Tag Archive | FBI

It Takes a Thief – Part 64

It Takes a Thief coverNow at the event, the team and Jason play their roles. Jason suspects that Orchid has something diabolical planned. Extremely worried, he gets in touch with Bitsy.

The voices stopped and Taylor knew they’d switched to a private channel. She was just as glad because the constant chatter in her ear was making conversation difficult. She couldn’t pretend to be enjoying herself when she was listening to the others.

“I feel helpless,” Jason mumbled, taking a sip of his champagne.

“Sit there and smile and look impressive,” Greg said. “Let the pros do their job.”

“I am a pro,” Jason said as he tried to look happy. “Please don’t treat me like I’m not.”

“I know,” Greg said. “No offense, but we’ve got dozens of people on this.”

Jason took another sip of champagne, eyeing the room from over the rim of his glass. He actually hadn’t tasted the alcohol, merely tipped the glass up, wetting his lip.

“Don’t like waiting,” he mumbled.

Taylor tossed her head, laughing as if he’d said something witty. She took his hand and kissed his cheek. “Two o’clock. Someone’s looking.”

Jason picked up her hand, kissing her fingers. “Saw that. I think he’s our accomplice.”

“I see him,” Greg said as he yawned and stretched. “Should I move closer?”

“Don’t take him yet,” Jason warned. “Wait until we hear about the gas. I don’t want to spook her.”

A voice Jason didn’t know came over the ear piece. “Banes.”

“Yes.”

“Lawrence, Bitsy’s second. Make an excuse and come here immediately. I’ll meet you at the door. See me? Blond, dark eyes, standing just inside the door.”

“‘Cuse me, love. I need the loo.” He kissed Taylor. “Back in a flash. I love you. Know that.”

“I know. I love you too.”

He squeezed her hand, then worked the room as he made his way quickly to the door. He met up with Lawrence and followed him to an electrical equipment room. Tim was sweating in the corner, an open panel in front of him. Jason stopped in the doorway, saying nothing.

“Come in and shut the goddamn door,” Tim growled. “Whoever wired this is either fucking crazy or knows a lot more about this than I do.”

Jason approached slowly, working his way around Tim with care. The FBI agent wasn’t touching the apparatus, but studying it from a few inches away. He didn’t even want to breathe on it, so had his face turned slightly to the side.

“Bollocks! That’s a pillock for you. Bummer.”

“I don’t know what that means,” Tim said.

“It means we’re fucked hard up the ass,” Jason replied.

He reached into a pocket of his jacket, extracting a slim pouch of tools. It looked like an oversize wallet. Had anyone glimpsed it, they wouldn’t have looked at it twice. Inside was housed a small fortune worth of tools. Easing Tim aside, he laid the pouch down, looking at it. After saying a silent prayer, he got to work while the FBI agent and security man watched the door and waited.

“One of them has some kind of control device. I’m guessing it’s on her partner and probably a cellphone. I think I can disable the receiver but there’s absolutely no way to be sure.”

“Disable away,” Bitsy said in his ear. “Anything you can give me, JB.”

“Any luck finding canisters?”

“None.”

“Check the roof. Around the air conditioning units up there. They could have been planted well in advance. She’s probably planned this for weeks.”

“Sending men up there now. Not to put too much pressure on, but the show’s about to start.”

“Got it,” Jason said. “I make no guarantees.”

“I’ve got people stationed outside just in case….” Bitsy said.

“While you’re on the roof, check for a sharp shooter.”

“What?”

“Going back to my seat now. Is the accomplice looking at all twitchy?”

“He’s been twitchy,” Taylor said. “No more than before. Scratch that, he’s looking very alert.”

“He’s moving toward the door with his hand in his pocket,” Greg said conversationally. He got up, making the excuse that he needed the head, and followed at a leisurely pace.

The nervous looking man wandered to the men’s room, digging a cellphone out of his pocket. He didn’t quite have it as he kept dropping it back in. Greg followed, catching up with him when he got to the door. He was taller than the other man by nearly a foot. He put his arm on the door, hitting hard with his palm as he shoved it open. Pretending to be drunk, he fell into the other man, apologizing for his clumsiness.

Moments later, the cellphone was in his possession and his phone was in the pocket instead. He used the urinal, washing his hands as he engaged the other man in conversation. As he was leaving, he saw the fellow’s hand drop into the pocket. Speeding up, he exited before the man could tell that it wasn’t his phone.

“Hey!” He heard behind him. “Hey!” The voice got more desperate.
“Buddy. Hey!”

A hand grabbed Greg’s arm, desperation in the voice.

“Hey, buddy. I think you got my phone by mistake.” He held Greg’s phone in a trembling hand.

Greg patted his pocket. “Nope, don’t have a phone at all. But hey, that looks like mine. Where’d you find it?”

“In—in my pocket. I really think you’ve got mine, buddy. I know I had it on me.”

“Maybe you dropped it in the bathroom. I’ll help you look.”

© Dellani Oakes

To Purchase Dellani’s Books:

Ninja Tattoo http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/the-ninja-tattoo.htm

Under the Western Sky http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/under-the-western-sky.htm

Indian Summer http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=36&osCsid=8dc4fd3d95717ca205d5a157f3b827a7

Lone Wolf http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=67&osCsid=8dc4fd3d95717ca205d5a157f3b827a7

It Takes a Thief – Part 63

It Takes a Thief coverThe time has come and the team makes ready for their big night out. Jason does his best to hide his jitters.

The limo pulled up to the City Center, stopping by the red carpet. Valets came forward to open the door and help the ladies out. Jason took a deep breath and stepped out. TV and flash cameras greeted them. This was the biggest event of the year and everyone had to be commemorated. Only a few of the reporters even knew who he was and some made a big fuss. One woman rushed forward, microphone at the ready.

Greg stepped between Jason and the reporter as Jason put a protective arm around Taylor.

“Mr. Banes! Mr. Banes! Do you have any comment on the outcome of your trial?”

“Outcome? Why don’t you tell me, love.”

“Are you pleased with the verdict?”

“I’m pleased that the judge thought well enough of me to drop the charges,” he said calmly. “I don’t remember details, only wish I could. But I know I didn’t kill anyone. Now if you’ll excuse me, my fiancée and I are expected inside.”

That set off a whole slew of photographs. Even more reporters tried to get comments, but they walked by without another word. Greg pushed a few nosy cameras aside as they passed, smiling blandly.

“Vultures,” Taylor said through gritted teeth, her smile somewhat forced.

“Oh, aye, love. They are that.”

Greg presented their invitation to the security officers at the door. The men nodded at them in a friendly manner, not giving any indication that they knew them. As they walked through to the lobby, they spotted Alex. Tim was inside, closer to the stage. The women giggled and chattered with Taylor, pointing at celebrities like a bunch of silly little girls.

Greg leaned over to Jason, his face bland. “They do that shit way too well,” he mumbled.

Jason’s smile was sarcastic. “I was just thinking that.” He took Taylor’s arm. “Oi, love, music. Let’s go check out the band before the show starts.” He snapped his fingers at Greg. “See they’re cared for.”

“Yes, Mr. Banes.” Greg bowed slightly as he escorted the ladies to their seats. “If this was real, I’d kick your ass for that,” he muttered knowing Jason could hear him.

“You’d try,” Jason replied quietly. “Then Taylor would kick your sorry ass instead.”

Greg chuckled. “Pussy.”

A lively 70s tune was playing in the ballroom. Jason started a lighthearted routine with Taylor as the notes of Dance With Me played around them. Laughing as they danced, they drew every eye in the room. Even security watched them briefly before going back to work. Jason spotted dozens of people he knew, all of them highly placed in society.

Not far away, he spotted Honoria, surprised to find her there. Then he remembered that her husband’s company was a major sponsor of the event. Of course she’d have to be there for that reason. He wasn’t sure if he should go talk to her, so he decided to wait to see if she acknowledged him or not.

After the dance, Jason and Taylor joined the women at their table. It was quite close to the runway. Jason suspected he’d been placed in a prominent position on purpose. He would be seen the moment a model stepped onto the stage. He sat languidly, feeling anything but calm, his arm draped casually around Taylor’s shoulder, grateful for the fact he’d had his suit and shirt fitted over a bullet proof vest. He wished he had been encased in full body armor, but that wasn’t possible. Instead, he could only pray that Orchid or whoever she’d hired, didn’t go for a head shot. He shifted uneasily in his chair. Taylor leaned over as if nuzzling his neck.

“What’s wrong?”

“I feel like there’s something we haven’t anticipated. She’s up to something, I can feel it.”

“Just paranoid,” Tim’s voice said over the ear piece he wore.

“Promise I’m not. I really think she’s got a heist planned. This many rich people in one spot?”

“She’d expose herself. She couldn’t take us all hostage and kill us,” Taylor said. “Could she?”

Jason gave her a patient look, lips thinning. “I need to speak to Bitsy.”

“Already here, JB,” Bitsy said. “Speak to me, baby.”

“Check the ventilation system immediately. She could gas us all and incapacitate or kill us with very little effort.”

“What makes you think she would?”

“Because I’ve bloody done it,” he said, trying hard to stay calm. “Do I need to look myself?”

“I’m on it.”

“Hurry. Chances are she’ll wait until after the fashion show, but she might not. Did you check the kitchen?” Jason said abruptly.

“The caterers have been there all afternoon….”

“Bitsy, need I remind you that one perfect way to get into a place is on the catering staff? I possess some impeccable credentials in that department. I even know how to light a chafing dish.”

“You’re freaking on me, kid. Keep calm.”

“I’ll keep fucking calm when I know she can’t kill us. She’d likely gas the entire bunch of us just to get me.”

“Oh shit,” Tim said quietly.

“Talk to me,” Bitsy said.

“One second.”

© Dellani Oakes

To Purchase Dellani’s Books:

Ninja Tattoo http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/the-ninja-tattoo.htm

Under the Western Sky http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/under-the-western-sky.htm

Indian Summer http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=36&osCsid=8dc4fd3d95717ca205d5a157f3b827a7

Lone Wolf http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=67&osCsid=8dc4fd3d95717ca205d5a157f3b827a7

It Takes a Thief – Part 62

Jason and Taylor talk about why he wants to make so much money. It isn’t all selfishness with him. He gives away much of what he has to charity.

“Really?” She couldn’t help being surprised. “I mean, that’s incredible.”

“You mean, you didn’t think I was that magnanimous. Bet you didn’t even think I knew that word.” He sounded hurt, his tone a bit petulant.

“What I meant was, that’s so cool that you do that. I’ve always wanted to. I support some charities, but in a small way.”

He nodded, kissing her shoulder. “Get some sleep, love, or I’m gonna keep you up another couple hours.”

She snuggled against him and he groaned.

“Watch that! Or we won’t get any sleep at all.”

She moved away from him slightly. A few minutes later, she was asleep. Jason flopped on his back and lay with his hands behind his head. He stared at the ceiling, seeing Orchid’s disturbing green eyes as her image floated over him. Each of the pictures he’d seen online showed her hidden malice. If he’d been looking closely, he’d have seen it.

He’d been so dazzled by her beauty and her apparent desire, he hadn’t allowed himself to see it. He was ashamed of himself. He’d let down his guard for a minute too long and fallen into her trap.

Closing his eyes, he uttered prayers to a God he was unsure of. He’d given up on faith when the beatings started. When his parents abandoned him, he was sure that nothing supernatural existed. But when Judge Honoria Walker allowed him the chance to redeem himself, the faith began to return. It grew stronger when he met Taylor and the team. Now that she lay in bed beside him, it grew even more.

He asked for forgiveness and hoped that his past actions wouldn’t bring on any disfavor. He hoped for a successful mission and protection for those he loved. He realized that he cared about Tim, Greg and Alex like family as well. They were like brothers he’d never had.

“Watch over us, please. And help us catch Orchid so the people she’s killed can rest. Thanks.”

It was a simple prayer and maybe not very well worded, but it was sincere. As he drifted to sleep, Jason remembered that when Jesus was crucified, he found forgiveness for a thief. A smile graced his lips as he fell asleep.

* * *

The next day was a repeat of the day before. They went for target practice and made sure Jason was armed. The suits were delivered and the men modeled for the women as payback for their fashion show the night before. Afterward, they worked out in the gym and went for a swim.

They ate lunch and took some time to relax and sleep afterward. Knowing they would likely be up late, they thought it best to go to the party well rested. Later, they ate a light dinner and started getting ready.

At least the women did. The men sat around laughing and playing cards until about 30 minutes before they had to leave. Tim and Alex left for security detail and Jason waited with Greg for Taylor and the women.

“We’re going to be late,” Greg said, tugging at his sleeves.

“A little late is fine,” Jason said. “I rarely arrive first and never early. However, we’ll miss the fashion show if we’re too bloody late.” He twitched his sleeve, speaking in a normal voice as he activated his microphone. “Oi, ladies. Time to go, yeah?”

“Coming!” Taylor said.

“Patience, grasshopper,” Eva intoned.

“I’ll hop your grass,” Greg muttered.

“I heard that!”

“Hurry up!”

They came downstairs, a multicolored wave of feminine beauty, Jason had to admit that Taylor wasn’t the only beautiful one in the bunch. The other women, Eva, Cathleen, Linore and June were all equally lovely.

Each man escorted two women to the limousine. Painted a glittering, metallic black, it shone in the bright lights of Jason’s driveway. An agent Jason didn’t know was driving. He smiled at them, admiring the women. He was medium height and build with close cropped red hair and reminded Jason of Simon Pegg the actor. He sounded like him too, sporting a British accent that rivaled Jason’s.

“Where you from, mate?” Jason asked him.

“Sheffield. You?”

“Manchester.”

“We ate some of the same shit then, gov.” He pronounced it with a long ‘I’ sound.
Jason chuckled, sitting back in the circle of Taylor’s arms. She poured him a drink, getting into her role as his subservient girlfriend. It went against his grain to have her act this way, but until meeting her, he had preferred women who took the back seat to him. He liked the spotlight and always used the women to enhance his image.

© Dellani Oakes

To Purchase Dellani’s Books:

Ninja Tattoo http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/the-ninja-tattoo.htm

Under the Western Sky http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/under-the-western-sky.htm

Indian Summer http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=36&osCsid=8dc4fd3d95717ca205d5a157f3b827a7

Lone Wolf http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=67&osCsid=8dc4fd3d95717ca205d5a157f3b827a7

It Takes a Thief – Part 61

It Takes a Thief coverWhile Jason and the men are at being fitted for suits, Taylor and Celeste go shopping. The dress and shoes come together like magic.

Celeste summoned one of the clerks. “She will need the appropriate undergarments as well as accessories. The jewelry is being provided. Please see to it that Miss Taylor is completely outfitted. Also,” she whispered to the clerk. “Clear?”

“Yes, Madame,” she said with a bobbing curtsy.

Soon, all the bags and packages were secured in the car and the women drove Celeste back to her office. She invited them in for a light luncheon, then they went back to Jason’s mansion.

“I can’t believe that dear man okayed a dress for each of us,” Eva gushed. “We’re not even going to the party!”

“Didn’t I tell you? You are going.”

“Really? You’re kidding!”

“Remington agrees that we can’t have enough backup. He wants people who don’t look official supporting the security team. You girls can circulate and have access to places the men won’t.”

“This is the most exclusive event of the year! Maybe of my life!” Eva almost screeched.

“And you got the golden ticket,” Taylor said with a grin. “Enjoy it, because an opportunity like this doesn’t come along every day.”

“Neither does a hottie like Jason,” Eva replied with a pout. “If you two weren’t so perfect together, I’d be horribly jealous. Okay, I’m horribly jealous, but not resentful.”

“I got incredibly lucky. What if he’d decided he didn’t like me? I was rotten to him when we first met. He changed my mind by being wonderful.”

“And gorgeous and incredibly wealthy.”

“He could be a street rat, I’d still love him.”

“Well, rich or poor, he’s the hottest thing on two legs. Remind me to thank him properly when we get in.” And she did.

The other girls did too. They all lined up and kissed him on the cheek, hugging him. Blushing, he grinned.

“You’re welcome. You all owe us a show after dinner.”

“You’ve got it, baby,” Eva said, strutting back to her desk.

“You made a lasting impression on those women,” Taylor told Jason quietly. “They adore you.”

“Me?” He chuckled, holding her close. “And how about you?”

“Well, I guess I’ll keep you. You are the hottest thing on two legs, you know?”

“I am?”

“According to Eva.”

“Well, she would know. Obviously she’s personally observed everything on two legs. Couldn’t make a mistake like that.”

They kissed for a moment, then remembered they had an audience. Parting shyly, they went back to the kitchen to confer with the others. The rest of the day was spent rehearsing their parts and practicing martial arts. By 10:00, they were all pretty tired. Remembering to set their alarms, they went to bed.

Jason and Taylor lay in bed with him at her back, holding her close. Their love making had left them tired but relaxed.

“Tell me about the Harper Star Diamond,” Taylor said. “I never heard of that incident.”

“Got hushed up, that did. International incident.”

“Really?” She glanced over her shoulder at him.

“Damn near started a war. And entirely my fault.”

“Seriously?”

He nodded solemnly. “Harper is an American businessman. He had the Star at a huge expo in Dubai. I tried to get it there, but those Arabs are a paranoid lot. I had to wait for it to get to Moscow. Bitsy’s good, but she was working with some idiots on the other team who didn’t like taking orders from a woman. Getting in and out was wickedly easy. I walked in and took it without anyone the wiser, until one of Bitsy’s men spotted me on a video—she’d added a couple cameras at the last minute. I didn’t see them. He told her and she signaled a lock down, but I was long gone.”

“How did you find out about that?”

“Had them bugged, didn’t I? Foolish not to. I knew exactly where they were the entire time.”

“How could they not get you with a video of you?”

“Tragically, the video files were erased a few moments later when an electromagnetic pulse went off in the computer room. Wiped everything, including cellphones, and was designed to destroy my bugs so no one could find them. Brilliant, that was.”

“Devilishly so. Ever thought of working for the Bureau? We could use men like you.”

“Me? I’m a thief, love.”

“Who knows more about security than some agents I know. Can you imagine working for the Secret Service? You’d be amazing.”

“They don’t pay enough. Corporations, that’s where the big money is.”
“You’ve got your business and investments. Do you really think money’s all that’s important?”

“The more I’ve got, the more I can spend helping other people. I do that, you know. I don’t just hoard it all and buy fancy dresses and tailored suits for federal agents. I support a number of charities—anonymously, of course.”

© Dellani Oakes

To Purchase Dellani’s Books:

Ninja Tattoo http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/the-ninja-tattoo.htm

Under the Western Sky http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/under-the-western-sky.htm

Indian Summer http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=36&osCsid=8dc4fd3d95717ca205d5a157f3b827a7

Lone Wolf http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=67&osCsid=8dc4fd3d95717ca205d5a157f3b827a7

It Takes a Thief – Part 60

It Takes a Thief cover

My apologies! I accidentally posted part 59 twice! This is the part that was left out. ~ Dellani

The meeting with Bitsy complete, the team splits. The men go with Jason to get their suits fitted. The women join Celeste for a day of shopping.

The agents knew that this was part of the act. Jason was expected to behave this way, but it still made them shift their shoulders uneasily. Three tailors stepped forward, each taking one of the men. Jason went with Luigi.

The fittings went well. The three agents found themselves dressed in beautifully hand tailored suits of the finest material. Every line was perfect, the sheen on the material subtle, elegant. The cloth was black as midnight, except for Greg’s which was a different fabric. It was more along the line of charcoal, but just as magnificently styled.

Jason’s suit outshone theirs. His dinner jacket fit to perfection, his shirt stark white. The pants clung just right to accentuate his well toned physique. Luigi tsked over him, fussing about the fact he’d lost weight.

“I was ill for a few weeks. I didn’t realize how much weight I’d lost. You’ll still have these done on time?”

“For you, Signore Jason, ahead of schedule. We have these done by tomorrow morning, early.”

“I’ll have my man come by and get them at 10:00.”

“Perfect! They will be ready.”

As they bid farewell, Jason took both Luigi’s hands in his, grasping them reverently.

“These are magic hands, Luigi. I can trust no one but you with a job this important.”

“You like a son to me,” the old man said, smiling, his eyes filling with tears. “You take good care of me, I take care of you.” He patted Jason on the cheek. “Maybe next time you bring your woman with you, let Luigi meet her.”

“I’ll do that. She’s as magnificent as one of your suits.”
Luigi grinned at him. “But you don’t take the suit to your bed, eh?”

They laughed heartily as they made their way to the SUV. Tim wasn’t driving this time. They had another agent behind the wheel, waiting for them with the motor running. He managed to look bored to any but the most astute observer.
Jason was impressed at how well he watched his surroundings.

The men hopped quickly into the SUV which pulled away from the curb. Luigi watched in silence as his young friend disappeared.

“Maybe later you tell me what this is all about, eh?” He murmured. Shaking his head, he went back to work.

* * *

Celeste took Taylor and her friends to the most exclusive clothing shop in the city. Walking in, she was greeted with respect and a good deal if unconcealed avarice. The clerks knew that whenever Celeste Neveu brought in a client, someone was going to make a good commission. They vied for position for a few moments until Celeste made her choice. She might have picked the most experienced, but she didn’t. Instead, for whatever reason, she selected two junior clerks to assist them.

She explained what was needed and sent them scurrying to the racks to pull garments in Taylor’s size. To make it more interesting, the other women also chose garments to try on, but none of them even hoped to purchase anything. This shop was way out of their pay grade.

Chatting in the dressing room, they stayed in character, gossiping about Taylor’s new man. There was genuine curiosity. Most of them were on the team that worked at the mansion and they knew that the relationship between Taylor and Jason had changed.

“So, tell us,” Eva said as they changed. “Is he as yummy as he looks? Cause, honey, he looks delish.”

“He’s beyond delish,” Taylor replied. “He surpasses amazing. I can’t even begin to describe him.”

“I knew I should have made a play for him the first time I met him,” Eva said with a sigh.

“She who hesitates loses great sex,” Taylor teased as she went out to show Celeste the dress.

Without saying a word, the older woman made it clear that the dress did not pass muster. Each garment she tried got a sharp critique. Celeste managed to avoid saying the same thing twice, which amazed and impressed Taylor. She didn’t think the dresses were that horrible, but Celeste found them unacceptable. Taylor began to wonder what sort of instructions Jason had left.

“We can do better,” Celeste said to the clerks. “This is awful. She looks ill. This is not her color. Please find something that doesn’t make her look anorexic, if you don’t mind. Could we possibly get a color that doesn’t look like effluvium?”

After almost an hour of trying on dresses, Taylor was handed a silver dress. It was ankle length, silk, clinging, off one shoulder giving it sort of a toga silhouette. It clung to Taylor’s athletic figure flawlessly. When she turned, the silk shimmered with a spectrum of other colors.
“This is the dress you must buy! Jason will love this dress! Do you not think it is perfection?” Celeste appealed to the clerks and the other women.

“Magnificent,” Eva said, her eyes glowing. “You better restrain your man or he’s gonna rip that off with his teeth!”

Taylor blushed, ducking her head. Celeste rose gracefully, raising her chin with a finger. She smiled.

“You must learn to take compliments better, my dear. I think this is perfect as it is. It’s as if it were made for you. Quickly now, take it off and we’ll get the underpinnings together.”

© Dellani Oakes

It Takes a Thief – Part 59

It Takes a Thief coverHis chat with Bitsy makes Jason extremely unpopular. She demands credentials. Jason asks for Remington’s assurance that what he is going to say won’t come against him. Once he’s told he won’t be prosecuted, he reveals something that guarantees Bitsy will believe him.

Jason nodded. “The Harper Star Diamond.” Jason said politely, eyeing the others. “Moscow, 21st April, 2008. Five minutes before midnight, you received an anonymous tip….”

Bitsy blanched. “You weren’t even in Moscow then. You had witnesses, travel records—everything! It couldn’t have been you. We wanted you for that so bad! Do you know I lost my damn job because of The Harper Star Diamond?”

Jason nodded slowly. “Sorry about that. A man has to protect himself. As you say, witnesses, the whole shebang. An alibi isn’t much if it can be picked apart. Shall I tell you something that wasn’t in the papers? Perhaps give you a clue as to how I got in? That building was like Swiss cheese. There were so many access points….”

“Don’t I know that? I thought we had them covered.”

“You did, so I had to get creative. Your security passes were ridiculously easy to forge. Took me all of two hours to have a perfect copy. I was even able to hack into your computer and input myself as an employee. I used a pseudonym, of course. Norman Bates.” He grinned at his flagrant use of the infamous name from”Psycho”.

“I walked in right under your noses, snagged the diamond and got out and none the wiser.”

“You bastard! I should shoot you right now!” But she was laughing at his audacity. “How did you get out? I had that place locked down tighter than a nun’s nickers.”

“Yes, but that was well after I’d left. I nicked it near the start of the shift. It wasn’t noticed until nearly the middle. I’d been in and out before anyone figured it out. By the time you locked down, I was half way across town and headed out of the country. When we’re less pressed for time, I’ll tell you all about it.”

“All right,” she sighed. “I believe you. I don’t want to, but I do.”

“And you’ll take what I’ve said into consideration?”

“Consider it done. Anything else?”

“What food and beverages are being served?”

“You a picky eater?”

“I don’t want to end up at the receiving end of one of Orchid’s drugs.”

“I’ll find out and contact you later.”

“I suggest not letting anyone near the kitchen but the catering staff. Circulate with trays instead of leaving the food on a buffet.”

“I don’t control that,” she began.

“You do today,” Remington concluded. “Everything goes through you.”

“Okay, I’m to become Bitsy Hitler for the next few days.”

“Exactly. The function itself is enough to whet Orchid’s appetite. Do you know how many obscenely wealthy people will be there? Not to mention the fact that the Harper Diamond Company,” he pursed his lips, raising an eyebrow,” will have some of their best pieces on display.”

“How did you possibly fence a diamond that size?” Bitsy asked him.

“I didn’t. It was a commissioned job. The new owner was quite pleased with my work.”

“Who?”

“I don’t rat out my employers, Ms. Mitchell. If I did, I’d be out of a job. Suffice to say, both parties were eminently satisfied. It’s a tempting target. I’ll simply add a little icing on her cake. If she can take me out, she’ll feel she’s really accomplished something.”

“Doesn’t that scare you?”

He picked up his cup of coffee and his hands trembled slightly. Meeting Bitsy’s eyes over the rim of the cup, he blinked once, slowly. “I’m absolutely terrified.”

After the meeting, Taylor went to meet with Celeste to go shopping. Two other female agents went with her to provide security. As far as Celeste knew, these were Taylor’s girlfriends out to enjoy the day together.

The men went to the tailor shop. Walking in the old fashioned clothier, the three agents felt dangerously out of their element. Jason breezed in like he was born to it. A short, wiry man with gray hair and a bushy mustache met them at the door. He wore a tape measure around his neck and had a wristband full of pins. He carried a piece of tailor’s chalk.

He took Jason’s hand, clasping it warmly, greeting him in rapid Italian. Jason nodded, listening intently. Shaking his head, he indicated his three companions. Gesturing wildly, the older man raised his voice, apparently refuting something Jason said.

“I told you, Luigi,” Jason said just as loudly, switching to English. “You knew what I wanted when we spoke yesterday.”

“It could not be done, my friend. There was a flaw in the cloth. A huge one. There is no time to replace it and not enough material for three suits if I cut around it. Two I made from it, the third had to be different. I am most sorry, sir. It was unavoidable. The tall one, he is different.”

“Very well. I guess it’s not that important that he matches. He’ll be with me.” He pointed to Greg. “Very well, but I want a strongly worded letter to the manufacturer.”

“Already done, Signore. We wrote a note already. Here is a copy for your approval.” He handed Jason a sheet of heavy white paper.

The young thief read rapidly through it, signing with a flourish. “Excellent, Luigi. Perfect.” He turned to the FBI men. “Oi, you lot. They’re waiting.” He snapped his fingers at them.

© Dellani Oakes

To Purchase Dellani’s Books:

Ninja Tattoo http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/the-ninja-tattoo.htm

Under the Western Sky http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/under-the-western-sky.htm

Indian Summer http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=36&osCsid=8dc4fd3d95717ca205d5a157f3b827a7

Lone Wolf http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=67&osCsid=8dc4fd3d95717ca205d5a157f3b827a7

It Takes a Thief – Part 58

It Takes a Thief coverDirector Remington has arranged for Jason to talk over security measures for the fashion show with Bitsy Mitchell, the security head.

The door opened and a tall, striking woman in her mid-thirties walked in. Her dark hair was pulled back in a sleek ponytail at the nape of her neck. Her makeup accentuated her dark almond shaped eyes and olive toned skin. Her suit was cut along the same lines as Taylor’s only black instead of gray. Her tailored silk blouse was melon colored.

The men rose to greet her. She shook hands with Remington and the others, stopping when she got to Jason. She didn’t extend her hand right away, merely eyed him appraisingly.

“You must be Jason Banes,” she said, her voice deep and dusky.

“I am.” He looked cool and calm, but Taylor sensed wariness in him. He was prepared for an attack and wasn’t surprised when it happened.

“I have a bone to pick with you, Banes. Because of you, I’ve had to turn my security plan upside down and inside out—all at the last minute. Do you know how long I’ve been doing security?” She advanced on him rapidly, like a viper.

Jason smiled, not backing down like she expected him to. “If you say longer than I’ve been alive, I might just believe you. Though I doubt it.”

She stopped talking, mouth open. She almost tripped, but he caught her arm, righting her.

“I’m older than I look,” she said, snapping her lips together. “And you’re a cocky little bastard. I had this whole thing worked out perfectly, then I get a call from Gene telling me I needed to redo it and put two of his men into my lineup. I don’t like working with someone breathing over my shoulder. I run a tight ship, Mr. Banes.”

“Yes, and you’ve never dealt with a woman like Orchid, have you? I rather doubt it, or we wouldn’t be having this conversation—she’d have killed you as she tried to kill me. When she sees me, there are several possible reactions. One, she’ll bolt—in which case, she must be apprehended. Two, she’ll attack. I’m fond of my life, Ms. Mitchell. I’d rather not be killed. Three, she’ll do both. You get the idea.

“There are, of course, other permutations. I shan’t bore you. Orchid is as unpredictable as a tornado and just as deadly. She doesn’t play by the rules. I’m sure your security would have been adequate for a normal fashion show. This is not a normal show.”

“What makes you say that?” She didn’t want to listen, but couldn’t stop herself.

He took a step toward her, extending his hand with a tight smile. “Are you in the habit of inviting dangerously unbalanced psychopaths for cocktails, Ms. Mitchell?”

Her expression softened and she started to laugh. “You’re right, Gene,” she said over her shoulder to Director Remington without taking her eyes off Jason. “He’s an infuriating tick, but he knows his shit.”

“You called me an infuriating tick?” Jason didn’t know whether to laugh or have his feelings hurt.

“Not exactly. I said you could be infuriating like a tick that gets under your sack.”

Jason burst out laughing. The other men chuckled, hands dropping protectively to their groins.

“That’s true enough.”

“Good one, boss,” Tim said, offering his knuckles for Remington to tap.

The older man did so with a smart assed grin.

They took their seats and for the next half hour, Ms. Mitchell went over the security plan. It was quite thorough. Jason quizzed her with dozens of questions about this or that eventuality. Some of his scenarios were quite far fetched, which Bitsy Mitchell questioned. For each of her questions, he had a good answer. Not always so when the shoe was on her foot.

“You’re getting ridiculous,” she snapped after the fifth question.

“Ever worked with someone like Orchid before?”

“No. Have you ever been indicted by a grand jury before?”

“Are they merciless psychotics?”

Bitsy raised an eyebrow. “Not usually. Gene, this boy is wasting my time.”

“It’s not a waste of time if you go back and look for the flaws in your plan,” Jason said quietly. “Which I bet you do the second you leave this room. You won’t ever say so, of course, but you know I’m right. You haven’t planned for every contingency, just the most obvious ones.”

“It’s the not so obvious we need to take into account, Bitsy,” Director Remington added.

“You’re letting this kid dictate my job?” Bitsy sputtered.

“I’m letting this security expert give you some damn good advice. Quit looking at how young he is and listen to what he’s saying.”

“I don’t believe he knows what he’s talking about. What assurance do I have that he’s qualified?”

“Ms. Mitchell, I don’t have a resume, I’m a thief. I can, however, tell you a job I pulled. You can check it out. If you don’t believe me after that, fine. I’ll shut my mouth and be on my merry. But if you believe me, then you do this my way.”

“Very well.” She crossed her arms over her ample chest.

“Director Remington, I don’t want this coming back to bite me in the ass. I need your assurance that I won’t be prosecuted for what I’m about to say.”

Remington frowned slightly, bit his lower lip and nodded. “You have my word and the assurance of this group, that you won’t take any extra heat for this.”

Jason nodded. “The Harper Star Diamond.” Jason said politely, eyeing the others. “Moscow, 21st April, 2008. Five minutes before midnight, you received an anonymous tip….”

© Dellani Oakes

To Purchase Dellani’s Books:

Ninja Tattoo http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/the-ninja-tattoo.htm

Under the Western Sky http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/under-the-western-sky.htm

Indian Summer http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=36&osCsid=8dc4fd3d95717ca205d5a157f3b827a7

Lone Wolf http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=67&osCsid=8dc4fd3d95717ca205d5a157f3b827a7