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The Laws Of Passion
By Linda Conrad
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneShe'd be damned if some kid was going to tell her how to do her job.
No way was Dana Aldrich going to stand still for having this assistant's assistant insist she change into something more 'suitable'. As far as she was concerned, jeans were exactly right for this assignment. The newbie could just go do something useful ... like ... like ... soak his head.
"Look, Special Agent Aldrich," the assistant continued unwarily. "Your suspect is accustomed to dating fashion models. To get him to talk you'd better look like one."
Before she could open her mouth to tell him what she really thought of his suggestions, the office door swung wide and in strode the man whose opinion she valued above all others. Special Agent-In-Charge, Steve Simon, who was currently acting as the SAC for the Atlanta field office.
"SAC Simon, good to see you." She kept the excitement over seeing her old friend out of the tone in her voice.
"Are you having a problem, Special Agent Aldrich?"
"Not a bit, sir," she replied as she straightened up.
"I'm just preparing for a new assignment and this yahoo wants to tell me how ..."
"Excuse us a minute, Mr. Renuart." Steve shot Dana a quick look meant to keep her quiet while the administrative assistant took his leave.
"It's not like you to balk at instructions, Dana," Steve said, once the door was closed. "This new assignment you've drawn is politically sensitive. Marcus Danforth's father is an important businessman in this state.And he's also the front-running candidate for the U.S. Senate seat."
"I understand that," she told him. "But daddy Abraham Danforth's youngest son is not above the law. And Marcus Danforth should be the first to know it, too - considering that he's the corporate attorney for his family's company."
"Being accused of racketeering and being guilty are two different things, Dana. You know that."
She did know that very well. But she was also well aware that children of the extremely rich very often grew up spoiled. Maybe this one wanted to compete with his older brothers in the moneymaking department. And maybe he wanted it badly enough not to care how he went about it.
"What I know is that we've been trying to make a case against this cartel. We've had informants tell us that they're using the coffee suppliers as a front for money laundering ... and are probably using their shipping company to bring drugs into the country. But we can't prove it."
Steve nodded. "Every time we get close, an informant dies. That doesn't exactly make it easy to get others to tell us what they know."
"Well, if Marcus Danforth knows anything, I'll get to the truth." It was her job to find informants and offer them deals. "Is my cover all set?"
"Your credentials and backstory are on Renuart's desk. I've obtained the intro you'll need to stay close to Marcus." Steve stopped and put a hand on her shoulder. "Be vigilant, Dana. I'm not concerned about Marcus Danforth being violent. If anything, I truly believe his life might be in danger. But politics and drugs can be a deadly mixture."
He smiled at her. "And I don't want to lose my best undercover special agent."
"Don't worry," she said as she picked up her denim jacket. "As long as I don't have to wear spike heels, nothing is going to keep me from getting Danforth to roll over. That's my job and I'm the best at it."
Yep. Rich kid and Harvard grad, Marcus Danforth, had just better watch out. She was ready to go to work.
"God, Adam, do I ever need a shower," Marc Danforth said, as he and his brother stepped out of the Chatham County Jail and strode toward the parking lot.
"We'll have you home in a jiffy." Adam handed him his coat jacket. "There seems to be a nip in the air all of a sudden. Sorry I had to park so far away."
Marc thought the early October air felt wonderful. Better than any air he'd ever breathed. He reveled in the ability to fill his lungs with the free oxygen.
"No sweat. I needed the walk anyway." Marc shrugged into his jacket. "I never figured a few hours in a jail cell could be so bad. I appreciate you coming to get me."
Marc felt a slight chill and stuffed both hands into his pockets. In one, he found the silk tie he'd been wearing yesterday - just where he'd left it. Well, at least the cops had an honest property system.
"No problem," Adam said. "Dad was here, too, most of the time. But when the reporters started showing up, I convinced him to slide out the backdoor. He said he'd talk to you later."
"I'll bet he's not real thrilled with me." Marc figured his father would probably be incensed that this arrest would cast his Senate campaign in a bad light.
"Ian is with him right now." Adam pulled his keys from his pocket and showed Marcus which way to walk toward the car. "It's clear to all of the family that this is a frame-up by the drug cartel. Ian's been fighting them off for nearly a year. First the threats, then that explosion and now this. Dad knows our battles have nothing to do with his campaign."
Marc nodded and breathed a sigh. Nothing much had mattered in his life for a long time. But family still mattered.
Family. He thought of the beautiful woman he'd met in his brother's office just a day earlier. He'd never seen Adam serious about a woman before, but he was willing to bet this relationship was going to last a while. "Does Selene know about my arrest?"
Adam smiled wryly. "I was with her when Dad called."
"Oh, hell." Marc blew out a weary breath, realizing what that meant. "A thousand apologies aren't going to be enough, are they?"
Excerpted from The Laws Of Passion by Linda Conrad Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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