Chapter Fifty-Two

The largest undercover operation in law enforcement in the United States began to move ahead.

The Federal Strike Force Against Organized Crime and Racketeering worked side by side with the FBI, the Postal and Customs Services, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, and half a dozen other agencies.

The scope of the investigation included murder, conspiracy to commit murder, racketeering, extortion, income tax evasion, union frauds, arson, loan-sharking and drugs.

Thomas Colfax had given them the key to a Pandora's box of crime and corruption that was going to help wipe out a major part of organized crime.

Michael Moretti's Family would be hardest hit, but the evidence touched dozens of other Families around the country.

Across the United States and abroad, government agents were quietly questioning friends and business associates of the men on their lists. Agents in Turkey, Mexico, San Salvador, Marseilles and Honduras were liaising with their counterparts, giving them information on illegal activities taking place in those countries. Small-time crooks were pulled into the net, and when they talked they were given their freedom in exchange for evidence against the top crime figures. It was all being handled discreetly, so that the main quarry would have no warning of the storm that was about to break over their heads.

As chairman of the Senate Investigating Committee, Adam Warner received a steady stream of visitors at his home in Georgetown, and the sessions in his study often lasted until the small hours of the morning. There was little doubt that when this was over and Michael Moretti's Organization was broken, the presidential race would be an easy victory for Adam.

He should have been a happy man. He was miserable, facing the greatest moral crisis of his life. Jennifer Parker was deeply involved, and Adam had to warn her, to tell her to escape while she still had a chance. And yet, he had another obligation: an obligation to the committee that bore his name, an obligation to the United States Senate itself. He was Jennifer's prosecutor. How could he be her protector? If he warned her and it was discovered, it would destroy the credibility of his investigating committee and everything it had accomplished. It would destroy his future, his family.

Adam had been stunned by Colfax's mention of Jennifer having a child.

He knew he had to speak to Jennifer.

Adam dialed her office number and a secretary said, "I'm sorry, Mr. Adams, Miss Parker is not in."

"It's - it's very important. Do you know where I can reach her?"

"No, sir. Can someone else help you?"

No one could help him.

During the next week, Adam tried to reach Jennifer several times each day. Her secretary would only say, "I'm sorry, Mr. Adams, but Miss Parker is away from the office."

Adam was sitting in the study starting to call Jennifer for the third time that day when Mary Beth walked into the room. Adam casually replaced the receiver.

Mary Beth walked up to him and ran her fingers through his hair. "You look tired, darling."

"I'm fine."

She moved over to a suede armchair across from Adam's desk and sat down. "It's all coming together, isn't it, Adam?"

"It looks that way."

"I hope it's over soon, for your sake. The strain must be terrible."

"I'm bearing up under it, Mary Beth. Don't worry about me."

"But I do worry. Jennifer Parker's name is on that list, isn't it?"

Adam looked at her sharply. "How did you know that?"

She laughed. "Angel, you've turned this house into a public meeting place. I can't help but hear a little of what goes on. Everybody seems so terribly excited about catching Michael Moretti and his woman friend." She watched Adam's face, but there was no reaction.

Mary Beth looked at her husband fondly and thought, How naive men are. She knew more about Jennifer Parker than Adam did. It had always amazed Mary Beth how brilliant a man could be in business or politics, and yet be so silly when it came to women. Look how many truly great men had been married to cheap little floozies. Mary Beth understood about her husband having an affair with Jennifer Parker. After all, Adam was a very attractive and desirable man. And like all men, he was susceptible. Her philosophy was to forgive and never forget.

Mary Beth knew what was best for her husband. Everything she did was for Adam's own good. Well, when all this was over, she would take Adam away somewhere. He did look tired. They would leave Samantha with the housekeeper and go someplace romantic. Perhaps Tahiti.

Mary Beth glanced out the window and saw two of the secret service men talking. She had mixed feelings about their presence. Mary Beth disliked the intrusion on her privacy, but at the same time, their being there was a reminder that her husband was a candidate for the presidency of the United States. No, how foolish of her. Her husband was going to be the next President of the United States. Everyone said so. The idea of living in the White House was so tangible that just thinking about it warmed her. Her favorite occupation, while Adam was busy with all his meetings, was to redecorate the White House. She would sit alone in her room for hours, changing furniture around in her mind, planning all the exciting things she was going to do when she became First Lady.

She had seen the rooms that most visitors were not allowed in: the White House Library with its almost three thousand books, the China Room and the Diplomatic Reception Room, and the family quarters and the seven guest bedrooms on the second floor.

She and Adam would live in that house, become a part of its history. Mary Beth shuddered at the thought of how close Adam had come to throwing away their chances because of that Parker woman. Well, that was all over, thank God.

She watched Adam now as he sat at his desk, looking drawn and haggard.

"Can I fix you a cup of coffee, darling?"

Adam started to say no, then changed his mind. "That would be nice."

"It will just take a jiffy."

The moment Mary Beth left the room, Adam picked up the telephone again and began to dial. It was evening and he knew Jennifer's office was closed, but there should be someone at the answering service. After what seemed an interminable period of time, the operator answered.

"This is urgent," Adam said. "I've been trying to reach Jennifer Parker for several days. This is Mr. Adams."

"One moment, please." The voice came back on the line. "I'm sorry, Mr. Adams. I have no word on where Miss Parker is. Do you want to leave a message?"

"No." Adam slammed down the receiver, filled with frustration, knowing that even if he did leave a message for Jennifer to call him, there was no way she could return that call.

He sat in his den, looking out at the night, thinking about the dozens of arrest warrants that would soon be drawn up. One of them would be for murder.

It would have Jennifer's name on it.

It was five days before Michael Moretti returned to the mountain cabin where Jennifer was staying. She had spent those days resting, eating, taking long walks around the paths. When she heard Michael's car drive up, Jennifer went out to greet him.

Michael looked her over and said, "You look a lot better."

"I feel better. Thank you."

They walked along the path leading to the lake.

Michael said, "I have something for you to do."

"What is it?"

"I want you to leave for Singapore tomorrow."


"An airline steward was picked up at the airport there, carrying a load of coke. His name is Stefan Bjork. He's in jail. I want you to bail him out before he starts talking."

"All right."

"Get back as fast as you can. I'll miss you."

He drew her close and kissed her very softly on her lips, then whispered, "I love you, Jennifer."

And she knew that he had never uttered those words to anyone before.

But it was too late. It was finished. Something had died in her forever, and she was left with only the guilt and the loneliness. She had made up her mind to tell Michael that she was leaving. There would be no Adam and no Michael. She had to go away somewhere, alone, and start over. She had a debt to pay. She would do this last thing for Michael and tell him her plans when she returned.

She left for Singapore the next morning.


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