Don't Look Down Read online

  "Captain Wilder?"


  "Bug Nash. Leave him alone. Let him do his thing."

  "Nash may be having problems."

  Crawford breathed heavily into the phone. "What kind of problems?"

  "His pilot canceled the cargo net that was supposed to hold the jade. I think that's what it was supposed to hold."

  "So where are they going to put it?"

  "In the chopper. Which makes me think there won't be as many people in there as Nash had planned."

  "Double cross and Nash figured it out," Crawford said. "Fuck." He was silent for a moment. "They got the coordinates from Finnegan. They cut him out. Nash is delivering the art without him. Bug Nash."


  "Just do it, damn it."

  The phone clicked off.

  "Well, I would but you didn't give me a second bug," J.T. said to the dial tone.

  "Oh, great," Lucy said. "Who else was killed?"

  "Two of the guys who attacked Bryce and me in the bar. They worked for Finnegan, his muscle. The fight wasn't an accident. Finnegan wanted to take me out early in the game."

  "There were three guys," Lucy said, her heart pounding. "Do you think the third guy is the killer?"

  J.T. shook his head immediately. "No. Thin Man is the one whose knee I took out. I think he probably crawled away to hide until things clear up. Like Judgment Day, maybe."

  "Thin Man?" Lucy said. "Thin Man. You named them, too?"

  "Got to identify the targets," J.T. said, but Lucy could tell his mind was elsewhere.

  "What was the seven-point-sixty-two thing?"

  "Seven-point-six-two," he corrected. "Caliber of the bullet."

  "Is that important?"

  "Everything is important," J.T. said. "Means the ghost probably used a sniper rifle to take the security guys out. Then came in close with a smaller caliber suppressed weapon to finish Finnegan. Which means he wanted something from Finnegan." J.T. shook his head. "This is over. It's too damn dangerous now. These people will do anything."

  Lucy sighed her relief. "Thank you. I told Daisy to pack because we were getting out of here right after the shoot. But we can tell everybody to go now. I don't care where we go, just so it's out of here, away from this damn bridge and that helicopter."

  "LaFavre's quarters at Hunter Army Airfield," Wilder said. "You'll be safe there for the next twenty-four hours."

  "Good." Lucy picked up the phone to punch in Daisy's room number. "Pepper will be thrilled to be on the road with you. She'll probably want to ride in the Jeep with her WonderWear and LaFavre's sunglasses."

  "Works for me," J.T. said.

  "And when she finds out she's staying with her buddy Rene," Lucy said and then frowned at the phone as it rang again. "Come on, Daisy, pick up." It rang again and again, and Lucy began to feel cold.

  "What's wrong?"

  "She's not answering." Lucy swallowed. "J.T., she's not answering."

  "She's probably in the bathroom," he told her, but five minutes later, Lucy made him open Daisy's door with a credit card and they found her on the bed, unconscious, a glass overturned on the bedside table.

  "Daisy," Lucy said and then saw the empty pill bottle next to a glass. A second glass.

  "She had a drink with somebody," she said, but J.T. was already calling the front desk, telling them to send a doctor fast.

  Lucy turned to him, shaking. "She's breathing, but she's out cold. I can't rouse her."

  "Pepper?" J.T. called out. "Come out, honey, it's okay. Pepper?"

  Lucy lost her breath. "Where is she? Pepper?"

  "I don't know." J.T. looked ill. "Fuck, I should have listened to you and got you all out of here."

  "Oh, God, they didn't take her, tell me-"

  Her phone rang and Lucy started.

  "Answer that," J.T. said grimly. "He's going to tell us what we have to do to get Pepper back."

  Wilder watched Lucy pull the phone from her bag, her hand shaking. He wasn't sure if it was fear or anger or both, but he was sure she wasn't going to be able to handle the call. He held out his hand and Lucy passed the phone over as it rang again. "Talk," he snapped into it.

  There was a short burst of laughter. "This my man from the swamp? I've got the girl. You and your woman, the Director, you do the stunt tonight. You stay out of the way, and the little girl's back to you. Unhurt. If not…Well, there was Finnegan. And his two guards."

  Wilder reined in his anger. "Prove you have her."

  The laughter again, an edge of craziness to it that Wilder had heard before, but only in combat. "Sure. She never shuts up anyway. Hold on."

  There was a pause and Wilder looked up to see Lucy staring at him with desperate eyes. He tried to give his reassuring smile, gave up on that, and just mouthed, It will be all right.

  Lucy's expression didn't change.


  Wilder recognized Pepper's voice. She sounded a lot saner than the man who had her and more calm than the two people in the room here terrified for her.

  "Hey, sweetie," Wilder said. Lucy was holding her hand out for the phone, but Wilder knew that was not a good move. "Are you okay?"

  "I do not like this babysitter," Pepper said.

  "I don't like him, either," Wilder said. "But for right now, be nice to him. Then we'll come and get you."

  "I know," Pepper said. "He said mean things, and I told him you are very dangerous when you are protecting me."

  "Very dangerous," Wilder said and thought, I'm going to kill the son of a bitch. "Be brave and we will come and get you."

  "Soon?" Pepper said, her voice going higher.

  "It's going to be a while, Pepper," Wilder said. "We have to shoot the last movie scene before the babysitter will bring you to us. But we will hurry."

  "Okay," Pepper said, not sounding okay.

  "Pepper, I will get you as soon as I can," Wilder said, wanting to crawl through the phone to her. "I swear to you-"

  "I know," Pepper said. "I'm your egg.''

  "Damn right," Wilder said, his throat closing, and then the ghost took the phone back.

  "She's alive. Do everything I say, and she stays that way."

  "You hurt her, and I will spend the rest of my life tracking you down."

  "Oooohhhh. I'm scared." He laughed. "I'm too fast and too good. You were slow in the swamp. You'll be too slow again."

  "What did you give Daisy?' Wilder demanded.

  "Not a damn thing. Wasn't even there. Just do the stunt tonight and you get your egg back. Try anything funny, and hey, eggs crack."

  "No," Wilder said. "'They don't. I want you to answer with proof of life from this phone every time I call, or we stop filming."

  "You stop filming and-"

  "You hurt the kid, you're done. You keep her safe and happy, we do the stunt exactly as planned."

  The phone went dead. Wilder hated turning the phone off.

  "Who the hell was that?" Lucy demanded.

  Wilder looked at Lucy. "The ghost." He saw the look on Lucy's face and realized he'd used the sledgehammer without meaning to. "We do the stunt, we get her back."

  Lucy swallowed. "He's the guy who tortured Finnegan." She looked ill.

  "We will get her back," Wilder said as somebody knocked on the door. "I swear it."

  Then he went to let the doctor in.

  Tyler stood on edge of the roof of the abandoned grain tower, the highest place around other than the bridge and the hotel, and stared across the river at the bright lights of Savannah. The sniper rifle rested on the concrete to his left, complete with bipod and thermal sight. Ready and waiting.

  He pivoted right and looked at the bridge. The film crew was beginning to set up lights and cameras and put out cones, closing off the side of the bridge heading from Georgia into South Carolina. Damn right.

  "So you should have games and stuff."

  "What?" He turned to see the Kid sitting on the roof behind him, her back against a smokestack. She'd gotten dir