Gentling the Cowboy(106)

By: Ruth Cardello

She looked up and saw the telltale sign of federal agents: cheap suits on a beach. No blending in for these guys coming towards her.

“Blake, you’re going to be in deep trouble when Cruz hears about this. This is the fourth guy you’ve knocked out in three months.”


Annie took a deep breath. She knew every set of eyes on the floor was on her now. She looked up at the door belonging to her boss, Special Agent in Charge Manuel Cruz. Show no fear. She raised her hand and knocked on the door before opening it. She was expected, she had been summoned. She hadn’t even had time to get dressed before she had been called to his office. There was no dignified way to face your boss in a barely there lavender bikini, but she lived by three rules – one, never show fear, two, never get attached, and three, if all else fails, fake it until you make it.

She stepped up to the large oak desk covered in papers and files and clasped her hands behind her back. “You wanted to see me.”

“Jesus, you could have gotten dressed first.” Cruz took in her apparel, or lack of apparel, and shook his head. “Here.” He threw her a DEA t-shirt and waited until she slipped it on.

“You said it was important, sir.”

“I know I did. I have a huge problem. I have a massive drug ring targeting kids, and I am this close to having my ass chewed out by the U.S. Attorney because I have another perp beaten up. Luckily, it was caught on camera that he sexually assaulted you and hit you on the head. At least that’s the angle we’re taking.”

“So, what’s the problem then?”

“The problem is I can’t cover for you anymore. You’ve had three mandatory cycles of anger management, but I still can’t control you. The problem is you’re my best agent, and you know the most about this new drug.” Cruz paused and shuffled through some of the papers on his desk until he found the one he was looking for. “Diego spilled his guts as soon as we said we’d let you interrogate him. He doesn’t like you very much anymore. It turns out the shipments all originate from a small town called Keeneston, Kentucky.” He handed the paper to her.

“I’m being transferred to the Lexington office?” She stared in disbelief at the paper in her hand.

“Yes. You’ll be undercover as Annie Hill. I got you a job in Keeneston at the high school so you can keep a close eye on the kids there. If it’s being made there, then I’m sure they’re using it. You’ll be at ground zero and reporting to Special Agent in Charge Vincent Romero. You’re his problem now.”

“When do I leave?” She stood straighter. She would not show the hurt she was feeling. It was just one more move in her life. It’s not like she hadn’t done it a dozen times before.

“You’re transfer is immediate. Good-bye, Agent Blake.”