Street Game (GhostWalkers, #8)

Street Game (GhostWalkers, #8)

Christine Feehan


Black night. No moon, no stars. Just the way he liked it. Master Gunnery Sergeant Mack McKinley crouched in the alley, close to the tall, dirty building, allowing his senses to become tuned to the familiar sounds. A cat raked through a garbage can, a drunk moaned and shivered in the cold. Waves pounded the beach and sloshed against the pier just behind the building. Three stories up, lights went out, leaving the long row of windows like giant, gaping black mouths. McKinley smiled at the image, smiled up at the windows. His smile was not pleasant.

This was the all-important tip. Tracking the explosives through Lebanon, Beirut, the South American freighter. And then to San Francisco. Always one step behind. He had moved fast to check out the information, praying it was correct. They had less than twenty-four hours to find the guns and the five-man unit of Doomsday. He sneered at the name of the terrorist unit, but he had to give them kudos for scaring the crap out of every country they had visited. They left behind wreckage and carnage and death. More—they left behind fear.

Urban warfare was an art any way one looked at it. His team had knowledge of the streets, were the best there was, but it was dangerous work, and required a cool head. Too many civilians, too many potential hostages, too damn many things to go wrong. But his men were good at it, more than good—he counted them among the best, and Sergeant Major Theodore Griffen wanted Doomsday taken out. And when the sergeant major gave an order, it was carried out immediately and to the letter.

The warehouse was wired. He knew it, could feel it. But something . . . His men were in position, waiting for him. As always, First Sergeant Kane Cannon was at his back. They’d started on the streets together, two kids trying to stay alive, eventually pulling in six other boys and two girls, all with different abilities to make up their ragtag family.

From the streets Kane and Mack and one of the girls—Mack didn’t want to think about her—had gone on to college. The others had gone into the Marine Corps. All had a gift for languages as well as many other things, such as what he was doing now. They were recruited right out of school and trained as operatives until the psychic testing. That had been a huge mistake, and all of his family had followed him—as they always did.

Force Recon—Special Forces. Psychic testing where they’d all come back together, just like on the street. More specialized training. SEAL training. Urban war games. Even more specialized training until they were pretty much killing machines. They had stuck together and knew one another’s every move. They trusted one another and no one else, not in the business they were in. Well . . . with the exception of the new kid, but that was a whole other story. It was no good thinking about that right now, not when he was surrounded with the ones he loved, leading them into a situation that was explosive at the very least.

Mack signaled for the others to pull down their night goggles, making it easy to see in the blackness of the night. He and Kane didn’t need them. They could both see in the dark as easily as during the day. A result of the experiments they’d lent themselves to. Stupid, but they’d done it for the good of the country and their need for a home. Yeah, he knew the psychological bullshit everyone spouted. It was probably all true too, but he didn’t much care. It was also one hell of an adrenaline rush.

Still, he waited, hesitating before signaling his team forward. His men were coiled and ready. He had a bad feeling, deep in his gut, and he never discounted his instincts. Something wasn’t quite right, but he couldn’t put his finger on it.

What is it, Top? Kane questioned, using the telepathic communication they had perfected as children, and which the military had enhanced when they volunteered for the psychic GhostWalker program.

Something’s wrong? Not wrong, maybe. Just not right. How the hell could he explain that strange kick in his belly?

I feel it too, but I’m not sure what’s out of sync here. There was another long moment of silence. Abort? Kane asked.

Mack took a breath. Let it out. No, but let’s all be very cautious.

Of the group of them, only the new kid the sergeant major had insisted they add to their team couldn’t communicate telepathically. Telepathy had been the common denominator that had drawn them together on the streets. They were all different and they’d all recognized the psychic gift in one another. Mack had been the acknowledged leader and Kane had always, always had his back.

He glanced at the man and saw that Kane was doing what he did best, searching the huge warehouse with his strange eyes. He could, if he wanted, see right through the wood and metal to the heat inside, a gift from Whitney and his experiments. Unfortunately, if he used that special gift, he paid for it with blindness for several minutes after, rendering it an extremely dangerous talent to use in the field. There were several new abilities in all of them. Animal DNA. A new genetic code. They hadn’t signed on for that kind of experiment, but when they’d woken up, they had been changed for all time. Kane kept from trying to look through the walls and used his enhanced sight to detect movement only.

Mack signaled his men forward. It took minutes to bypass the alarm on the side entrance door, far longer than it should have. The alarm was too complicated for a wharf warehouse. Who put together a sophisticated triple-alarm system so complex it took Javier, his best tech, precious time to unravel it?

We’ve got ourselves a pro system, here, boss, Javier said. One I’ve never seen before. Whoever put this mother together knew what they were doing. There was frank admiration in his tone.

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