her the whole thing. And anything Ramon told her, she passed on to Michael because, well, he was kind of low on the totem pole in this operation and even if it was a drug business, he was ambitious. She loved that about him.
God, she loved everything about him.
“Sit up here and don’t get out of the car, Maggie,” Ramon ordered as he threw it into reverse.
How would she get to Michael then?
“What if—” “What if nothing,” he said harshly. “When Mike calls and tells you he’s on Hialeah Drive, you flash the brights three times.” He tapped the turn signal stick on the steering wheel. “Just pull it like this. You know how to do that, Maggie? Or are you so stupid you can’t flash the brights?”
She glared at him.
“We’ll come out and open up the cargo door and you wait.”
“And when you’re done?” Could she talk to Michael then? Give him the sign?
He backed up to a dilapidated fence that separated this parking lot from the next, a good hundred yards from the trucks and the loading dock.
“When we’re done, we’re done,” Ramon said. “You don’t get out of this car, understand? If we gotta move fast, you have to be ready to drive.”
“What if Viejo calls and needs you? Should I come and get you?” she asked.
Ramon just shook his head. “He won’t.”
He threw open his door and Carlos did the same on the passenger side, and they hustled off while she got behind the wheel. The motor was still running, and the wipers smacked from one side to the other, clearing the windshield for a split second before it was drenched again. Smack, slap, smack.
Were they giving her a message, those rhythmic wipers? Baba would say . . . listen. Smack, slap, smack. Smack, slap, smack.
Mich . . . ael . . . Scott. Tell . . . him . . . now. This . . . is . . . it.
She dropped her head back to watch Ramon disappear around the back of the warehouse, the air-conditioning blowing her hair off her face, the wipers thwacking their cryptic messages.
Mich . . . ael . . . Scott. Tell . . . him—
She startled when the phone rang. “Hello?” The only reply was a mix of a choke and a soft intake of breath. “Michael?”
“What the hell are you doing there, Maggie?”
Juan’s sick. He was throwing his guts up.”
Under his breath, she heard him swear. “You’re supposed to be taking Lourdes to the movies.”
She liked that he kept track of her schedule. “She went to a sleepover ‘cause Ramon was losing it, screaming that he needed me here. But now I can—”
“Don’t go in to the warehouse.”
“I won’t. I’m just going to flash the lights when you turn on Hialeah. I won’t get out of the car.” His concern touched her and she tucked the phone deeper into her shoulder, wishing it were him. “Michael, um, listen. Can we meet later?” The silence on the other end lasted one beat too long. “Michael? Did you hear me?”
“You have to get out of that car. Now. You have to get out of there, away from there.”
She frowned, confused. “Why?”
“Because you do. You’re not supposed to be here tonight.” His voice was strained, the tone sending a chill down her. “I mean it. Get the hell out of there. Fast.”
Just as he said it, she heard the rumble of a truck turning into the lot and caught the AJ Cargo logo between wiper swipes. The delivery.
She twisted in the seat to see down the road. “Aren’t you behind these guys?” she asked.
But he was gone. The line was dead. Why would he tell her to leave?
And why hadn’t he called when the truck was on Hialeah, like he was supposed to? They needed to get the cargo bay door open.
Should she do the brights now? If she didn’t, Ramon would kill her. If she did, and this wasn’t the delivery, then El Viejo would kick her ass from here to kingdom come anyway.
She curled her fingers around the stick and pulled once, yellow light spilling onto the rain-slicked asphalt. After a few seconds, she let go and the pavement went dark. She waited the same amount of time, then—
The driver’s side door popped open.
“Get out!” Michael pulled her out, yanking her harshly from the seat.
“Hey! What are—”
He whipped her out as if she weighed nothing, pulling her by her shoulders into his face. His breath was warm, his