Spider's Trap(Elemental Assassin,book 13)(25) by Jennifer Estep
Finn picked up the remote and clicked on the flat-screen TV. A mirror image of our room popped up onto the screen, thanks to the bug that he had planted in the TV next door.
“And now, allow me to proudly present our newest viewing channel,” Finn pronounced, giving an elegant flourish of his hand. “And it won’t even cost you extra.”
“Cost me extra? It already costs five hundred bucks a night, which you put on one of my credit cards,” I grumbled. “For that much money, they should have real, live people come to your room and act out the movies.”
“You mean on the credit card of one of your many aliases,” Finn chirped back. “It’s not like you actually have to pay for it.”
“I do if I want to keep using this alias.”
Finn waved away my concerns, hopped to his feet, and strolled over to the minibar. “Who’s thirsty? I certainly am.”
He pulled out several small bottles and tossed one over to Owen, keeping the rest for himself. Twenty dollars a bottle times three, four, five . . . I sighed and stopped counting. I was not looking forward to getting the bill for tonight.
Finn and Owen cracked open their overpriced, undersized bottles of booze, but I stared at the TV screen.
The room on the other side of the wall was a mess. Tangled sheets trailed off the king-size bed, pillows had been strewn everywhere, silver room-service platters crowded together on the desk, and several pairs of silk leopard-print boxers had been draped over the tops of the lampshades, as if to dry.
“What a slob,” Owen said.
“You don’t have to be neat to plant a bomb. Just sneaky. When is he supposed to be back in his room?”
Finn glanced at his watch. “According to the info that the lovely Ms. Jamison texted me earlier tonight, Smith’s date with her employee was supposed to wrap up fifteen minutes ago. They were meeting at a hotel a block over, so he should be back here any time now.”
Sure enough, out in the hallway, I heard the loud bang of a door slamming shut. On the screen, a shadow moved across the floor in the other room, indicating that someone had opened the door. A second later, a man stepped within view of the TV. Sandy hair, dark eyes, plain features, modest suit, with a garish leopard-print tie. Hello, Mr. Smith.
“That’s him,” I said. “That’s the fake waiter from the riverboat.”
Finn hit another button on the remote. “Did I mention that we have picture and sound? So let’s sit back and watch the show.”
Smith must have enjoyed his paid date, because he was grinning from ear to ear and whistling a jaunty, happy tune. He even went over to the mirror and winked at himself, as if he was proud of his stud-muffin ways. Smith was far too busy basking in his own prowess to suspect that he was in trouble—or that someone was watching him.
Finn, Owen, and I settled in for our evening’s viewing, but Smith didn’t do anything remotely interesting. All he did was plop down on the unmade bed, pull out his cell phone, and start scrolling through his messages, texting several folks and chuckling at some silly cat video, judging from the meows streaming out of his phone.
Finally, he got tired of that and threw his phone down on top of the nightstand, not noticing that it slipped off the side and fell into the crack between the nightstand and the wall. Smith scooted down into the center of the bed and picked up the remote.
He jabbed and jabbed at the buttons, but nothing happened, thanks to the rewiring job Finn had done on his TV.
“Aw, nuts,” Smith muttered. “Stupid TV’s broken.”
I tensed, wondering if he might call the front desk to have someone from maintenance come up and look at the TV. If that happened, our spy mission was over, and I’d have to grab Smith and get him out of his room before one of the hotel staff showed up.
But instead of calling for help, Smith stripped off his suit in full view of the TV, revealing zebra-stripe boxers. At least he was consistent with his jungle theme.
“Woot, woot. Take it off, baby!” Finn called out. “Bow-chicka-wow-wow!”
“I didn’t think he was your type.” Owen chuckled. “Especially considering that conversation we had earlier about you being a one-woman man now.”
“Oh, he’s not.” Finn grinned. “But somebody had to say it.”
I glared at him, but he cracked open another miniature bottle of booze and saluted me with it.
Smith finished stripping, leaving his suit and silk boxers on the floor, then headed into the bathroom. Through the TV, I could hear the squeaking of the faucets turning on, then the steady hissing of water running in the shower.
Owen looked at me. “Now would be the perfect time to slip into his room.”
I shook my head. “Not yet.”
“What are you waiting for? An invitation?” Finn asked. “We’ve been here thirty minutes already, and he hasn’t done anything entertaining, much less incriminating. I don’t think that Smith is going to get out of the shower, call up his comrades in crime, and ask them to come over for poker night so you can kill them all in one fell swoop.”
“I know that,” I snapped. “But Fletcher always said that there was no harm in waiting if you weren’t sure about things. So that’s what we’re going to do.”
“Wait? Until you feel sure about things? With your paranoia, Christmas will come sooner,” Finn groused.
“And you never could sit still for more than five minutes without fidgeting,” I shot back.
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