Body Shot(4)

By: Amy Jarecki


“Good afternoon, madam.” Mike bowed his head respectfully. “I’m looking for Miss Henrietta Anderson.”

The woman’s eyes widened just enough to express surprise and recognition. “She’s not here.” Aye, this was the auntie for certain. Mike had memorized the details Henri’s file which included a much younger picture of this woman, Anderson’s only claimed next of kin. The file included a picture of the lassie’s father as well, but that slimy piece of shite hadn’t made contact with his daughter since she was a wee child.

As the door started to close, Mike slid his foot into the gap. “I beg your pardon, madam, but I just flew over eight thousand miles to meet with Miss Anderson and I’m afraid I’m going to need a bit more information.”

“I-I don’t know anyone by that name.” The fear filling the woman’s eyes betrayed her.

Liar.

“Och, I’m afraid acting isn’t your strong suit, madam.” He pulled out his phone and, with a few flicks of his finger, tapped on a picture of the auntie with Anderson, taken twelve years past. “This is you, Chenoa, standing beside your niece. You are her only claimed next of kin. Miss Anderson was honorably discharged by the army three months ago and headed here. And dunna tell me I canna see her. I’ve come all the way from Scotland for this meeting, and I’m no’ about to tuck my tail and head for home without having a wee conversation.” Mike gestured to the chain. “And if you think that bit of metal will protect you from the likes of me, you are sorely mistaken.”

The woman tipped up her chin as if daring him to try something. “Are you threatening me?”

“Nay. I’m speaking my mind is all. Now please, call the lass. I’ll have my say and be on my way.”

“She’s not here.”

Exercising restraint, he cracked his knuckles rather than breaking the damned chain. “Where is she?” he asked, his voice as calm as the pleasant expression he cemented on his face.

“Someplace no white man will ever find her.”

Mike heaved a sigh and pocketed his phone. “I might be white, but I’m no’ the enemy.”

“Then why are you here?”

“I aim to offer her a job.”

“What kind of job?”

“One that will make good use of her talents.”

“She had a job like that and ended up in prison on false charges for two years.”

“Aye, but I can guarantee her immunity—ongoing immunity.”

The woman frowned, her eyes narrowing with distrust.

Mike pulled a business card out of his top pocket. Four copies had been made for this mission. Since ICE was a clandestine organization, it only contained his name, a phone number and the words Intelligence Consulting Services. They meant nothing but might help Henri understand the nature of the job he’d come to offer.

No, he didn’t want to use the cards at all—because he wouldn’t be there if Garth hadn’t made that bloody wager. No one in their right mind would want to be chasing the woman. Not after the rebuff she’d given Lindgren at Miramar. However, now that Henrietta had a few months to cool off, she might reconsider. At least that was the plan.

“Tell her I’ll be at The Black Bear Diner at o-eight-hundred tomorrow morning. I’ll buy her breakfast. If she doesna like what I have to say, she can walk away with a full belly.”

Chenoa took the card, read the front and turned it over to find the back blank.

“Will you tell her?” Mike asked.

“I can’t make any promises.”

“It’s just breakfast, madam.”

The woman pursed her lips, making her face look like a prune. “You know the army ruined her life. She won’t want to speak to anyone.”

“I dunna represent the Americans or the military.”

The woman looked at the print on the card again. “This says you’re a consultant. Who do you represent?”

“The good guys.”

She snorted, giving him the evil eye as if she wasn’t impressed. “I’ll do what I can.”

Mike bowed. “Thank you.” The door closed as he walked away. Before he hopped into his Jeep, he pulled another device from his pocket and attached it to the wheel-well of the Chevy where it would be out of sight. Dammit, he no intention of leaving the success of this mission in the hands of Auntie Chenoa.

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