Pretenses Chapter 4


Ann Coulter

Jada Pinkett-Smith

Wicked Wisdom

Phillip Thomas Duck

Alisha Yvonne

Laura Schlessinger

Dr. Frederick K.C. Price

James Patterson

Eric Jerome Dickey

Jackie Collins

L.A. Banks

Brandon Massey

Kendra Norman-Bellamy

Pretenses Cover
THE FBI had already taken over the investigation at the Taylor house, which enraged the local police. As far as they were concerned, FBI agents were always infringing on their territory, throwing their weight around, and taking all the credit for the success of an investigation. By the time I arrived, there was a mob scene in front of the house. Squad cars were everywhere. Flashing red and blue lights bounced off every vehicle and house in the vicinity. Satellites had been set up-reporters circled like vultures.

It was an unseasonably chilly Thursday night in June, so I grabbed my black FBI windbreaker and put it on as I was still wearing my Kung Fu uniform, and I wanted to look the part of a bona fide FBI agent. I got out of my metallic-green Ford Mustang Cobra and walked up the driveway.

I spotted Assistant Director Lawrence Michelson-a former boyfriend ten years removed-talking to the police. Michelson was a handsome black man, six feet tall, and extremely well groomed. As a twenty-six-year-old agent, I had fallen under his spell. He was still obsessed with me, probably because I had married Keyth Perry, a former agent he didn't like.

I had broken it off with Lawrence when I learned that he was telling agents in the Washington office that he was going to be my first lover. Lawrence Michelson and I were never intimate, but most of the male agents believed the rumors. I remained a virgin until the night of my honeymoon.

When a female agent's reputation has been compromised, the word spreads like wildfire through the bureau. By breaking up with Lawrence as soon as I heard the rumors, I could at least retain some dignity while I did the job I enjoyed so much. Nevertheless, the rumors persisted, and Keyth, who had by then become my boyfriend, had to endure undeserved ridicule. All the tension eventually led to a fistfight with Lawrence, ending Keyth's career with the bureau.

Lawrence spotted me and came down the driveway.

"Perry," he called. He always addressed me by my last name in public. He was so good at pretenses. All the agents noticed that he gave me a hard time, and they knew why. Lawrence seemed to forget that trained agents accustomed to watching people noticed the subtlest hint of impropriety. "Why didn't you change before you came here?"

"Flynn and Ford said you wanted me here immediately."

"Flynn and Ford," he repeated, shaking his head, "two numskulls who shouldn't even be agents. I didn't tell them you couldn't take time to change. They knew the fucking media was here."

"Maybe they were concerned with solving the crime, sir."

"Don't get flippant with me, Perry," he growled. "This is a career-making case, if you're up for the challenge."

"I'd rather catch the bad guys, Lawrence." He hated it when I called him that in public, but no one was around to hear it. I loved pushing his buttons. "Besides, I thought catching the Rapist was the high-priority case, Lawrence."

"Agent Perry, you will address me as Assistant Director Michelson. You got that? And you'll work whatever case I assign you to."

"Yes, sir!" I smiled and saluted. "Just a friendly reminder, Assistant Director Michelson. He isn't raping women. He's raping men. It's your ass on the line, not mine. No pun intended. But whatever you say, sir. What do we know so far?"

"Not much. We know they were killed sometime Wednesday night." He frowned. "The bodies were found by a neighbor who came by when she noticed the garage door had been open all day. Apparently, they never leave their garage door open."

"I'm gonna need to talk to her," I said.

"Perry, solving this case quickly is important to the president, which means it's important to the bureau. Director St. Clair said that President Davidson was furious when he found out about Taylor's murder. Her seat on the bench was very important to him, and apparently, he and Justice Patterson had carefully orchestrated her appointment."

"Her nomination was important to all of us. It's not like a black woman gets a presidential appointment to the Supreme Court every election."

"The Rapist case is on the back burner for now," Michelson said. "Find this bastard, Perry. The sooner the better."

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