Bitter Bite(Elemental Assassin #14)(64) by Jennifer Estep
He collapsed onto the floor, his body twitching from the massive trauma.
That left Dimitri.
Instead of doing the smart thing and running away while his guards died, Dimitri stood his ground, yanked a gun out from against the small of his back, and started firing at me.
But his bullets were as useless as all the others had been, and I was on top of him before he’d even finished firing. This time, I went low, ducking his awkward punch, and slammed one of the tire irons into his left knee.
His kneecap shattered on impact, and Dimitri staggered back and flopped onto his ass. His gun slipped from his hand and tumbled away, and he clutched his knee and screamed curses.
“You bitch!” he yelled. “You broke my fucking knee!”
I tossed away one of the tire irons and dropped to my own knees, straddling Dimitri. He tried to fight back, so I grabbed his ear and slammed his skull against the concrete floor, stunning him. His toupee slipped off his head.
But I had to give him credit. He blinked away his daze and raised his fists to punch at me again. So I laid the tire iron across his throat, putting my weight behind it, cutting off his air. Dimitri’s dark eyes bulged, and his face turned beet-red, but he didn’t dare try to hit me again. He knew how easily I could crush his windpipe.
“Start talking,” I hissed. “What is Deirdre up to with Santos? Where are they going? How is Finnegan Lane involved?”
Dimitri glared up at me, a mulish expression on his face.
I eased the pressure on the tire iron, even as I dropped one hand down to my side. I reached for my Ice magic, creating a dagger, then stabbed him in the thigh with it.
Dimitri screamed, and I yanked the dagger right back out again, making him scream even louder.
“Do you want to start talking now? Or should I make you my own personal pincushion?”
“I—I don’t know!” he screamed. “I don’t know what she’s up to! I swear!”
I scraped the cold, bloody dagger down his cheek, making him shudder. “So what do you know? What is she doing with Santos? What kind of uniform was he wearing?”
“It’s—it’s a security guard uniform!” Dimitri sputtered. “I import them for lots of businesses! That’s one of the reasons they came to me for supplies!”
“Which businesses? What was the name on his uniform?”
“I don’t know! It’s just a generic uniform! I never saw what name Santos had put on it or any of the others!”
I stopped, the Ice dagger right next to Dimitri’s left eye. “Others? How many uniforms did you give him?”
His eyes flicked to the dagger, so I bore down with it, digging the cold tip into his face, deep enough to draw blood.
“How many uniforms did you give him?” I asked again.
“A—about a dozen!”
“And what businesses employ guards with those kinds of uniforms?”
“Some jewelry stores, museums, the Posh boutique, all the downtown banks . . .”
Dimitri kept rattling off businesses, but he’d already said the magic word: museums.
As in Briartop.
I cursed. Deirdre was planning to rob her own jewelry exhibit, just like I’d thought. Of course she’d had an ulterior motive for getting all those gems in one place. But I still didn’t understand how she thought she was going to pull it off. Even if she had a dozen men, including Santos, there were twice as many museum guards, along with at least a couple of cops. The only thing the thieves were going to get was dead. Not that I had a problem with that, but it was such a big, stupid risk to take.
According to Silvio, Deirdre was skimming millions from her charity foundation. So why would she need to steal the jewelry? Sure, it was a big enough payday to tempt anyone, but everyone knew that Deirdre was the driving force behind the exhibit. Why make enemies out of all the people who’d donated their jewelry? Folks in Ashland had long memories and enough cash and connections to hunt her down and make her pay for stealing from them. And I still didn’t see how Finn fit in with all of this. Something else was going on here. Something I just didn’t see yet.
Dimitri’s hand crept across the concrete, his fingers inching toward the tire iron that I’d dropped earlier. I snapped up my Ice dagger and drove it all the way through his hand. He screamed, but I pressed the tire iron against his throat again. He swallowed down his screams, although tears streamed out of the corners of his eyes.
“Tell me about Briartop. When exactly are Santos and his crew planning to hit the museum?”
His eyes twitched, and his tongue swiped across his lips in a nervous gesture. “I—I didn’t say anything about Briartop. They don’t use those uniforms there.”
I shook my head. “I hate it when people lie to me, Dimitri. Makes me want to stab them. But since I’ve already done that to you, I guess I’ll just have to settle for this instead.”
I sent out a small burst of magic and shattered the Ice dagger still in his hand, making him scream again. But Dimitri was tougher than I’d given him credit for, because he surged up, grabbed the tire iron against his throat, and tried to wrest it away from me. Fool.
I thought about questioning him some more, but that would take precious time. It was enough that I knew where Deirdre was headed, so I decided to put Dimitri out of my misery. He didn’t even manage to get a good grip on the tire iron before I had formed another Ice dagger and rammed it into his throat.
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