Authors: Catherine Coulter
Tags: #Fiction, #Retail, #Suspense, #Thriller
ALSO BY CATHERINE COULTER
THE FBI THRILLERS
Power Play (2014)
Split Second (2011)
Twice Dead: Riptide and Hemlock Bay (2011)
Double Jeopardy (2008): The Target
Double Take (2007)
The Beginning (2005): The Cove
Point Blank (2005)
Eleventh Hour (2002)
Hemlock Bay (2001)
The Edge (1999)
The Target (1998)
The Maze (1997)
The Cove (1996)
A BRIT IN THE FBI THRILLERS (WITH J. T. ELLISON)
The Lost Key (2014)
The Final Cut (2013)
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Copyright © 2015 by Catherine Coulter
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Nemesis / Catherine Coulter.
p. cm. — (An FBI thriller ; 19)
1. United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation—Fiction. 2. Sherlock, Lacey (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 3. Savich, Dillon (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 4. Government investigators—Fiction. 5. Terrorism—Prevention—Fiction. 6. Murder—Investigation—Fiction. 7. Married people—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3553.O843N46 2015 2015015995
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
To my incredible other half, who continues to pour his heart and brain into my books. Thank you for this very special book.
To Angela Bell, FBI Office of Public Affairs. You continue to keep me on the straight and narrow, and I thank you. Soon we need to go for drinks.
Nichole Robson, SM guru, Trident Media Group
Emily Ross, SM guru, Trident Media Group
Brianna Weber, SM guru, Trident Media Group
You three women did so very much to promote
The Lost Key
on social media. (Yes, that’s what SM means, not S&M.) My thanks. I can’t wait to see what you do with
And finally, and always, my bows and kudos and everlasting thanks to Karen Evans, my own personal guardian angel who’s always there for me, always in my corner, ready to take on anything. Always. Thank you, Karen.
To sleep, perchance to dream . . .
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come.
NEW YORK CITY
he airport security line slowly inched forward, nearly sixty passengers stoically weaving back and forth in the ritual strip-dance everyone knew and put up with. At least Sherlock didn’t have her Glock with her, so she wouldn’t have to fill out a gazillion forms. Her meeting with the lead federal prosecutor in an upcoming murder trial had lasted six and a half hours, and probably would have gone on longer if she hadn’t simply gotten up and said she had a plane to catch. She couldn’t wait to get home and throw a football with Sean, if the plane took off at a reasonable time, that is. She looked forward to downing a cup of Dillon’s knock-your-socks-off coffee, and having him sing to her while he scrubbed her back in the shower.
Out of habit she studied the faces, the eyes, the clothes, and the body language of those around her, guessing what people were thinking, planning, where they were going. Home? Business? Rendezvous? She knew one thing for sure: they were hoping as she was that flights wouldn’t be delayed or canceled. The woman ahead of her sighed. “All I want to do is get home, jump in the tub, and wash off all traces of Mickey Sturgiss.”
Sherlock said, a smile on her face, “A wild day with Mickey?”
The woman rolled her eyes. “A deposition for a slime bucket who should be deported to Mars.”
Sherlock laughed. “You’re a lawyer?”
“Yes, but not this idiot’s lawyer. I was doing his lawyer a favor. Believe me, I’ll make sure he knows he owes me big-time.” She stuck out her hand. “Melissa Harkness.”
Sherlock shook her hand. “Lacey Sherlock. Come to think of it, I could do some washing, too.”
“Don’t tell me you’re a lawyer, too?”
“I’m FBI, actually.” Melissa Harkness was on the heavy side, in her thirties, and she was carrying a large briefcase in one hand and a black tote the size of one of Jupiter’s moons in the other. She looked like she might be dragging, but her bright eyes were filled with intelligence and interest.
Her laugh at Sherlock’s name started them off, and soon they were talking about Sherlock’s dad, a federal judge, and Sherlock’s job as an FBI agent, as the line slowly snaked its way toward the TSA folk ensconced on their high stools, checking each ticket and ID.
Sherlock noticed a tall man a couple people ahead of Melissa. He was standing stock-still, as if frozen in place. The man behind him had to nudge him, unheard of in an airport security line with everyone wanting to move forward quickly. He was dark-haired and on the thin side. What caught her eye was the fact that his lower face was bone white, as if he’d recently shaved off a full beard, perhaps that very morning. He looked calm, but she saw his hands were trembling as he pulled off his black loafers and placed them in a bin. Something was off. She watched him shrug off his coat and start on his belt. Then, without warning, he turned, shoved aside the two passengers behind him, and grabbed Melissa around the neck. He pulled something out of his briefcase—it was a grenade. He waved it around, all the while backing away, pulling Melissa with him. When people around them realized what was happening, there were screams and shouts, everyone focused on the grenade held high over his head now, a finger through the safety ring. He yelled, his voice shaking as badly as his hands, “That’s right, it’s a grenade!” He screamed at the TSA agents, who were now speaking into their walkie-talkies, several of them moving toward him. “Nobody move! Your X-ray isn’t much use now, is it? It doesn’t matter I’m not lily-white!” He pointed the grenade at a tall black TSA agent who was trying to flank him. “Or black! All of you—stay away or she dies, along with the rest of you.” He stopped moving when he felt a concrete pillar behind his back.
A TSA agent called out, only a bit of a wobble in her voice, “Sir, put the grenade down and we can talk about what you want.”
He laughed. “Really? I know how you idiots operate. Even without this grenade, you’d probably have taken me to one of your little rooms and ordered me to strip down, treated me like a criminal—that’s because you target men who look Middle Eastern, and that’s profiling and it’s against the law.” His voice was near a scream now. Sherlock heard a French accent overlying the British clip, with a trace of Farsi or Arabic. “Because I’m dark and wear a beard?” Had he forgotten he’d shaved it off? “Don’t come any closer or we all die right now!” He tightened his hold around Melissa’s neck. Her hands were pulling at his arm, her face turning blue.
The TSA agents were slowly flanking him as he talked. Sherlock knew airport security would arrive at any second, all of them trained to deal with such a threat, but it didn’t matter. They weren’t here yet. She was on the spot, a few feet away from him, looking right into his eyes. His arm was still around Melissa’s neck, his finger still hooked around the grenade’s ring. One pull and a whole lot of people would die, herself included. Her heart kettledrummed in her chest; the spit dried in her mouth. There was an instant of dead silence, only the sound of his hard, fast breathing. She called out, her voice calm and easy, “Sir, what do you want?”