Intercepted Prologue & First Chapter


The clear night sky covered the world in a blanket of darkness, displaying only a sliver of a moon — perfect conditions for the heist.  
A light breeze played with his hair before he pulled the ski mask over his head.  Dressed in black from head to toe, he pulled ultra-strength suction cups from his duffle bag and scaled the glass walls on the high-rise office building with little effort.  
Reaching the roof, he stuffed the suction cups into his bag as he dashed stealthily to the other side and jumped across open space to the museum.  Glass from a skylight bubbled up from the flat roof.  Only the glass separated him from his prize.   
He knelt, set the bag down beside him, and grabbed the glass cutters.  He worked the cutters around in a circle large enough for him to fit through, then set the glass disk on the roof next to the skylight.  
The high pitched whine of the mechanism was heard as he rappelled down.  The alarm system wasn’t a problem; he had already made a plan.  He paused when he saw white diamonds set around the large blue gem, a chain of white diamonds forming the necklace which sparkled in the beam from his penlight.   
He carefully picked the lock and lifted the lid of the case, displaying the Hope Diamond.  Knowing one of the security features for the gem was a pressure-sensitive alarm, he was ready with a counter weight.
What the thief did not know was that a laser was also a part of the safety feature.  The laser pointed vertically and if the beam extended longer than the set length, a silent alarm would go off alerting the local police of the breached security.  
Once he had the diamond free, he slipped it into a velvet pouch and into his pocket.  
Beads of sweat gathered on his brow as he rappelled himself up and climbed out of the building.  From there, he gathered up his gear and made his way back to the office building where he had ascended.  
Fifteen floors down and on solid ground, he moved further into the shadows where he yanked the ski mask off.  He ran his hands through his hair, smoothing it down.  Next, he pulled out an MP3 player from his bag and placed the ear buds in his ears, then casually walked down the sidewalk of the busy street.  He smirked when a police cruiser flew by with its lights flashing. He loved the adrenaline rush after a job as well as watching the police scramble in the aftermath.

Chapter One

Daniel Grisham: FBI
Southern California

Daniel Grisham held a case file in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other as he entered his unit’s bull pen.  “Listen up, ladies and gents, we’ve got a new case.”  When he saw he had the attention of his co-workers, he continued. “The Verdier museum was burglarized last night.”
“My brother-in-law’s sister is a custodian there,” Shelby spoke up.  “What’s missing?”
“And why were we given the case?” Connor asked, squaring his wide shoulders.  “Last I checked, the FBI doesn’t get involved in run-of-the-mill thefts.”  
Daniel set his coffee on his desk.  “And you would be right, except in this case.  The Hope Diamond, the item that was stolen, is part of the National Gem and Mineral collection.  It was on loan from the National Museum of Natural History.
“Nothing else was taken?” Garret asked, coming up to complete the circle.
“When you’ve got a national gem, I guess it spoils you from wanting to take anything else.” Connor leaned back in his office chair, weaving his fingers together and placing his hands behind his head.
Daniel pulled out a photo from the case file and pinned it up on the board.  “Shelby, I want you to come with me to check out the security setup.  We need to see how he got around a state-of-the-art alarm system.  The alarm didn’t go off; it was the silent alarm that alerted the S.F.P.D.
“In the meantime, Garret and Connor, I want you to continue working on the Rumano case.”
Garret checked his watch.  “I’ve got a meeting with one of my informants in about forty-five minutes.”
“Good.  Keep it.”  Daniel gave a firm nod.  “Connor, you have anything more on Curtis?”
Connor nodded to Shelby. “We made a stop by his office yesterday, but he was out.”
“Keep trying that door.  We’ve got to know if he saw anything go down at the wharf.”  He motioned to Shelby.  “You ready?”
Shelby grabbed her purse and followed Daniel out of the office. 

At the crime scene, yellow tape was wrapped around the perimeter of the museum, and several forensic personnel were searching the premises for evidence.  Daniel recognized one of them.  “Hey, B.J.”
The man he had addressed turned around.  “Daniel.”  
“Finding anything interesting?” Daniel nodded to where B.J. had been working.
“Other than the hole in the ceiling, the diamond missing, and a counterweight left in its place?  Nothing.”  B.J. made eye contact with his FBI acquaintance.  “This was a very professional job.  If it wasn’t for the tracking device in the necklace, we wouldn’t have a hope of finding it.”
“Wait a minute.” Daniel held up a hand.  “You’re saying there’s a tracking device in the diamond?”
“That’s right,” B.J. nodded.  “Talk to the curator for any specifics.”
“I’ll do that.  Thanks.”    
“Looks like we might have a break in the case already,” Shelby remarked.
“Yeah.” Daniel took her by the elbow.  “Let’s check out the security system then start on getting the signal from that tracking device.”
Upon entering the museum, Shelby caught his attention.  “I’m thinking he’s the curator.”
A large man with thinning hair approached them, having recognized their blue windbreaker jackets with the yellow FBI lettering.  “I’m the curator, Dr. John Peters.”  He held his hand out to shake Daniel’s.
“Dr. Peters, we’re FBI Agents, Daniel Grisham and Shelby Collins.”
Shelby stepped forward and shook the curator’s hand. “Dr. Peters.  We have a few questions we’d like to ask you.”
“Of course, what can I tell you?”
“Did you notice anyone showing a special interest in the Hope Diamond?”  She quickly pulled her little notebook out, her pen poised for taking notes.
“It was on special display and on loan from the Smithsonian.  It’s listed under national gems and jewels.  Of course, there’s going to be special interest in it.”
“What we’re wondering is if someone was showing interest because they were casing the place.” Daniel stepped in.  He knew Peters was under a lot of pressure from the government to get the gem back, as were they.
The curator shook his head.  “I don’t think so, but I can’t be sure.  Since the diamond has been here, we have had people visiting by the droves.”
“Do you think anyone on your staff could have done this?” Shelby continued her questions.
“We do extensive background checks on all of our employees.  Up until now, we haven’t had any reason to suspect anyone on staff.”
“Do you suspect someone now?”  Daniel’s gaze was intense.
“Who else could have turned the security system off?  You have to have a password and a high-level security clearance to do anything with the system.”
“Unfortunately, Mr. Peters, passwords aren’t so hard for a professional thief to figure out,” Shelby informed him, brushing back a lock of hair — this coming from the unit’s electronics genius.  “The hard part is getting into the security room. I’m going to need to take a look at your security system.”
“Of course.”
Daniel shifted his stance.  “We were told that there’s a tracking device on the diamond.”
“Yes, but you’ll need to speak with the head of security at the Smithsonian museum.  I don’t know anything else about it.”
“We’ll do that,” he replied.
“I think we’re ready to take a look at the security system.”  Shelby tucked her notebook away.
“Let me get someone to show you the way.”  Mr. Peters motioned to a security guard who looked like he was just out of high school.
The burly guard joined them.  “Do you need something, Dr. Peters?”
“Brenden, I’d like you to show Agents Grisham and Collins to the security room.”
“Yes, Sir.”
“Thank you, Dr. Peters.”  Daniel held out his card.  “If you can think of anything else, call me.”
“Thank you, Agent Grisham.”  He casually saluted Daniel with the card.
Daniel decided to question the guard as they went.  “So, Brenden, have you noticed anything suspicious since the diamond has been on display here?”
The young guard led them out of the main room and down a hallway, pausing before answering. “Not that I noticed.”
Shelby shot a look at Daniel before saying, “You sound hesitant.”
He shook his head.  “It was just something that happened yesterday that was weird. At least, I think it was something that happened.”
“Care to expound on that?” Daniel inquired.
“Well, it was while I was on break.  I hang my ID card on the outside of my jacket, and I left my jacket on a chair when I went out of the lunchroom.  When I came back, my ID was gone.  I looked around the building to make sure I didn’t drop it somewhere, and I couldn’t find it.  Then I came back, and it was back on my jacket.”  Brenden shrugged.  “I figured someone was playing a practical joke.”
“That’s the ID you’re wearing now?” Shelby pointed to the card.
“We need to check it for fingerprints.  It’s not likely that it has prints on it, but on the off chance that it does, it could prove very helpful.”
“Sure,” Brenden agreed.

After Shelby checked the security system, they went back to the FBI headquarters.
“We need to get on that tracking device ASAP.”
“That’s next on my to-do list,” Shelby agreed as she took her place behind her desk.
“I’ll get this ID card to fingerprinting.”
“It’s going to take a while for the results to come back.  If this tracking device pans out, we’ll have the diamond back before anything comes back on the fingerprints.”
“I know, but it needs to be done.”
A couple of minutes later, Shelby was on the phone talking with the Smithsonian’s head of security about the tracking device planted in the Hope Diamond.  After she hung up, she started typing away on her computer.  
Daniel walked past her desk.  Shelby continued staring at the screen as she inquired, “Have you talked to Garret or Connor?  I expected them to get back before we did.”
“We stopped to grab something to eat,” Connor said, striding into the room with Garret following on his heels.
“Get anything from Curtis, or from Garret’s snitch?”  Shelby spared a glance from her computer screen.
“It seems Curtis has decided to take a little vacation.”  Garret sat down at his desk and picked up a pen, then began twirling it between his fingers.  “His secretary said he left yesterday, and she doesn’t know when he’s planning to return.”
“Sounds suspicious, like he might know something but is staying low.”  Connor grabbed a small clump of grapes from the fruit basket by the coffee maker.  “What kind of luck did you have on the Hope Diamond case?”  He popped a grape in his mouth.
Daniel began filling them in. “We know the job was done by a pro.  At present, there aren’t any fingerprints to trace and nothing to identify our thief.”  
“But,” Shelby took over, “we did find out that a tracking device was hidden in the clasp of the Hope Diamond necklace.”
“Sounds like the odds are in our favor,” Garret said from his chair.
“So, all we have to do is locate the signal the tracking device is sending out, and we’ll find the diamond,” Connor commented, his tone light.
Daniel turned his attention to his co-worker.  “You make it sound like a piece of cake.”
“This seems like an easy, or should I say, simple, operation,” he replied.
“Getting back on track,” Shelby said from behind her computer, peeking her head over the screen. “Would anyone be interested to know that I have located the Hope Diamond?”
“That’s why we love you.”  Garret held out his hand for a fist bump.
Shelby shook her head.  “Anyway, it’s sitting in a warehouse on the corner of Twentieth and Main.”
“Let’s get SWAT to meet us out there,” Daniel told them.

“Everything looks quiet,” Garret said over his mic.
Shelby sat in the back of the van, where the mobile control center was stationed.  “I’ve got control.  Go in on three.  One.  Two — Hold your positions!  Repeat, hold your positions!  Suspect number one just exited the east side of the building.  Team two, apprehend suspect number one.”
“This is Sam thirty-two.  Suspect number one is in custody.”
“Sam thirty-two, will your suspect say how many more are in the building?”
“Negative, Command Center.”
“Alright, teams one, three, and four, we will execute as planned.  Again, on three.  One.  Two.  Three.  Execute!”
Shelby watched the screen as the men entered the building.  Expecting to hear possible gunshots or men in pursuit, the silence was deafening.
One minute passed.
Two minutes.  
They should have had the building cleared by now.
“All agents, status report.  Repeat, status report.”
Each of the agents gave their status with Garret coming in last.  “The building is clear as well.  No one’s here besides suspect number one.”
“And the diamond?”
“No sign of it,” Daniel responded.  “Do you have a fix on the signal?”
“Give me one second,” said Shelby, drawing out the last word as she worked.  “Daniel, I’m sending the information to your smartphone, so you can track it.
“Got it.  Wait one minute, and we will have the Hope Diamond in the U.S. government’s possession once again.”  Shelby thought he sounded very satisfied.
A few minutes later, everyone began spilling out of the warehouse.  Connor opened the van’s door with a wide smile.  “Mission accomplished.”

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A Brother’s Revenge, A Girl Gone Missing, One Chance to Change Fate

Nora Milton believed her calling was to help lessen the suffering in a world filled with pain.

It’s chasing that calling, on a mission to help finish the construction of an orphanage in Mexico, that Nora meets mission pilot, Anthony Goldburg. A spark is kindled between them but it’s cut short when Nora finds herself kidnapped at gunpoint.

Desperate to save the woman his heart longs for, Anthony sets out on a search for Nora on his own. All too quickly he learns just how dangerous leaving the safety of the compound can be and finds himself entrenched in the dangerous drug trade.

Hot on the heels of a notorious drug lord,

DEA Agent Greg Nelson is on a mission of his own – to clear the streets of drugs. Joining forces with FBI Agent Grisham they work to close off one of the major drug pipelines from south of the border when they discover a young woman being held against her will.

Together, can these two agents help Anthony save Nora before she’s lost forever?