Bitter Bite(Elemental Assassin #14)(65) by Jennifer Estep
The mobster fell back, his blood sluicing across the floor and mixing in with the greasy strands of his black toupee. He let out a few wheezing breaths before his head lolled to the side and he was still.
Silvio would have been proud of me. I’d finally scratched one enemy off my to-do list.
Deirdre Shaw was next.
* * *
Once I was sure Dimitri was dead, I rifled through his pockets, taking his car keys and all the cash in his wallet. I would have used his phone to call my friends and tell them what was happening, but it required a PIN code, so I tossed it aside.
All the while, I kept glancing at the warehouse door, expecting men to come running inside, guns drawn. But no one appeared, and I didn’t hear anything but a faint, steady rush that indicated I was somewhere near the water. Either no one else was around or they hadn’t heard the gunshots. I checked the time on Dimitri’s fancy gold watch. Just after nine on this Saturday morning.
After I searched Dimitri, I patted down the dead guards, looking for a phone I could use. But all their phones were locked the same way their boss’s had been, rendering them useless. I growled, got up, and stalked through the warehouse, peering past the crates and boxes, hoping to see a landline phone sticking out from the wall.
I didn’t find one, but I found something even more interesting: an office.
It was a twenty-five-foot-square space in the back corner of the warehouse. I used my Stone magic to harden my hand, then punched my fist through the glass in the door, threw the lock open, and stepped inside.
According to the brass nameplate on the door, this was Dimitri’s office, but it looked more like a thief’s lair. Photos, blueprints, and security specs had been tacked up to the walls, along with lists of names and times. My eyes narrowed. Those looked like guard rosters and rotations.
This . . . this was where Santos had planned the Briartop heist, and quite thoroughly from the looks of it. But I didn’t have time to be impressed by the giant’s planning. Not if I wanted to stop the robbery.
So I went over to the desk in the center of the room and started opening drawers . . . where I found yet more photos, blueprints, and lists. Unlike the other pages that were haphazardly taped to the walls, all this information was neatly filed away, as though someone had wanted it kept separate from everything else.
I frowned. Why weren’t these pages up on the walls with the rest of the museum schematics? It seemed like there was more information stuffed in the desk than anywhere else in the office. Of course, Santos would have been thorough with such an ambitious heist, but the more drawers I opened, and the more information I spotted, the more my worry increased.
Something was wrong here.
But I didn’t have time to puzzle out what it was, so I kept rifling through the desk, searching for a phone. There was no landline, but I was hoping that I might find a spare burner phone somewhere, one without a stupid PIN code already programmed into it.
I found a phone, all right—mine. Along with all five of my knives, just tossed into a drawer like they were a pile of paper clips. Jackpot.
I slid the weapons into their usual slots, then powered on my phone, turned around, and took several photos of the blueprints to prove to Finn that Deirdre had been lying all along—
“Boss! Are you all right?” A loud voice boomed through the warehouse.
I stuck my phone into my back pocket, palmed a knife, and slipped out of the office. Several crates separated this area from the rest of the warehouse, so I sprinted over to the end of the row and peered around the last one.
A guy was standing over Dimitri’s body, his mouth gaping open, a gun in his hand. “Oh, no, no, no, no . . .” he babbled, even as he dug his own phone out of his pocket to call in the rest of the crew. Soon the warehouse would be crawling with goons.
Time to leave.
I glanced around and spotted a door fifty feet past the office. It was directly in the guy’s line of sight, but it was the quickest way out of here. So I pushed away from the crates and sprinted in that direction.
“Hey! Hey, you! Stop right there!” I heard him shout.
Crack! Crack! Crack!
The guy fired off a few shots, but his aim was lousy, and the bullets all went wide.
I put on another burst of speed, slammed my shoulder into the door, and raced out into the bright morning sunlight.
A few more bullets ping-ping-pinged off the closing door behind me, but I ignored them and glanced around, scanning my surroundings.
The warehouse was in the center of a large shipping yard. Rusty red, orange, and yellow metal containers were stacked everywhere, like oversized Legos. Cranes and other heavy machinery towered over the containers, and the air smelled of oil, exhaust, and fish. In the distance, the sun glinted off the Aneirin River, making the surface sparkle like the diamonds Deirdre was planning to steal.
More shouts rose in the warehouse, but instead of plunging into the container maze, I turned right and jogged around the corner of the building. I yanked Dimitri’s keys out of my pocket and started hitting the unlock button. His car had to be around here somewhere—
Headlights flashed on a black Range Rover sticking out between two containers at the opposite end of the warehouse. I sprinted in that direction, yanked open the door, and threw myself inside.
“Hey! There she is! Get her!”
More shouts sounded, and men started pouring out of the warehouse, all of them carrying guns and running toward the SUV. Dimitri’s crew had given chase faster than I’d expected.
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