Sins, Lies & Spies (Black Brothers #2) (5 page)

BOOK: Sins, Lies & Spies (Black Brothers #2)
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CHAPTER SEVEN

 

 

Knox

 

From the living room of Trinity Jones’s townhome, I heard keys jingle outside the door. The deadbolt clicked and the heavy paneled door pushed open.

About freaking time.

“Jesus, Knox.” Trinity froze mid-step with her hand over her heart. “What are you doing here?”

Leaning back in the chair, I propped my arms behind my head. “Returning the favor of an uninvited visit.”

As she hung her purse on a hook adjacent to the front door, her gaze flitted around the room. I’d spent the last hour rifling through her kitchen cabinets, the makeshift desk pushed against the living room wall and her bedroom. For someone in her mid-twenties, she hadn’t accumulated much stuff. Needless to say, I didn’t find anything of interest in her home. Either she lived a tediously boring life, or she routinely discarded every last piece of personal information. My instincts told me Trinity had something to hide. But didn’t we all?

She placed a small brown paper bag on the rectangular, glass entry table and leaned her shoulder against the wall. “I see that. I’m sorry you wasted your time.”

“So, tell me.” I propped my leather-soled boots onto the metal coffee table resembling a steel drum. A loud thud boomed throughout the room. “Did you tell your boyfriend I already passed along the thumb drives?”

“I did.” She licked her lower lip and glanced to the side, a tan colored cat slipping between her legs, then scurrying down the hallway. That cat had been driving me crazy for the past hour, hissing at me and stalking me from room to room. “And stop referring to him as my boyfriend,” she added. “He’s a business associate. That’s it.”

I chuckled. “I bet he blew up when you told him the thumb drives were gone.”

She pushed away from the wall and took a few steps toward me. The thick cream rug swallowed up the clattering noise of her heels. “Nobody likes to fail. Miles isn’t any different.”

“True, but I’m sure it’s worse when his ass is on the line.” I tapped my finger against my lips. “Tell me. Did he pout or throw a tantrum?”

Her eyes narrowed fractionally, and she folded her arms across her torso. “Why do you care?”

Placing my feet back on the floor, I leaned forward, planting my hands on the tops of my knees. “Jones, tell me what you know about the content of those thumb drives.”

She shrugged, but I didn’t miss the anger flash across her face before she could suppress it. “I don’t know anything. It’s not my job to know.”

I clicked my tongue against the roof of my mouth twice. “And that’s where you’re going to get yourself into trouble.”

Deep lines marred the smooth skin above the bridge of her nose. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

I stood and circled the coffee table once before I addressed her question. “You should never agree to a job unless you know every person involved and their motives.”

“Miles screens the clients. He makes sure we don’t jump into anything…” She paused for a flash of a second as though she couldn’t find the right word. “Unsavory.”

I barked out a laugh. “Everything about Miles is unsavory.”

“You’re entitled to your opinion.” She flicked her hand dismissively, her red iridescent fingernails catching the light. “But I know for a fact Miles makes sure we stay on the right side of the law.”

I pressed my lips together. “There are so many things wrong about that statement, I don’t know where to start.”

“Go ahead,” she said wearily. “I know you’re dying to tell me exactly what you think.” When I didn’t respond, she rolled her eyes. “I don’t have all night. Either finish your lecture or let me go to sleep. I’m ready for this day to end.”

“Let me make this simple.” I blew out a breath, trying to release some of the frustration boxed inside my chest. Miles had thwarted my moves for months now. I was damn sick of it. “Do you trust Miles to make the right decision every single time? Because that’s what you’re saying when you follow him blindly.”

Cringing, she ducked her head as she chewed on her lower lip. She looked so defeated. I closed the space between us and lifted her chin, forcing her to look at me when she answered. Instead, she blinked her eyes what seemed like a hundred times, then closed them as if she were pained.

My gut knotted with concern. What this woman did or didn’t do shouldn’t matter to me. Life wasn’t a picnic. People needed to look out for their interests because, at the end of the day, there were very few people who cared if you sink or swim. For some reason, I cared what happened to Trinity Jones. Twisted as it was, I couldn’t stop thinking about her from the moment she strutted into Lang’s study with her gun pointed at me. I was self-aware enough to realize I was interested in her on more than a professional level. Too bad—warm, fuzzy feelings chock full of sentiment didn’t have a place in my life.

I came here tonight for one reason. I hadn’t found enough information on the thumb drives from Lang’s computer to force him to resign, but I had a feeling Miles had all the information I needed. If I convinced Trinity to flip sides without alerting Miles, I could wrap up this case. I’d been chasing dead ends from Moscow to D.C. and everywhere in between for over six months. Jack hadn’t wanted me to take this mission, and I refused to stop now that I was so close. It slowly evolved from a paycheck into an obsession.

If I had to use the attraction simmering between Trinity and me to succeed, I’d do it. But I had to be smart about it for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, I needed to find out how much she actually knew about this case and whether she had a vested interest in the outcome, other than her job.

Second, Trinity wasn’t like any woman I knew. Generally, I lumped the women in my life into two categories—women who wanted a no-strings fuck and women who wanted marriage. I sought out the former and avoided the latter like the plague. Trinity didn’t fit neatly into either category and that alone gave me pause about my course of action.

She swallowed, and her throat bobbed up and down. I could tell she was lost somewhere in her memories. “No,” she admitted, her chocolate colored eyes popping open. “I don’t trust him. Not completely.”

I rubbed my hand down the side of my face. “That’s good. Miles is on the wrong side of this deal with Lang’s computer.”

“But I don’t trust you either.” Her tone was hard and unyielding. “So if you’re done searching my home, you can leave.”

I threaded my fingers through my hair, frustrated. “Fine, but do me a favor.”

Her nose scrunched up in disgust. “What’s that?”

“Ask Miles why the information on Lang’s computer is so important to him. Ask him how Speaker Benton is involved.”

She sucked in a breath, and her spine straightened. Silence wrapped around us, pressing against my chest like a hundred pound weight. “His client hired him to do a job. I didn’t get what he needed. It doesn’t look good. There’s nothing else to it.”

A bitter chuckle spilled from my lips. “This is about more than doing a good job for a client. I know it and I think, deep down, you know it too. What were you instructed to do with the information from Lang’s computer?”

She stared out the window over my shoulder. “He wanted me to destroy the thumb drives, then upload a virus onto the computer.” Her voice was barely audible, but somehow her words had the impact of a grenade tossed into a crowded room.

“Do you want me to tell you why he asked you to do that?”

She turned her attention back to me, and the force of her gaze speared me. She didn’t answer right away. Instead, her eyes hardened. “You mean the truth as you understand it?”

“No, the unqualified truth.”

“There’s no such thing as an unqualified truth.”

I searched her eyes. What happened to this woman to make her so cynical? “Of course there is.”

“No, there’s perception, interpretation, and wishful thinking. When you bundle all of that together, you get shades of the truth.”

Irritated with her and myself, I jammed my hands into my pockets. I glanced around her narrow townhome, taking in all the nearly non-existent details. One picture of Trinity and a younger woman resembling her sat on an otherwise empty fireplace mantle. There wasn’t a single decorative pillow on the gray sofa. The only splash of personality came from the yellow accent wall. If not for minimal clothes tucked away in the closet and the personal hygiene products in the bathroom drawers, I’d think no one lived here. I needed to dig a little more into her background to understand her strengths and weaknesses.

I stepped around her and opened the front door. “Well, when you’re ready to hear the truth, you know where to find me.”

 

***

 

“Did you find anything?” Jack said, spinning around in his chair.

I tossed my car keys on the conference table. “Nothing. Her home has fewer personal effects than a hotel room.”

Jack snorted. “Miles trained her well.”

“I don’t know about that. I got the impression her lack of personal effects had more to do with her personal preference than professional necessity.”

“Hmm.” He tapped his pen on his thigh.

“What about you?” I propped my hip on the corner of the desk. “Did you find out anything else about her?”

“Not much beyond the basic facts.” He folded his hands on top of the desk. “Her uncle raised her. She moved to D.C. days after she turned twenty-one. Her younger sister goes to college in Texas a half hour from their hometown. It looks like Trinity pays the tuition. The mom is MIA, and a dad isn’t listed on her birth certificate.” He shrugged. “No deep, dark, dirty secrets as far as I can tell, but I’ll keep digging.”

A big part of her story was missing, which made me hesitant to trust her. Trinity acted tough, but it felt like an illusion or a shell to hide all the emotional scars beneath the surface. Sure, she was strong and independent. The fact that Miles took her under his wing and trained her was a testament to her intelligence and potential. Miles was a lot of things, but dumb wasn’t one of them. He didn’t waste his time on average people. My instincts told me to roll the dice on her, but I didn’t know if my attraction to her was overruling my common sense.

“What about the thumb drives? Did you find anything else?”

“Honestly.” He ran his fingers through his already disheveled hair. “I just started digging though the information an hour ago.”

My eyebrows knitted together as I spotted the half empty bottle of beer next to his computer. “What am I missing? What aren’t you telling me?”

He blew out a breath. “Miles was waiting for me when I left the office for lunch.”

“Fuck,” I hissed.

Jack nodded. “My thoughts exactly.”

“What happened?”

“Not much. You know Miles. He never comes right out and says anything. He infers stuff.”

I stared out the window over Jack’s head. Clouds dotted the otherwise clear skyline. “I know.”

“He acted like it was a coincidence.” He waved his arm in one giant swoop. “He said he was just walking around looking for a place to eat lunch. Then the ass had the balls to ask me to join him.”

I peered at him, my eyebrow scaling my forehead. “Did you?”

“Hell no. After the shit he’s put us through over the last couple of months, I’d strangle him within twenty minutes.” He shook his head from side to side. “But I was tempted so I could hear more of his bullshit and try to figure out what he wanted.”

“Yeah.” I tugged on the sleeves of my shirt. “So what do you think he’s up to?”

He scrubbed his hand down the side of his face. “He asked if business was good. He mentioned he heard you took a trip to Moscow last month. Then he babbled about Trinity Jones for a few minutes.”

“That son of a bitch. Of course, he knew about Moscow.” I went to Moscow to get information about Dima Antonov, the person I suspected of hiring Miles to orchestrate the whole blackmail scheme. Antonov was a Russian businessman involved in a lot of nefarious shit.

Unfortunately, my trip wasn’t successful. All of the people I interrogated were careful not to give up anything. I could’ve used more forceful techniques—ones that violated the United Nations Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions—but I didn’t want to risk being detained by Russian authorities if Antonov got wind of my presence. He had enough government authorities in his pocket to make my life uncomfortable.

He nodded. “Yeah, and that means he knows you didn’t get squat while you were there.”

“What did he say about Trinity?”

His gaze collided with mine and his lips curled up at the corners. “Nothing special. He casually mentioned they were more than business associates. Then he laughed about your run-in with her at Lang’s house. He apologized for attempting to poach our work but said business was business and not to have any hard feelings.”

“And what’d you say?”

“I told him we got what we needed, but he should stay the hell away from us, and do his own dirty work.”

BOOK: Sins, Lies & Spies (Black Brothers #2)
8.12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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