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Juliana Moreira is a renowned police captain. She has just accepted the mission of infiltrating Mandela's slum so that she can take revenge for the death of a loved one who believes he was ordered by the owner of the hill. She just doesn't imagine that Erick, aka Picasso, is much more than just a dangerous and attractive man, and that taking revenge may be the most difficult task she has ever had to accept in her entire career. The past of both is entwined, but it is in the present that they discover they are involved in a dangerous and deadly game, where they can count only on themselves.
“Can you explain to me once again how this is going to work?” I asked, because either I hadn't understood correctly, or the battalion Major needed to retire earlier. “Do you want me, captain of this battalion, to infiltrate Mandela's slum?”
“Yes,” said the man, lightly tapping his fingertips below his chin, while leaning with his elbows on the table. I had always been a man with whom I had to be careful in the words I used. It had an appearance of natural rigidity and eyes that were judged constantly. However, nothing stopped me from rolling my eyes and showing all my indignation. “As a captain and one of the best snipers I have, it is you who I want at the head of this operation, Miss Moreira.”
I turned my eyes away from him when I thought I would end up showing more anger than was allowed to someone to whom I was subordinate. The Major's room was large, but that day, it seemed extremely small and stuffy.
He knew that I had relationships of absolute dislike for each bandit on that particular hill. He knew I didn't even feel good to hear any reference about the place.
Even so, this did not stop him from ignoring all the other five lieutenants inside the room, all in a position below mine, and demanding that I be the person who would fall into the wolves' den. I wasn't afraid of the favela.
I wasn't afraid of anything else in my life. But entering that specific complex was a limit that I didn't know if I was ready to overcome, and I was taken by surprise.
“Sir, I don't want to question your methods of investigation” I began to say, well aware of the looks of my co-workers, positioned at strategic points in the office.
They learned to respect me by dint, considering that I was one of only four women who were part of the BOPE and was more specialized in elite tactics than most of them. That's why they didn't throw me the same expression of disgust that now stamped the face of our superior.
“Go ahead, Captain,” he asked.
“I am the person who has to accompany the negotiators in case of hostages. I am a person who cannot, under any circumstances, be face-to-face with a criminal, having to observe everything from an impartial point of view. I am the one who should prioritize the life of a victim, ensuring that the lowest number of deaths occur. And now you want me to go to the favela and live right under the nose of the crime boss? How can this be part of my job? Send one of the Lieutenants. They are the ones who should investigate the situation and I will be on the front line to deal with the problem.”
“This time, Miss Moreira, we need a female help that will not attract as much attention as the other soldiers” explained the Major, unlearning his expression to a condolence that made me sweat cold. “One of our colleagues was caught in the crossfire the night before.”
“Shit” I whispered. Oliveira was one of my pupils. He wasn't even three years younger than me. He had a promising future, a growing family, and a willpower that not even those of the highest rank used to sustain. It was hard to pretend that I hadn't been shaken. Most of the time, I was like a rock, without emotions. But it was always complicated to deal with the death of a colleague. “And how is the general situation on the hill?”
“All the others who made tactical reconnaissance for the invasion of the hill were killed or are being held, hostage. “The man sighed, untying his gray and thin hair. He watched me with black eyes that shone in a silent request for supplication. “We are in the dark about the situation in that complex. That's why we need you. Because we only have four women in our battalion. Only four of the best in the country. And no one in that complex has any idea of that.”
“Yes, sir. And I'm ready to help. But you know that I don't have any empathy for those people, you know that I would kill everyone if it didn't ty my career. How can you want me to find a job, a house, and start life inside that place?”
“As for the job and the house, we already have a solution.”
I arched an eyebrow, understanding the play very well. Of course, he didn't need me to accept it. Saying yes or no, I was already involved up to my neck in that operation. Even though I was a captain, I still had to answer someone, and that was what always left me on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
I was the best.
Better than all those five men who watched me with expressions that mixed from fear to understanding. They all knew my reasons for joining that career.
They all knew that I could become lethal with a single pencil between my fingers. Even so, the worst task in the life of any police officer was parading into my lap.
One of the lieutenants, Pablo, also known as my ex-boyfriend and the only member of that battalion who has ever dared to ask to go out with me approached and handed a cell phone to the Major. I made a point of shooting him with my eyes, but the bastard just kept his head down and a soft expression.
That had been one of the biggest regrets of my life; starting a relationship with a co-worker. The climate between us was always very heavy as if things were still unfinished. However, it had been very easy to overcome the end of the relationship, at least on my part.
Now I was facing another regret, as the Major observed to dial something and show me the screen of the device.
“What is that?”
“This is your new Address,” he said, still without letting me pick up my cell phone. The point shown on the map was located right in the heart of the favela. “There is one of our agents in training already settling permanently in the complex. She is the daughter of Lieutenant Amaral and will pass on everything she has already been able to discover in the last few days to you. And we hope you can help us in this operation that cannot fail, Miss Moreira.”
“Do I have another choice?” I asked in a firm tone. The Major shook his head discreetly. I had a choice, but that would imply in my career. How would a renowned captain, one of the best Snipers in Brazil, a professional hunter, explain so much fear of entering a favela that it was not as dangerous as all the others she had ever entered? I knew the answer, so I sighed. I leaned over and picked up my cell phone. “When do I start?”
“Now,” said the Major.
The office door opened before his word ended up echoing, and a group of people came in. For a moment, I swore that it would be a team to accompany me in that torment.
But when I noticed better the white clothes and gloved hands, in addition to the loading of scissors, makeup cases, and hair applications, I understood that I would have to change even my physical characteristics to be worthy enough to live in the favela.
And I understood, with a slight dissent, that all that was already planned even before that conversation.
That would become, in fact, the greatest regret of my life.
I thought that the most complicated task that would require more of my patience and goodwill would be to have spent those years of military training in an environment dominated by men.
I never imagined myself being pampered with manicures that lengthened my nails with fiberglass. I never imagined that my hair would be pulled and elongated by strands of mega hair in slightly golden tones so that my brown strands would mix in an almost Californian way.
I never dreamed, not even in my worst nightmares, that I would have to change my clothes to short shorts and tops that didn't cover more than my belly, but I was amazed to notice that my body fit very well in that type of clothes.
And even against all my most fertile ramblings, I never imagined myself looking in the mirror and not recognizing my image.
Anyone who was not in the same room where the preparations were made, could never say that Juliana Moreira "the police officer who did not even like a cr
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