Authors: Julia Derek
Published by Adrenaline Books
Copyright © 2015 by Julia Derek
This is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Published as an e-book October 2015 by Adrenaline Books.
To find out more about the author and to sign up for her new books release, visit
Cover design by Luly Blazek at
MORE JULIA DEREK BOOKS
THE SMILEY KILLER(YA Thriller)
THE DIARY(Dark Psychological Thriller)
THE L.A. GIRLS ROMANCE SERIES (Sexy Romantic Suspense)
The Girl Undercover Serial is dedicated to Brad Slaight, a great friend and tireless critic/supporter of all my writing.
“The coups are taking place in
days?” I asked, my stomach twisting with pain as I gripped the phone more tightly with one hand, the steering wheel of my car with my other. “I hope this is not your idea of a joke, Ian, because if it is, it’s definitely not funny.”
“Do you really think I’d ever joke about something like that?” Ian replied gravely.
No, unfortunately I didn’t think that he ever would. Especially not after I had just told him how both Dr. Kelly and Dr. Juback had died, one falling to his death and the other shot, while they tried to escape their captivity. Ian was not a crude man.
“No,” I said, my voice small as the enormity of what he had said sank into my head—The Adler Group’s New Year’s Eve was not December 31st. It was
Which meant we had ten days, not
and ten days to figure out how to stop Stenger from realizing his perverted worldview. How the hell would we make
happen in so little time? I told Ian what was going through my mind.
He exhaled heavily. “I don’t know, but one way or another, we’ll have to figure it out. Because we
stop them. I literally found out only minutes ago, so I haven’t had time to think about it that much yet.”
I bit the inside of my lip, chewed on it so hard that I soon tasted blood. “Well, I guess I don’t have to worry about what to tell Jonah about what happened to the doctors then…”
“No, you don’t.”
Part of me still refused to believe the bomb Ian had just dropped on me was for real. Wasn’t it possible that Ian had misheard Jonah? “Are you absolutely
you understood him right? I mean, you’d think he’d have mentioned something about the coups to me if they’re about to take place so soon. I can’t remember him talking about it at all.”
“Yes, I’m absolutely sure. What’s there for him to say? How excited he is about them happening? Maybe he’s nervous they’ll fail. Has he said something that makes you think they
happen August 1st?”
I thought about Ian’s questions, went over in my mind the conversations I had shared with Jonah. “Not exactly. But I still think he’d say something about it, as much of a blabbermouth as he is. Worry about that they won’t go as planned like you just suggested.”
Again, that terrible sensation that Stenger and The Adler Group’s mission was unstoppable seized me, causing me to shiver with cold despite the pleasant July weather here in Los Angeles.
“Sadly, if we’re to go by Jonah’s actions recently, it doesn’t seem he’s all that worried actually,” Ian said, putting my fears into words. “Like publicly killing Nicki. That was a bold move. And, blabbermouth or not, I seriously doubt he’d have been so open to you about everything unless he firmly believed his father would succeed.” He paused, as though something occurred to him. “There’s of course another possibility.”
“What do you mean?”
“Maybe Jonah doesn’t know when the coups are taking place, only that they are at some point. That would explain why he’s not talking about them more with you right now.”
“But I’m sure he does know. If you don’t believe me, you could always ask him about them directly.”
I gasped. “What? You mean I should just call him up and ask him when his father plans his takeover? Um, I don’t think that’ll work. He”—I suddenly remembered that Jonah
in fact mentioned the coups only a couple of days ago. When I asked about getting to meet his dad:
“I can’t give you an answer to that. You probably won’t get to meet him until after the coups. He’s really stressed out right now. You know, worried that everything will go according to plan.”
I told Ian this.
“There you go,” he said. “So it certainly seems Jonah knows all about the timeline then. It makes sense Stenger would be so stressed out what with the big day being just around the corner. Which means the coups
happening in ten days, Gabi,” Ian added sternly. “I didn’t misunderstand anything.”
I sighed deeply. Having to accept that Ian must be right made me feel even worse. I wanted to start the car and drive to my hotel room and curl up in the big, comfy bed there, get drunk and forget all about this disaster if only for a few hours. But I couldn’t do that. As difficult as it was, I needed to pull myself together and immediately get to work, come up with a plan together with Ian to stop Stenger and The Adler Group from taking over.
Leaning back into the car seat and closing my eyes, I took a couple of deep breaths. That was all the respite I would allow myself before I returned to reality.
“Okay, fine. They
happening in ten days then,” I said. “The next logical step seems to be me trying to pick Jonah’s brain for as much info as I can regarding them. Of course, he completely shut down on me when I asked about seeing his dad, so I’m not sure that it’ll lead to much.”
“Maybe not, but you should still try. As soon as you’ve spoken to him, call me back and let me know what you found out. If he doesn’t open up easily, just let it be. We don’t need the additional pressure of him going nuts and trying to kill you because he realizes you’ve been manipulating him all this time.”
Ian inhaled, then said in an ominous tone, “If he doesn’t talk to you, I’m going to have to make him talk. At the very least, he’ll know where his dad can be found. With the coups happening so soon, we have little to lose by making Jonah disappear.” He took a beat before continuing. “Actually, an abduction might even result in Stenger postponing the coups to find his son…”
“That would be good, but we can definitely not count on that. So we need to find him. Are you sure you’d be able to inflict so much pain on Jonah that he’d give up his dad’s whereabouts, though? It’ll probably take some effort.”
For some reason, I had a hard time imagining sophisticated Ian turning into a ruthless torturer—even if Jonah wasn’t the nicest guy on the block.
“I’ll do whatever I have to do in order to save this world,” Ian replied darkly. “If that means I’ll have to burn Jonah with cigarettes or pull his teeth and nails out until he talks, that’s what I’ll do.”
“Got it. Let me call him first and see what I can find out before you do anything drastic. Are you still at the gym?”
“Yes. Well, in the downstairs lobby next to the elevators. Best way to know if Jonah leaves the club.”
“Okay, I’m calling him now. He called me half an hour or so ago. It must’ve been right around the time you overheard him being so upset while talking to that other person. If we’re really lucky, maybe it was because he wanted to vent to me about something not going right with the coups.”
“We can only hope. Remember to be careful and call me as soon as you’re done with him.”
We disconnected and I found my regular phone in my purse that I had thrown on the passenger seat as I’d gotten into the car. I would use that one instead of the disposable to call Jonah. As the rings went through in my ear, I for once prayed that he himself would pick up and not his voicemail. Much to my relief, he did.
“Hey, Jamie,” he said in a sulky tone. “I tried to call you earlier.”
“Yeah, I saw. I’m so sorry I missed you. I didn’t hear my phone ring.” I clicked my tongue as if annoyed with this. “Something must be wrong with it. I should get a new one.”
“Yeah, you definitely should. How are the doctors doing? Your mom must be cured by now.”
Right as I was about to tell him that they were still struggling to find a cure for her, I thought better of it and instead said, “Yes, she’s getting much better. It looks like they’ll need a couple more days and then all of the cancer will be gone. I’m so happy!”
you they’d fix it. And you didn’t believe me.” He huffed resentfully.
“Yes, you did tell me that. Again, I’m
sorry if I came across as ungrateful. You’re the best. How are you doing? You never left a voicemail. Everything okay?”
“No, I’m very upset.” His voice had become taut like a rubber band about to snap. “I’m going to have to do something about one of my friends. He’s too stupid to live.”
In Jonah’s case, it would be meaningless to ask if this was his idea of a joke—I didn’t doubt for a second that he’d meant every one of those last words literally. The finality with which he’d uttered them chilled me to the bone, and I pictured Nicki climbing across a few of the many steel cables that supported the Brooklyn Bridge, slippery in the rainy night.
As quietly as I could, I cleared my throat and then forced myself to casually say, “Oh? Who’s that? Burt?”
I hadn’t been back at the club long enough to have reason to ask why Burt was no longer there, or Nicki and Nadja for that matter. So my suggestion was valid.
“Burt?” Jonah said with disgust. “No, that loser’s already dead.”
“Oh, my God, really? What happened to him? Why do you say he’s a loser?”
“He turned out to be a traitor and was killed. He got away far too easily if you ask me.”
“That’s too bad,” I said dryly, wondering how Jonah and The Adler Group had found out about Burt’s and his girlfriend’s fates. Had it been by watching the news? The discovery of Alyssa, the serial killer who’d escaped from Rikers Island years ago, had been all over the news for the next few days. Most law enforcement officials assumed that she was responsible for all the bodies found in the basement, as well as Burt’s and Nadja’s deaths, even though nothing had been proven yet. Speculations were running rampant as to who must have snapped Alyssa’s neck. The Philly cops at the crime scene hadn’t been able to catch our license plate as we’d driven away, and we weren’t about to help them solve the mystery.
“So then who is it?” I asked.
“One of the trainers is acting up,” Jonah replied. “Carlos.”
“Carlos Hawkins?” He was one of the guys who’d helped Jonah punish Nicki.
“Yeah. The guy can’t remember when our New Year’s Eve is. After all this time, he
thinks it’s December 31st. I can’t fucking believe it.” Jonah huffed again.
“Wow, really? That’s crazy. Even
know it’s August 1st,” I stated boldly, not about to lose an opportunity to reconfirm Ian’s bad news. The more proof we had that the coups were taking place in ten days, the better.
“See?” Jonah’s voice was triumphant. “Even
who haven’t grown up like the hybrids, know which day it is.”
“Yeah, Burt told me,” I said quickly in case he’d begin to wonder how the hell I knew when their new year was. It wasn’t exactly common knowledge. “Wow, that’s so effed up… Was he drunk when he told you he forgot? It doesn’t make sense that he’d just forget, right?”
“Yeah, but that shouldn’t have mattered.”
“No, it shouldn’t. It’s too important a day. He really must be very stupid then. What will you do to him?”
“I haven’t decided yet. All I know is that he has to die. We can’t afford to have such stupid people in our brave, new world.”
“Right. I agree that we shouldn’t have stupid people around, but won’t you be too busy what with all the coups about to take place to take care of it right now?”
“Not really. It’s not like I’m gonna be part of the actual attacks.”
“I see. But you must be worried still. You know, that everything will go according to plan. I remember you telling me how worried your dad is. I can totally see that. It’s a big deal overthrowing the governments. So many things could go wrong.”
“No, I’m not worried at all. How can I be when my dad won’t allow me to be part of the actual operation?” His tone had become sulky again. “He tells me nothing!”