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Urness abruptly stopped, looked up at his friend with a seriousness that he usually saved for his clients, and blurted out, “I think you drink too much.”

Adams looked away nervously and chuckled. “Come on, Kenny,” he said with forced levity, “a guy’s in New York for the night. What’s wrong with wanting to get a little lit up?”

“Nothing if you’re some tire salesman from Akron in town for a convention, but you, my friend, are no salesman. You have wandered out onto a very dangerous cliff. One tiny misstep, and splat.” Urness clapped his hands together to emphasize the point.

“I am well aware of what I’m doing.”

“I’m not so sure. If we’re going to do this, I want you to keep your drinking under control.”

“Hey,” Adams said in an easy tone, “I’m not going to tell you that I don’t like to drink, but I’m not driving. I’m just trying to blow off a little steam.”

“Yes, you are, and as your friend I’m telling you to tone it down. This shit is serious. If you fuck this up, Glen, and don’t handle it perfectly, you could end up in jail or worse.”

“Message received.” Adams put up his hands, feeling a bit embarrassed.

“Good, because I’m going to keep an eye on you. Now let’s get you in your car. I need to get home and review a case before I go to bed.”


ADAMS and Urness found themselves huddled under the small awning outside the restaurant with their umbrellas in hand. Each man scanned the rain-splattered windows of the closest executive cars in search of a white placard with his name. Adams was lucky. His car was only twenty feet away. Urness said a rushed goodbye and then hurried away, darting between the puddles. At each passing sedan he stopped to search for his name. Adams plotted his own course and bolted for the rear passenger door of his Lincoln Town Car. He opened the door, closed the umbrella, and ducked into the back-seat.

The driver gave him a polite nod and a soft “Hello,” followed by a “Back to the hotel, sir?”

Adams was half tempted to ask him if he knew of any good bars and then thought better of it. Urness’s admonition about his drinking had wounded his pride. “Yes, my hotel, please.” Adams was already looking out the window, his mind trying to justify the joy he received from a good glass of booze or bottle of wine. A guy like Urness didn’t understand. He was too focused on his career to enjoy the other things life had to offer. Come to think of it, the man didn’t have a single hobby or passion other than the law.

Besides, Adams thought to himself, I’d like to see Urness walk in my shoes for a month, let alone six years. Adams felt like General Custer at times—surrounded by savages, trying to fight the good fight. Every day brought a new level of duplicity and treachery. The entire clandestine service and most of the leadership at Langley was staffed by professional liars and manipulators, men and women who had not an ounce of respect for the Constitution and the coequal branches of the Republic. There was nothing wrong with the occasional drink, he decided. He would just have to be a little more discreet about it.

Adams looked out the window as they rolled through a busy intersection. Despite the concern over his drinking, he was pleased with the pact he’d made with Urness. Considering how complicated it was, he felt the night couldn’t have gone better. Adams smiled at his bold step, allowed himself to think how sweet victory would feel when the rotten house of Langley came tumbling down on itself.

Adams realized he hadn’t felt this good in months. It was as if a massive yoke had been lifted from his exhausted shoulders. This was going to be fun—turning it around on them. He loved the irony. He was going to use one of their own ploys to take them down. He’d come to think of it as his own little covert operation. He would have to continue in his role as inspector general and look, with feigned zeal, for the leaker. He’d have to be careful, though, to not seem too eager. The operatives, while not bright, were at least instinctive. If he changed his behavior too much they would sense it, so he would have to do his job, while letting it be known that he had warned all of them this day would come. Adams couldn’t wait to see the looks on their faces when the news broke.

The car hit a pothole and began to slow. He looked up and was about to ask the driver why he was pulling over, when suddenly the driver’s-side rear door opened. A dark figure dripping with water glided into the vehicle and took a seat next him. Before Adams had the chance to figure out who it was, the door was closed and the car was moving again. Somewhere in a seemingly distant part of his brain he heard the automatic locks slam into place with an ominous thud. His mind was suddenly racing to understand what was going on. Why was this strange man in his car? Adams was about to ask him just that, when the man turned to face him.

The alcohol caused a slight delay in connecting the dots, but Adams knew instantly who he was looking at. The jet-black hair with a touch of gray at the temples, the olive skin and eyes so dark they looked like two pools of oil—they all belonged to none other than the CIA’s chief thug—Mitch Rapp. But what in the hell was Rapp doing in New York City, let alone his car?

“What?” Adams stammered. “What in the hell are you doing?”

“How was your dinner?” Rapp asked in a casual tone.

“My dinner? What in the hell are you doing? Get out of my car rig

ht now!” Panic crept into his voice as his inhibited brain began to comprehend the gravity of the situation.

“Easy, Glen,” Rapp spoke in a deep, calm voice. “You’re in no position to be handing out orders.”

“The hell I’m not!” Adams reached inside his jacket.

Rapp made no effort to stop him. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“I’m calling the attorney general, is what I’m doing!”

Rapp let out a protracted sigh, followed by, “Put your phone down.” He’d figured this was how Adams would react. Rapp took his gloved right hand, brought it up by his left shoulder, and unleashed a backhanded slap that caught Adams square in the nose. The blow was just enough to stun. Rapp did not want him bleeding—at least not yet.

Adams yelped like a dog and dropped the phone at the same time. He instinctively brought both hands up to cover his face and began complaining loudly.

Rapp grabbed the phone and started patting Adams down; sliding his hands around his waist to make sure there wasn’t another phone or pager that he didn’t know about.

“Take your hands off me!” Adams demanded.