Hacking the SEAL (Saving the SEALs Series Book 2) (8 page)

BOOK: Hacking the SEAL (Saving the SEALs Series Book 2)
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“Where is she?” Kyle sat forward, his expression serious.

“Well, let’s see.” Hayley sat her half-eaten dinner aside and picked up the computer, tapping a few keys on the keyboard. “Oh.
Oh shit!
” Her voice took on a terrified edge that Scotty had yet to hear, not even when he’d attacked her at Natalie’s house, not even when they’d been on the run from the Feds. He was at her side before he’d even thought about moving.

“What is it, Red?”

“According to this, she entered C&O Canal Park about an hour ago—That’s where—”

“Where what?”

“Where my kidnappers mentioned they were going. Where they were going to stage their ambush for you guys. Do you think she’s the diversion they were talking about.”

“Probably,” Kyle said, setting his empty place aside.

“And when did she leave?” Scotty leaned closer to peer at her screen. If Becks was looking for a fight today, then he’d be more than happy to oblige, ambush or not.

“She hasn’t.” Hayley looked up. “Yet.”

“Right.” Scotty pushed to his feet at the same time as Gage and Kyle. They shared an unspoken language after all these years together, each working like finely-tuned cogs in the machinery of their team. Gage grabbed his bag of highly-combustible goodies and slung it over his shoulder, checking his weapon and shoving an extra clip of ammo in his pocket. Kyle entered the coordinates into his phone then worked out the best routes of access on his GPS. Scotty pulled on his boots then walked over to the bathroom door and pounded hard. “Time to go, Spence.”

The sound of a flushing toilet was followed by the washing of hands then the door flew open. “About fucking time we get back in the game.”

“Um, guys?” Hayley said, still seated on the loveseat. “Does no one care that’s exactly where those goons who kidnapped me were planning to set you up?”

The guys exchanged a look and shrugged.

“Not really. Besides, now that we know what they’re planning, we’re prepared.” Scotty grabbed his jacket on the way to the door. “See you soon, Red.”

“Like hell you will.” She jammed her feet into her shoes, shoved her laptop inside her messenger bag, slung it across her body, snatched her coat and followed the rest of the team out the door. “I’m coming with you.”

“Uh, I’m not sure that’s such a—”

“I’m coming,” she said. “And that’s final. Besides, who else is going to track her movements for you, huh?”

Scotty glanced over at Kyle, who gave a curt nod, then closed the door. “Fine, but you stay in the vehicle at all times. Understood?”

“Understood.” She linked her arm through his and they headed down the stairs.

Having Hayley at his side felt good but damn if Scotty didn’t want to keep her safe forever—or at least until this whole sordid mess was over. Either way, he’d be damned sure to protect her this time, no matter what.

Chapter Thirteen

“You in position, Spence?” Scotty said into his Bluetooth earpiece. He crouched farther behind the hedge and peeked through the leaves. He was acting as Kyle’s second-in-command on this mission, running tactical operations despite his hand-to-hand combat expertise. Kyle had insisted he needed time to cool his jets after Hayley’s abduction and much as he hated to admit it, his team leader was right. All he wanted to do right now was rip Becks’s head off with his bare hands and that wouldn’t help anyone, not really. “Looks like we’ve got our target locked at six.”

“Roger.” Gage’s growl buzzed through the connection “I see the widow near the river bank. Spence, you got me covered, man?”

“Like a glove, dude.” Spencer said, the sound of him chambering a round into his sniper riffle echoed.

“Right, team,” Kyle said. “The plan is to get in, grab Natalie, and get out. We will deal with Becks and the kidnappers later. Understand?”

“Yes, sir,” the team said in unison.

“For Nick,” Scotty whispered and crossed himself, his ritual before every dangerous mission these days.

“For Nick,” his team mates responded in unison over the Bluetooth.

Beside him, Hayley sat with her back against a brick wall, her laptop open. She’d somehow talked him into bringing her along, instead of staying in the car like he’d originally insisted. At least with her this close, he could ensure her safety, even if it was distracting as hell. He’d given her his cell phone to use as a Wi-Fi hotspot during the nab and grab, so she could keep them posted on the latest surveillance feeds and hopefully give them an advantage over Becks and his team who were surely poised to take them down.

Through his binoculars, Scotty watched Natalie enter their section of the park then glance around as if looking for trouble. She looked thinner than the last time he’d seen her, paler, more fragile. Of course, faking your own death after losing your husband would do that to a gal, he supposed.

She stuffed what looked to be her admission ticket into the small purse slung across her body then walked briskly toward toward the back of the historic row houses along the Potomac river. A small bridge crossed the water and would provide an opportune spot to snatch the widow, at least that’s the plan they’d come up with anyway.

“I’m going in,” Gage said. “See you on the other side.”

“How well did you know Natalie?” Hayley asked. “Before she married Nick, I mean.”

Scotty shrugged, his attention focused on keeping his team safe. “About as well as anybody, I guess. Why?”

“Just wondered.” She continued tapping keys on her keyboard, her gaze narrowed on her screen. "So you knew she had a criminal record then?”

“Yes.”
No.
He hadn’t known that, actually. Then again, it wasn’t really his business. She was his buddy’s wife and that counted for a lot in his world. If Nick loved and trusted her, then she had to be okay. He adjusted his binoculars and followed Gage’s progress toward the bridge. “I’m a little busy right now, Red. Can we talk about this later?”

“I just think it’s weird, that’s all,” Hayley continued, as if he hadn’t spoken. “From the data I’ve found, she basically fell off the grid at around age fourteen, then reappeared at age twenty-two, working as a waitress at a bar in Georgetown. There’s no record of high school graduation, no college, no nothing.”

Okay, yeah. That was kind of strange. He squinted as Gage made his way down the opposite side of the canal from the widow, scanning the nearby rooftops and windows periodically for any sign of the enemy. So far, nothing. The riskiest part of the venture, however, was yet to come. A strange niggle of unease took root in his gut. Sure, Natalie had always seemed a bit closed off and distant. Scotty had taken it for shyness. Then again, he’d seen her handle herself quite adeptly with drunken pub patrons who tried to cop a feel or expected more from her than just their next drink order. Skills like hers didn’t come from local self-defense classes. Some of those moves were straight out of military boot camp. She come into her relationship with Nick knowing those things, meaning her husband hadn’t taught her, so who then?

“I think she’s had a tough life,” Hayley said, frowning. “I kind of feel sorry for her.”

Scotty grunted and kept his gaze trained on their target. Natalie wore jeans and a navy blue hoodie. The wind was fairly fierce today, sending her dark hair flying out of behind her. She gathered it in one hand and jammed it all under her hood then trudged ahead toward the bridge. It had rained the night before and the ground was still somewhat soggy, making the riverbanks a bit muddy. The place wasn’t as crowded as usual either, which both helped and hindered their mission. Having a lot of people around provided cover, but it also provided a lot more witnesses.

Legs going numb from squatting so long, Scotty adjusted his position. They’d make do with what they had. They were SEALs. They were trained for exactly this kind of shit. He spoke to Hayley over his shoulder. “Do me a favor, Red. Feel sorry for Natalie later. For now, just keep her on the security footage, okay?”

“Will do.” Hayley grinned and clicked a few more keys.

Scotty scanned the area with his binoculars again, his unease sprouting tentacles that choked his airways as he spotted a badly scarred man limping toward the bridge from the opposite direction. “Fuck.” Scotty pressed the Bluetooth to his ear, even his tone aggressive. “Becks is here.”

“Shit.” Spencer said. “Are you sure I can’t waste ‘em, Kyle? Please?”

“Negative,” Kyle responded. “Stick to the mission at hand.”

“Shit. I could take him out too. One shot, clean and clear.” Spence said. “Please say yes.”

“No.” Kyle sounded all kinds of pissed. “No one opens fire. Understand?”

“But—”

“I swear to God, if you take that shot Frogman, it will be your last.”

“Goddammit.” Spence’s sigh blustered through the communication lines. “I could take him.”

“Not yet.” Kyle said. “Don’t you think I want that fucker dead too? He took out my brother, for Christ’s sake. But we need to find out why Becks is here first. This goes beyond some revenge pact. I can feel it.”

Kyle and his “feelings” were legendary in their team. He’d once predicted an IED explosion and they’d avoided it, based solely on his gut instincts.
Shit.
Scotty exhaled loud and zoomed in with his binoculars again. Natalie had stopped now, beside the guy, slipped something from the bag near her hip and passed it to him. He nodded and took off, back in the same direction he’d entered from.

Aw, fuck…

“Uh, guys.” Scotty sat and rubbed his eyes. “Natalie just passed information to Becks.”

“What?” The trio of identical responses rang with disbelief.

He glanced over at Hayley. “Did the camera feeds pick that up?”

She nodded, winced. “Sorry.”

“We got it on tape. Definite exchange.”

“What does that mean?” Gage said. “Is she in cahoots with Becks?”

“Motherfucker.” The vehemence in Spence’s voice made Scotty cringe. “That bitch double timed us. Double timed Nick.”

“There’s something strange going on, that’s for sure.” Scotty removed his black baseball hat and ran a hand through his hair. “We need to interrogate her and find out what the hell she knows.”

“Yes, we do.” Kyle’s words sounded clipped. “Gage, grab her. If she betrayed my baby brother, I swear to God…”

He didn’t finish the sentence. He didn’t have to.

“What’s going on?” Hayley asked. “What are they going to do?”

“Capture that traitorous bitch and bring her in.”

“You don’t know Natalie’s a traitor,” Hayley whispered from behind him. “What if Becks threatened her in some way?”

“I don’t give a shit what that asshole did or didn’t do to her. There’s no reason for her to have any contact with him. There’s every indication he killed her husband for fuck’s sake. Killed my friend.” He scowled and shrugged off her hand on his shoulder. “Now, monitor those feeds so we can get this done, okay?”

She sat back against the wall, anger sparking in her gaze. “Fine.”

“I’m going down the way a bit, so I can see Spence better. You stay right here until I come back for you, got it, Red?”

Hayley gave him a harsh glare and a mock salute. “Whatever.”

Grumbling, Scotty traversed the muddy river bank then knelt near a large boulder and peered through his binoculars again. Gage was closing in on the widow while Scotty stood on the roof to change positions. To passersby, Spence appeared like a normal college kid, in his Columbia sweatshirt and sneakers. But beneath those innocuous clothes lurked lightening quick reflexes and the best marksman the U.S. military had to offer.

“Okay.” Scotty said, “Get ready for my signal. She’s almost in position.”

“Roger.” The team said.

Gage moved closer to the end of the bridge, stooping down and pretended to study some rocks near the shore, keeping his face averted in case Natalie looked over and recognized him. From a corner of one of the row houses, Spence was poised, his weapon trained on the bridge. Kyle leaned against a rickety gate several feet down from the bridge on the other side and appeared to be reading a memorial plaque, ready to lend back up if needed.

All the pieces were in place.

Natalie stepped foot on the bridge then walked to the center, leaning over to peer into the murky waters below. She faced Scotty and through his lenses he saw her gaunt cheeks, the dark shadows beneath her eyes, so different from the last time he’d seen her with Nick—smiling, laughing, in love.

Except now, with her involvement with Becks, it could have all been a lie.

A lie that cost Nick his life.

“Let’s roll,” he growled into the Bluetooth.

Everything happened in the blink of an eye. Gage rushed forward and grabbed Natalie, all but engulfing her with his much larger frame. She struggled, no match for his strength and bulk. As soon as Gage crossed the bridge, their quarry in his arms, Kyle joined him and together they headed toward one of the abandoned row houses near the far end of the park.

Meanwhile, Spence came down from the roof and he and Scotty turned their attention to Becks who seemed to be injured, from the way he was favoring his right leg.
Fucking wusses.
Scotty watched him through his binoculars as he charged back out of the gate to the park and took off in a waiting vehicle. He’d always known Michael Becks was a coward, but this took it to a whole new level. They still needed to search the place where Hayley had been held too, see if they could find out any more information about those files everyone wanted, but first things first. Right now they had a widow to question. He shook his head and turned around, only to find Hayley standing behind him, hands on her hips, her expression peeved. “I want to talk to her.”

“Well, I want free booze for life and a sixteen-inch cock. Doesn’t mean I’m going to get it.” He crossed his arms. “Kyle’s in charge. Whatever he says, goes.”

“Wrong.” She tromped along through the mud beside him as they headed across the river. “I’m still FBI, remember? I outrank a bunch of SEALs with questionable motives.”

“The only thing questionable here is your attitude.”

She flipped him off and crossed the bridge ahead of him.

“Don’t do it, Red. I’m warning you.” He stalked behind her, not sure exactly what he was threatening but pissed as hell just the same. Bad enough Nick’s wife had turned on them, now Hayley was going all renegade.
Shit.
This was why he never got involved. Better to love them and leave them happy and satisfied than to deal with all this crap. “The guys are handling it. Don’t interrupt.”

Hayley barged into the vacant row house anyway and Scotty followed, halting just inside the door to let his eyes adjust to the dim light inside. In one corner of the long, narrow space sat a couple of broken crates fashioned into a makeshift chair, Natalie secured to it with zip ties, while Kyle, Gage, and Spence stood around her, arms crossed and scowling. Hayley pushed in beside them and stared at the widow as Scotty joined the group. All manner of boxes and pallets and God knew what else lined both side of the place, stacked floor to twelve-foot-ceiling high.

“What the fuck is going on here, Natalie?” Kyle stepped forward, holding up a hand to forestall any other questions from the rest of the guys. “Why are you meeting with Becks?”

Natalie shook her head and stared at the floor. “You don’t understand.”

“Try us.” Scotty’s words earned him a harsh stare from his team leader.

Kyle crouched in front of her. “Who are you, really?”

Eyes bright with tears, Natalie met his gaze direct. “I’m your sister-in-law. Let me go.”

“Not until you tell us the truth.” Kyle inched closer. “Who do you work for?”

“I—I can’t.” She looked away. “They’ll kill me.”

“Yes, you can. Tell me, Natalie. Who’ll kill you?”

“A private party. That’s all I can say.”

“A private party?” Kyle shouted. “You let some nameless private party come between you and Nick? You let some
private party
kill your
husband
? The man you
loved
? What a load of bullshit, Natalie!”

BOOK: Hacking the SEAL (Saving the SEALs Series Book 2)
7.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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