TITLE: The River Man
GENRE: Romantic Suspense
Her first day on the project and Ana Middleton was beginning to question her choice of post-doc.
The reason for her abrupt change of heart leaned against the wall in the corner office, his hands behind his back. Dressed in a worn leather trench coat, dirty blond hair beneath his collar, he looked more like an enforcer in the Russian Mafia than a criminalist.
She flipped through his personnel file. The name was blacked out and Doe, John scrawled in its place. A resume with large sections of redacted text listed his past jobs: Army Ranger, Proactive Engagement Team Leader for TransSecurity Corp under contract to – that was blacked out as well.
“John Doe?” She examined the man once more. A sidearm peeked out from beneath his jacket. “Who is this guy? A spook?”
Dr. Bertelli cracked a smile. “You worry about that computer model of yours and I’ll worry about the competence of the hired help. Rumor has it he worked for the NCS,” he said, wagging his eyebrows.
"National Clandestine Service. Those guys have no identities. You know, to provide plausible deniability when the government wants bad things to happen, or some other BS.”
“You hired him as a criminalist?”
“He’s a confidential advisor. Who better to find an assassin than another assassin?”
“And you expect me to work with him?” She swallowed. “I think I should be more afraid of him than the perp.”
“Baptism of fire, Ana.” Bertelli gestured to the office. “Baptism of fire.”