The Client

Chapter 1

Brennan Sinclair, a man of regal bearing sat behind a large desk in his home office. Two files spread out before him. He ran his fingers through his dark brown hair. His brown eyes, the same Abby inherited, scanned each page line by line. All the facts were making his head spin. His security as Governor was handled by other people. He never had to think about it before. There was no more room in the security budget for extra security so he was hiring people to protect Abby out of his own pocket. Paul Briggs and his men came highly recommended from his security chief- she knew her stuff and trusted them. "You'd have these two protecting your own daughter?" Brennan looked up at the muscled man leaning on his window frame.

"Yes, Sir, if I had one," Paul stepped forward, "Johnny and Mike are the best."

"Not just your best?" Brennan emphasized the second to last word.

"If there were better I'd be recruiting them," Paul declared.

Brennan rested his elbows on the desk top, "She's all I've got."

"I am not just giving you anyone," Paul assured him. Brennan inhaled sharply and nodded his understanding.

"Tell me about them," Brennan closed the folders and stacked them together.

"Mike graduated top of his class at Quantico- he's very alert and detail oriented," Paul began.

"How are his protective instincts?" the father asked.

"Excellent," Paul answered, "His reflexes are impeccable as well- I've never seen a guy handle a gun faster or more accurately than Mike."

"And Mr. Tuturro?" Brennan asked.

"He's a fighter and brave," Paul said, "He's been trained in several martial arts besides his military background."

"They work well as a team?" Brennan raised a questioning eyebrow.

Paul nodded, "They complement each other well." Brennan blew out a breath. Paul stepped closer to the desk. "I read the note these people left with the rabbit at the car," he grimaced.

Brennan recalled Abby sobbing on the phone after she found the poor creature, "We have the TAU involved, but they aren't getting anywhere ether."

"Is there a way anyone else knew Abby was stopping there for lunch?" Paul asked.

"Besides Abby, her friend- Charlie, or the driver? No. It was a spontaneous get together. Someone had to have been following my daughter," Brennan insisted.

"How is she taking the situation?" Paul inquired.

"She's scared and not too thrilled about needing protection, but she understands why it's necessary," Brennan answered.

"Sounds like she's got a good head on her shoulders," Paul replied.

"That she does," Brennan grinned.

"Then this begs the question," Paul tilted his head, "Are we going to do this or what?"

"Call Mr. Tuturro in," Brennan requested. Paul nodded then left to send in Johnny.

A minute or two later Brennan's assistant opened the door for Johnny. "Mr. Tuturro," Brennan greeted.

"Please, call me Johnny," the Latino smiled a boyish smile. He seemed a jovial sort.

"You trained to be a Navy Seal- that's impressive," Brennan lead him over to the chairs. He leaned against his desk.

"If that boat hadn't hit me on the last day of training I'd be a Seal," Johnny sat.

"That must have been rough," Brennan replied.

"Stuff happens," Johnny shrugged.

"Why did you get into the private security field out of everything else you could have done?" inquired Brennan.

"It was what I was trained for," Johnny answered, "And I like helping people."

Brennan was even more impressed. He could tell Johnny and Abby would become fast friends. "Mr. Briggs tells me you're trained in several of the martial arts," Brennan said.

"Four. I also kick box," Johnny replied.

"How do you get along with Mr. Warren?" Brennan asked.

"Mike? He's cool, Man," Johnny replied, "We're friends."

"You'd have no objections to sharing this job with him then?" Brennan tested.

"Nah- we run these jobs together all the time," Johnny smiled.

"Whoa, Silver," Abby pulled back on her horse's reigns. He slowed and then stopped at her command. She patted his neck. "That's my boy," Abby cooed. Silver had been a gift from her father for her twentieth birthday. He had a bright grey coat with a black mane and tail. Abby took a look around the large corral where she and Silver where exercising. They had a couple hurdles set up so she could take him through his paces on this beautiful summer day. Charlie sat on the top of the fencing watching Abby ride. "Ready for another go?" Abby asked her horse. Silver neighed. "Let's go," she gave a click and tapped Silver with her heels. He started forward. She turned him around toward the hurdles. They gained speed as they headed for a hurdle. Abby gave the command and Silver took the jump. She laughed as Silver carried her through the air and over the hurdle. In that moment Abby wasn't thinking about the threats or her boyfriend troubles. Her mind was clear and all she could feel was the exhilaration of the wind whipping around her. It resounded in her ears. Riding Silver was so relaxing. They made a perfect landing. Charlie cheered. She stiffened when she realized someone had joined them.

"Beautiful, Babe!" Vance called. The blonde surgeon walked up to the corral and blew Abby a kiss. Abby waved to him.

Charlie rolled her brown eyes. There had to be a way to de-Vance Abby. Her friend could be too forgiving some times. Charlie jumped down and went to Abby.

"Great ride," Charlie said.

"It was," Abby dismounted. Vance came through the gate. He strode over to Abby. "Hey," she smiled.

"Hey, yourself," Vance dipped in and kissed her.

Silver reared up at Vance's presence in the corral. Abby pulled down on the reigns. Silver came back to the ground still tense. She rubbed his nose, "What's the matter?"

"Something must have spooked him," Vance shrugged.

"Must have," Charlie replied.

Vance ignored Charlie, "How are you?"

"I'm fine," Abby briefly looked at him before turning her attention back to Silver.

"Anything new?" Vance questioned. It had only been a couple days since the incident.

"No new threats since I've been home," Abby answered the real question. She had a penthouse in the city, but Abby would always consider the family estate home.

"Think your dad would let me take out Marjorie?" she asked.

"Of course," Abby replied bubbly.

Charlie turned to Vance. "You could join us," she offered. Vance glared at her. Charlie knew full well he had issues with horses. Not to mention many other animals.

Abby got an apple out of her saddle bag and fed it to Silver, "There we are." Charlie caught the jealousy Vance's icey blue eyes sent towards Silver. He sighed though Abby didn't notice. If Abby loved him half as much as she loved that dumb horse they would have one hell of a relationship.

Johnny went out then they sent Mike back. Brennan stood as the younger man entered. He studied Mike as the former FBI agent made his way to the desk. Mike had his sandy blonde hair cropped short. He sported a touch of scruff. Mike seemed thin, a little worse for wear, but that could easily be remedied.

"Governor Sinclair," Mike reached out his hand.

"Mr. Warren," Brennan took it and the two shook. Mike had a good firm confident grip Brennan noted. "Have a seat," Brennan directed him to a chair. Mike sat. "You have a remarkable case history," Brennan said.

"I take my work very seriously," Mike replied.

"You're a former FBI Agent," Brennan stated.

"Yes, Sir," Mike nodded.

"For two years. Why did you leave the bureau?" Brennan leaned back in his chair.

Mike shifted, "It wasn't as fulfilling as I thought it would be."

"So it was your decision to leave?" Brennan questioned.

"Technically," Mike answered. That is definitely how it looked on paper. "I resigned," he added.

"Where were you in the period after you left the FBI?" Brennan asked.

"Lost- letting myself wallow in the pain of my dream of the FBI dying," Mike answered, "Paul found me in a very dark place. He gave me a job, a new lease on life. I owe him a lot."

"Mr. Briggs thinks highly of you," Brennan replied.

"He wouldn't work with me if I wasn't the best for the job," Mike replied.

"Do you have any questions for me?" Brennan offered.

"Who are these people and why are they after her?" Mike asked.

"You don't pull any punches do you?" Brennan said, "I don't know- we're tracing the message I got."

"Any surveillance cameras in the area?" Mike inquired.

"How much has Briggs told you about the situation?" Brennan asked.

"About the incident at the car and the messages you got," Mike said.

"We have a suspect from there, but so far no luck on identifying him," Brennan answered, "Pretty generic description and he wore a baseball hat that shielded his face from cameras." Mike frowned. That wasn't good. It sounded like a professional to him. Brennan could see the wheels turning in the younger man's head.

"What do I need to know about your daughter?" Mike changed gears.

"If you're worried about her fighting or ditching you, don't- Abby is responsible and understands the situation is serious," Brennan started.

"Is that her?" Mike motioned to a framed picture of the brunette in question on a back bookcase.

"Yes," Brennan smiled. He leaned back and retrieved it. Brennan handed the framed picture to Mike. His fingers traced her delicate features over the glass. His first reaction was that she had a sweet face and kind eyes. "That's after she graduated Georgetown Law with high honors," Brennan beamed.

Mike whistled, "Wow." Smart and pretty.

"She runs a non-profit foundation we started in her mother and brother's memory," Brennan augmented, "Abby is my only living child." He caught Mike's piercing blue eyes. Mike straightened as the worry of a father was communicated without words.

Mike didn't break the connection, "Understood."

"I am not taking any chances with her," Brennan declared.

"I'd protect her with my life," Mike vowed, "You have my word."

"That's up to Abby," Brennan said. Mike handed Brennan back the picture. Abby's father stood and put it back. "She's at the stables now- if you and your friend are willing to take the job we can go talk to her."

"Lead the way," Mike got to his feet.

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