Phillips kept checking the time. Fifteen minutes passed before Allison stopped typing. She reached for a small Post-it, picked up a pen, and wrote something. Then she stood and thanked the techs for letting her join them.
"Give up?" Phillips asked what he thought was the obvious question when she came through the door.
Smiling, she slapped the Post-it on the lapel of his jacket, turned, and walked down the hall to find Jordan.
He pulled the piece of paper from his lapel to see what she had written. It was an address in San Francisco, California. "What the . . . ?"
"Sir?" The agent next to him motioned to the map on the wall. Every tech was standing and watching as dot after dot and the connecting lines disappeared. In less than a minute only one dot remained. Above it was an address, the same address Allison had written on the Post-it.
"Did she do that?" the agent asked.
Phillips was frowning as he handed him the Post-it and answered, "Yes."
"How . . . how did she do it?" Pierce wondered.
"I don’t know," Phillips admitted.
"Do you think it’s the right address?"
"I do. Roberts, call the San Francisco office. Tell them to get a SWAT team out there."
"Yes, sir," Roberts replied, then rushed into the nearest office.
The three remaining agents glanced at one another. "What if we’re wrong?" Pierce asked.
"Then we’re wrong." Phillips was looking up at the empty screen when he said, "Healy, you’d better go get him. He’ll want to see this." And gloat, he added silently.
"He was right, wasn’t he?" Healy asked.
Phillips sighed. "Apparently so. Go get him," he ordered again. "And, Norton, you bring Miss Trent to my office. Where did she go?"
"She’s in the encryption room with Mrs. Clayborne. I’ll get her."
Pierce spoke up. "I’ll get her."
"No, I’ve got this," Norton insisted, hurrying away.
He found Jordan and Allison surrounded by men who were all trying to explain what their job was. When Norton told Allison that Phillips wanted to see her, Jordan offered to go with her, but Allison told her to stay.
Phillips was on the phone when she entered his office. He motioned for her to sit, but she continued to stand in front of his desk. The second he disconnected the call, she blurted, "Aren’t there any women working here?"
Detecting annoyance in her question, he retorted, "As a matter of fact, there are women working here."
"I haven’t seen any," she replied.
"We’re just filling positions for this new office, but we already have many women on our support staff. And if you’d gone into other departments, you would have seen a couple of women who are analysts and . . ."
Allison didn’t hear the rest of his answer. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a man walking toward the office. There was something familiar about him. She lost her train of thought, and, although it was rude, she turned her back on Phillips and watched as the man came closer. The gun told her he was an agent. A tall, attractive agent, she corrected, with sandy blond hair and the physique of a Roman gladiator.
He came into the office, his expression serious. He looked at Phillips for a brief second before turning his gaze to her.
"You were on the mark," Phillips told him with a hint of reluctance.
"Yes, I heard," he replied.
Allison looked up at him in amazement and recognition. "It’s you," she said. "You were at the seminar when Jordan spoke. You were watching."
"Yes, I was there. That was a while ago." He seemed surprised that she would remember.
"What is this all about? What’s going on?" She didn’t give him time to answer before adding, "Who are you?"
The agent just smiled and held out his hand. "My name is Liam Scott. And I am very happy to finally meet you, Allison."
Uh-oh. Finally? He was happy to finally meet her?
Allison had a really bad feeling about what was coming, and she suddenly had the insane urge to turn around and run as fast as she could, knowing that one of the agents might tackle her before she reached the elevator. She still wanted to try, though.
Fortunately, before she took a step, she came to her senses and decided to stay composed. Phillips pulled out a chair for her and pointed. She sat and crossed one leg over the other. Because she exposed a bit of thigh from the side split of her pencil skirt, she tugged her skirt down and casually folded her hands in her lap. She hoped her nerves weren’t showing despite the fact that her mind was racing to figure out what Agent Scott wanted. She told herself to stay calm and try to act like a law-abiding citizen.