Spider's Trap(Elemental Assassin,book 13)(22) by Jennifer Estep
I shook my head. “No. Not at first, anyway. I want to see exactly what Mr. Smith is up to before I have a face-to-face chat with him.”
I didn’t mention that the reason I was being so cautious was my nagging feeling that something wasn’t right about this whole situation, that it was more than someone trying to kill me.
“Well, if you’re not going to off the guy, then what are you going to do with him?” Finn asked.
I told him what I wanted. “Do you think you can arrange that?”
His chest puffed up with pride. “Of course I can. I’m Finnegan Lane, baby. The best in the business.”
I rolled my eyes. So did Silvio, but Finn was too busy grinning, mentally patting himself on the back at his own cleverness, and slurping down the rest of his milkshake to care.
* * *
At eight o’clock that night, I found myself standing in an alley beside the Blue Moon Hotel. Despite the hotel’s upscale reputation, this alley was like most in Ashland: dark, dingy, and filled with Dumpsters overflowing with all sorts of rotten garbage. Broken bottles littered the asphalt, the shards glimmering in the few beams of moonlight that managed to filter down into the corridor.
“Are you ready yet?” I groused. “You spend more time on your hair than I do.”
Finn pulled his shaggy blond wig a little lower on his forehead. “You want me to look good, don’t you?”
“Yes. That is my main concern at the moment. Your appearance.”
“Just because we’re standing in a dark, deserted alley doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t strive to look my very best.” Finn sniffed and fluffed up the dyed strands of his wig.
Owen laughed at my bickering with Finn, but I sighed, crossed my arms over my chest, and tap-tap-tapped my toe against the cracked pavement. Finn ignored the impatient sound.
Things were almost sure to get messy in the Blue Moon Hotel, and I wanted as little as possible to tie me, Finn, and Owen to Mr. Smith. But there were too many security cameras in the hotel’s lobby, shops, restaurants, and elevators for us to avoid them all, so we all wore disguises—glasses and wigs that we’d borrowed from our friend Roslyn Phillips, who ran the Northern Aggression nightclub. Owen and Finn both sported shaggy blond dos and round silver glasses, while I was a redhead with square black frames.
The disguises wouldn’t fool anyone for long, but it was an extra precaution and a bit of plausible deniability that I’d insisted on. Given what had happened on the riverboat, I needed to be as careful as possible from here on out.
“There,” Finn announced, giving his wig one final pat. “All done.”
“Finally,” I muttered.
“The Blue Moon has certain standards, Gin,” he replied. “Looking messy in a place like this is one of the quickest ways to attract unwanted attention.”
Owen looked at him. “You’ve been to the hotel before?”
“Certainly,” Finn said, adjusting his cufflinks. “I am well acquainted with this and every other fine hotel in Ashland.”
I snorted. “You mean you’re acquainted with sneaking out of them, lest a jealous boyfriend or husband catch you in the act with their lady.”
Finn clutched both hands to his heart. “Oh, Gin, you always wound me with your cynicism. Besides, I’m a changed man now, remember? A one-woman man. Right, Owen?”
Owen laughed again and shook his head. “Don’t look at me for help. I know that the Snow women are not to be trifled with in any way, shape, or form. You’re on your own here, my friend.”
“One-woman man, huh?” I palmed a knife and flashed it at Finn before tucking it back up my sleeve. “Well, it better stay that way as long as you’re dating my baby sister.”
“It will, it will,” Finn said in a hasty tone, holding up his hands in mock surrender. “Besides, you wouldn’t get the chance to carve me up. Bria would blast my balls off with her Ice magic first if she ever even thought that I was cheating on her. Which I would never, ever do. And not just because I like all my love-machine man parts to be in working order and not frostbitten to the point of falling off.” He shuddered.
Owen winced right along with him. “Like I said—not to be trifled with.”
The two of them shared a commiserating look at the thought of facing down Bria’s and my Ice magic, but I knew that Finn meant what he said. Despite his former womanizing ways, he really did love Bria, and she was just as crazy about him.
“Well, I think that is more than enough talk about your man parts,” I sniped. “Let’s get this show on the road.”
Finn held his hand out. “Ladies first.”
I stalked down the alley, strode out onto the sidewalk, and headed for the main entrance, with Finn and Owen a few steps behind me. One at a time, we pushed through the revolving doors and entered the hotel.
The Blue Moon was one of the finest hotels in Ashland, and every part of the expensive decor gleamed, from the old-fashioned chandeliers overhead to the gilded mirrors lining the walls to the marble floors, which featured thin veins of pale blue ribboning through the smooth white stone.
The lobby itself was an enormous circle, with the front desk across from the revolving doors and high-end shops and restaurants curving all the way around the area. They might be housed in the hotel, but the businesses in the lobby were their own destinations, and many folks came here to eat, browse, and spend way too much money on luxury goods.
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