Tag Archive | FBI

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

It Takes a Thief – Part 57

It Takes a Thief coverAfter a long day of makeovers and training, Jason and Taylor have more preparations for their upcoming mission.

They woke the next morning to Tim’s bellowing in the hallway. “Wake up!”

Horrified, Taylor looked at the clock. She jumped out of bed, calling to Jason.

“Get up! We’ll be late. Oh, God! I forgot to set the alarm. Remington’s going to flip!”

She put her hair up in a sloppy bun and hopped in the shower. Jason joined her, rinsing off quickly.

Taylor did her makeup in less than five minutes and dressed in the same suit she’d worn the first day they met. Jason pulled an exquisite suit from the closet and dressed rapidly. He hadn’t shaved, but his hair was so light, it hardly mattered. He was still doing up his tie when Tim tapped on the door. Taylor checked the peephole and answered.

“Did the power go off or something? You’re all lazy this morning.”

Taylor explained what they’d been doing. He nodded, understanding the importance.

“Well, you’re lucky. Remington moved the meeting back about twenty, so you’ve got time to grab coffee and a donut before we jet. The boys are in the hall.”

They joined the others and went down the back stairs. Coffee was just finishing as they walked into the kitchen. The team filled travel mugs, grabbed donuts or bagels and loaded into the SUV’s. Although Jason still felt very conspicuous, he was getting used to this mode of travel. He’d have preferred something less obvious, but it wasn’t his choice.

They arrived at the Bureau office downtown right on time. Remington joined them in the conference room a few minutes later. He looked angry and harassed. Or rather, Taylor amended mentally, more than usual.

“You ready for this cluster fuck of an event?” He asked Taylor as soon as he walked in.

“Yes, sir.” She gave him a brief rundown of the last couple of days.

Remington nodded, lips pursed. “And who paid for all this?”

Jason raised a reluctant hand.

“Don’t expect to be reimbursed. I’m not sure my budget will allow it.”

“Hadn’t crossed my mind. I want Orchid caught as much as you do, sir. It’s a small price to pay.”

He smirked, snorting. “Small, he says. Three tailor made suits and designer dresses, on top of a house call by the top two stylists in the city and it’s small?”

“Don’t forget the limo we discussed,” Jason amended.

Taylor gave him a penetrating look. When had he talked to Director Remington about a limo?

“Oh, that one was easy. We’ve got a customized limo that we impounded from a drug lord a few months ago. New paint job and it’s ready to go. It fits your specifications to the hilt. He must be even more paranoid than you are.”

“Not possible unless you delve into psychosis,” Jason replied with a smirk of his own. “Everything else in place?”

“Absolutely. I won’t have my best people twisting in the wind, kid. Bitsy’s been informed….”

“No offense, sir, to you or Bitsy, but I’d kind of like to talk to her.”

“I anticipated that.” He hit the button to an intercom. “Send in Bitsy Mitchell, please.”

© 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 56

It Takes a Thief coverTaylor and Jason spend time together, working on their cover story as well as dancing together. On a whim, Jason asks Taylor to marry him when all this unpleasantness is behind them. Equally impulsive, Taylor says yes. Done with their dance session, Jason wants to take Taylor upstairs to make love.

“We need to tell Alex….”

“He’ll figure it out.”

She wanted to go with him, but she couldn’t give up protocol to that extent. She told the men they were going upstairs. They insisted upon seeing them up and checking the room before leaving them alone. Jason made sure the hatch door to the spiral stair was sealed tightly while Taylor put her gun in the drawer.

Their love making was even more enthusiastic. As he climaxed, Jason told her how much he loved her. As they lay in one another’s arms, he held her close, her head on his chest.

“We don’t have to get married right away, Taylor. I’ll need a bit of time to become completely legit with all my finances legal. I won’t put you in that sort of position. But I want to marry you and make beautiful babies inside you….”

“I want that too. A son you can see every day and be part of his life from the beginning. And a daughter to take to dance lessons….” She teared up, sniffling softly. “I never thought I’d ever find a man I wanted to make a family with. I thought I’d be married to my career.”

“I thought I’d be a player forever, flitting from one beautiful flower to the next. There’s only one flower I want now and she’s currently naked and in my bed.” He chuckled, kissing her on the head.

Taylor giggled, playing with the hair on his chest. “Do you really think we can pull this off?”

“Yes. I have every confidence.”

“You’re terrified we’ll mess up. I can hear it in your voice.”

“I’m always keyed up before a job.”

“Is that what this is? A job?”

“That’s what everything is—except you. What we’re trying to pull is among the greatest con jobs that’s ever been attempted. Only this time, if we fail, we die. Orchid’ll kill all of us if we fuck this up.”

“Then we’d better not fuck up,” Taylor said with finality.
She got up, dressing quickly. She tossed his boxers at him, his jeans followed.

“What are you doing? I thought we’d try this again.”

“Tell me everything I need to know to fit perfectly into your world. And we need to come up with a cover story for how we met. We need to know more about one another than the fact that we have earth moving sex.” She grinned at him over her shoulder.

He looked smug. “When we’re done, then what?”

“Then we get to have more earth moving sex.”

“You talked me into it.” He got up and dressed, following her to the kitchen.

They surprised the others by suddenly appearing in the kitchen. Greeted by a wall of weapons, Jason raised his hands and waved at them. Taylor strode into the room, heading for the coffee pot.

“How old is this?”

“Twenty minutes, give or take,” Greg replied.

She poured two mugs and Jason joined her at the table.

“Fun as this is,” Taylor said without preamble. “It doesn’t make us a success. We need to get to work on our covers. Memorize them, like you would any cover assignment. We need to be these people if we’re going to be convincing.”

For several hours, they worked on their stories, quizzing one another with unexpected questions. Jason was best at tripping them up, but Taylor was best at improvising. Fortunately, she was the one most likely to be in the hot seat. As Jason’s companion, she would draw more focus than the others.

Around 2:00, Taylor called it a night. They had an early appointment with their boss at the Bureau, then a full day of fittings and shopping.

“If I don’t look well rested, Celeste will fuss at you,” she told Jason as they went to bed.

“At me? What for?”

“Keeping me up late.”

“Then I guess I’d better let you sleep.” He kissed her on the brow, curling up behind her.

Jason was almost immediately asleep. Taylor lay awake, thinking. Was she making a terrible mistake getting involved with Jason? How could she be sure theirs was a lasting relationship? Come to that, were there ever guarantees in any relationship? Whatever the outcome, she had to admit that this was the best relationship she’d ever had. Even if it ended in a crash and burn, she intended to enjoy what he had to offer—withholding nothing.

Smiling, she snuggled closer to Jason. He caressed her as he slept, his breath warm on her neck.

“I love you,” she whispered.

His only reply was soft, deep breathing. With a happy sigh, she fell asleep.

© 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 55

It Takes a Thief coverTaylor’s makeover complete, Celeste presents her to the men.

Tim and Alex made similar comments. Taylor wasn’t sure what to think. She stood there looking lost and helpless until Jason stood, taking her beautifully manicured hand.

“What they’re trying to say is that you look stunningly beautiful.”

“Thank you.” She blushed, eyes dropping to the floor.

“Now, you lot. You need haircuts. Henri has graciously agreed to trim and snip as needed. Greg, you’re a mess. You first.” Jason pointed to the bathroom in the master suite. “Meanwhile, you two. Manicures. Line up. Celeste, which is first?”

“Which is worse?” She inspected their hands and led Alex to a table behind the couch in the sitting room. “You bite your nails? For shame! A man as good looking as you should have soft hands, lover’s hands. Your wife will be appreciating this.” She sat him down, shoving his hands into a liquid to soak.

Jason and Taylor sat on the couch, snuggling as they spoke to Tim. When his turn came, he went to the manicure table. Alex changed places with Greg. He came out looking much more stylish.

“He liked my hair,” he said with a smirk as he sat in front of Celeste. “He thought it was cool that it grows sideways on the back. He wants pictures to put in a magazine.”

“It is the front of you he should take, not the back,” Celeste commented “You should look into modeling. What do you do for a living, cherie?”

Greg glanced at Jason, raising an eyebrow.

“He and the others are in security, Celeste. Specifically mine.”

“No wonder you have callouses like a man who holds a weapon.”

He very judiciously chose not to say another word about it. Instead, he changed the subject, encouraging Celeste to talk about herself.
Finally, all the manicures and haircuts were accomplished and Celeste and Henri left with Tim, who headed home after dropping them off. Taylor had an appointment to go shopping with Celeste while the men went for their suit fitting the following day.

At dinner, the team discussed their new looks. After clean up, the men practiced fading into the background as Jason led Taylor into the gym. She thought he wanted to work out, but he shook his head. Taking out a small remote, he started music playing from an unseen sound system. He held out his arms to her. Taylor shook her head, declining. With a slight frown of annoyance, he insisted.

“I love to dance. My ladies dance with me. I never date a non-dancer for long. It’s a pattern I’ve established over the years. Beautiful as you are, the old me would have dumped you in a heartbeat simply for refusing a dance.”

“The old you?” She stepped into the circle of his arms.

“The one who wasn’t passionately in love with you,” he whispered.

His breath shook the hair by her ear making her squirm against him. The music continued and he led her in an easy dance to a beautiful, slow tune. The accompaniment was simple, played on piano and cello. Taylor leaned her head on Jason’s shoulder, eyes closed as the song drew to a close. Her breath was shaky as they stopped dancing. The music had moved her to tears.

“What was that?” She asked, wiping her eyes with her fingers.

Drunkard’s Prayer by Over the Rhine,” he replied.

“It’s so beautiful.”

His lips touched hers. “Glad you liked it. Would you like to hear it again?”

She nodded. He clicked the remote and the song began again. She listened carefully to the words as Jason sang softly to her.

“….Sweet intoxication, When your words, Wash over me.”

“Did you pick that on purpose?” She asked with a sad smile.

“I did. You’re my sweet intoxication, Taylor. I’m addicted and I can’t get enough of you.”

The music changed to something a bit faster and Jason did a different step, slightly more sophisticated than the last. Each song that played had a unique feel and rhythm. He led her through many different dances. She followed well, doing far better than he anticipated. When he commented on how quickly she’d picked it up, she grinned.

“You misunderstood my reluctance. It’s not that I can’t dance but that I only used to dance when my dad was alive. When he died, we couldn’t afford lessons anymore. I didn’t dance again until college. I picked it up as a minor, but it never felt right—until now.”

“I love you,” he whispered. “And I really want to make love to you right now.”

She giggled, tossing her golden tipped hair over her shoulder. “And that’s different—how?”

“Marry me, Taylor. When all this muck is over.”

She didn’t know what to say. Yes and No warred within her. He was a thief, a felon—albeit with no convictions, but one nonetheless. She loved him, she wanted him in her life, but could she make that kind of commitment? He was waiting for an answer. If she said no, what would it do to him? Did she want to? If she said yes, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

“Yes,” she whispered.

He kissed her, whirling her in a tight spin. He lifted her, swinging her around happily. His kiss carried great promise as he held her several inches off the floor. His embrace was strong and sure and he held her a long time without wavering. Gradually, he lowered her to the ground. Tugging her hand, he led her toward the stairs.

© 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 54

It Takes a Thief coverHenri and Celeste arrive to begin the makeover process. After some disagreement, Jason and Henri decide upon what will be done with Taylor’s hair. She and Celeste discuss makeup and Celeste asks if there is a budget for Taylor’s wardrobe.

“No. She’s to be the most beautiful woman there, Celeste. I want all eyes on her when she walks in the room. She is to be the center of attention. Can you do that for me?”

Celeste turned Taylor’s head from side to side, examining her profile. “Mais oui. She is perfection already. Now, has the hair been decided upon?”

“Yes, my sweet,” Henri said, bowing humbly to his wife.

“Excellent. Then I shall let you begin. Jason and I shall discuss wardrobe.”

“As you wish, my sweet.”

Henri led Taylor to the master suite, carrying many cases with him. He shut the door and refused Jason entry.

“An artist does not allow scrutiny of his work until the masterpiece is complete,” he said through the door.

* * *

Downstairs, the men waited impatiently to see the results. They wanted to see Taylor’s new look, half afraid that she was going to kill Henri, Celeste or Jason in the process. After what felt like a slice of forever, Jason called them upstairs. He, Henri and Celeste sat in the center room looking smug. The door to the master suite was closed.

“You can come out now,” Jason called.

The door opened slowly and Taylor emerged. Henri had augmented the existing highlights, adding a secondary lighter tone. The length was essentially the same, but he’d neatened and trimmed it so that the ends curled under, and the sides framed her face. She wore it long, pulled back in elegant combs that looked like real jade.

Her makeup was dusky, subtle, exquisite. Celeste had used a technique that blended the colors so they had a smoky appearance around the eyes. Her lips looked fuller, more sensuous. Her lean curves were accentuated by the clinging black pants and crop top she wore. It might not be a designer dress, but she looked beautiful.

The men stared at her, jaws dropping as they admired her new look. Taylor, not quite certain what to make of it, started to tighten up. Balling her fists, she advanced.

Celeste cleared her throat pointedly. Taylor slowed, relaxing, as she advanced into the room. It took a moment for the men to realize she was wearing high heels. They might not be the six inch ones that Jason wanted, but they still added a tempting curve to her legs.

Greg whistled low, admiring her openly. “Ooh wee, sister, do you clean up good!” He said in a slow Southern drawl. He clutched his chest. “Mercy!”

© 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 53

It Takes a Thief coverSeriously alienating Taylor by suggesting she needs a makeover, Jason makes his plans anyway. She and the team have to be refined before they will fit into the society he has sought so long to be part of.

Jason gave him a long, withering, patient look and flipped open his phone. He spoke in Italian for several minutes, nodding and gesturing wildly, raising his voice to overcome apparent protests. He waited in silence for a few moments. Tim tried to say something, but Jason held up a finger for silence. Irritated, the FBI man started to go red in the face, opening his mouth once more. Jason clamped his lips shut with his fingers, glaring mutely at the man.

Grazie. Buono. Ciao.” He pointed at Tim with his phone, frowning. Taking a deep breath, he exhaled slowly through his nose. “Don’t. Not a word. You don’t know what I had to promise to accomplish the impossible for the three of you. You’re going in for fittings tomorrow. You’ve no idea what this is costing me.”

“We can pay for the suits,” Alex said.

Greg, who was fluent in Italian smiled, shaking his head. “Dude, not suits like these. These are worth more than we make in a year.”

“Don’t ruin them,” Jason said. “Don’t eat, don’t even sweat. There will also be shoes, because there’s no way you’ll be taken as anything but feds in those bloody awful clodhoppers you wear. And you, love,” he turned politely to Taylor. Celeste will see to kitting you out with the right attire. If you can’t wear six inch heels, we’ll work with four—though I prefer the others.”

“You want me to be able to walk on my own, I can’t wear them. I’ll fall down and break an ankle.”

“Then you’ll practice—a lot.”

She started to protest, but he held up a hand. “This is my world, love. I know what I’m talking about. Do I try to tell you your job?”

“You don’t know beans about my job.”

“Ditto.” He patted her on the cheek. “You lot are stuck with me, let me do what I do best. Meanwhile, something to eat. I’m starved. I hardly ate in jail. The food was atrocious. I’m not a very finicky man, but that wouldn’t suit a buzzard.”

He set about making a light afternoon snack. When it was ready, they sat down to enjoy it while they waited for Henri and Celeste. Rather than trusting rookies to the task, Tim and Alex decided to go themselves. Jason gave them a whispered code word to use so the couple would know who they were, and they set off in one of the black SUV’s.

“They’ll be all right, just the two of them?” Jason gazed out a slit in the drapes, watching the SUV drive off.

“That bit about not telling us how to do our jobs—remember that?”

“Yeah,” he continued to stare after the vehicle, although it was out of sight.

“That would apply,” she said, snapping the drapes shut. “Away from the window, Jason. With the right equipment, a sniper can pick you off.”
He blanched, backing rapidly away.

Henri and Celeste arrived at the house about half an hour later. They pulled into the garage and were ushered upstairs without going through the mass of agents in the living room. Jason didn’t want them to know this was part of something official. It was better that they not know or even suspect that. He met them in the sitting room, introducing them to Taylor.

They spoke rapidly in French as Jason described what he wanted done. He and Henri got into an argument over something about her hair, but Jason finally relented, admitting that Henri was, of course, the expert.

Celeste was a stunning woman in her late fifties. Her blonde hair was beautifully coiffed and looked completely natural in color, until she admitted to Taylor that it was dyed. She spoke with Taylor about her skincare routine and laid out products for her to use, demonstrating and describing them to her.

Eying the younger woman appraisingly, she tilted her head to one side. “You are a size four?”

“Yes.” Taylor blushed slightly, embarrassed by the scrutiny.

“You are very fit. Not much up top. We shall have to compensate. I am surprised. Cher Jason usually prefers a woman with more cleavage.”

Taylor blushed, eyes downcast. “He hasn’t seemed to mind yet,” she said, some of her courage returning. “In fact, he told me my breasts are beautiful.”

Blue fire leaped from her eyes and Celeste smiled.

“Now I see why he admires you. You have spirit. He loves a woman with fire. I do not mean to be insulting, cherie. Of all his women, you are the best. She’s magnificent,” she said over her shoulder. “You did well for yourself this time, my lad. Do you intend to keep her?”

“I’m thinking about it, Celeste. Why?”

“Because you finally struck upon perfection. A bit rough, as you say, but oh, the potential…. She will be our finest work. Now, my dear, let’s talk about your makeup.”

She brought out a case of samples and showed Taylor so many colors, she couldn’t keep track of them all. Keeping some out, discarding others, she finally chose what she thought would work best.

“The dress we will choose later. I have several in mind. We shall go shopping, you and I. Do we have a budget, cherie?” She asked Jason.

© 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 52

It Takes a Thief coverGreg has made plans to go out with an old girlfriend. The others are left to guard Jason. They aren’t too worried about him. He’s safely ensconced with Taylor.

They went to their rooms to make their calls. Across the hall, distinctive noises filled the night. Taylor’s voice, raised in passion, called Jason’s name.

The men exchanged another look. Shrugging, they opened their doors, closing them in unison.

In the morning, Greg was back by 8:00 carrying an assortment of muffins, donuts and croissants. He was smiling broadly, laughing at everything. He gave Taylor a kiss on the cheek and punched Jason on the shoulder.

“Feeling better?” Tim asked him.

“Much! Not such a temporary thing either. She missed me,” he said with a big grin. “Looks like we’ll get back together for awhile. She’s not Taylor…. But she’s a good woman.”

“I’m happy for ya, kid. My turn off tonight,” Tim said with finality.
“My wife’s busy tonight anyway,” Alex said with a frown. “But tomorrow’s mine!”

This agreement made, they got down to business for the day. Jason continued his lessons on how to move and act, working with the men all morning. He wasn’t fully satisfied, but with more practice, he thought they’d be ready.

“Taylor’s turn now,” Jason announced after lunch.

“What? I’m a girl, I know how to act.”

The men looked dubious. Jason stepped forward, putting his hands on her shoulders, his hands drifting down her body in a familiar way, caressing her. She knocked his traveling hands aside, taking an aggressive stance. He looked down and her fist was poised less than an inch from his groin. He caught her hand, rubbing it against him.

“Exactly my point, love,” he said, his voice a soft, seductive growl. “Real girls—that is, girls who aren’t trained to kill a bloke in a thousand different ways, don’t react like that when a man gets fresh. And need I remind you,” he murmured, leaning toward her. “You really don’t want to damage the goods, yeah?” He raised an eyebrow as she relaxed. “My taste in women is well known. I can afford to be picky—and am. My women have class….”

“I have class,” Taylor said angrily, her eyes blazing.

“You do indeed….” He pouted slightly, eyeing her appraisingly. “You’re beautiful and deadly. We need to make you deadly beautiful. We need to make an appointment for a makeover,” he told her calmly as she fumed. “You’ll need a whole knew look—hair, makeup, manicure….”

“I don’t need a manicure!”

“Darling, your nails are chipped from loading weapons. My women are never chipped—unless it’s with diamonds, of course. How well can you run in six inch heels?”

“I’ve never even worn six inch heels!”

“Three inches? Four?”

She showed him her sensible, low heeled shoes. He pursed his lips, frowning.

“Guys, practice. Taylor, love, we’re making a phone call and then you’re going to arrange secure transport for a couple friends of mine.” He whipped out a cellphone, jabbing a number almost angrily.

Bonjour, Henri. C’est Jason….” He continued a few moments more in French, then switched to English. “Listen, my friend, I need your help. I’ve a wonderful new woman, but she needs a bit of polish as only you and Celeste can provide. We’re going to that big charity benefit this weekend. Exactly! She’s stunning, but a bit rough round the edges. A tomboy, of sorts. Excellent! No, I can’t bring her in. I can’t explain over the phone. You know I’d tell you if I could.”

He waited a moment as the other man replied at greater length.
“Henri, this is something I can’t talk about, mate. New job, strictly hush-hush and she’s assisting. You and Celeste are the only ones I trust with an operation this secretive. Excellent. We’ll send a car for you. Can you be ready by two? Great! She’ll need everything—the works.”

He flipped his phone shut after concluding his call. Taylor glared at him, fists on her hips.

“Rough round the edges?” She screeched, shoving him back a step. “A tomboy? She needs the works? Seriously?” She balled up her fist to sock him.

Jason caught her hand, pulling her to him, both hands clasped behind her back. His kiss stilled her screaming for a moment, but she struggled against him. He relinquished her lips after a moment or two, but held her hands firmly with both of his. She tried to kick him. He dodged her, pressing her body against the wall, putting his weight against her. She might be a martial artist, but he caught her by surprise. She really didn’t want to hurt him, she was angry and confused.

“Listen to me,” he demanded. “What else am I going to say? Oi, she’s an FBI agent who needs to look and act like a super model? Chill, Taylor. I think you’re beautiful, but you do lack a bit of glitz.”

“I will so make you pay for this later!”

“Excellent. I look forward to it. I love a woman with fire.” He kissed her again, but she nipped his lip, drawing blood. He released her, pressing his fingers to his lip. “You’ll thank me later when this job is a success.” He wiped at his bloody lip with the back of his hand.
He turned to Tim. “I need a safe pickup.” Jason gave Tim an address. “I trust these two with my life, and have on more than one occasion. They’re the best. I’ll have them work on you lot as well.”

“We don’t need to be pretty,” Alex said. “We’re wallpaper.”

“Wallpaper who need to have manicures in a bad way. And you could use a haircut,” he told Greg.

Greg combed his hair with his fingers. “Yeah, been meaning to do that.”

“Suits,” Jason said, snapping his fingers. “Nothing I’ve got will fit.”

“We’ve got suits,” Tim said, looking a bit miffed.

© 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