Having just moved in with her fiance, Kris, Marice isn’t too happy to be given an out of town job. She has been sent to Daytona Beach, Florida. There’s been a huge sting operation, and the local FBI is under scrutiny. The Marshals have been called in to oversee prisoner transfers.
Things get sticky when Marice and her team are ordered to transport the ringleader, China Finetti, from Daytona Beach to a federal prison in Kansas City. Someone sets a car bomb, injuring Marice and Butch—and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Everything seems to point to China Finetti pulling the strings from prison—if so, how do they prove it?
To Buy Room 203
Excerpt from Room 203
I had to wonder why Brick’s brother would be joining us, but I didn’t ask. The plane had touched down, and I was busy looking for Orville among the gathered masses. There were more folks there than I’d anticipated. In addition to Stony, there were three police cars; city, county and state, waiting. There was the official looking SUV and some guy who guided the plane in off the field. I was looking out the window, but I didn’t see Orville. Surely, if he was here, he’d be where I could see him. The pilot came to a stop and the guy who guided us in, rolled steps up to the door.
“Still no sign of Orville,” I muttered. “Arnie, give Alvin a call. Tell him Orville’s not here yet. He must have gotten stuck in traffic.”
“Will do, boss.”
The fellow who guided us in, trotted up the steps and knocked. “Open up. I’ll get the luggage.”
We exchanged worried looks. Alvin had been quite specific. I wasn’t opening this door until I saw my friend.
“Hold up,” I called. “I need to see identification.”
“Oh, for fuck sake,” he grumbled. “I own the damn airport. I got to get back in the tower.”
“I have my orders. I’m not to open this door….”
“Alvin says that Orville should be here,” Arnie said, eyes wide. “He said the car arrived twenty minutes ago. He’s showing a blip on his GPS tracker.”
“Brick, can you confirm that’s your brother’s car out there?”
“Could be his car, might not be him. I’ll call him.” He moved to where he could see better and pulled out his phone. “Ringing. No answer, going right to voice mail.” He glanced at Colleen. “No way he’d have it off at a time like this.”
Colleen picked up the phone to call the pilot. “How much gas do we have?”
“Enough to get us back to KSC. Why?”
“I don’t like this.”
“I have to be damn careful with that stairway out there.”
“I know. Can we get out of the plane any other way?”
“Not really. It’s made so it can’t be breached.”
“Stay put, don’t unlock that cockpit door for anything.”
The guy banged on the door again. “This is ridiculous. Open up!”
“Buddy, the only way that door gets opened, is if you pry it open,” I replied. “I don’t see my contact. This door stays shut.”
“Who’s your contact?”
“I’ll know him when I see him. Why don’t you invite your friends to get out of those vehicles, and we’ll have ourselves a nice chat. If my friends have been harmed in any way, this will end badly.”
Arnie’s phone rang. “Yeah, Boss?” His eyes got big. “Yes, sir. I’ll tell her. Yes.” He came over to me, hand clasping his phone. “He says that under no circumstances do we answer that door. He pinged our GPS and compared to Orville’s. That’s not him out there. He’s at a different field.”
“No clue. And if that’s Brick’s brother out there, I’ll eat my shorts.”
“Not necessary, but thanks.”
“It could be Stony,” Brick said very softly behind me. “But if it is, he’s been captured or killed.” His tone was so calm, it scared me. “We’ve got a standoff here. I don’t feel good about this.”
“Did you really think you could pull this off?” China Finetti snapped. “I’ve been in the game a long time. I’ve got contacts and friends everywhere.”
“If you’ve hurt my brother again, I’ll kill you myself,” Brick said in a bone chilling, matter-of-fact tone.
“Oh, please. You? You’re a paper pusher. A useless executive.”
“Who figured out what you were doing, and helped arrest you. Or have you forgotten?”
She blushed, then turned pale, her bluster gone for the moment.
“Marice,” Arnie called to me. He pointed out the other side of the plane.
We’d been so busy looking at the cars and the guy on the steps, we’d forgotten that we were vulnerable on all sides. I saw armed men approaching from the right rear of the plane. They weren’t people I knew. I picked up the phone and called the pilot.
“Unfriendly people trying to surround us. Can you take off without damaging the plane?”
“Damn straight I can.” He started up the engines gain. The blast of air from the jets blew the men away from us.
Backing up, we trundled away from the steps, leaving the so-called owner holding his hat and ducking so he wouldn’t get sucked into the engine. He flattened himself on the steps, holding on for dear life. The men behind us scattered, not wishing to get run over.
“I’m going to another airfield that’s owned by a buddy of mine,” the pilot said.
I’d forgotten I was still holding the phone. “Yes, please. Where?”
He told me. I sent a text to Alvin and Orville so they would know where to find us. “Primary field has been compromised.”
“Got it,” Alvin sent back. “Orville is on his way to the primary. I’m close to the secondary field. I will meet you. If you don’t see my ugly mug out that window, you don’t open the door.”
China Finetti looked angry. Her lips were tightly compressed, forming a white ring around the pale pink. Her cheeks blazed with color and she shifted in her seat. She wanted to say something, taunt us some more, but she knew she’d lost control of the situation.