Want a sneak peek?
(*Final passage could change when it goes to print, but here you go!)
Tyke huddled behind a large row of bushes looking at a small two-story cape cod. He and Reese had set up surveillance about two hundred feet away. On their bellies in damp grass, they scanned the front exterior of the house and surrounding area through binoculars.
The place was located smack in the middle of a long street that was lined with about twenty houses along the ocean. The tall hill across the road where Reese and Tyke lay, served as great privacy for the neighborhood from the rest of the resort craziness. This area was dark and quiet. Peaceful. Likely coveted by the resort staff as a way to decompress after servicing the guests.
Some upstairs lights were on in the adjacent houses; people readying for bedtime after a hard days work. Clint Azure’s house was dark and silent. Only a few overgrown bushes and trees out front. No cars in the cracked driveway.
“Area secure,” Reese said beside him. “If you're going, I would say now is the time.”
Tyke placed his binos in the black canvas bag Reese brought with him to the islands. They hadn't planned on anything happening while they were on vacation, but one could never be sure. Reese liked to be prepared.
“Keep an eye out,” Tyke said, getting to his feet in a crouch position. “If you see anything—” He spotted movement at his two o'clock, so he threw himself flat on the grass and scrambled for his binoculars. “Who the hell is that?”
Reese was already on it, following the person with his own equipment. “A woman. And by the looks of it, Kenna.”
“What?” Tyke snapped his binoculars back up and confirmed that surer than shit, it was her. He'd recognize that profile anywhere.
Her red hair was pulled up into a pile on the top of her head. She wore a black tank top that showed off her full chest and black shorts that were just short enough to give her that curve that drove him nuts. Despite the dark clothing, the way she was tip-toeing out in the open across the front yard, Stevie Wonder could've spotted her.
Goddamn woman. He'd told her to stay put.
“Are you going after her?” Reese asked in an honest tone. Like he didn't pick up on Tyke's ire.
“Yeah, I'm going after her.” He sprang to his feet. “Keep an eye out and let me know if you see anything else.”
Tyke veered right to come in behind her so she wouldn't see him approach. He followed her path down to the front of the house, his boots lightly touching the cement driveway. She knelt under the front bay window when he caught up with her.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
She squealed and whirled on him with a…
He plucked the item out of her hand and examined it. “You're gonna break into someone's house with a plastic knife?”
“Yes,” she said, clutching her chest. “Now give it back and get out of here. You're going to blow my cover.”
“What’s with you and your cover?” he said. “Honey, if you even had one, it was blown the second you stepped on the lawn.”
She made a pfft sound between tight lips. “Please. I'm covert.”
“Nothing about you is covert.” He slid the plastic knife into his shorts pocket. “What exactly were you gonna do with that thing? Saw someone's hand off after an hour? Would that be before or after they easily snapped it in half?”
Kenna gave him a once over, seeming fixated with the belt he wore that contained rope, pepper spray, a small subcompact handgun, and a six-inch tactical knife. Stainless steel. Not plastic.
“Whose wedding did you think you were coming to? The Soprano's?” she asked. “Why would you need all of that stuff?” She started to reach for his dagger, but he swatted her hand away.
“Kenna, get out of here so I can search this house before Javier gets home.”
“Get out of here.”
“Kenna, I’m serious. Go.”
She gathered her lips together and crossed her arms like a stubborn kid who didn’t get the pony they wanted for Christmas.
He closed his eyes and counted to five. Slowly. When he opened and she hadn’t disappeared, he groaned. “You're going to follow me in, aren't you?”
She patted his shoulder. “Now you're getting it.”
“Reese,” Tyke said, touching his earpiece. “How we lookin’?”
Kenna leaned in and said, “Hi, Jason!”
“Whoa. What are you doing?” Tyke pushed her back. “No. Just no.”
“Hello, Kenna,” Reese said, even though she couldn’t hear him.
Tyke rolled his eyes. “Am I good to go or what, Reese?”
“Kenna said hello. I didn’t want to be rude by not responding.”
“Are you gonna tell me if we’re clear to enter the premises?”
“As soon as you tell Kenna I said hello,” Reese said.
Tyke mumbled the words.
“Aww, that’s so sweet,” she said. “Thank you, Jason. You’re thoughtful. Unlike some people.” And she glared at Tyke.
Yeah, whatever. “Reese, any time now. I’d like to check this place out sometime before this guy gets home.”
“All clear,” Reese said.
“So how are we going to play this?” she asked. “Break in through the window? The back door?” Her gaze bounced to everything around them.
“You're asking me?” he said. “You were the one coming down here on a mission. What was your plan?”
She looked thoughtful for a moment, then said, “I didn't really have one. Just figured I'd wing it once I got here.”
“Wing it? Woman, you don't just wing it when you're breaking and entering into someone's house.”
“Then what are we going to do, super-secret spy man?” Her tone was sarcastic. He didn't appreciate it one bit.
“First off, let's get one thing straight—I'm a DEA agent. I chase dangerous drug dealers for a living. Completely different and way cooler than CIA spy shit. Keep talking that garbage and I'll ship you back to the resort right now. Got it?”
She twisted her fingers over her closed lips like she was locking them and then throwing away the key.
Tyke rolled his eyes. “Second, this is a beach house on a remote island that overlooks the ocean. I'm sure there's a window or door unlocked somewhere.”
They spent a few minutes checking all the first floor windows and doors without any luck.
“Second story,” Reese said. “ Front right side. A window is open.”
Tyke made his way to the front of the house and positioned himself under the window Reese referred to. He assessed the situation. And then, in realizing what he'd have to do, he pressed his fingers into his eye sockets. “I'm going to regret this.”
“What?” Kenna asked. “What are you going to do?”
“Not me. You.”
“I'm going to hoist you up onto the roof and you're going to climb into that window. Then you're going to come down and unlock the front door for me.”
Her expression was a little too excited.
He latched onto her arm. “But you're not going to search any part of the house without me, understood?”
She was bouncing on her toes. “Sure. Yeah. Let's do this.”
Making a basket with his fingers, he said a few choice words under his breath before bending and letting her step in. He counted to three and then propelled her upward to where she could reach the edge of the first floor roofline.
“Pull yourself up,” he said as he hoisted her higher.
“All good!” Her head came into view over the edge of the first floor roof.
“Get to the window.” He stepped back to watch her climb inside.
Then he went to the front door and waited for it to open.
And he waited.
And waited some more.
“Goddamn it, Kenna,” he said.