Forcing herself to ignore her unease, she attempted a more conciliatory tack. "Listen, I understand. You're obligated to give me the official response. I just hoped that two professionals could help each other out a little bit here."

"Ms. Darrow, I only see one professional at this table. And even if you were still affiliated with law enforcement, I couldn't give you any information about TerraGlobal."

"Come on," she replied, her frustration mounting. "Give me a name. Just one name, an address. Anything."

"When exactly did you leave Alaska, Ms. Darrow?" he asked casually, ignoring her question and cocking his head at an odd angle as he studied her.

"Do you have friends out here? Family, perhaps?"

She scoffed and shook her head. "You're not going to give me a damned thing, are you? You only agreed to meet with me because you thought you could wring something useful out of me to further your own interests."

That he didn't reply was telling enough. He opened his leather notebook and began scribbling some notes on the canary paper. Jenna sat there for a moment, staring at him, feeling certain in her bones that the tight-lipped, peculiar federal agent had all of the answers that she and the Order so desperately needed to put them on Dragos's tail.

"All right," she said, figuring it was time to play the only card she had in her hand. "Since you won't give me any names, I'll give you one instead.

Gordon Fasso."

Cho's hand stopped moving halfway through what he was writing. It was the only indication that the name meant anything to him at all. When he looked up, his expression was bland, those odd, dullish eyes revealing nothing. "Excuse me?"

"Gordon Fasso," she said, repeating the alias she'd been told Dragos used when he moved in human society. She watched Cho's face, trying to read his reaction in the unblinking, sharklike gaze and coming up empty.

"Have you heard the name before?"

"No." He set down his pen and neatly replaced the cap. "Should I have?"

Jenna stared at him, gauging the carefully spoken words and nonchalant way he settled back against his chair. "I would think that if you've done any amount of digging into TerraGlobal, you might have run across that name once or twice."

Cho's mouth flattened into a hard line. "I'm sorry. I don't recall it."

"Are you sure?" She waited through his prolonged silence, keeping her eyes fixed on his dark gaze if only to let him know that she could cling just as stubbornly to their apparent impasse.

The tactic seemed to work. Cho released a slow sigh, then rose up from his seat. "There is another agent in this office who's working the investigation with me. Will you excuse me for a moment while I confer with him about this?"

"Sure I will," Jenna said, relaxing a bit. Maybe now she might actually get somewhere.

After Cho stepped out of the room, she took the opportunity to fire off a quick text to Brock back in the SUV across the street. Got something. Be down soon.

No sooner had she sent it, Cho reappeared in the doorway. "Ms.

Darrow, will you come with me, please?"

She got up and followed him along a cubicle-lined corridor, past the heads of numerous agents who stared into computer screens or talked quietly into their telephones. Cho kept going, toward a row of back offices on the far end of the floor. He hung a right at the end of the walkway and bypassed the numerous doors with their government-issued nameplates and departmental designations.

Finally, he paused in front of a stairwell door and swiped his clip-on ID badge through the slot on an electronic reader. When the little light turned from red to green, the agent pushed open the steel door and held it for her. "This way, please. The task force is headquartered on another floor."

For an instant, something dark flickered in her subconscious--a silent alarm that seemed to come out of nowhere. She hesitated, her gaze locked onto Cho's unblinking eyes.

He cocked his head, frowning slightly. "Ms. Darrow?"

She looked around, reminding herself that she was in a public office building, among easily a hundred other people working busily in their cubes and offices. There was no reason to feel threatened, she assured herself, as one of those many employees came out of a nearby office. The man was dressed in a dark business suit and tie, clean-cut and professional, just like Cho and the rest of the people in the department.

The man nodded in greeting as he also approached the stairwell.

"Special Agent Cho," he said with a polite smile that drifted to Jenna a moment later.

"Good afternoon, Special Agent Green," Cho responded, permitting the other man to walk ahead of them through the open door. "Shall we, Ms.


Jenna shook off her queer niggle of unease and stepped past Cho. He followed immediately behind her. The stairwell door closed with a metallic thud that echoed in the empty enclosure.

And suddenly there was the other man--Green, turning back to hem her in between himself and Cho. His eyes looked eerie now, too. Up close, they were just as dull and emotionless as Cho's had seemed in the interview room.

Adrenaline spiked in Jenna's veins. She opened her mouth, ready to let loose with a scream.

She never got the chance.

Something cold and metallic came up below her ear. She knew it wasn't a gun, even before she heard the electronic crackle of the Taser's power snap to life.

Panic flooded her senses. She tried to jerk out of the debilitating current, but the power of the shock was too great. Fiery pain zapped into her, buzzing like a million bees in her ears. She convulsed under the assault ...

then her limbs dropped out from beneath her.

"Get her legs," she heard Cho tell the other man as he hooked his hands under her armpits. "Bring her to the freight elevator. My car is parked across the street in the garage. We can take the tunnel over there from the basement."

Jenna had no strength to shake them off, no voice to call for help. She felt her body being lifted, carried roughly down a couple of flights of stairs.

Then she lost consciousness completely.

She was taking too damn long.

Brock checked his cell phone and read Jenna's text again. She'd said she'd be down soon, yet she'd sent the message more than fifteen minutes ago. No sign of her yet. No further texts telling him she was delayed.

"Shit," he gritted tightly from the back of the Rover.

He peered out the rear window, toward the open entrance of the underground garage and the blinding glare of the winter afternoon. Jenna was in the building just across the street. Maybe a hundred yards from where he sat, but with broad daylight separating them, she might as well have been a hundred miles away.

He sent her a brief text: Check in. Where u at? Then he resumed his impatient wait, all the while keeping his eyes trained on the stream of people entering and exiting the federal building, waiting to see her emerge.

"Come on, Jenna. Get the hell back here."

After another few minutes without a response from her or any sign of her across the street, he couldn't stand sitting idle any longer. He'd worn full-body UV-protective clothing when he left the compound that morning, a precaution that would buy him a little bit of time if he was insane enough to leave the Rover and head across the street like he was thinking. He also had lineage on his side. If he'd been Gen One, he probably would have only about ten minutes tops before the sun began to crisp him, with or without the protective gear.

Brock, being several generations removed from the purest of the Breed bloodlines, could count on roughly half an hour of nonfatal UV

exposure time, give or take a few minutes. It wasn't a risk that any of his kind took lightly. Nor did he now, as he opened the back door of the Rover and climbed out.

But something wasn't sitting right about Jenna and this meeting.

Although he had nothing but his own instincts to guide him--and the gut-deep dread that he had allowed an innocent woman to walk headlong into potential danger--there was no way in hell Brock could stay put for another second without making sure Jenna was all right.

Even if he had to walk through daylight and an army full of human federal agents to do it.

He pulled on a pair of gloves, then yanked his light-blocking head covering low over his brow. Wraparound UV-proof glasses shaded his already searing retinas as he strode around the sea of parked vehicles, toward the blast of winter sunlight coming from the open maw of the garage entrance.

Bracing himself for the shock of so much furious daylight all around him, he set his sights on the federal building across the street and stepped out of the shelter of the parking garage.

Chapter Nineteen

Consciousness returned in the form of dull pain traveling through her body. Jenna's reflexes came online in a blink, as though a switch had been thrown inside her. The instinct to wake up kicking and screaming was strong, but she tamped it down. Better to pretend she was still laid low from the taser, until she could assess the situation.

She kept her eyes all but closed, lifting her lids only a fraction to avoid tipping off her captors that she'd awakened. She fully intended to fight the sons of bitches, but first she had to get her bearings. Determine where she was and how she might get out of there.

The first part was easy enough. The smell of seat leather and faintly mildewy car mats told her she was in the back of a vehicle, sprawled on her side, her spine resting against the cushioned squab of the wide backseat.

Although the engine was running, the car wasn't moving yet. It was dark inside the sedan, nothing but the flicker of a dim yellow light sputtering from outside the tinted glass of the window closest to her head.

Holy shit.

Hope flared inside her, bright and strong. They'd brought her to the parking garage across the street from the federal building.

The garage where Brock was waiting for her, even now.

Had he noticed what had happened to her?

But she dismissed the thought as soon as it occurred to her. If Brock had seen she was in trouble, he'd already be there. She knew that with a certainty that rocked her. He would never let her meet with harm if he could help it. So, he couldn't know that she was there, being held just a few yards away from the Order's black Rover.

For now, unless she could find a way to draw his attention, she was on her own.

Lifting her eyelids another small degree, she saw that her two captors were both seated up front--Cho behind the wheel of the federal fleet Crown Victoria, Green on the passenger side, the business end of his FBI standard-issue Glock 23 pointing over the seat in line with her chest.

"Yes, Master. We have the woman in the vehicle now," Cho said, speaking into a hands-free phone. "No, there were no complications. Of course, Master. I understand, you want her kept alive. I will contact you as soon as we have her secured in the warehouse to await your arrival this evening."

Master? What the hell?

Dread trickled along Jenna's spine as she listened to the robotic obedience in Cho's odd tone of voice. Even without the strangely subservient exchange, she knew that if she permitted these men to take her to another location, she was as good as dead. Maybe worse, if they served the dangerous inpidual her instincts told her they did.

Cho ended the call and put the car into reverse.

This was her chance--she had to make her move right now.

Jenna shifted carefully on the seat, soundlessly bringing her knees up toward her chest. Ignoring the slight twinge of her healing thigh, she kept coiling her legs by fractions, until her feet were in position near the middle of the split bench seat in front. Once aligned, she didn't hesitate to strike.

She kicked out with both feet, her right slamming into the side of Green's head, her left catching him in the elbow of his weapon arm. Green roared, his chin snapping up as the hand holding the Glock jerked toward the roof of the sedan. Gunfire cracked loudly in the car as a bullet shot through the upholstery and steel above his head.

Amid the chaos of the surprise attack, Cho's foot came down heavy on the gas. The sedan clipped the side of a thick concrete pillar in the row behind them, but Cho recovered quickly. He threw the vehicle into drive and stomped on the pedal again. Rubber squealed as the car lurched into acceleration.

Where the hell was Brock?

Jenna grabbed for the door handle in the backseat. Locked. She kicked at the door on the opposite side, driving her boot heel through the window.

Pebbles of safety glass rained down onto her legs and the leather seat. Cold air rushed inside, carrying with it the stench of motor oil and fried food from the deli just around the corner.

Jenna scrambled for the gaping window, but came up short when Green pivoted around and shoved the muzzle of his gun against the side of her head.

"Sit the fuck back and behave, Ms. Darrow," he said pleasantly.

"You're not going anywhere until Master says so."

Jenna slowly eased away from the loaded Glock, her gaze rooted on the chilling, emotionally vacant eyes of Special Agent Green.

There was no doubt in her mind now at all. These FBI agents--these beings who looked and acted like men, but somehow weren't--were part of Dragos's organization. Good God, just how far did his reach extend?

The question put a cold knot of fear in her stomach as Cho floored the sedan and sent it peeling out of the garage, then into the busy afternoon traffic outside.

Brock had crossed the sunlit street in mere seconds, using the speed of his Breed genetics to carry him through the afternoon daylight, to the door of the tall federal building. He was just about to enter and make another swift dash, past security, when his keen hearing picked up the muffled pop of a gunshot some distance behind.

The parking garage.

He knew it even before he heard the crunch of shredding metal and the shrill squeal of tires spinning on pavement.


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