She opened the door of the sedan and stepped out, smoothing her black coat of any wrinkles. She pulled her dark brown hair from under the coat and allowed it to spill down her shoulders. Her long and slender body was covered in a tight gray pantsuit, and her red lips parted again in a cruel smile as she saw the patrol car they had acquired for this part of the job roll into the driveway of the target house. The man who had spoken on the radio moments ago stepped out of the driver side in a pressed police uniform and looked at her. Mirrored sunglasses hid his eyes, but the direction of his lingering gaze told her that he was inspecting her attire and liked what he saw. She frowned, and his head instantly snapped away.
She looked to the street again and saw the other six members of her team waiting in a black police van a few houses down. They were a last resort. She wanted to handle this with skill, not brute force; however, mistakes and unforeseen events in the past made their involvement necessary. She would not fail. Not here. Not with this.
Long strides allowed her to quickly cover the distance between them as she walked to the front door. Cincaid looked at the entryway and saw a small pair of blue eyes looking out from behind one of the shades to the right of the door—one of the children. She had studied the family for over three months while others planted the seeds of evidence that would lead to the involvement of the government agencies. Things were too easy to manipulate, giving her a power in which she relished.
She knocked firmly, and the door opened rapidly. Screams of frustration from a small child spilled out into the chilled morning air. Cincaid stared into the striking blue eyes of a distraught woman standing in the doorway.
“Ms. Jennifer Willis? My name is Detective Holcomb. This is Officer Walker. He will be accompanying me today while we collect your statement and see how we can help you in this tragedy.” The woman nodded and turned for them to follow. She picked up her youngest who was screaming fiercely for her attention, leaving her daughter, who seemed content to wait by the doorway, looking outside.
Jennifer stood by the couch, holding her squirming son. “The men just left. You can catch them if go quickly. What do you need to know?”
Cincaid pulled out a notepad and nodded at Jennifer. “Please, Ms. Willis, let’s start at the beginning of the incident. Tell me everything you can about these men so we can send the information to our department. They will get the appropriate agencies involved to find your husband.”
There was a look of utter relief on the woman’s face, and Cincaid fought to suppress a smile.
“You look as though you could use some water. Can we get you a glass while you tell us what happened?”
Jennifer nodded, and Cincaid looked at the man who had come in with her. “Officer Walker, please get a glass of water to help Ms. Willis relax.”
With a brief nod he was off to the kitchen. “Please, Ms. Willis, sit down. We will make this quick. I promise.”
They sat in silence for a moment while Jennifer drank deeply from the glass the officer brought her.
“Thank you. You got here so fast. I am so glad you were in the area.” A small hand reached up and tapped Jennifer’s thigh. She looked down at her four-year-old daughter and smiled. “Wasn’t it a blessing for them to be nearby? They are going to help us find Daddy, Cutie.”
The little girl looked perplexed for a moment as she glanced at the two strangers in her house. “Why are they going to help now, Mommy? They just sat in their cars when the men took Daddy away.”
A confused look came over Jennifer’s face as her eyes lost focus. In an instant, she realized what was going on. She had been drugged. A new threat was in her home.
Cincaid tried to steady the woman. Her employer had been very specific that she was not to be harmed in any way. A wild swing from Jennifer caught the left side of Cincaid’s face, and she fell against the coffee table with a crash. The children’s screams filled the small living room. Through blurred vision, Cincaid saw Jennifer try to gather up her children and flee, only to fall to the floor seconds later as the drugs began to take control of her motor functions.
Cincaid’s partner walked over, picking up the nearly unconscious woman, a look of sheer terror still etched upon her face.