Bitter Bite(Elemental Assassin #14)(71) by Jennifer Estep
Five minutes later, I was standing on the roof of the parking garage with Bria, Owen, and Silvio. The garage was one story taller than First Trust, giving us a clear view of the bank’s roof, including an access door with stairs leading down into the bank itself.
First Trust took up its own block, and a fifty-foot-wide alley separated the parking garage from the back of the bank. The main entrance might be guarded, but no one was on the roof yet, something that I was going to take advantage of.
I peered through the scope attached to the top of the crossbow, lining up my shot, then gently squeezed the trigger. The hook shot out from the bow and sailed over and across the alley, taking the rope along with it.
The hook punched into the stone wall right next to the access door. I unhooked the rest of the line from the crossbow, wrapped it around one of the parking garage’s columns, and yanked on it several times, making sure that it was securely anchored on both ends. Then I clipped two metal handles to the line—one for me and one for Bria.
“You’re up, baby sister.”
Bria nodded, took hold of the handle, and stepped up onto the roof ledge. The wind whistled over her, making her blond ponytail flap around her head. She shivered, and not because of the chill in the air.
“You don’t have to do anything,” I said, trying to reassure her. “Just let your weight carry you down the zipline. When you get over the bank roof, let go, drop, and roll. Easy as peach pie.”
“Easy. Right,” she said in a faint voice, peering down at the eight-story drop.
“It’ll be over with before you know it.”
Even though her face was pale, Bria nodded and gripped the handle a little tighter. “The things we do for love,” she muttered.
“Better watch out,” I teased. “That’s rapidly becoming your new motto.”
“Well, let’s just hope that Finn is still alive to appreciate all my sacrifices.”
As soon as the words left her mouth, she winced, and we both fell silent, hoping that Finn was indeed still alive. I wouldn’t let myself think about the alternative—I couldn’t.
“Here goes nothing,” Bria whispered.
Before she could think about it anymore, she pushed off the ledge. Gravity immediately pulled her down, and she sailed down the zipline with barely a whisper of sound. As soon as she was over the bank roof, she let go of the handle, dropped down, and rolled to a stop. She lay sprawled facedown on the roof for several seconds, then slowly got back up onto her feet. Even though she was wobbling from all the adrenaline rushing through her body, Bria gave me a shaky thumbs-up and pulled out one of her guns, screwing a silencer onto the end of the barrel.
I gave the zipline several more hard yanks, making sure that it was still secure. Silvio was peering over the side of the ledge, his face as pale as Bria’s had been, but Owen stepped up, pulled me into his arms, and kissed me.
We broke apart, both breathless, staring into each other’s eyes.
“Don’t you dare die before Silvio and I get into the bank,” he whispered.
I grinned. “Never.”
I kissed him again, then got onto the ledge and took hold of the second handle. On the opposite roof, Bria waved her hand, urging me to hurry.
“And away we go,” I whispered, and pushed off from the ledge.
For a moment, I had the freeing, utterly weightless sensation of being suspended in midair. Then gravity took over, dragging me down the way it always did. The wind whipped around my face, making my ponytail slap against my shoulders, and I had the sudden urge to laugh. Despite the situation, despite the danger Finn was in, despite the fact that I could fall to my death, this was still fun.
Three seconds later, I was over the bank roof. I softened my knees, let go of the handle, and rolled to a stop, coming up into a low crouch.
Bria helped me to my feet. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.” Her stomach rumbled ominously. “Except for a sudden urge to throw up.”
“Don’t worry. It’ll pass.”
I went over, pressed my hand against the wall where the grappling hook was, and used my Stone magic to crack the hook out of the wall. Then I took the hook and the attached zipline, walked over to the edge of the roof, and dropped the whole thing over the side. I gave Silvio a thumbs-up, and he started hauling in the zipline and hook.
It didn’t take long, and he signaled me when he was done. Then he and Owen disappeared from view to get into position in front of the bank. They were going to park down the street in Silvio’s car and monitor things from there until I needed them for phase two of my plan. I didn’t want to make it down to the bank lobby only to find that Deirdre had brought in more reinforcements through the front door.
But first, Bria and I had to get through the door in front of us.
Most people didn’t bother to secure the doors and windows above the first two floors of their homes and offices, but Stuart Mosley and the other folks at First Trust were far more cautious than most. They had to be, given all the millions in cash, jewelry, bonds, and more stored inside. Normally, the two security cameras mounted over the access door would have been swiveling around in constant circles, covering every single part of the roof, and a faint hum would have been emanating from the door itself, since it was electrified.
But the cameras were frozen in place, with no red lights flashing on them, and the only sound was the wind continually gusting across the roof. So I made a ball of slushy Ice and threw it at the door. When no sparks flew, I went over to the door and peered at the high-end lock embedded in the metal. I also rattled the knob, just in case someone had left it unlocked, but of course, my luck could never be that good.
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