Hungry Like the Wolf(3)

By: Paige Tyler


Mac clicked her seat belt into place just as Zak slammed on the brakes. She was thrown against the restraint, then flung back. “What the hell?”

Zak pointed at the monstrous vehicle barreling through the gate, cutting them off. A white SUV bearing a matching SWAT insignia followed, lights flashing as it raced down the road.

“How is that even possible? They just got the call,” she said to Zak.

“Fast response time?”

She snorted. Just one more thing that didn’t add up about the Dallas Police Department’s SWAT team. She considered scrapping the idea of following them in favor of sneaking into the compound and snooping around, but the gate had already closed. Inside, a cop the size of a linebacker scanned the fence line, then headed back into the building. Just her luck, one of them had stayed behind.

Damn.

She tucked her long, dark hair behind her ear and sank back in the seat. She wouldn’t have to be so underhanded about this whole thing if the police department had agreed to a ride-along with SWAT. Or at the very least, an interview with their commander. Why wouldn’t they want her to do a story about the team unless they were hiding something?

Investigating cops who might be corrupt was never a good idea. But she’d earned her reputation by sticking her nose in places other investigative journalists were too afraid to go. She’d covered everything from gangs killing each other over territory and coyotes who robbed illegals blind to the murderous Mexican drug cartels and dirty politicians. She went wherever the story took her and never flinched when things got rough. She’d helped to make the Dallas Daily Star synonymous with fearless, Pulitzer-worthy journalism. So when she’d told her editor she wanted to go after SWAT, he gave the okay. Even if he did think she was wasting her time. There wasn’t a division in the Dallas Police Department that had a better—or cleaner—reputation than SWAT.

It didn’t help her cause any that everyone except the criminals SWAT put in prison thought the tactical team was damn near perfect. They’d taken on some of the toughest and most ruthless crooks, gangbangers, and cartel goons in the city. You name the bad guys, Dallas SWAT had taken them on and taken them down. Considering the load of major shit storms the group had been involved in, they had a ridiculously low number of complaints filed against them. There’d been allegations, but nothing had ever come of them—not since the new team leader, Sergeant Gage Dixon, had taken over eight years ago. Since then, the SWAT team had been beyond perfect.

By itself, that was enough to make her suspicious. All organizations tended to screw up occasionally, no matter how dedicated and capable they were. But that rule didn’t seem to apply to the Dallas PD SWAT.

The police chief held them up as an example for the rest of the department to emulate, and for reasons she couldn’t figure out, the other divisions seemed eager to try. The mayor even used their exploits to roast other civic leaders across Texas and the southwest. Hell, even the Girl Scouts wanted to be associated with them, and SWAT was happy to oblige by lending their muscle-bound presence to the annual cookie sale kickoff every winter. As far as everyone in Dallas was concerned, the SWAT team was better than sliced bread, PB&J with the crusts cut off, and sex in an air-conditioned room—combined.

“Just what do you expect to find, Mac? That they don’t floss after eating popcorn?” her editor had asked in his deep Texas drawl. “Maybe the Dallas PD finally got something right for once. Maybe this city just has the best damn SWAT team in the country.”

Mac had good reason to believe the SWAT team was crooked and a danger to everyone around them. But she had to be damn careful how she sold it to her editor. She had a hard time believing the story, and she’d heard it firsthand from an eyewitness named Marvin Cole.