A Dubious Terrain

A Dubious Terrain 3112

A Dubious Terrian

Chapter One

Colton Banyon sat at his desk in his manly home office at the front of his sprawling ranch house in suburban Chicago. This was his fun time. He could check his portfolio, catch up on his New York sports teams, and surf the net. Today he was planning a vacation to someplace warm. Despite the warming sun that filtered through the large front window of his office, the temperature outside was a cold nineteen degrees. It was a drawback
or living in Chicago in April.

His desk faced the double doors to his office and he noticed that one door was slowly opening. Suddenly a small but very shapely bare leg filled the opening. Banyon took off his reading glasses and sat back for the show.

The Asian woman who owned the leg was fifteenyears his junior, and was in tremendous physical shape. She had remarkable genes. She could easily pass for twenty-five. She also loved to flirt with Banyon. Loni Chen had become his lover and partner in solving mysteries when, as an agent for the FBI, she had helped him fight off a group of white supremacists. They had started as friends and had put together a small detective agency a few years ago. Things had changed. She was the president, and he was the financial backer. Their record for solving mysteries was very good.

Long jet-black hair soon followed the leg into the room. Banyon could now see a single dark, almond-shaped eye peering at him. “Are you busy?” she asked in a soft singsong voice.

“I’m always busy,” he playfully responded, knowing that it would not stop her.

“Too busy to see me in my new bathing suit?”

“Give me a minute to respond to this important junk mail,” he answered, also knowing it wouldn’t stop her for one second.

The door flew open, and she stood with he hands on her small hips. “What do you think?” she seductively inquired.

Her bathing suit, like its owner, was small and sexy. Banyon immediately felt a stirring, but he knew she wanted to play the game. “I have more cloth in a pair of my socks,” he quipped.

“Does that mean that you like it or not?”

Hearing the disappointment in her voice, he quickly asked, “Does it cover the tattoo?” She had impulsively gotten the tattoo during an investigation of a white supremacist group that used a tattoo pallor as their headquarters. While it was the symbol of her name in Chinese, it was where the tattoo was located that revealed her truly impulsive nature.

“You just want to look at my ass,” she giggled.

“And what man wouldn’t?”

She ran to the front of the desk and spun around like a top with her arms straight out. Banyon could see the butterfly shape clearly on her right cheek. The string bikini didn’t invade the smooth round surface. Banyon just smiled.

But, Loni turned toward him with a frown on her face. She put both of her hands on the desk and leaned forward. She was inches away from him. “You can’t just smile. You have to say it,” she demanded.

“You look stunning,” he announced.

“Good of you to notice,” she replied, a little sarcastically.

“Now come and sit on my lap so I can show you options for our vacation,” Banyon said in a leering voice.

Loni sprinted around the desk and quickly slid her five-two lithe frame on his lap. Banyon, a man of above-average height and weight, easily supported her. He pointed at the computer screen.

“The Caribbean, Hawaii, or someplace far away,” he offered.

“You pick, but I want excitement, adventure, romance, and maybe a little gambling,” she muttered.

Sensing that he was being manipulated Banyon responded, “Las Vegas it is.”

“You really want to go there, too,” she said as she looked up at him from his lap.

“And you know me too well,” he retorted as he hit a tab on the screen, and the list of Vegas hotels popped up.

“Hey, you’ve already been searching for a hotel in Las Vegas,” she exclaimed.

“I just wanted to hear you beg,” he replied.

Their banter was broken when Banyon noticed an official-looking car enter the circular driveway and park by the front door. The tall man who exited the car and ambled to the front door sent a shiver down his spine.

Since she was busy studying the screen and not turned toward the window, Loni had not noticed the car. When the doorbell rang, she sprang up and headed toward the front door before Banyon could protest. He didn’t want to see the man.

She flung open the door without checking the peephole and now stood in shivering shock. The man was in shock too asdidn’t expect a scantily bikini-clad woman to open the door in the middle of winter.

“Agent Greg Gamble,” Loni mustered. “You’re one of the last people I ever wanted to see on Earth,” she said with anger. She blocked the doorway and was clearly not welcoming him into the house.

Loni was in the process of slamming the door when she heard Banyon bellow, “It’s okay, let him in.”

The large FBI agent slipped past Loni as she stared at him with utter contempt and he proceeded into the front office of the house. He stood in front of the seated Banyon and offered his hand. Banyon didn’t move.

“What do you want, Agent Gamble?” Banyon asked.

“You used to call me Greg,” he replied in his southern drawl.

“That was before we got to know you better.”

“It was all official government business. I had no choice. I am governed by the same laws you are, ole buddy.”

“Why are you back? Did you forget to confiscate some of my books? Maybe you forgot some recipes or pictures of my children? You already have my computer, records, and the cure for alcoholism that Loni and I found.”

Agent Gamble had been to the Banyon house several times. They had actually been friends and had been involved in several adventures together. The last one revolved around a copy of Mein Kampf that had been found in the jungles of the Philippines. Banyon and Loni had solved the mystery, found the rightful owner of the book, and had discovered an ancient cure for alcoholism secreted in the book. Suddenly Agent Gamble had shown up at their home spouting the Patriot Act and everything connected to the case was confiscated. Banyon realized that the event was political, but Gamble had been the point man.

Without being invited, the big man eased into one of the chairs in front of the desk. Even sitting down, he was still taller than Loni, who stood with a concerned look next to him. She suddenly became aware that she was all but naked and excused herself from the room. Agent Gamble opened his coat and brought out an old battered book. He placed it on the desk in front of Banyon.

“I need your help,” he announced as he looked Banyon straight in the eye.

“It’s not our policy to help people who’ve betrayed us in the past,” Banyon returned with a mile-long stare.

“I think you and Loni know more about the Mien Kampf caper than you’ve let on,” replied Agent Gamble.

“I’m not telling you anything about anything,” Banyon said.

“That would be very unfortunate,” Agent Gamble replied.

“Is that a threat?”

“Of course not, but we are sure you have more information that you have not shared,” Agent Gamble smoothly replied.

“And that’s based on what, some politician’s intuition?”

“No, it’s based on the online searches that Loni’s been doing. Yes, Homeland Security has hacked into all your computers. The material you guys have been pulling down from the internet is interesting. It tells me you’ve withheld some information about our friend Hal Jones, the sleeper Nazi. According to the crime report, both of you were in his house for some time before it burned to the ground. We believe you found something that was not confiscated. I must see it.”

“How could you possibly know that the materials we’ve been looking at are connected to Hal Jones?” a concerned Banyon asked.

“Because we know about it, too,” the FBI agent responded.