Bitter Bite(Elemental Assassin #14)(90) by Jennifer Estep
“And you’re a dead man.”
“If you won’t kill her, then I will. And then I’ll kill you too. Only I won’t be so nice as to use a gun.” He gestured at the knife he’d cut me with, the one the giant was still holding on to for him. “I’ll carve you up, just like you’ve done to so many other people. But there won’t be anything quick and painless about it. Your screams will be like a sweet serenade, and I won’t stop cutting until you beg me for mercy.”
I snorted again. “You can make me scream, certainly, but I won’t beg. You want Deirdre dead, then kill her your damn self. Mab might have been involved with you, but I’m not her. I’m not one of your lackeys, and I never, ever will be.”
The vampire glared at me, his eyes narrowed to two black slits in his face, but I stared right back at him, even as I fed a little bit more Ice magic into the cuff on my left wrist. The metal was so cold now that it was starting to steam in the ambient heat of the warehouse, but no one noticed the wisps of frost except me. Almost there.
“Fine,” he snapped. “It will be easier to kill you both now anyway.”
Tucker bent down, as though he was going to wrest the gun out of my hand, but I dug the toes of my boots into the floor and pushed back as hard as I could. The rollers on my chair sailed smoothly along the concrete floor, shooting me back, well out of Tucker’s reach.
He swiped for me and ended up staggering to keep his balance. For a moment, everyone was frozen, but I kept digging and digging my toes into the floor the whole time, trying to roll myself toward the door at the end of the warehouse. Even as I sailed away, I whipped up the gun, pressed it against the lock on the handcuff on my left wrist, and pulled the trigger.
The shot reverberated through the warehouse. The bullet, combined with my Ice magic, was enough to shatter the lock on the silverstone handcuff. The second the cuff fell away, I tossed the empty gun aside, lurched out of the chair, and sprinted for the door.
My shot must have also jolted Tucker’s men out of their shock. Bullets zinged through the warehouse in my direction, but I reached for my Stone magic and hardened my skin into an impenetrable shell. One of the bullets caught me square in the back, throwing me forward as though someone had punched me in my spine, but my magic saved me from being killed. The blow still hurt—the force of the bullet was hard enough to bruise my back and ribs and make breathing uncomfortable—but I ignored the pain and staggered forward.
Shouts rose behind me, and more bullets whizzed through the air, plowing into the crates and boxes as I ran past them, but I kept my legs churning and my gaze locked on the door at the end of the warehouse. I needed to get out of here, and not just so I wouldn’t get killed. I needed to warn Finn and the others about Deirdre, Tucker, and everything he’d said. But first, I had to survive this.
A lone giant was standing by the door, the guy who’d been recording me. He was still holding his phone, and he fumbled for the gun in his shoulder holster. Something silver glinted in my field of vision, and I veered over to a worktable, snatching up a wrench. The man yanked his gun free and raised it to fire at me, but I was faster, and I cracked the wrench across his face before he could pull the trigger. He screamed and dropped to the ground, losing his grip on his gun and his phone.
I stopped long enough to drop the wrench and scoop up his gun and phone from the floor, then slammed my shoulder into the door, stumbled out of the warehouse, and sprinted into the dark night.
Hide-and-seek had always been one of my favorite games as a kid, mainly because I’d always had the patience to wait out whoever was looking for me and slip away to a new spot when their back was turned.
As an assassin, it wasn’t so much a game as it was a necessary survival skill.
The good thing about being trapped in a shipping yard at night was that there were a lot of places to hide.
The bad thing was that Tucker had brought a whole lot of men with him.
Several giants had been guarding the perimeter, and the gunshots sent all of them racing toward the warehouse, their own guns drawn, ready to shoot any shadow that moved. The snow had stopped while I was in the warehouse, and the moon was now shining big and bright in the sky. I slipped into the closest patch of shadows and hurried down a row of metal containers as fast as I could, kicking up sprays of snow.
I came to a corridor in the containers, cut to my right, then right again, heading back in the direction I’d just come from, hugging the sides of the containers to hide my tracks as best I could. Going back to the warehouse was dangerous, but there were two more things I needed to do: find out as much as I could about Tucker’s operation, and make sure that Deirdre was dead.
Less than a minute later, I was back at the front of the containers, peering over at the warehouse. I stopped long enough to fiddle with the guy’s cell phone, setting it to video mode. Then I found a small crack to hide in, worming my way in between two shipping containers. My hidey hole was cloaked in shadows but still gave me a clear view of the warehouse.
Sure enough, a couple of minutes later, Tucker stormed out, a gun in one hand and a phone in the other. I held up my own stolen phone and zoomed in on him.
“Find her!” he yelled.
Giants moved all around him, yanking out their guns, spreading out around the warehouse, and heading into the maze of shipping containers beyond. One of the keys to hiding was to remain perfectly still, as though you were just another part of the landscape, dull, harmless, and completely unworthy of notice. Darting around like a wounded animal would get you caught quicker than anything else, so I stayed still and quiet in my hiding spot.
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