmon rarely seen on government facilities. At the top, a copper dome was dominated by a statue called

Winged Victory

. It was a strange choice for a body dump site.

As she waited for the crime scene techs to finish, Kelly pivoted. The capitol complex was sprawling. The statue was dead center in the middle of a pavilion, surrounded by modern buildings that currently housed the seat of power. Wide concrete paths penned in browning grass and scraggly bushes, all fighting to survive the onslaught of the desert sun. Late June, and at 10:00 a.m. it was already a hundred degrees. Kelly raised her arm, wiping a bead of sweat from her brow, and wished for the umpteenth time that the FBI dress code allowed shorts.

Agent Danny Rodriguez appeared at her elbow. “They’re still canvassing, but so far no one saw anything. The locals set up a tip line for information, they’re already flooded with people blaming everyone from the president to bin Laden.”

“Great,” Kelly sighed. A high profile murder always drew the crazies. “What about cameras? State Capitol building, there should be a surveillance net.”

“You’d think so, but thanks to budget cuts security was axed. They’ve got cameras focused on the main buildings, but nothing on the plaza. Guess they figured vandals were their biggest threat.”

“They figured wrong.” Kelly squinted against the glare. A two lane road marked by a center divider faced the pavilion. On the opposite side, a park stretched off into the distance. Too much to hope for an ATM or liquor store camera nearby. “Where were the guards?”

“They got two guys, but the Diamondbacks were playing the Yankees.” Rodriguez shrugged.

“So what, they were busy watching baseball?” Kelly eyed him. She was less than thrilled with her new partner. Rodriguez was just four years out of the Academy, young to have been assigned to the elite Behavioral Science Unit. Rumor had it his career was fast-tracked after he ratted out a former partner to OPR, the FBI’s internal affairs division. And Kelly had a sneaking suspicion he’d been assigned to spy on her. Ten months earlier one of her cases had turned into a debacle, and she knew some of the Bureau higher-ups were screaming for her head. Her boss had stood by her, so far at least. Being stuck with Rodriguez reminded her she was on shaky ground.

“Hey, don’t take it out on me. I’m a Mets fan,” Rodriguez joked. He shrunk slightly under her stare. “So what next, chief?”

Kelly watched the medical examiner gingerly lift one of Morris’s legs off the base of the statue. Senator Morris was popular in Arizona, but best known outside it for his draconian ideas about immigration reform. She’d seen him on the talk show circuit last week, railing about how America’s borders needed to be closed entirely. The cop that led her past the tape mentioned that Morris had a good shot at president, then mumbled something about wetbacks before she cut him off. A man like that had probably made a few enemies over the years. And by gruesomely displaying his remains, someone was clearly sending a message.

The leg slipped from the ME’s grasp and bounced along the ground as he fumbled for it. Kelly repressed the urge to roll her eyes. “Family has already been notified, right?”

Rodriguez nodded.

“Let’s go ask them who hated the senator enough to hack him up with a machete.”