This is the Dinah Harris you never knew - brilliant FBI agent, wife and mother. What happens when her world falls apart and she loses everything dear to her? Find out in the prequel, The Darkest Night, available free on my blog every Friday!
Dinah Harris stomped her feet and watched her breath disappear like a ghost in the cold, dark air. An assertive wind whipped slivers of ice into her face, like tiny freezing darts. It was just past midnight, in an alley on the mean streets of southwest Washington D.C. It was sheer madness for an ordinary woman to be standing alone in an alley in this neighborhood.
Dinah Harris was no ordinary woman.
Underneath her thick coat, her standard FBI- issue Glock sat snugly in her shoulder holster. A thin stalk mike was the only clue that she was hooked up to a command center and SWAT team, currently waiting out of sight.
She was the youngest Special Agent-In-Charge in the history of the Bureau, male or female. She headed up the Gangs division, and her specialty was extracting high-ranking gang members, and obtaining valuable information in exchange for a new life.
Dinah knew that many agents thought she had a sixth sense when it came to convincing gang members to leave the only family – albeit a violent one – that they’d ever known. The truth was, Dinah could somehow see beneath the bluster and anger to what the individual yearned for the most.
Dinah’s senses, already hyper-alert, picked up a figure dressed in a hooded sweatshirt, turning into the mouth of the alley. She tensed.
Hector Ruiz was the third in charge of a highly dangerous Mexican gang, called DS09. A slight young man with nervous eyes, it was difficult to imagine he oversaw a criminal empire and violence of the worst kind.
“Shauna?” he called, softly, using Dinah’s code name.
“Yes. Have you been followed?”
“No.” The fear in Hector’s voice was real. The hardest part of extracting a gang member was somehow getting him alone, away from the rest of the gang.
“Keep walking,” she instructed him. “There is an intersecting alley behind me. My team is ready for you.”
No sooner had the words left her mouth than two more hooded figures entered the alley.
Dinah tensed, adrenalin pulsing through her blood. “We’ve got company,” she said into her mike.
To Hector, she said: “You were followed.”
Hector cursed and touched a baggy jeans pocket, where no doubt a gun was concealed.
“Do not shoot,” she warned him. “My SWAT team is coming.”
“Hey Hector!” one of his comrades called. “What you doin’, man?”
Hector didn’t turn around, but he hesitated.
Dinah tried to control her anger. Hector hadn’t been careful enough, and now the situation was likely to deteriorate.
“Keep walking!” she hissed at him.
“Is my mama out of the projects?” he asked.
“Yes. Now go!”
Dinah turned her attention to the two thugs calling out to Hector.
“Do not come any closer,” she shouted down the alley. “The FBI has the alley surrounded and we are heavily armed.”
One of the men laughed mockingly. “Hector,” he called again. “You talkin’ about us?”
Despite the chill air, Dinah saw huge drops of sweat trickling down Hector’s face. In her peripheral vision, she saw silent, black figures with automatic guns creep behind her.
“You need to leave,” Dinah warned. “If you don’t, you will be arrested for obstructing a federal investigation. If you draw a weapon, you will be fired upon.”
The other hooded man hurled an insult at her. “You think you own these streets? These streets are mine.”
Dinah stood her ground. “You are surrounded,” she said, calmly. “This is your final warning. Leave immediately.”
To corroborate her, four heavily armed SWAT members moved in behind her, aiming their weapons at the two gang members. In the middle, stood Dinah and Hector.
They waited, each second torturously long, every muscle screaming with tension.
If a firefight erupted, Dinah knew she’d die.
One of the men darted a hand into the pocket of his baggy jeans.
In an instant, Dinah drew her Glock, hearing the screams of the SWAT team to drop your weapon! Drop your weapon!
And she waited for the cold fire of a bullet to pierce her flesh.