Inhaling deeply, he willed his body to remain calm. He waited for the couple to make an exchange before moving in for the arrest. His muscles tensed; the adrenaline rose with his anticipation. Six months of investigating this scumbag would finally pay off.
Just a few more steps.
Ten feet away from the woman, Becker stopped, made a sharp about-face, and strode out an exit door. What happened? His partner, Agent Daniels, joined him. She might be able to give us something on him. Full red lips curved downward in an expression of displeasure as she glanced around the baggage area. Did she realize her contact left the terminal? You know how he works.
All we have to do is keep an eye on her until he shows up again. She bent over to lift a suitcase off the carousel. Delicate shoulders, a narrow waist … and those legs. Long, shapely legs that could wrap around a man and draw him in. He loosened his collar. The temperature rose despite the cold drafts running through the Vermont airport.
Get a grip, man. Industrial espionage proved a lucrative business in a world of high-tech economies. Why spend millions on Research and Development when greedy or disgruntled employees gave it up for a fraction of the cost? He returned his attention to the suspect in question. He could take her in for questioning now. No doubt she would spill her guts to save her rather delectable rear-end.
Victoria Jansen grabbed her last suitcase from the carousel and deposited it on the floor. After a long, crowded flight, she was happy to be on solid ground again. Tight shoes pinched her feet, and jetlag left her physically exhausted.
Announcements for outbound flights blared over the scratchy speakers. Her temples throbbed. What possessed her to return home the Sunday before Thanksgiving? The electronic doors swung open and a blast of cold air rushed in, so she buttoned her jacket. Winter came early and left late in New England. Elaine lacked any inhibitions, a personality trait Victoria admired. Enough said on that subject. The darned thing makes me sneeze anyway. See ya. Victoria gathered her luggage and moved towards the exit, hoping to find a cab on the pre-holiday weekend.
She should have arranged for a limo. In fact, she chose the Club Med resort because her condescending colleague, Dr. Roger Canton, remarked that she would probably go on a bird watching expedition for vacation. Apparently, her coworkers considered her a stodgy, dried-up spinster at thirty-three. She got quite an education during her exciting trip.
Still, she was glad to be home. Or nearly home, she thought and headed towards the exit. She took three awkward steps before the heel on her shoe gave way. She teetered forward, over-compensated, and wound up on her backside in a most unladylike position. A groan rumbled in her throat. Just great. Several people stopped to help, making her embarrassing accident that much more obvious to anyone who might have missed it. Normally, her clumsy mishaps only occurred in the presence of a good looking man. Not that she felt any less foolish now. She dusted herself off and limped outside into the chilly evening air.
Welcome back, Victoria. Erik choked back a roar of laughter. The woman was a walking disaster. She hobbled along the sidewalk on one broken shoe while she tried to hail a cab. Her dusty clothes and disheveled hair complemented the frustrated expression on her face.
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When she finally got a yellow taxi to stop, she turned to gather up her things and tripped over her suitcase, spilling the contents of her purse all over the ground. Erik watched the thin, willowy, and totally uncoordinated woman in amusement. Yet, her awkwardness made her so damned appealing. He could almost believe he had the wrong woman. He leaned against the door of the rented Chevy.
If Becker sensed a set-up at the airport, she might have too. Look at her. Do you know any woman who would willingly humiliate herself in public? In his experience, women would do just about anything to get what they wanted. Some merely proved more creative than others. What tipped them off? Find out who she is, where she lives.
Johnson and Diggs are on Becker. Erik shoved his hands into his pockets and reined in his disappointment. Elaine McMillan strutted into the studio apartment with a bottle of Cristal champagne tucked under her arm. She yanked off the blonde wig and shoved it into the outside compartment of her overnight bag. With a shake of her head, her brown hair settled on her shoulders.
Eventually she would get used to the blunt style, or better yet, she would take herself to the best salon in New York City for a makeover. She could afford it soon. Sliding her hand into her uniform pocket, she pulled out the compact disc and grinned at her ticket out of this crappy neighborhood. What were the contents worth to the elusive Mr. She took all the risk; she deserved more than a lousy grand for her trouble. She dropped her case on the floor and kicked off her shoes.
Mission accomplished. For once, Eddie called it right. This time, his surprisingly ingenious plan worked. Of course, her ass would be hauled off to the slammer if she got caught, but since he knew the contacts, they were financial partners. When their business concluded, he would be history. She shook her head. The man had no class and even less ambition. Too damned easy.
She attributed the queasy feeling in her stomach to jetlag rather than guilt. Victoria Jansen made the perfect pawn.
A college professor without an ounce of street smarts. Certain people just begged to be victims. Elaine took another swig of the cool bubbly liquid. She finally got a shot at real money. Someone bought her a ticket to paradise and paid her a grand to return with the disc. It must contain valuable information. You done good. Easy money turned him on even more than hot sex.
He probably figured he would get both tonight. He took her hand in his, kissed the back, and then lowered it to his rock solid shaft.
As she fondled the brains of the dynamic duo, she tried to rid herself of the nagging doubts eating away at her. She tightened her fingers around the full length of him. With a groan, he ripped at the buttons of her white uniform and pushed her bra up. He sucked the tip until her nipple was taut and throbbing.
Just let go and give into the physical release so she could obliterate the image of that trusting woman thanking her for the flower. His fingers slipped into her panties, finding the dampness between her legs. The erotic pulse point no other lover had discovered in her. Oh, yes, he knew how to distract her. She would miss this when she left, but not enough to stay. Once their business concluded, she wanted him out of her life. She could easily live without Eddie, but would she be able to live with herself?
Victoria awoke to a host of unfamiliar noises. With a grunt, she snuggled deeper into the covers and tried to ignore the infernal racket coming from the street. An accident closed the highway last night, so her normal forty minute ride from the airport took over two hours. A blast of cold air hit her when she threw back the down comforter. A hot cup of coffee would warm the chill and give her a much-needed shot of caffeine.
She glanced out the window at the water company truck parked across the street and the two men working a machine that made an ungodly clanking sound. She crawled out of the bed and slipped her feet into a pair of fuzzy slippers. On her way down the hall, the doorbell startled her. Who would be calling this early? She staggered across the living room and opened the door before she remembered her appearance. Her dress, completely wrinkled, hung limply on her body.
Self-consciously she touched her hair, smoothing the tousled mass. She could only imagine what kind of a sight she made for the man standing on her porch. Inhaling deeply, she tried to muster her dignity. His arresting blue eyes sparked with amusement. Crisp, khaki coveralls hugged his broad shoulders and narrow waist. His wavy brown hair, tied in a ponytail, revealed deep chiseled features that would definitely get him a second look from most women. His smile sent her pulse racing. A tropical heat wave washed over her, caused in part by the quickening of her heart rate. What was the matter with her?
Your neighbors have complained that surges in water pressure caused their water pipes to break. Would it be all right if I checked your basement? The man did have an identification card pinned to his chest. Erik Sanders, employee of the Windsor Water Authority. Perhaps her short stint working in the defense industry left her wary, or maybe she possessed a naturally suspicious nature, but something told her Erik Sanders, striking blue eyes and all, posed a danger.
Maybe not to her health, but certainly to her peace of mind. More likely the old water main under the street would give way. Do you realize how many pounds of pressure those surges would have to exert? Single women fell prey to con men every day. She ran down her basement stairs to the utility room. A cold draft gave her goose bumps. From the basket of folded laundry, she pulled a pair of brown slacks and a cream-colored cotton pullover. After a quick change, she inspected the pipes. Not that she knew what to look for, but everything seemed normal to her. Just to make sure, she flipped on a faucet.
Erik rested his shoulder against a support beam while he waited for the expected result. He grinned. They created a chance encounter, began an affair, and then propositioned the women to pass them secrets. Before being deployed to West Germany, however, Romeo spies were warned that they were prohibited from marrying their assets, even if they developed genuine feelings for them, which many of them did. Therefore, the Romeos had to insist that they were not the marrying type. The women the Romeos picked were all West German citizens. Many of them had upper-middle-class backgrounds and strong personalities.
The majority were employed by the government when they were approached by a Romeo. The men did their homework and knew the likes, dislikes, and vulnerabilities of a particular Juliet prior to setting up a chance encounter. Despite an advertising campaign by the West warning women of these Stasi tactics, many Juliets fell hard for the good-mannered, well-intentioned young men claiming to work for humanitarian organizations.
Initially, most of the women were naive about the true intentions of their Romeos; however, more often than not, as the relationship developed, Juliet began to suspect that her Romeo was working for the other side. While there were many women who terminated the relationship when asked to spy, by this point in the relationship, some women had fallen in love and agreed to spy to keep their affairs going; some relationships lasted for decades. For those women who fell in love with their Romeos, their espionage careers ended when the affairs did.
These women spied for their one true Romeo, and when that relationship ended, so did the espionage. Other women agreed to spy for love as well, but not for the love of a Romeo. These women fell in love with the excitement of espionage: their Romeos were just part of the process. In this case, these women often would accept a replacement Romeo if the first vanished for security reasons.
From time to time, a Romeo would go missing, captured by the West. For years, the East could not figure out how the West was identifying their men. Turns out it was their haircut. The Romeos all had short and tight cuts, while the young men in the West grew their hair long. He was eventually persuaded and began work as a Romeo in the s.
He moved to West Germany, where he devised a plan to meet the ladies who worked at the chancellery. He hung around the bus stop, hoping to have a chance encounter with one of the secretaries. As fate would have it, Felix also fell for the secretary. They moved in together and began an affair that lasted for several years. Alas, their love was not to last.
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A mole let the East Germans know that Felix had fallen under suspicion. He was pulled East immediately. Norma came home one day after work to an empty apartment. She never learned his true identity or why he had disappeared without a trace. The Rebound Romeo: Another unsuspecting Juliet, aged 32, met her Romeo in July on the banks of the Rhine River—it was love at first sight for the divorcee. Her Romeo was seven years her senior and played the part of a scientist employed by a research company devoted to world peace.
The couple became engaged three months after meeting. This Juliet worked as a translator and interpreter at the American Embassy. She met her Romeo once a month and passed him thousands of secret documents, more than any other agent in her position. She was madly in love with him and never questioned him about what he did with the documents. Their relationship lasted for 12 years. In , she and her Romeo were betrayed by a Stasi defector. Romeo later died when his car was hit by a train.
In , Juliet went on trial for espionage, during which she focused solely on finding out as much as she could about her true love, inquiring if he had, in fact, really loved her. She was given a two-year suspended sentence and fined. One such man was an intelligent, attractive theater director. Three other Romeos had tried and failed. The interpreter was a devoted Catholic who fell for Romeo number four, believing him to be a Danish military intelligence officer. Eventually, though, her Catholic upbringing caught up with her, and she suffered from guilt about their affair and her espionage.
She felt an overwhelming desire to confess her sins and to marry Romeo if their relationship was to continue. Romeo dodged the marriage requirement, blaming work. He did, however, arrange for an East German intelligence agent, disguised as a Danish-speaking Catholic priest, to hear her confession. Although not necessarily considered handsome, this Romeo was honest. Romeo charmed his way into the heart of a year-old secretary and revealed his true identity.
Their relationship blossomed and continued for several years. At his suggestion, she transferred to the Bonn Foreign Office, where all telegrams from embassies abroad were deciphered. She would stuff the documents into her bag and walk out of the office to meet her Romeo. Five years later, she was transferred to Warsaw, where the long distance wreaked havoc on their affair. She began drinking heavily and then confided in an undercover Bonn agent disguised as a West German journalist.
The agent convinced her to confess her crimes. She did, but first she warned her Romeo, giving him time to flee to East Berlin. The secretary was tried for espionage and received a three-year sentence, shorter than the usual because she had cooperated, disclosing details of her work with the East. Romeo escaped and was sent to the Black Sea in Bulgaria to recover.
While there, he met a potential Juliet—codenamed Inge by the East. He invented a cover story and introduced himself and began an affair. He was forced to come clean to Inge. She also appreciated his honesty, and the relationship continued. The East paid for her to learn French and stenography, and she was then able to land a post in the chancellery, where for several years she passed information about the internal workings of the leadership.
Inge had a reputation as a hard-working secretary among her colleagues. Little did they know, she was staying late at night to photocopy and microfilm documents. Inge was in love with her Romeo and wanted to marry him, so the East Germans staged a marriage. The couple said their vows, exchanged rings, and signed the marital register. She was tried for espionage and sentenced to four years and three months in prison.
They met in East Germany where she was working on her doctoral thesis. He was disguised as a mechanic. They spent the summer together, after which Romeo revealed his true identity. Juliet was fascinated. She returned to West Germany but went east every three months to receive espionage training and to meet her Romeo.