"Screw it," she whispered. "Let's see how you like feeling helpless."
She could imagine how angry they were going to be when they realized they had been hacked, and thinking about it made her smile.
The first thing she did was steal the money. All thirty-eight million. She put it in a secure account she made certain they would never be able to find, then set about gathering the proof to nail them. She carefully retraced each step they'd taken, including each routing number, each transfer number, and each account number. Once that was done and the proof was indisputable, she sent the evidence and the thirty-eight million to the FBI. She, of course, made certain the e-mail she was about to send couldn't be traced back to her.
"This is for you, Ella," she said as she triple-checked her work, then typed the e-mail address for the FBI cyber task force and hit SEND.
Her message for the FBI was to the point. "You're welcome."
It wasn't just a possibility anymore. He hated when a hunch became a reality.
Liam Scott walked through the bar of the beach hotel and spotted his friend and colleague Alec Buchanan sitting outside on the veranda. The stars were so bright in the vast Honolulu sky that the tiny lights strung overhead between the palms were almost redundant.
Alec had changed from his work clothes and was wearing a pair of cargo shorts, worn-out loafers, and an old T-shirt that was so faded the name of the 5K charity race it was promoting was illegible. He was leaning back in his chair with his legs outstretched, holding a beer, and watching the surf's hypnotic ebb and swell. He looked as though he was a tourist on the tail end of a long, relaxing vacation and not an agent who had just completed one of the most intense investigations of his FBI career.
Liam hadn't changed out of his suit yet. When he reached Alec, he took his phone from his pocket and laid it on the table, then removed his jacket and tie and draped them on the back of the rattan chair before unbuttoning his collar.
"I ordered you a Guinness," Alec told him.
Liam dropped into the chair. "Thanks. I could use one."
"Looks like we should have this wrapped up tomorrow. Just as long as Meyer doesn't get cold feet." He tipped his bottle to Liam in salute and said, "I appreciate your coming in on this case. I don't think we could have located Meyer without you and your international connections."
"If Meyer's testimony brings down Dimitri Volkov and his syndicate, that's all the thanks I need."
"I was surprised we got him to turn so quickly. I thought he'd hold out longer."
"He's no spring chicken. I guess the thought of the rest of his life in maximum security was enough of an incentive."
"Where is he now?"
"The team's helping him pack up, and they'll be moving him into a safe house. If they can keep him under wraps long enough, Volkov and his army of lawyers won't be able to line up a defense. They'll never suspect that Meyer is going to testify against his old partner."
A waitress appeared and set a glass of the murky dark brew in front of Liam. She was wearing a yellow bikini. A colorful scarf tied around her waist created a wrap that was so short it barely covered her firm little derriere. She wore no shoes, and Liam eyed her long tan legs appreciatively.
"Is there anything else I can get you?" she asked him.
"No, thank you," Liam answered.
She lingered for a moment and slid her gaze up and down his body. She then gave him a seductive smile and said, "If there's anything I can do . . . anything . . . you just let me know, all right?"
Liam and Alec watched her saunter back to the bar. She took her time to make sure the men got a good look at her attributes.
Alec gave Liam's leg a nudge with his foot. "I think that was an invitation. You might find Honolulu is a very friendly place after all."
Liam laughed. "I'm leaving early tomorrow. I think a good night's sleep is what I need." He lifted the glass to his lips and took a couple of gulps. "When are you going home?"
"I'll fly back to Chicago on Friday. Regan's birthday is on Saturday. She doesn't expect me home until next week, and I want to surprise her."
"I don't get it. Regan is beautiful and smart and funny and sweet. . . . Why that perfect woman married you, I'll never know."
"You're right. She is perfect. Finding Regan was the best thing that ever happened to me."
"You're a lucky man," Liam said.
Alec nodded. "Yes, I am. What about you? Aren't you about ready to find the right woman and settle down?"