Bitter Bite(Elemental Assassin #14)(58) by Jennifer Estep
This building didn’t have any external security cameras, but I still kept to the shadows as I sidled up to the side door. I looked left and right again, but no one was out and about, so I reached for my Ice magic, holding my palm close to my chest and turning my back to the street to hide the cold, silvery glow of my power. A second later, I was clutching two long, slender Ice picks, which I used to unlock the door, just as I’d done all the previous times I’d come here. I threw the Ice picks onto the ground to melt away, then slipped inside.
The building was used for office space, so no one was creeping around this late on a Friday night, not even janitors taking out the week’s trash. I climbed to the top of the fire stairs, used another set of Ice picks to open the door there, and stepped out onto the roof.
The Peach Blossom was roughly the same height as the building I was on, and the roof here gave me a clear, direct view of Deirdre’s penthouse on the top floor. But the windows were dark, and no one moved through the shadows there. Deirdre wasn’t home yet. Not surprising. She’d be the last person to leave her swanky gala.
So I pulled out my binoculars, a digital surveillance camera, and a directional microphone from my duffel bag. I’d thought about leaving everything here so I could record Deirdre 24-7, but I didn’t want to risk someone coming up to the roof and finding my equipment, alerting her to the fact that someone was spying on her.
I’d just finished checking my gadgets and making sure that everything was in working order when lights winked on in the penthouse. I checked my phone. Not even one in the morning yet. Deirdre hadn’t enjoyed her night of triumph nearly as long as I’d expected.
I turned on the microphone, set it and the camera on the ledge, and aimed them just so. Then I picked up my binoculars and peered through them at the penthouse, which took up the entire top floor. The spacious suite was largely furnished in cool whites, from the marble counters in the kitchen to the sofas in the living room to the thick carpet underfoot. Pale blue paint covered the walls, with matching pillows and chairs adding a bit more color to the rooms. The kitchen and living room were one open space, with a hall leading to two bedrooms, each with its own attached bathroom.
Deirdre strode through the kitchen and into the living room, still wearing her sparkling silver gown, along with a scarlet silk wrap, which she pulled off and tossed onto one of the sofas, along with her silver clutch. Hugh Tucker trailed in behind her, texting on his phone.
She eyed him a moment, then went over to the wet bar in one corner of the living room and poured herself a healthy amount of whiskey. She threw back the drink, poured herself another, and tossed it back too. She could give Mallory and her moonshine a run for their money.
Tucker finally looked up from his phone and raised his eyebrows at her. Deirdre snorted, but then she poured drinks for both of them, even going so far as to walk across the penthouse and hand it to him.
She kicked off her stilettos, sprawled across a sofa, and propped one foot up on the glass table in front of her. The entire sequence of moves was eerily similar to what I’d seen Finn do a hundred times before. Like it or not, he had more than a little of his mother in him.
Tucker sat down on the other end of the sofa, his drink in one hand and his phone in the other.
“I thought that tonight went exceptionally well, didn’t you?” Deirdre asked.
“Mmm.” That was Tucker’s only response.
“The exhibit was lovely, and everything went off without a hitch,” she continued, obviously fishing for a compliment, but Tucker kept ignoring her.
Deirdre frowned, but either he didn’t see her annoyed expression or didn’t care about it. No assistant worth his salt would treat his boss like that. Not if he wanted to keep his job. So why didn’t Deirdre just fire him and hire someone who would fawn over her night and day?
“Are you sure everything’s set for tomorrow?” Tucker asked, finally setting his phone down. “You can’t afford to have any problems.”
I frowned. The way he said that—“you can’t afford to have any problems”—was rather ominous. Tucker made it sound like Deirdre was in more dire straits than I’d imagined. She was a rich, powerful, and well-connected Ice elemental, so what did she have to worry about? The more I learned about Deirdre Shaw, the less sense I could make of her.
“Everything is set,” she said. “Don’t worry, Tucker, honey. Everything will go exactly according to my plan. I guarantee it.”
“Yes, you have guaranteed it, haven’t you?” Tucker raised his glass in a toast. “Well, then. Here’s to your guarantees.”
Her eyes narrowed, but she raised her glass too, and the two of them downed their drinks.
Deirdre’s phone beeped. She took it out of her clutch and read the message, a smile curving her lips. She sent back a quick text, then put her phone down on the glass table, got to her feet, and wandered over to the windows. She stared out into the night, almost as if she could see me watching her from across the street, but I was too well hidden in the shadows for that.
Not for the first time, I wished that I could just take her out with a sniper rifle. Bing, bang, boom. But Finn would never forgive me, especially not now, when he was so certain that her intentions were good.
“Is Blanco going to be a problem?” Tucker asked in a bored voice, texting on his phone again. “I heard your conversation at the museum. Nice way to twist a knife in her back, bringing up your ex the way you did. Then again, that’s something you excel at.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online