Thanks, as always, to my awesome team. PapaKilo14 is my editor. Hal cleans up after us with a second edit. My beta readers, Pixel the Cat (who knows even more about English than I do), OldDave1951 and GeorgeAnderson give me invaluable help and plot tips. A special shout out to the other Dave who helped me. Love you all.
I knew I was going to have fun when I saw him. He was big, had quite a serious case of muscle trying to burst out of the polo shirt he was wearing and he had this explosion of curly brown hair going on. I don't think he was expecting me. Most people don't. I don't look like a security contractor, I suppose. I probably look more like someone that works at your local gym or school or office. Most people don't expect a security contractor to be female, for one thing, or attractive, for another.
I'm tall and very strong for a woman. If you're a guy, and you don't work out very seriously, you're going to be surprised. That's the way I was raised. I've spent two hours a day with weights and cardio at least four days a week since I was fourteen. My father was a contractor when he adopted me. He gave that up to give us some stability and a home life but he kept in touch with his buddies from the bad old days. There were always strange men from exotic places with stories to tell, if you could get them to talk, dropping by our house for a week or a few days.
They were cold, stern men with strange eyes but when a little brown girl climbed up on their laps and wanted to hear a story, they melted like ice on the Fourth of July. I had a string of "Uncles" as long as my arm when I was little and they became "big brothers" as I grew up. They all kept in touch with Dad and, by extension, me too.
When I was fifteen, Dad took me to my first survival camp as a participant. I was the only girl there. It was tough and my two "Uncles" that were running the camp didn't give me a single break because I was their little "niece." I did get to sleep by myself instead of in a dorm and they ate supper with me every night. I went from "slow and weak" to "princess" with my shower in the evening. I've attended at least three intensive training exercises a year since that first one. There are no weapons I don't know like the back of my hand and I'm very good at hand to hand too.
I went to high school at the same place Dad taught. I was just starting my senior year when he passed from a sudden massive heart attack. There were probably 200 men at his funeral that I had known since I was three or four. There was someone with me every minute I was awake for a month and then I was in foster care. I'll tell you more about that later. When I graduated from college, John Davis nearly kidnapped me to go to work for him.
"Sully," he said, (My name is Sullivan Adams, and yes, I've heard all the comments about my name) you're the best operative I know. I know you don't need to work, but you don't want to be idle. You're smart and cute and no one will ever see you coming. I know you don't need to work, but Aaron (my father) wouldn't want you to just vegetate."
"I have no intention of vegetating," I told him. "I plan to become professionally decadent. I'm going to jet around, dance, gamble, and seduce handsome men."
"Well, why don't you start with me?" he grinned. "Seriously though, Sully, I need you. I know you'd be good at seducing handsome men, but you'd get bored with the other in a week."
We had a few ground rules to go over. I wouldn't work for the government, the military or the police agencies. If he had private businesses that needed our services, I would do that. There are too many complications working for "official" agencies and they tend to target people that are guilty of doing nothing other than pissing them off. I went to work for him three years ago and then I was running my own operations all over the world. Like I said, this one was going to be fun. I walked up to Julian Blake and extended my hand. "I'm Sullivan Adams," I said.
He looked shocked but he made a quick recovery. "I expected you to be ... taller and ... more masculine," he grinned and his hand swallowed mine.
I laughed. "Well, yeah, most clients do. Fortunately, most of the bad guys do, too. Do you have a problem with me not being 'more masculine'?"
"Maybe," he said. "It has nothing to do with you being a woman, it has to do with whether you can do the job your company is being paid for."
"Well, I guess you'll find out, won't you," I said. "But then, if the shit hits the fan and I can't handle it, one or both of us is likely to be dead, aren't we?"
"I plan to live forever," he said.
"Yeah, that's my plan, too," I said. "So far, it's been working out. I'll tell you what, Blake; you look like a big, strong guy. You want to go out to the parking lot and take a shot at me?"
He looked me over. It was a little embarrassing. "I think you could take me on the dance floor or in a foot race, or maybe climbing," he said. "But yeah, I'll take that shot in the parking lot."
I hadn't expected that and I was pleasantly surprised. Most men, the decent ones anyway, wouldn't dream of hitting a woman. That's a mistake. If a woman is attacking you, she's given up any consideration for gentleness. My advice is to put her down if you can.
We grabbed his three bags and made our way out to my car. I don't suppose he expected that either. I didn't tell him which one was mine; I just took him over to a corner that wasn't covered by the security cameras.
I dropped his bag. "Give it your best shot," I said.
He grinned and dropped the bags. "Don't whine now," he said, "this was your idea."
"Bring it," I gestured.
He started forward and I pointed at the ground at his feet. He glanced down and never saw me draw the .40 ACP from the thigh holster under my blue dress. When he looked up, he was dead. He stopped in his tracks. "Well, that's certainly a game changer," he said.
"Yeah, I thought you'd see it that way." I holstered the weapon. "Julian, trust me; you don't want to do this. I'm very good at my job."
He was too busy looking at my thigh as I put the gun up to answer for a minute. I liked him looking. When I dropped the hem line down he cleared his throat. "I'm sorry I doubted you," he said. "Plainly there's more to you than meets the eye. I kind of liked what met the eye, though," there was a stupid looking grin on his face. "I think you're right about being good at your job. I apologize. I won't do it again." He stuck out his hand.
I took it and damned if he didn't try to reel me in! My hand was on his throat before he could move and I squeezed enough to make him gag before releasing him. He laughed and wiped his eyes. We picked up the bags and I unlocked the doors. When he heard the trunk pop open, he got a huge smile on his face. "Somehow, it fits," he said.
"It," is my 2007 Dodge Charger Super Bee. It's the Detonator Yellow and Flat Black. I've modified it extensively. I'm a hot rod girl. Dad loved the muscle cars and I kind of inherited that love. I swapped the engine out for a 6.4-liter hemi the year after I got it. It was making over 500 horsepower out of the crate. It's over 700 now. I put a supercharger on it last year. The supercharger is a 145 cubic inch twin-screw IHI unit with integrated charge coolers, and makes 11.6 psi of boost. I love pulling up next to the Mustang owners and just erasing them at the stoplights.
By way of comparison, the Shelby GT500 is a supercharged 5.4-liter engine making 500 horsepower. Don't let people fool you, that legendary Shelby GT1000 is a fake. It never made more than 800 horsepower; it isn't street legal and never was. It also cost over $150,000 to build. I'm into my Super Bee for just a little over $60,000. The Camaros are in the same class as the Mustangs and neither is on the same planet as the Super Bee.
It has a nice big trunk and Julian's bags fit in just fine. We started for his hotel and he outlined the plan he had in mind. A competing firm had a design his company wanted. They knew it was derivative from some things they had patents on and wanted the design so they could prove patent infringements. They had hired Adams Security to get that design. John had paid one of the key employees to smuggle it out and he'd fallen off the map. He wasn't answering phone calls and they wanted the design or the money back. They preferred the design and our contract with Julian's company demanded that. I got him checked in and figured out the details. It took me three days. I put it together and it was time to move.
The hallway was very dimly lit and there were children's toys scattered around along with various kinds of trash. In my three-inch heels, it was very difficult to navigate. My target didn't seem to be as nervous as he should have been. He was a little naive for a guy in his position. Of course, he didn't realize his position. It was perilous in the extreme but I was trying not to give off any vibes.
.... There is more of this story ...