Target(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 3)(15) by Connie Suttle
"Only the twenty-fifth of June, second day on the job and already making money for Winkler Security," Trajan had Ashe lifting a hundred pounds over his head. "But that doesn't mean anything in my dojo," Trajan snickered. "In here, you belong to me."
"That's," Ashe huffed a little, struggling to lift the weights, "not scary or anything," Ashe lowered the weights. He was lying flat on his back on the weight bench again while Trajan supervised his weight lifting.
"Yeah, I'm plenty scary," Trajan leered at Ashe. Ashe wanted to laugh but didn't. Trajan, at six-eleven, was still something humorous to see when he made faces. "Come on. I want you lifting two hundred before I send you back home. Gotta get you in shape to fend off cyber pirates."
"Does your job description include harassment?" Ashe asked, hefting the weights up again.
"Sure does," Trajan grinned. "Three more of those, and then we'll do some squats."
"Man, I still ache from yesterday," Ashe grumbled.
"And you'll ache more from today. Come on, two more, now. Get with it."
"Is he always a slave driver?" Ashe asked Marco later as they ran laps.
"Trajan doesn't fool around in the gym," Marco said. "And thanks to you, I'll be one of the team sent to the bank this morning to install the new equipment and get them updated. If you could break in after only a few hours, anybody else could get in after a day or two. They were setting themselves up," Marco blew out a breath. "The bank president kept saying that the old system we installed six years ago was still good. Winkler told him it was outdated and could be breached with modern technology. And the boss was right, as usual."
"I guess so," Ashe panted.
"This one probably won't be possible, but take a crack at it anyway," Winkler gave Ashe the name of another bank, this one in Idaho. Ashe smiled. His mother called Idaho the potato and onion capital of the world. Which was great if you loved potato pancakes. Sali lived for the days when Adele actually made them. Ashe would call, Sali would run to the house as quick as he could and wait patiently until Adele served them up.
"Will do, boss," Ashe said, nodding at Winkler. Winkler laughed and slapped Ashe on the back.
Ashe lined up behind Grady for the dinner buffet that evening. He hadn't made much progress on the project Winkler assigned earlier, but he wasn't ready to give up on it yet. When Ashe had given an update before going to dinner, Winkler just smiled and gave the go-ahead to keep trying. Ashe was working on the problem in his head when the grumpy werewolf he'd met at breakfast the first day walked up and stood behind him. "Rookies need to be at the back of the line," the werewolf rumbled. Since Ashe didn't know his name, he thought of him as Gruff. Ashe, following Grady's advice, didn't move or say anything. He thought it best to just ignore Gruff and hope he gave up on his quest to belittle and demean.
"You hear what I said, boy?" Gruff jerked Ashe around by the shoulder. Ashe had three inches on Gruff, but Gruff was wider, heavier and definitely meaner.
"Put your hands on the boy again and I'll take it as a challenge," Trajan had Gruff's collar in his hand, his face inches from the older werewolf's nose. Ashe stared as Gruff slunk back from Trajan. "Turn around and get your dinner, Ashe," Trajan said. Ashe whirled and rushed forward to reach the buffet line.
"It's Trajan's job to keep peace in the ranks," Grady said when Ashe sat at the long dining table after grabbing a glass of sweet iced tea and setting his plate of food down. "Orville will back off or he'll be punished," Grady added. "But don't get any ideas about baiting him. Or anybody else, for that matter."
"I don't do stuff like that," Ashe was still shaken over the incident.
"Orders are for you to drink at least one of these a day," Marco set a protein drink in front of Ashe before sitting beside him. "It'll help build you up a little. You're just too skinny, dude." Marco grinned, taking the sting out of his words.
"Yeah. I get that," Ashe said, shaking himself.
"Orville tried a little bullying," Grady nodded toward Ashe, who was popping the tab on the protein drink. "Trajan took care of it."
"If I were the toughest wolf in the room, I still wouldn't bother Ashe without knowing what I was getting into," Marco said innocently. Grady ignored the comment and Ashe, hoping the whole thing would go away, cut into his hamburger steak.
"Ashe, get up boy. We need you." Trajan shook Ashe's shoulder. Ashe, heart pounding from being wakened from a sound sleep, blinked in confusion at his alarm clock beside the bed. It read three-thirty, the red numbers blurring a little as he struggled to wake.
"Come on, get dressed. We have to be at the airport in half an hour." Ashe, fully awake now, snatched clothing up and dressed as quickly as he could. Trajan was rushing him out the door before he could get his shoes on. "You can do that in the van," Trajan's voice held concern. Ashe caught the worry from Trajan, his heart pounding double time in his chest. He tried to ask Trajan what was going on, but Trajan hushed him. Winkler was waiting inside the van as Trajan and Ashe climbed in. Two others that Ashe didn't recognize were there as well. One was driving while the other sat in the back with Trajan and Ashe.
"We have a situation in D.C.," Winkler said. "Matt called. We're going in. I just hope we get there in time."
"But," Ashe said. He thought it would take hours to arrive at the nation's capital. He revised that thought when he saw what waited for them at the airport. A military jet sat there, the engines revving as Trajan, Winkler and the unknown werewolf hauled Ashe across the tarmac and up the metal steps to the jet. Seating was limited and there was barely room for all of them inside the tiny space.
"We'll break the speed limit going in," the unknown werewolf muttered grimly as he strapped himself in. Ashe, looking around for his own seatbelt, found the ends, pulled them together and clicked them across his lap. Ashe blinked at Winkler, but Winkler's eyes were closed. Figuring that the Dallas Packmaster didn't want to be disturbed, Ashe sat back while all kinds of potential situations raced through his mind.
Unmarked patrol vehicles met them at the D.C. airport. As did Director Matthew Michaels. "Are you sure this is a good idea?" The Director walked up to Winkler and peered around the tall werewolf at Ashe, who stood in the early-morning light, shoulders hunched and hands in pockets. Trajan had an arm loosely draped around Ashe's shoulders.
"It's the best we have, Director," Winkler said. "If it doesn't look good when we go in, we'll come right out and let the regular forces have it."
Ashe sat in the back of a limousine between Winkler and Trajan while the Director, sitting beside the unnamed werewolf, outlined the problem for Ashe. "The British Embassy has been taken over by terrorists," he explained. "They tried the same thing with three other embassies at the same time, but were only successful at this one. There are quite a few dead at the other venues, including the enemy, but those embassies are now secure. Only the Brits are in danger, now. We gather that there are at least seven terrorists inside the building; four were killed before they gained entrance. Now, everyone inside that embassy is in danger, if they haven't been killed already."
"Ashe, you're going to carry Trajan and some of the Director's men inside; they'll try to take out the terrorists," Winkler said. "Don't put yourself in danger; we'll show you a map and you'll drop your cargo where Matt says to drop them. Understood?"
"Uh-huh," Ashe felt shaky as Winkler and the Director outlined what they wanted. A map of the embassy interior was spread across the hood of a police cruiser, safely parked behind crime scene tape. The lights were on in the British Embassy, but nobody was visible behind the windows. Someone had a representative from the terrorists on the phone, but they were refusing any sort of negotiation at that point.
A covered porch with square columns lined the front of the building, which was built in a wide U-shape. Ashe couldn't begin to describe how many national agencies and security personnel were outside the British Embassy in the early-morning light. The media had been kept away from the site and Ashe was thankful for that. He didn't want his mother to see his image plastered all over national television, especially since she thought him safe in Dallas—he'd talked to her shortly before he'd gone to bed the night before. Now, a light breeze ruffled Ashe's hair and flipped crime scene tape tied to vehicles and convenient traffic signs. The day promised to be a warm one.
"We think this is the safest place to make the drop," Matt made sure Ashe knew the proper room and the floor number inside the building as he bent over the map. The small room Matt indicated held copy machines and other office equipment. "Now," Matt went on, "these are the ones you'll take inside." Matt jerked his head at six men who stood nearby. "All of your jobs are on the line if you breathe a word on how you got inside," he spoke to the six operatives, all of whom stood at attention beside him. "Remember your non-disclosure agreements," Matt reminded them.
"Yes, sir," all six said in unison. Ashe knew they must be military, maybe Special Ops or something. He also figured that nobody would tell him anyway, so he didn't ask.
"Boy, now's the time. Get them in there pronto," Matt ordered.
"Yes, sir," Ashe nodded and went to mist. The six operatives and Trajan weighed nothing as mist. Ashe quickly found the designated room inside the embassy. He also found three bodies inside the room when he dropped his seven passengers. One of the dead was a young woman, who looked to be a secretary or assistant. The other two wore uniforms and were obviously security guards.
Ashe was supposed to come right back out of the building and join Winkler while they waited for the ones left inside to do their job. After seeing the dead woman, her throat viciously slashed, he decided otherwise. What would they do? Send him home? Ashe followed over Trajan's head.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online