Home > Kiss Me While I Sleep (CIA Spies #3)(14)

Kiss Me While I Sleep (CIA Spies #3)(14)
Author: Linda Howard

Now Lily had used up most of her savings getting that poison and setting up the situation. Good papers cost money, and the better they were the more they cost. She’d had to rent the flat, get an actual job-because not having one would have been suspicious-then put herself in Salvatore Nervi’s path and hope he took the bait. That hadn’t been a sure bet, by any means. She could make herself look very attractive, but she knew she wasn’t a beauty. If that hadn’t worked, she would have thought of something else; she always did. But it had worked, beautifully, right up until the moment Salvatore insisted she taste his wine.

Now she had one-tenth the money she’d had before, she had a damaged heart valve that, as Dr. Giordano had explained, would eventually have to be replaced, her stamina was laughable, and her time was running out.

From a logical standpoint, she knew her odds weren’t good. This time not only did she not have Langley‘s resources behind her, the Agency would actually be working against her. She wouldn’t be able to use any of her known safe havens, she couldn’t call for either backup or extraction, and she would have to be on guard against… everyone. She had no idea whom Langley would send after her; they might simply locate her and have a sharpshooter take her out, in which case she had nothing to worry about, because there was no way she could protect herself from something she couldn’t see. She wasn’t Salvatore Nervi, with a fleet of steel-reinforced cars and protected entrances. Her only hope was not to let them locate her.

On the plus side… Well, there was no plus side.

That didn’t mean she’d walk out into the open and make herself an easy target. They might take her down, but she’d make it as difficult for them as possible. Her professional pride was at stake. With Zia and the others gone, pride was just about all she had left.

She waited as long as she dared before using her cell phone to call for a taxi to the airport. She had to cut it as close as possible, to limit the time Rodrigo would have to get people in place. At first the men tailing her wouldn’t know where she was going, but as soon as they realized she was headed to the airport, they’d call Rodrigo for instructions. The chance of Rodrigo already having someone-or several someones-on the payroll at the airport was at least fifty-fifty, but de Gaulle was a large airport and, without knowing exactly which airline she was taking or her destination, heading her off would be difficult All they could do was follow, but only so far before security would stop them.

If Rodrigo had the passenger list checked, the jig would be up, because she wasn’t flying under the name of Denise Morel, or even her own name. She had no doubt he’d check; the only question was how soon he’d do it. At first, he might not even be suspicious enough to do more than have her followed.

By leaving so openly, and taking so little luggage, she hoped he’d be curious but not suspicious, at least not for the short amount of time it would take her to disappear.

If the gods were smiling on her, he wouldn’t be unduly suspicious even when his men lost track of her in busy Heathrow. He might wonder why she flew instead of taking a ferry or tunnel, but a lot of people flew the short hop from Paris to London, and vice versa, if they were short of time.

In the best possible scenario, he wouldn’t think anything of her trip for at least a couple of days, until she failed to return home. The worst possible scenario would be if he had his men grab her in de Gaulle airport, regardless of witnesses and possible repercussions. Rodrigo wouldn’t worry about either of those. She was betting he wouldn’t go to that extent; so far he hadn’t discovered she wasn’t who she said she was, because he hadn’t had his men storm her flat. In the absence of that knowledge, there was no reason for him to cause a public disturbance.

Lily went downstairs to wait for the taxi, standing where she could see the street but her watchers couldn’t see her. She had thought about walking the several blocks to a taxi rank and waiting in line, but that would have given Rodrigo time she didn’t want him to have, and also tired her. Once-only a little over a week ago-she could have sprinted the distance and not even been winded.

Perhaps her heart had sustained little damage, just enough for Dr. Giordano to detect the murmur, and this insidious weakness would eventually go away. She’d been very sick for over three days, eating nothing, flat on her back. The human body lost strength much faster than it gained it She’d give it a month; if she wasn’t back to normal in that length of time, she’d have some tests run on her heart. She didn’t know where, or how she’d pay for it, but she’d manage.

Of course, that was assuming she was still alive a month from now. Even after she escaped from Rodrigo, she’d still have to evade her former employer. She hadn’t computed those odds yet; she didn’t want to discourage herself.

A black taxi stopped outside. Picking up her carry-on bag, Lily murmured, “Show time,” and calmly stepped outside. She didn’t hurry, didn’t in any way appear nervous. When she was seated, she took a mirrored compact out of her tote and angled it so she could watch her watchers.

As the taxi pulled away, so did a silver Mercedes. It slowed, a man darted over and practically leaped into the passenger seat, then the Mercedes accelerated until it was right behind the taxi. In the mirror, Lily could see the passenger talking on a cell phone.

The airport was about thirty kilometers out of the city; the Mercedes stayed behind the taxi all the way. Lily didn’t know if she should be insulted or not; did Rodrigo think she was too stupid to notice, or that she would simply not care if she did? On the other hand, normal people didn’t check to see if they were being followed, so the fact that her watchers were so blatant could mean Rodrigo still didn’t really suspect her of anything, despite having her watched and followed. Judging from what she knew about him, she thought he would do that until he discovered who killed his father. Rodrigo wasn’t one to let a loose end go untied.

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