Home > Alpha Hunt (J.T.'s Bar #5)

Alpha Hunt (J.T.'s Bar #5)
Author: Sue Brown

Chapter 1


I could tell him to shut the hell up and let me do my damn job.

The temptation to point out to his section leader that, despite reports to the contrary, he wasn’t stupid, was overwhelming. Doyle had listened to Mitch Mitchelson say the same thing at least five times.

Six times.

He’s never going to stop talking.

Even Ruiz, Mitch’s lapdog, sorry, assistant, had tuned out twenty minutes ago. Jake, Mitch’s husband and Doyle’s former trainer, was counting ceiling tiles.

Doyle knew why Mitch was beating this briefing into the dust but fuck, there were only so many times he could say, “Discretion is essential, gentlemen.”

But apparently one more was vital just in case they hadn’t gotten it the previous six times.

Doyle raised his hand. Mitch frowned at the interruption.

“Doyle?”

“Let me make sure I understand. Intel has picked up the name Stoneman in the chatter and you want my team to find out what Stoneman is because you don’t have a clue.”

“Yes.”

“You’re asking a rookie team to find out whether Stoneman is a person, an object, or a code.”

“Yes.”

“Even though we have an entire intelligence department to do that.”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

A tic danced under Mitch’s left eye, a sure sign he was stressed.

“You’ve got to tell him,” Jake said.

Ruiz nodded in agreement. “Doyle’s not stupid.”

Doyle bit back the words burning on his tongue and focused his attention on Mitch.

Mitch squeezed the bridge of his nose as if he were trying to ward off a headache. “Because you were involved with the Peterson case and also I want this kept on the downlow.”

Doyle frowned as he processed this. Their first assignment, protecting Mark Peterson, a former operative, had led to the deaths of two corrupt operatives in another agency team. “Is this an extension of that case?”

“Maybe. I don’t know yet. But far as the rest of the agency is concerned I’ll have you running errands. Outside this room and your team no one knows about Stoneman.”

Doyle nodded. “Then when are we gonna start planning?”

The scowl grew deeper, but Ruiz and Jake were now looking at Mitch expectantly. Mitch sighed and squeezed the bridge of his nose again. “Now. We start now. But—”

“If you say discretion is essential one more time, I’m gonna scream,” Jake told him. He could get away with it, being Mitch’s husband.

“Don’t fuck up,” Because the asshole just had to say something.

When Mitch looked at him, Doyle tried not to bristle. “We won’t.”

Jake bolted from Mitch’s office with a “Thank God.” Ruiz followed him at a slower pace but wearing a “Thank fuck for that” expression. As Doyle stood, Mitch held out his hand.

What now?

“We need to talk about your new team member now Walker has gone,” Mitch said.

Shit! Doyle had been hoping to avoid that conversation until after this assignment. “Yes, sir,” he said flatly.

Mitch gave him a knowing look. “You need a new member. You can’t work with three. Not this time.”

“No one wants to work with us.”

Yes and no.

No one in the agency wanted to work with the Valentine team because of their past reputation as bullies. His team were trying to redeem themselves and didn’t want to work with anyone out of the agency. It was a lose-lose situation for Doyle, as a rookie team leader.

“I know how it feels,” Mitch said, surprising Doyle. “When we lost Jake and Riley we found it hard to replace them.”

“You didn’t replace them,” Doyle pointed out, knowing a little of the history of Mitch’s former team. Jake’s sister had been killed and her husband, Riley, had been convicted of her murder. Jake had walked away from the agency and away from Mitch.

“But there were still four of us. You need another team member.”

“I haven’t found the right operative.” He hadn’t looked and hadn’t been planning to.

“I have,” Mitch said firmly. “He’s waiting in Ruiz’s office.”

Doyle opened his mouth to object but Mitch spoke first.

“His name’s Chris Perez. He worked with Rees and Wright. He needs you.”

Crap.

Doyle slumped back in his seat. “You checked him out?”

Mitch nodded. “He’s clean.”

“No one else wants him so you dump him on the Valentine team?”

“Yeah. He’s spent the last nine months training, but no one trusts him on a mission.” At least Mitch didn’t try to sugar-coat it. “To be blunt, he needs a team and you need another member. And he needs a team leader who understands what it’s like to be unwanted. He’s hurt and furious with Rees and Wright for being dirty, and angry at all of us for thinking he’s the same.”

“So you’re dumping me with a loose cannon just as we undertake an important mission.”

“Yes,” Mitch said.

“Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” Mitch took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes, before replacing them. “I need you to watch him like a hawk.”

“So you say he’s clean but really you’re not sure?”

“Yes.”

Fuck it. Fuck Walker for leaving now.

Doyle had been riding high on the success of their first mission when Walker told him he was resigning from the agency. Why did it have to be Walker, who’d spectacularly proved himself against traitors in the agency? Why couldn’t it have been Collins, the pain in everyone’s butt, especially Doyle’s?

Because Collins wasn’t homesick missing his lover, that was why. Yeah, Doyle knew Walker wanted more than the excitement of agency life. He wanted a home with his new love, Mark Peterson.

Doyle didn’t understand it himself. The last thing he wanted was a wife at home, always waiting for him to return. He ignored the whisper in his mind which pointed out the last thing he wanted was a wife, period.

“Doyle?” Mitch said with an edge that suggested it wasn’t the first time he’d tried to attract Doyle’s attention.

“Yes?” Doyle returned to the present at the bark from his section leader.

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