Black Jack (Elite Ops 4)

Page 54

“No, she’s no longer Lady Victoria,” he said, as the others continued to watch him expectantly. “Six years as a black op, living a double life, she’s not the young girl she was anymore.”
“Santos and Rhiannon are going to be at the party,” Jordan informed him then. “I’ll be there, as well as Ian and Kira Richards, and her uncle Jason McClane. You better get a handle on her before she enters the fray, Travis. Because the woman I just witnessed is a clear product of the Elite Ops. No one would mistake her for a silken-handed member of aristocracy, nor would they mistake her for a call girl. She was too damned tough.”
“She was surrounded by the team she has been able to trust for six years,” Travis argued. “Even more than her own team, Elite One was home to her, Jordan.”
“Elite One has been home to all those girls,” Maverick pointed out. “That doesn’t change the fact that they’re not a part of Elite One, Travis. She’s an agent without backing now, which means her commanders are going to be hot to cover their own asses.”
And that was damned hard to believe, of Santos especially. The commander had babied those girls since they had walked onto his base. Rhiannon not so much, she was cooler, but she had always seemed concerned, at the very least.
“Elite Command can’t risk exposure. Santos can’t risk lying to them,” Jordan continued. “If she breaks, then it falls at his feet. We’re responsible for our agents, no matter which commander they’re working with at the time.”
“You would turn on us that easily, Jordan?” Nathan asked, though they all knew the answer.
Jordan would give his own life before he’d turn on the men he commanded.
He shook his head as he rubbed the back of his neck wearily with a tight grimace.
“This isn’t about me, Noah.” Jordan finally shook his head. “It’s about Lilly and Elite Ops. If she doesn’t hold the cover and accept the background the investigator reported, then we’re all fucked. Think about that. Remember what I told you earlier. If the Ops falls, we’re all dead.” He looked to Noah, Maverick, and John. “We fall, and our families will fall with us, when our enemies strike. I don’t think that’s a chance any of us want to take.”
And it wasn’t a chance Lilly would take. She would never risk those she had fought with, especially the girls she had worked side by side with for the past six years.
“I’ll head to the Harrington estate,” Travis told Jordan. “I’ll meet with her and see how things stand after this little explosion. My own personal opinion based on watching her during training and over the years she’s fought beside us is that at the moment, Lilly’s coming to terms with the instincts she didn’t know she had. She doesn’t have the memories, Jordan, but she does have the instinct and intuition we taught her to listen to. We can’t take that from her, it’s too ingrained.”
“Get over there.” Jordan nodded. “I’ll run interference. I have to report the explosion, but I think I can cover her reactions to it. One thing is for damned sure, this isn’t going to help the situation.”
But then again, there wasn’t much that could help things now. Lilly had a killer after her, and whoever it was, they were slick. They weren’t experienced, he had to give them that. Experience, professionalism, and she would have already been dead. A trained assassin would have taken her out with the bullet, and even barring that, there was no way they would have screwed up the explosion on the cycle.
“We need to get backup in order to protect her,” Noah suggested. “This is the third attempt on her life, Jordan. The next one could kill her.”
“I’ve already requested the backup team and have been denied,” Jordan informed them, his jaw tightening. “The risk is too great. If she’s going to survive outside the Ops, then she has to do it on her own.”
“That wasn’t Senator Stanton’s decision,” Travis growled. “He wouldn’t have voted for that.”
“All decisions made by Command are unanimous,” Jordan reminded him. “It doesn’t matter how he feels personally. How we all feel. The Ops has to be protected, Travis, at all costs.”
Even at the cost of their agents’ lives.
Travis shook his head at the thought. A part of him understood, but a part of him didn’t understand a damned thing about it.
“Your agents are the Ops, Jordan. Perhaps you should remind Command of that.”
He turned and left the kitchen to make his way to the bedroom. His formal wear was waiting in plastic on the king-sized bed.
He picked up the bag and threw it over his arm, checked the contents quickly for everything he needed, then grabbed the overnight bag sitting on the floor.
Striding from the house minutes later, he headed toward the back of the property and the rough-hewn shed that sat next to the back drive. Security was still active, ensuring no one had gotten to the vehicle. Deactivating the security, he raised the bay door and stepped in beside the black Viper parked there.
Sleek, powerful, like the bike that had just been blown to hell, the sports car waited like a faithful lover. Running his fingers up the side, he pulled the keys from his pocket and unlocked the car, opened the door, then slid inside.
Three strikes. This was the third time someone had tried to kill Lilly, and he was getting ready to lose his patience. He didn’t know what the fuck was going on, but he was ready to find out.
And he intended to show Lilly’s family, and their particular little social set, just how he would ensure her protection.
Lilly knew when he entered the bedroom.
She’d left instructions with the butler, knowing her mother wouldn’t be finished dressing before Travis arrived. She and Desmond were in their suite on the other side of the house, and their house guests were similarly ensconced in their suites and preparing for one of the major business events of the year.
It was one of the smallest events, but over the years, it had become one of the most exclusive. Business deals were made or broken at this event. Company profits could be tripled or, with a spoken word, sent to hell.