Black Jack (Elite Ops 4)

Page 48

“I have to get back by evening,” he informed Jordan as he approached the men, who were now standing by the open door. “I’ve been invited to the Harringtons’ estate by Lilly for a little get-together they’re having.”
“The French ambassador.” Jordan nodded. “He’s a good friend of the Harrington family. Desmond and the deceased Harold Harrington were classmates of his for several years at Eton. The party is an excuse to discuss business with their American counterparts in a setting where their wives can also participate.”
“A dress-up party,” Nik snorted.
The Russian knew well the type of parties the Harringtons frequented. Like Travis, he’d been to several get-togethers hosted by the Harringtons or those of their social set before his induction into the Ops.
Nik had been a member of Russia’s political and social elite. He’d been a husband, a father, and a man on the fast track to a leadership position until he had pissed off the wrong political group.
Nik and Travis seemed to have that in common. Once, they had been a part of society, they’d had power, wealth, and ideals. Those ideals had been the cause of their “deaths.”
“So why are we meeting here instead of at the safe house?” Travis turned to his commander, then glanced around the warehouse casually. “And I notice Elite Two’s Commanders aren’t here.”
Santos and Rhiannon had the potential to become pains in the ass, if anyone wanted his opinion.
“This Op is under the jurisdiction of Elite One, just as their agent is,” Jordan reminded him, his tone brusque. “They’re only allowed in an advisory position. And we’re meeting here to ensure that that status remains uncorrupted.” The tight, merciless smile that pulled at Jordan’s lips was telling.
Well, now, wasn’t that surprising. Travis bet that wasn’t sitting well with Rhiannon in particular.
“Commander McConnelly is making waves,” Jordan continued. “She contacted Elite Command last night to report that she believed, based on the meeting three days ago with Night Hawk, the viability of the mission is in jeopardy. I was in a vid-conference with them this morning with my own report.”
“And what was your report?” Travis asked, trying to hold back his suspicions and his anger.
“I didn’t throw her to the wolves if that’s what you’re asking. But get Lilly under control, Travis,” Jordan growled. “You and I both know she’s regaining partial memories. Make sure she doesn’t become a danger to the Elite Ops or the order for cancellation will go out, Travis. She’s a civilian now. Elite Command won’t let her walk around with bits and pieces of our se
crets in her head.”
That was what Travis liked about Jordan. He was a hell of a commander. He played by the rules laid out by the head of Elite Ops, Elite Command, and did the job he had taken on, but he also understood people and his men in particular.
“From all appearances he has more than a handle on her, Commander,” Micah, the Israeli contribution to the unit, said. “She’s been sneaking out of the estate every night and heading to Black Jack’s after Travis’s butler goes to bed, and strutting back into the estate the next morning as though her family weren’t in a rage because of it.”
And they were screaming with rage, Travis was sure of it. Desmond Harrington had demanded, more than once, that Lilly terminate her liaison with Travis, and each time, she had refused.
“Elite Command’s psychologist doesn’t believe Lilly’s going to be able to keep that calm demeaner she has much longer,” Tehya said at that point. “Dr. Lasal has been reviewing the reports sent in by each of you, as well as Jordan’s and Commander McConnelly’s. She believes the parts of Lilly’s memories that are being repressed may be about to break free. She doesn’t expect that her memories will return in full, though. Bits and pieces could be more damaging than remembering nothing, Travis.”
Travis shook his head, his lips to curling in a mocking sneer. “Lasal’s intentions are good, but she worries too much about things that may not happen,” he growled.
“Her cover was breached, Travis,” Jordan reminded him quietly. “We were lucky to save her. But Elite Command and the Ops can’t risk discovery. She’s a weak link. If there’s any chance she’ll expose the Ops, then she’ll be canceled. None of us want that, but we can’t allow her to become a risk to the unit either.”
“I agree with Travis. She was a damn good agent,” Noah pointed out then, “Personally, I think if she gets her memories back, she won’t spill our secrets.”
“Are you willing to bet Bella’s and little Nate’s lives on that, Noah?” Jordan asked, referring to Noah’s wife and infant son. “I’m not certain I am.” Jordan had been Noah’s uncle in that life before the Ops. He still retained that blood tie with his nephew, and reminded him of it whenever he needed to.
“It’s hard to bet Bella’s and Nate’s lives on anything, Jordan,” the other man stated coolly now. “But I’m not the only one here who has had to depend on Night Hawk to pull their ass out of the fire. We owe her more than suspicion and a promise of cancellation once this is over. No matter what her commanders want.”
“That also brings up a still unanswered question,” Nik said. “How was her cover breached? Doesn’t make sense that someone would target a call girl, no matter how exclusive she is. But they knew where to wait for her, they knew how to strike, and yet the investigation into the breach seems to have stalled.”
Nik’s eyes were on Jordan as he spoke, the accusation in his voice clear.
“I’m still working with Elite Command on that angle,” Jordan assured them. “Senator Stanton is particularly concerned about the matter. If the Ops is compromised, then it will jeopardize his career, and possibly endanger his daughter’s life.”
Elite Command was a group of shadowy figures who were the financial and center of operations for Elite Ops. The only member of that section that any of them were given the identity of was Senator Stanton. A contact point, Jordan had called the senator. If all else went to hell, Stanton was a man they could depend on because his daughter was married to the team that provided backup to Jordan’s team, Elite One.
Stanton’s son-in-law, Kell Krieger, was one of the former Navy SEALs that had provided backup on many of the missions the operatives were sent into. Discovery would reveal his family to the enemies the Elite Operatives had made over the years. Enemies that thus far had no idea who or what had taken them down. If they ever learned, then the SEALs as well as the operatives were guaranteed dead. And there would be no coming back.
“Then we have no idea how her identity was leaked, who attempted to kill her, or what we can expect from this operation. Right?” Travis’s frustration leaked through in his voice, as well as his control. He was riding an edge with Lilly, and he knew it. Just as he knew Lilly was riding a particularly dangerous edge herself.
“We’re hoping Lilly’s presence with her family will draw the killer out of hiding,” Jordan revealed as his gaze focused on Travis. “Have you sensed any movement or uncovered any new info?”