Shadow of the Moon
Devlin Kreed used to be one of the best Navy SEAL snipers in the business. They called him Moon Devil, because he preferred to hunt his targets during the darkest part of the night.
When he took out a high-value target, his career disintegrated. The SEALs kicked him out the door as a liability. It had all been a ruse, though, part of a CIA relocation op. The CIA promised him they would have his back, but they hung him out to dry, letting him take the fall for killing the target.
Now, there's a voice on the phone offering him an astronomical amount of money to take out the same man again. Because the CIA messed up. While trying to extract information, the murderer escaped them, and the world is now a much more dangerous place.
CIA agent Amberly Temple knew something was hinky as soon as the folder hit her desk. It was a cold case, but one of the most high-profile ones in her department, and she suspects a dirty agent. She must be getting close because as she tracks down witnesses and backtracks the investigation, someone tries to take her out.
Luckily her former SEAL ex-husband is there to save her ass...
Dev sighed as he glanced over at the buzzing cell-phone. Unknown again. In the days of spam call after spam call, the caller had to assume that he wouldn’t pick up. If they left a message, he would return the call, but until then they could rot in hell for all Dev cared.
“No, I don’t need to renew my car’s warranty,” he murmured to no one in particular.
He reached for the yellow wire at the back of the camera he was mounting and paired it with the corresponding wire coming out of the wall. Using a blue butt, he twisted the two wires together and secured the connection. Then he did the same with the blue wire and screwed the device into the pre-drilled holes. Fitting the smoke detector over top of it, he snapped it into place. The camera was secure when he was done, and he knew most people wouldn’t even see it when they walked through the main door of the Allen Insurance Company.
Jack Allen was a bit of a drinking buddy, and he’d given Dev this job when he lost a bet as to whether or not Dev could find whoever was responsible for stealing all the creamer from his personal fridge. It was a ridiculous bet, but a genuine concern for Jack, because someone had been in his private office when he wasn’t there. Anyway, it got Dev’s foot in the door to do security hookups for the entire Allen Insurance Group, which covered most of the lower half of Tennessee state. It was a good gig, a big gig, and Jack had signed the contract, shaking his head and chuckling the entire time.
Dev didn’t care. It started out as fun, but there’d been a thread of calculation when he’d made the bet. There might have also been a thread of calculation when he picked the bar he knew Jack drank at every Friday. This was a big contract, and he would not let it slip away. When the direct approach hadn’t worked on Jack, he’d had to be a little sly. Whatever, it was a long-term contract, and he would do the best security work he could. Might even be enough work to pay for another tech.
Dev had five men on staff, now, working every day to keep up with the contracts. They were all men he trusted and had vetted and trained himself. Two of them he considered true friends.
His phone buzzed again, this time with a text message.
Senses suddenly on high alert, he flicked his gaze around, but didn’t see anyone or anything suspicious. The windows, though, only showed dark night outside, with a few parking lot mercury vapor lights, their orange glow not enough to chase away the night. There could be an entire SEAL team on the other side of the lot, and he would have no way of knowing.
Moon Devil. Two words that sent chills down his spine. No one had called him that for a very long time, going on three years. Had it really been that long? Yes. He remembered the date his life had gone to hell as if it had been yesterday, because it had sent him into the worst professional crisis he’d ever had. Worst personal crisis, as well. It had ruined him in every way imaginable, and now someone was using his name to get to him.
His throat closed up and he turned his attention away from the phone and windows. Whoever was on the other end of that text message he wanted to avoid, because all the old shit would get stirred up; the betrayal, the loss, the desperation. It had taken him a long time to get back on an even keel, and he wasn’t going to risk it for anything. That name was dead to him.
The phone buzzed again, and he looked at it, reluctantly. Tango 11 is on the loose.
His determination not to submit wavered, shock rolling through him. Whoever it was, they knew how to get to him. Was it the Navy? CIA? One of his former best friends that had turned on him when his life and reputation had gone to hell?
Jaw firming, he powered down the phone and tossed it into the toolbox. It was after seven at night, so he technically wasn’t on the clock anymore. Since he was the boss, he ran his schedule as he liked, preferring to do the wiring of the security after business hours so that the employees had no idea he’d even been there. Because that was who he was after, the employees. When a business got to be as big as Allen Insurance Group, internal theft and embezzlement could be an enormous problem, and since insurance companies were one of the top three companies that experienced employee theft, Dev knew he would find something. Or someone. Even Jack knew something was going on with his bottom line, but he couldn’t pinpoint it.
That was why Dev was in here doing all the grunt work himself. Just like with the damn creamer, he would figure out who it was and let Jack decide how he wanted to deal with it.
Glancing at the toolbox, he almost gritted his teeth, then he breathed through it. Who was it trying to pin him down?
Definitely no one he needed to talk to.
What if 11 was loose, though?
Normally, his nerves were rock solid, but when the phones in the office began to ring in stereo, his anxiety spiked. The front windows were dark. Jack had given him the alarm code to let himself in and do what needed done. There was no one else here, which meant no one should be calling trying to reach someone.
Looking up the number to the insurance company was probably not that hard, but getting every single phone at every single desk in the place to ring at once? When they all had to have separate numbers? That was skill. Or good technicians.
They weren’t going to let him avoid them.
The sense of being under surveillance was not comfortable. Normally, he was the one surveilling, so the feeling chafed. He did not want to answer to whoever was jerking his leash.
Did he dare not respond?
Reaching into his toolbox, he retrieved his phone and powered it on. Once it went through the startup, it immediately began to ring. He swiped his thumb across the screen and sank down into an office chair. “Hello.”
“Hello, Chief Petty Officer Kreed. I’m glad you decided to pick up.”
He’d expected a gruff man’s voice, something military, but it was the exact opposite. The woman on the other end of the line sounded polished and educated, her voice mellow and a little sardonic.
Dev scowled. “I’m not in the Navy anymore, ma’am, so you can drop the title.”
“As you wish, Devlin. My name is Charley, and I’m about to change your life.”
Dev snorted and shook his head. “I don’t want my life changed, Charley. I’m content doing what I’m doing.”
On the other end of the line, Charley sighed. “I thought you might say that, and I’m glad you’re doing so well, but I don’t know that the world is going to fare as well.”
Dev clenched his jaw, hating that this nameless, faceless woman was trying to guilt trip him. “I did my time in the Navy. Someone else can take care of 11. He’s the CIA’s responsibility.”
“Hm, yes, that’s what we’ve been told as well, but he’s too dangerous to leave free. We’ve already gotten reports of missing shipments of components. One of his former compatriots is also missing, and we assume they’re together. It’s only a matter of time before he wreaks havoc and kills again, we assume around the September 11th anniversary.”
Dev rocked back in the chair, anger surging through him. “Why the fuck are you even calling me? 11 is not my issue anymore. The CIA made that very clear when they burned me after I went along with their crazy extraction plan. I’m done. The man can blow Washington off the map for all I care.”
He said it off-hand, but Washington probably would be Cole Regent’s target. It had been his focus for many years, and he’d been blowing up smaller targets to prepare for his main target, the heart of evil, as he called it, Washington, D.C. Honestly, Dev kind of agreed with the guy, but it wasn’t his responsibility anymore.
When Dev’s team had gotten the call to escort the homegrown paramilitary extremist from CIA Headquarters to the airport, Devlin had thought little of it. It was just another job. Then two men with CIA badges had approached him. Actually, looking back, he thought it had been the Special Activities Center that had approached him. They were the black ops side of the CIA, doing the especially dirty stuff that the government would disavow if caught. They wanted Devlin to shoot Regent, but they wanted him to ‘wound’ rather than ‘kill’, because Regent had information to share on a wider network of international collaborators, the Russians specifically. They wanted it to look like a legitimate kill, though, to throw off those international friends that were watching Regent. The operatives would remove the target from the scene and make it look like the informant had died. Then Regent would be housed in a secret facility while the Agency tapped the info he had. Once he’d been interrogated and the information extracted, then Regent would quietly disappear. Devlin assumed that they would take him out themselves, and clean up the mess when they were done extracting information.
But it sounded like the team had botched the job.
Of course they had.