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Authors: Geri Foster

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BOOK: Out Of The Past
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“But Campbell is dangerous. I can feel it,” A.J. warned.

She took a sip of coffee. “I’m sure he is. But, we have no other way to learn what they intend to do to Frank.”

A.J. glanced at Brody. “I’m not convinced. What’s your plan?”

“There’s a drug on the black market. When given, it can make you forget what happens while under the influence of the stuff. I figure if Zoe can get up to Campbell’s place, dose him, then we can search his apartment.”

“Does it work?”

Brody shrugged. “I’ve never used it before. And it’s hard to come by, but it’s worth a try.”

A.J.’s right eye twitched. “What if he gets suspicious?”

“Zoe will have to do her part there. The beauty of the drug is Campbell won’t remember we were there.”

Rubbing his forehead, A.J. asked, “I’m not following. What good is he to us if he doesn’t speak?”

Brody stood. “We can search his place. We’ll find what he’s hiding.”

“And if it’s not there?”

“It has to be. Our job is to find it.”

“I still don’t like Zoe mixed up in this.”

She took a sip of coffee and set down the cup. “I’ll be okay.” She twined her fingers with A.J.’s and met his gaze. Softening her voice, she sought to reassure him that she was capable of pulling off the sting. “I hate to remember that time, but in my old line of business, I had to get a lot of men drunk, drugged, and talking.”

A.J. lowered his eyes and Zoe’s heart cracked.

***

B
y evening, A.J.’s nerves felt like they’d been poked through a shredder. He’d practically had a hole in the carpet of their room. Brody was out on the prowl for the drug, and A.J. and Zoe had gone shopping for her outfit.

One he damned sure didn’t approve of.

As Brody came back into the hotel room, he held up a small plastic bag of white powder.

Zoe took it. “It resembles cocaine.”

“Oh, this is much different. You’re going to have to get him out of the bar and to his penthouse then drug him.”

A.J. studied the bag. “That’s a tall order.”

“I can do it,” Zoe said. She pointed at A.J. “Brody, you’ll have to contend with him and his petrified nerves. He doesn’t like it, and he’s damn set on putting up a fight.”

A.J. stepped between them. “She’s right and if Frank were consulted, he wouldn’t like it either. We’re putting Zoe’s life in serious danger.”

“She’ll survive.”

“You better hope you’re right, or Frank will be a crazy man. And I will too.”

A.J. hated Zoe this close to danger. And he wasn’t sure Campbell had what they needed. Or, what his plan was. What if they failed and Gabric walked? Or worse, what if something unthinkable happened to Zoe while she was with the attorney?

A.J. would hate that more.

The mass-murderer had to be put away for the rest of his life. And if that meant taking chances, he’d do it. But, Zoe would be protected at all times even if it cost his life. No way could he go through life without her.

While she fixed herself up in the bathroom, A.J. continued to pace, worry, and think up the worst scenarios imaginable. When she stepped out, his knees almost buckled, and his eyes nearly exploded.

The outfit clung to her body like a rubber suit and screamed of sex. What there was of the dress barely covered anything at all. With hair piled stylishly on her head, teasing strands swirled against her face. Wide gold cuffs on each wrist hid her wounds.

Red lipstick and plenty of makeup covered her natural beauty and presented a face that had seen too much of the wrong side of life.

Her breasts all but spilled out of the top, and it hugged her like paint on wood. She’d turn every head in the bar. But she only had to turn one. He prayed their plan would work and all Zoe was going through would pay off. He knew how hard it was for her to step back into her past.

One she’d fought savagely to get away from.

He and Brody would go to the club first, take up position, and watch Zoe, who would be at the bar...
flirting.

His gut twisted, and a foul taste filled his mouth. Jealousy clawed at his heart, and dread stabbed him like a thousand needles. He didn’t like seeing her like this. It reminded him too much of the old Zoe.

He couldn’t bring himself to look at her any longer. She was back to being a call girl. She wasn’t the woman he’d made love to last night.

A knocked sounded on the door, and Brody walked in. “Ready?”

“Yeah, I’ll meet you downstairs.”

Brody left and A.J. closed the door.

Zoe flipped a strand of hair away from her face. “This look bothers you, doesn’t it?”

“Only because of all you’ve been through.”

“It’s just clothing, A.J. It’s not who or what I am.”

“Doesn’t it bring back memories of a life you hated?”

“Nothing I can’t cope with.” She licked her shiny lips. “Can you?”

He shrugged, fighting the urge to pull her against him and never let her go. “Maybe.”

She turned and walked away. “Go, A.J. We have a job to do.”

Those words sounded so cold they sent a chill down his back. He left the hotel room. His heart shattered while his mind conjured up all sorts of crazy stuff.

When Brody shoved off the wall, he looked at A.J. “What’s the deal?”

“Nothing, let’s get this done.”

“You upset by the way Zoe looks?”

“No, I’m not.”

“Liar.”

“Shut up and mind your own damn business. We’re partners, but I don’t need you in my head.”

“You sure as hell need something because you’re crazy to judge Zoe because she’s willing to put herself in danger to help Frank. You know that’s the only way she’d consider dressing like that, don’t you?”

A.J. stopped and put his finger in Brody’s chest. “Fuck off. This is too personal.”

“Oh God, you’re such a dickhead.”

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Z
oe left the hotel and caught a cab, ignoring the stark looks from the guests and employees of the hotel as she exited the lobby. She’d cried so much she had to reapply her make-up twice. Shaking her head, she wondered how A.J. could be so blind and so judgmental. She’d fallen in love with him because she didn’t think her past would ever come to play in their relationship.

Now it had.

Perhaps she’d been a fool all along to think any man could overlook the things she’d done, the men she’d had, the drugs, the lies. She’d been a call girl, which only separated her from being a slut by the amount of money she earned. A whore was a whore, and she’d sold her body and soul to buy more drugs and payoff her pimp.

He’d kept her on a short leash, but as long as she kept showing up for appointments and bringing him most of the money, Big Tom didn’t care. Of course, he didn’t want her clean. Clean whores were a liability to a man in his occupation.

Being clear headed made them unpredictable and dangerous. Who knew when they’d find a john who’d take care of them? Get them away from the pimp. Hell, some had even straightened up and gone back home.

Very dangerous indeed.

She stepped out of the cab at the front door of the club. Dressed as she was, she had no problem getting inside. Her problem would be Craig Campbell noticing her in the crush of people and loud music.

Not her usual haunt.

Strolling into the bar, she slid onto a stool, crooked a finger, and ordered a martini. As discreetly as possible, she scanned the room. At one end, Brody and A.J. leaned against the wall, studying the crowd. She smiled, but only Brody returned the gesture. A.J. turned away and looked at the mob on the dance floor.

She downed her drink and was close to calling the whole night a bust, when a man matching the photo Brody had shown her waltzed through the door like he had executive privileges.

He certainly turned heads. Obviously, this was a man who could have anyone he pleased. Not a young man or classically handsome, his suit was Armani and the hint of gold at his wrist flashed Rolex. Campbell oozed money and confidence. Now, she had to make him want her.

When he finally glanced her way, she raised a brow then turned dismissively. Campbell wouldn’t like being ignored. As the bartender placed another drink in front of her, a hand came out and stopped the movement. “Don’t tell me a beautiful woman like you is drinking alone?”

She looked him up and down. “It appears I am.”

“That’s not right.” He tossed out a well cultivated smile. “Care if I join you?”

“Not as long as all you’re doing is drinking.”

“Oh, forgive me.” He mocked a bow. “Am I to assume you’re not a lady of the evening?”

“Yes, you are. I’m a woman in town for the weekend. My business is wrapped up, and I fly out tomorrow morning.”

“So soon?”

She turned to him. “I have nothing to keep me here.”

“What about a husband or boyfriend?”

“Screw that. I have neither and plan to keep it that way until I’m fifty.” She smiled into his tanned, but aging face. “Maybe then I’ll reconsider. Right now, I’m bored. I hate being bored.”

“I was hoping we could have a good time.”

“Maybe. But I can’t stay all night. I have a plane to catch.”

“Would you like to come to my apartment?”

Her eyes slid down his used-up body. Past the thinning hair, shrunken chest, and growing paunch. “I don’t go to strange men’s apartments.”

He faked an insulted glare. “Bailey,” he called to the bartender. “Tell this lady I’m a gentleman in good standing.” He laughed ridiculously loud. “Assure her I have no intentions of killing her, throwing her body in the trunk, and tossing it over a bridge.”

The bartender wiped the bar. “He’s a high-powered Washington attorney and a regular here. He’s Craig Campbell.”

She slowly turned, tossing him an unconvinced glance. “I should be impressed?”

“You would if you were from around here.”

“How so?”

“I’m defending the infamous Danko Gabric for crimes against humanity. The tribunal is tomorrow morning.”

She took a sip of her drink. “That’s your best pick up line?”

“My dear, I find your innocence so charming. Now you must come to my place.” He stood and held out his hand. “I assure you, I will have my driver drop you off anywhere you want to go afterwards.”

“Perhaps I want to stay right here.” She looked him up and down with a passive glance. “What are you offering?”

He whispered against her ear, his warm breath sending shivers down her arms. “I have more cocaine than I know what to do with. Perhaps you’d like to join me now.”

She licked her tongue slowly over her lips then smiled. “Lead the way, Mr. Campbell.”

“No, call me Craig. We’re going to become good friends before the night is over.”

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

A
s soon as Zoe got up from the bar, A.J. wanted to bolt across the room and knock Campbell on his sophisticated ass. Instead, he stood there with his fists clenched so tightly his fingers grew numb.

Brody finished his drink. “Looks like he took the bait.”

“Did you have any doubt? Zoe’s the most attractive woman in the room.”

“That’s why we’re using her. She gets the job done. Now, let’s head over to Campbell’s suite and get inside before they show up.”

They’d staked out a cabbie claiming he knew a short cut to the address, and he proved good at his word. A.J. and Brody jumped from the vehicle before Zoe and Campbell’s limousine turned the corner.

Leading the way to the back entrance of the building, A.J. called over his shoulder, “Watch out for the security cameras.”

“I made an early run this afternoon and disconnected them. It’ll be Monday before they can get them up and working again.”

A.J. smiled. “Good thinking.”

“Yeah, I’ve pretty much been thinking with my brain, instead of my dick, unlike you.”

“Shut up.”

“You shut up.” Brody motioned for A.J. to be silent when a window opened and a man stuck his head out of a second story with a flashlight.

Backs against the wall, they waited for the neighbor to move inside. They darted for the rear entrance. Nervous and afraid Zoe would get in too deep, A.J. managed to pick the lock on the door and gained access to the service elevator.

After doing an early recon, A.J. had learned Campbell lived on the top floor in a big, sprawling penthouse that must cost a small fortune.

Exiting the elevator, A.J. expected there might be a guard at the back entrance, but the area was empty. The asshole should’ve spent more money on security. His bodyguards hadn’t taken into account an obstructed view of the elevator and large urns of greenery decorating the length of the service entrance.

Stupid of Campbell, but lucky for him and Brody.

Staying close, they waited. Fear chewed at A.J.’s gut, but he had to have faith that Zoe would do as instructed and not get caught trying to dose the guy’s drink.

At last they heard laughter from inside the penthouse and each time, A.J. cringed. He wondered if she still had her clothes on or if Campbell had talked her out of them yet.

Now, they had to wait.

That part was killing A.J.

***

Z
oe had asked for a drink when they entered the luxurious penthouse before sitting on the couch. She smiled up at Craig and wondered how in the hell she was going to get the control freak to allow her to fix him a drink. It’d taken all her skills to keep him off her in the car. But she suspected he was searching for a wire more than copping a feel.

She had to find a way to knock him senseless before they ran out of time, and it wasn’t looking good at this point. Craig had one thing on his mind. He wanted her stoned so he could do whatever he wanted with or without her consent.

He wasn’t the first john with that idea. Not going to happen.

He stood in front of her, shaking a vial of cocaine. Zoe nearly gagged. She hadn’t seen that stuff in two and a half years. Oh, she still remembered the high, and how her veins hummed, but it was far too risky for her to mess with the stuff.

“Shall we have a little fun?”

Batting her hand in refusal, she shook her head. “I don’t need that stuff to have fun.” She stood, put her arm around his shoulder and rubbed the front of his shirt. “I can get it on without powder.”

BOOK: Out Of The Past
4.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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