Story Excerpt
On Target

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"Are you there?"

Haus Jackson smiled and pulled the toothpick from between his lips before replying to the voice coming through on the comm unit in his ear. "I'm here, Kevin."

"Are you okay?"

Haus glanced around the dusty attic he was hiding in. It wasn't the worst place he had been in his life, but it wasn't the best either.

"I'm alive."

At the moment, that was enough.

"The floor beneath you is vacant and I've disabled the elevator from reaching you."

Haus gave a little chuckle. He had no idea how Kevin Tyler was talking to him or even how he knew to do it. Hell, he didn't even know who Kevin was. He was just a voice on the other end of the line who had appeared one day right out of the blue and directed Haus to a safe spot away from the fire fight he was involved in.

Haus prayed he wasn't working for the bad guys.

He still had no idea how Kevin was even speaking to him. His earpiece was supposed to be a secure link back to home base and Charles Kenneth Pennington III.

Charlie was his former commander in the Marines. When he retired to raise his kids, he agreed to stay on to work a few missions for the government. He ran them all from the bunker beneath his house.

No one else was supposed to be able to access that secure link, but apparently, Kevin hadn't gotten the memo. The first time he'd spoken, Haus had thought he was some kid goofing around and had yelled at him to get off the line. Kevin had ignored him, sending out information that led Haus away from trouble and to a safe spot.

After the mission, Haus had taken the earpiece to Charlie and asked him to look it over. Something had held him back from admitting someone had contacted him on it. That was three months ago, and he still hadn't told anyone.

He didn't know why.

He was kind of getting used to Kevin going along with him on his missions. For some unexplainable reason, Kevin always seemed to know when he was out in the field, when he was home, and when he needed help.

More than once, he had pulled Haus's ass out of the line of fire and given him an escape route away from trouble. He'd supplied information that not even Charlie had been able to get his hands on, and helped Haus complete his missions with minimal damage to life or property.

Haus glanced out at the darkness beyond the small window he sat next to. It was a really small window, one of those old world building attic windows. Small enough that he doubted anything could squeeze through it except a pigeon or a bat. He was hoping neither would fly in to visit, but closing the window wasn't possible. He needed the clean air. The attic space was stuffy.

"You need to be careful up there," Kevin said. "That building was built back around the turn of the last century, nineteen o'four to be exact. Some of those rafter beams have to be rotted right through."

Haus glanced at the rafter beams. While he was technically in the attic of the older building, it was more a collections of rafters. He had found a small alcove created by the window to rest while he waited for time to pass. He couldn't leave his hidden spot until the coast was clear.

"I think I'm safe in my little alcove for now."

"You can rest if you want. I have an inferred readout on the building. I can tell you if anyone is coming."

"How do you have an inferred readout on this building, Kevin?" It wasn't that big of a building considering he was in New York City, but it was at least ten stories tall, not including the attic where Haus was hiding.

"The FBI has a inferred camera aimed at the eighth floor from the building across the street. I'm piggybacking their feed. I was able to increase the range to encompass the entire building."

Haus's eyebrows rose swiftly. "How in the hell did you even know the FBI was watching this building?" Charlie hadn't even known that. Or if he had, he hadn't said anything to Haus.

"Text message."

"Come again?"

"One of the agents texted his girlfriend and told her he'd be late for their date tonight because something was up on his case. I was monitoring all the data coming in and out of the building you're in plus the surrounding ones. Once I figured out what this guy was doing, I tapped into his system."


"You know you can go to jail for doing something like that."

Kevin laughed as if amused by the very idea. "They have to catch me first."


"Haus, it's fine. They won't even know I was there."

Haus wasn't so sure about that, but what did he know? Guns and explosions were his expertise, not computers and technology. "Just make sure you're not caught. It's not worth keeping an eye on me if it's too dangerous."

"Aawww, you sound like you care."

Haus wisely kept his mouth shut. Granted, he had kind of gotten used to having Kevin on the other end of the line over the last three months, but he didn't know the guy. He didn't even know what he looked like.

"Don't breath, Haus," Kevin said. "Someone is climbing the ladder to check the rafters."

Haus hunkered down into the shadows. The trapdoor was below him. If he stayed perfectly still in the shadows of his little alcove, no one from down there would be able to see him. He held his breath when he heard the trapdoor clank as it was opened. The glare from a flashlight moved over the wooden beams, bouncing from one side of the attic to the other.

Damn, Kevin was good.