The Hunted

Free The Hunted by Alan Jacobson

Book: The Hunted by Alan Jacobson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alan Jacobson
Tags: Fiction / Thrillers
“At the door earlier, helping that elderly lady.”
    “If it involves helping somebody, we’re probably talking about Nick,” Carla said. “Which is why I called him over. I think he’s just the person you should get to know.”
    “Why’s that?” Lauren asked.
    “Nick’s a private investigator. I’m sure he could do a lot to help you find Michael.”
    “At your service,” Bradley said with a slight bow.
    Lauren forced a smile but could not get out of her mind the image of the stranger in the back of the gymnasium. Her gaze again began to move around the room.
    “Did I say something wrong?” Bradley asked, following her eyes.
    “No—no,” Lauren stammered. “I’m just... there was...” She sighed and shook her head. “I’m just tired.”
    “After what you’ve been through, I don’t doubt it,” Carla said.
    “I’d like to help you find your husband, Dr. Chambers.”
    “Call me Lauren, and I’m afraid I’m not in a financial position to pay a private investigator.”
    “We’ll take up a collection.” Carla turned toward the crowd and reached for her gavel. “We’ve done that before—”
    “We don’t need a collection,” Bradley said, holding up a hand. “It’s on the house.”
    Lauren turned to face him. “Why? Why would you do that for me?”
    “Because I knew your husband, Lauren. I did some work for his company, and they paid me well.”
    “You knew Michael?”
    “Like I said, I want to help. When Carla called and told me who was missing—”
    “Who do you think put up most of the flyers this afternoon?” Carla asked.
    “So what do you say?” Bradley asked. “Am I in?”
    “I need some time to think about it, okay? I’ll let you know tomorrow.”
    “Time is the one thing we don’t have,” Bradley said. “The longer Michael’s missing, the harder he’s going to be to find.”
    “Do you have a card?”
    Bradley searched his pockets but came up empty. “I’m all out. But I’ll write down my info. Call me anytime. Day or night, okay?”
    He grabbed a flyer off the table and penciled in his phone numbers. Lauren took it and thanked him.
    “You don’t find many folk like Nick, I’ll say that much,” Carla said as Bradley walked off. “I think you should take him up on his offer.”
    “Thanks so much for getting this together tonight. It means a lot to me.”
    “Maybe when this all blows over and Michael’s back, you’ll come out to help one of us just like your neighbors did for you.”
    Lauren glanced at the mass of people in the gymnasium and shuddered. The truth was, she would like to reach out and be able to help others. “Maybe a lot of things will change in the future.” Lauren turned and walked out the door, fighting off the feeling that the man in the black knit cap was behind her somewhere, following.

    FBI director Douglas Knox sank down into his kitchen chair. The five-mile run along the Potomac had done him good. After yesterday’s tense standoff at a militia farmhouse had degenerated into a major confrontation, he had spent a sleepless night tossing in bed and replaying each of the Bureau’s command decisions, as if doing so could change the result. He had spent the better part of today in briefings with the media and meetings with the president and his advisers.
    Although it was an important part of the Bureau’s directive, Knox despised hostage rescue and domestic terrorism situations. Anything that left him without total control tore him apart inside. Little wonder his blood pressure was higher than it should be and his list of medications was quickly becoming longer than his seventy-five-year-old mother’s. From the exterior, he looked fit; only prematurely graying hair provided any indication that the job had worn terribly on him.
    The burn in his lungs from the twenty-degree Washington air hurt and felt good at the same time. The run had cleared his mind—as it always did—and allowed him to focus.
    He kicked off his Nikes and

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