“Says who?”

“Me.” His jaw flitted under his skin, and then he eyed the papers in my hand. “Did you rework that FD-three-oh-two?”



“No,” I seethed. “The transcription and translation are accurate, and the FD-three-oh-two, like I’ve said, is thorough.”

“You’re incorrect,” he said, glaring down at me.

Behind the irritation was something else although I couldn’t quite decipher it.

“Can you explain to me what is missing?” I asked.

Maddox walked away from me, the fabric under both of his arms and his lower back dark with perspiration.

“Excuse me, sir, but I asked you a question.”

He flipped around. “You don’t come to me, asking questions. You take orders, and I told you to modify that report to my satisfaction.”

“How exactly would you like me to do that, sir?”

He laughed once, unamused. “Did your superior do your job for you in Chicago? Because in—”

“I’m in San Diego. I know.”

He narrowed his eyes. “Are you insubordinate, Agent Lindy? Is that why you were sent here—to be under my command?”

“You requested me, remember?”

His expression was still one I couldn’t read, and it was driving me mad.

“I didn’t request you,” he said. “I requested the best language expert we had.”

“That would be me, sir.”

“Forgive me, Agent Lindy, but after reading that report, I’m having a hard time believing you’re as good as you think you are.”

“I can’t give you intelligence that isn’t there. Maybe you should tell me what you want to hear from that Title Three.”

“Are you suggesting that I’m asking you to lie in your report?”

“No, sir. I am suggesting you tell me what you expect of me.”

“I want you to do your job.”

I clenched my teeth, trying to keep my Irish side from getting me fired. “I would love to accomplish my responsibilities, sir, and do it to your satisfaction. What about my report do you find lacking?”

“All of it.”

“That’s unhelpful.”

“Too bad,” he said in a smug tone, walking away again.

My patience had run out. “How in the hell did you get promoted to ASAC?”

He stopped and turned on his heels, leaning down a bit, looking incredulous. “What did you say?”

“Forgive me, sir, but you heard me.”

“This is day two for you, Agent Lindy. You think you can—”

“And it very well be my last after this, but I’m here to do a job, and you’re in my way.”

Maddox eyed me for the longest time. “You think you could do better?”

“You’re damn right I could.”

“Great. You’re now the supervisor of Squad Five. Give your report to Constance to digitize and then get your shit in your office.”

My eyes danced around the room, trying to process what had just happened. He’d just given me a promotion that I’d thought would take at least four more years.

Maddox walked away from me and pushed through the door to the men’s locker room. I was breathing hard, maybe harder than he was after his workout.

I turned around, seeing a dozen people standing at the glass door. They stiffened and walked away when they realized they had been caught. I pulled open the door and walked back down the hall and across the skywalk in a daze.

I remembered seeing an empty box next to the Keurig, so I retrieved it and sat it atop my desk, filling it with my laptop, sidearm, and the few files I had in my drawers.

“It went that bad, did it?” Val said, genuine concern in her voice.

“No,” I said, still dazed. “He promoted me to squad supervisor.”

“I’m sorry.” She chuckled. “I thought you said you’re the supervisor.”

I looked up at her. “I did.”

Her eyebrows shot up. “He looks at you with more hate than he does Agent Sawyer, and that’s saying something. You’re telling me you stood up to him once, and he gave you a promotion?”

I looked around the room, trying to think of a plausible reason as well.

Val shrugged. “He’s lost it, gone off the deep end.” She pointed at me. “If I had known being insubordinate and doing something as taboo as telling another agent how to run a case meant a promotion, I would have told him off a long time ago.”

I took in a deep breath and picked up the box before walking into the empty supervisor’s office. Val followed me in.

“This has been empty since Maddox’s promotion to ASAC. He’s one of the youngest ASACs in the Bureau. Did you know that?”

I shook my head as I set the box on my new desk.

“If anyone can get away with this, it’s Maddox. He’s so far up the director’s ass that I bet he’ll make S.A.C. early, too.”

“He knows the director?” I asked.

Val laughed once. “He has dinner with the director. He spent Thanksgiving at the director’s house last year. He’s the director’s favorite, and I don’t mean out of the San Diego office, or even out of the offices in California. I mean, in the Bureau. Thomas Maddox is the golden boy. He can have whatever he wants, and he knows it. Everyone does.”

I made a face. “Doesn’t he have a family? Why didn’t he go home for Thanksgiving?”

“Something to do with the ex, or so I hear.”

“How does rubbing elbows with the director even happen for someone like Maddox? He’s got the personality of a badger.”

“Maybe. But he’s loyal to those in his circle, and they’re loyal to him. So, be careful what you say about him and to whom. You could go from surprise promotion to surprise transfer.”

That gave me pause. “I’ll just, uh…get set up.”

Val walked toward the hall, pausing in the doorway. “Drinks tonight?”

“Again? I thought you said I should stay away from you?”

She smiled. “Don’t listen to me. I am known for giving horrible advice.”

I pressed my lips together, trying to suppress a smile.

Even with my monumental fuck-up, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad here after all.