Read an Exerpt of Name of the Game

Larabee looked at each man sitting around the conference table, conscious of the fact that the differences between them were far more apparent than any similarities there might be. A few of them had already met but this was the first time that all of them had come together as a group. At this stage, he rejected any notion of regarding them as a team, already knowing there would be a few rough edges to smooth before he could even hope to mould them into a single working entity.

Already he had noticed the wary glances, the traditional posturing of males in front of other males, and the subtle verbal power plays that would ultimately establish places within the pack. Yet these were the men he had chosen to be at the core of this organisation. For better or worse it was now his job to pull them together into an effective unit. Considering them individually he decided that it was not going to be an easy path-for any of them.

“Okay,” he started, “Some of you have already met but just to kick things off, I’ll start by introducing everybody.” He gestured to the man on his right. “Vin Tanner. Lately of the Texas Rangers. Vin is a...marksman...with a whole swag of medals and the Porter Cup to prove it. So my advice is, don’t piss him off.”

Watching the rest of the group in that quiet way he had as he slouched in the chair, it was easy for Larabee to see the predator in him and could readily imagine the intense blue eyes focused on a distant target to the exclusion of all else as he lined up for a shot. A better friend than an enemy.

“Buck Wilmington. My partner. Before that with the ATF and before that US Army Special Forces. Buck is our resident evasive driving specialist.”

“Yeah,” Wilmington grinned, “Learned everything I know driving in downtown Boston.”

Friend and companion, the two of them had lived, laughed, loved and even cried together, through a turbulent twelve years with Buck always there riding shotgun for him. He owed Buck his sanity and probably his life. Beside Wilmington sat the youngest of the group, John Dunne.

“JD Dunne. NYPD until just a few days ago. IT and electronic surveillance are JD’s areas of expertise.”

A calculated risk as far as InterSept was concerned. A greenhorn. Yet Buck had seen something in him, and he valued his friend’s judgement. Time would tell.

“Nathan Jackson. Last two years working close protection. Nathan’s also a trained paramedic. Try not to keep him too busy, guys.”

This one had a rock solid background first as an army medic and then as a civilian paramedic, a man of quiet dignity who took his work seriously. A foil to the noisy exuberance of Buck and the keen enthusiasm of Dunne.

“Josiah Sanchez. Former USMC, specialising in explosives. Now our designated Hazmat expert.”

Oldest of the group, he exuded an air of calm that was pleasantly contagious. If Nathan was the rock then he was the water flowing around it. Josiah had spent most of his adult life in the Marine Corps and Chris knew that, in his time, he had been a hellraiser but now he was searching for some measure of balance in his life.

Larabee moved his gaze to the last man at the table. The green eyes were already on him, that knowing smile, just barely there, and Larabee felt the uncomfortable sensation that the Southerner knew exactly what was in his thoughts. This man was of a different breed and no mistake. Hell, his suit cost more than the collective wardrobes of the remaining six at the table. A square peg in a round hole? Again, only time would tell.

“Ezra Standish. Recently parted company with the Bureau, Ezra’s specialty was in deep cover situations. He’s also a pilot with a commercial ticket and part of his responsibilities will be flying the company jet. So that’s the...”

“And you, Mr. Larabee?” Standish’s soft Georgia drawl interrupted smoothly. “What about you?”

Chris looked evenly at his questioner, wondering how the Southerner always managed to infuse his words with a hint of sarcasm without ever being openly challenging. He shrugged, never completely comfortable talking about himself. “Nothing spectacular. Regular Army then Special Forces. Moved into this business about three years ago. Started out as a bodyguard and the rest, as they say, is history.” Quickly moving on, he glanced around the table. “Any questions?”

Wilmington leaned back in his chair and stretched expansively. “Yeah. Where’s the donuts?”