Black Jack (Elite Ops 4)

Page 4

“We suspect that whoever tried to kill her six years ago has somehow found her again. The Elite Ops could be jeopardized if this is true, Travis. If they found her, then every agent in the program could now be at risk. We have to find this bastard and find out just how much he knows.”
“You’ll get her killed if you try to use her now,” Travis warned him, only barely managing to maintain an air of unconcern now that the initial shock had passed. “If she’s unaware of her training, then she’s unaware of the danger as well.”
He was surprised at the slow nod of assent he was given in reply.
“We’ve considered this,” Jordan informed him. “Myself and Night Hawk’s commanders have come up with a viable alternative for the situation. She’s changed, Travis, just as the rest of you have. She won’t be the same woman no matter what her memories are. However, you were more involved in her training and she’s closer to you. We suspect she’ll trust you no matter the situation. You’ll have to guide her through the mission without revealing your true reason for being there, or her previous agent status.”
“Really?” His lips twisted cynically. “Is that all?”
Jordan gave him a mirthless grin.
“Her closeness with me may not help,” Travis told him. “Actually, it could hurt.”
Jordan watched him closely for long moments.
“I’m confident you can handle it,” Jordan finally stated. “Especially considering the night the two of you spent together.”
Travis remained silent at the comment. His night with Lilly was between him and Lilly. It had nothing to do with Jordan or with the Elite Ops. “What do you know about the attempt on her?” he asked instead.
“The plastic surgeon listed as her doctor was killed in a fire in his office the day before she was shot,” Jordan revealed. “And Raisa has reports that in the past month someone had been questioning Lilly’s contacts in Berlin and Afghanistan. We have to find out if they know about the Ops as well.”
Dragging his fingers through his hair, Travis sat down on the edge of the bed and stared back at his commander. “What are the chances of her memories returning?”
Jordan shrugged. “Our doctors say no chance. There was too much damage. She’s damned lucky to be breathing on her own.
“Elite Command is willing to let her go, to allow her to return to her old life as long as her memories stay buried. She’ll never be safe, though, until her would-be assassin is caught. This is the second attempt on her life. We have to know if Elite Ops is at risk as well, how she was found, and who Lord Harrington suspected was electronically stealing and transferring those funds. It’s all tied together. Find Lilly’s attempted murderer and we’ll solve the rest of the mysteries.”
“Do we have any suspects?” Travis questioned, his voice rough.
“A whole society full,” Jordan informed him grimly. “Lady Victoria Lillian Harrington and her father were incredibly social, as her family still is. At this point we haven’t pinpointed who it isn’t, so it could be anyone.”
“What does your gut say?” Travis demanded.
“Her uncle, Desmond Harrington. He married her mother the second year after Lord Harrington’s death. He’s my best guess.”
Breathing in roughly, Travis fought to push back the anger that was fraying his control. He’d learned over the years that it rarely paid to give in to his emotions. The plain and simple fact was that he had signed up for this willingly, and he had known the rules when he had done so.
“Any indication Elite Ops has really been compromised?” It was all he could do to force the words past his lips, to keep his anger at bay that Lilly would now be so damned vulnerable.
“Several.” Jordan’s jaws clenched together. “There were inquiries into several agencies questioning any covert status she might have with them. In Afghanistan one of her contacts reported and forwarded several anonymous e-mails he received requesting any known agents she may have worked with.”
“That list is long,” Travis bit out, his voice cold. “Lilly Belle was trained for just such work.”
“And it’s well documented within those agencies that she provided security as well as contacts,” Jordan agreed. “But we believe her cover will hold.”
Travis nodded thoughtfully. He kept his anger contained for the moment and forced his mind to consider the angles of this new, far more dangerous operation.
bsp; “How will I re-establish myself in her life?” he asked.
“Directly would be the most efficient,” Jordan said. “Her Elite Ops cover as a professional escort will be in place. If anyone goes digging into the past six years, that’s what they’ll find. We’ll also stick close to the truth about your past association with her—that you trained her. But in addition to that, you were one of her more frequent clients, as well as her lover. That should give you more than enough cover to get close to her. She’ll want to know about those missing years. Who better to tell her about them than her lover, Travis Caine?”
Travis clenched his teeth and refrained from warning Jordan that this might not be as easy as he and the others were assuming.
He knew Lilly. She would never accept that she had been a professional escort. She would know better, and he fully expected she would eventually remember the truth. Lilly was too stubborn not to remember.
“It’s as if you had this planned from the beginning. It’s laying in smooth as hell, isn’t it, Jordan?” Travis mused sarcastically.