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DYLAN REESE could almost taste the Cajun spices in the air.  Of all the places he imagined his new assignment would take him, a Creole dinner in downtown Detroit wasnít one of them.  He scanned through the banquet hall crowd.  Suits, ties, and New Orleans cooking made for an odd mix.  The fact that everyone there had paid a thousand dollars for Blackened Chicken and Dirty Rice seemed odd as well. 

In his dark suit and polished wingtips, pressed white shirt and burgundy tie, close-cut black hair and clean-shaven face, he blended in well with the other attendees at the political fundraiser.  The only item that set him apart was the beige curly cord running from his suit coat collar to an ear jack in his right ear.

He stood at the hall entrance and looked for suspicious eyes, aggressive posture, and threatening movements.  In a normal social setting he was certain this behavior would be considered paranoid, but in a Secret Service agent it was just good practice.  And his proficiency in this particular practice had landed him on the security detail of a very important man: President Warren McCallum.

Dylan took note of the presidentís location and made eye contact with Gillespie, the agent handling close protection.  Half a head taller than the surrounding people, Gillespie stood vigil down in front of the honored guests table.

Dylan turned from the party faithful and observed the lobby.  Still quiet.  He didnít really expect trouble.  The Hilton Garden Inn was an upscale hotel, and the faces at the fundraiser all seemed friendly.  Of course, when a former White House occupant with high favorables comes to town to fill your coffers, whatís not to like?  Still, despite the presidentís popularity at the end of his term two years ago, he had managed to generate his share of detractors, and one of them had recently phoned in a series of death threats.  Although most threats come to nothing, Dylan knew better than to find comfort in the odds.  As heíd been taught in the Service, trouble loves to come and roost on complacent shoulders.


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