Spider's Trap(Elemental Assassin,book 13)(11) by Jennifer Estep
“I’m sure. It felt exactly like Owen’s power to me.”
Phillip’s frown deepened, the wheels churning in his mind to determine who in the Ashland underworld would have enough elemental juice to make a bomb that powerful. But his face remained blank, and he was coming up empty, just like I was. Metal was a fairly rare ability, just like my own Stone magic was, since metal was an offshoot of that major elemental power. Silvio also wore a thoughtful expression on his face, but he didn’t come up with any ready suspects either.
“Besides,” I continued, “I’m not so sure that this is about me.”
“What do you mean?” Phillip asked.
“Someone was watching us from over there.” I pointed to the woods on the far side of the river. “He had a sniper rifle, which he used to keep me from jumping into the river after the fake waiter who planted the bomb. The sniper, the watcher, could have put a bullet through my skull at any point during the meeting, when I was out here on deck. So why bother with the bomb? Why not just take me out with a head shot and be done with things? Bing, bang, boom. I’m dead.”
Phillip stared out across the water. “You think that maybe you weren’t the main target? That someone was trying to kill one of the other bosses or even me?”
“I don’t know. Maybe the watcher wanted to kill me and didn’t care about the collateral damage. Maybe he likes collateral damage. But something else is going on here, and I’m going to find out what it is.”
I started to get to my feet, but Silvio put a firm hand on my shoulder and gave me a polite, if no-nonsense, scowl.
“You can find out what’s going on after Ms. Deveraux gets here and heals you,” he said. “And not a second before.”
“You’re not my mother, Silvio,” I muttered. “I’m fine. I’ve been through worse than this.”
He crossed his arms over his chest. “Well, I certainly feel like it sometimes. If my hair wasn’t already gray, it would have turned that color working for you these past few weeks.”
“Well, look on the bright side.”
I grinned. “There’s never a dull moment in the employ of Gin Blanco.”
Phillip snickered, but Silvio just sighed.
* * *
Twenty minutes later, a pair of heels clacked in a familiar chorus, and a woman appeared at the top of the gangplank. Given the fall chill, she was wearing a white cashmere cardigan over a pale pink dress patterned with white roses. A string of pearls hung around her throat, while sensible, white patent-leather pumps encased her feet. A breeze whipped across the deck, but it didn’t so much as ruffle the white-blond curls piled on top of her head in an artful chignon.
Jolene “Jo-Jo” Deveraux glanced around the deck, taking in the mess, then hurried over to me. Silvio had dragged out a chaise lounge from somewhere inside the riverboat and forced me to lie down on it. He’d also played the part of a good assistant and fetched some warm, dry clothes from a stash I kept in my car, along with my weapons.
My five silverstone knives were tucked into their usual slots—one up either sleeve, one in the small of my back, and one in either boot—so I was ready to rock ’n’ roll as soon as Jo-Jo healed me.
The dwarf stopped, slapped her hands on her hips, and gave me a critical once-over, her clear, almost colorless gaze lingering on the ugly gash on my forehead, along with the large knot that had puffed up all around it.
She shook her head. “And I thought you were just coming over here for a simple meeting. Trouble has a nasty habit of following you around, darling.”
“What can I say? I’m popular that way.”
Silvio pulled up a chair next to mine, and Jo-Jo took a seat and began assessing my injuries. She raised her hand, a milky-white glow coating her palm and swirling through her eyes as she reached for her Air magic.
I lay back on the chair while Jo-Jo worked on me, even though the uncomfortable, pins-and-needles sensation of her Air power stitching together the gash on my forehead made me wince and hiss almost as much as the original wound had. She also used her power to heal the knot on my face and fade out all the ugly bruising around it.
Even though I knew Jo-Jo was helping me, I was still sweating and swallowing down snarls by the time she finished. Air was the opposite element of Stone, so the dwarf’s power would just never feel right to me, the way loud, chirping ring tones drove some folks plumb crazy.
Jo-Jo dropped her hand, and the stabbing pins-and-needles of her Air magic vanished, along with the milky-white glow in her eyes and on her palm. “There you go, darling. Good as new.”
I nodded, relieved that I could once again move my head without triggering a migraine. I had swung my feet over the side of the lounge chair, ready to get on with things, when another set of familiar footsteps hurried up the gangplank.
This time, a man stepped into view. With his blue-black hair, violet eyes, and rugged features, most women would have thought him handsome, especially when they noticed the way his navy suit jacket stretched across his broad, muscled shoulders and solid chest. I thought he was one of the most gorgeous men I’d ever seen, and the fact that he was mine warmed my heart in a way nothing else did.
Owen Grayson hurried over and dropped to a knee on the deck beside me. “Gin! Are you okay? I came as soon as Silvio texted me.”
“I’m fine. Just a few bumps and bruises. Nothing too serious.”
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