Read an Exerpt of The Guest

J.D. sat behind the wheel of Wilmington's pickup beating a tattoo on any available surface in counterpoint to the pounding beat issuing from the Chevy's radio. In the passenger seat Buck slid lazily down until only his eyes showed above the dashboard and backhanded the younger man in the thigh. "Here they come."

In response, Dunne turned the volume down a notch and watched as a dark blue Ford sedan eased into the kerb fifty yards ahead. Beside him Buck swatted irritably at a persistent fly and frowned at his companion.

"Goddamn J.D. if you're gonna park next to a dumpster you could at least close the window."

The younger man merely grinned, seemingly oblivious to both the ripe odour invading the vehicle and the swarming insects. "Just making sure we have this stretch of the street to ourselves."

As they watched, four men exited the Ford; the two dealers and their personal bodyguards, both powerfully muscled and dangerous-looking individuals.

"That's Paco Giuliano," murmured Buck quietly, identifying one of the heavies, "Glad this is McMurray's baby, kid."

J.D. scanned the almost empty street that was made up of mainly warehouses and a few shop-fronts as Wilmington kept his eyes fixed on the four men. After a cursory inspection of the area the quartet entered a judas gate in one of the warehouses and disappeared.

"So what happens now?"

"With any luck we just get to sit here and watch."

A few moments later, a sleek Mercedes rapidly approached from the opposite end of the street and parked in front of the Ford, five more players boiling from the open doors.

"Shit! This part isn't in the script. Who the hell are these jokers?" He turned to Dunne. "How many guys did Chris say McMurray's got in there?"


"This is not good, J.D. Not good!" He activated his communicator. "Chris…"

Larabee's calm voice immediately crackled through his ear-piece: "I see 'em. Maintain station."

The senior ATF agent observed the unexpected development from a second storey window across the street from the warehouse with Tanner, Standish and Elliott waiting in reserve for the signal to move. Tanner and Larabee squatted shoulder to shoulder in conference at the window while Standish leaned easily against the wall. Elliott, feeling like a rookie, hovered at the periphery of the group, her anxiety showing in her movements as she found it impossible to remain still.

Catching her eye Standish smiled and winked. Since the briefing she had been deliberately trying to distance herself from the Southerner for both their sakes. Standish, she knew, had borne the brunt of Larabee's displeasure over the events of the previous night, and she was loath to damage in any way the cohesion of the group through being perceived to be aligning herself with any particular one of them. She ruefully glanced at Tanner and Larabee. Not that it was going to be a problem with either of those two. So far Larabee had accepted her on sufferance and the Texan agent had barely acknowledged her presence. Impulsively, she moved closer to Standish, not failing to notice the flicker in Larabee's gaze as he marked her movement.

"How's the head?" She kept her voice low.

"I'll live. How's the ego?"

Zoé grinned quite aware that he was referring to the belief among the team that they had slept together. She held her thumb and index finger a millimetre apart and they both laughed. The two men at the window momentarily speared disapproving glances in their direction before again returning their attention to the street below. The sound of a single gunshot from the warehouse charged the room with an almost palpable tension. At a signal from Larabee, Standish smoothly made the transition from relaxation to animation in a millisecond and disappeared out of the door. Tanner followed in his shadow clutching the sniper rifle that was his tool of trade. Waiting in anticipation for her own instructions Elliott was conscious of Larabee barking instructions into his headset mic then he too was moving, catching her by the upper arm as he passed and pulling her into his wake.

"Come on. We're on!"