Shacked Up Excerpt

Shacked UP_1400

Another glance into the rearview mirror made Mark certain he was being followed.

The red Escort had been two cars behind him ever since he left Pearce’s apartment. Always two cars, never more and never less. Just like Morgan would have learned in FBI training.

Mark turned his attention to the stoplight before him. He needed to stay calm and think; that was his priority. He had known the day would come when Morgan would show up again, but Mark had thought he and Pearce might have had a little more time.

The light changed, and Mark burned rubber as he sped through the intersection. He shifted his gaze from the street in front of him to the rearview mirror, watching with satisfaction as the red Escort became mired behind a city bus and a minivan.

He took the next right, then made another right and backtracked a few blocks, turning right again. He came to a stop at a red light on the street he had just left. If his calculations were correct, he was now behind the red Escort, driven, perhaps, by Robert Morgan, the traitor FBI agent who had tried to kill them both back in Detroit. Now was his chance to find out for sure. He should be able to move up alongside the Escort and get a look at the driver.

As he waited for the light to change, Mark picked up his cell phone and dialed Pearce’s number. Now that he had seen the Escort a third time, he needed to tell Pearce.

“Hey.” Pearce’s voice, gruff as usual, was also tainted with boredom. He was stuck behind a desk—light duty, they called it—compiling database search requests sent to him from agents in the field during his recuperation from injuries sustained on the job. Despite the tension of Mark’s situation, the sound of Pearce’s voice brought to mind thoughts of the man, and Mark could see Pearce as clearly as if he were sitting in the seat next to him: short-cut brown hair, normally alert brown eyes heavy with boredom, his six-foot-four, muscular frame cramped at his desk. The image sent a shock of lust right to his crotch, as usual.

“Hey.” Mark cleared his throat, made himself focus on the issue at hand. “Um, so… Have you noticed anyone following you to work lately?”

“What do you mean?” Pearce asked, his tone sharpening immediately, FBI instincts kicking in. “You all right?”

Before Mark could answer, the driver behind him honked the horn. The light had turned green.

“Sorry!” Mark lifted a hand to the driver in apology and turned the corner, the phone still held to his ear.

“Mark?” Pearce demanded answers and assurance, just like normal. It was just another day here in Washington, DC; things were going to be okay. “What’s going on? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I’m okay. I just…” Mark maneuvered his way through traffic, paying only half attention to what he was saying to Pearce.

“Goddammit, Mark,” Pearce snapped. “Stop talking while you’re driving. It’s dangerous and illegal here. Pull over and tell me what’s going on.”

Mark grunted, his gaze bouncing between cars lined up in front of him, searching for the red Escort. It was nowhere in sight, and something tightened inside his chest, threatening his ability to breathe. Before, when he had seen the Escort behind him, he’d been scared, but at least he had known where the threat lay. Now he had no idea of the car’s location, and that, it turned out, was much worse.

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