Read an Exerpt of Checks and Balances

Buck walked slowly round the familiar Dodge and tried the driver's door. Unlocked. Not like Chris. Josiah similarly opened the passenger door and glanced around the interior spying Ezra's briefcase on the back seat. He gestured to Buck with a jerk of his head and the mustached agent reached across and pulled the expensive leather case towards him before thumbing the catches. Locked. Shit! Without hesitation he dug in his pocket and brought out a pocket knife.

"Ezra will kill you for that," warned Josiah, carefully checking the remainder of the cab as Buck made short work of the delicate mechanism securing the briefcase.

"I'll take that chance."

Ignoring the airline tickets and a variety of documents inside he immediately picked up the cell phone. Two missed calls. Wilmington quickly worked back through the menu, relieved that the Southerner had not locked his keypad as well, reading off the call information displayed. He recognised and dismissed his own number then thumbed the key to scroll back to the call immediately before. Chris's cell phone number. Not that unusual, except at the time the call was made the two men, along with Vin, were supposed to have been well on their way to the airport. He frowned considering the puzzle that had suddenly presented itself.

"Josiah, tell me why Chris would need to phone Ezra when they should've been together?"

The profiler leaned on the roof of the cab and stared up and down the street. "Should have been but obviously weren't. We just need to find out what the hell the three of them are playing at."

Buck turned as Nathan's Suburban pulled sharply in front of the Ram adding to the congestion and attracting a round of abuse from motorists already caught in the bottleneck which had developed into a monumental traffic snarl. The agent ignored the shouted obscenities and gestures being aimed in his direction and looked again at the cell phone as J.D. jogged up to stand beside him.


Buck shrugged. "Seems Chris, Ezra and Vin are playing hide and seek. Does that mean trouble?"

Dunne scanned the busy street. "Guess it depends who's doin' the hiding and who's doin' the seeking."

Josiah slammed the passenger door shut and walked around to join Wilmington.

"Let's get this thing moving and at least free up the traffic, then we can talk about where we go from here. You got a spare key?"

Buck nodded and separated a key from the rest on his key-chain and offered it to Dunne.

"J.D. you want to get this off the road before this mob turns into a lynching party. I'll stick around here in case they come back. Meet back here like two minutes ago."

J.D. took the key and swung into the cab, firing up the engine and slamming the door shut, forcing Buck to jump back as he gunned the engine and joined the flow of traffic with total disregard to the oncoming cars, resulting in another barrage of verbal abuse directed at Dunne and the Ram. Shaking his head, Buck retreated to the sidewalk and watched the Suburban and the Explorer move forward and follow the Ram down the street at a more sedate pace. Sighing he looked at Ezra's cell phone again. Maybe he should try Chris just one more time.