Read Sanctuary Lost WITSEC Town Series Book 1 Online

Authors: Lisa Phillips

Tags: #fiction, #romance, #assassin, #suspense, #murder, #mystery, #small town, #christian, #sheriff, #witsec, #us marshals

Sanctuary Lost WITSEC Town Series Book 1

BOOK: Sanctuary Lost WITSEC Town Series Book 1
12.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub






WITSEC Town Series Book 1


Lisa Phillips


Smashwords Edition June 2014

Published by Lisa Phillips


Copyright © 2014 Lisa Phillips

All rights reserved


Paperback ISBN-13:978-1499638981 



Cover art by Kristine McCord

Images from Shutterstock





Also By Lisa Phillips




Target (A Prequel Story)





HARLEQUIN Love Inspired Suspense


Double Agent

Star Witness




Chapter 1

John Mason looked beyond the gun to the eyes
of the man about to kill him. Only a coward shot someone unarmed
and duct-taped to a chair. John couldn’t even twitch the tape was
so tight around his chest, pinning his arms to his sides so he
could grasp only air in his fists.

His breath puffed out like smoke and the
sweat on his forehead was a layer of permafrost. How long until he
sank into hypothermia? Probably not faster than it would take to be
on his back in a pool of his own brain matter…still tied to this

Two heavies stood behind him, one at seven
o’clock and one at four. The mouth-breather was starting to get on
his nerves and John had more important things to think about. Like
last requests, and not crapping his pants.

The gun being aimed at his front shifted with
the gunman’s movement. John bit the inside of his lip in a
concerted effort not to flinch.

“Think you’re a big man, don’t you? Mr. U.S.
Marshal John Mason.” The gunman’s lip curled. “That’s right. I know
all about you, the big shot who takes all the hard cases. Trackin’
down guys like me who just want to get on with their lives. I took
the trouble to escape from Allenwood. You’d think that might tell
ya’ll somethin’. You think you gonna take me back?”

John dropped the blank mask and lifted his
chin. “At this juncture, I’m thinking that option might be off the

The gunman raised the weapon and slammed it
against John’s temple. Pain struck with the strength of a
three-hundred-pound enforcer. John kept his eyes closed, swallowing
the nausea.

“Too right…” The words he said next washed
over John. He’d been living in this world too long if the
double-barreled insult didn’t even make him blink. He was going to
die here, drowned in the ocean of filth that had penetrated his
pores for the last twelve months and become part of him.

So why wasn’t he dead yet?

The gunman shifted his stance. John dipped
his head to the side and wiped the blood from his cheek onto the
shoulder of his formerly white t-shirt.

The ceiling was two stories high with bird
nests where the metal beams crossed each other. Pallets were strewn
on the floor, like someone just tossed them and walked out…fifteen
years ago. The air was thick with dust and a cat had possibly died
in the corner to his left, sometime in the past decade.

The mouth-breather was at it again, until a
car pulled up outside. “Boss is here.”

The gunman’s spine snapped straight. “Good.
I’m done dealin’ with this guy.”

Or he’d done enough to warrant an extended
sentence and didn’t want the wrap for murdering a federal agent.
Apparently, the gunman was happy to pass the privilege on up the

John kept his eyes on the door while two car
doors slammed… a third.

Four men strode in. Tailored suits, the two
at the back had automatic weapons. How many bullets were they
planning on putting in him?

The front man of the pack was more myth than
bona fide human. He never came out in daylight, never met with
anyone. Did all his business through his lieutenants and had never
in his life been convicted of anything. Why he needed an army of
federal fugitives on his payroll was open for estimation, but no
one had a clue. Least of all John.

The man’s hair was dark and slicked with
grease, his forehead completely smooth, which meant he either got
Botox or he’d had a stress-free life. John wasn’t convinced enough
to put money down on either. His suit was brown and he had an
honest-to-goodness gold tooth to brighten his smile.

“I’d shake your hand, but…” John shrugged
with his head as much as was possible.

“I see that. It’s unfortunate, I’m not a fan
of killing a man when he’s restrained.”

“Untie me then.”

“I didn’t say I wouldn’t do it. I just said
I’m not a fan.” He motioned to the gunman with his fingertips and
the gun was placed in his hand.

Everyone shifted.

It was now or never.

John said, “So, you’re the great Alphonz.
Honestly, you look more like a Charlie.”

“Is any of us really what we seem? Take you
for example. On paper John Mason is a two-strike car thief with no
assets and poor taste in shoes.”

What was wrong with his sneakers?

“However, when one digs beyond the smoke
screen, John Mason is in fact the fourth son of a deceased Kansas
plumber whose widow currently resides in Richmond, Virginia.
Dropped dead in his truck, didn’t he?”

How did Alphonz know this?

“The brother of the Dolphins newest

Nate made the team?

“And one currently unemployed, former U.S.
Army logistics specialist.”

Ben might appear unemployed on paper but he
did have a job. It was just none of them knew what it was and he
wouldn’t talk about it when they asked.

“And last but not least, the oldest son.
Grant Mason, the director of the U.S. Marshals.”

John bit down on his lip.

“In addition to this salt-of-the-earth
pedigree, John Mason also has an ex-wife who has since remarried
and an eight year old son who barely knows he exists.”

John tasted blood.

“It would be a shame for any of them to meet
an untimely demise. No?”

“What do you want?”

Alphonz lifted the gun. “It appears I already
have it. But I’m not a bad man. Do you have any last words? Some
pithy sentiment I can personally pass to your boy?”

John struggled against the tape but he was
bound too tight to move. “You don’t touch my son.”

“What do you care? It’s not like you ever see
the boy. He’s perfectly happy with his mother and step-father. I
should know, since I personally looked into it.”

A guttural noise emerged from his throat.
John tried to swallow it down but he couldn’t. His eyes filled with

“Goodbye, John Mason.”

John squeezed his eyes shut. His last breath
was a shuddered inhale.

The gun fired, followed by another—a

John felt nothing. The rear right leg of the
chair gave out and he crashed to the floor. Lights flashed on and a
wave of booted federal agents ran into the room.

Everyone scattered.

Automatic gunfire rang out and someone
returned fire. The gunman hit the floor in front of him. John tried
to shift with the chair but only got an inch. The blood from his
temple shifted to run into his eyes. John jerked harder against the
tape but he was still bound.

“Drop your weapons!”

He knew that voice and the others who yelled,
“Freeze! Federal Marshals, you’re under arrest!”

John’s chest got tight. Someone knelt by his
face and he was being jostled. He moaned at the pain in his
shoulder. The tape loosened and he was pulled to his back. A sleeve
closed in, wiping off his forehead and then he saw who it was.


“Sorry, man. Your brother couldn’t make it.
He was tied up in something but he said he’d call you later.”
Marshal Banks’ bushy gray eyebrows folded together. He flashed a
tiny light in one of John’s eyes and then the other. “Anything hurt
other than your head?”


“We’ll get you checked out.” Banks leaned
back to sit on his heels. “It’s been a long year. How are you

“Is it over?”

“Thanks to you, yes.”

John turned his head. Alphonz was on his face
with a knee in his back as the marshal cuffed him. Alphonz’s dark
gaze settled on John. “You’re a dead man.”

“Pretty sure I’m alive, actually.”

Marshal Banks squeezed the wrong shoulder.
John blacked out for a second.
“Don’t worry
about him.”

John blinked a few times and found the older
man’s face. “How’s Pat?”

“I’ll get you a phone. You can find out for

“No, he’ll be in bed.”

“Better off if you get a shower and a good
night’s rest and go see him in the morning.” Banks’ eyes shifted.
“Medics are here.”

John took a shower at the hospital. After
they admitted him and did an MRI to check for cranial bleeding.
Good for him, his luck wasn’t that bad. They kept him for
observation and he barely slept since every marshal on the east
coast traipsed through his room to shake his hand and congratulate
him on their largest take down in years.

“Good job, man. Well done.”

“Glad no one else was hurt. You did

“Congrats, Mason. Your brother must be

“Keeping all the glory in the family,

Except John had been sent in to find out why
Alphonz was recruiting federal fugitives, something he still didn’t
have an answer to.

He lay awake in the hospital room, the light
in the bathroom on and the door cracked like the nurse thought he
needed a nightlight so he could sleep. John stared at the ceiling

Why had the team breached tonight of all

The whole point of going undercover was being
out of contact. So how did they know Alphonz was going to show up
and try to kill John? There must have been someone else in
Alphonz’s operation. Or they’d gotten a tip from a fugitive with an
attack of morals who knew John’s real identity and didn’t want to
see him killed.

The whole thing was beyond bizarre. Not that
he wasn’t thankful to be alive. Even if his shoulder being put back
into place hurt more than any other injury in his life. Pain meant
you were still breathing.

Grant had to know where he was, so why hadn’t
his brother called? What could be more important to the director of
the marshals tonight than their biggest take-down in years?

John would have asked him, but Grant never
called and John didn’t remember the number.




The key stuck in the lock. John muscled open
the front door of his apartment and dumped his duffel bag on the
entryway floor. The place smelled like bleach bathroom cleaner and
the surfaces were free of dust. John found the patio door key and
opened it, trying to air out the place. His mom must have come by
or hired someone to clean.

Everything was just as he’d left it twelve
months and three days ago—when his son had been seven. Now Pat was
eight but it wasn’t long enough he’d have forgotten who his father
was. Given time, they could reconnect. If Ellen let him.

John sank onto the couch and kicked away his
boots. He gritted his teeth and stripped off the scrubs top the
hospital had given him after they cut his shirt away.

Dawn crept across the dining area between the
vertical blinds, but he didn’t sleep. Alphonz might be in custody
but John didn’t feel any of the satisfaction which should’ve been

The satisfaction he’d felt with other
undercover assignments.

By the TV he hadn’t watched in a year was a
framed picture of him and Pat when his son was about four. Pat was
on his hip and they were smiling at each other, his tiny hands
touching John’s face.

John fell asleep with the feel of Pat’s hands
on his cheeks.




Pounding on the door woke him. It was dark
and his watch said six-thirty p.m., same day. He yanked the door
open, still blinking away the blur of sleep. “What?”

“Charming as always, Jonathan.” Ellen cocked
the hip of her tiny skirt, not an ounce of fat on her. If he hugged
her she’d probably feel like a tree branch. But that would mean she
let him touch her, which hadn’t happened for a lot longer than the
four years they’d been divorced.

“It’s been a long week.”

“Your mother told me you were home and I
didn’t want to wait any longer to speak with you.”

Uh-oh, she was using her city-girl lawyer
voice. That was never good.

John shifted and looked around her. “Where’s

“That’s what I wanted to speak with you

Something heavy settled in John’s stomach.
“Come inside.”

“Perhaps you could put a shirt on.”

It wasn’t a question. John turned and flipped
on the light switch. Ellen gasped. He ignored her and trailed to
his bedroom closet where he grabbed the first t-shirt he laid eyes
on. A bruise stretched across the back of his shoulder. He could
see it in the mirror even with the dim light of his bedroom.

BOOK: Sanctuary Lost WITSEC Town Series Book 1
12.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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