Home > Forsaken (The Secret Life of Amy Bensen #3)(11)

Forsaken (The Secret Life of Amy Bensen #3)(11)
Author: Lisa Renee Jones

I use my code again to unlock the steel door of the unit and open it, walking inside toward a pile of newspapers, a kid’s mini swimming pool, and six bean bag chairs, all meant to make anyone who looks inside think this unit is full of nothing but crap. I walk to the extra-large red bean bag chair and turn it over, ripping open the hole I’d sewn shut after I removed the stuffing, and pull out three duffel bags, one at a time. Despite the fact that everything that matters to me is in these bags, I lock the door again as I leave, fully intending to keep the unit for future use if needed.

Returning to the truck, I find Gia still there. Of course she is. Either she’s setting me up or she really doesn’t have anywhere to go. Throwing the bags on the seat between me and her, I climb into the cab, still without a damn clue what I’m going to do with her. I flip on the overhead light and unzip a bag that I know has a weapon inside.

“I guess you know Austin,” she observes.

“Am I supposed to believe you don’t know I grew up an hour from here?”

“How would I know? I told you. I’m just a secretary who clearly got in over her head—but with good intentions, I swear.”

She’s no secretary, I think, but I let her enjoy the false comfort of her lies. Propping my foot on the dash, I raise the leg of my jeans to wrap a gun holster around my ankle before I level her with a hard look. “Know your enemies and their territory better than they know you and yours.” I reach back inside the bag and remove a handgun. “Isn’t that why you’re here?” I challenge. “Because Sheridan thinks a pretty woman in trouble is my weakness?”

She turns and leans her back against the door, a defensive posture that tells me I’ve succeeded in making her uncomfortable, and I’m pretty sure her hand behind her back goes to the door. “I’m not a setup. I swear.”

I pop an ammunition clip into place. “Then give me a solid reason why you’re involved.”

“Will you believe me?”

“Just answer the question.”

“If you have what I think you have, it can’t end up in the wrong hands. And Sheridan is the wrong hands.”

“What is it that you think I have?”

“A cylinder that generates enough clean, safe energy to replace all other sources and make the nuclear, oil, and coal industries obsolete. And since Sheridan is an oil man, it would make him obsolete.”

It would make a lot of very wealthy and incredibly vicious people across the world obsolete, I think, but I don’t say that, or confirm or deny her words. “And you know this how? Wait. No. You know what? Don’t tell me. I’m not going to believe you, anyway.”

“Last night, I was working late and I overheard Sheridan and Sergio, the head of the chemistry department, talking about the cylinder. It’s a miracle I couldn’t believe, but the more they talked, the more certain I was they didn’t intend to let the world know—at least, not until it served their agenda. I didn’t know what to do. Fast forward twenty-four hours: I intentionally left my wallet in my desk, and came back to the office to get it and nose around. That’s when I heard Sheridan going off on Sergio, demanding he make the ‘treasure hunter’ talk. Sergio said he could make a truth serum, and Sheridan wanted it tonight. Sergio is gifted. He could do it; I know he could. I didn’t have time to weigh my actions. You were going to talk, and maybe end up dead.” She takes a deep breath. “So there you have it. That’s my story.”

“So you want me to believe you overheard this and just charged over to the warehouse to free me.”

“Yes. I told the staff that Sergio sent me to see if a woman could make you talk. They didn’t believe me, and to make a long story short, it didn’t go well. I just winged it, and here we are.”

“Why Sergio and not Sheridan?”

“To buy time. They’d call Sergio first, and he’d be confused and investigate.”

I study her long and hard, and to her credit, she doesn’t blink or look away. That gets points with me. Liars look away. I hold up the gun, the barrel facing the ceiling. “Do you know how to handle one of these?”

“I know how to shoot a gun,” she replies, her voice taking on a hint of desperation as she changes the subject. “Do you have the cylinder?”

“You know how to handle a gun,” I say, ignoring her plea for information I don’t plan to give her. “Why does that not surprise me?”

“I’m a single woman in a big city. I’ve made it a point to be able to protect myself. Chad, please—”

“You’re just a single girl who needs to protect herself. I believe that about as much as I do the one about you being Sheridan’s secretary trying to save the world from his greed.” I shove my gun into the ankle holster. “Secretaries don’t know how to set bombs.” She opens her mouth to give me some perfectly formed explanation, and I cut her off. “Don’t. A lie is just going to piss me off all over again.”

“If you believe nothing I say, then why am I here?” she demands, actually sounding indignant and angry. “Why haven’t you just dumped me or killed me?”

I face her, making sure she gets the full force of my one open blue eye that’s probably more red right now as I reply. “Because I haven’t decided if you’re useful or not.” And it’s true. Until her boss, murder wasn’t on my list of skills, but he’s changed that. Oh yeah, he has, I think, adding aloud, “I’m leaning toward no, you’re not.”

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