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Resist Me

By:A. O. Peart

ealth was failing. Diane, one of my good friends worked in the clinic where Chief Holton had his annual physical done for the last ten years. She didn’t think he should be still working in such a physically demanding job.

He turned the laptop screen toward me and indicated the blueprints of the building. “Look right here.”

I leaned closer, but there wasn’t anything out of ordinary at the spot he alluded to. “What am I looking at?”

“A panic room,” he said under his breath.

“In a warehouse?” I sounded incredulous even to my own ears.

The Chief glanced around. Rescue 12 and 18 were laying hoses. Jack and the rest of my crew were getting our firetruck ladder extended and positioned by the adjacent building. One of the Rescue 18 Battalions was taking care of setting their ladder to the next-door building.

When the Chief looked back at me, our eyes met. His stare was hard when he quietly said, “This isn’t… wasn’t a regular warehouse.”

“I figured that much already.” I nodded toward the feds.

He followed my stare. “Yeah. I don’t know a whole lot about what’s going on here. They aren’t exactly the chatty type. But they want us to get to that panic room right away.”

“There can’t be any easy access after the whole structure is blown into pieces. We need the drilling equipment and the excavation unit to get here,” I said.

“Yeah. They’re here.” He pointed behind me. The special units just arrived. “That room isn’t on the blueprint filed with the city.” He gestured to the computer screen. “But the feds claim it’s there, and insist that we find it quickly.”

“There is someone in there.” This wasn’t a question. I didn’t have to ask. Four years of deployment in Afghanistan with the Marines equipped me with ability to put two and two together fairly quickly. “Someone important enough that the feds are swarming all over.”

“They’re hidden well, whoever they are.”

Two police cars, with their beacons flashing pulled to the site. The KOTS News Station van arrived right behind them. The doors slid open, and Anne Fischer, the morning news reporter, stepped out, pulling down on her tight mini skirt. She had the best legs ever, but that wasn’t all I liked about her body. Anne was one of those lean but deliciously curvy women that looked amazing in and out of clothes.

I exhaled and felt my brows bunch together. Anne and I had a thing in the past. Nothing serious, just pure, adult fun. Hell, I haven’t had anything serious with any woman since the 10th grade. And that was by choice. Relationships were not for me, despite my mom desperately trying to hook me up with her girlfriends’ daughters.

Now Anne was here—at my workplace so to speak. I never mixed work with pleasure, and so seeing her at the incident site didn’t sit well with me. But she was at her work too, so I couldn’t hold that against her. I just didn’t want her to notice me.

I walked fast to my team to coordinate the operation. They knew what to do without me babysitting them, but I was their captain, and my place was with them now. Besides, I wanted to avoid Anne. Damn, I wanted to avoid too many chicks lately.

“Rescue 12 and 18 are about to start.” Jack pointed to the groups of firefighters from the other two houses. They were almost finished with laying their hoses.

The ladders were up, extended all the way to the upper floors of the two neighboring buildings. We were to extinguish any interior fires, right after the Rescue 12 and 18 took care of the exterior flames.

“Our hoses are ready?” I asked.

“Yeah, all is ready, Cap,” Jack said.

“Okay, we move in as soon as the interior fires are snuffed.

When the flames on the outside got killed, the drilling and excavation were already in full swing. Chief Holton came up behind me right before I went with my guys into the building on the left, while the Rescue 18 went into the right structure.

“Ethan, Jack, come here, you two.”

I looked back at him in surprise. “Sir?”

Jack stood beside me. He was a big guy, even taller and bulkier than myself. At six-foot-two I towered over most of my buddies and coworkers. In our heavy fireproof coats, pants, and bunker boots we looked like giants next to the short and plump chief.

Chief Holton glanced back and to the sides, as if making sure nobody can overhear us. “Jack, take the battalion lead. The Captain stays here. I have a special mission for him.”

“Yes, sir.” Jack nodded and rushed into the building, no questions asked.

Chapter Two

ETHAN

“What? You want me to leave my guys and stay here? What’s going on?” I was puzzled. Such a thing has never happened before. I was their Captain, and my team was my responsibility. Although, this was also a direct order. I knew better than to question my superior.

The Chief lifted his hand in a conciliatory gesture. “Jack can lead the team well enough. You are required to take on another task.” He motioned to the area where the excavation team was already moving the equipment off the side. “You’re going to that panic room. With your Marine’s training, you’re the best man for the job.”

“Jack has received the same training as I have, Chief.”

He sighed and ran his hand through his thinning gray hair. “I know, Ethan. But your cousin’s temper is better utilized there,” he nodded toward the building, “while you know how to restrain yourself. Besides, this… well, hell, I will tell you what the feds just said. But that’s not to be discussed with anyone, Ethan. In that panic room is a sole witness to some big case the FBI is involved in. She’s young and terrified, and who knows in what state of mind she is in after this mess here. They’re afraid she will pull out, and they’ll lose the only witness they need to pin down some troublemaker. What we need now is someone who can ease her out of there and make sure she feels safe.”

I gave him a skeptical look. Okay, so it was widely known that I had my way with women, although I

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