Spider's Trap(Elemental Assassin,book 13)(26) by Jennifer Estep
My foster brother huffed, got up from his chair, and propped some pillows up against the headboard before launching himself ass-first onto the bed. He punched the pillows several times to flatten them into submission and made a big show of positioning them just so, before he finally settled back against them, stretched out his legs, and crossed his ankles.
“Well, if we have to wait, then I’m going to be comfortable while I do it,” Finn said, leaning over and plucking a room-service menu off the nightstand. “I wonder if they have popcorn in this joint. Since we’re here to watch a show, we totally need some popcorn to go along with it. Don’t you think?”
“I think the only thing corny in here is you,” I muttered.
Owen snickered. “Maybe Finn would like some cheese to go along with his whine.”
“Nice,” I said.
I held out my hand, and Owen high-fived me.
Finn shot us both a dirty look, but he contented himself with the minibar liquor. We all settled back down and sat there in silence while Smith took his shower.
I hadn’t lied. I didn’t really know what I was waiting for. Maybe for the bomber to make a personal appearance. Because if my minion had been going around town trashing hotel rooms, having a good time, and attracting attention, then I would have made it a point to come and tell him to knock it off. That discretion was the better part of valor—and the only thing that would keep me from killing him. Besides, guys like Smith always squealed the second anyone put any kind of pressure on them. And I was betting that the bomber didn’t want anyone knowing who he was—before he killed me, anyway.
So I would wait and watch and hope that I got a lucky break.
But of course, the bomber could already be long gone, and Smith could be on his own now, blowing through whatever money he’d made by planting the bomb on the riverboat—
Another shadow moved across the floor of Smith’s room.
I leaned forward, peering at the screen. I hadn’t heard a door click shut in the hallway, indicating that someone had entered the room. I wondered if my eyes were playing tricks on me.
But they weren’t.
A second later, a man stepped within view of the TV. Smith was still in the shower, so he was oblivious to the guy’s arrival.
Black hair, blue eyes, handsome face, snazzy suit. Lo and behold, it was the same guy I’d noticed in the cigar bar. I might be paranoid, but more often than not, my hunches paid off.
Still, the longer I looked at him, the more my stomach tightened with tension. Something about this guy seriously worried me, something beyond the suspicion that he was the bomber. Once again, I felt some sort of vague memory swimming around and around in the bottom of my brain, but the more I tried to pull it up, the deeper it sank. In an instant, it had vanished completely. But the tension, the worry, the dread remained.
The mystery man glanced around the room, his mouth twisting with disgust at the mess Smith had made. But he shoved several pairs of socks off the desk chair and sat down in it. Waiting, just like we were.
Owen frowned. “Hey, isn’t that . . .”
“The guy from downstairs.” Finn finished his thought. “Who the hell is he?”
“I don’t know,” I replied. “But your TV channel just got a lot more interesting.”
The mystery man watched the bathroom door, waiting for Smith to finish his shower, so I took the opportunity to study him.
I had a better view now than I’d had in the cigar bar, and the man was even more handsome than I’d originally thought. Add in his suit, expensive watch, and silverstone signet ring, and you had an exceptionally attractive package. But his perfect features couldn’t quite hide the coldness lurking in his eyes, and I thought of the flat glare he’d given the woman who’d tried to pick him up downstairs. Pretty polish aside, I knew a predator when I saw one.
The guy leaned back in the chair, put his arm on the desk, and started drumming his fingers on the wooden surface. His eyes narrowed as he stared at the bathroom door, and his mouth puckered with annoyance at having to wait for Smith, who was taking what felt like the world’s longest shower. At first, his finger tapping seemed harmless enough.
Then I noticed the spoon.
A few inches from his hand, a spoon laid across an empty saucer trembled, then started to shake violently, as though it were being rattled around by an earthquake. I could hear the silverware clanging around, even through the TV screen. There was no way that the guy simply drumming his fingers would cause the spoon to move around like that. He’d have to repeatedly bang his fist against the desk to get that kind of result . . . unless he had some sort of magic.
Some elementals constantly leaked magic, their power rippling off their bodies in invisible waves and affecting their surroundings in small ways even when they weren’t doing anything other than blinking and breathing. Or, say, tapping their fingers on a desktop. It was worrisome enough that the guy was an elemental, but what really troubled me was the fact that there was only one kind of power that would affect a simple spoon that way.
Which meant I’d just found the bomber.
I pointed at the screen. “Do you guys see that? What he’s doing to that spoon?”
Finn sat up on the bed. “He’s a metal elemental.”
“Yeah,” Owen said, his face creasing with worry. “And I can feel his magic, even in here. Can’t you, Gin? The guy’s strong. Certainly stronger than I am. Stronger than any other metal elemental I’ve ever met.”
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