Special Weapons & Tactics 6
“You think they will miss a Cinnabon?” Iker whispered into his comm. The aroma of the sweet-smelling cinnamon goodness floated through the air, teasing Iker’s senses. His gaze landed on the Cinnabon kiosk located two hundred feet from him. His stomach chose that moment to rumble.
He should have eaten something today, but he hadn’t had the chance.
“Seriously, you’re thinking of food now?” Jordan’s sharp response came though his ear.
Iker leaned against the fake stone wall and peered through his scope. He scanned the area and didn’t see any motion in the food court of the mall.
“Stay focused,” Mac’s low growl vibrated in his ear.
Iker rolled his eyes. Marcas MacArthur was the serious sergeant, as always. Iker didn’t have to look at the man to know he’d have his infamous scowl on his face.
Iker exhaled, sweeping the area with his gaze.
Shit, how was he supposed to focus with that scent distracting him?
“See anything?” Zain came to stand next to him. The mall was quiet, having been evacuated of consumers over thirty minutes ago.
A call had come through about a shooter in the local shopping mall. SWAT was dispatched to handle the situation.
“No,” Iker murmured. He held his weapon steady while waiting for the shooter to make himself known. A calmness settled inside Iker. Situations such as these weren’t always as easy.
He loved what he did. He thrived off the adrenaline of a good gunfight and kicking some ass.
A disgruntled man who discovered his woman was having an affair could go downhill quickly. From the reports Mac gave, the guy was hyped up on some drugs. Jeffrey Brown, a known meth head, apparently didn’t appreciate his ex-girlfriend moving on. He’d stormed the mall, took Kim Ogler and her coworker hostage, and marched them through at gunpoint.
Guns and drugs didn’t go well.
Currently, the three people were housed inside a small gift shop located near the exit doors. The local boys in blue were waiting on the outside of the doors, trapping Jeff inside.
The air was tense as they waited for the right opening.
This was what Iker and his men did best. They trained hard and were one of the top SWAT teams in the state.
If you asked Iker, he’d say the entire damn country.
He and his men—team—were all about business when it came to rescuing hostages. No matter how the situation played out, no one deserved to die.
That was where they came in. Their top objective was to remove the hostages safely while disarming the target and securing him.
Iker glanced around, his gaze landing on other members of his team. They had spread out around the food court, waiting for the negotiator to talk the target down.
Myles and Ash were located behind another faux stone wall nearest the gift shop, while Jordan and Brodie were stationed across the food court, behind a free-standing kiosk. Mac and Dec were posted in a cellphone accessory store next door to the shooter and hostages.
“He’s no longer answering his cellphone,” Mac reported. Their external hostage negotiator who was posted with the rest of the crew waiting outside must have updated Mac.
No communication was dangerous.
There was no telling how far Jeff had escalated. Meth in his system would make him unpredictable.
“Get the fuck out of here!” The man fitting the description of Jeffrey appeared in the doorway of the gift shop.
Iker stiffened at the sight of the man dragging a small woman in front of him. His eyes were wild, his hair was disheveled, and his clothes were unkempt. He waved the gun around while curses spewed from his lips.
Son of a bitch was using her as a shield.
Iker bit back a growl. His finger rested on the trigger, itching to shoot. Jeffrey was lower than slime.
At the moment, the woman’s safety was their primary objective.
“Jeffrey, let’s talk about this,” Ash’s level voice echoed through the air.
“There’s nothing to talk about!” Jeffrey spat. He pointed his gun in Ash’s direction. “I just want to leave. This is between me and Kim.”
“We can’t let you go,” Ash responded.
“This is none of your damn business!” Jeffrey yanked Kim back to him. He kept his body lowered as if not wanting to give them a good shot.
“It became our business when you started waving a gun around in a crowded mall.” Ash stood from his perch with his hands facing Jeffrey. His weapon was in the holster.
Ash had plenty of experience with negotiating. At the moment, he was attempting to gain the target’s trust.
“I wasn’t going to shoot anyone,” Jeffrey shouted.
Kim whimpered. Her wide-eyed gaze scanned the area, taking in the weapons aimed in their direction.
“Jeff, we could have talked about this,” Kim cried out. Tears streamed down her face. “We were broken up. You left me. I’ve moved on.”
“You weren’t taking my calls,” he snarled. He brought the gun to the side of her head, caressing her cheek with the weapon. “I just had a lot on my mind and I needed to get some shit off my chest.”
“We are here now,” Ash interjected, distracting the couple. Ash was damn good at what he did. He couldn’t allow them to argue and escalate the situation ever further. “Where is the other hostage?”
Iker didn’t see any movement in the store behind them. There was a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. He felt Zain shift next to him as they held their position.
“He’s tied up on the floor.” Jeffrey brought his gun back up and waved it around. “Let me and Kim go. You can get him once we leave.”
“No can do.” Ash shook his head and took a few steps toward the gift shop.
“Stay right there!” Jeffrey cried out. He leveled his gun on Ash. “I know what you are doing. I’ve watched enough cop shows.”
Iker held back rolling his eyes. Television shows were exaggerated reality. He couldn’t believe the amount of people who thought those shows were lifelike.
“I’m not trying anything funny,” Ash lied. He took another step forward. “I just want to make sure I hear you. We can speak man to man. Tell me what you want.”
Jeffrey paused, his frantic gaze sweeping the area. He was too focused on the police he could see; he didn’t see Dec and Mac creeping to the opening of the store front near him. Both of their guns were put away as they waited for the cue.
“I want me and Kim to walk out that door right there. No one bother us. My car is right out there. We’re all going to forget about the incident.”
“And no harm has come to the other hostage?” Ash questioned.
Jeffrey shook his head. “Tell everyone to stand down so we can leave.”
Jeffrey made the mistake of stepping out of the store.
Ash made a slight motion with his finger.
Mac and Dec sprang into action.
They rushed from their hidden area, surprising Jeffrey.
Mac easily blocked Jeffrey’s arm that swung in his direction with the weapon drawn. Dec grabbed Kim and swung her out of the way while Mac had Jeffrey on the floor in two easy take-him-down moves.
“Clear,” Mac growled, kicking the gun away from them. He kept his knee in Jeffrey’s back while he whipped out handcuffs.
With the target secured, the team moved in, converging on them. Iker held his gun steady as he reached the gift shop with Zain right on his six. They swept into the small store. His feet carried him over behind the register.
He exhaled, finding Kim’s coworker lying on the floor, hog-tied with a bandana muffling his mouth.
“Cleared,” Iker called out over his shoulder.
“Thank goodness,” Zain muttered. He sheathed his weapon and bent down to untie the guy.
Zain must have been thinking the same as Iker. Not seeing or hearing from a hostage wasn’t good. They’d had plenty of situations where the outcome had been fatal.
They exited the mall with Jeffrey in handcuffs. Declan escorted Kim to the waiting ambulance while her coworker insisted he was fine.
Today was a day to celebrate.
* * *
“Good job, men,” Captain Spook’s voice belted out. He came to stand at the edge of the lockers.
Iker pulled a clean CPD t-shirt over his head.
“Thank you, sir,” Iker said.
“That was fine police work, and no one was injured. The mayor is extremely pleased with the way you handled that situation. It was on the local news.” Spook folded his arms in front of him.
“It was easy. We didn’t really do anything,” Myles commented. “Mac, Dec, and Ash did most of the work.”
“We work as a team,” Mac commented. “You had our backs just in case shit didn’t go the way we had planned.”
Mac slammed the door to his locker and hefted his duffle bag onto his shoulder.
Iker grinned. Mac never wanted to take credit for anything. That was why he was such a good leader for their group. He always stressed everything that they did, it was as a team. No matter what.
Police work or getting in trouble after hours.
They always did it together.
Iker loved his brothers and sister of SWAT as if they were blood-related. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for them. He’d been on SWAT for years now and spent more time with them than his own family. Jordan was the most recent recruit, and they had all taken her under their wing. She was like the little sister neither of them had. He loved pulling her chain, and Jordan may be smaller than them all, but she scrapped harder than any of them.
“Either way, good job. I appreciate that none of you shot anyone.” Spook gave a dry chuckle.
Iker inclined his head. The fucker Jeffrey had it coming. If there was one thing Iker couldn’t stand it was men taking advantage of women. Hell, if Jeffrey was the one who’d broken it off with the woman, then why—
The situation at the mall was getting a little close to home.
The only difference was that Iker wasn’t crazy enough to run into her job with guns blazing, demanding she speak with him.
Blowing out a deep breath, he turned back to the conversation at hand. Right now was not the time to think of her.
“See you tomorrow, sir,” Ash said.
Iker blinked and found the captain headed toward the door. Once he disappeared through it, the locker room was buzzing with different conversations.
“You good?” Zain walked over and leaned against the wall.
“Yeah, why?” Iker asked. He pulled his boots out and dropped them on the floor. He stepped into them and turned, lifting his foot to rest it on the bench behind him so he could tie them.
“You look a little off right now.” Zain never missed anything.
“Just a headache,” he lied. He wasn’t in the mood for the fifty questions from his friend. Zain knew him better than anyone else on the squad.
“You sure?” Zain raised an eyebrow at him. “Let’s go out for a drink. I’m sure that will help.”
“Not tonight. I’m heading home. Nothing a little Tylenol, dinner, and sleep won’t cure.” He dropped his foot back to the floor and grabbed his bag from the bottom of his locker. Sliding the strap on his shoulder, he shut the door and offered a grin to his friend. “Tonight will be one night I am sad to say will be spent alone.”
“Wait, did I just hear what I think I heard?” Declan chuckled.
“Iker does not want to go out for drinks?” Myles scoffed.
“What?” Iker looked around at everyone. “I don’t go out every night.”
“Sure you don’t,” Ash snickered.
“Leave him alone,” Mac said. He moved toward the door. “He’s probably only on his first penicillin shot.”
The room exploded with laughter.
Everybody wants to be a comedian.
“Fuck all y’all.” Iker shook his head. He couldn’t help the grin that spread on his face. “I’m clean, just so you know. Not that it is any of your businesses. I’m going home.” He stepped around Zain who was leaning back against the lockers with tears streaming down his face.
“Ah, shit. That was a good one.” Ash cackled.
Iker flipped them all off and headed out of the locker room. He walked down the hallway that led to the back exit of the precinct.
“Where you off to?” Jordan’s voice appeared behind him.
Iker looked over his shoulder to see her coming out of the women’s locker room.
“Home,” he replied.
She fell in step with him, eyeing him.
He glanced down at her. “What?”
“No hot dates? Or going out to those sleazy bars you like to frequent?” Jordan chortled.
“Nope. Not tonight.”
Did everyone assume he went out drinking and partying every night?
He pushed open the door to the parking lot and held it for Jordan.
He followed behind her, shutting the door once he was out.
“Well, I’ll see you tomorrow. Goodnight.” Jordan waved to him and headed off toward her car.
“Yup.” He gave her a salute and strode toward his truck. He paused by his door to make sure she got in her vehicle safely. It was dark, and one could never be too careful.
Even in the parking lot of a police department.
Jordan blew her horn and drove out of her spot.
Iker hopped into his oversized pickup truck and hit the ‘start’ button. He was bone-tired and just wanted to sleep.
Pulling out of his spot, he guided his car onto the road and headed home. The radio was on an 80’s rock channel. His fingers tapped on the steering wheel, but he couldn’t get into the song.
You broke up with me.
The hostage’s words echoed through his head.
His chest grew heavy.
A beautiful brown-skinned vision came to mind.
“Get out of my head,” he muttered. As much as he tried to push the memories of her away, he couldn’t.
A sophisticated, curvy woman, with a body of a goddess, and eyes of an angel who owned his heart.
But two years ago, he’d walked away from her. She was too good for the likes of him, and he didn’t want to bring her down to his level.
She was meant to do great things in life.
He would have been a burden to her. A man on a cop’s salary who was never home, always getting called out at all times of day or night, was no way for her to live.
She needed someone who would be there for her, afford the lifestyle she deserved.
Lately, he found himself becoming obsessed with her. Everything had been reminding him of her.
Turning the music up, he was going to drown her out.
“Another one bites the dust,” he sang along with the tune flowing through the speakers.
Twenty minutes later, he turned onto his driveway. Killing the engine, he exited the vehicle and went inside his home.
“Shit.” Blowing out a deep breath, he dropped his bag on the stairs that led to the second floor. He went into the kitchen to find something to eat. His gaze landed on the counter.
Memories came to mind of Jess sitting there with him between her legs.
“I missed you,” she whispered. Her legs crept up his sides, locking him in.
He tilted her chin up and dropped a short kiss on her lips. Her big brown eyes softened as she reached up and entwined her hands at the base of his neck.
“Not as much as I missed you,” he murmured.
He had been gone close to twenty-four hours. She had a spare key to the house and had let herself in. When he’d come home, he had found her asleep on his couch waiting for him.
He cupped her cheek, staring down at her. He had memorized every freckle and every mole on her body. The love he had for this woman took his breath away.
Iker blinked, the memory disappearing.
Maybe he should move. It had been two years since they had separated, and still he could see her in his home.
What the hell was he to do?