Home > The Scam (Fox and O'Hare #4)(5)

The Scam (Fox and O'Hare #4)(5)
Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg

“Why not? We bought it.”

Pull out my fingernails, Kate thought. It would be less painful than babysitting Nick Fox.

“Okay, we can hold on to it for a while, but only if Willie gets herself a valid pilot’s license,” Kate said.

“You need to stop thinking so much like an FBI agent,” Nick said.

“I am an FBI agent.”

“Yes, but you’re a criminal when you’re with me. The law is for people who have nothing to hide. The purpose of a genuine pilot’s license is to identify you, prove you have met all of the legal requirements to fly an aircraft, and hold you responsible for your actions. We don’t want anyone to know who we are, or what we’ve done.”

“Okay, I get that, but she’s had lessons, right? I mean she didn’t just get into the helicopter and take off, did she?”

“She’s spent hours with a certified instructor. She’s absolutely qualified to fly that aircraft.”

Nick picked up two of the suitcases full of cash and headed toward the elevator.

“Don’t bother,” Kate said, carrying her suitcases toward the stairwell. “It’s out of order.”

“No, it’s not.” He pushed the call button. “I wanted to discourage realtors and squatters from encroaching on my privacy. And I thought it would be inspiring to see you all sweaty and breathing heavy.”

“I wasn’t sweaty and breathing heavy.”

“I noticed,” Nick said. “If you put those suitcases down and let me have my way with you, I could get you there.”

“Good grief. Are you flirting with me?”

“Honey, my intentions are way past flirting.”

“Your intentions could get you a knee in the groin.”

Nick grinned. “At least your mind’s on the right body part.”

Kate gave a grunt of feigned disgust and stepped into the open elevator. She was an FBI agent, and sleeping with Nick, a wanted felon, was a line she wasn’t willing to cross. She’d already crossed so many lines, helping Nick swindle and steal and stay out of prison, that she often wondered what made keeping Nick at arm’s length so important to her.

Nick reached past her and slid a key card into the control panel, and the elevator descended. A moment later the elevator doors opened into the penthouse foyer. The penthouse had floor-to-ceiling windows and a terrific view of the Los Angeles basin. Carl Jessup stood at the window, watching the helicopter fly off. There was a thick file folder under his arm. Nick and Kate walked in and set down their suitcases.

“That looks a lot like a U.S. government helicopter leaving here,” Jessup said, turning around to face them.

“Looks can be deceiving,” Nick said.

“Well, I wouldn’t dare argue with you about that,” Jessup said. “You’re the expert on that subject.”

Jessup had the tanned, weathered face and sinewy body of a man who’d spent his fifty-some years outdoors, working a field or raising cattle, but it came from genes, not experience. He’d been in the FBI since he graduated from college.

“What brings you here, sir?” Kate asked.

“I asked myself the same question a few times as I was going up those stairs,” Jessup said. “Damn near had a heart attack.”

“The elevator is working now,” Kate said. “You won’t have any issues with it going down.”

Jessup cut his eyes to Nick. “So what have you done with the million dollars you took from us?”

“I turned it into five million in less than a week.” Nick gestured to the suitcases. “Not a bad return on our investment.”

“The goal of our clandestine operation isn’t to make money,” Jessup said.

“But it doesn’t hurt,” Nick said.

Jessup frowned and shifted his gaze to Kate. “Who was the target of this swindle?”

“A con man named Stuart Kelso, a major perpetrator of the grandparent scam,” Kate said. “He tricks old people into sending him money to get their grandchildren out of desperate situations. Kelso doesn’t deserve our sympathy, sir.”

“He won’t get any from me, but that’s not the issue,” Jessup said. “How did you get him to give you five million dollars?”

Nick smiled. “I ran the grandparent scam on him.”

“Of course you did,” Jessup said. “I’m sure you thought it would be great fun.”

“It was,” Nick said.

“You aren’t supposed to be running cons for fun anymore,” Jessup said. “You’re supposed to be doing it to put very bad people in prison. All you did was take Kelso’s money and make a fool out of him. He’ll just go back to hustling old people out of their Social Security checks.”

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