Harris (Alpha One Security #1)

By: Jasinda Wilder



“Puck!” Nick actually took a step forward, fists clenching.

And Puck? His eyes widened and he moved back a step. You do not fuck with Harris, and all his men knew it. Puck, being a gambler, liked to push buttons. He was the sort who would take a tiger by the tail, just to see what it would do. But even Puck knew when to back off when it came to Harris.

“I’ll meet you outside. Need you to brief me on this Lonigan SNAFU.” Puck left then, whistling a tune under his breath.

Nick shook his head in disbelief. “I swear to god, if that man wasn’t the best goddamn forensic scientist I’ve ever seen, I’d put a bullet in his thick skull. He’s absolutely incorrigible.”

“He’s an asshole,” I said.

“Yes he is. But he’s a loyal and talented asshole. If you’re his friend, he’ll take on Hell itself with a squirt gun for you. And god help you if you get on his bad side.” Harris poured a mug of coffee for both of us. “Plus, he makes a hell of a cup of coffee.”

“Is he really that good at forensics?”

Nick nodded. “Hell yes. He graduated high school at sixteen, had a Master’s by twenty, got recruited by the FBI at twenty-one and had his Ph.D. by twenty-three. And the only reason he didn’t move up the ladder at the FBI is because he’s too much of a wild card. He’s got the intelligence and the skills to run the whole show if he wanted, but he’d rather drink, fight, and fuck than sit behind a desk in Washington.” A quick grin. “Plus, he’d have to shave his beard, and that’s not happening.”

“That beard is out of control.” I sipped at the coffee; it was exceptionally good. Which is puzzling, because it’s not like he used different water, beans, or brewer. He used everything we have here in our kitchen, but the coffee just tasted better than when Nick or I made it. What was his secret?

“That beard has it’s own Facebook page. Legit. Look it up sometime: Puck’s Beard. It’s crazy. He has as many products for that fucking beard as you do for your hair. You have no idea.”

I laughed out loud. “A Facebook page? You’re joking. You’ve got to be joking.”

“Truth, babe.” He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, opened the Pages app, and tapped on, yes, Puck’s Beard. “Take a look.”

And there it was in all its glory, the beard itself in dozens of different photographs. Selfies of Puck, close-ups, pics of women touching it, a little boy tugging on it out on the street somewhere, and even a photograph of a cockatoo peeking its head through the middle of the beard.

“That is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.”

“You should see him groom it in the morning. He’s got special shampoo, balms, oils, brushes, combs, and all sorts of shit. We all rag on him for how long it takes him to get ready in the morning. Thresh won’t room with him when we’re on assignment. Says it’s too much like having a bitch around, the amount of time it takes to get Puck out the door.” At my raised eyebrow at the “bitch” comment, Harris held his palms up defensively. “Thresh’s word, not mine.”

“I really don’t know where you dig up these guys, Nick,” I said.

Thresh was…another rather unique individual. Standing a full seven feet tall, with a bodybuilder’s physique—acres of muscles piled on mountains of more muscle. White-blond hair cropped into a Mohawk three inches wide and spiked an inch or so tall, with permanent blond scruff on his cliff-sharp jawline, as if he never shaved but couldn’t grow an actual beard. Scariest motherfucker I’ve ever seen. Spoke four languages, deadly with any weapon and even more so with his bare hands, and was a proficient hacker, although Lear Winter was the resident tech expert. But Thresh was just…ungodly gargantuan. I watched him deadlift a Ford Taurus right off the ground, once. And not just lift it, but haul the vehicle a half a dozen feet away. The owner of the Taurus had parked too close to Thresh’s pickup, and that was his way of dealing with the situation. The owner, being still in the car when Thresh moved it, had learned his lesson, I imagined.

“Put the bandoliers and M4 back, yeah?” Nick said, gesturing at me with his mug. “And keep that shit secret, okay? You’re the only person aside from myself that has access, or even knows about it. I’d like to keep it that way.”

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