The Avenger

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Book: The Avenger by Jo Robertson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jo Robertson
Tags: Fiction, Suspense, Romance
federal government?"
    "Of course." Barrington frowned. "What else?"
    Slater shrugged. Nothing else, but he liked getting a rise out of the little man.
    "Whatever. The call I got came directly from Washington." He slipped a sly look Slater's way, apparently expecting him to be impressed.
    "Washington state?"
    "D.C.," Barrington snapped. "I want to be sure you understand how important cooperating with federal agencies is to Bigler County."
    Slater figured Charlie was hinting at the case last year when the sheriff's office had moved ahead to track down a serial killer without consulting the FBI. Deputy sheriff at the time, Ben had used his resources to rescue Kate Myers, their forensic psychiatrist and his lover. Kate was on assignment in LA now and he missed her like hell.
    "Sure, I get it." He nodded pleasantly at the DA, wondering mildly what Charlie was getting them into with the feds.
    "Your contact is an Agent Holt, Jackson Holt."
    "What?" Slater leaned forward, thinking Barrington wasn't smart enough to play with his mind like that. Thinking he must've heard wrong. Or at least, the name was a colossal coincidence. Except, he reminded himself, he didn't believe in coincidence. "Are you sure of the name? Jackson Holt?"
    Barrington flashed an impatient look. "Of course I'm sure. Do you know him?"
    "If it's the guy I'm thinking of, there's a little history." Hell, he and Jack boasted a millennium of history between them, but Slater wasn't about to share that information with Barrington. Anyway, hadn't he heard Jack was dead?
    "Whatever it is," Barrington warned darkly, "don't let it get in the way. Agent Holt will organize and head a task force. I expect full cooperation. ADA Torres will help."
    "Isabella won't be happy about that. She's working on the Vargas case."
    Barrington narrowed his eyes. "That investigation can wait. Anyway, Vargas is Sac County's problem, not ours."
    "How do I get hold of Holt?"
    "You don't. He'll contact you."
    Slater watched Barrington mince his way across the polished linoleum and out the doors of the courthouse. Previous district attorneys had made their offices in this impressive historic building, but not him. The day after he assumed office, Barrington moved his staff into the sleek new complex across the freeway.
    Asshole, Slater thought. Barrington knew the Diego Vargas case was important to Isabella Torres.
    He sighed and leaned back in his over-sized chair, pondering this new information. If the DA was allocating all his resources, including ADA Torres, to the federal case, it must be important. Agent Jackson Holt couldn't possibly be the kid he'd known in high school.
    Coincidence or not, the news was a bitch.
    The call about the dead body at Lake Tahoe's North Shore came in while Jack sat in the Bigler County Sheriff's office. Slater eased his solid length into a worn leather chair that spoke more of comfort than décor, and eyed Jack across a desk unit that looked ridiculously small. When he'd shaken Slater's hand a few moments ago, a surge of testosterone flared between them and he'd imagined the two of them arm wrestling like they used to in high school.
    "Who'd have thought," Slater drawled as he raked his eyes over Jack's physique. The desk phone buzzed. Slater ignored it. "Heard you'd gone back to Texas, got killed in a knife fight."
    Jack didn't speak, just opened his credentials and held them up for inspection. He was taller and thinner than Slater, and he knew his clothes hung on him as if they were tailored to a mannequin in contrast to his old friend's casual jeans and shirt. Slater was broader, probably stronger, and had about twenty-five pounds on him. He had even teeth set in a square jaw, and right now his gray eyes were suspicious in a way that took Jack back in time.
    Someone had gone looking for him, Jack thought, and wondered who had cared enough.
    "So, the feds, huh," Slater commented after a lengthy silence. "Never expected you to end up there."
    Jack laughed

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