Zero Hour: Ten – You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison

Troubleshooter Zero Hour by Andrea Speed Ten – You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison Shan looked a bit shaken after returning from the men’s room, but he just looked at her and nodded, the sign that everything was done. While he had been gone, she’d already snapped some great pictures, including Romano subtly sliding cash to Blunt across the table, trying to buy some of Kristal’s time. Very cute – and wonderfully incriminating. Since she had enough shots, and Shan looked fragile, she figured she should call it. She pulled out her cell phone, punched up the pre-programmed number, and when someone answered, said, “Looks like the party’s over. Wanna pick us up?” After a moment, a voice replied, “On my way.” And that was the...

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Zero Hour: Nine – CandyGram For Mongo

Troubleshooter Zero Hour by Andrea Speed Nine – CandyGram For Mongo The weakest link in the entire plan was in fact the most important player. Wasn’t that always the way?After Anton – still nervous, but professional all the way – left, she called Jody’s place to check up on her and make sure she remembered what she was supposed to do. Jody was hung over and grumpy as hell, and not all that sure about what happened last night and what this was all about. She kept calling her a “cop”, and after the third time, Z stopped correcting her. So what if she thought they were cops? As long as she did her job, who cared? It was all set up for tonight. Jody would meet with her number one fan, and set up a meeting between her and her “manager”....

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Zero Hour: Eight – Spasmolytic

Troubleshooter Zero Hour by Andrea Speed Eight – Spasmolytic Was there anything more fun than spending an evening in a Tim Horton’s with a slightly stoned stripper? If there was, she didn’t want to know about it. Seriously, she didn’t. Coffee just made a drunk person more alert, contrary to mythology – it didn’t sober them up. So she didn’t expect good things from combining a moccahino with whatever pills Jody/Kristal was currently on. She sat across the small plastic table from her, so Shan was closest, although out of the direct line of fire in case she projectile vomited. Jody was loopy and just barely conscious half the time, but this made her far more malleable. She easily agreed to what they wanted her to do, even though they had to...

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Zero Hour: Seven – Somebody to Shove

Troubleshooter Zero Hour by Andrea Speed Seven – Somebody to Shove We have to get out of here,” she told him quietly, keeping her head ducked down like she was looking for a crumb on the wood grain table. Shan looked around, but carefully, trying not to seem too suspicious. “Why? What’s wrong?” “There’s a guy in here who can’t see me. He’ll recognize me and blow the whole deal.” He looked around again, but let his eyes settle on the jailbait twirling around the pole. “Who? Somebody from Vancouver?” “Something like that. I’m sick, and you have to help me outta here.” “Huh?” She glared up at him through her reading glasses, which distorted his face ever so slightly. “My cover story, why you have to get me out of the club now....

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Zero Hour: Six – Yawning or Snarling

Troubleshooter Zero Hour by Andrea Speed Six – Yawning or Snarling Shan was staring, so she grabbed the back of his head and turned his face away before they could notice. “Don’t do that,” she whispered harshly. “What the fuck are we going to do?” he whispered back, starting to look slightly panicked. “We are going to finish our drinks with due haste, and move on to Spank. He’ll probably be here a while, soaking up the atmosphere.” That last bit was sarcastic, and she wasn’t sure if he got it or not, because he was resolutely looking down into his drink, and pretending – badly – not to be nervous. Suddenly he looked at her, eyes narrowing in suspicion. “In due haste? Who in the hell ever says that?” Oh great. He could forget...

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Zero Hour: Five – Not Was

Troubleshooter Zero Hour by Andrea Speed Five – Not Was Inside the smallest bag was a bunch of money, small non-sequential bills gathered into stacks by rubber bands, and a relatively thick portfolio. Shan was too busy looking at the cash to notice the folder. “Whoa,” he said, looking like he wanted to touch it but didn’t dare. “I thought suitcases full of money only existed in movies.” “Don’t be too impressed, there’s a lot of singles in there. It’s just a partial payment of our fee. We’ll get the rest once we complete our objective.” Shan looked at her suspiciously. “Exactly what fee did you quote him?” That made her smirk. Head injury or not, he could catch on quick sometimes. “A special job requires special...

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Zero Hour: Four – The Masochism Tango

Troubleshooter Zero Hour by Andrea Speed Four – The Masochism Tango She should have known that Frost’s wicked sense of humor would come back to bite her on the ass. As soon as Shan felt ready to venture out, they went back to her place to intercept the messenger who’d be returning with their new i.d.‘s, and she sent him to talk to Ms. Gordon down the hall, as the old lady had an obvious crush on Shan (older women loved him – she enjoyed teasing him about that), and she figured she’d take good care of Satan while she was gone. Of course, Shan would probably tell her the cat was named Satin, but that was okay; Satan couldn’t correct her. The courier arrived while he was still gone, and she got the first look at their new identities. Shan was...

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Zero Hour: Three – How Not To Be Seen

Troubleshooter Zero Hour by Andrea Speed Three – How Not To Be Seen She went home and found two recent pictures of her and Shan. Shan was easy to get a photo of, but she avoided cameras as a matter of practicality. Still, she always had one around, just for fake identification purposes. It was always good to have some handy, especially if you needed to change identities in a hurry. She messengered them over to Frost’s hotel, then headed out, driving up to Kamloops, mainly because no one knew her in Kamloops. There she hit the first relatively clean looking strip mall, and had her hair cut in a cheap chain store. She just told the woman she got that she wanted it short, style didn’t matter, and the woman did just that. People often looked a lot like...

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Zero Hour: Two – My Dinner With Seaborg

Troubleshooter Zero Hour by Andrea Speed Two – My Dinner With Seaborg She gave him a skeptical look, folding her hands on top of the file. “I’m not a hit woman. And if I was, I’d charge a hell of a lot more.” “Don’t misunderstand me … what do I call you now?” She shrugged, not sure it mattered. “What do you want to call me? Zed’s fine.” That made him quirk a bushy eyebrow at her, amused and annoyed. “So you go by letters of the alphabet now? That’s … unusual.” “Names don’t mean as much as people think they do. Some of us are never happy with them.” “And some of us are deliberately freaky.” He sat back in his chair with a sigh, and told her, “I’m not asking you to cancel him. What I’m asking you to do is...

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Zero Hour: One – Faithless

Troubleshooter Zero Hour by Andrea Speed One – Faithless Algiers, Algeria – Five Years Ago She didn’t think there were any dead ends around here, and yet she stumbled into one. It figured. Her leg kept wanting to give way, and no amount of willpower was making it obedient. It hurt like fuck, and the fact that was a very large piece of glass still sticking out the side, just an inch and a half below her knee, was only part of the problem. Blood had pooled inside her boots and made a telltale squishing noise as she limped along, while her ribs seemed to grind inside her chest, poking her skin from the inside. At least two broken, as far as she could tell; maybe more, and she could feel blood dripping from her nose like hot snot. But the absolutely...

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