Home > Last Mile (Vicious Cycle #3)(8)

Last Mile (Vicious Cycle #3)(8)
Katie Ashley

When we reached the car, our superior, Grant Peterson, was leaned against it.

“Good evening,” he said, with a smile.

“Evening,” Gavin replied.

“Did you feel like slumming a bit tonight? I mean, you’re used to your cushy office with its air-conditioning,” I said. Although Peterson was my boss, we had a comfortable rapport with each other.

Peterson laughed. “A good general always stays in the trenches.”

“I see.”

“As always, nice work, Vargas.”

“Thanks, sir,” I said as I balanced on one leg to take off my heels. I groaned in ecstasy once my feet were freed from their stiletto prison.

Glancing between the two of us, Peterson asked, “You guys got anything else tonight?”

Gavin shook his head. “We were planning on working on the debriefing first thing tomorrow morning—if that’s okay with you.”

Peterson nodded in agreement. “Since you’re free, why don’t you two let me buy you some dinner?”

Gavin’s and my eyebrows rose in unison. “Hmm, sounds like you’ve got something pretty heavy to talk to us about if you’re offering dinner,” I replied.

With a chuckle, Peterson said, “You know me too well.”

I might’ve been exhausted, with my bed calling my name, but my stomach growled in approval of Peterson’s offer. “Sounds good to me.”

Gavin chuckled. “You think I’m ever going to pass up a meal on the bureau?”

“Don’t hold your breath that it’s going to be a fine dining experience. I see a Waffle House in our future,” I teased.

“Oh, I’m way classier than that,” Peterson argued.


He grinned. “Yep. How about the one off Exit 243 in ten?”

“Okay. We’ll be there.”

Peterson eyed my attire with a grimace. Before he could say anything, I held up a hand. “I have a change of clothes in the car. Okay?”

“Good. I didn’t want to draw any unnecessary attention to us.”

I batted my eyelashes at him. “Are you saying I’m a distraction dressed like this?”

He grinned. “Let’s just say I don’t think with you dressed like that, I could sit across from you and be able to hold a serious conversation without letting my mind wander.”

Smacking his arm playfully, I replied, “You old perv.”

“You know me too well. See ya in ten,” he said before heading off down the street.

I followed Gavin across the street to the car. After we slipped inside, I asked, “What do you think is going on?”

Gavin appeared thoughtful as he cranked up. “Must be something pretty big, considering he’s wanting to discuss this over dinner rather than waiting to do it in the morning at the office.”

“That’s what I was thinking. I don’t think we’ve ever been propositioned for a case outside the bureau.” I grabbed a T-shirt out of my bag and pulled it on over my bustier. “As long as it doesn’t involve me in another ensemble like this, I’m game.”

With a snicker, Gavin pulled out into the street. “You know, Vargas, you might not spend so many nights alone if you dressed like that more often.”

I shot him a death glare before unbuttoning the flimsy skirt. As I shimmied it off my hips and down my thighs, I thought about Gavin’s comment. While he might have been joking, there was a lot of truth to what he said. I did spend a lot of nights alone. It had been at least a year since my last long-term relationship. Each one seemed to end because of the same thing: I was married to my job. Although most men found my profession sexy at first, they soon were turned off by always taking second place. In the end, I couldn’t blame them, because who really wants a relationship with a workaholic risk taker?

Shaking my head free of those thoughts, I pulled a pair of yoga pants on. I crumpled my hooker clothes into a ball and shoved them into my bag. The IHOP Peterson had chosen was in a better neighborhood than we had just been in. At the same time, it was pretty secluded, and there weren’t many customers inside. At the hostess stand Peterson requested a place for us in the very back, away from everyone else.

I slid into the booth beside Gavin while Peterson took the spot across from us. After a waitress took our orders, Peterson dug into his briefcase and got down to business. “How much do you two know about the Hells Raiders MC?”

My stomach churned at the mere mention of an MC. In that moment, I was no longer a self-possessed thirty-year-old ATF agent. Instead, I was an eight-year-old kid peering out the car window at a man in a leather cut who was about to murder my father and shatter my once-perfect existence. Just the sound of motorcycle pipes was like a PTSD trigger. Of course, the agency didn’t know that. You couldn’t afford to have any form of emotional deficit when it came to cases.

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