Hungry Like the Wolf(8)

By: Paige Tyler

She looked left, then right, then darted across the street. She couldn’t believe the SWAT team didn’t have anyone covering the back door of the building, but there wasn’t a cop in sight. Maybe they weren’t the hotshots everyone made them out to be.

She was just about to grab the handle when the door burst open.

Mac barely had time to gasp before a man with a baseball cap on backward and a chest full of tattoos lifted a big rifle and aimed it at her. Her heart stopped. Instinct told her to run—or at least scream for help—but before she could do either, a SWAT officer in tactical gear dropped from above and knocked the thug to the ground with some kind of martial arts chop to the back of his tattooed neck.

She stared at the man lying unconscious on the ground, then at the cop before looking up to see a rappelling rope swaying back and forth against the side of the three-story building. How the heck had he dropped down fast enough to do that?

Mac opened her mouth to identify herself, but the SWAT officer closed the space between them in the blink of an eye and slapped a gloved hand over her mouth. She automatically reached up to grab his hand, but then froze as she locked eyes with his. He was wearing his ski mask, so all she could see were those eyes and a small amount of smooth brown skin around them. It had to be Mike Taylor or Jayden Brooks, the only two African American members of the team. Since she hadn’t seen Brooks go in, it had to be Taylor. But for the life of her, she didn’t remember his eyes being a shocking shade of gold in his personnel file photo.

Movement caught her attention and Mac darted a quick look to her right to see two uniformed officers appear out of nowhere. When had her SWAT savior called them?

“Get them out of here,” the golden-eyed man said softly. “And keep her quiet.”

And just like that, one of the uniformed cops wrapped his arm around her waist from behind and picked her up, putting his hand over her mouth when Taylor pulled his away. She watched helplessly as the other cop grabbed the unconscious gunman and heaved him over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry, then ran toward the front of the building. When she looked back, the SWAT officer was nowhere to be seen. Where the heck had he gone? If all the guys in the tactical unit were this fast and powerful, she could imagine why Marvin thought they were on something. Nobody should be able to move that fast.

Her captor followed his partner, running down the alley with her like she was an unruly kid in a movie theater. She was so shocked she didn’t even struggle, and by the time she thought about it, they were at the SWAT operations vehicle. The minute he planted her firmly on her feet and took his hand away from her mouth, she whirled around to chew him out for manhandling her and was amazed to discover he was the same uniformed cop Dixon had spoken to earlier. Had the SWAT commander seen the news van and told the cop to keep an eye on her? But that was impossible. No one had eyesight that good.

The officer reached around her and opened the door of the operations vehicle, then motioned her in.

She’d about had enough with the caveman crap for today. “I’m not going in there.”

“In here, or in the backseat of a cruiser until this is done,” a deep voice said from inside. “Your call, Ms. Stone, but make it quickly.”

The cop raised an eyebrow, gesturing with one hand toward the open door and the other across the street where his cruiser was parked. Well, she’d wanted to get an inside look at how the SWAT team operated.

Mac ignored the hand the cop put out to help her and tried not to stamp her foot as she stepped into the vehicle.

“Please close the door, Officer Danner,” said that same deep voice.

The door slammed shut, making her jump.

Mac pushed her sunglasses up on her head and surveyed the inside of the huge vehicle. The three men she’d seen earlier were eyeing her curiously. Gage Dixon, on the other hand, wasn’t paying attention to her at all. He stood with his back to her, his focus locked on the computer monitors attached to the far wall of the vehicle. All six screens were on, but the images on four of them were moving and changing so fast it made her dizzy to look at them. It took her a moment to realize she was seeing live feeds from cameras mounted on his men’s helmets. Funny, she hadn’t seen one mounted on Taylor’s.