WILD CARD UNDERCOVER
“Shaunessy, it’s about time you got here.”
Chris nodded at the guys sitting in Drew Thayer’s Connecticut apartment. They all held beers and seemed relaxed.
“Sorry I’m late. I’ve got a longer drive than the rest of you deadbeats.” He dropped his overnight bag on the floor near the door. Looking around, he counted only four other faces.
“Where’s Jack? He wasn’t able to get here?” Jack Holland, another FBI agent, had been on the run for a few years after killing a mob boss’s son in self-defense while undercover. The Bureau hadn’t been able to help him get his life back yet. Jack’s cousin, Scott, ran a construction company and helped Jack move around the country doing work for him. It kept him away from the mobster who’d put a hit out on him.
Scott frowned and took a long swig. “Jack had a little accident at one of my job sites a few days ago. A stack of lumber fell on him.”
“Is he okay? Safe?” Chris hated that they hadn’t been able to help their friend out of his dilemma yet.
Scott nodded. “I set him up in a chalet in Vermont with a few friends. They’ll make sure he takes it easy. Of course, you know Jack. He won’t let anyone take care of him. Thinks he can do it all himself.”
Keith Cho, a Boston cop and their explosives expert, frowned. “Can you trust these people? If Victor Cabrini finds him while he’s injured, it won’t be good.”
Victor was the mob boss Jack was hiding from.
“These people are trustworthy. Jack will be safe. For now. I don’t know how much longer he can keep running. It’s starting to wear on him.”
Nick White, the sharpshooter of the unit, slammed his empty beer can on the table. “I told you, I could take this guy out easy. Just say the word.”
Drew, a prosecutor for the state of Connecticut, shook his head. “That’s called murder, Nick. When you’re in the military and they sanction a kill, it’s another story. You just can’t go around shooting people because they annoy you.”
“What does it matter?” Nick muttered and pushed off the couch to get another beer from the kitchen.
Chris watched his friend, then eyed the others. Nick had been involved in some bad shit overseas and still wasn’t back to the easygoing guy from before. Another one they needed to keep their eyes on.
Nick brought two beers out and handed one to Chris. Slumping in a nearby chair, Chris popped the top and took a swig.
“So, what’s everyone doing for Christmas?” Drew asked, taking a handful of chips and shoving them in his mouth.
The holiday was in a week, and Chris had been planning something special. He let the others answer first. He wasn’t sure if he was ready to share yet.
Scott propped his feet on the coffee table. “I’ll head back up to Vermont and spend it with Jack.”
“Who are these friends you set Jack up with?” Keith asked. “Female?”
Scott merely grinned and tipped his beer can up.
“Have fun,” Drew said. “I’ll be with my dad. He made me go with him to chop down a tree last week. Nick, what are you doing?”
Nick slipped deeper into his chair, his face stiffening. “I don’t know. Guess I’ll put in an appearance at the folks’ place. Doubt I’ll stay long. More likely, my old man will toss me out after a short while.”
Drew eyed Keith. “Your family is in San Francisco. Any plans to visit them?”
Keith’s face hardened. “I figure I’ll go visit Sam for a few days.”
“Your partner’s sister?” Chris asked. Keith’s partner in the Boston PD had been killed recently in a shootout.
“How is she?”
Keith raised one eyebrow, his expression neutral as always. “She lost her mom and brother in the course of a few months. How do you think she is?”
“I’m sure she’ll appreciate your visiting,” Scott said. “So, Shaunessy, you’re the only one who hasn’t done show and tell yet. What have you been up to since your stint in Miami finished? It is done, right?”
Chris nodded. “Yeah, we testified against Moreno a few weeks ago. He’s going inside for a nice long stretch.”
“Good,” Keith said. “I love it when the riff raff gets put behind bars, so they don’t hurt anyone again.”
“Can you tell us a little about the case now that it’s over?” Drew asked.
Chris gave them the basic details of what they’d gotten Moreno on and how it had finally gone down.
“How’s your shoulder?” Nick asked.
Shrugging, Chris said, “It’s fine. I’m still on desk duty for a while, though.”
“So, who was this informant that helped you break the case?” Keith tipped his head at Chris.
“Someone who worked for Moreno.”
“Worked for him?” Drew grinned. “Like one of his ladies of the night or a bartender or bouncer?”
Chris wasn’t sure how much he wanted to share with them. But these guys were like brothers to him, so he decided he could give a little. “She was a cocktail waitress. That’s it.”
Scott waggled his eyebrows. “A cocktail waitress? Pretty?”
Nick sat up and cocked his head. “Is this the one whose parents you wanted me to check on? The mom works at the diner in Pennsylvania?”
“Yeah, that’s her. She’s snuggly back home with her family now. I appreciate your doing that for me. Meg was pretty freaked that Moreno would do something to them.”
Nick crossed one foot over the other knee. “It’s cool. There’s some hot waitresses at that diner.”
Keith reached for the chips. “That’s a little above and beyond, isn’t it? What gives?”
“Nothing. I just wanted to make sure her family was fine. She was risking her life to help me get info on that scumbag. The least I could do was keep an eye on her loved ones.”
“You never answered the question of whether she was pretty or not,” Scott repeated.
He must have let slip some weird look, because all the guys were suddenly making cackling noises and hooting.
“Woohoo! Shaunessy has it bad.”
“Does she feel the same?”
“Have you done it yet?”
Chris rolled his eyes and shot them all a look of disgust. “I don’t kiss and tell, you turd brains.”
“Nah, Shaunessy’s too professional to do anything while she was his informant,” Keith said.
“That’s right,” he agreed, hoping they’d drop the subject.
Scott smirked. “But she’s not his informant any longer. Seriously though, you got a thing for this woman? Meg?”
He couldn’t lie. Especially since soon enough he hoped to have news to tell them. “She’s something else. I couldn’t help myself.”
Drew narrowed his eyes. “Does she feel the same way?”
“God, I hope so. I think so. I’m heading to her house for Christmas. We’ll see then.”
Nick puckered his lips. “You’ve got something planned, don’t you? I’ve seen her a few times at the diner with her mom. Pretty. Outgoing. More than a little sarcastic at times. I can tell you Claire and the rest of her family are in heaven now that she’s home.”
“Yeah, I’ve got something planned. I’m hoping by the end of the day, I’ll be the one in heaven.”