Bitter Bite(Elemental Assassin #14)(63) by Jennifer Estep
“You bitch!” I hissed, my hands clenching around the cage bars. “If you so much as touch Finn, I will rip out your heart with my bare fucking hands.”
“Oh, I doubt that, since you’ll be dead long before Finnegan will be. He is still useful, while you are not.” She tilted her head to the side, studying me as though I were some odd specimen. “You really are just like Fletcher. So protective and so predictable. He couldn’t see the big picture until it was too late. And you? You’ll never even get the chance.”
“Well, enlighten me, then,” I snapped.
“I’m not that foolish.” She smiled. “I only indulged your whim about Fletcher because it amused me, and I knew how much it would hurt you to knock him off that pedestal you’ve put him on. Besides, I rather like the idea of you going to your grave knowing that you failed to protect your so-called brother.”
“I’m more Finn’s family than you are, you coldhearted bitch.”
“As if I would care about something as silly as that.” She looked at me again, that cold, cold smile still on her face. “The only thing your precious family has gotten you is dead, Gin. Think about that when Dimitri starts torturing you. I’ll be sure to remind Finnegan of it when I do the same to him.”
Her smile widened at my horrified expression, and she threw her head back and laughed, the light, pealing sound ringing like a death knell as she turned and left the warehouse.
Tucker didn’t even glance at me as he slid his phone into his jacket pocket and trailed outside after his boss. Santos was already gone, so that left me alone with Dimitri Barkov. He snapped his fingers a couple of times, and the guard standing at the door stuck his head outside and let out a loud whistle.
A minute later, two more guys entered the warehouse, and the three of them swaggered over to the cage. All were giants, seven feet tall, with big, beefy bodies, and I recognized them as some of the enforcers in Dimitri’s crew. The kind of guys tasked with breaking arms, knees, and even necks when the occasion called for it. They were all carrying long, heavy tire irons, one of which they handed over to Dimitri.
The Russian mobster grinned and slapped the tire iron against the palm of his hand several times, trying to intimidate me. Idiot. He was already dead. So were his men. They just didn’t know it yet. I could have busted out of my cage anytime I wanted to, but I intended to give this canary a chance to sing first.
“So you wanted your revenge on me, and you threw in your lot with Deirdre to try to get it.” I shook my head. “That’s the last mistake you’ll ever make, Dimitri.”
He chuckled. “Not just Deirdre. Her entire group. They offered me a very nice compensation package to help them.”
My eyes narrowed. “What group? Who else are you working for?”
He clucked his tongue at me. “Dead women shouldn’t ask so many questions. I told you that I’d kill you when you humiliated me on the Delta Queen. You should have believed me.”
“You haven’t managed to do it yet.” I mocked him. “Don’t get too cocky, sugar. I’m still breathing, which means that you’re still going to wind up dead before this is all said and done.”
He growled and whipped his hand forward, trying to smash his tire iron against my fingers. I lurched back out of the way of his strike, but the tire iron still slammed into the cage, hard enough to shake the door—and make the open padlock slip out of its slot and drop to the floor.
Dimitri stared at the lock, his bushy black eyebrows drawing together in confusion. Then his eyes widened with realization. “Get her, you fools—”
Even as the three giants converged on the cage, I rammed the door open with my shoulder, reached for my Ice magic, and sent a spray of daggers shooting out of the palms of my hands. The sharp, deadly needles caught the giant closest to me square in the throat, and he went down, choking on his own blood. I darted forward and snatched up his tire iron.
The second giant came at me with his own tire iron, but I held my weapon out in front of me and parried his blows.
Our makeshift swords banged together again and again, each of us determined to break through the other’s defense and brain them with the metal.
“Don’t just stand there!” Dimitri barked at the third giant, who was watching our fight with wide eyes. “Shoot her, you idiot!”
The giant fumbled for the gun under his jacket, yanked it free, and aimed it at my head. Just as he pulled the trigger, I ducked down and plastered my body up against my attacker’s.
Crack! Crack! Crack!
The guard shot his friend in the back, making the other giant bellow with pain. While he was distracted, I yanked his tire iron out of his hand and cracked both pieces of metal against his head, one after the other, like I was playing a drum set.
He whimpered and dropped like a stone to the floor, blood spurting out from the cracks I’d opened in his skull.
But I was already whipping around toward the guard with the gun and using my Stone magic to harden my skin.
Crack! Crack! Crack!
Bullets pinged off my body and thunk-thunk-thunked into the surrounding crates. The guard kept pulling the trigger, even as I charged at him. He ran out of ammo and threw his gun at me, but the weapon clattered off my Stone-hardened skin just like the bullets had. The guard yelped in surprise and turned to run, but I raised my tire irons and slammed them into his skull before he had a chance to take a step.
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