Bryson. Problem was money. And politics. Always came down to those two gems. Even as wealthy as the Van Amees were, a rescue operation cost serious bucks, and Bryson wasn’t important enough to waste that kind of time or manpower. It was easier to pay the ransom. Not important enough. Danny thought of Van Amee’s two little boys, Grayson and Ashton, who reminded him so much of his twin sons. So young and frightened, with a mother who didn’t seem to give two figs about them. Okay, he knew he had to cut Chloe some slack for the dismissive way she treated them. Stressed way beyond what most normal people experience in their lifetime, she was cracking, and everyone handled that differently. For all he knew, she was Mother of the Year under normal circumstances. Not important enough. Goddammit, but Bryson Van Amee was important. Those two little boys deserved to grow up with a father. Who was he to take that away by not doing everything in his power to bring Bryson home? But that was the problem. It wasn’t in his power to make the call. It was Perry the Prick’s. Frustrated, feeling the constraint of bureaucratic red tape, Danny ground his teeth but kept his mouth shut.
Chapter Seven COLOMBIA Gabe stepped out of Armando Castillo’s shabby but well-kept house and slid his sunglasses on against the glare of morning sunshine. Chickens clucked and strutted around the house and a worn shed he assumed was a barn. A scruffy mule grazed behind a fence that had seen better days and wouldn’t hold back a more ambitious animal. Skinny stray dogs sniffed the pitted dirt streets of a barely there jungle village for scraps. The air already sweltered, promising a day as thick as pudding with humidity, and Gabe’s shirt clung to his spine. Compared to the persistent coolness of Bogotá, it was as if they’d entered a different country. He checked his cell phone to call Harvard and found no signal. Not a surprise, but being out of contact with his team in the middle of guerilla country with an untrained civilian woman in tow made him twitchy. Since leaving the city, the hair on the back of his neck prickled in a near preternatural sixth sense—if you believed in that sort of thing—that usually warned him someone was watching. Laughter erupted from the house behind him and Gabe shook his head in complete awe. How Audrey went from giving Armando Castillo the third degree to becoming the limo driver’s new best friend was beyond him. He’d watched it happen and still couldn’t understand how it had happened. One minute, grief and guilt devastated Armando’s lived-in features as he explained someone had called in and changed Bryson’s pick-up time the morning of the abduction. The next, Audrey had him grinning and joking with her like they’d known each other forever. Maybe if Gabe knew Spanish, he’d understand how she managed that. Then again, maybe she just possessed a certain…magnetism or something. God knew she drew him like the proverbial doomed moth to a flame. Which ticked him off in a big way. Never before had a woman fascinated him to distraction like this. He liked to keep his love life—if he could even call it that; sex had been completely off his radar since the car accident last year—as orderly and precise as everything else he did. But she had the potential to destroy his meticulous life like a wrecking ball through concrete. So he shouldn’t even consider Audrey Van Amee in that way. Idiot. Warning prickled along the back of his neck again and he straightened, scanning the area. He couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but that didn’t mean much. He excelled at spotting tails, but he wasn’t dumb enough to think that nobody in the world was better at tailing than he was at spotting them. He checked his watch then rubbed a hand over his jaw, which was in desperate need of a date with a razor. What the hell was that woman doing in there, anyhow? They had just about overstayed their