She knew it wasn’t aimed at her though. A tremor snaked through her body and she was vaguely aware of the sound of sirens in the distance as she nodded. Had her WITSEC handler kept something from her? Jordan didn’t want to believe it. But it was possible that her handler had missed something. Okay, more than possible. Now it seemed almost probable. “I’ll get the number.”

Terror settled deep inside her at the thought that this was somehow connected to Curtis Woods. There was no doubt the man was dead, but what if the Feds had screwed up and his brother wasn’t? Or what if this had nothing to do with her testimony against him at all? Any option was terrifying because she was basically fighting an unknown threat. And she’d unknowingly dragged Vincent into it with her.

Chapter 8

Vincent couldn’t remember ever being so angry. Forcing himself to remain calm, he leaned against the doorframe in Jordan’s room as she retrieved her cell phone from her nightstand. Her hands shook as she picked it up and that only further enraged him. He hated seeing her scared.

Whoever had destroyed her car was clearly targeting her and he was going to keep her safe, no matter what it took. And make her would-be attacker pay. He was certain that violent fire bomb attack last night was related to her car exploding. There was no way it was a coincidence and even before the police confirmed it, he knew that explosion wasn’t an accident. So that left a hell of a lot of questions.

Jordan closed the distance between them and started to hand her cell phone to him, but then snagged it back, her expression pinched. “Her name is Edith Clark, but…I should call her first, explain what’s going on.”

Nodding tightly, he waited as she scrolled through her numbers then pressed send on one of the names. As she held up the phone to her ear he snagged it from her hand, not caring how forceful he was being.

“Vincent,” she snapped, but he turned away from her and strode down the hallway toward the living room as it rang. Stretching his legs released a fraction of his pent up energy, but not much. Beating the shit out of the bomber was the only thing that could do that.

“Hey, Jordan, I was just thinking about you.”

“This isn’t Jordan. My name’s Vincent Hansen and I’m sure you know who I am.” As Jordan’s handler, this woman would know everything about Jordan’s life pre-WITSEC and that definitely included him. Not to mention he was pretty sure someone had helped her out in locating him.

“What’s wrong? Why are you calling from Jordan’s phone? Where is she?” The woman’s soft voice instantly became hard, the change immediate.

“She’s right next to me and what’s wrong is that someone tried to fire bomb her and me last night and then this morning, her fucking car exploded. Now why don’t you tell me what the fuck is going on? Did Curtis Woods have more friends or relatives you idiots forgot to tell her about? This isn’t some random act of violence and I want to know every fucking thing about the Woods’s case. Now!” He was full on shouting, unable to contain his anger any longer. He knew he should be a hell of a lot more diplomatic instead of pissing this woman off, but he felt like a powder keg. Keeping his cool and staying in control was never a problem—unless Jordan’s life was in danger.

“Is Jordan all right?” There was real concern in the woman’s voice.

It was the only thing that tempered Vincent’s anger. “She’s fine, though she’s glaring daggers at me right now.”

Jordan leaned against the outer kitchen counter, watching him restlessly pace along the tile floor.

“Can you tell me exactly what happened? Are the police involved?”

“We made a report with Detective Leon Hough of the Key West Police Department last night, but then I was operating under the assumption the firebomb was a random act. A driver on a moped threw a Molotov cocktail at us. Her car, however, was just bombed or rigged to explode about five minutes ago. We’re holed up in a condo and not leaving until the police have arrived and cleared the area.” And he was armed. He already had one weapon tucked into the back of his pants but he’d also retrieved another one and had strapped it to his ankle. “Jordan was under the impression that Curtis Woods and his only living relative were dead. Is that not the case?”

There was a slight pause. “We didn’t conduct the investigation of Corey Woods’s death. That was done by the Abilene PD and we had no reason to believe their assessment was wrong.”

Vincent snorted. “Clearly you guys missed something because someone wants Jordan dead. Two violent attacks in a twenty-four hour period—not a coincidence.”

“I’m going to personally check with the Abilene PD and I’m also sending someone to pick Jordan up until we figure this out.”

“Over my dead body. She’s not going anywhere with you.” Unless she agreed, there was no way they could force her into custody either. Vincent kept his gaze on Jordan as he spoke, daring her to defy him. He would kidnap her to keep her safe if he had to. He’d lost her once, he wasn’t doing it again.

Jordan swallowed hard and didn’t respond. And damn it, he couldn’t get a good read on her emotional state. Her hazel eyes were filled with worry and fear, but something else he couldn’t define.

“Mr. Hansen—”

“Save it. As soon as we’re able, I’m getting her out of here and we’re headed someplace safe. Call her if you need to, but she’s not going anywhere with you.”

The US Marshal was silent for a long moment. Finally she spoke, her words clipped. “I’d like to speak with Jordan. I need to know she’s safe.”

Though he didn’t want to, he handed the phone to her.

At least her hand wasn’t shaking when she took it. Almost resignedly, she put it up to her ear and started talking. Even though she was clearly upset, Jordan stood by what he’d said and told her former handler that she was staying with Vincent.

The knowledge that she wasn’t fighting him, that she was willing to stay, soothed something primal inside him. No one would protect her like he could. First, he needed to get her the hell out of here. Then he was calling in for backup.

The second she ended the call, Jordan turned to face him and he could see an argument building inside her before she’d even spoken. “I can’t bring any more danger on top of your head, Vincent. I told her no, but Edith is right. Maybe I—”

“Don’t finish that sentence,” he snarled, covering the short distance between them. He didn’t want to hear it. Gripping her slim hips, he tugged her close so that they were toe to toe.

She spread her hands over his chest, the worry in her gaze tearing him apart. “I’d die if anything happened to you because of me.” Her words were a bare whisper of agony.

Instantly, the anger that had been building inside of him eased. She was worried about his safety. He couldn’t get mad about that. “I know how to protect both of us. I’m taking you someplace safe so we can regroup and come up with a game plan.” One that didn’t involve hiding or running back to Miami. Not until they figured out who they were up against. “Go pack your bags. Get everything together because we’re not coming back here.”

“Vincent…” For a long moment it seemed as if she might argue, but she just leaned up on tiptoe and lightly brushed her lips over his. “Thank you,” she murmured before hurrying down the hallway.

He started to follow after her when there was a hard knock on the door. Before he’d taken two steps, someone said, “Police, open up.”

Vincent had known the cops would be talking to everyone in the building, he just hadn’t expected them to reach their condo so soon. After peering through the peephole, some of his tension eased. He opened to door to Detective Hough and a uniformed policeman.

He nodded once. “Detective.”

The older man looked past him, down the hallway. “When I got the address of the bombing, I headed over. Recognized it as the complex where Ms. Alvarado was staying.”

Vincent glanced down at the parking lot to where firefighters had the blaze almost extinguished and the police had cordoned off the entire area with yellow tape. There were at least a hundred onlookers across the street and people from the condos had stepped out onto their front balconies and were staring at the scene in horror and curiosity. “It’s her car that was bombed. We need to talk. Alone.” He looked pointedly at the uniformed officer, who frowned in response.

But one look from Detective Hough had the man backing down. Hough nodded and stepped forward. “Let’s talk.”

“You want some coffee, Detective? It’s already made,” Vincent said as he shut the door behind him.

“Sounds good. Where’s Ms. Alvarado?”

Jordan’s head popped out of her room. “I’m in here packing. Vincent…” She trailed off but there was a question in her eyes.

He nodded, understanding her completely. It had always been like that between them. Sometimes they could communicate without saying a word. Of course now it didn’t take a psychic to figure out what she needed. She wanted him to deal with the police. “I’ve got this covered.”

Relief flooded her expression before she disappeared back in the room.

“You guys going somewhere?” the Detective asked casually, though there was nothing casual in his rigid stance.

“As soon as we can pack. Jordan was in WITSEC for seven years.” Vincent decided not to play games with the man. Getting right to the point was the smartest thing he could do in this situation and it would likely ensure more cooperation. Hough had been straight with him so far.

The other man’s dark eyebrows rose at that and he motioned to the coffee pot as they entered the kitchen. “You mind?”

Vincent shook his head and started gathering the plates. “What’s the situation like down there?”

He shrugged. “Ordered chaos. We’ve got it under control, and the bomb dogs have secured the parking lot and are in the process of doing the same to the perimeter and the building, but the locals are freaking out. The news stations will be descending soon if they’re not already here. So, that was Ms. Alvarado’s vehicle? You’re sure?”