"I need work, not tasks for a fill-in. I need something real."
Monitor took a moment to respond, but it seemed as if the weeks of consistent devotion to duty—annoying as that duty had been lately—finally had the expected impact. "As a matter of fact, I have something that I think you will find engaging," Monitor smiled, clearly pleased with herself. "Something that you’d be perfectly suited for, too."
"Tell me more," Chastity said, at last sitting in one of the chairs before Monitor’s desk. "I’m intrigued."
Monitor opened her desk drawer and drew out a folder, which she tossed toward Chastity. "It’s got everything: sex, intrigue and international law breaking."
"What’s the story?"
"Human trafficking," Monitor said with evident distaste. "We’ve been trailing them for some months now, but we haven’t been able to get involved directly because it’s been outside our borders. But they finally brought the game here. A girl was killed in the Czech Republic and they had some trouble covering it up. Apparently they have relocated their headquarters here."
"Must be the attractive new economic incentives," Chastity said with the trace of a smile.
Monitor gave her a look, not quite as severe as it might have been. "They prey on the lost and the vulnerable, like the one who was murdered. She had been a runaway, someone who would not be missed."
"But she was not as missable as they had thought?"
"Sort of," Monitor sighed. "She managed to get a letter out to her mother. Detailed the operation—at least as much as she was able to see."
"Must have been a smart girl," Chastity said as she flipped through the notes and photos.
"Not smart enough."
Chastity pulled out a photo. "So this is our kingpin? Or should I say queen pin?" The woman in the picture had a jaw like a bulldog and an expression to match it.
"That’s the one. Her name is Abita Teufel. American by birth, but her parents were Canadian. Early on she graduated from minor theft to serious drug running. Never had her own hands in the pot once she learned better—after a short stretch in a Maryland prison. Married to a Romanian gangster who died mysteriously."
"As they do," Chastity muttered. The woman wasn’t playing with kittens. She studied the photo a little longer, fixing the details in her mind, before flipping through the materials in the rest of the folder.
"The ring seems to have been begun by other people, but this Teufel woman was quick to exploit it."
"Clearly she has the right touch of ruthlessness," Chastity said, her voice cold as she stared at a photo of a poor girl smashed on the pavement.
"She's cruel, focused and without concern for the opinions of the rest of the world," Monitor agreed. "Her only interest is expanding her empire and her profits."
"So how do I get to her?"
Chastity looked up at her boss to see if she was making some kind of joke. That would have been the last thing she expected, but it seemed far more likely. "A bookstore?"
"Yes," Monitor said with a humorless smile. "She's sponsoring a reading tonight at a local chain in honor of her cover business—the sex club for women. Surely you saw that on the news?"
Chastity vaguely recalled snarky coverage that cocked a snook at the very idea that women could enjoy sex so casually. She had felt her own eyebrow rise as the newscasters implied that such women would have to be terrible sluts of course to be able to take pleasure in such shenanigans. Idiots! Of course women treasured pleasure. A place like that, which catered to women's fantasies? Sounded perfect for a little exploration—and distraction.
Maybe visiting the club would be just the thing to stop her obsessing over Damien.
"So, you're willing to go?" Monitor asked over her glasses.
Chastity laughed. "You bet."