Sins, Lies & Spies (Black Brothers #2) (8 page)

BOOK: Sins, Lies & Spies (Black Brothers #2)
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Knox pushed open the door to his apartment. “It’s quicker with keys,” he said, arching one eyebrow.

“I brought my tools just in case,” I said, patting my pocket. “I planned to give you fifteen more minutes before I let myself in.”

One corner of his mouth twisted upward. “I guess I need to upgrade the security in my apartment.”

“You could do that, but it wouldn’t stop me. I’ve been trained by the best.” I followed him inside, pausing near the kitchen. I didn’t turn on the lights the last time I came here, so I took a few moments to survey my surroundings. The kitchen and living room were one big space separated by a kitchen counter with three bars stools and a round bistro table. Two beige colored sofas flanked a sliding glass door.

“Miles?” he said, disbelievingly.

“No, my uncle. He believed every woman should know how to pick a lock, shoot a gun, and land a punch.”

“Ah. Consider me warned.” He dropped his keys on the kitchen counter. “Do you want something to drink?”

My gaze swung to his and I pushed my fingers through my hair. “No. I’m good.”

The last thing I needed was to lower my guard around him. I needed his help, but I’d be stupid to trust him. I hadn’t figured out his motives yet. Maybe he wanted to help his client…whoever that was. Maybe he hated Miles and wanted to use me to needle him. Maybe he was knee-deep in this mess with Benton. I couldn’t be sure. I had to keep my eyes open and my mind clear.

“Are you sure?” He pulled a bottle of white wine from the wine refrigerator beneath the counter and poured himself a liberal portion. He lifted the glass by its stem and swirled it before taking sip. “I’m not going to take advantage of you if that’s what you’re worried about.”

For some strange reason, this man had the ability to read between the lines and piece together everything I was thinking.
Oh God, I hope not everything
. I didn’t want him to know the mixed, idiotic tangle of emotions he brought out in me.

“I’m not worried. I can handle myself,” I answered, contradicting him.

“Good. Because I don’t like to drink alone.” He handed me a glass, and damn my wandering eyes for noticing the way his sinewy muscles rippled beneath his fitted navy shirt. “You can sit down,” he said, as he sat in a barstool at the kitchen counter.

Nodding, I settled into a chair at the small table instead of sitting next to him. “So, where do you want to start?”

He grinned at me, then took a sip of wine before his gaze swept down my body. It almost felt like a physical touch. “What do you know about Representative Lang?”

I tapped my finger on the table. “Not much. He’s a member of the House of Representatives. He’s from a district in Northern California. He’s married with two kids.”

“Right. Now tell me what Miles wanted from his computer.”

I bounced my foot up and down, the heels of my shoes clicking against the floor like a typewriter. “Honestly, I don’t know. I told you everything I know about it already. Miles keeps me in the dark sometimes.”

“I don’t believe you,” he said archly.

I sucked in a breath. “Look. I know it sounds far-fetched, but according to Miles, I was still in training. Most of the time, we discussed the details, but he was particularly tight-lipped about this deal with Lang. He told me you might show up at the party and that you planned to lift information off Lang’s computer. He wanted me to take the thumb drives from you and destroy the computer with a virus.”

“That’s it?” he prodded, his sapphire eyes cataloging every twitch, blink, and movement I made. “Can you remember anything else?”

I angled my head as I replayed the conversation with him in my head. “Wait,” I said, wringing my hands underneath the table. “He made a passing comment about the stupidity of keeping that kind of evidence on his computer. How it would screw up everything.”

He nodded absently, then stood. “I’ll be back in a second.”

“Sure,” I said, watching him walk down the hallway without further explanation.

A few minutes later, he reappeared with a file folder in his hand. “Take a look at this.” He dropped it on the table and hunkered down on the chair across from me.

Casually, I guided the file closer to me and flipped open the cover. I flicked through picture after picture of Miles meeting with Representative Lang. One in an alley. One at the National Mall. One on the sidewalk outside of Lang’s home.

“So what? They know each other,” I said, closing the folder when I reached the last picture. “Miles isn’t working for Lang. Otherwise, Lang would’ve let Miles destroy his computer. He wouldn’t have asked me to do it.”

“You’re right. I think Miles blackmailed Lang into helping him.”

My mouth hinged opened. “Blackmailed him with what?”

“That’s what I wanted to figure out.”

My shoulders slumped. “Did you find anything on the thumb drives?”

He glanced to the side. “Not yet, but I haven’t made it through everything.”

Feeling unsettled, I swirled the gold bangles on my wrist. This story sounded eerily similar to what Derrick told me. “Does Miles demand money in exchange for his silence?”

He cupped his chin between his thumb and index finger. His eyes never veered from mine, and I felt the physical weight of his stare all the way down to the tips of my toes. “No. Miles is extorting votes out of members of the House of Representatives.”

I crossed and uncrossed my legs, the direction of this conversation making me increasingly uncomfortable. “Why? What would he get out of forcing them to change their votes?”

“I don’t think he’s doing it for himself. He’s working for someone who has a vested interest in certain legislation being passed. I have my suspicions, but I haven’t put the pieces together.”

I rubbed my suddenly numb fingertips along my thighs. “Why are you telling me this? It seems risky. How do you know I’m not part of this scheme? I could run back to Miles and tell him everything.”

“You’re right.” One side of his lips tugged upward. “I don’t know what you’re going to do, but I don’t care if you tell Miles.”

My eyebrows crinkled together. “Why not?”

Bending forward, he braced his elbows on top of the table, his hands a few inches from mine. “I haven’t told you anything Miles doesn’t know. That’s why he sent you to Lang’s party to stop me. He knows I’m getting close.”

I took a sip of the wine, and I could feel every millimeter of its descent until it hit my stomach like a leaden weight. “What do you want from me?”

“I want you to help me get evidence against Miles.”

“What kind of evidence?”

“I need to know if he is working with anyone else, if he has contacts I don’t know about. I want copies of his emails, his bank statements. Everything.”

“Why don’t you hack into his computer and his phone? Isn’t that your specialty?”

His face darkened. “I’ve been trying, but so far I’ve been unable to do it. My partner, Jack, is still working on it, but I’ve been investigating him for six months, and I’m running out of time.”

I laced my hands together in my lap. The fact that Miles had such advanced security likely meant he was into some bad stuff, but maybe I was just paranoid and it was a necessary part of his job. “I don’t think I can help.”

“You know him. You know how he works, and for the most part, he trusts you. You can infiltrate every part of his company and personal life without too much effort.”

I snorted. “I don’t think so. You saw our text messages. We’re over. He wouldn’t believe it if I called him and apologized. He’s not stupid.”

He angled his head to the side. “I know that, but I’m going to make him fight for you. Once he believes he’s won you back, you’ll have access to everything.”

I arched my eyebrows in disbelief. “Right. How are you going to do that?”

A smile spread across his face, and my heart fluttered inside my chest. He was too beautiful; too appealing. “You’re going to attend a fundraiser tomorrow night as my date.”

I chewed on my lower lip. “And Miles will be there?”


I lowered my gaze. “Why should I help you?”

“Because you need a new job and I’ll pay you. If you do a good job, I might have a permanent position for you at the end of this.”

“How much?”

He waved his hand dismissively. “Whatever Miles pays you.”

Logically, I should run fast and hard from his offer. Nothing good would come of further entangling myself in this situation, but I needed the money. For Faith. For myself. And with any luck, I could help Derrick and figure how to permanently bury any evidence linking me to my biological father.

“Fine. I’ll do it.” I took another sip of my wine, not feeling the same rush I normally did when assigned a new job. “What’s the fundraiser for?”

“It’s to raise money for Speaker Benton’s reelection.”

The wine I’d drunk sloshed uncomfortably in my gut. “Speaker Benton?”

“Yeah.” He smiled blandly, but his eyes were alert and probing. “You know him, right?”

My heart came to a grinding halt, and when it resumed, it thumped at a rate of a hundred miles per hour. “No. Not really. I’ve heard of him, and I’ve seen him at a few events, but we’ve never been introduced.”

His jaw tightened. “Really? I find that hard to believe.” His tone was cold, and a shiver of unease rippled down my spine. Did he know Derrick and I were related?

“It’s the truth,” I said, jerking my head up and down like a bobble head doll with an overly bright smile. Folding my hands in my lap, I smoothed my expression, and I mentally slapped myself for being so transparent.

“Huh, that’s interesting.” He pushed his chair away from the table, and it scraped against the floor. “We’ll have to rectify that tomorrow night. By most accounts, he’s a relatively likable guy. So is his wife.” His eyes narrowed fractionally, and I felt like I had
carved into my forehead.

“What does Benton have to do with Miles and Lang?”

“I’m not entirely sure.”

“Oh,” I mumbled, my heart squeezing. Eager to get away from him, I scrambled out of my seat. I whipped my phone out of my pocket and opened my calendar. “What’s the address of the fundraiser?”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll drop by your place at six to pick you up.”

I took a step backward, avoiding his gaze. “That’s unnecessary. I’ll meet you there.”

“I insist.” Standing, he crossed the room, pausing next to the front door. “Besides, it’ll look more convincing if we arrive together. We can’t have people suspecting our involvement is a farce.”

“Fine,” I conceded, sucking in a strangled breath. There was more to his request than that, but questioning him would be futile. He had a practiced blank look on his face that said he had no intention of enlightening me. Besides, if Miles saw me arrive alone, I’d have to face him without Knox’s support, and I didn’t want to do that. Not yet anyway. I had to unravel all the pieces to protect Derrick and myself. Only then could I turn the tables on Miles.

“By the way.” Knox opened his front door. “Has Miles ever mentioned Dima Antonov?”

I frowned. “No. Why?”

He lifted, then dropped his shoulder. “No reason.”

“Okay. See you tomorrow.”

As I left his apartment, his eyes burned a hole in my back until the elevator opened, and I disappeared inside. Once I was out of his line of sight, the knot in my chest loosened a fraction.














At five minutes after six, I pulled up in front of Trinity’s place. The day had been hell. I’d combed through the files I lifted from Lang’s computer, and I didn’t find a single link between Miles and Lang or Miles and Benton. Then, fifteen minutes before I needed to leave, I stumbled upon a series of encrypted files. Instead diving headfirst into the new obstacle, I packed up and headed home. I knew if I tried to open the files, I wouldn’t let myself leave the office for hours, and I had to keep working every angle of this case, which meant moving things forward with Trinity.

With her phone pressed against her ear, she stood on the front steps of her townhome in a curve-hugging black lace dress with a plunging neckline. She wore her hair in a loose braid that hung over her bare shoulder. Her lips were pale, and her eyes were smoky. I couldn’t tear my gaze away from her. She looked beautiful.

I jumped out of the car, jogged around the front end, and flung open the passenger side door. “Hi.”

She lifted her head, and a big smile spread across her face. My breath stuttered in my chest. Her smile was a weapon of mass destruction.

“You’re late,” she announced as she dumped her cell phone into her purse and slipped into the passenger seat.

“Sorry. I got caught up at work,” I answered once I joined her in the car.

Glancing over my shoulder, I pulled into traffic. Speaker Benton lived in a historic home in northwest D.C, near the Washington National Cathedral. His home had to be worth over ten million dollars. Members of the House of Representatives didn’t earn enough money to live like Benton, but he had family money, lots of it. His father, Richard Benton, made millions of dollars writing inspirational books on living with honor and morals. His earnings only added to the already bloated fortune of one of America’s wealthiest families. Their holdings included cable, television, radio, and newspapers. They flew under the radar, but they had their fingers in everything. As an only child and the heir to the Benton family fortune, he didn’t need to lift a finger for the rest of his life. Instead, he pursued a career as a lifetime politician.

“What’s the plan for tonight?” Trinity fidgeted nervously with the gold buckle on the front of her small rectangular purse.

“Nothing special. Just stay glued to my side. I’ll introduce you to Derrick Benton and his wife. We’ll make small talk. Then we’ll leave. We’ll be in and out in under an hour.”

“Does your plan include confronting Miles?”

“No.” I shook my head. “But if he approaches us, we’ll have to improvise.”

From the corner of my eye, I noticed her entire body tense. “What do you mean by improvise?”

My lips tipped upward. “Well, Jones, I plan to do everything within my power to make a convincing argument that you’re with me now. That means touching, kissing.” I cocked my head to the side. “You know, the things normal couples do.”

I wasn’t against a small display of affection to shove our fake relationship in Miles’s face. In fact, I looked forward to seizing any opportunity to touch, kiss and do a whole lot more with her.

Her mouth popped open, and her breath rushed out of her mouth. “Are you serious?” she hissed, sounding more appalled than I liked.

“Deadly serious,” I answered, my voice cold and flat.

“No.” Her hands shaking, she tugged on the hem of her dress. “I will not put on some cheap display in front of a bunch of people I don’t know to piss off Miles. I will stand by you. I will follow you around with a big fat smile on my face and pretend I like you. We can even touch each other in the normal course of things, but that’s it. I won’t do anything else.”

“We’ve kissed before.” I grinned, not taking my eyes off the road. “You didn’t have a problem with it. Actually, I got the distinct impression you enjoyed it.”

She smirked. “You wish.”

I chuckled. “Don’t lie, Jones. You were so into it. You didn’t utter a single word of protest when I took your gun and the thumb drive.”

“Like you pointed out at the time, I didn’t have any other options. So when you kissed me, I closed my eyes and went along for the ride.”

I tightened my hands on the steering wheel. “If it makes you feel better, you can keep telling yourself that, but we both know the truth.”

Her grin dimmed. “You know, you’re not much of a gentleman. You’re kind of an asshole,” she said, her voice strangled.

As I turned into the Benton family estate, a steady string of curses rolled through my mind. What a disaster. I needed her compliant, which meant I should be charming her instead of taunting her. She was in a good mood when I picked her up, and now I needed to start all over.

I turned off the car and waved away the valet. “I know. I’m sorry.” I shoved my hand through my hair.

“Great,” she mocked, her gaze trained out the passenger side window. “Let’s get this over with, so I can go home and go to bed.” She reached for the door handle, but I grabbed her hand, halting her exit.

“Jones, look at me.”

“What do you want?” Her head snapped toward mine and her dark braid whipped around her shoulder. Tears glimmered in her eyes.

Guilt lanced through my chest. “Dammit,” I muttered, brushing my knuckles along the side of her face, and she jerked away.

“Don’t touch me,” she hissed.

“Do you want to know why I kissed you that night?”

She shrugged. “Apparently, because it was expedient.”

“Yes, there was that. But mostly because I wanted to kiss you from the first moment you walked through Lang’s study door, so forgive me if I’d like to believe we both enjoyed it.” I brushed a kiss along the inside of her wrist and released her hand. “Now, are you ready to go inside?”

Her eyes sought out mine and she sighed. “No, but I will.”

BOOK: Sins, Lies & Spies (Black Brothers #2)
2.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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