Shadow game (Chapter Nineteen)

RYLAND came awake just after nightfall. He lay listening to Lily's soft breathing. She lay close to him, her body pressed tightly against his, fitting up against him like a glove. When he shifted, the texture of her skin, rose petal soft, slid over his rougher skin, reminding him always of the beauty of a woman.

He had checked on the men several times throughout the day. Most slept but Nicolas was always awake, always on the watch. He simply grinned or saluted or nodded, but rarely spoke. Ryland stretched lazily, trusting to Arly's alarm systems, but not to the easy way everyone seemed to treat Lily's bedroom.

He slipped from the bed and locked the door, ensuring complete privacy. Naked, he padded to the window and slowly slid the heavy drape to one side so the moonlight would spill across the bed and illuminate Lily's skin. He found it astonishing that she didn't recognize her own beauty. She took his breath away as she lay there sleeping, her dark hair tumbling like so much silk on the pillows.

It was exciting to stand there in the shadows and watch her as she slept. To be able to pull the sheet from her body and simply enjoy the lush sight. To devour her with hungry eyes. The cool air hit her body and she moved, sprawling out in the bed, one hand flung across his pillow as if reaching for him. His body hardened into a painful ache. Every cell needed her. His heart pounded when he looked at her. Lily. Where had she come from? How had he managed to find her? Elusive Lily. Sometimes he felt as if she were water he held in the palm of his hand, tantalizing a thirsty man, only to slip away just when he went to take a drink.

He wanted her. All of her, not just her body, but her heart and soul and her brilliant mind. His jaw hardened. Few things escaped him when he hunted. Lily was too important to him to let her slip away.

Lily turned her head toward him unerringly, as if sensing danger in the darkness. "Ryland? Is everything all right?"

"It's just perfect, Lily," he answered.

"What are you doing?"

"Looking at what's mine." He waited a heartbeat. "Thinking about all the ways I want to make love to you."

"Well, then." There was soft amusement in her voice, soft invitation. "Is all that thinking getting me anywhere?"

His hand cupped his body, slid over the hard thickness, testifying to his response, to his indulgence in fantasies. "I think so."

"Come here where I can see." Lily laughed softly, joyously in invitation. "I've always thought indulging your every fantasy would be fun. What is it you want right this minute?"

Ryland thought about it. "More than anything, I want to take away every bruise on your body. I want to get rid of every sore spot and replace it with feeling good. I want you to forget nightmares and sadness and think only of me, even if it's only for a few minutes. I want you happy and I want to be the man who makes you happy."

Lily felt a curious melting sensation in the region of her heart. Her body turned instantly to liquid heat. It wasn't at all what Lily expected him to say. Ryland was a wild man when it came to sex and he was standing over her with a predatory look on his face and raw hunger in his eyes. His body was hot and hard and demanding urgent relief. How was it possible to resist him when he could say things like that so sincerely?

"Come here, then, Ryland," she called softly.

He walked to the side of the bed, watched her turn on her side, reach for his body with caressing fingertips. She stroked his thighs and he let her, wanting to make her happy, knowing instinctively she wanted to explore his body in the same way he needed to explore hers. Her palm was hot on his thigh, her fingernails raking his skin lightly. Then her hand cupped his sac, squeezed lightly and teased so that he gasped with pleasure, shifting his stance to move closer.

"Lily," he protested, but it was a plea for mercy.

"No, just let me. I want to memorize you. Your shape. I love the way I can make you feel." The moonlight was spilling across his body. She liked watching her fingers on him, shaping him, dancing over him, teasing and making the breath slam out of his lungs. He could make her lose her mind so easily. With his hands. His mouth. With his body. She wanted to know she could do the same. That they had equal power between them.

Ryland could see it mattered to her. His body was as hard as a rock and her lingering caresses just might kill him, but he figured he'd die happy. "Someday, when the others aren't around, I'll share this with you, the way you make me feel. You'll feel it too," he said. The words came out between his teeth. He was watching her face emerge from the shadows, slowly inching toward him. She was beautiful, every classic line, her small patrician nose, her full, generous mouth. Her long feathery eyelashes. And her eyes. She looked up at him and he felt himself falling forward into her eyes.

Her mouth was hot and tight and wet, sliding over him, her tongue doing some kind of dance that had his brain exploding right out of his skull. His hands fisted in her hair, thumbs caressing the silken strands. He allowed his head to fall back and he closed his eyes, giving himself up completely to her, to the pleasure she brought him.

Her hands were everywhere, shaping his firm buttocks, exploring his hips, sliding along the columns of his thighs. She traced his ribs, his flat belly, urged his hips to a slow, leisurely rhythm all the while the flames of sensuality licked over his body.

When he knew another moment would take away all control, he gently, reluctantly, moved away from her. It was a struggle to get his breathing back, to find a way to force his leaden legs to move. Ryland made his way to the end of the bed and knelt there, looking down at her.

"Lily, I want this night for you. I want you to feel how much I love you. When I'm touching you and kissing you, when I make love to you, I want you to always know it isn't just about sex. There's so much more between us. I don't have pretty words to wrap it up in. All I can do is show you."

"You have beautiful words, Ryland," she protested. His fingers were massaging her calf muscles, taking her breath, robbing her of speech. It was always like that with him when he touched her. And he was right. She could feel his love. It flowed through his fingertips when he caressed her scars and each sore muscle. It was in his lips as they touched each bruise. In his tongue as it swirled over the discolored marks in a lazy sweet healing. The way he loved her brought tears to her eyes.

Ryland made his way up her legs, found her tight black curls, and delved there for treasure. Lily nearly came off the bed. He simply caught her hips and dragged her closer, indulging his taste for her. Making his claim. He wanted her to know there was no one else in the world for her. Or for him.

Lily cried out as wave after wave of ecstasy rocked her. Ryland's hands pinned her hips, leaving her open and vulnerable to him. He took his time, worshiping her body, heightening her pleasure in every possible way he knew. And his knowledge was considerable. She gasped for mercy, pleaded with him to take her, begged for his possession. All the while her body responded to his every touch.

He took his time, a leisurely exploration, every shadow, every hollow, committing to memory her every response. He found the bruises and the sore spots. He found every sensitive spot. She was frantic, trying to pull him to her, whispering to him there in the dark of the night.

Ryland settled his body over hers. Felt her softness, her skin nearly melting under his. Her hips cradled his lovingly. Her entrance was hot and damp with welcome. He pushed into her velvet folds, just the thick head so that she bathed him with flames. "Tell me, Lily. I need you to say it out loud."

Her gaze moved over his face. "Say what? I think you already are hearing me. I want you deep inside me where you belong."

"We fit together. We were made for each other." He pushed inside her deeper, her tight channel grasping, resisting, only to soften and welcome. The sensation ripped him up inside. "Do you feel that, Lily? Do you think it's ever been this way with anyone else? Do you think it ever could be?" He thrust a little deeper. His breath slammed out of his lungs. His fingers curled possessively around her hips, held her still while he took her slowly. His way. Thoroughly.

"I love you, Ryland, I'm not looking for another man. Tell me. Say it. What is it that you're looking for from me?"

Her eyes were too blue. Saw too much. Ryland could see the intelligence there. She was everything he was not. Rich. Smart. Sophisticated. She had more education than he would see in his lifetime. He tightened his hold on her and plunged in deep and hard. Long strokes designed to drive them both out of their minds. Take them from the reality of the world and into another of heat and fire and passion where nothing else mattered and she was wholly his.

There in the bed, in the light of the moon, he was a part of her. Would always be a part of her. He took himself to the limits of his control, riding her hard and deep, was rewarded with her breathless cries, her hands clinging to his, her body wildly meeting his, matching every rhythm he set without hesitation. She followed his lead with complete trust, without inhibition, giving herself fully to him.

Lily heard her own voice crying out, heard a sound in his throat as the flames engulfed them, as the world exploded around them leaving behind colors and lights and so much pleasure she could only lie there gasping for breath and staring up at his face. His beloved face. She loved every rugged edge, every scar, the blue shadow he could never quite get rid of. Wave after wave of pleasure shook her, an explosion of shocks, leaving her locked with him, sated, happy. Belonging.

She wrapped her arms around him tightly as if she could keep him there, in the same skin with her, the same body while their hearts pounded frantically and each tiny movement by one or the other sent a shock wave tumbling through both of them.

Ryland propped himself up on his elbows to take some of his weight, but refused to give her back her body. He feathered kisses up and down her face. Lingered over her mouth. "I love everything about you."

"I noticed." Her fingers tunneled in his hair. Curls. Ryland was all rough edges but he had shiny blue-black curls on his head. She loved it.

"I want to settle a few things, Lily."

Her eyes widened. A slow grin curved her mouth. "This sounds suspiciously like those 'we have to talk' moments in the movies."

"We do and be serious."

"I can't possibly think, let alone talk!" she protested. "I don't have a thought process anymore. You short-circuited my brain."

"Lily, you still haven't made a commitment to me. I want you to marry me. To have children with me. Do you feel the same way?"

There was a moment of silence while she stared up at him. He felt the response in her body, the slight movement to try to get free. "That's not fair, of course I want those things with you, I just don't know if it's possible. I have to find out what's in that room, Ryland. There's so much I still don't know. I have to search for those women. I made a promise to my father and I intend to keep it."

Ryland's hands tightened on her shoulders, gave her a little shake. "I need to know it wouldn't matter to you, Lily. Tell me it wouldn't. We can keep that damn room and read every file, watch every video, find those women together and make certain their lives are good. Tell me nothing we find will ever tear us apart." He framed her face in his hands, his body blanketing hers. "If you can say that to me, and mean it, then I say keep the room. We may need his expertise. Who knows, our children may be the real thing. But if you can't, Lily, if you can't look me in the eye and mean it, I swear I'll destroy everything myself."

Lily's vivid blue gaze drifted over his face, studying the intensity of his expression, the steel in his glinting eyes. A slow smile curved her mouth. She leaned into him, kissed his nose, his mouth, each eye. "Do you know how very silly that threat is? If I wanted to keep the room intact, I'd simply lie to you."

He shook his head. "Lying isn't part of your makeup. You either want me for all time and it matters to you the way it does to me, or you don't. I want that commitment from you. All of it, Lily. What's in that room won't matter if you love me the same way I love you. I don't want less. I don't mind signing some prenuptial agreement dealing with your damned money and I don't mind not understanding what you do half the time. But I want to know, not guess, know that you love me and want me in the same way I do you."

She stiffened, her heart suddenly racing. "You're talking about leaving me. That's what you're saying, isn't it?"

"Lily, I'm saying I'm willing to take on your promises to your father. I'm willing to live here with you if that's what you need to be happy. I'm willing to make Arly and Rosa and John my family. All I'm asking in return is the same thing from you. Take on me and my family. Those men out there who have nowhere to go without help. Feel about them the same way I do. Lily, make a commitment. Is that so damned hard?"

He saw it in her eyes first. Deep down, where it counted. His heart nearly exploded right out of his chest. His mouth found hers and took the words from her, swallowed them so they could find their way to his soul. Lily. His Lily for all time.

She laughed and kissed him back, locked her legs around his waist to hold him deep inside her.

Ryland lifted his head alertly. Swore. "We've got company coming." He rolled off of her quickly.

Lily clutched the sheet up to her chin. "What do you mean?"

"I mean the children aren't in their beds sleeping." The door to the room burst open and several of the men strolled in.

"What in the world is going on? Don't you people have something to do besides harass me in my own bedroom? You happen to be interrupting a marriage proposal here." Lily tried outrage, hoping they would all get the hint.

Kaden shrugged carelessly. "Everyone knows you're going to marry him. He always was a little slow getting around to the actual doing."

"I asked her a dozen times," Ryland protested. "She was the one hesitating."

Lily glared at Ryland. "Why didn't you lock the door?"

"I did lock the door," he said. "That doesn't slow any of them down. Our children are masters at breaking and entering."

"Great. And did no one teach them the fine art of knocking?" She switched her glare to the men and treacherous Arly, hoping to wither them on the spot.

Several threw their hands up as if for protection, grinning like apes as they did so.

"Ian's got a bad feeling," Kaden announced when the laughter had died down. "He thinks something's going down with General Ranier right now."

Ryland sobered at once and handed the phone to Lily. "Call him. Gear up. We'll head over there now. We can check it out and see if there's been a disturbance."

"No one is answering at all, Ryland," Lily said with a small frown. "Someone is always there. Day or night there's staff. It isn't normal and that worries me."

"I just have a very bad feeling," Ian agreed. "We might be too late if we wait any longer."

"That's good enough for me, Ian," Ryland said as he shrugged into his gear without the least bit of modesty. "Get moving, Lily, I'm not leaving you here. I don't trust Higgens. Arly can keep Rosa and John safe but no way would he be able to stop the colonel from getting you."

Lily rolled her eyes. "He's only saying that to look macho in front of all of you. He knew I'd come whether he okayed it or not so he issued the big command. And, Mr. Big Shot, I happen to be ready. And a little privacy would help." She caught up the sheet, wrapped herself in it, and started toward the closet.

"Night gear, Lily, that means black." Ryland stuffed a tight one-piece black spandex suit into her hand. "This will work fine. I found it in that house you call a closet. And wear tennis shoes-you do own a pair, don't you?"

"At least ten pairs, sarcastic one. I'm not certain I can fit my body into this thing," she said but hurried into her bathroom to clean up quickly and try to squeeze into the pantsuit. "I'll look like a sausage."

"I'll help," Gator offered.

"I do appreciate your offer," Lily said, "and I may take you up on it."

"I'll shoot you first," Ryland warned Gator.

"He's so touchy, Lily," Gator said.

Lily came around the corner making a face at Ryland. "He's a big baby, is what he is," she told Gator and fell into line beside Ryland as they hurried toward the tunnel. She leaned close to him. "There's no possible way to wear underwear in this outfit."

He covered her mouth and sent a steely glare toward his men. Not one of them had the audacity to make a comment but they all smirked at him.

IAN rolled under the hedge and scooted close to Ryland. "I don't like the feel of this place at all, Captain. Someone's in there and if it's the general, he's not alone."

I count four in the house and two guards on the north side. It was Nicolas checking in.

I've got two in the house and one guard on the balcony on the east side. This was Kaden giving his report.

Sniper on roof. One on roof across the street, Jonas added. That is two snipers, two separate buildings.

Ryland assessed the situation. We need to be in the house. Any evidence that the general is inside?

Man down in kitchen near the table. I can't see him well enough to know if he's staff or an aide. Best guess, the general's in the house and he has unwelcome company, Kaden offered.

Then we have no choice. Nico, clear the rooftops. Kaden, Kyle, and Jonas, take out the guards. If you don't know whose side they're on, make it soft. Otherwise make it clean and no guns. Absolute silence. Signal when you're clear and we have a go.

Lily hunched in the corner of the car, making herself as small as possible. She was a block away from the action. She knew Ryland had left one of the men close. She suspected it was Tucker and he had a way of making anyone feel absolutely secure. She couldn't see him, but he was out there making the night safe again. Arly sat in the front seat, betraying his own anxiety by tapping his hand on the steering wheel.

"You shouldn't be here, Arly," she said nervously. "I can't believe you came with us. John and Rosa…"

"Are safe. Rosa would have my head if anything ever happened to you. She told me to see to it personally that you returned safely. Well," he hedged, "you and your young man."

"Someone set guards around the general's house. Ryland's men are clearing them out now," Lily reported. She leaned over the seat. "Arly, how long have you and Rosa been an item?" She tried to sound very casual.

He looked at her sharply. "How long have you known?"

"Why did you want to keep it a secret?"

"I didn't want to keep it a secret. I've asked her to marry me a thousand times. She won't. It was always because she couldn't have children."

"Rosa's too old to have children, Arly, why would that matter?"

"That's what I told her yesterday. Not that I mind sneaking around-it adds a little spice. But I'm getting too old to be climbing in windows and creeping down hallways."

"Did she say yes?"

"I told her with the things we did together, she'd burn in hell if she didn't marry me. So she said yes."

"That must have been a charming proposal." Lily leaned over the seat to kiss him. "I'm glad, you need someone to keep you in line." She took a deep breath. "I'm really afraid this time. For Ryland. For the general. For all of them. And for us."

Arly squeezed her hand. "So am I. But I've seen some tough men who deal with some rough situations and I'd stack up your Ryland and his crew with them any day of the week."

All clear, Kaden reported.

All clear, Jonas echoed.

All clear, Kyle said.

Ryland held off waiting. If it were possible to clear the rooftops, Nicolas would do it. Ian was showing signs of extreme discomfort. That was a bad sign. Ian was much more sensitive to violent or murderous intent, the malicious waves of energy seeking him out, rushing for him almost to the exclusion of the others. Ryland could see the sweat beading on his skin.

It's a go. The rooftops are clear, Nicolas reported in the same soft tone he always used, giving nothing of his feelings away. One soft, the other definitely hard.

Ryland sighed. That made it much more difficult to choose. Higgens had brought soldiers with him, men simply following orders. Only one or two were in on his schemes. There was a higher risk in going into a situation knowing some of the men were innocent dupes. He made the decision.

We have four in the front of the house. If the general is home, that's where he'll be. Break into four sectors and make a sweep. Take out everything between you and the general. You must assume there are members of staff but treat them the same. Incapacitate and keep moving. Ryland was already making his way across the broad expanse of lawn, scooting on his belly, staying low in the open area.

Lily winced when she heard the order. She didn't want to distract them as they made their way into the house but she had a few questions to mull over. She posed them to Arly, needing to think things through. "It doesn't make sense that Higgens would have so many men willing to betray their country over this one project. He has to have a long history to be able to recruit and trust more than a couple of men."

Arly shrugged. "He's been in the service a long time, Lily. He's an officer, a person in power who might easily read the weaknesses in others."

"But Phillip Thornton and Donovans…" She trailed off, her mind racing. "We do have several contracts dealing with security issues but… Oh no. We could really be in trouble, Arly. Donovans has the defense contract dealing with satellite intelligence. If Higgens has access to that data in any capacity he would be able to sell the locations of U.S. satellites." Her fingers dug into Arly's arm. "He would have the information on our early warning systems or our ability to retaliate against a large-scale attack. Even the communications information would be available to him. Thornton doesn't have that kind of security clearance. There's only a few in the company with that kind of clearance."

"Is Colonel Higgens part of that?"

"Not to my knowledge." She tapped the edge of the seat. "This could be really bad, Arly. Surely Thornton's not that big a fool to sell national secrets." Lily wanted to pass the information to Ryland, but was afraid to distract him. The men were breaching the house, going in from four directions.

Ryland slipped over the porch railing, dropped silently onto the decking, and rolled away from the edge to give Ian room to follow. Dark shadows swarmed around the house, moving in from all directions, silent like the ghosts they called themselves. Blink and they were gone.

Ian moved into position at the door, making such short work of the lock it barely slowed them down. Ryland and Ian went inside nearly simultaneously, one going left, the other right, both at floor level and rolling into position to come up with weapons locked and ready. The entryway was clear. The house was dark, no lights on.

Somewhere outside a dog barked. Ryland felt the brief surge of energy and the animal subsided. He could hear the murmur of voices coming from the room opening to his right. He signaled to Ian and they positioned themselves to cover the entire layout of the room.

They've got a gun to Ranier's head. Do I have a go? I need a go right now. As always there was no tension in Nicolas's voice.

Do you have a clear shot? Ryland demanded.

Take out his aim, Nicolas responded.

You have a go. Ryland fed the energy already pouring into the room, using the power of their minds to twist the gun pointed at General Ranier away from him. When Nico fired the silenced shot, a bullet precisely between the eyes of the man holding Ranier hostage, there would be no chance of the gun going off and killing the general.

Higgens saw the hole blossoming in the middle of his man's forehead. Saw the man drop like a stone directly in front of the general. He whirled around, his gun in his fist, looking for a target. The only safety he had was the general. He pointed his weapon at him. The other two soldiers in the room gaped in shock, moved back to back for protection.

"I know you believe what Colonel Higgens told you," Ryland said softly to the two soldiers. "He's here to murder General Ranier and he's making you accomplices. Put down your weapons and back away. You're in an indefensible position." His voice rode the wave of energy, seemed to come from every direction. His men were feeding the two soldiers the uninterrupted flow of suggestion to obey.

The two men looked at one another almost helplessly and both laid their rifles on the floor and stepped back with their hands up. Immediately the flow of collective telepathy went to influence Colonel Higgens. He was expecting it and he was resistant, fighting for possession of his own actions.

"I'll kill him. Get up, General, we're getting out of here," Higgens stated. His eyes were wild as he looked around but couldn't see the men.

"I'm warning you one last time, Colonel. Nico has you in his sights. He never misses. You know his kill record. There is absolutely no way for you to shoot the general and he is not going to accompany you. Put down your weapon."

"Damn you, Miller, I should have killed you when I had the chance." Higgens snarled his hatred of the captain and turned and ran.

Round him up. Ryland hurried to the general while Ian searched the two soldiers. They were confused and cooperative, sitting on the floor with their backs to the wall and their fingers linked behind their heads.

Ryland helped the general to his feet. "I'm sorry we were late, sir. We didn't get the invitation immediately."

General Ranier staggered to a chair with Ryland's help. He touched his head and his hand came away sticky with blood. "That traitor pistol-whipped me." He sank heavily into the chair, his head down.

Ryland could see he looked old and tired, his face almost gray. Call for the medics. Secure the house and get Lily in here.

A grim-faced Nicolas shoved Colonel Higgens into the room. Nicolas marched him to a chair and thrust him into it. "The house is secure, Captain. We have three civilians down needing a medic. The man in the kitchen is dead. He's military."

"He was my bodyguard," Ranier said heavily. "A good man. I took Delia away and made certain she was safe then came back here so they would come after me. I had a feeling they would try and that she was in danger." He looked at Colonel Higgens. "You killed a good man tonight."

Higgens didn't say a word but his cold dead eyes never left Ryland.

"Sir, we've called the medics, they'll be here shortly. My men are seeing to your people. I'm Captain Ryland Miller." He saluted crisply.

"So you're the man all this fuss is about. Peter used to talk to me about enhancing psychic ability and I finally agreed to his crazy scheme, but I never thought it would really work." He sat back in his chair, rested his head against the leather. "If I'd believed him, I would have paid more attention to what was going on."

Ryland handed him a clean towel to press against his head. "My men and I are absent without leave, sir. We'd like to surrender ourselves into your custody."

"Well, now, Captain, I believe you were expressly given an order to do whatever was necessary to protect your men and our nation's secrets when you were given this assignment. To the best of your knowledge, is that what you've done?"

"Yes, sir, it is."

"Then I don't see any need for anyone to think you were away without leave; you were under orders. And as far as I can tell, your mission was a success."

"Thank you, sir. I do have one man injured." Ryland looked at Higgens. "You can put attempted murder down along with all the other charges to be brought against him."

Lily burst into the room, hurled herself straight at General Ranier. "Look at you! Look at this. Has anyone called an ambulance? Ryland, he should be lying down."

The general hugged her to him. "I'm fine, Lily, don't fuss. He just shook me up a little. I've been trying to put the pieces together ever since we talked."

"It has to be the defense contract. Higgens must have been selling secrets for some time," Lily said, dropping her voice. "This experiment was only a bonus for him. He was willing to sell the information, but he couldn't have had that many men in place so quickly unless he's been up and running for some time. Years, I'm guessing."

"He can't have been alone. He was never involved in the satellite defense program," General Ranier pointed out. "I thought the same thing, Lily. We've had our suspicions that information was being leaked, but Colonel Higgens never was a suspect. His record is impeccable."

"I have a disk my father recorded. He must have left the voice-activated recorder secreted somewhere he was certain the colonel would talk openly. Dad was very suspicious of the colonel. On the disk, you can clearly hear the colonel plotting your death and Delia's using a fire in your home as the means of the "accident" Arly made copies and we have the original to be used for voice comparison."

General Ranier looked across the room at Colonel Higgens. "How long has this been going on?"

"I deny everything. They're making up the entire story in an attempt to cover up their own cowardice and guilt," the colonel replied. "I refuse to address this nonsense without my attorney present."

"I believe General McEntire is involved, sir," Lily said with sorrow, knowing she was crushing Ranier. "I'm sorry, I know he's your friend. But I think he's the ringleader and Higgens works for him. I think Hilton was planted in your office to keep an eye on you and either plant incriminating documents should there be need, or keep anything that was suspicious from reaching you. Such as my father's numerous messages." She looked at Higgens. "McEntire had nothing to do with the experiment. He didn't even know about it at first. You didn't really believe it would work. And then you saw them in action and you realized no one else knew the potential. There was real value and for the first time you were in on the ground floor. You didn't let your boss McEntire in on it at first, did you?"

Higgens stared at her with malevolence.

"You were the one who decided to sabotage the experiment so my father would think it was a failure and the project would be shut down. But he was so much smarter than you anticipated and he became suspicious of the brain bleeds. They didn't make sense when he wasn't using electrical pulses. He'd told Thornton of the danger, hadn't he? So you used it to kill the men."

"I'm lost, Lily," General Ranier admitted.

"I'll make certain you understand fully just how many men he murdered for monetary gain," Lily said. "You're going to spend the rest of your life in prison, Colonel, with your friend McEntire. None of that money you sold out your country for and murdered for is going to do you any good, so I hope that you enjoyed every penny while you had the chance to spend it."

"General McEntire?" Ranier echoed. "He started in the Air Force. As a young man he was assigned to the National Reconnaissance Office. Later he worked in building and operating spy satellites. He was influential in getting Donovans the defense contract."

"He's buddies with Thornton," Lily pointed out.

"They went to school together," General Ranier said sadly. "We all did."

"I'm so sorry, General," Lily said and put her arms around him.