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“Your family?” Karim asked.

“They are still in the Kingdom.”

Karim looked to the woman on the floor. Her robe had spilled partially open and he could see that she was not wearing any underwear. “Who is she?”

“A friend.”

Karim nodded, ran a few scenarios through his head, and made a quick decision. He looked at the man’s nervous eyes and said, “Allahu Akbar.”

“No,” the man pleaded. “I am a Saudi. I am a believer. I have contacts . . . very well-placed contacts. I . . .”

Karim raised his pistol and shot the man twice in the heart.



GEORGE Butler looked across the table and said, “You could have just paid him the million dollars.”

Rapp smiled, shrugged his shoulders, and said, “I suppose.”

“I’m glad you didn’t,” Dumond said as he pecked away at his laptop. “The guy was a world-class prick.”

Rapp laughed. It wasn’t like Dumond to offer such a harsh opinion. They were sitting in the Chairman’s Club at Graycliff, the eighteenth-century plantation house turned hotel and restaurant. The place was very private and very British. Rapp had suggested it knowing that Butler had a discreet agreement with the manager. A waiter came into the room with a large tray. He set down three plates and refilled the water and iced tea glasses.

When he was gone, Butler said to Rapp, “You almost lost him. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just pay him?”

Rapp shook his head. “Maybe, but I think a guy like that is just as likely to take your money and lie to you. He’s a thug. He gets his way by threatening people with violence.”

Butler set down his iced tea. “So you hit him with the only thing he really understands.”

“I suppose. It worked, didn’t it?”

“Yes, but you do know I would never have let you lay a finger on him. At least not while he was here.”

“I know,” Rapp said with a slight grin. “I would never put you in that position.”

“Yes you would,” Butler said with dry sincerity.

“Well . . . at least not intentionally.”

“That has always been your Achilles’ heel.”


“Some people have the Midas touch . . . you, on the other hand . . . have all the grace of one of those American footballers who bashes the quarterback into submission.”

“Thank you,” Rapp said with a smile.

Butler’s phone vibrated. He didn’t bother to pick it up. He simply looked down at the screen, read the message, and said, “We have located our banker.”

“Christian?” Rapp said.

“Yes, his last name is Nelson. He has a flat over in the Grove not far from here.”

“Do your boys have eyes on him?” Rapp asked.

“Not yet. A car is on its way, but we have his mobile, work number, and email account all monitored.”