Hungry Like the Wolf(10)

By: Paige Tyler

Mac wasn’t sure in a case like this who got to make the call as to when SWAT went in. But regardless, Dixon had smoothly put the lieutenant in the decision loop, making sure he didn’t step on any toes he didn’t have to. She’d used that trick herself a few times in the past to keep herself on people’s good side, even when she could have trampled all over them. He was pretty smart for a big, muscle-bound trigger puller.

Dixon threw a glance at Hard Hat. “On my mark. In three…two…one. Now.”

At the SWAT commander’s signal, Hard Hat said a single word into his radio. All at once, every screen on the wall went black. For a moment, Mac thought the SWAT vehicle had lost power. Then she heard screaming over the speakers and realized they’d cut the power to the building.

Half a second later, gunfire erupted.

Mac couldn’t see a damn thing on the monitors except the occasional bright orange flashes that reflected off the walls.

But while she couldn’t see much, she could hear plenty. Women screaming, men cussing, the thud of heavy stuff hitting the floor. And interspersed between all of it, the growls of what sounded like a pissed-off SWAT team. Man, these guys really got fired up when they went in. It sounded as if they were ready to tear the place apart. Maybe that was what Marvin had meant when he said they were on something.

Right now, she couldn’t care less about her story. She only prayed the hostages made it out of this in one piece, although she couldn’t imagine how that would be possible. Not with all that gunfire.

But as fast as the shooting had started, it stopped.

Mac stared at the pitch-black screen, straining her eyes for something—anything—that would tell her if the hostages were still alive.

Gage pressed his index finger to the small bud in his right ear as if listening, then he turned to Hard Hat. “Flip on the power.”

The monitors trained on the interior of the building lit up, but not the ones connected to the SWAT officers’ helmet cams.

Mac sagged with relief. The women were huddled together in the center of the room, clearly traumatized but alive. Three men were on the floor nearby. They were still moving, but it didn’t look like they’d be going anywhere. One member of the SWAT team was covering the downed bank robbers, while two others moved among the women checking for injuries. Mac didn’t see the fourth member of the SWAT team. He must be dealing with the other thugs out of the camera’s view.

“Copy that,” Gage said into his mic, then glanced at the lieutenant. “Scene secure. Five suspects down, four WIA, one KIA. No hostages seriously wounded, but a few got trampled in the panic.”

Four bad guys wounded, one dead.

The lieutenant looked as relieved as Mac felt. “I’ll get in there with some uniforms and EMTs, start getting everyone out.”

He brushed past her at a run, slamming the door of the operations vehicle behind him. A few moments later, Hard Hat and the hostage negotiator left as well, leaving her alone with the SWAT team leader.

Curious despite herself, Mac moved closer to the man so she could see the monitors better—or at least that was the excuse she was going with.

She watched in silence as police officers and EMTs rushed into the room to take custody of the bank robbers and give first aid to the hostages. Dixon’s team fell back, disappearing out of the camera’s view.

Only then did Dixon take off his headset and turn to face her. “So, Ms. Stone. Did you get what you were looking for?”

This was the first time Mac had seen Gage Dixon this close up. Saying he was gorgeous didn’t even begin to cover it. With his dark hair, chiseled jaw, and sensuous mouth, he was downright devastating. She was especially captivated by his eyes. They were the color of dark honey. Or maybe fine whiskey. Either way, it was too easy to get lost in their depths.