Don't Look Down Read online

  "What part of 'follow my lead' didn't you get?" Wilder asked Lucy.

  Lucy turned eyes like razors on him. "The part where you suck up to the bad guy, boss me around, and put my team in danger.' She was so mad, she practically bounced in the seat. "You saw him, J.T. He doesn't give a damn about anybody; he'd blow up the whole set if it'd get him what he wanted. That son of a bitch is a lying, thieving bastard, and you're flipping his cane around like a majorette on speed and then giving it back to him like-"

  "Hey." Wilder held up the small tracker Crawford had given him.

  "What's that?"

  "A tracker. Homes in on a small transmitter-a bug. That I just planted on Finnegan."

  Lucy blinked. "When did you do that?

  "Just now. On his cane. Under the horse's head."

  "Oh." Lucy's face eased. "Oh. That was pretty good." She looked over at him. "You think he's going to keep his word?"

  "I think so," Wilder said. "It gets him nowhere to hurt people on the movie, Lucy. He just wants his helicopter so he can do what he needs to do."

  "Which is?" Lucy said.

  "Meet Letsky somewhere with the damn art."

  Lucy took a deep breath. "All right. All right then."

  "Plus, LaFavre will back me up if I need him."

  "That hound?"

  "He's the best at what he does," Wilder said. "We've been in some rough places together and we're both still breathing and have all our working parts because we have each other's backs."

  Lucy considered that. "Okay. So now you tell me what the plan is for tonight. You do have a plan, right?"

  "Right," Wilder lied.

  "Good," Lucy said. "I'm waiting."

  "Give me a minute." A plan, Wilder thought, and concentrated on that all the way back to the hotel.

  Wilder was in Lucy's hotel room, checking his gun and trying to figure out all the places the plan he'd come up with could go wrong, when she came out of the bathroom wearing a thick, fluffy white robe, looking delicious with no makeup, her long, dark hair wet from her shower.

  Different plan, he thought, but the look she gave him was cool.

  "What are you doing?" she said, dropping her eyes to the Glock.

  "I called room service," he said, trying not to think about how naked she was under the robe.

  "Oh." Lucy nodded at the gun. "Usually you don't shoot them. Tipping is good, though."

  Somebody knocked on the door, and Wilder got up and hovered near Lucy's shoulder as she checked the peephole.

  "It's the waiter," she said, patiently.

  "All right, all right." Wilder put the gun back in the holster as he went back toward the window. Lucy signed the check and thanked the waiter, and when Wilder fumbled for his wallet, she said, "I tipped him on the check."

  Damn. He'd have to learn how to do room service. Lucy tied the sash on her robe tighter and smiled at him. It wasn't the warmest smile she'd ever given him, but it was a smile.

  Lots of room service, he thought.

  As the door shut, Lucy turned over two cups on the tray and poured them each some coffee from the large white carafe. "You're better with your gun than your wallet."

  "I told you, I never had room service before."

  "Where have you been staying? Under a rock?"

  "Almost. Afghanistan. Iraq. Kuwait. Thailand. Other places. No room service." The coffee was good, Wilder thought as he drained the tiny cup in one gulp.

  "I can just give you the pot and you can drink from there." This time her smile was better.

  "So we okay?" he asked, and her smile faded.


  Damn. He sat down on the edge of the bed. "Look, I'm sorry I didn't tell you about my two ex-wives, but you have to trust me."

  "I do," she said, not meeting his eyes as she picked up her cup.

  "No, you don't,' he said. "And that's going to be a problem."

  "Tonight?" She shook her head. "I'm not stupid, I'll do what you tell me."

  "Not just tonight. After tonight."

  "There is no after tonight." She sipped her coffee, staring out the window. "I think you made that pretty clear."

  "No, I didn't," he said, exasperated. "I said we had to take it slow."

  "Well, I'm leaving tomorrow." She turned back to him, her brows snapping together. "You take it slow, and I'll wave to you from New York."

  Fuck. "Lucy-"

  "I'm sorry," she said, putting down the cup. "I know we don't have time for this. Look, I'm mad, and I know that's dumb. I trust you not to lie to me. I'll do what you tell me to. But I know that if it comes down to me or the mission, it'll be the mission. That's just who you are. This is a professional relationship, not-"

  "No," Wilder said and meant it.

  "It was out there with Finnegan. You were all business out there."

  He shook his head. "I honestly believe you and everybody else will be safe tonight. It would work against Finnegan to hurt anybody. He doesn't want cops and medics and firefighters on that bridge. He just wants his helicopter in the air with the movie shooting so he can fly over the swamp without anybody getting suspicious."

  "The swamp." Lucy nodded. "That's where Nash is picking up Finnegan?"

  "I'm guessing in the Wildlife Refuge. That's why we shot those helicopter scenes there." And why Karen was programming her GPS with waypoints.

  "So that's it? Nash gets on the helicopter and flies off with Karen to pick up Finnegan?"

  "With Karen and Doc. To pick up Finnegan and his goons and the art. Yeah. And then to wherever Letsky is. And the rest of us go home. They have no reason to hurt anybody, Lucy, and lots of reasons not to."

  She nodded, and then came over and sat down beside him on the bed, which pretty much wrecked that train of thought. A strand of her hair slipped over her shoulder and caught on the terrycloth of the robe. He wanted to reach out and stroke it back, but he wasn't sure. Wait.

  "That makes sense," she said. "But if something goes wrong-"

  "Then it's over. We evacuate the bridge and everybody goes home." He felt a chill. She'd go back to New York, just like she'd said. That was something they'd have to work out. He wasn't sure what his future held, but with her sitting close, he was suddenly damn sure it held Lucy.

  "Okay." She smiled at him weakly. "I trust you." She lifted her chin and kissed him, and he closed his eyes and thought, No, you don't. "I'm sorry I was so bitchy about the ex-wives," she said softly. "You're right, I moved too fast and didn't give you any time. Hell, I stalked you in the swamp. So I'm sorry about that-"

  "I'm not," Wilder said, alarmed.

  "-And about moving too fast and thinking this is more than it is, which is two healthy people enjoying a quick fling."

  "Lucy," he said, "that's not-"

  "And now here we are," she said brightly, "all alone in a hotel room with a perfectly good bed and a couple of hours to kill. And I have to tell you, last night was good. So I don't think we should waste this, do you? Nothing beyond right now, no future, just this for right now." Lucy-

  "Do you want me?"

  "God, yes," Wilder said.

  "Well, then." Lucy began to untie the belt to her robe.

  He stopped her. "Wait a minute."

  Her strained smile evaporated. "Don't tell me. No sex before the big game." She retied her belt. "Fine."

  "You don't trust me," he said. "And you're not the kind of woman who's going to be happy having sex with somebody she doesn't trust."

  Lucy looked exasperated. "I told you-"

  "Prove it," he said.


  He got up and went to her duffel bag and looked through it until he found her WonderWear and under that her gold-painted Lasso of Truth.

  "Uh, J.T.?" she said. "You're not going to be one of those guys who can only get it up if I'm in costume, are you?"

  He dropped the WonderWear back in her bag and picked up the rope. Then he crooked his ringer at her.

  "Oh." She cleared her throat. "Well, it's not