Sidney Sheldon’s Reckless

“You said you followed her?”

“Yes. Dorrien asked me to. But I lost her in one of the squares. The city’s tiny but it’s like a maze, especially at night.”

“I remember,” Tracy said. For a moment there was a flicker of warmth between them, a spark of shared nostalgia for another life. But it was soon gone.

“Your turn.”

“I’ve got nothing to tell,” Tracy said. “I’ve been recovering from a major head injury, remember? I’ve been off the case.”

Jeff gave her a loving look. “You’ll have to try that line with someone who doesn’t know you, darling. You wouldn’t have been to see Guy or Madame Dubonnet if you weren’t working. And you wouldn’t know about Sally Faiers either. So what’s been going on?”

Tracy told him the CIA’s latest theories. That Hunter Drexel was definitely involved in the Neuilly shootings. And that he probably had a hand in Sally’s death as well. And Hélène’s.

“I didn’t know about the student. That’s sad. . . .” Jeff frowned. But he seemed to hesitate.

“I’m sensing there’s a but?”

“I don’t know.” He looked at Tracy intently. “Hunter’s obviously involved with Group 99 somehow. He’s not who he says he is.”

“I agree.”

“The Americans and the Brits both have him in the frame now. And they’re probably right. But something doesn’t add up.”

“Right,” Tracy whispered. “Like the fact that he didn’t shoot Sally Faiers.”


“But Frank Dorrien knew she’d been killed within minutes.”

Jeff nodded. “I thought about that. He could have been watching the house.”

“In which case he’d have seen who did it. Yet no one was arrested.”

“I thought about that too.”

“But you still trust him?” Tracy looked deep into Jeff’s eyes. Looking back at her, Jeff longed to tell her everything. It took every ounce of his willpower not to.

“You know me,” he quipped. “I don’t trust anyone. How about you?”

“I think Greg Walton’s a good guy,” said Tracy. She wasn’t about to bring up Cameron’s name again with Jeff. She’d learned her lesson last time. “I told him I’d pass on any intelligence you gave me, by the way. As we’re being so ‘open’ with each other.”

“Don’t.” Jeff said, more forcefully than he’d intended. “Whatever gets to Walton gets to Milton Buck,” he explained, spitting out the FBI agent’s name as if it were poison. “Never forget that, Tracy. Never.”

Tracy was surprised. Jeff had as much reason to dislike Agent Buck as she did. After all, if Buck had had his way, Jeff would have been left to die at the hands of Daniel Cooper, nailed to a cross in a remote Bulgarian barn. Yet in the past it had always been Tracy who’d felt afraid of Milton Buck. Jeff had treated him almost as a joke.

Had something changed?

“I assume the British know about ‘Kate’?” she asked, changing tack.

“Yes. I told Frank Dorrien everything I just told you. MI6 have been digging for a week, looking for any ‘Kates’ in Hunter’s past.”

“Have they found any?”

“A whole bunch. I’m telling you, Drexel makes Magic Johnson look like a Buddhist monk. But no one significant. Yet.”

“All right,” Tracy said, making another sign of the cross and standing up to leave. “I’ll get on it.”

Jeff put a hand on her arm. “Don’t disappear on me, Tracy. I think Hunter came back to Paris because he’s planning another attack of some kind. This ‘story’ nonsense is just a cover.”

Tracy nodded. Hunter Drexel as the innocent, intrepid journalist was simply not believable anymore. Too many people had died.

“He’s trying to get Kate, whoever she is, to help him. You mustn’t get too close to this woman. If you raise her suspicions, you could be in very real danger.”

“You think I don’t know that? This time last week I was in a coma,” Tracy reminded him. “I’m doing this for Nick, Jeff. That’s the only reason.”

Jeff watched as Tracy left the church, her head bowed, like any other anonymous war widow.

That’s what she is, in a way, Jeff thought sadly. Her life has been one long war. And she’s lost so many people she loved.

In that moment he felt utterly overpowered with love for her.

Even for Jeff Stevens, there were times when lies didn’t come easily.

“HI, YOU’VE REACHED JEFF. Leave a message.”

Frank Dorrien was irritated. That was the third time today he’d failed to reach Stevens.

Frank was confident after Bruges that Stevens was back on board. That his tiresome maverick streak was under control. But that was before Jeff had met up with Tracy Whitney again.

Tracy had certainly been useful to Frank Dorrien, albeit unwittingly. Her connection to Stevens had provided MI6 with a huge advantage. But the intelligence she provided came at a price. When Tracy and Jeff got together, nothing was predictable. And the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Frank Dorrien felt the first stirrings of real fear in the pit of his stomach, like sun-dazed butterflies slowly coming to life.

Glancing at his watch, Frank set off at a run towards Jeff’s hotel.

“WHEN DID YOU LAST hear from Tracy?”

Milton Buck’s entire upper body tensed with irritation and resentment. Who the hell did Cameron Crewe think he was, interrupting him in the middle of an important meeting with French intelligence?

“I told you before. I can’t talk now.”

“I don’t give a fuck what you told me, Agent Buck. I can’t reach her and I want answers. Now!”

Arrogant asshole. I’m not one of your minion employees.

“I’ll call you when I’m out of my meeting,” Milton replied, through gritted teeth.

“Don’t bother,” Cameron snapped. “I’ll take it up the food chain. God knows why I’m talking to the monkey anyway. We both know Walton’s the organ grinder.”

To Milton Buck’s fury, he hung up.


“I saw her two days ago. Everything’s fine. I’m not expecting her to check in with us daily.”

“Well, I am,” Cameron Crewe said bluntly. The strain in his voice quivered down the phone line. “She always calls me back, usually within an hour. It’s been a day and a night.”

“She’s working, Cameron. She’s probably reestablishing ties with Jeff Stevens. That’s what we asked her to do.”

“That’s what I’m worried about. Did you know she checked out of the Georges V?”

There was a long pause. “Are you sure about that?”

Cameron exploded. “My God, Greg. You’re the CIA! You’re supposed to be watching her.”

“We’ll find her,” Greg Walton said. But all the confidence was gone now, like air from a pricked balloon. “I’ll get my best team on it. Agent Buck . . .”

“Agent Buck is a goddamned moron,” Cameron said furiously. “Forget it, Greg. You had your chance. I’ll find her myself.”

PRESIDENT JIM HAVERS SPOKE unnaturally slowly. As if by lingering over each word of the question, he could somehow postpone the answer.

“So you’re telling me they’re both gone?”

Prime Minister Julia Cabot replied tersely, “That’s what my intelligence team is telling me.”

“Whitney and Stevens.”



“Apparently so.”


A heavy silence descended between the two leaders. Julia Cabot broke it first.

“I don’t suppose you feel like telling me what’s going on, Jim?”

The president sounded angry. “What do you mean?”

“I mean who is Hunter Drexel?” The British Prime Minister spelled it out. “Who is he really?”

Jim Havers sighed heavily. “It’s complicated, Julia.”

“Uncomplicate it.”

Another sigh.

“I can’t.”

“Well, that’s a shame. Because I’d be prepared to wager good money that that’s exactly what Whitney and Stevens are out there doing right now. And if they succeed, we’ll both be hung out to dry.”

FIVE MINUTES LATER, GREG Walton of the CIA and James MacIntosh of MI6 both received phone calls from their respective political masters.

The language each used was different.

But the message was the same.

Find them. Find them now. Or being fired will be the least of your worries.


WE WILL SOON BEGIN our descent into Geneva. Please fasten your seat belts and ensure any bags are stowed . . .”

Tracy zoned out as the chief flight attendant ran through the usual spiel. Sitting beside her in business class, Jeff was fast asleep. And by fast Tracy really meant fast—head thrown back, mouth open, snoring loudly as his chest rose and fell in the same steady rhythm it had been in since takeoff.

Tracy had taken countless flights with Jeff. Some were luxurious, sprawled out in sumptuous private jets. Others were markedly less so. But on every flight, without exception, Jeff had managed to fall asleep.

One memorable journey involved Tracy and Jeff having their limbs folded painfully into pallets of diamonds, like two double-jointed dolls. The pallets were then sealed with a small gap for air and wedged into a freezing cargo hold. For the next eight hours, neither of them could move a muscle. Simply breathing was difficult. And yet even on this flight from hell Jeff had somehow fallen asleep. His ability to switch himself off at will, like an electric toy, and slip into unconsciousness, was as impressive as it was infuriating.

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Categories: Sidney Sheldon