Hungry Like the Wolf(4)

By: Paige Tyler

Marvin was a two-time loser currently out on bail awaiting trial, this time for kidnapping, assault, and resisting arrest. Normally, Mac wouldn’t have given the guy the time it took to call security to escort him out of the building. But then he had something on the one group of people in Dallas who were damn near untouchable—SWAT.

She was intrigued, so she’d bought him a cup of coffee in the newspaper’s break room and listened to his story. She figured it was sour grapes—they had busted his ass, after all—but she pretended to pay attention as Marvin described how two big SWAT guys had smashed in the reinforced door of his secret hideout, tossed him around like a rag doll, and took the kid he’d been holding for ransom.

She didn’t exactly swoon from excitement, but then Marvin described how one of the SWAT officers had growled like an animal, then grabbed him and shoved him up against the wall, holding him there with one hand as his feet dangled above the floor. The only reason that got her attention was because Marvin weighed about 350 pounds—and most of it was muscle. Still, SWAT guys were big and tough—everyone knew that. Marvin must have seen how skeptical she was because he opened his shirt and showed her the two sets of four parallel scratches gouged in the muscles of his enormous chest. He looked as if he’d been clawed by a big animal.

“Son of a bitch did that with his bare hands. I lived on the streets my whole life, so I know when someone’s messed up,” he said as he slowly buttoned his shirt and sat down. “Those SWAT dudes that everyone’s so freaking impressed with? They’re on something.”

She lifted a brow. “You mean like steroids?”

Marvin shook his head. “Hell no, lady. Shit, I take steroids and I ain’t never acted like that. No, those cats are on something really serious. Something that makes them crazy strong.”

The idea that SWAT members were on some kind of designer drug was insane, but Marvin wasn’t making up the ragged marks on his chest.

“What do you hope to gain from telling me this?” she asked him. “Even if this is a case of police brutality, I don’t think it’s going to keep you out of jail.”

Marvin shrugged. “Probably not. But maybe it might land one of them in there with me.”

She’d sat in the conference room for a long time figuring out what to do. The possibility that Marvin was right had buried itself in her soul too deep to let go. But while convincing her boss to let her run with the story had been easy, getting close enough to any of the guys on the SWAT team to find out what they were hiding, if anything, was damn near impossible. As far as she could tell, they only hung out with each other, and it wasn’t at any bar or club she could find. They only worked out at their own facility, so she couldn’t bump into them at the gym or along a running path somewhere. And if they bought their groceries from a store anywhere in the Dallas area, she couldn’t figure out where.

Well, today she was going to talk to the elusive SWAT commander even if she had to take the man hostage.

Okay, maybe not. But she was going to talk to him, damn it.

Even though Zak drove like a madman, they couldn’t keep up with the SWAT vehicles, so the scene was already well established by the time they pulled up to the industrial district on Belmont. There was crime tape going up everywhere, but fortunately Zak found a space near the curb only two blocks down the street from the SWAT tactical operations vehicle. It was usually impossible to get this close to an active shooter situation. That probably meant there weren’t enough uniformed officers available to both set the perimeter and evacuate the surrounding buildings. No doubt the cops would remedy that soon. Until then, she might be lucky enough to get a few action shots and gain a bit of insight into how the mysterious SWAT team worked.