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Cross Fire

Cross Fire

Titel: Cross Fire
Autoren: James Patterson
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you want to eat? We’ve got paper to burn today.”
    “Taco Bell, man,” Mitch said without even having to think.
    Denny pulled hard on the gearshift to get it into drive and took off. “Why am I not surprised?”

Chapter 3

    THE LEAD STORY in my life these days was Bree — Brianna Stone, known as the Rock at Metro Police. And, yes, she was all of that — solid, profound, lovely. She’d become a part of my life to the point where I couldn’t imagine it without her anymore. Things hadn’t been this sane and balanced for me in years.
    Of course, it didn’t hurt that Homicide at Metro was so quiet lately. As a cop, you can’t help but wonder when that next ton of bricks is going to fall, but in the meantime, Bree and I had an unheard-of two-hour lunch that Thursday afternoon. Usually the only way we see each other during the day is if we’re working the same murder case.
    We sat in the back at Ben’s Chili Bowl, under all the signed celeb photos. Ben’s isn’t exactly the world capital of romance, but it is an institution in Washington. The half-smokes alone are worth the trip.
    “So you know what they’re calling us around the office these days?” Bree said, halfway through a coffee milk shake. “Breelex.”
    “Breelex? Like Brad and Angelina? That’s

    She laughed; she couldn’t even keep a straight face at that. “I’m telling you, cops have no imagination.”
    “Hmm.” I put a hand lightly on her leg under the table. “With exceptions, of course.”
    “Of course.”
    Any more than that would have to wait, and not just because the bathrooms at Ben’s Chili Bowl were definitely not an option. We did in fact have somewhere important we had to be that day.
    After lunch, we strolled hand in hand up U Street to Sharita Williams’s jewelry store. Sharita was an old friend from high school, and she also happened to do outstanding work on antique pieces.
    A dozen tiny bells tinkled over our heads as we breezed in the door.
    “Well, don’t you two look in love.” Sharita smiled from behind the counter.
    “That’s ’cause we are, Sharita,” I said. “And I highly recommend it.”
    “Just find me a good man, Alex. I’m in.”
    She knew why we were there, and she removed a small black velvet box from under the case. “It came out beautifully,” she said. “I love this piece.”
    The ring used to belong to my grandmother, Nana Mama, she of the impossibly small hands. We’d had it resized for Bree. It was a platinum deco setting with three diamonds across, which struck me as perfect — one for each of the kids. Maybe it’s corny, but it was like that ring represented everything Bree and I were committing to. This was a package deal after all, and I felt like the luckiest man in the world.
    “Comfortable?” Sharita asked when Bree slipped it on. Neither one could take her eyes off the ring, and I couldn’t take my eyes off Bree.
    “Yeah, it’s comfortable,” she said, squeezing my hand. “It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”

Chapter 4

    I PUT IN a late-afternoon appearance at the Daly Building. This was as good a time as any to catch up on the flood of paperwork that never seemed to stop flowing across my desk.
    But when I got to the Major Case Squad room, Chief Perkins was just coming out into the hall with somebody I didn’t recognize.
    “Alex,” he said. “Good. You’ll save me another trip. Walk with us?”
    Something was obviously up, and it wasn’t good. When the chief wants a meeting, you go to him, not the other way around. I did a one-eighty, and we headed back over to the elevators.
    “Alex, meet Jim Heekin. Jim’s the new AD at the Directorate of Intelligence over at the Bureau.”
    We shook hands. Heekin said, “I’ve heard a lot about you, Detective Cross. The FBI’s loss was MPD’s gain when you came back over here.”
    “Uh-oh,” I said. “Flattery’s never a good sign.”
    We all laughed, but it was also true. A lot of new managers at the Bureau like to shake things up when they start, just to let people know they’re there. The question was, what did Heekin’s new job have to do with me?
    Once we were settled in Perkins’s big office, Heekin got a lot more specific.
    “Can I assume you’re familiar with our FIGs?” he asked me.
    “Field Intelligence Groups,” I said. “I’ve never worked with them directly, but sure.” The FIGs had been created to develop and share intelligence “products” with the law
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