Baring Mia

By: Kallista Dane

Slade tuned to Harmon. “I’m sorry, boss. We let you down. Turns out they had an insider working with them – Tony Reynolds from the marketing division. He helped them figure out where to plant the devices to create the maximum damage. Despite our security checks, we never picked up the fact that Tony and his mother lived with Brother Abraham, one of the elders of the cult, for a few years when he was a kid. He married her in one of their private ceremonies so there was no legal record of it. She got tired of being in a cult, managed to get away with her son a few years later. Abraham had been a father figure to Tony as a child. He found out Tony worked for you and apparently still had enough influence over him to turn him.

“Your building sustained massive damage. It’s going to have to be torn down. Fortunately it was a Friday night, so there were only a handful of techies there. A few sustained minor injuries. They’re all okay. The top floor where your lab was took the brunt of the blast. Engineers say it’s a miracle anyone there survived.” Slade waved a hand at Sam. “Tell ’em the rest.”

“This concerns you, ma’am,” Sam said to Mia. “Hearing the tapes from your meetings with Patterson got the DA to drop the idea of bringing any charges against you regarding the collapse of ITC. But that got me thinking. Why was Patterson so desperate to pin the theft on Harmon that he’d try and get you to plant false evidence?”

Sam gestured to the other men around the table. “We have some friends from the old days in agencies that only use initials. They gave us a hand tracing what were supposed to be untraceable transfers and recreating destroyed hard drives. Your buddy Special Agent in Charge D.L. Patterson’s name cropped up. I knew he’d been working behind the scenes, trying to pin everything on Harmon. I guess he figured when he couldn’t get you to turn on the boss, he’d use the explosion to claim that any records of Harmon’s involvement had been destroyed. Then he could mark the case as one where the Bureau knew who’d done it but didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute. As it happens, he’d already put in his papers for early retirement. He was planning to join the millions he socked away in the Caymans. I’m told he was arrested yesterday. Quietly. The Bureau doesn’t like being made to look bad by one of their own.”

“He always bragged he had several prison wardens who owe him favors,” Mia said. “Maybe he’ll get lucky and be assigned to one of their facilities.”

Mia was happy when they got on the company’s new helicopter and headed home. It was peaceful on Dream Quest Key, far removed from the world. To her surprise, Jake had settled comfortably into their little house. It was not much more than a beach shack, but they both loved it.

Last night after dinner she found him sketching floor plans for a larger house.

“You should be drawing up blueprints to renovate Slade’s cottage instead. He’ll need the extra room. He’s going to ask Natalie to move in with him before Christmas. Besides, I love this place,” she told him, waving an arm around the cozy living room decorated with casual rattan furniture that could withstand sun and sand. “Can’t we just live here?”

“I love it too, babe. But we’ll want something bigger once the kids come along,” he said, sweeping her into his arms and giving her bottom a playful smack. “We need a private master suite…one that’s soundproof. After all, there’s nowhere in here where I can spank you any time I want and not have everyone in the house hear you screaming when you come in my arms afterward. You get pretty loud sometimes.”

She stared at him. “Kids?”

“I know we’ve never talked about it. I’d love to have kids. Ideally three. But if you want more – – or only two – that’s fine with me. As long as there’s more than one. I wouldn’t want to raise an only child here on the island. Jake Junior will need someone to swim and fish and play in the sand with. I never had a brother or sister, but I always wished I did.”

“Jake, having kids – that’s quite a commitment.”

He smiled. “Yeah, but so is this.”

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