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.He was a stroke waiting to happen.Ben thought he might not have to kill him; he may die on his own.That night while alone in the solitude of his trailer on the compound, Ben was thinking of Lara.There were times when he couldn’t wait any longer to hear her voice.To contact her, he made an excuse several times to leave the compound and Habib drove him to Springfield where he could contact her using the secure satellite phone, even though he had to be vague.He just wanted to hear her voice.She was always bubbly and excited to hear from him, but listening to her voice actually made the longing to see her worse.Today she told him about the move to Clearwater farm, "Oh Ben, the house is beautiful.I'm on the beach every morning drinking coffee thinking of you.Mom and Rusty helped so much during the move.Also, Don and Olivia helped that first day and have been over to visit several times.I had a short visit from Eliot the first night I was here.He brought me a picnic dinner and we ate on the back porch."As soon as Lara mentioned Eliot Stone, Ben’s body tensed.He hated the guy and sensed the sneaky bastard was madly in love with his wife.But he couldn't prove it.So, he listened as Lara lightheartedly described her interactions with Eliot and tried to ignore the gnawing anger in the pit of his stomach.He made a mental note to meet with Eliot when he returned to have a little talk with him.Lara tried to get Ben to commit to a general time frame as to when he'd be returning home.All he could say was, "It won't be until sometime in September." The silence on the other end of the phone was deafening.He became apologetic and knew he had to hang up.~ Lara ~Talking to Ben on the satellite phone only served to magnify Lara's loneliness.The conversation also heightened her concern for Ben's safety.This mission seemed different than the others.Usually he was in and out within a few days or two weeks at the most.This time it seemed he was inside a prison and couldn't tell her anything about it, which only served to feed her greatest fears.Making her rounds at the renovation projects on a sunny August day, Lara decided to stop by the dojo in an attempt to get her mind off worrying.Bettencourt, now with his new alias of Harrington, was teaching a class and would be available for a private ass-kicking in a few minutes.She spied him as she walked through the door.His class had just ended and Bettencourt waved to her.Lara was eager to see him, "How do you like your new place?" Bettencourt smiled and calmly said, "It's in a better neighborhood and has a bigger fridge.” Then he added, “Soon, I need you to stop by and give me your renovation advice.I'm going to work on it for a rent discount." Then he looked at his watch and said, "Meet me in the small room for a private smack down." Lara pushed him aside as she headed to the women's locker room, "Yes, get ready big guy, I'm going to put you down!"After changing, she tossed her pink leather backpack into the corner of the small dojo room where she planned to take Randall Bettencourt down.Bettencourt was waiting for her.The imposing six-foot-four Ninja cop egged her on for a mixed martial arts contest.After an hour of what seemed like the most grueling match of her life, Lara collapsed against the wall of the room and spit out her mouth guard."I'm done.You beat me!" she said with a ragged breath.Bettencourt sank down next to her.He was sweaty and exhausted; they sat side by side in silence breathing heavily.Without warning, the door of the room opened slightly and a stranger with the lower half of his face covered walked into the room.Instantly recognizing what was coming, Bettencourt was fast on his feet and dragged Lara behind a partial wall.The stranger fired but the round hit the wall.As Bettencourt tossed Lara behind him, she was right next to her bag.She reached in and pulled out the 9mm Glock and steadied her aim.She shot the man twice as he trained his gun on them.One shot hit slightly off center mass.The other one hit his arm.The whole scene took place inside of thirty seconds.Dropping to the floor instantly, the intruder was stopped.She wondered if he was dead.Lara shot the intruder so quickly it seemed he didn't realize she had a gun.How this guy got past the security detail guarding Bettencourt was beyond her.Bettencourt was instantly upon the intruder and kicked his gun away.The man was not dead, but badly wounded and bleeding.As Bettencourt secured the weapon, Lara dialed 911 and the police arrived.Actually, the officer out front who was supposed to be guarding Bettencourt arrived first.Lara ended up at the police station with Bettencourt.The mystery man who attempted to take Bettencourt's life was being interrogated.Bettencourt spoke softly to Lara, "Are you all right? Can I get you anything?" She suddenly remembered how kind he was when she was attacked by Bill Stephens, the first time she met him.Lara smiled and touched his hand, "I'm fine, Bett.It's you I'm worried about.Nadia's father just isn't going to stop, is he?" Bettencourt had a somber look on his face.But he knew things that Lara didn't know."Let's just say the problem is being worked on…and I was lucky to have you there with me today."Lara wanted him to come to Clearwater Farm, but Bettencourt politely declined."Lara, I don't want to bring trouble to your doorstep.Keep that loaded Glock on you and carry plenty of ammo.Maybe I should be carrying a hot pink leather sack! Like an idiot, my service weapon was in my locker at the dojo.That won't happen again." Lara's phone rang and she answered to the deep voice of Hawk in her ear."Did you say 5:00 today?" he asked.In the aftermath of the shooting, Lara had not heard her calendar alert."Oh, Hawk, I'm sorry.I'm at the police station.It's an unexpected thing.Can I meet you another time?" She waited for a moment and he said, "Sure, tomorrow afternoon at 6:00?" Lara looked at her calendar and replied, "That will be fine."Curious, Bettencourt asked, "Who's Hawk?" Lara gave him a brief explanation, "He's a landscape contractor.I've hired him for the Eric Henderson project and I like his work so much, I decided to have him landscape my place." Bettencourt nodded."Do you know anything about the guy?" Lara exhaled, "You sound exactly like Ben, he asked the same question…actually Hawk has a few things in his past…some jail time and a drug habit [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]