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“I don’t give a shit what you think!” Rapp barked. “It’s an order. Stan’s right . . . this isn’t a frickin’ book club. Now get your ass up to the house and get cleaned up.”

It was obvious by the constipated look on his face that Nash wanted to say something, but he managed to keep his mouth shut and head for the door. After he left, Rapp turned his attention back to the group and said, “Something Doc said earlier got me thinking.” Rapp looked at Lewis. “You said he’d never commit suicide.”

“I said it was highly unlikely.”

“Good enough. So his desire for self-preservation is pretty high?”


Looking back at Hurley, Rapp said, “I

think we can turn him.”

“And I think you’re nuts. Doc, tell him why we can’t?”

“Once we turn him loose,” Lewis said, “and he feels safe, he will turn on you.”

“What if he never truly feels safe? I could check in on him from time to time and remind him that I’m looking over his shoulder.”

“And why take the chance?” Hurley asked.

“Because he might be useful.”

“Doc?” Hurley said as if he wanted him to explain the obvious to Rapp.

“It’s risky, Mitch. With someone like this, there is never any real loyalty.”

“What if we co-opt him,” Maslick suggested.

They all turned, a bit shocked, and looked at the linebacker of a man, who was known for his quiet demeanor. “What exactly do you mean?” Lewis asked.

“What if we get him to take ownership?” Maslick asked in a soft voice. “Get him to help us out.” Looking directly at Hurley, he said, “Like flipping a foreign agent. You’ve said so yourself many times, Stan. All you need is a little money, a little time, and a cause worth fighting for.”


IF the words had come from anyone else, Rapp felt confident that they would have elicited a rather strong response from Hurley, but they’d come from the gentle giant, so the old spymaster stood there and quietly chewed on them. Rapp took the time to figure out his next move. As he did so, he saw the tension leave the old man, and it occurred to him there was a heavy emotional toll attached to this untidy situation. No matter how tough he was, there was no accounting for the burden of almost killing your best friend’s son, a boy you had cradled in your arms as an infant and bounced on your knee as a toddler.

Hurley hobbled over to the closest desk and sat on the edge. Rapp looked at Lewis, who was watching the old man with legitimate concern. Thinking the silence was only making things worse, Rapp said, “Stan, this could work. You may have just scared him straight.”

“That is a valid point,” Lewis added. “He expected you to save him from Mitch . . . not the other way around. And that was a pretty close call. I doubt you could have faked it any better.”

“I wanna go back in there and throw him a life line,” Rapp said. “Doc?”

Lewis shrugged. “You know the routine. To start, don’t ask him anything you don’t already know the answer to.”

“And don’t try to turn him,” Hurley offered in a detached voice. He’d swiveled the monitor on the desk around so he could look at Adams. Faint sobs could be heard on the small desktop speakers. “That comes later. After he’s proven he really wants it. Go ahead and hold out a glimmer of hope, but that’s it.”

“Understood.” Rapp nodded. He grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and a bottle of vodka and a glass. “Buzz me if anything comes to mind.”

Rapp knew all he had was twenty minutes, but he was probably never going to get another shot at Adams when he’d be this fragile. Rapp punched in the code and opened the door. There Adams sat, with his crimson forehead peppered with a hundred little droplets of blood from the muzzle blast, his eyes closed and his chin down. His pants were damp and there was a puddle of urine at his feet. Hurley was right about one thing—this was a nasty business, and it was easy to lose your nerve if you didn’t operate under tight constraints. Put a bullet in a guy’s head, dispose of the body, and move on. No sense slowing down to peruse the carnage, and don’t bother to look in the rearview mirror either. You start doing stuff like that and you’re inviting trouble.

Even so, Rapp saw an opportunity. It wouldn’t be long before people began to wonder where Adams had gone. The office didn’t expect him back until this afternoon, and unless they’d missed something, he had no breakfast meetings in New York. His staff would probably start to get nervous around midafternoon. They’d try his cell phone and get nothing. Then they’d try the house, and if they got hold of his wife she’d tell them she had not spoken to him and, while that might be strange for some couples, it was not strange for them. The staff would alert the appropriate people at Langley, who would more than likely sit on it overnight. But if he didn’t show up for work the next morning, the feds would be brought in, and not long after that they would discover he had left the country. Rapp had no illusions that he could roll Adams and have him back at the office by tomorrow morning. That simply was not going to happen. But there was another option—one that would buy them more than enough time.

With one hand Rapp dragged the table back over and placed it in front of Adams. He set the water bottle, vodka, and glass down on the table and then withdrew a small tactical knife from his belt. He then walked behind Adams, cut the flex ties from his wrists, and said, “I think you probably need a drink.”

Rapp circled back around the room and stood facing Adams. He wanted to have a good view of what would happen next. Adams slowly lifted his head and looked at the objects sitting on the table. He hesitated and then reached out. His right hand went straight for the bottle of vodka, which Rapp had expected.

Adams clutched the bottle and spun the silver cap off, not caring that it fell to the floor. With a shaky hand he clanged the neck of the bottle against the rim of the glass and let the clear alcohol come splashing out, a good portion missing the glass. Adams set the bottle down and drew the glass to his lips, downing about three ounces of vodka in two gulps. For a moment he looked as if he was going to pour another glass, but instead he started to shake uncontrollably, and then he was sobbing again, his head on the table, cradled in his arms.

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