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Authors: CJ Lyons

Black Sheep

BOOK: Black Sheep
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Dear Reader,

Every book published is born from a community.
Black Sheep
is special because in addition to our normal team, involving the wonderful folks
at St. Martin’s and my agent, Barbara Poelle, two people volunteered their real-life
names for characters in Caitlyn’s world as part of charity fundraising efforts. I’d
like to thank Mike LaSovage and Mary Agnes Garman for their generosity.

Caitlyn’s journey takes her to places both real and fictional. While Cherokee, North
Carolina, is real, Evergreen, Balsam County, and the VistaView Casino are entirely
fictional. The Cherokee Nation’s court case involving the freedmen is quite real and
is still in the news today. Butner Federal Correctional Institution is also real,
and I’d like to thank Lee Lofland for his virtual tour of their facilities. All embellishments
are mine.

One of the best parts of my job is doing the hands-on research. For
Black Sheep
that included participating in hostage situations and building searches while I visited
Quantico and the FBI Academy. If you are interested in the FBI’s hierarchy or their
investigation techniques, you can download a pdf from my website:
. It includes a glossary of law enforcement terms and acronyms as well as a variety
of resources I used while creating
Black Sheep

As always, thanks for reading!




Title Page

Copyright Notice

Author’s Letter

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Don’t miss
Hollow Bones

Also by CJ Lyons

Praise for
Blind Faith

About the Author




“Drop the gun!” Caitlyn Tierney shouted to the FBI agent.

The agent hesitated, chin bobbing as she tried to decide the correct move to make.
Tough choice since Caitlyn held the agent’s male partner against her chest as a shield.
She’d grabbed his weapon and now used his greater height as an advantage. The only
portion of Caitlyn’s five-six frame visible to the female agent was Caitlyn’s hand
holding the male agent’s own weapon to his head.

The female agent held her weapon steady, aiming at her partner and Caitlyn behind
him. Fat lot of good that was going to do her, but it was standard procedure.

Caitlyn braced herself against the larger agent. He smelled minty fresh, as if he’d
chewed gum or used mouthwash before following his partner into this squalid dump of
an apartment. Sweat trickled down from his hairline, beading at the back of his collar.
His hair had been freshly trimmed; his skin still held tiny nicks from the razor.

She glanced around. He was her only cover. The rest of the apartment was bare of furniture
except for a sagging tweed couch shoved against the far wall and a coffee table made
of cheap two-by-fours. Back to the wall, Caitlyn’s only exit was the door to the right
of the female agent across from her.

“Let’s talk about this.” The female agent’s voice quavered, but her aim didn’t falter.
“Let him go and we’ll talk.”

“Shut up or I shoot him!” Caitlyn responded, effectively removing the agent’s best
weapon: her command authority. Hard to negotiate or intimidate when you can’t speak.
“Drop your gun. Now!”

Make a choice, make a choice,
Caitlyn thought. The overhead ceiling fan swooshed, barely stirring the air with
its listless movements. The place stank of mold and sweat, of windows that didn’t
open, shag carpet decades out of date, and too many years of too many people making
too many bad decisions. The FBI agent was just one more, standing in the weak light
of a naked sixty-watt bulb, her mind stuttering through a minefield of options.

Don’t make me do it. Choose. Just choose.

The agent didn’t choose. Her aim faltered, dropped down, then raised halfway up in

Caitlyn shot her in the forehead, followed by a double tap to the chest.

Then Caitlyn touched the muzzle of her weapon to the male agent’s temple. “Bang. You’re

*   *   *

“Tierney!” The scenario leader yelled her name from his observation post. “What the
hell you doing?”

Trying to teach them how to stay alive in the real world,
Caitlyn thought. She’d been where these New Agents in Training were: forced to choose
between following procedure and taking a chance on her instincts.

Six months ago when she’d had a gun to her head and another pointed at her partner,
Caitlyn surrendered her weapon. If she hadn’t, she’d be dead—and so would five hundred
innocent civilians. But she’d done it consciously, knowing her Glock wasn’t her only
weapon. That it wasn’t even her best weapon.

These NATs needed to learn to think like that. It might save their lives someday.

The scenario leader, Mike LaSovage, one of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team members, clomped
over to her, aiming his clipboard as if it were a weapon. “Supervisory Special Agent
Tierney, a word, please.”

Caitlyn removed her helmet and rubbed her right temple, lifting her short red hair,
matted by the training gear, away from the itchy scar. She glanced at the female NAT
she’d shot. The woman trembled. Her hand touched her face shield, coming away with
neon green paint on her fingers—the color of Caitlyn’s Simunition.

“She needed to make a decision,” Caitlyn muttered, wiping her own sweaty palms against
her black cargo pants. Simulation or not, the scenario hit close to home, awakening
memories as well as a surge of adrenaline.

“The purpose of this exercise is to allow agents in training a chance to follow proper
arrest procedure, not to throw them into a hostage negotiation.” LaSovage turned so
his back was to the NATs. Didn’t want them to see Mommy and Daddy fighting. The Bureau
was above that. Follow the bible—a four-inch binder crammed full of rules, regulations,
and standard operating procedures—and you’d go home at night, was the catechism the
kids were meant to learn from these exercises.

Despite the fact that a few were close to Caitlyn’s age, they
just kids. No idea what the real world held for them. Decisions made in a heartbeat,
bullets fired that could never be unfired, good people lost because of your actions—or

“You saw the way they entered,” Caitlyn argued, feeling older than her thirty-five
years as she spied the crushed expressions on the NATs’ faces. Nine years carrying
a loaded weapon, almost dying twice, killing a man in close-quarters combat, watching
a good man sacrifice his life to save hers: Permanent scars crisscrossed her body
and her soul. She couldn’t remember ever being as young as these new agents. “He was
more concerned about following her lead than the threat I posed. Totally opened his
weapon side to me. How could I resist? No real suspect would have.”

LaSovage looked over his shoulder to where the two dead agents huddled together commiserating
and, hopefully, dissecting their mistakes. “It was a sloppy entrance. But this is
their first exercise outside of FATS video training. First real-life scenario. You
didn’t need to push it that far.”

“I’ll bet they don’t make the same mistakes next time.”

He grimaced in agreement. “Maybe. But let’s play the rest of these by the book, okay?”

Caitlyn had never done “by the book” well. Used to be she could fake her way through
it, pretend her actions were guided by rules and regulations, but after returning
from an extended medical leave for emergency brain surgery that saved her life, she’d
given up the pretense. Which was why the powers-that-be had left her in limbo, on
temporary assignment here at Quantico.

“You doing okay?” LaSovage asked, trying not to stare at her hair, still not fully
grown back after her operation. “Can’t be easy after—”

“I’m fine.” How many times a day did she have to tell people that? Or pretend she
didn’t notice their stares as she walked through the halls at the academy.

Six months ago she’d have embraced the idea of continuing on as a permanent instructor—she
enjoyed teaching and loved challenging her students. But to be stranded here as temporary
duty, merely so she could remain under the scrutiny of the bosses without becoming
a PR risk? Suddenly her office in Jefferson Hall felt as cramped as a prison cell.

Her last case had earned her an unofficial reprimand from the Office of Professional
Responsibility and an official, but grudgingly given, commendation for uncovering
corruption in the FBI’s higher ranks, the U.S. Marshal Service, and even the sacrosanct
FBI National Laboratory.

The brass would have preferred if she’d taken their offer of a medical pension and
left the Bureau quietly, but no way was she going to let them bully her into quitting.
Given that she knew of several embarrassing skeletons hidden in the FBI’s closet,
they couldn’t fire her, not without risking another blot on the Bureau’s public image.

Which left Caitlyn and her career in limbo.

“You sure?” LaSovage persisted. “We could grab a beer or something after we’re done
here. If you want to talk.”

His glance dropped to the top part of the scar that ran vertically up her chest, visible
above her tactical vest. The rest of the scar formed a letter
with the crossbars slashing above and below her left breast. If it weren’t for her
fair skin the scars would have been less noticeable, but after six months they were
still reddish and she’d given up trying to hide beneath turtlenecks. Just like her
attitude, they were now part of her, take it or leave it.

His concern seemed more genuine than the morbid curiosity most of her colleagues had
exhibited. Interesting since, although LaSovage was a four-year veteran of the Hostage
Rescue Team, the FBI’s vaunted equivalent to an elite SWAT unit, he’d never actually
had to kill anyone.

During the course of their careers it was rare for FBI agents to draw their weapons
outside the range. Which made Caitlyn, so young, yet already almost dying a violent
death twice and killing a man up close and personal, a distinct anomaly. She heard
the whispers:
Was she reckless? Stupid? Or just plain unlucky?

She wished she had an answer. “Thanks, but I need to be somewhere tonight,” she told
LaSovage. “Maybe next time.”

He nodded, gave her an uncertain smile as if wondering if she was trying to protect
him or herself, then turned to usher the next group into position.

BOOK: Black Sheep
13.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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